1. What is the harm in having a few pests around the house?
Not only are pests an annoyance, they can also pose a health threat to your family and serious damage to your home. For example, studies show that mouse allergens are a significant contributing factor in childhood asthma. Pests such as mosquitoes, rodents and ticks can transmit a host of diseases to humans and animals with effects ranging from minor discomfort to death. Pests can also cause serious damage to your personal property.
2. How do I stop general pest problems before they start?
- Keep all kitchen areas clean and free of useless clutter.
- Kitchen appliances should be kept fee of spills and crumbs.
- Clean shelves regularly and store food such as cereal, flour, and dog food in resealable containers.
- Periodically sweep and vacuum floor areas in the kitchen, under furniture, and around dining areas.
- Keep garbage areas clean. Garbage should be stored in sealed containers and disposed of regularly.
- Seal cracks, crevices, and other gaps around doors and windows.
- Check pipes and pipe areas around the house foundation for leaks, cracks and gaps.
- Basements, attics and crawl spaces should be kept well ventilated and dry.
- Insects have also been known to enter a house in potted plants and luggage.
3. How do I prevent ants from entering my home or eliminate them once they have entered?
Ants associate themselves with water damaged wood, fence posts, decking, firewood, door and window voids, attics, utility piping, dead parts of trees and stumps, tree branches contacting roof, kitchen cabinets wall voids, gaps under doors and around utility piping, house plants, cracks in pavements, under landscape timbers, rocks and mulch. You should eliminate conditions that favor moisture. Remove dead trees, stumps and overhanging branches. Remove food sources, seal cracks and crevices, locate and eliminate the nests, correct drainage in house plants, seal cracks in pavement and concrete slabs.
4. Where do mice and rats hide and how can I get rid of them?
Mice and rats like to hide under sinks, kitchen cabinets, stored food, storage areas, wall voids, inside appliances, closets, firewood, attics, garages, and basements. Install physical barriers, eliminate food and water, remove nesting sites and inspect incoming boxes.
5. When is the best time to treat for cluster flies and how do you eliminate them?
The best time of year to treat for cluster flies is in the fall of the year before they actually enter your home. Cluster flies begin to seek protected overwintering sites in late August and September. An outdoor and indoor attic treatment is required.
In the Spring of the year, flies that have overwintered in the attic will emerge and try to get outdoors for the season. However, some flies that are trapped in between the wall voids will emerge inside. An attic treatment is the only thing that can be offered at this time and will only minimize your problem not eliminate it.
6. There are so many mosquitoes in my yard area that I no longer like doing anything outdoors. The mosquitoes often get inside as well. Is there anything I can do to keep them out of my home and reduce their populations outside?
Mosquitoes are likely getting into your home through open doors and windows. Make sure that any windows and doors are screened and that the screens fit well; no holes or gaps in or around them.
Reducing mosquito populations that may be breeding on your property may also reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes getting indoors. Make sure that your gutters are cleaned regularly and are not collecting water. Also, make sure containers like flowerpots, old tires, birdbaths etc. are not holding standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
Different types of mosquitoes have unique behaviors and can be active at different times of the day. Check to see if there is a mosquito control agency or prevention program in your area. Often these agencies have information on the types of mosquitoes that are or might be breeding in your areas. They can tell you what you can do to avoid being bitten and give you additional advice on how to prevent these mosquitoes from breeding on your property.
7. I have a problem with fruit flies in my kitchen. What can I do to control them and how do I prevent them from returning?
Fruit flies are attracted to and breed in fermenting materials like ripening fruits and vegetables, beer and cider. They are also attracted to moisture and food that has accumulated in wet sponges, mops, and slimy areas around drains.
Fruit flies often enter your home on infested fruits and vegetables and are small enough to get through regular window and door screens. Discard any overripe fruits and vegetables and place new produce in the refrigerator. Garbage should be kept in plastic bags and in containers that are kept closed. Discard old sponges and rags and keep drains, sinks, dishrags, and sponges clean by washing them with hot water and soap frequently.
8. I have recently noticed silverfish in my home. Is there anything I can do to eliminate them and keep them out of my home permanently?
Silverfish are very difficult to control in most structures. Most silverfish feed on starches or mold and thrive in a moist, moderately warm environment, usually in attics, crawlspaces or basements. Try reducing the relative humidity in parts of your home where you are seeing them to less than 60% or 50% for a long period of time (maybe a month or so). Vacuums can be used to remove live silverfish, but only if you’re quick enough to catch them. Very small amounts of inorganic dusts placed into cracks or crevices by a trained pest management professional are also effective in controlling silverfish. A professional will then seal off dust-treated cracks and crevices.
9. At various times of the year, ladybugs seem to invade the inside and outside of my house. I know ladybugs are considered beneficial outside, but can anything be done to remove them from inside my home permanently?
The best time to take preventive measures is during the summer when most over-wintering lady beetles should have left your home. Try to seal up as many cracks and crevices inside and outside of your home as you can. Place weather stripping around doors and windows and place door sweeps on doors, if necessary. Vacuum as many of the beetles as you can. The most successful treatments are applied on the outside of your home in the fall when the beetles begin to congregate on the sunny side of the house.
10. How do I keep wasps from nesting near my home?
In early spring, most social wasps come out of hibernation and look for ideal places to start their nests. They will be less likely to nest on your property if you make it less attractive to them. Make sure that garbage placed outside is kept in clean, tightly sealed containers. If you have fruit trees in your yard, consider removing them or regularly removing fruits that have fallen and begun to rot on the ground. Keep screens tightly secured on windows and doors and make sure that they do not have gaps or openings in them.
It is a good idea to hire a pest management firm to remove any old nests and check for wasp activity. They can monitor and prevent wasps from successfully constructing new nests on your home. A pest manager will also be able to advise you on other changes that may be needed to reduce wasp activity on your property.
11. How can I be sure that the pesticides being used in either over-the-counter products or by professionals are safe for my home and family?
Pesticides (which include disinfectants as well as other household cleaners) are intended to be safe to consumers and the pest professionals that use them. Before being approved by the Pest Management Regulatory Association (PMRA) for a specified use against a target pest, pesticides must undergo stringent controlled tests and studies. After approval, pesticides are subject to strict laws, regulations and controls to ensure that they are used correctly and according to approved labels. In addition, pest management professionals are required to attend pesticide safety and applicator certification at least every two years.
All legally registered pesticides that are approved by PMRA have a registration number on their label which also contains detailed instructions to ensure that when a pesticide is used according to these instructions it will not harm you, your family or your home. Since any substance can be harmful if used incorrectly, before using an over-the-counter pesticide, read the entire label and follow all instructions.
12. Are there any safe and effective alternatives to spraying pesticides?
There are several effective alternatives to spraying pesticides. All pests require access to water, food and shelter to successfully survive. If most of these factors are eliminated, there may be no need to use a pesticide. Pest management professionals can offer valuable information and advice to homeowners to solve their pest problems and to minimize the likelihood of an infestation returning. Once pests are correctly identified, pest managers will advise you on the steps to eliminate them. They can work with you to reduce the chance of any future infestations and suggest ways to keep pests from successfully surviving inside or outside of your home.