Category Archives: Pest Database

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.

Honey, I’m home: Keeping bees out of the house

A South Florida family recently experienced a scare when they realized their home had been invaded by honey bees.

Several thousand bees began to build a new hive inside the home after they were able to enter house through a hole in a wall.

A local bee expert told Miami-area Fox affiliate WSNV that the infestation was "a new swarm of bees." He said the pests likely lived in a hive that became overcrowded, so the swarm left in order to start a new hive elsewhere.

The man told the source that just a day in the house was enough time for the bees to start constructing their new hive. The bee expert told the source that he estimated that in just 24 hours, the insects could build a piece of wax roughly the size of an adult's hand. Since the family had the infestation removed in a timely fashion, there was not a large amount of wax or honey to clean up.

Once a queen bee establishes a new hive, she lays thousands of eggs daily. That means once the eggs begin to hatch, the population of a small beehive can drastically increase in a short period of time.

Because the hive in the Miami-area home had only just been established, the source reports there were only about 3,000 bees inside. Hives that have more time to develop and grow can house tens of thousands of the pests. In some instances, hives can hold up to 60,000 bees.

'Bee'ting the pesky pests
There are several steps homeowners can take to prevent their homes from becoming beehive-friendly. Making sure there are no cracks or holes is important to keep the pests from getting into walls and ceilings. Even if they are not in the home, bees can still bug the family. Getting rid of shelter for the bees will keep them from building a hive on the outside of a home. Empty flower pots, holes in trees, boxes and space in drainage tiles provide plenty of room for bees to begin building a hive. To further prevent the bees from thinking your home is a hospitable place to start their hive, it is advisable to eliminate puddles to prevent the bees from having access to drinking water.

When a homeowner has taken all the necessary steps and a bee infestation still occurs, he or she may want to contact pest control professionals immediately. An insect control company can ensure that the pests are safely removed, especially since a homeowner may anger dangerous Africanized bees when attempting to remove them! An exterminator can also provide input as to the best way to prevent future hives from forming.

How to prevent a bed bug infestation this fall

If you're preparing for a last-minute summer vacation, the back-to-school season or a new job, you should be aware of a notoriously pesky insect: the bed bug. These pests are difficult to get rid of and can be picked up anywhere. It is important to know what precautions to take to avoid bed bugs whether you're staying at a hotel or moving into a college dormitory. Knowledge and preventative pest control measures are the most important thing you can do to prevent a bed bug infestation.

Colleges
Young people on a budget will often purchase second-hand pieces to furnish their college dorms or apartments. It is critical to inspect used furniture to ensure it is not infested with bed bugs, as they can spread. Checking small cracks and creases thoroughly for insects, eggs and stains is key to preventing an infestation from used furniture. College students living in school dormitories should be instructed by their parents to inspect mattresses and headboards to ensure the room is not crawling with the pests.

Elementary and high schools
College dorms, apartments and fraternity houses aren't the only place a student can pick up bed bugs. More and more elementary and high schools are reporting problems with the pests, and it is entirely possible for younger kids to pick them up unknowingly and bring them home. Teaching children to keep an eye out for pests and inspecting their belongings regularly is key to preventing an infestation, especially if your child's school stores students' belongings in close quarters.

Hotels and meeting rooms
It is equally important to check beds at a hotel when traveling. Bed bug infestations are not exclusive to unclean hotels, and luxury accommodations are just as likely to have an infestation as a budget room. These pests are hitchhikers and can crawl into luggage and clothing, making it possible to bring the infestation home when your vacation is over. Prevent a stowaway by making sure you place your suitcase on the luggage rack in your room, rather than on a bed or on the carpet. Upon arriving home, it is important to wash everything in your suitcase to kill any bed bugs that may have gotten in.

Seek assistance
If bed bugs, eggs or other suspicious signs of the pests are found, it is important to call a professional exterminator as soon as possible to handle the problem. Waiting may cause the infestation to worsen, and bed bugs are notoriously difficult for homeowners to treat on their own. An insect control company can recommend the best form of treatment for the pests.

Ants heading into Southern California homes

A hot summer is causing pests to seek shelter indoors, but Southern California residents are less than thrilled when they find ants in their homes.

A local pest control expert told the Southwest Riverside News Network that during different times of the year, ants usually seek several things when they invade homes. In the summer, ants often head indoors in search of water or carbohydrates. The unusually hot and dry conditions that have lingered across the nation this summer have resulted in many homeowners finding water-seeking ants in areas water is frequently used, such as bathrooms, kitchens and pools. In the winter, the insects are on the hunt for protein sources.

There are various types of ants causing insect control issues for residents across the region.

The invasive Argentine ant has no natural predators, so it can be difficult to eliminate entire colonies. These pests also are able to cohabitate with other ant colonies, rather than competing with them. Carpenter ants use many methods to get into homes, and can get in along pipes, utility lines and tree branches, in addition to crawling in through open doors or cracks. Pharaoh ants can travel long distances for food, meaning homeowners may find ants in their home from a colony far away.

Fire ants have also been found in California in recent years. These insects are more aggressive than other species of ants, and are known to sting both humans and animals. Keeping fire ants out of the home and nowhere near a homeowner's property will prevent a large group of the pests from attacking if they are unexpectedly disturbed.

There are some steps homeowners can take to prevent these infestations. Making sure cracks, holes and crevices are closed is an important measure in keeping homes free from ants. Storing food in tightly sealed containers will help to prevent ants from entering for sustenance. If a few ants are spotted inside, homeowners should wash down the surfaces they crawled across. This will eliminate the pheromone trail that other ants may follow to get inside the home and find food.

However, sometimes it is impossible to prevent an ant infestation. In these circumstances, an exterminator should be contacted to handle the problem. A pest control professional can advise the best form of treatment for a severe ant problem in a home.