Pest Control Blog About Bugs and Rodents

Welcome to A1 Exterminators’ Uninvited Guests blog! Here we talk about anything and everything bug related. Big and small, from ticks and bed bugs to roaches and termites; from bugs and insects to mice, rats, squirrels and rodents. Follow us to keep track of the new pests you should be worried about in your area. Get the latest news on pests, tips on how you can keep pests away from your home and business, and some other fun and interesting tidbits about bugs.

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Fall is Stink Bug Season

The fall season is officially here, and with it comes the resurgence of the pesky brown marmorated stink bug. Originally from Asia, this invader is now found throughout most of the continental U.S. This is partially due to its lack of natural predators. Easily identified by their mottled brownish color and distinct shield shape, stink bugs get their name from the odor they release when threatened or crushed. Although stink bugs don’t pose a direct danger to humans, they are responsible for millions of dollars in agricultural losses each year.

As temperatures cool, stink bugs search for overwintering sites to shelter them from the harsh winter elements. Frequent

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hiding places for stink bugs include home siding, attics and basements. Due to this pest invading homes in high numbers, keeping them out in the first place is key. Follow the below tips to prevent stink bugs from taking over your home:

  • Fix damaged screens on windows and doors and inspect the outside of your home for access points. Pay close attention to areas around siding and utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia or other openings. Seal any cracks and holes using a good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk.
  • Stink bugs are attracted to lights, so it’s recommended to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum or change to yellow bulbs, which are less attractive.
  • Inspect items such as boxes containing holiday decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Stink bugs can travel on these items and make themselves cozy once inside the home.
  • If stink bugs get inside, use a vacuum cleaner to remove them and discard the bag quickly to prevent the odor from spreading.
  • Keep in mind that homes can be pre-treated for stink bugs at the beginning of the fall season.
  • If you suspect an infestation has already developed, contact a pest professional to evaluate and assess the severity of the problem.
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Bug Tip Tuesday | Fall Pest Prevention Tips

Want to prevent mice, spiders and other pests from getting into your home? Step up your lines of defense with these effective pest-fighting strategies.

Inspect the area below your siding

Inspect the underside of your siding using a mirror. If you find a gap, mark the location with masking tape so you can seal it later.

Seal entrances with weatherstripping

Seal doors, windows and basement sashes with adhesive- backed weatherstripping. Clean the surface first so the weatherstrip will adhere well.

Check the condition of the damper

Examine dryer vents to ensure the damper isn’t stuck open or broken off completely. Also check that the seal between the vent and the wall is tight.

Use acrylic latex caulk to fill gaps

Fill gaps between trim and siding with acrylic latex caulk. Keep a wet cloth handy to clean up any stray caulk. Smooth the bead with a wet finger.

Fill soffit openings with expanding foam

Pull nests from the soffit gaps and then fill these openings with expanding foam. After the foam hardens, cut off the excess with a utility knife.

Use copper scrubbing pads to fill gaps

Stuff in a generous amount of copper mesh with a screwdriver, leaving about half an inch of space for expanding foam sealant. Seal gaps with foam.

 

Keep mulch and soil away from foundations

Rake moisture-wicking soil and mulch away from the window frames and low wood. Turn your mulch periodically to help keep dampness down, and keep bushes trimmed back as well.

Dehumidify and clean up cobwebs

You can virtually eliminate spiders in your basement by using a dehumidifier to maintain a 40 percent humidity level and vigilantly sweeping down cobwebs whenever they appear. Keep the basement window sills brushed clean too. In a matter of weeks, the spider population will die down significantly.

Use metal or plastic containers to store food

Store pet food in a lidded metal trashcan, as mice cannot climb the slick, vertical sides of the can. Sealed plastic containers are also a good option.

Hunt for mouse droppings periodically

Store items off the floor on wire rack shelving to prevent moisture from collecting underneath. Look for mouse droppings and other evidence of infestation with a flashlight and mirror.

 

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Squirrels Looking for Warmer Homes

Gray Squirrels are active year round, but most productive in the morning and evening on dry days. Gray squirrels feed primarily on nuts, especially hickory nuts, acorns, beechnuts and walnuts. In addition, they occasionally feed on maple or tulip tree seeds, fruit, opening buds and corn. Pine Squirrels are also active year round, especially in the morning and evening. However, they are sometimes active after dark as well. Pine squirrels feed on a great variety of seeds, nuts, berries, bird eggs and fungi.

Habitat

Gray squirrels are found in hardwood or mixed forests with nut trees, especially oak-hickory forests and river bottoms. In the summer, gray squirrels nest in tree cavities or build nests made of leaves in branches. In the winter months, they are known to invade structures and homes looking for a place to overwinter. Pine squirrels are often abundant in any kind of forest and are commonly found around buildings. Pine squirrels usually nest in tree cavities or nests made of leaves, twigs and bark.

Threats

These species of squirrels are considered a household pest because they frequently enter attics in the winter; however, they rarely pose a health threat to homeowners. Outdoors, these squirrels can cause considerable damage to electrical and telephone cables.

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Spiders Looking for Homes

With about 3,000 spider species roaming around North America, a few are bound to end up in our homes more often than not. However only a few  of those pose any actual health dangers to humans – namely the brown recluse spider and the black widow spider. Although most spiders are nuisance pests, it is important homeowners familiarize themselves with these more dangerous species so they can protect themselves and their families and also be prepared to act if should be faced with one of these spiders in their home.

The Brown Recluse

Often identified by a dark brown violin shape on its back, the brown recluse spider is predominantly found in the Midwest and Southeast of the United States. This species is well known for its “secretive” behaviors, as 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 a box in the attic or basement where a brown recluse has made its home.  Because their bites can take three or more hours to develop and about three weeks to heal, it is important to keep an eye on the individual which was bitten.  The brown recluse venom can cause severe allergic reactions, notably in children, the elderly or those with preexisting medical conditions.

The Black Widow

Perhaps no spider is more notorious than the black widow. From their ominous appearance to the purported, but untrue, claim that the females devour the males after mating, these spiders are quite feared.

Black widows are found throughout the United States, but are most common in the southern and western states. These spiders are often found around wood piles and gain entry into a structure when firewood is carried into a building. They are also found under eaves, in boxes, and other areas where they are undisturbed. They bite when they are threatened.

Like the brown recluse, the black widow has a distinct pattern allowing for easy identification – a black body with red “hourglass” coloration on the underside of its abdomen.  The black widow venom contains a neurotoxin, which causes immediate pain at the bite site and then spreads to other areas of the body such as the chest and the abdomen. They also leave two puncture marks on the skin. Young children and the elderly are especially susceptible to severe reactions to black widow bites.

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Bug Tip Tuesday | DIY Mouse Repellent

Follow These Instructions:

  • Brew some peppermint tea.
  • Put the used tea bags in all the places in your home where you have noticed mice or spiders. It’s best to use them in every corner.
  • Another option is to use peppermint essential oil. Fill a spray bottle with water and add 10-15 drops of the essential oil. Spray around baseboards in your home.
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Bug Tip Tuesday | Remove Bugs From Car

The trick to removing dried bugs from the front of your car is in your laundry room!

Wet the front of your car and have a bucket of warm water and some fabric softener dryer sheets on hand.  Wet the dryer sheet in the warm water and scrub those bugs away.

Super easy…

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Bug Tip Tuesday | Storing Seasonal Decor

Packing away Halloween decor?  Carefully wrap items individually and seal them properly so next 33237-sterilite-66-quart-orange-black-latch-box-set-of-4_1_375year they come back out of the box as pristine as they went in. You don’t want to find any pests have moved…

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Bug Tip Tuesday | Fruit Fly Trap

Every fall, fruit flies seem to find their way into everyone’s home.  We all want to eat healthy and leave some fruit out on the counter for a quick grab and go snack.  Here is a simple fly trap from therealfarmhouse.com for the pesky little critters.

  • You will need a jar, a piece of paper, a piece of…
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Research Says Bed Bugs are Attracted to Dirty Laundry

According to new research published recently by University of Sheffield scientists Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry.

The study, led by Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, suggests that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when traveling may facilitate the dispersal of bed bugs.

Bed bugs have recently…

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Stinging Insects Still Buzzing

Stinging insects such as yellow jackets, wasps and hornets send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. And, if that’s not bad enough, they become extra feisty in late summer and early fall when their colonies forage for food to sustain their queens during the winter months.

While the thought of encountering a bee hive on the…

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Fall is Stink Bug Season

The fall season is officially here, and with it comes the resurgence of the pesky brown marmorated stink bug. Originally from Asia, this invader is now found throughout most of the continental U.S. This is partially due to its lack of natural predators. Easily identified by their mottled brownish color and distinct shield shape, stink bugs get their…

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