As you dig through your pantry in search of ingredients to bake pumpkin pie, cookies and other goodies for the holidays, you should keep your eyes peeled for pests that could be hiding in the bag of flour, chocolate or spices. These pantry pests gather around food products stored in pantries and cabinets. Be wary: They can take over your pantry!
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to encounter merchant-grain beetles, Indian meal moths, flour beetles and other pantry pests this time of year with holiday baking is in full swing. These pantry pests are often brought into the home unknowingly in items stored in paper packaging and unsealed bags. Inspect all items for signs of damage before bringing them indoors!
The following tips will help homeowners control pesky pantry pests:
- Seal items: Proper food storage can go a long way in preventing an infestation. Once packages are opened, move ingredients into sealed glass or Tupperware-type containers with secure lids before storing them in the pantry or cabinet.
- Check dates: Remember to check expiration dates on ingredients before use. Periodically sort through old items in the pantry and toss out anything that has been stored for a long time.
- Clean often: Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves. Occasionally empty the cupboards and clean them with soap and water to get rid of residue and anything that may be hiding inside.
If you spot pantry pests in your food, immediately dispose of them in a sealed trashcan. Contact ClearDefense HERE for assistance in eliminating a full-blown infestation. We want to help!
WINTER INVADERS. When mornings and nights turn cooler, it’s likely you’ll see more and more critters of all shapes and sizes heading for warmer temperatures—like inside your home.
Stink bugs, kudzu bugs, lady beetles, boxelder bugs and many, many other winter invaders will try to get into your home to avoid colder weather. You’ll find these hungry little guys mostly in corners, or by windows and doors—near wherever they manage to enter your home.
The best way to keep winter invaders out is to get your home and property treated before it’s too late. You may be out of luck once you start to notice the insects inside. Once they’re in, they’re in, there’s not much a homeowner can do without professional, pest-control help.
Often during seasonal changes like spring and fall, many people tend to leave windows and doors open. This gives those nasty winter invaders easy access to your home and hearth.
Experts say that the best thing is to maintain your preventative treatments when it starts to get cool outdoors. If you already have a service, keep it up. Your goal should be to keep those winter invaders out during seasonal transitions and to focus on exclusion by sealing cracks and crevices where these insects and pests will otherwise sneak in.
As temperatures drop, food and shelter sources also become less available for pests like spiders and ants, too—so it also becomes harder for them to survive outdoors. You can be sure that they will be working overtime to move into your home and start feeding on food sources there. Not a pleasant thought.
We recommend maintaining a perimeter treatment around your property to create a barrier to kill pests as they try to enter your home. Getting a treatment like this doesn’t mean you will never see an ant or spider again, but it can greatly reduce their numbers and make it much harder for them to take hold and start nesting in your home.
Contact us HERE! We can help.
SINISTER SUMMER STINGERS. They may not have been invited, but those sinister summer stingers are inevitable guests to summers most anticipated gatherings. These summer fun-stealers send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year and are especially active during the second half of summer when the colonies forage for food that will sustain their queens during the winter. It is during this time that most people fall victim to the physical and financial sting that these summer stingers pose.
Hornets live in large colonies and their nests are shaped like an inverted teardrop. While their venom is no more dangerous than other stinging insects, they are much more aggressive when disturbed and tend to sting repeatedly. This behavior adds to the potential for greater skin irritation or a serious allergic reaction.
Carpenter bees build their nests by drilling perfectly round tunnels into soft woods. Coarse, natural colored sawdust will often be present near the entrance to the nest. Over time, these tunnels can severely compromise the support structure of a building.
Here are some tips for protecting your health and property from those sinister summer stingers:
- Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
- Paint/stain untreated wood.
- Remove garbage.
- Keep trashcans covered.
- Do not swing/swat at stinging insects.
- Seek immediate medical attention if stung—reactions can be severe.
Due to the aggressive nature of those pesky and sinister summer stingers, homeowners should not attempt to remedy an infestation on their own. Contact us HERE. We can help!
THE ORIENTAL COCKROACH is believed to be of North African origin, despite its name. Oriental cockroaches are sometimes called “waterbugs” because they come out of drains, and “black beetle cockroaches” because of their smooth, dark bodies. They are known for their strong, unpleasant, “roachy” odor.
The Oriental cockroach feeds on all kinds of food, especially decaying organic matter and starchy foods. This species of cockroach can survive outdoors in freezing temperatures for long periods of time.
Outside, these cockroaches are often found in sewers and under debris, leaves, stones and firewood. They will enter structures through door thresholds, under sliding glass doors, along utility pipes and through floor drains. Once indoors, Oriental cockroaches find harborage in basements and crawl spaces.
Oriental cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. Their habit of feeding on filth means that they are likely to pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces.
ORIENTAL COCKROACH PREVENTION
The best advice for their control is to practice good sanitation. To prevent Oriental cockroaches from infesting your space, vacuum often, keep a spotless kitchen, seal all entrances around utility pipes and ventilate crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup.
If you see evidence of a cockroach infestation, contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We can help!
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:
- An actual rodent, dead or alive, is a telltale sign of a potential rat problem.
- 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.
- Gnaw marks, damaged goods, nests or greasy rub marks also indicates roof rat activity.
- Noises in the attic or house walls and damaged electrical wires.
TO PREVENT A RAT INFESTATION
- Seal up any holes or cracks larger than a quarter with silicone caulk .
- Be sure that all windows and vents are screened.
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the building and cut back limbs overhanging the roof.
- Clean up fruit that may fall from trees in the yard and keep garbage in tightly covered receptacles.
- Store pet food and other dry food in sealed containers.
- 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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The most effective ways to prevent and get rid of millipede infestations is to:
- Reduce areas of moisture in and around your home.
- Run a dehumidifier if you have a damp basement.
- Keep lawns mowed so that grass does not retain moisture.
- Water lawns in the early morning to allow grass to dry during the day.
- Remove leaf piles and grass clippings.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When ticks feed, they take up whole blood, extract the water (about 70–75% volume) and inject the water back into the host. For this reason, they are efficient vectors of a variety of disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, spirochetes, rickettsia, protozoa, viruses, nematodes, and toxins. A single tick bite can transmit multiple pathogens as well as creating secondary infections and allergic reactions. Ticks are the most common transmitters of vector-borne disease in the U.S.
During their lifecycle, ticks frequently drop off the host then climb up walls and vegetation and reattach themselves to a passing host. Larvae can survive as long as eight months and adults as long as 18 months without feeding.
- Regularly inspect pets for ticks. Remove any ticks from your pet with forceps or eyebrow tweezers. Apply gentle pressure slowly to allow the tick to loosen its mouthparts. Do not use an irritant such as alcohol or nail varnish. Afterwards wash with soap and water and apply a dry dressing over the wound.
- Frequently mow your grass short.
- Remove leaf litter, brush and woodpiles around houses and at the edges of yards.
- Clearing trees and brush to admit more sunlight into the yard reduces the amount of suitable habitat for deer, rodents, and ticks.
- When hiking, avoid tall grass and shrubs, wear white or light-colored clothing (makes hitchhiking ticks are more visible) and tuck pant legs into socks.
- Occasionally some repellent lotions can also be used.
If you have questions or need help, please contact ClearDefense Pest Control HERE. We want to help!
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.
- Homeowners will see the fast-moving insects fleeing to dark areas.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.