Spring Time Intruders Invade California Homes

We are all familiar with the old adage “Spring showers bring May flowers.” Unfortunately, Spring showers also bring an array of unwanted visitors into our homes. This time of year, insects are drawn from their winter domiciles by rainy weather. Ironically, it is the spring rain that awakens household pests from their dormant winter retreats. This is the result of the rain washing away their food supply, forcing them to venture out in search of new sources of nutrients. Naturally, households offer a cornucopia of food sources that presents easy pickings for the pests.

The world of insects encompasses an almost countless variety of species. The average home hosts more than 100 different types of these bugs. In August 2016, The Los Angeles Times Science section published the results of a study that was conducted in 50 private homes. It was carried out by entomologists at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The search revealed the identification of 10,000 home-based bug specimens which took nearly 2 years to categorize. But, before you reach for the can of Raid in a state of panic, rest assured that most home occupants will never encounter the vast majority of these critters. Most of these are harmless and will spend their lives in the home in total seclusion.

Interestingly enough, the home infestations were found to be more common in upscale neighborhoods where biodiversity in the form of outdoor plants and flower beds proliferate. These gardens offer a lush refuse for the critters. Also, larger homes provide more entrances into the domicile for which the tiny invaders are able to gain in-door access.

Termites Lament “Please Pass the Salt”

Termites easily make the list as being among the 10 least wanted insect presence in your home. Termites can cause extensive home infestations, which, in turn, can wreak havoc on a structure. Termites are equal opportunity house eaters. Contrary to popular belief, termites don’t favor older homes. A new home can experience termite damage just as easily as an older one. Many homeowners experience sticker shock when they receive the repair bill for structural damage incurred by termites. Depending on the extent of the damage, the repair costs can reach into the thousands of dollars.

Early signs of a termite infestation can be observed by the presence of fly termites. These adventurous alates are comprised of both male and female termites who have left their nests in search of a new home where they begin to procreate prolifically. They then proceed to raise an army of like-minded critters and literally attempt to eat the homeowners out of their residence. Swarming flying termites are attracted by light emanating from the home. An indication of a swarm residing in your home can be determined by observing them being attracted to light sources in the evening hours.

The 10 Least Wanted

Other pests making the 10 Least Wanted list include ants, cockroaches, centipedes, moths, wasps, hornets, silverfish, and dark-winged fungus gnats. Keep in mind that not all insects are bad guys. In fact some, such as spiders, provide a service by consuming other more annoying insects like black flies and book lice.

If your spring is being ruined by an insect infestation, contact us today.

How Drought Affects Insects

California is no stranger to drought these past few years, but while humans have their various drought worries like water restrictions and wildfires, typically insect invasions aren’t part of those worries. However, the truth is that drought and insects in the home can go hand-in-hand.

While many insects thrive in hot and dry conditions, they still need to be close to a water source. These insects, like those that need water to breed and reproduce, will seek water in a drought. However, with standing bodies of water harder to find, they will seek alternative sources, and often these alternative sources are often your house. Some insects may die off or migrate to more preferable areas, but if they can find a water source in your house, they will be more than happy to live there.

Often, the houses most susceptible to invasion in a drought include those with old, leaky pipes in the wall. It could just be a few small drips, but it will look like an oasis to insects. Furthermore, if it has been going on for years and the wood has started to rot, it is the perfect environment for insects that burrow and damage wood.

Some may see the one good side of a drought is that there are less insects, but the truth is that a drought just makes insects more annoying because they are more attracted to your home than ever. This means that pest control is more essential when it does not rain because insects will have a harder time simply living in nature.

If you have a pest problem during any of California’s overly dry season or any other time of year, contact us today. Let Pest Solutions come out and solve those problems before any more insects decide to make your home into their drought vacation home.

4 Ways to Prevent Cockroaches in Your Home

Cockroaches are among the world’s most common household pests. Dealing with a cockroach infestation is a nightmare for any homeowner. Roaches quickly reproduce and can carry disease. That’s why it’s important to take immediate action when you find roaches in your house.

Here are four tips for preventing cockroaches from entering your home.

Eliminate Sources of Food

The best way to prevent cockroaches is to give them no reason to enter your home. Don’t give them access to food, shelter, or moisture.

  • Don’t leave any food sitting out.
  • Store dry foods in containers that are tightly sealed.
  • Rinse all cans and bottles before you recycle them.
  • Empty your garbage can every day.
  • Don’t leave any standing liquids in the sink.

Clean

Keeping your work surfaces clean is an important step in getting rid of roaches. Make sure to keep your counters free of crumbs and debris, clean up spills right away, and vacuum your home often. Roaches become more active at night, so it’s also a good idea to remove your pet’s food and water dishes before nightfall.

Eliminate Clutter

Clutter gives cockroaches a place to hide. Get rid of any unused boxes, stacks of magazines and newspapers, or other clutter from your floors and cupboards. Remove any unused appliances or furniture from your home. This will eliminate places that roaches can hide.

Block Entrance Points

Check your home for weak spots that allow roaches a way in. Seal any cracks you find in your walls. Keep your drains clean and repair damaged pipes. Check for cracks under your sinks and cabinets and repair any crevices that you find. If you have wooden shelves, paint or varnish them. This will seal crevices and cracks that provide hiding spots for roaches.

Eliminating roaches on your own isn’t always easy. If you’re struggling to get rid of cockroaches, contact us to schedule extermination service.

How to Combat an Ant Infestation

Dealing with an ant infestation is nothing short of maddening; the relentless march of these tiny creatures never seems to end once they have taken up residence in your home. They wander in like they own the place, leaving behind their trails of pheromones for the others. As a homeowner, what are you supposed to do to keep these insufferable pests away? In this blog post, we will explain some ways that you can discourage ants from infesting your home and keep them out for good.

Keep Everything Clean

Ants are naturally attracted to food debris and crumbs that fall to the floor. Be sure that you are consistently wiping down surfaces, tidying up, and vacuuming. If there are any areas in your house that contain tiny morsels of food, this is a treasure trove for hungry ants. By sterilizing these areas, you are eliminating any incentives that ants might have to hang out in your home. Also, don’t forget that ants leave behind pheromone trails to communicate with other members of the colony. Take note of the pathways the ants are traveling along and clean these areas as thoroughly as you can. When you destroy these trails, you are destroying a critical means of communication for the ants. Don’t forget that there are many traps and poisons on the market that can be placed in the areas that ants frequent. By placing these devices around your house, it’s possible to kill or sicken the colony.

Identify Points of Entry

Once you’ve managed to quell the infestation, then it’s time to identify areas around your home that could be acting as entry points for your uninvited guests. Since ants are so minuscule, identifying every point of entry probably isn’t feasible. You may want to hire an expert to help you identify the specific entry points that the ants are using. Ants can sometimes enter through cracks in the walls, so be sure to seal any of these cracks if they exist. It’s also a good idea to ensure that your doors and windows are free of any crevices that could allow ants entry into your house. Sometimes, these areas don’t get properly closed after they’ve been used, so it’s a good idea to ensure that all of these areas are secure. Ideally, you should have some caulk and weather stripping on hand to seal these areas as you find them.

Here at Pest Solutions Termite and Pest Control, it is our mission to keep insects, rodents, and other pests out of your home. If you are having issues with unwanted invaders in your house, please feel free to contact us. We can rid your home of these animals and keep them outside where they belong!

Don’t Ignore Ladybugs in the Home

As far as pesky insects go, ladybugs don’t always rank very high on the standard homeowner’s list. Most homeowners would probably prefer to have a ladybug problem than a termite one; however, just because ladybugs are kind of cute and keep plant-eating aphids at bay in your garden, it doesn’t mean you want thousands of them using your home as their winter incubation spot.

The real issue with ladybugs in the home is that there is never just one. It may start off as just one, but it doesn’t’ stay that way. Ladybugs excrete a smell that will attract other ladybugs; which means if you see one in your home, you can expect many more to find their way in!

Unfortunately, a ladybug’s smell is very difficult to remove as they can end up in strange places, like inside light fixtures or inside of walls. Once the scent is released, it is difficult to get off; the only thing you can do is take countermeasures to either kill or deter the ladybugs. There are a few home remedies you can do like planting mums that naturally repel ladybugs or leaving bags of cloves or bay leaves in areas that the ladybugs like to gather. However, that most effective option is to call the pest control experts that have special formulas to take care of ladybugs successfully.

If you have a ladybug problem, contact us today! We would love to help solve your ladybug problem or any other kind of pest problem that you’re experiencing.

Is Pest Control Harmful to Children and Pets?

For many households that have pests, some may choose to forgo professional pest control because it involves chemical treatments. Many may choose to use Do-It-Yourself methods because they can be more natural, if they fear for the safety of children and/or pets in the home. However, the truth is that there is really no need to forgo professional pest control if you can find the right company to do it.

A good pest control company will ask if you have children and/or pets in the home and take measures to treat in a way to not cause them harm. Even if potentially harmful chemicals are needed, a respectable pest control service will let you know what precautions to take. This could be keeping your children and/or pets indoors for a certain amount of time while things dry, or keeping certain areas of treatment off-limits.

For example, if you have carpenter ants in a closet, a pest control service may treat it with spray, dust, and a baiting gel. Therefore, they may recommend you keep that closet closed and locked until the treatment is completed. Yet, if they choose to treat other areas of the house, they may not use items like the dust that can easily come into contact with curious pets or children. In most pest treatments, the chemicals are only harmful to non-insects until it dries.

The benefit of using professional services is that it not only gets better pest control results, but you will know for sure when it is safe to let pets or children around treated areas. If you use a can of bug spray, you won’t be completely sure when others can be around it. However, a pest control technician will be able to properly articulate the purpose of the treatment and how long it will take to before it’s safe to be around.

If you have pests and your Do-It-Yourself treatments aren’t nearly as effective as you’d like, it is time to get a professional’s touch. Don’t live with pests, contact us today!

How to Keep Carpenter Ants from Coming Back

To some, seeing ants isn’t a big deal. However, carpenter ants differ from your standard small ants that may invade your kitchen. Carpenter ants are larger and they could be making your home their home – and trust us, that is something you do not want.

Unlike normal ants that are a simpler nuisance, carpenter ants tend to burrow into damp wood to make their nests. While they do not eat wood like termites, their intricate burrows in damp wood can affect the integrity of a structure. This means if you have damp beams in your walls due to even light water damage, carpenter ants may have already moved in.

In order to remove carpenter ants, you may need to cut out the drywall in the area where you found them most congregated and noticed the most buildup of the sawdust-like residue they leave behind. From within, the nest will need to be removed and spray the ants so they do not move elsewhere. As they could just relocate their nest, this is why it’s best for a pest control expert to get the job done. However, in order to prevent carpenter ants from returning you may need to take extra steps (which your pest control expert can answer questions on!).

The best way to protect the structure of your house and prevent carpenter ants from coming back is to address the water issue. Carpenter ants always nest close to damp areas. This means that you need to address whatever is causing the wood in that area to get wet. It could be a leaky gutter just outside that is letting water drip close to your house, or it could be even just a slightly leaky pipe behind the drywall.

By fixing whatever is causing the moisture and allowing the wood to dry, it will help prevent carpenter ants from returning. However, just because you discovered one damp area doesn’t mean there aren’t others you do not know about. Often, when people find carpenter ants in their house, they find what is called a “satellite” nest. This means it is an offshoot of the main nest; one where a queen is not present. What you want to do is to keep the main nest as far from your home as possible to keep satellite nests away. This could mean keeping firewood piles away from the house, removing debris from the yard, and taking out any other rotting wood or structures that carpenter ants could call home. If you live in a heavily wooded area, you may want to invest in regular spraying by a pest control expert to make sure your home is defended.

If you have a carpenter ant problem and need help, contact us today.

Keeping Your Home’s Attic Free Of Squirrel Invasions

If you recently noticed several squirrels on your property, and you are also experiencing scratching or knocking noises coming from your attic, there is a chance one or more have taken up residence in your personal space. Squirrels cause havoc to insulation, wiring systems, and building materials, making it necessary to take proactive steps in removing them effectively. Most people will call an animal control service to help with rodent control. Here are some steps to take afterward to keep these pesky animals from becoming problems again in the future.

Ensure that the Roof is Kept Clear

Eliminating pathways to the rooftop will aid in keeping squirrels from getting inside of your home. Taking the time to trim back tree limbs and brush will keep critters from using them as ladders to your rooftop and siding. Make it a priority to do pruning procedures each year for the best results.

Check for Areas Needing Repair                        

After an animal control service removes squirrels from your attic, it is best to do a complete evaluation of the exterior of your home to search for spots where these pests were able to gain entry to the interior. Cover holes and cracks with pieces of flashing and secure them in place with caulk. Alternately, stuff pieces of steel wool into crevices found to make it impossible for small animals to get past.

Remove Attractions from the Area

Squirrels tend to stay in areas where a readily accessible food supply is present. Picking up nuts that have fallen from trees and disposing of them promptly will make it harder for pests to find food when needed. Covering fountains, bird baths, and other spots with standing water is also helpful.

If there is a need to remove squirrels from an attic, a call can be made to a professional to do an evaluation of the problem. Pick up the phone and contact us to schedule an appointment today.

Tips for Pest Control in Apartments

Renting an apartment is handy for many people and gives them the chance to work and play while living near to their area of work and/or favorite attractions. However, the multifamily nature of most apartments means that you likely share a lot with your neighbors.

You will hear all of the noises coming from their apartments, the smells (both good and bad) coming from the person next door’s place. Unfortunately, it is very often the case that neighbors in an apartment building will quite frequently end up sharing pests with each other.

Apartment complexes are some of the most difficult places for pest control to get a handle on. The close proximity of all of the apartment units makes eliminating or even mitigating an infestation of pests an extremely difficult thing to do. Units don’t just share walls and floors; they also have utilities with a shared connection between the various units. Not only that, pests are extremely sneaky and can find a wide variety of different entrance points from underneath doorways and windows that lack weather stripping to AC unit ventilation shafts and the dirt of a potted plant.

Check Packages

Pests can potentially find their way inside your residence through packages delivered to your home. The easiest way to avoid this is to thoroughly check your packages before bringing them inside. While this won’t completely circumvent this method for pests to get into your home, it does make it less likely.

General Anti-Pest Practices

The following anti-pest practices can also help to limit the ability for pests to get into your apartment.

  • Place and dispose of your garbage in sealed bags
  • Wipe down surfaces and sweep floors regularly to remove crumbs and other residues that may attract pests
  • Vacuum once a week at minimum
  • Store food in sealed plastic containers
  • Check for moisture and repair leaky pipes regularly

Using a pest control contractor can help you more easily maintain control of pests in your apartment complex. Contact us today to discuss pest removal options for your rental property.

Honeybees: What Every Homeowner Needs to Know

Honeybees are a pest that every homeowner should be aware of. If you have a colony of honeybees taking shelter in your home, it is not an issue that can be ignored. Below are some common questions that we’ve had client’s ask us:

Why Do Bees Start Hives in Homes?

Honeybees are one of America’s most beloved insect. In addition to their undeniably adorable looks, they are responsible for pollinating critical food crops, trees, wildflowers, and home gardens. Unfortunately, both feral and domestic honeybees feel the urge to swarm every spring when the single hive gets crowded with too many bees and resources.

Although the ideal location for a new hive would be a hollow tree or rock crevice, many of these swarms of bees will decide to set up shop in an attic or even within the walls of a home.

What is the Difference Between a Swarm and a Colony?

Many people confuse a honeybee swarm and a colony, but for the diligent homeowner, these can mean tremendously different things.

A swarm is simply a cluster of bees, often many thousands, in a massive ball hanging from a tree, bush, or even the side of a house. Nestled inside this ball is the queen, and together they wait for the scouts to come back with news of a prime location to call home. Seeing a swarm might be frightening, but often times this cluster will fly away after a few hours and never be seen again.

A colony is a group of bees that have already established a hive, and are laying eggs, bringing in nectar and pollen, and building comb. Having a colony in a home is a serious issue that needs addressing, as these bees will not leave unless manually removed.

Why is Professional Intervention Needed?

Although honeybees are gentle insects, they have the capability to sting, and will not hesitate to do so when they feel there is a threat to their colony.

Once a colony is disturbed, the bees communicate using alarm pheromones and one sting can become fifty in a matter of seconds. Without the proper protective equipment, this could lead to an allergic reaction that could potentially be serious for some people, and sometimes even fatal depending on how allergic the person is. Additionally, removing the bees and comb will do little to deter the colony if the queen is not captured and removed, as the bees will simply return and rebuild.

Contact our skilled technicians at Pest Solutions, who understand how a hive works and the proper method to safely and effectively remove a honeybee colony.