Category Archives: Pest Database

Survey finds West Nile concern among Americans, pest control companies affected

West Nile virus has come on strong this year, leading to an uptick in business for pest control companies.

A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association revealed that 54 percent of Americans are worried about the West Nile virus, a potentially deadly disease that can be transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

In addition, the survey found that 22 percent of respondents took more steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes than in previous years.

“This year’s unprecedented West Nile Virus epidemic and the alarming amount of fatalities are worrisome for health and pest experts alike," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at the NPMA. "Our members have received increased calls from homeowners to assist them with mosquito elimination in their back yards and this survey clearly shows the elevated concern experienced by much of the American population. The good news is that mosquito activity will naturally decrease over the next few weeks as the weather cools in much of the country and adult mosquitoes die off.”

The NPMA is currently in transition mode as its executive vice president, Rob Lederer, announced his resignation after 17 years of leading the organization. The resignation is effective immediately and was announced by NPMA President Laura Simpson during a conference call with the association's board of directors.

Mike Rottler, president of a pest control company, told PCT that news of Lederer's resignation came as a shock.

Food manufacturers dealing with fall pests

Pest control is a major issue among homeowners across the country, but business owners also have to take protective measures when it comes to preventing bugs, insects and other pest infestations.

In the food manufacturing industry, safety is paramount and keeping unwanted pests at bay is a priority for every food manufacturer. With the summer heat fading into an autumn chill, food plant managers are taking proactive steps to keep their products safe.

"Depending on geographical location, winter can provide some relief from exterior pest pressures. However, certain parts of the U.S. will see year-round pressures from outdoor insects," Patricia Hottel, technical director at a pest management company, told FoodProcessing.com. "There are definitely some seasonal pest differences in the temperate climates. There are several types of fall invading pests to expect as summer comes to a close. Several of these pests invade structures in search of a place to overwinter."

Many pests are influenced by the temperature and other aspects of the seasons, with some more prevalent in the fall and harvest season. The news source states that these pests include rodents, boxelder bugs, foreign grain beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, cluster flies, multicolored Asian lady beetles and more.

"Each season brings different opportunities for pests to find food, water and shelter within or around food processing, packaging or handling facilities," Dale Bauerkemper, vice president of operating companies at a pest control company in Wisconsin, told the news source. "Although chemical applications can offer some immediate relief, environmental control methods that drop the relative humidity levels, removing the water pests need to survive, are required for real long-term resolution."

What to do as a business owner
As a home and/or business owner, you should take whatever steps are necessary to rid any potential pest issues. Contacting pest control professionals can be the easiest and most effective way to eliminate your bug or insect issue.

Although there are personal pest control measures that can be undertaken to remedy the situation, these are not always effective and some may not be safe. Working with a trained professionals may solve pest problems more quickly and offer much-needed peace of mind.

How to protect yourself from bed bugs while traveling

Summer vacation season may be winding down, but fall weekend getaways and holiday travel are right around the corner. While most people consider a vacation a relaxing, refreshing break, a trip can turn into a nightmare if you return home to discover you've brought bed bugs back with you. It's easy to pick up these unwanted souvenirs, and they are notoriously difficult to get rid of without help from professional exterminators. Remember that it is important to take precautionary steps to ensure your next trip doesn't leave you with bed bug bites or an infested house!

Check your room
If you're staying at a hotel, it's imperative to check your room for any signs of bed bugs as soon as you arrive. The pests have many different hiding places, but as their name suggests, they are often found around beds. Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress, and don't forget to examine the corners and seams, where it's easy for bed bugs to hide.

Don't stop after checking just the mattress – there are plenty of other places bed bugs like to lurk. Look over the box spring, headboard and even the nightstand. Don't forget to check the sofa bed if your room has one. The bugs can also live in carpeting, so scan the floor for bugs as well. Did you bring a flashlight? Use it to help you inspect the room. If you don't have one, you can use a flashlight app on a family member's smartphone.

What are you looking for?
You can examine the entire hotel room closely, but that won't really help you if you aren't sure of exactly what you're looking for. When checking the room, look for the pests themselves, which are flat and brown. Young bed bugs may be harder to spot, since they are nearly colorless and blend into white sheets and mattresses.

Search for more than just living bugs. You'll also want to examine the hotel room for other evidence of the insects. Look for cast skins, which the young bugs shed as they grow. Do you notice any small stains on the mattress or near the bed? It may be blood from bites or bed bug fecal matter. If you find any live bugs or evidence of an infestation, it's important to request a room change or find a new hotel before a pest finds its way into your luggage!

Keeping your luggage pest free
While it's crucial to inspect a room for signs of bed bugs, it isn't always a guaranteed way to ensure there are no pests present in the room. These insects are adept at hiding, and they can be easy to miss.

It may be tempting to drop your luggage on the floor or bed after a long plane ride or exhausting car trip, but avoid putting suitcases and bags in those two spots at all costs. Pests can easily crawl into your luggage if it's placed on the bed or carpeting. Instead, put your bags on luggage racks, on a table or even in the bathroom, where bed bugs rarely hide. Some experts even advise covering luggage with a trash bag so no pests are able to crawl inside.

Bed bugs can hide in clothes, and spread throughout your bags, so travelers are advised to keep clothing they have worn inside the hotel in sealed plastic bags before stowing it in their suitcases. Because they come into direct contact with the bed, vacationers should be especially careful about ensuring their pajamas are sealed before being packed up.

Avoid bringing home bugs
Even if you've taken every precaution to avoid bed bugs, sometimes they can still sneak into your luggage or clothing unnoticed. Keep your house pest free by unpacking your luggage in the garage when you return home – this will ensure the critters have nothing to grab and prevent them from spreading.

Closely examine each piece of clothing and your suitcase for any bugs that may have hitchhiked back to your home. Even if everything looks pest free, it's a good idea to wash and dry all items you brought with you. This will kill any bugs that you may have missed. When you've finished unpacking, don't store that suitcase in your closet. Leave it in the garage just in case any pests are still hiding in the seams. Missing just a bug or two could result in the pests spreading throughout your home.

Taking precautionary measures is the first step in preventing a bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, it is still possible to wind up with a pest problem after returning home from a trip. In this instance, a pest control professional can recommend the best treatment to rid your home of bed bugs.

Keep silverfish out of your home

Silverfish are common pests that may cause problems for homeowners. Even though they do not pose a medical danger to residents, their presence can be a nuisance. The risk of contaminated food and damaged goods is enough to make most homeowners dread discovering a silverfish in their homes.

Identifying the pest
Many residents find it tricky to uncover a silverfish problem, as the pests are nocturnal and can move extraordinarily quickly. If you're on the hunt for the insects, some good places to start your search are in the kitchen, bathroom, basement or laundry room. These bugs can make their homes in most environments, but they prefer areas that are warm and humid.

The pests have silvery brown bodies, and can grow to be nearly an inch long. They have two long antennae, and three projections from the back of their bodies. These characteristics make them easy to identify when they are spotted.

Because the females lay so many eggs, silverfish populations tend to grow rapidly. Young silverfish develop even more quickly when living in a humid environment.

Silverfish damage
Even though silverfish don't usually cause extensive structural damage, their presence can be a pain to deal with. Those who have found silverfish in their kitchens should note that these pests can easily contaminate food. All food should be stored in airtight containers and put away quickly to prevent silverfish access.

Silverfish don't just eat human food – they'll chew on many things they shouldn't. Books and wallpaper are a snack these pests can't resist, and a severe infestation may damage carefully papered walls or a large book collection. Even your closets may be at risk, because silverfish will eat silk and linen.

Prevention methods
It can be hard to prevent silverfish from getting inside, and homeowners often don't notice the problem until it has become overwhelming. Make sure entry points are sealed up, to keep pests from entering. Controlling the humidity in laundry rooms, bathrooms, basements and kitchens can help keep silverfish away as well, as they are often attracted to damp environments.

It's not always easy to identify a severe silverfish infestation until its too late. If you've discovered multiple insects in your home, it may be time to contact a pest control professional who can assess the situation and recommend the best form of treatment.

Professional pest control companies the best at handling bed bugs

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged several companies with deceptive advertising. These companies marketed products that supposedly prevent and clear up bed bug infestations with natural ingredients, like cedar oil, lemongrass and cinnamon. The pest-killing claims were not supported with any evidence.

The FTC sued the companies in federal court, and one of them has agreed to cease marketing their product as a way to prevent bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs affect areas throughout the country and can be extremely difficult to eradicate. They can access the tiniest of spaces, where they are often not spotted until an infestation becomes severe. Mattress seams, behind headboards and behind wallpaper are common places for the pests to hide. Although their tiny size makes them hard to eliminate, their ability to live up to a year without eating also contributes to their resilience.

Homeowners facing bed bug problems are often embarrassed about the issue and try to treat the problem themselves instead of turning to insect control professionals. However, a bed bug infestation is nothing to be embarrassed about, as it has little to do with cleanliness. They can be picked up while traveling, visiting friends or even by bringing used clothing or furniture into your house. It's easy for these unwelcome creatures to sneak into your home undetected.

To prevent inadvertently bringing home the bugs, it's important to take caution when traveling. Check beds in hotels for signs of an infestation, and set suitcases on a luggage rack rather than letting them sit on the bed or carpet. Upon returning home, inspect all clothing and luggage, and wash everything, even items that weren't worn during your trip. Traveling isn't the only time you may encounter bed bugs – buying used clothing and furniture can also contribute to an unexpected infestation. Examine all purchases to ensure there aren't any bugs hiding in the items, and wash used clothing before stowing it in your closet.

Because these pests are difficult to get rid of, professional assistance is usually necessary. Don't risk using products that won't eliminate an infestation. If you've discovered signs of these insects, it's important to act quickly before the problem worsens. Calling a pest control company immediately is the first step to take in your battle against bed bugs. Professionals can confirm that the insects really are bed bugs, and they can recommend the best form of treatment based on your situation.

Fixing your flea problem

Your pet may be a member of the family, but it's easy for them to unintentionally cause a big household problem. If you're not careful, your pet may wind up with fleas, which can quickly spread into an infestation. The pests multiply quickly, and ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Take time to learn about the signs of fleas so if your pet picks up the pests, you'll notice quickly and be able to handle the situation in a timely manner.

Finding the fleas
Many homeowners with flea infestations first notice the pests on their pet. If your pets are scratching themselves constantly, they may be trying to relieve the itch of flea bites. Adult fleas spend most of their lives on your dog or cat, and lay their eggs on the pet. Even though treating your pet is a crucial step in pest elimination, it's not the only one. The flea eggs fall off your pet throughout the day, and find their way into carpeting, furniture and cushions. Once these eggs hatch, the larvae will hide in your carpet, furniture or pet bedding and can create a serious infestation.

Treating the problem
If you suspect fleas have invaded your home, it's important to act quickly before the problem gets out of control. While a severe infestation may require professional help from an exterminator, there are steps you can take to combat a small problem before the insect control professionals arrive. Start by taking your pet to a veterinarian, who can let you know if the problem really is fleas. If fleas are the issue, your pet will be treated for the parasites, but that doesn't mean the fleas will flee your home.

After receiving a diagnosis, immediately wash or discard your pet's bedding, where most of the flea eggs have likely fallen off. It is important to vacuum the entire house, to try to eliminate any pests that are hiding deep in the carpet or in throw rugs. If your pet spends a lot of time on a particular piece of furniture, vacuum that as well. Some pets sleep in the same bed as their owners – if this is the case for you and your pet, wash all bedding in hot water to kill any pests that may be lurking in the sheets.

After you've completed a preliminary round of flea elimination, pest control professionals can handle the situation and eliminate any remaining pests from your home.

Do you have a bed bug infestation?

Bed bugs have become increasingly common over the last few years, and it seems that no one is immune to an infestation. While the pests were fairly common in the past, they were nearly eradicated after World War II. Unfortunately, some colonies survived and have spread all over the world.

The pests have been found in hotels, public buildings and college dorm rooms. If they haven't found their way into your home yet, it may just be a matter of time before the bed bugs start biting. It is important for a homeowner to know what to look for when a bed bug infestation is suspected, so pest control experts can take the appropriate actions immediately.

Examine your skin
One of the first bed bugs signs some people notice is red, itchy welts on their bodies. Bed bugs feed on human blood and their saliva often causes an allergic reaction in humans. This causes the bitten area to swell and itch. The pests are usually active at night, and the welts may not be noticeable for a day or more. If anyone in your home has such symptoms, it is important to quickly determine if the cause of the bumps is bed bugs.

Even though their bites leave irritating welts, bed bug bites cannot transmit disease. However, their presence may cause emotional distress for a homeowner dealing with an infestation.

Check your furniture
Bed bugs are often found in mattresses. If an infestation is suspected, a homeowner should first examine mattresses and box springs. Signs of bed bugs often include dark spots on a mattress, molted skin or even the insects themselves. Since the bugs tend to hide during the day, it is important to check in cracks and seams when looking for signs of the pests. Bed bug eggs are tiny and light-colored, making them hard to spot, but they may be visible on darker surfaces.

Mattresses are not the only places bed bugs like to call home. They also can infest headboards, bed frames and other pieces of furniture. Closely examine all furniture, especially pieces with creases, folds and seams since the pests tend to hide in these areas.

Call in a professional
It is impossible for a homeowner to successfully eliminate a bed bug issue on their own. The pests are notoriously difficult to get rid of, but professional exterminators can rid a structure of the blood-sucking bugs.

The dangerous pest in your home

One of the most common household insects may also be one of the most dangerous. Most homeowners have had experiences with house flies at some point, and not realized just how germy the pests can be. During the summer months, when windows and doors are opened frequently, it is easy for these insects to zoom inside and make a home for themselves.

Even though they seem to be a mere annoyance, flies can be a dangerous pest to have indoors. These insects have been known to spread filth and disease, and there is a chance there are some crawling about your home this very minute. Taking the appropriate insect control measures to deal with a fly problem can prevent serious illnesses from occurring.

The filth on a fly
When a fly gets into your home, it doesn't enter alone. It brings with it disease and bacteria which can be harmful to both humans and pets. The germs on a fly can include pathogens that cause dangerous conditions such as typhoid, tuberculosis and cholera. Aside from these critical illnesses, flies can also spread common bacterial infections because they carry so many microorganisms on their bodies. Because flies walk on rotting garbage, fecal material and other germy surfaces, they pick up more dangerous bacteria each time they land.

Spreading disease quickly
Flies spread illnesses quickly because they land with astonishing frequency. Every time a fly touches down on a surface in your home, it spreads bacteria and pathogens to the area. This makes sanitizing the areas that flies have touched very important to prevent the spreading of disease. Since flies tend to land on human meals and utensils, putting these items away quickly can prevent the further contamination of food.

Keeping an infestation under control
Flies breed extremely rapidly, and a few pesky flies can quickly become a full-blown infestation. Besides having an excessive number of flies in the home, signs of an infestation can include maggots in food and garbage. To prevent breeding in the areas, food should be properly sealed in tight containers, and trash cans should be emptied regularly. If the flies in your home are just too numerous to kill with an ordinary flyswatter, it may be time to call in professional exterminators. A pest control expert can determine how to best rid the home of the flies and prevent an infestation from occurring in the future.

Ensure West Nile-carrying mosquitoes aren’t around your home

As the summer continues, so do stories about the potentially deadly West Nile Virus. The illness has plagued almost every state so far this year, but no state has seen more cases of the virus than Texas. The mayor of Dallas declared a state of emergency, and many other communities are worried that a bite will infect them with the sickness.

Many people think those who get sick catch West Nile from venturing out into the wilderness, or lingering near areas with standing water, such as lakes or ponds. This is not the case – most people catch West Nile in their own backyards. If you don't take proper pest control precautions in and around your home, it could result in a serious condition for a member of the family.

The danger in your backyard
Take a walk through your yard, and you'll be amazed at the amount of breeding grounds available to mosquitoes. Wet flower pots, pools, bird baths, clogged gutters and a bowl of water for the family dog provide ample opportunities for the blood-sucking pests to reproduce. Just a tiny amount of water is enough to produce a new generation of mosquitoes that could potentially carry West Nile Virus.

What's worse is the mosquitoes will not travel far from their homes, meaning all the pests in your backyard at dusk are likely hiding out there all day. They are likely taking refuge in shady places or plants, just waiting for the opportunity to bite.

Preventative measures in and around the home
Don't rely on luck alone to spare your family from West Nile. The life threatening disease can be prevented by taking simple steps to make your home unfriendly to the pests. Take the first step and examine your home for areas bugs may be able to enter through. Because some mosquitoes like to invade homes, it is important to make sure window and door screens are well-fitted and free from tears. Keep the buzzing pests out of the house by making sure doors and windows are kept closed if screens are unavailable or defective.

Your yard should be your next stop when trying to eliminate the risk of West Nile. Carefully check your yard for standing water and drain as much as possible. Getting rid of something as small as a puddle in a flowerpot may save a family member from the severe disease.

If these steps have been taken and mosquitoes are still increasing around your home, it may be time to call in a pest control expert to get rid of the insects in and around your house.

Rescuing your home from roaches

Every homeowner dreads finding a cockroach in their house. These pests, which can survive in the most unpleasant of conditions, can be difficult to get rid of. If an infestation is discovered, homeowners should contact pest control experts immediately for professional advice and removal. An untreated roach problem will only continue to get worse over time. There are several signs of roaches in a home, and with the help of an insect control professional, the bugs can be eliminated.

Check dark spaces
Roaches are nocturnal and prefer to come out in the dark. Dim, moist environments are the ideal habitats for them, and they are often found in floor drains, behind refrigerators and sinks, and under large appliances. Rooms that are frequently infested are kitchens and bathrooms, because they provide ample hiding places, warmth and a damp environment. These are the first places homeowners should check if they suspect roaches. However, just because these spaces are clear of pests, it doesn't mean a home is free from roaches. The insects are small and able to fit into cracks, so they can sometimes get into walls or behind wallpaper.

Search for bugs
Some homeowners notice they have a roach problem by catching one of the pests out of its hiding place. Even though roaches typically venture out at night, they can sometimes head out to search for food or water during the day. If roaches are seen out and about your home during the day, it can be the sign of a severe infestation. In addition to keeping an eye out for the bugs themselves, it is critical that homeowners search for roach eggs to prevent a new generation from taking over a home. These oval egg cases are sometimes found in tight or cluttered spaces such as bookcases and cabinets.

Look for "coffee grounds"
If an infestation is present in your home, one of the first signs may be what appears to be coffee grounds of black pepper on the floor or other surfaces. This is actually fecal matter from the cockroaches. The amount of it found can be an indicator of how serious an infestation has become.

Pay attention to unusual smells
Some cockroaches give off pheromones that cause an unpleasant odor in a home. Structures with severe roach problems will often have a mysterious musty odor that refuses to go away. If this is the case in your home, check for other signs of roaches and call a pest control expert.