COMMENSAL RATS

commensal rats

COMMENSAL RATS. Commensal is defined as “sharing one’s table.” Commensal rats live off humans and animals without returning anything of worth. What they do return is the potential for serious problems, such as:

  • Spreading serious diseases, including salmonellosis (food poisoning), leptospirosis, rickettsialpox and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM).
  • Carrying fleas, ticks and other ectoparasites, which potentially spread other diseases, such as
    Lyme disease and bubonic plague.
  • Gnawing, causing expensive structural damage. They also can start fires if they gnaw on electrical wires.

THE TWO SPECIES OF COMMENSAL RATS ARE THE NORWAY RAT AND THE ROOF RAT

The Norway rat (synonymous with brown, dump, barn, sewer, gray or wharf rat) is a burrowing rodent. Norway rats can be found in warehouses, farm buildings, houses, sewers, rubbish dumps, woodpiles and building foundations. The roof rat (black or ship rat) is somewhat smaller and is a more agile climber.

KEY INDICATORS OF A COMMENSAL RAT INFESTATION IN THE HOME:

  1. An actual rodent, dead or alive, is a telltale sign of a potential rat problem.
  2. The presence of droppings around the home. Fresh roof rat droppings are soft and moist, whereas old droppings are hard and dried. The droppings usually measure about ½” (12-13 mm) and have pointed ends. Droppings from Norway rats are larger – measuring about ¾” (18-20 mm) with blunt ends.
  3. Gnaw marks, damaged goods, nests or greasy rub marks also indicates roof rat activity.
  4. Noises in the attic or house walls and damaged electrical wires.

TO PREVENT A RAT INFESTATION

  1. Seal up any holes or cracks larger than a quarter with silicone caulk .
  2. Be sure that all windows and vents are screened.
  3. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the building and cut back limbs overhanging the roof.
  4. Clean up fruit that may fall from trees in the yard and keep garbage in tightly covered receptacles.
  5. Store pet food and other dry food in sealed containers.
  6. Eliminate any outdoor sources of water such as leaky sprinkler heads, pet water dishes and birdbaths.

If you suspect a roof rat infestation in your home, contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We can help!

PILL BUGS

pill bugs

WHAT ARE PILL BUGS? They are the only crustacean that has become completely adapted to spending its life on land. Pill bugs are sometimes referred to as rollie pollies. This name is due to the fact that the pill bug can roll up into a tight ball when disturbed. Pill bugs live around the world. Armadillidium vulgare is the most common species in the U.S.

SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION

Pill bugs typically enter buildings through door thresholds, especially homes with sliding-glass doors on the ground level. Seeing a pill bug in the home usually means that there is a large population outdoors. They do not survive more than a few days indoors without moist conditions and a food supply.

HOW TO GET RID OF PILL BUGS

The key to getting rid of pill bugs is to eliminate the moist sites that make their survival possible:

1. Remove piles of grass clippings and leaves around the properly.
2. Store firewood off the ground and away from the home.
3. Properly ventilate basements, attics and crawlspaces.

If you need to get rid of pill bugs that have already entered a home or building, a vacuum cleaner can aid in their removal.

HABITS & BEHAVIOR

Pill bugs remain inactive under objects during the day in order to minimize water loss. They often stay under trash, boards, rocks, flowerpots, piles of grass clippings, flowerbed mulches and other decaying vegetation. They stay in these areas of high moisture because their body structures leave them vulnerable to water loss. Rollie pollies are most active at night. They occasionally enter buildings and homes via door thresholds. Pill bugs do not bite or spread disease. However, the pill bug is considered a nuisance pest indoors. They may cause damage to young plants outdoors.

If pill bugs are a problem for you, please contact us at ClearDefense Pest Control HERE. We want to help!

BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER

brown recluse spider

THE BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER is known for its “reclusive” behaviors, because it prefers to take residence in warm, dry and dark environments, such as woodpiles, basements and closets. This arachnid bites—usually unintentionally—when it feels trapped, typically when a hand or foot reaches into a shoe or piece of clothing or in a box in the attic or basement where a brown recluse has made its home. The female spins an irregular web in undisturbed areas, like the garage, attic and basement. The web is not used to catch prey, but rather as a retreat.

Outside, brown recluse spiders are typically found around rocks, piles of inner tubes, utility boxes, woodpiles, block-wall voids, under bark, etc.

Inside the home, brown recluse spiders can be found in almost any undisturbed area. They are most commonly found in boxes, among papers, and in seldom-used clothing and shoes, although they can be found in corners, underneath tables and chairs, or in crevices such as those found along baseboards, doors, and window moldings. Storage areas such as closets, bedrooms, attics, crawl spaces, and basements are preferred nesting areas.

BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER BITES

Both male and female brown recluse spiders can bite and inject venom. Injection of their venom may produce necrosis or dead tissue, resulting in an ulcerating sore. Healing is very slow and usually takes several weeks, resulting in dense scar tissue. In severe cases, plastic surgery may be required.

The bite of a brown recluse spider is usually not felt, but it may produce an immediate stinging sensation followed by intense pain or this reaction may be delayed for 6–8 hours. A small blister usually appears and the surrounding bite area becomes swollen. Symptoms include restlessness, fever and difficulty sleeping. The dead tissue gradually sloughs away during the next 10–14 days, leaving an open ulcer and possibly exposing the underlying muscles and/or bone. Call a physician or go to an emergency room immediately if bitten, and take the spider along for identification purposes.

CONTROL

  1. Inspect the outside of the home for any small openings or holes, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter the structure. Seal any such openings with a silicone caulk to prevent spiders and other insects from gaining access inside.
  2. Stack firewood at least twenty feet from your home and five inches up off of the ground to deter spiders from hiding out in the woodpile. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when moving the wood, and inspect it carefully before bringing indoors.
  3. Clothes and shoes should not be left on the floor, or they must be shaken out before wearing, especially if stored in the basement, garage, or other dark area.
  4. Store seldom-used items, such as boots, baseball mitts, skates, gardening clothes, and gloves, in tightly sealed plastic bags or boxes.

Control of brown recluse spider infestations should be left to a licensed pest-control professional. If you suspect a problem, please contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We can help!

MILLIPEDES – PEST CONTROL

millipedes

Millipedes are sometimes called “thousand-leggers” because of their many pairs of legs, but they actually have anywhere from 30–90+ pairs of legs, depending on the species. The leggiest is Illacme plenipes, which can have more than 333 pairs of legs.

HABITS

Most millipedes are nocturnal and are primarily scavengers, feeding on decaying plants and occasionally dead insects. In the autumn, millipedes are known to migrate in great numbers.

HABITAT

Millipedes are found throughout the world, with about 1,000 species occurring in the United States alone. They are typically found in areas of high moisture and decaying vegetation, such as under trash, in piles of grass clippings, flowerbed mulches, piles of leaves, etc. Millipedes do not usually survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are high-moisture conditions and a food supply is present.

THREATS

Some millipede species give off an ill-smelling fluid through openings along the sides of the body. Underscoring the importance of millipede control, this fluid can be toxic to small animals and pets, and can cause small blisters on humans.

MILLIPEDE PREVENTION

The most effective ways to prevent and get rid of millipede infestations is to:

  1. Reduce areas of moisture in and around your home.
  2. Run a dehumidifier if you have a damp basement.
  3. Keep lawns mowed so that grass does not retain moisture.
  4. Water lawns in the early morning to allow grass to dry during the day.
  5. Remove leaf piles and grass clippings.
  6. Store firewood off of the ground.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We know what to do!

MICE – PEST CONTROL

mice

Mice are the most common rodent pest in most parts of the world. They can breed rapidly and adapt quickly to changing conditions. In fact, a female house mouse can give birth to a half dozen babies every three weeks, and can produce up to 35 young per year.

HABITS

House mice prefer to eat seeds and insects, but will eat many kinds of food. They are excellent climbers and can jump up to a foot high. They are colorblind and cannot see clearly beyond six inches.

HABITAT

House mice live in structures, but they can survive outdoors, too. They prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas and often build nests out of paper products, cotton, packing materials, wall insulation and fabrics.

THREATS

Mice can also bring fleas, mites, ticks and lice into your home. Rodent infestations in the home can have a profound effect on health. Rodent feces can spread bacteria and trigger allergic reactions. Micro droplets of mouse urine can cause allergies in children.

CONTROL

To keep mice and other rodents out of your home:

1. Make sure all holes of larger diameter than a pencil are sealed.
2. Keep areas clear and store boxes off of the floor because mice can hide in clutter.
3. Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation and always install gutters or diverts which will channel water away from the building to prevent ideal conditions in which house mice can nest.
4. Regularly inspect the home for signs of mice including droppings, gnaw marks and damaged food goods.

If you suspect a rodent infestation, contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We can help.

AMERICAN COCKROACHES

American cockroaches

What do American cockroaches look like?

Adult American cockroaches average between 1.4” to 1.6” in length, but they can grow to exceed 2”. American cockroaches are reddish brown in color with a yellow band that outlines the area behind their head. Both males and females have wings and can fly short distances.

Do American cockroaches bite?

American cockroaches have the ability to bite, although they rarely do. If a bite occurs, it should not be problematic unless it gets infected.

Signs of an infestation

There are four telltale signs of an American cockroach infestation.

  1. Homeowners will see the fast-moving insects fleeing to dark areas.
  2. American cockroaches leave behind droppings in the dim areas in which they hide. These small droppings are blunt on the ends and have ridges on the sides. They are often mistaken for mouse droppings, so it’s important to contact a licensed pest control professional for proper identification.
  3. The presence of egg capsules, which are about 8 mm long and dark-colored. Egg capsules are sometimes glued to a surface near food sources, and can be found in basements, laundry rooms and kitchens, as well as behind appliances or underneath cabinets.
  4. The American cockroach will produce a pheromone that some people describe as having a “musty” smell. People with sensitive noses may notice this odor around the house.

How to get rid of American cockroaches 

Cockroaches are some of the most resilient pests in the world. They exhibit unique survival tactics, including the ability to live for a week without their head. This makes getting rid of American cockroaches a difficult task for homeowners to do themselves.

People can take steps, however, to mitigate American cockroach problems through barrier exclusion and cleanliness. Barrier exclusion involves preventing cockroaches from entering the home through small cracks in walls, gaps near electric sockets and switch plates, and up through drains. Use a silicone-based caulk to seal these openings.

Having a clean and sanitary home will also make it less inviting to American cockroaches. Homeowners should keep counters, sinks, tables and floors free of clutter and crumbs. Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink or spills marinate on the counter. It’s also good practice to store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving pet food out in the open. Some other ways to prevent American cockroaches include vacuuming at least once a week to remove food particles, ventilating crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup and running water periodically in spare bathrooms to keep u-traps filled.

Questions? Problems? ClearDefense Pest Control can help! Please contact us HERE.

FLEAS – PEST CONTROL CHALLENGE

fleas

Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals and people. Fleas do not normally live on humans, rather on cats, dogs and wildlife. They do however bite people who handle infested animals. Fleabites cause small, red, itchy bumps, and are most often found on the ankles and lower legs of humans. For relief from itching wash with soap and water, then apply ice.

Prevention

  1. Change pet bedding regularly.
  2. Bathe and brush pets regularly. Soap acts as a gentle insecticide and helps control light infestations on your pet.
  3. For pet infestations that are more significant, consider using orally applied veterinary products for flea control.
  4. Vacuum under furniture, cushions, along walls and pet bedding. Discard vacuum cleaner bags regularly. Fleas can continue to develop inside vacuum cleaner bags and re-infest the house.
  5. Avoid flea collars as these are often impregnated with toxicants that are harmful to humans.
  6. Exclude bats and wild birds from your home by maintaining good bug screens over air vents in your attic. Maintain chimney structures so that birds and bats cannot use them for roosting or nest sites. These pests can carry their own fleas.
  7. An outbreak of human fleas in the immediate area should be taken seriously, particularly in schools. Contact professionals and ask for an IPM solution.
  8. Flea populations can be monitored with a simple homemade apparatus. Place a little dish detergent into a shallow pan of water. The detergent acts as a wetting agent, which breaks water surface tension. Place the pan on the floor overnight, and position a bright light source about five inches above the liquid surface. Fleas attracted by the light, fall into the detergent solution and drown.
  9. Trim lawns and weeds to create a drier, less inviting environment for flea larvae. Avoid piles of sand and gravel around the home for long periods. Avoid over-watering lawns.
  10. Monitor pets closely for fleas.

If you suspect a flea infestation, please contact ClearDefense Pest Control HERE. We want to help!

 

EARWIGS – PEST CONTROL

earwigs

Earwigs are a fairly well-known insect, from folk lore if not from actual experience. The earwig is the insect reputed in superstition to purposefully crawl into the ears of sleeping persons for the purpose of burrowing into the brain to lay eggs. Of course, there is no truth to these tales, though earwigs, like moths, beetles, cockroaches, ants, and flies may wander into our ear canals by accident.

Earwigs are fairly common and are rarely noticed except after wet weather. Earwigs are relatively easy to identify by the prominent pincers or forceps on the end of the abdomen. On females the pincers are fairly straight, while male pincers are more curved and caliper-like. These pincers are used as both offensive and defensive weapons. Though they may try to pinch if captured and handled, they do not harm people. The common earwig is about 5/8-inch long and dark brown with a reddish head and pale yellow-brown legs.

DAMAGE CAUSED BY EARWIGS

Earwigs are outdoor insects usually found in damp areas, such as under mulch, dead leaves, logs, and piles of firewood, boards, stones and other debris or in rotted wood where they feed on moist, decaying plant material. Earwigs occasionally attack living plants, including vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants.

The earwig as a household pest is an accidental invader. They enter houses either by accident or when seeking shelter, especially in the fall or during periods of prolonged dry weather. Earwigs inside the house do not cause any harm or destruction. They are an annoyance or nuisance because of their presence. If disturbed, earwigs may produce a noticeable foul odor.

MANAGEMENT OF EARWIGS

  1. Earwigs found inside the house can be swept or picked up and discarded.
  2. Reduce outdoor lighting that attracts earwigs around doors and windows.
  3. Eliminate damp, moist conditions near the house such as around faucets and air-conditioning units.
  4. Channel water from rain gutters and spouts away from the house foundation.
  5. Consider removing landscape mulch (wood chips, gravel, etc.) from against the house.
  6. Prevent entry by using caulking compound, putty and weather stripping around doors, windows, pipes and other entry sites, especially at the ground level.

If you suspect an infestation, please contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We’ll be happy to help!

CRICKETS – PEST CONTROL

crickets

Crickets — How can you get rid of them in and around your home? If you’re seeing crickets inside your home, the serious predators are sure to follow. So get rid of those crickets—fast.

Here’s what not to do: Don’t empty a can of bug spray on those creepy crawlers. Sure, you’ll drown the ones you can see, but their friends will simply sidestep the chemicals when they come out of their hiding places.

A better strategy is to find out where they’re hiding and lure them out with granular food bait that will trap them. You also can use sticky traps or concoct your own traps using a jar containing some water and molasses.

Part 2 of that strategy is to keep the chirping pests from getting inside in the first place. Crickets may seem like benign little creatures, but they’ll eat through everything from wallpaper glue to wool to silk. And they’ll attract hungry scorpions and spiders.

To keep them outside, you have to find them. They live in voids, like under those decorative boulders in your yard, in your sprinkler system’s valve box, or under the sidewalk and patio. Anywhere there’s a space between the ground and another object, you’re sure to find crickets, which love moist, cool hiding places.

If you find a nest and spray it with a pest spray, be prepared to watch what looks like a river of the bugs pour out of it. More than 1,000 crickets can cram into one tiny nest.

MANAGEMENT

  1. Sealing gaps in the foundation also will stop crickets, scorpions and other pests from coming indoors.
  2. While you’re sealing holes, search for other places where critters can come into the home from outdoors—the roof line and entry points for plumbing and electrical connections, for example. Trim bushes and tree branches so they don’t hang over the roof and drop bugs in a place where they can crawl through crevices and into the attic.
  3. Even holes in window screens or a gap between a door and the floor are invitations for pests to walk right into your home.

To the best of your ability, create a barrier anywhere where insects could get in out of the sun. If you do that, you’ll naturally bring your pest population down.

If this seems like a lot to keep up with—and most would agree that it is—contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We’d love to help!

CENTIPEDES – PEST CONTROL

centipedes

Centipedes are easy to spot by their elongated, worm-like body with their many pairs of legs. They can actually have anywhere from 15-177 pairs of legs with one pair per segment, depending on the species. Interestingly, centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs.

HABITS

Centipedes typically overwinter outdoors in protected situations and lay their eggs during the summer, usually in or on the soil. Some have been known to produce 35 eggs over a period of days.

If handled roughly, some larger species can inflict a painful bite that can break human skin and cause pain and swelling, similar to a bee sting. The large Scolopendra can inflict a very painful bite and should be handled with great care.

Centipedes are found in areas of high moisture, such as loose bark, in rotting logs, under stones, in trash or piles of leaves and grass. When they invade homes, they are most commonly found in damp basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms or potted plants.

All centipedes have very poor eyesight and track their prey through the use of touch and smell. They are primarily carnivorous and obtain most of their moisture needs from their prey. Most house centipedes are nocturnal, and prey primarily on flies, spiders and sometimes plant tissue, causing injury to the plant.

THREATS

Centipedes are generally considered nuisance pests, as they do not pose significant health or property threats. However, all house centipedes have poison jaws with which they inject venom into their prey.

MANAGEMENT

Here are some effective ways to help prevent an infestation:

  1. Reduce areas of moisture in and around your home.
  2. Remove piles of leaves and grass clippings, logs, stones and rocks on your property.
  3. Store firewood off the ground.
  4. Provide adequate ventilation in basements, attics and crawl spaces.
  5. Seal holes, cracks and gaps that enable outdoor centipedes to get inside a home.

If a centipede is found indoors, you can get rid of it with a vacuum. If you suspect an infestation, please contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We’ll be happy to help!