21

Mar

Spring Cleaning to Protect Against Spring Pests

Spring Cleaning to Protect Against Spring Pests

Chances are, you’ve hit the ground running and are already well into your spring cleaning routine. While you’re at it, why not go the extra mile and protect your house from spring and summertime pests? Adding only a couple of extra steps to your routine can ensure a pest-free home all year long.

Kitchen

The kitchen can be a haven for a multitude of invaders because of the abundance of food. Keeping it clean is a must, but it isn’t just about removing spoiling fruit from the counter or sweeping up crumbs from the floor. Total pest management in the kitchen requires reaching into those long forgotten corners and adding preventative measures. Remove everything from your cabinets (yes, I mean everything). Anything hiding there will be discovered and can be dealt with. Signs of an infestation can include pest droppings, gnawed packaging, or unusual stains. Wipe down surfaces, change out liner paper, and replace your items.

Do the same in your pantry. Throw out all expired items, including dry goods such as spices and flour (not every pest goes for the sweet stuff). Since mice and rats can chew through paper, cardboard, and even plastic containers try repackaging items into cans or jars. Don’t forget about the floor! Remember, we are trying to go a step above and beyond to prevent future infestations so pull out appliances to sweep, vacuum, and mop behind them. You’ll be amazed, or possibly disgusted, by what collects there, but now you can rest easy knowing that it’s clean.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are the second most likely place to spot an infestation. Avoid excess moisture of any kind. Leaking pipes, slowly dripping faucets, and ineffective gaskets (such as the seal where your toilet bowl meets the floor) are all attractants for cockroaches and silverfish. In fact, about half of all cockroach infestations start from a broken water or sewer pipe. Any corrosion or leaks you do find, need to be fixed immediately.

Exterior

We all want pests to stay in their natural environment outside of our homes, but sometimes having pests near the exterior of your house is enough to be bothersome or even cause damage. Termites will morph into their winged adult stage and begin to swarm in warm weather, usually after recent rainfall. Bees, wasps, and other flying insects also swarm and begin building new hives in the summer. Look for their nests under the eaves of your roof or in the trees in your yard. Ants become more active as the ground softens and expand their nests under your yard. If you see an anthill forming, call an exterminator immediately.

Carpenter ants love the soggy wood that is caused by the springtime rains, and an infestation can easily begin so keep an eye out for small holes in the wood or siding of your home. Seal off any possible entrances to the inside such as door and window seals or pipes and wires that feed through your walls from the outside.

With just a little extra work this spring, you can keep your home pest and worry-free. If you do run across evidence of an infestation, call our extermination team immediately. Infestations can escalate quickly when the weather warms up.

12

Mar

Protecting your House from Rodents

They say if you see one, there is more. A lot more depending on the infestation.
Rodents breed quickly. Quickly turning your mouse or rat sighting into a much larger
problem. Did you know, mice are known to reproduce up to 10 litters in a year with
about 6 young in each litter? And each female rat can reproduce 7 litters in one year,
with up to 14 young in each litter. Rodents are not only a nuisance, but can ruin the
foundation of your home; carry and transmit potentially fatal diseases; chewed
wires may spark house fires. Protect your house from rodents by practicing these good
habits and following these tips. Remember: prevention is key.
Seal All Entry Ways
Ultimately, the first step into protecting your home from rodents is preventing them to
enter in the first place; however, this task is difficult because rodents, especially mice,
can wriggle their way through openings only ¼ inch wide. Nevertheless, inspect all entry
points of your home, including doors, windows, and any cracks. Install door sweeps on
exterior doors, repair damaged screens, and seal any cracks.
Paint a 12” Band on the Exterior of your Home
Rats can easily scale brick or stone foundations. To deter climbing, paint a 12” band, at
least three feet from the ground, with high gloss paint. This paint can also be used to
create a band around exterior piping that will also deter rodents from entering your
home.
Trim Tree Branches and Hedges
Inspect the tree branches and hedges near your home. If any branches or hedges are
touching or hanging over your home, they can be pathways for rodents into your home.
Trim branches and hedges while keeping grass short to expose the soil beneath and to
eliminate areas where rodents may seek shelter.
Properly Store Food
The pantry is a breeding ground for rodents. All food should be stored in airtight
containers. Remember to dispose of any containers that seem to be contaminated or
chewed through as rodents can transfer deadly diseases through their saliva.
Additionally, be sure to dispose of garbage regularly and do not allow it to pile up.
Remove Possible Food/Water Sources
During winter months, rodents retreat to homes due to a lack of food and natural
resources. Remember to remove any possible food or water sources so that you are not
inviting rodents into your home. This includes removing any uneaten pet food and water
after feeding; tending to leaky pipes and disposing of garbage regularly. Also know, bird
feeders aren’t just a food source for birds, but rodents, too. It would be wise to remove
any bird feeders from the premises.

18

Jan

Bed Bugs Beware!

You’ve heard the horror stories about the itchy bites of bed bugs…but are they really as big of a concern as they seem? The fast-breeding pest is difficult to control, which makes hotel and household outbreaks an unwelcome disaster. More and more people are becoming affected with bed bugs, so it’s important to brush up on bed bug basics.

What is the “hitchhiker” pest?
Many people don’t know what bed bugs look like because only the adults are large enough to be visible to the naked eye. Their reddish-brown bodies are shaped similarly to apple seeds, and have two antennae and six legs. Ironically, bed bugs can’t fly or jump, which means that they are transported predominantly by clinging to moving surfaces–much like a hitchhiker.

How can I tell if I have bed bugs?
The most common way to tell if you have bed bugs is itchy, red welts on the skin, but since not all humans produce a reaction to bed bug bites, it’s important to know other signs of infestation. Fecal matter of bed bugs leave behind reddish-brown marks, so check your upholstery, furniture crevices, and behind walls or baseboards for these unsightly spots.

Help! I saw a bed bug, what do I do?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some form of preventative treatment for bed bugs? While you can’t buy a magic spray that will prevent bed bugs from ever entering your home, you can take a few precautionary measures to reduce the chance that you bring home an unwanted visitor. Be cautious of what clothing or furniture is brought into your home, as it may be infested. Use plastic bags and containers as opposed to plastic and make sure that clothing and bags are kept off the floor and separate from others’ belongings. A little spring cleaning is also never a bad idea; a more tidy space means that bed bugs have less places to hide.

What do I do if I get bed bugs?

The only way to entirely control and eliminate an infestation is to call in a professional. Treatment might not be as simple as a one-time visit, and some infestations require a combination of eradication strategies as well as multiple visits. In preparation for a successful treatment, wash and dry all clothes and linens prior to the professional’s visit.

23

Sep

Is Pest Control Safe Around Children and Pets?

No homeowner wants to have pests in and around their home. This is why they take care of pests immediately once they see the signs. This is good. Pests can be, well, pests. They’re unwelcomed because of the many hassles that they bring.

Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners are haphazard when it comes to their handling of pests. They just buy the first pest control chemical that they see, not taking into consideration the pets and children that they have at home. This leads us to the question – is pest control safe around children and pets?

The Concern is Valid

All known pesticides have toxic ingredients in them. It’s just a matter of choosing one that has an insignificant toxicity level. Of course, you have to make sure that their toxicity level is insignificant to children and pets.

You have to know that younger children, think infants and toddlers, still have developing systems. For starters, a baby’s kidney cannot remove toxic pesticides from the body. Worse, they’re more prone to inhalation as they take in more breaths than adults.

In addition, children are naturally curious. Given the chance, they will get their hands on these chemicals and/or the treated areas.

In the same manner, these pesticides can be harmful to pets as well. You can’t really tell your dog not to touch a treated area. Of course generally speaking, the pesticide applied to control pests is just a small amount. It shouldn’t be significant enough to cause harm to pets and adults.

So is pest control safe around children and pets? It should be, but you should still put up safety measures in place to prevent unnecessary exposure.

How to Ensure a Safe Environment for Pets and Children while Conducting Pest Control

Make sure to follow these tips to ensure a safe environment:

  • Compare the pesticides and choose the one that’s considered to be the least toxic.

You can do your own research or ask a trusted pest control company. Watch out for “Signal Words” in the pesticides. Generally speaking, the signal word can either be caution, warning or danger.

The caution signal word signifies the least toxicity level as it can be slightly toxic when absorbed by the body. On the other hand, the word warning indicates that the product can be moderately toxic if absorbed. The most toxic of all is signified by the signal word danger, which signifies that it’s highly toxic. The signal word danger is often accompanied by the word poison.

  • Read the product label.

It’s not enough that you check out the signal words. You should also read the product label. Make sure that it’s approved for its intended use. Understand how it’s supposed to be applied and make sure to follow the instructions.

  • Make sure that baits and poisons are safely out of reach of children.

This applies if you’re going to use baits and poisons to take care of rodents, roaches, ants and the likes. Alternatively, you can place them in bait stations and make sure to secure them so that children and pets won’t have access to them.

  • Secure all food.

Take the food out of areas that are to be treated. Place them inside the refrigerator. This is especially true if you’re going to use spray pesticides. You wouldn’t want particles to come in contact with the food. This applies to human and pet food.

  • Secure personal belongings.

These include toys and clothing. Make sure they’re a safe distance away from the area being treated.

  • Be careful when storing pesticides.

First of all, make sure that you store them in a safe and secure location away from reach of pets and children. In addition, store them in their original container. Never use containers that you also use to store food and water. On that note, don’t use food utensils and the likes to mix and prepare pesticide solutions.

  • Don’t use illegal pesticides.

There are a lot of them in the market, particularly online. Unfortunately, some pest control companies use them. While they can be very effective at killing pests, they can do more harm than good because they can be harmful to pets and children. They can even be harmful to adults.

A lot of these illegal pesticides come in the chalk form. They’re applied like how one would write chalk, which means that pesticide dust will be let loose in the air and can be breathed in.

  • Have your kids stay away from treated pets.

If you had your pets treated for lice and similar pests, make sure that they’re fully dry before allowing your kids to touch your pets.

  • Have everyone wash their hands during and after a pest control treatment.

Once the treatment is done, have everyone, especially the kids, wash their hands before resuming normal day-to-day activities. This is especially true before handling and eating food.

Is pest control safe around children and pets? It can be if you’re going to follow the tips listed above. In addition, make sure that you’ll hire a trusted pest control professional. While you can treat pests on your own with the wide availability of pest control treatment options, it’s a good idea to just have an experienced professional do it.

In addition to ensuring the best results, they can also ensure safe results. With their years of experience, they know how to do it safely for everyone including children and pets.

This article was provided by Thomas Jepsen, owner of Contractor Quotes. If you are considering home improvement projects, we suggest you also take a look at our infographic on remodeling projects that increase home value.

01

Sep

How To Detect Bed Bugs in Your Hotel

When traveling, bed bugs are not an issue that you will want to deal with. Fortunately, Champion Pest Control has steps that you can take in order to avoid bed bug problems during your travels. There is always potential for bed bugs to be present in your hotel bed, and for this reason it is important to take precaution. Any time that you stay in a hotel whether it be on vacation, on a business trip, or on the road, you should be sure to inspect the room for bed bugs.

It is recommended to either leave your luggage in the bathroom or in your car prior to fully inspecting your room. This is recommended because it will prevent the bed bugs from getting into your clothes if they do happen to be in the room.

“I suggest bringing a small flashlight in order to inspect for bed bugs,” says Dwight Holloway, Owner, Champion Pest & Termite Control. For the inspection itself, you will want to pack a small flashlight. Use the flashlight while pulling back the sheets, checking the box spring, and behind the headboard if possible.

Apart from inspecting the bed itself, we also recommend checking the luggage rack for bed bugs and pests prior to placing your luggage on the rack. Another helpful tip is to avoid using hotel dressers because bed bugs are capable of hiding in wood.

The next time you are staying in a hotel, be sure to inspect for bed bugs and feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about inspecting for bed bugs during your travels!