There are many household pests that homeowners ask us to control and eliminate. Below is an overview of the most common household pests and some helpful hints and information about each of them:
Ants are, without doubt, one of the biggest pest problems we experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are also one of the most difficult bugs to eliminate effectively. However, there are things to know about an ant's behavior that can help design an elimination program that will be effective:
How do they get in? Ants can enter a home through the tiniest of spaces. A crack in a wall or a loose-fitting door or window is all they need to enter your home. In general, ants entering a home are typically looking for food or water sources.
How many ants can there be in a colony? Ant colonies can number 500,000 individual ants. They work as a colony and can often appear or disappear very quickly, based on available food and water sources.
How do they all know where to go? Ants use an invisible trail, which contain pheromones. This is essentially a scent trail, which they use to navigate their way around. Once a food source has been located, this chemical trail is laid-down as a type of highway for the rest of the colony to follow.
Where are the nests located? Ants can nest almost anywhere in your house or yard. They even nest commonly under homes around the foundations.
How Long can a Colony Last? Most people are surprised to learn that ants live a long time. In fact, worker ants can live as long as 6 or 7 years, while a queen can sometimes live between 12 and 15 years!
Can I treat the ant problem myself? It is possible to try to treat Ants yourself, by using consumer products found in grocery stores. Unfortunately, these treatments normally end up being ineffective, as the products used are not commercial-grade products and also the fact that you are only able to kill the ants that you see, as opposed to dealing with the whole colony and destroying the nest.
Mice will eat almost anything. Generally they like to eat grains, seeds or any material that is sweet tasting. They are normally a small animal, measuring approximately 1-2 inches, excluding the tail. The house mouse will have larger ears, with a nose that is pointed. Mice can multiply very rapidly, given adequate supply of nutrition. They become sexually mature in 2 months and can produce about 8 litters each year, with 5 or so pups in each litter. An adult mouse can eat about 10-15% of it's own body weight each day and adults weigh about an ounce. They are very active at night and are extremely mobile, able to run up vertical surfaces and jump more than 12 inches from the floor to a raised surface.
How can I prevent mice from entering my home? A mouse can fit through any opening that is larger than 0.25 inches. This means that your home should be checked for entry points and the appropriate exclusion work completed to ensure the home remains off-limits to mice.
How can I get rid of mice? There are various ways to eliminate mice.. Snap traps, baits stations, glue traps and poison are all methods to eliminate mice. Most progressive pest control companies have ceased the use of poisons for many reasons and instead focus on humane tactics, primarily using snap traps to reduce poison usage and ensure a clean kill, without the possibility of a dead animal finding its way to an inaccessible area of the property and causing potential odor and disease problems for the residents. A professional pest control company is the best way to handle rodent problems, as there is a lot of expertise required to know the animal's habits. With a good technician, a rodent problem can be resolved more quickly and more conclusively.
Are Mice dangerous? Mice can be dangerous to humans, as they can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. One primary concern is the Hantavirus, which is very much a threat to humans. Another major potential issue is Salmonellosis, which is transmitted by the mice, as they feed in food storage areas. This disease can be transmitted to humans, as they unknowingly eat feces-infected food.
Fleas attach to the skin of the host. They are a parasite, feeding on the host and are typically an eighth of an inch long. They do not have wings or fly, but are able to jump long distances, with their 3 sets of legs. Fleas most commonly attach to household pets and from there can bite humans.
How would I know if we have fleas in the house? Typically, a homeowner will notice a pet itching constantly. Fleas are designed to move seamlessly through animals with heavy fur. If you notice your pets itching, it may be a sign that fleas are present.
How do you get rid of fleas? Getting rid of fleas can be difficult and involve many steps, not just to your pets, but also to your home. These steps involve vacuuming the home, using available products to eradicate both fleas and eggs, as well as treating outside areas that may be problematic to eradication. Your pest control operator will be able to walk through the process with you and devise a plan to accomplish eradication. Of course, you should also contact your veterinarian as a critical partner in the process of flea identification and eradication.
Spiders can be found on almost all conditions within a home. Some like the warm, damp areas. Others are more likely found in dry areas. They have eight legs and no wings. Certain spiders have a nasty bite and others are completely harmless. Your pest control operator will be able to identify specific types and devise a plan to eradicate the problem.
How dangerous are spiders? There are only 2 spider species that are harmful to humans in the US. In fact, most spiders pose no risk and can actually be very helpful to a home environment, as they live on other insects.
How can I get rid of spiders? The best way to eradicate spiders is sanitation. By removing the spider's webs (de-webbing) and using various products, spiders will avoid areas treated in this fashion. Your pest control technician will be able to devise a plan, based on the home's location, construction and other factors. Spiders are not typically a long-term problem to eradicate, but regular treatment is best to keep them away.
Bed bugs are nocturnal and feed on human blood and other animal hosts. They appear brown or red in color and adults have no wings and their body appears flat. Often found in bedding and hidden in bedroom areas, bed bugs are particularly common in hotel rooms.
How will I know if I have bed bugs? Bed bugs are very hard to find and can be undetectable. The most common signs of their presence are blood spots on bedding and itchy bites on the skin. If you notice these symptoms, it is best to contact a local pest control professional immediately, as bed bugs are capable of reproducing quickly and an infestation is easier to treat at an early stage.
How quickly can bed bugs multiply? Female bed bugs can lay several eggs each day and can lay up to 400 eggs in a lifetime. They typically live for about a year.
How can bed bugs be eradicated? There are many natural and organic options for bed bug extermination. There are also a number of synthetic products that achieve the same result. Typically you will work with your pest control professional to walk through the various options and determine the treatment plan, based on infestation severity and goals. A typical bed bug infestation is not solved in a single treatment and can involve several treatments to complete.
How can I protect myself against a bed bug infestation? Although it is difficult to avoid all insect exposure, there are some good tips that can be followed to minimize the chance of introducing an infestation in your home. Specifically, when travelling it is always best to check bedding in hotels for signs of an infestation. Look at mattresses and look in the seams of bedding. Also, look for tiny red/brown spots on mattress seams and the skirts on beds. When at home, it is always best to wash your bed linens often and make sure to use the higher temperature possible all for your bedding material.
Flies are one of the most common household pests that residents have to deal with. Many diseases are associated with the various species of flies, which makes them of particular concern. The life expectancy of various fly species ranges from about a week to more than 60 days. In some rare cases, certain species can live up to a year. There are more than 15,000 species of flies in the US.
How can I avoid a fly problem in my home? Ensuring that food is not left in the open on surfaces is the best defense to a fly problem. Flies will feed on just crumbs left on a surface.
How quickly can flies multiply? A single pair of flies can produce more than 1,000,000 offspring in less than 2 months!
How can I solve a fly problem? A fly problem can only be solved by first removing their food source through proper sanitation and ensuring that food sources are not left in the open. Once this is achieved, there are a variety of both consumer and professional grade products that can eliminate the existing flies.
Cockroaches are nocturnal, which means many homeowners do not see any signs of an infestation, until it is late in their development. They are extremely adept at entering buildings and there are many things you should know to solve a cockroach problem:
How do they get into a home? Cockroaches enter a building in different ways, ranging from entering through cracks and crevices in a structure, to coming in through sewer lines and vents.
How quickly can they reproduce? They reproduce quickly, when in an ideal environment, with plenty of food and water sources available.
How can they be treated? A do-it-yourself approach to cockroaches is often ineffective, as they are very good at hiding and multiply extremely quickly. In addition, their eggs are protected from traditional insecticides by their biology. A pest professional will have access to specific professional products that will allow for a complete eradication. Products used may involve growth inhibitors and other products and techniques not know to the average homeowner.
Rats are extremely smart and sense dangerous situations, which makes them difficult to locate and eradicate. They often manage to invade inaccessible areas of a home, like the inside of walls and beneath porches and inside attics.
How do I know if I have a rat problem? Rats can often be heard moving around and "scratching" surfaces, which is often how homeowners realize they have a visitor. In addition, their fecal matter is often found in garages, in attics and beneath homes, leading the homeowner to deduce their presence. They can be a particularly difficult pest to eliminate and a pest control technician will have a lot of experience with their behavior and effect ways to treat each specific infestation.
How can I get rid of rats? There are various ways to eliminate rats.. Snap traps, baits stations, glue traps and poison are all methods to eliminate rats. Most progressive pest control companies have ceased the use of poisons for many reasons and instead focus on humane tactics, primarily using snap traps to reduce poison usage and ensure a clean kill, without the possibility of a dead animal finding its way to an inaccessible area of the property and causing potential odor and disease problems for the residents. A professional pest control company is the best way to handle rodent problems, as there is a lot of expertise required to know the animal's habits. With a good technician, a rodent problem can be resolved more quickly and more conclusively. How can I avoid a rat problem? – Rats can squeeze into almost any gap, so it is important to ensure that your home is protected by filling any cracks or gaps. This includes exterior vents, lose doors or windows and gaps in the roof and eaves of a structure.
Beetles include more species than any other, making up almost 25% of all known life forms. They are prevalent in the US and there are many different types found in and around homes. A single female can lay thousands of eggs in her lifetime, as they multiply quickly. Many beetles have been blamed for various agricultural destruction, including specific species that attack certain types of trees and crops. There are also many types of beetles that are beneficial, as some control a number of other pests. If you see signs of beetles in your home, a pest professional will be able to ascertain the species and then discuss an appropriate treatment plan to eliminate their presence.
Silverfish are often found in homes, as they consume carbohydrates. In particular, they like sugars and starches, which means they are often found in food storage areas. They can be very destructive, so contacting a professional pest control company as soon as they are noticed is a good idea.
How can I get rid of silverfish? There are a number of consumer and professional products that are very effective at eliminating a silverfish infestation. However, depending on the size and maturity of the infestation, a professional may be need to complete a successful treatment. There are also some natural solutions that can help to deter silverfish, most notably cinnamon. However, this will not kill the insects or their eggs, if an established infestation is present.
How quickly do they multiply? Females lay up to 50 eggs during a single cycle, so the reproduction of the species can be very quick.
How can I prevent silverfish from establishing in my home? Silverfish prefer a very humid environment, so controlling this can often remove the possibility of an infestation developing. In addition, ensuring that your home is regularly cleaned and vacuumed can remove feeding sources.
"A+ for their honesty. They could have charged me a lot of money and said that it was their work that made the bugs disappear after a few days! IF I have pest problems in the future, I'll be sure to call Planet Orange first."
K.W. - Saratoga