There’s nothing more disastrous than a colony of termites creeping into your homes, damaging electrical conduits and invading wooden foundations. Out of all the pests that you will encounter, termites are the worst especially since they’re hard to discern. These feeders may look harmless and insignificant but have the potential to ruin structural property. Different termites swarm in different seasons so it is important to determine the type that affects your household interiors. Let’s talk about the types of termites found in California, and how you can prevent a seasonal infestation from taking place.
Can You Spot the Difference?
Termites are active pests that infest urbanized parts of California, starting from Redding to San Francisco, all the way down to Fresno and Salinas, Santa Maria, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County. Termite infestations cause approximately $5 million worth of property damage in the US, according to a survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association.
It isn’t easy for the untrained eye to spot termites, and this is why most homeowners stay unaware of an infestation until a significant amount of damage has already taken place. With over 50 different termite species prevalent in the US, termites can be grouped into three main categories –
These termites live underground and build large, convoluted systems of mud holes that they use to surface upwards. Subterranean termite colonies grow in waterlogged spaces where there is moisture and dank wood. They tend to be most active during springtime, but can also swarm after heavy showers. You can watch out for these termites in wood piles, near air conditioning units, and around outdoor decks. The termites can also invade homes by creeping through concrete walls and foundations that are made from hollow blocks.
Unlike the subterranean termite, that’s far more common in California, dry wood termites only swarm in places where the weather is warm. Drywood termites swarm between the months of August to November. They tend to burrow inside wooden foundations that they consume. You’ll most likely find these termites within walls or furniture. Drywood infestations can be determined if you notice ‘droppings’ that resemble loose pellets near wooden structures.
Termite Control in San Diego
The Formosan termite, a type of subterranean termite particularly affects homes in San Diego County. Known as ‘super termites’, they are the most aggressive known species with a voracious appetite for wood. The termite species possesses a pale yellow to brownish yellow color, and translucent wings that’s covered with dense, minute hairs. A distinguishing feature is the shape of the head – while indigenous subterranean termites have rectangular heads, the Formosan termite soldiers have heads that taper frontwards, and are rounded on the sides. Spawning season for this termite is from the months May to September. These termites occur in the early evening time and when the day temperature exceeds 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Can You Do?
To prevent termite infestations, homeowners need to take precautionary measures that include, scheduling regular inspections by licensed pest control agencies. If you suspect there’s a termite infestation in your San Diego home, that’s way out of control, then call our experts at Pro Pacific Pest Control in San Diego and, request a free estimate right away.
…And he’ll move right in!
As seasons change and the weather starts to get cooler, mice, rats, and other rodents are looking for warm, cozy place to wait out the weather. Of course, no one wants rodents taking up residence in their home (after all, they don’t even pay rent)! But once a rat has food, water, and shelter available, they have no intention of leaving!
So what can you do to prevent a rodent takeover?
The first thing you need to do is make sure there aren’t any openings that a rodent can get access through… the most popular entryway being your garage. That means making sure your door weather seal is installed properly and undamaged. It also means that you’ll need to make sure to avoid leaving your garage door open for extended periods of time, as rodents will leap at the opportunity to get inside where it may be significantly warmer.
Checking the foundation of your home is another way to deter rodents. If caught early, you can prevent rodents from entering the home via gaps in your foundation. Remember, rodents can squeeze through incredibly small openings… AC lines and similar piping holes can be prime targets for infestation points.
After looking “down low,” be sure to look “up high” as well… rodents can get onto your roof via branches that overhang the home, then search for spaces to get into your attic! Be sure to trim back those branches as a deterrent to any acrobatic mice who may feel like “dropping in.”
Whether you’re trying to prevent a rodent invasion or dealing with one already, it appears your best bet is to act quickly. And if you’re thinking of waiting out winter in hopes that they might pack up come spring, think again! Once they’ve started nesting, they won’t stop!
That’s when you know it’s time to call a professional!
Wasps can put a sting into summer and fall…. and that can mean major problems if you have wasp & bee allergies!
So how are they different from bees? And what can you do to combat wasps? Is there any hope?
We’ve compiled a handy list of tips and tricks to teach you about wasps (and how to deal).
What IS the difference, anyway?!?!?
Obvious even at a quick glance, bees have robust, hairy bodies with flat rear legs, while wasps’ bodies are slender with a narrow waist connecting the thorax and abdomen. The main reason for these differences are due to variation in feeding habits: Bees are pollinators, spending much of their lives visiting various plants and flowers to gather and distribute pollen. They also feed nectar and pollen to their developing young. Their hairy bodies and flat legs are ideal for holding on to the pollen as they carry it from one area to another. Wasps, on the other hand, are predators. Though they may occasionally feed on nectar or pollen, they most often feed insects, arthropods, flies and even caterpillars to their young. Their bodies are sleeker and more streamlined for hunting.
BONUS: The Smithsonian has a concise video demonstrating the BIGGEST difference between wasps and bees. You can watch it below!
So what is the buzz, anyway? Here are some quickfire tips & tricks to keep you safe and informed while dealing with wasps:
- Syrupy soft drinks can work as a bait for wasps… the sweeter, the better! (This is also why you should never leave a soft drink can unattended while you’re at a picnic… wasps will sometimes enter the can to get at that sugary goodness, and you may end up with a mouthful — of pain!!!)
- Commercial traps and homemade/DIY traps work to stop wasps from sharing your picnic. But they don’t kill the colony.
- Products made to look like wasp nests will deter wasps, but they’re only effective if they’re placed before spring, when young queens are looking to establish their own nest.
- You don’t necessarily have to take down the nest to get rid of your problem. Once a nest is abandoned, it’s abandoned for good. So theoretically, you could play the “long con” and wait for them to relocate (wasps build a new nest each year).
- The best time to tackle a nest (if you’re really itching to do it yourself) is at night, when it’s very dark. Wasps don’t normally go out at night because they can’t see.
- Don’t burn them out. Fire does kill wasps AND their nests… but it can also burn your home, too!
- If the nest isn’t bugging you (or if you have allergies), leave it alone. Call a professional to handle the issue. Wasps can be very aggressive, and you’ll save yourself from a lot of headache (an most likely, a few stings, too!)
So what do you think? Did you learn something new? Have more questions about wasps or other stinging insects? Drop us a line and let us know!
With summer months here, many families start spending more time outdoors. Hiking, camping, and other adventure hobbies can be great family excursions, and many of us bring the entire family — that means Fido and Snowball are along for the fun, too! Of course, animal fur is ideal for pet pests such as fleas and ticks to grab onto. And because of their close proximity to us, our beloved pets can bring in NOT-so-beloved guests!
Fleas and ticks can be a major issue during summer months, especially if you have an active lifestyle (and share that lifestyle with your pets). These little buggers are specially equipped to latch on to that lustrous mane that your pet is sporting. Once they do that, it’s feasting time!
Ticks are usually easier to locate after they’ve latched on, because many have a tendency to swell to several times their original size after feasting! Also, they have a tendency to “set up camp” near the head of their victims (most of the time it’s difficult for animal hosts to reach their to head to scratch). To find a host, ticks use their back legs to hold onto plants and reach their front legs out to grasp onto passing victims. Ticks are perhaps most famous for transmitting Lyme disease, but can cause other health issues as well…. such as “tick paralysis” in animals.
Though fleas seem to follow the same “M.O.” as ticks, there are several key differences. Fleas are smaller (yet much more mobile) than ticks, their mobility allows them to quickly transfer between hosts. There are over 2000 variations of flea, but the “cat flea” is the one most often responsible for infestations in the US. Ironically, it may not have been the cat or dog to bring them in — fleas also love to infest mice and rats. If you have a rodent infestation, fleas may soon follow. The Black Plague has been attributed to rat-based fleas transmitting the disease to other animals, which then made their way to humans.
So How Do We Stop Them?
As always, “prevention is the best medicine.” To prevent infestation, pet owners should always thoroughly check their pets after any sort of outdoor activity (that includes simply being in the front or back yard!) A super easy way to check your pet is to simply brush its fur and run your hand along the body to smooth it. A tendency to scratch a specific spot or skin irritation can be good indicators as well!
And of course, regular pest control can abate any potential issues… and “emergency” pest services can help resolve things if you’re unlucky enough to get hit with infestation despite your best efforts.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered in both cases, and we’re just a call or E-Mail away!!!
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog (or the news in general), then you’re well aware of the danger that flying insects (especially mosquitoes) can pose during summer months. Aside from uncomfortable bites and stings, they can also carry disease (such as dengue, malaria, West Nile Virus, Zika, etc) and act as catalysts for (possibly life-threatening) allergic reactions.
Now that summer has come, the warmer weather encourages them to be more active, which means an INCREASED RISK for your home AND your loved ones!
One of the most common ways for stinging and biting insects to get into your home and start causing trouble is through tears and holes in the screens on windows and doors. At first glance, these holes may seem like minor cosmetic annoyances, but the fact is that they can potentially have a BIG impact on your health (and your wallet, should you need medical treatment).
Luckily, the National Pest Management Association has created this quick, easy to follow video designed to show you how you can protect your home by repairing screens to avoid an infestation!
Of course, a screen is handy home decor, and certainly protects your home from insects who may try coming in through the window / door…. but remember, insects like to wedge into all sorts of small spaces! That’s where help from your friendly neighborhood Pest Control man comes in! He provides ongoing (and warrantied) protection against any bothersome pests that may come a-knockin’!
Knowledge of Mosquito-borne Diseases Should Be On Your Mind This Summer!
Many people may connect the height of mosquito season — which occurs in the summer through early fall — to the irksomely itchy welts that accompany mosquito bites; but there are far worse associations to make with these blood-sucking pests — such as the health threats they pose to humans in their daily lives—even in their own backyards.
To help protect the community against mosquito-related health risks, we’re reminding the public about threatening mosquito-borne diseases as well as prevention tips to avoid bites.
THE GOOD NEWS is that, thanks to professional pest control, there are certain serious (and sometimes even deadly!) mosquito-transmitted illnesses, such as malaria, that we rarely see in the U.S. The public should remember, however, that there are still harmful diseases including the Zika, West Nile and Chikungunya viruses present in the U.S. All of these viruses can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. In order to protect against these health threats, knowledge about each disease and general mosquito prevention is key!
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) the main ways to avoid mosquito bites and better protect against mosquito-transmitted diseases include:
Applying insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus or IR3535 when outdoors and use as directed on the product label. Apply repellent over top of sunscreen, and reapply every four to six hours.
Minimizing outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, though it is important to note that mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya are active throughout the day.
Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors.
Eliminating areas of standing water around the home including clogged gutters, birdbaths, flower pots, tires and kiddie pools or untreated pools. Mosquitoes need only half an inch of water to breed.
Screening windows and doors, and patching torn screens.
Of course, the BEST solution is prevention, courtesy of your local pest control professional!
For more information about how we can protect your home CONTACT US NOW!
When you think of spring, you probably envision blooming flowers and the return of warmer weather. But in the pest control industry, spring marks the beginning of peak pest season, when most insects are coming out of their winter hiding spots, mating – and in some cases – finding their way into our homes. Unfortunately, one of the most common springtime pests is also one of biggest threats to our homes and properties – termites.
Termites (and their equally infestation-prone — and annoying— “cousins,” woodworms) have been around for more than 120 million years. They are social insects and live in colonies that are usually located in the ground or in wood. Termites feed on the cellulose in wood and wood by-products, such as paper. They are estimated to cause $5 billion in property damage every year. What’s worse, this damage is not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance, and – because they tend to remain out of sight – their damage can go unnoticed for many years, until serious issues arise. Therefore, it’s important to understand the life cycle of termites, and the signs that a colony has taken up residence in your home.
Termite Life Cycle
There are more than 2,000 known termite species in the world, with at least 50 species occurring in the U.S. Termites are typically classified into three groups based on the location of the colony – subterranean, drywood and dampwood. A colony is made up of workers, soldiers and swarmers. Workers maintain the colony, construct or repair the nest, and forage for food for the colony. Soldiers are sterile, and their main role is to protect the colony. Neither workers nor soldiers have wings.
Swarmers, also known as reproductives, have two pair of wings, which lie flat over the abdomen when not in use. In the springtime, after the last freeze – usually when temperatures reach about 70 degrees – the young adult male and female swarmers emerge from their nests in large groups. The female termites release ‘mating pheromones,’ much like perfume, to entice male termites. Once the male locates an alluring female, they break off their wings, symbolizing that they are a couple. The new couple then select a nest location, mate, and become king and queen of a new colony. The queen has been known to live for 30 or more years.
Depending on the species, it can take three to four years before a newly founded colony reaches maturity and produce its own swarmers. In the first year, the queen can lay anywhere between zero and 22 eggs. So at the end of the first year, a subterranean colony may contain as many as 75 individuals, whereas drywoods may contain only a dozen. Because of this, it can take many years before a colony is large enough to cause visible damage to the wood they infest.
In colder regions where termites do not typically survive the winter, new colonies can be started in one of two ways; when infested wood is introduced to a new location, or by division. Division typically occurs when a new food source is located and a subcolony is formed to exploit the source. Eventually, this subcolony can then produce the needed reproductives from nymphs (young termites), and completely break off as its own colony.
Signs of Termites
Swarms (and the shed wings left behind) are often one of the only outwardly visible signs of the existence of termites. Because of this, many people are under the misconception that termites are only a problem in the spring. However, some termite species – including subterranean termites – can remain active (though out of sight) year-round, especially in warmer climates. In these cases, termites can be at work, eating away at wood 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
With the exception of conehead termites, most termite species cannot crawl on the open ground like ants and other pests. Instead, they build mud tubes to travel between their colony and food sources. These mud tubes are another sign homeowners can use to identify the presence of termites near their homes. Homeowners should also be on lookout for cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. If you do see signs of termites in or near your home, it’s important to work with a professional to treat the infestation before serious damage is done. Termites are NOT a pest that can be treated with DIY measures.
If you suspect a termite infestation, or to have your home properly inspected for termites, Contact us NOW to minimize structural damage.
Article re-purposed with permission from National Pest Management Association. Original Source Here. Original Copyright ©2017 National Pest Management Association
Cleaning and Prevention Tips for an Allergy-Free Home
The arrival of spring also means the start of sneezing, wheezing and itchy eyes for the more than 50 million people who suffer from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Outdoor allergens like pollen and mold are much to blame during the warmer months, but indoor allergens can also cause symptoms to flare.
Dust mites, dander and even cockroaches can cause problems for allergy sufferers when indoors. In fact, about 20 million Americans have a dust mite allergy and 63 percent of American homes contain allergens from cockroaches, which are most commonly introduced through cockroach saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies.
So, how can you allergy-proof your home to make it a haven, and not a source of stuffiness and sneezing, during the spring season?
In addition to visiting the allergist and taking proper medications, it’s equally as important to eliminate potential allergy triggers in the home, which – in the case of cockroaches – are often found scurrying from room to room. Simple household chores like cleaning and vacuuming can help you find relief. Consider these 10 tips to allergy-proof your home:
- Patch it up: Exclude pests by sealing cracks and gaps in walls and floors using a silicone-based caulk. Pay special attention to where utility pipes enter.
- Manage moisture: Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces. Consider running a dehumidifier in these areas to prevent moisture buildup.
- Bring out the vacuum: Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter.
- Banish dust: Dust hard surfaces frequently using a dust rag or damp cloth. Limit the amount of fabric items in each room since they attract airborne allergens like dust mites and pet dander.
- Clean filters: Clean or replace the filters in your furnace and air conditioner each month.
- Keep the kitchen clean: Wipe surfaces daily, including counters, stovetops and sinks. Don’t leave dishes to pile up in the sink and make sure to clean crumbs and spills right away.
- Properly package food: Store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving pet food out for long periods of time.
- Take out the trash: Dispose of garbage regularly in a sealed trash bin.
- Protect your pillows: Encase pillows and mattresses in allergen-proof covers to control dust mites. Avoid down pillows or comforters.
- Launder the linens: Wash blankets, throw rugs and bedding in hot water, preferably at 130 degrees F, or take them to be dry-cleaned.
Each year, the AAFA designates May as “Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month” because it’s one of the toughest months for allergy sufferers. However, it’s also the perfect time to ensure the home is free of allergens, and the air you are breathing in is fresh and clean.
Pest allergens getting the best of you despite YOUR best efforts? Contact us NOW and we’ll help you eliminate the problem!!!
Article re-purposed with permission from National Pest Management Association. Original Source Here. Original Copyright ©2017 National Pest Management Association
Warmer spring weather means mosquitoes and ticks will soon be abundant, and calls for the use of insect repellent. Repellent can be especially handy if you are outdoors for an extended amount of time, or if you are at an event (such as a picnic or barbecue) which has plenty of foods to entice wandering insects.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows the PROPER way to apply repellent, and that leaves them vulnerable to insect attack! Applying repellent is an easy way to prevent illness and discomfort down the road… after all, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
Here’s a handy video (courtesy of Pest World) with plenty of tips for how to properly apply insect repellent to protect against bites from these mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other insects which can transmit illnesses and diseases.
Of course, Insects can still pop up, even with the BEST repellent in use…
If you notice insects beginning to swarm your home (no pun intended) CONTACT US right away to put the pest to rest!
Spring has sprung. That means all sorts of pests will be even MORE active with the warmer weather. Because of increased activity, NOW is the perfect time to prepare!
What will your pest control forecast look like? Check out this handy info-graphic, courtesy of the National Pest Management Association.
Have questions? Want to stop pests from popping up, or are you already seeing more bugs buzzing around your home than before?
CALL US NOW to put your mind at ease this spring!