All posts by Randy Hulett

Tips on how to protect against termite damage.

How to Deal with Foundation Damage Caused by Termites

Tips on how to avoid foundation damage caused by termites.By the time you find out that you have termites, there is a chance that they will have already caused extensive damage to the structure (and substructure) of your home. Here is how to deal with all of the damage those pests can cause.

First: Learn to Recognize the Signs

There are a few signs that termites might have set up shop in your home. Swarming is the most common. This is where you start to see termites in your home. The most common place to find them is by the windows—either lying on the sill from having flown into the window itself trying to get out of the house or on the window’s drapery.

You might also find shelter tubes that the termites have built. They build them in open areas so you shouldn’t have to hunt for them. If you find what looks like water damage, search for signs of dirt. Termites will usually bring with them and drop bits of dirt into the wood they’re invading.

Next: Figure Out What Type of Termite You’re Dealing With

The easiest way to do this is to trap a couple of the termites you’ve found. If you see a termite or two in your home, put a clear glass or other similar transparent container over it so that you can lean in for a closer look without having to worry that it will take flight at you (or away). You can use our earlier article to figure out what you’ve captured.

Call a Professional

Unlike some other pests, termites are not something you can combat or conquer on your own. These pests get into and destroy the structure of your home. It is important to call an exterminator or pest control expert for help in figuring out not just how much damage the termites have done but how to deal with the infestation. The good news is that most pest control experts will give you a free inspection.

Dealing with the Aftermath

It isn’t just possible that termites have done damage to the structural integrity of your house, it’s probable. As soon as you’ve “fixed” the infestation, you’re going to want to get a contractor or structural engineer out to inspect your house for damage. If you’re lucky, the damage will only be on the “superficial” structure of your home. If the damage is in the supporting beams and joists, you’re looking at a much bigger problem.

Make Repairs a Priority

Repairing termite damage is going to be expensive. There’s no way around that. How expensive it is depends upon the damage that was done. One thing is for sure, though, the repairs can’t wait—especially if you ever want to be able to sell your house. Remember, tenting isn’t always 100% permanently effective and all it takes is a few of those pests to survive for a real threat to be posed to the structural stability of your home. Get rid of any wood that might have been affected by the termites you just got rid of and replace it with new ones.

Future Prevention is Also Important

In addition to repairing the damage that has already been done, it is important that you work hard to prevent more damage from occurring in the future. Luckily, there are things that you can do to help discourage termites and keep them from infesting your home. You can find a list of ways to prevent a termite infestation here.

The fact is that termites are everywhere. There is no part of the country that is safe from these pests. The good news is that you don’t have to resign yourself to their presence. Use these tips to help you overcome and recover from a termite infestation.

Dealing with Dangerous Spiders- What to do if you Spot a

Dealing with Dangerous Spiders: What to do if you Spot a Dangerous Spider in Your Home

Dealing with Dangerous Spiders-670People vary in their opinions and treatment of spiders. Some people hate them with a passion and will smash them on sight. Others live peacefully with whatever spiders decide to explore or even move into their homes. Whatever your reaction to the arachnid may be, it is important to learn how to identify dangerous and/or venomous spiders so that you don’t risk aggravating a creature that could do quite a lot of harm to you if it is mishandled.

How to Identify a Dangerous Spider

Unfortunately, there aren’t any universal identifying marks that will help you quickly figure out whether or not a spider is dangerous. There are some who believe that the brighter the color of a spider, the more threatening it might be to your well-being (the black widow and brown recluse being the exceptions to the rule). Still, color varies between spiders so a spider that should be bright red might be a more muted and brownish hue.

The best way to figure out whether a spider is venomous or dangerous is to learn about the different spiders that live in your area. A taxonomic guide to local spiders will tell you which spiders are harmless and which should be treated with care. Pay particular attention to the characteristics and markings of the spiders that could potentially pose a threat.

What to do When You See a Spider

No matter what type of spider you find exploring your home or come across in the wild, the best thing to do is to tread carefully and approach it slowly. Keep your mouth closed and your eyes covered—goggles, reading glasses, etc are usually adequate. Put on long sleeves and tuck the sleeves into gloves and tuck the legs of your pants into your socks. This way if the spider panics and rushes you, you won’t have to worry too much about it crawling into your clothes.

Note: This is also the best way to dress if you’re going to be spending time in wooded or grassy areas where spiders and other bugs like to live.

The goal is to get close enough to get a good look at the spider without causing it to panic and either rush at you (remember, some spiders jump) or run away. The best way to do this is to capture it.

Capturing a Spider

The best way to capture a spider is to put a solid glass container over it. Then, slowly slide a stiff piece of cardboard across the mouth of the container. Go as slowly as your nerves can handle. This way the spider is more likely to simply crawl up onto the cardboard and won’t try to escape under it, and you don’t risk squishing it or breaking some of its legs.

Should You Kill the Spider?

Once you’ve captured and secured the spider, you can kill it if you want to, but don’t smash it. The Smithsonian recommends putting the sealed container in the freezer so that it will go into a natural hibernation state and then, the next morning, submerge it in rubbing alcohol.

This accomplishes two goals: it kills the spider in a humane way that doesn’t torture it. It also leaves the spider intact so you can take it to a pest control expert or entomologist for identification. If the spider does turn out to be venomous or dangerous, you should take steps to prevent more of its kind from checking out your living space.

Dealing with a Spider Infestation

If the spider population has gotten out of control in spite of your better efforts, it’s worth hiring a pest control expert to help you eradicate your arachnid roommates. The best approach is an environmentally responsible one. You don’t want to risk harming other, wanted occupants of the house or that might hang out in your yard. Don’t try to take on an infestation yourself. You could do more harm than good!

Helpful or Horrid- Why Ants Can Be the Ultimate Nightmare

Helpful or Horrid? Why Ants Can Be the Ultimate Nightmare

Ants can be nightmare pests.Ants are one of the few bugs that most people seem to be able to, for the most part, live with peacefully. Even if someone hates ants, they are not likely to panic when one or two are encountered.

Why Aren’t Ants as Vilified as Other Bugs?

There are several theories about this, though there isn’t any real scientific research to back it up. Some think that growing up seeing parents just swat at or sigh over ants as opposed to shrieking and running away from spiders taught us that they aren’t that big a deal.

But Ants Aren’t Really Harmless Are They?

Most ants are fairly aggressive and are more likely to bite a handler than a spider is. Some species of ants are incredibly destructive and need to be “taken care of” as soon as they are discovered.

Which Ants Should I Worry About?

In North America, there are several species of ants that should merit at least a modicum of concern. For example, if you live in the gulf regions of Florida and Texas (and, to a lesser extent, the other states that border the Gulf of Mexico) you definitely want to worry about Crazy Ants. Crazy Ants are ants that swarm by the millions and can do tons of damage to electrical systems.

Carpenter Ants are perhaps the most common and one of the most destructive species of ants that you’ll find in your home. These ants burr into wood and create intricate living structures. Keep in mind that they don’t eat the wood. They eat other dead bugs and decaying materials so, in that respect, they can actually be fairly helpful. The amount of damage they cause by building their homes in your home, though—that’s enough of a reason to want them out.

Fire Ants (sometimes called Red Ants) are found all over North America. While fire ants prefer to live outdoors and away from humans, they can still do quite a lot of damage during an encounter. Their bites and stings can make the victim feel like he or she is on fire.

There are, of course, other types of ants that are problematic and pose threats to you and your home, but these are the most prevalent and likely encountered.

What Should I Do If I Find a “Bad Ant?”

First of all, if you encounter an ant that is known for being “one of the bad ones”, don’t panic. Trap it under a glass so that you can get close to it and figure out what kind of ant you’re dealing with. The type of ant you have in your home will dictate a lot of your next actions.

Next, try to find the source of the ant. Is this ant merely a scout or is it part of a line or a swarm? Do a close inspection of your house, starting with the area in which the ant was found.

How to Get Rid of Ants When You Find Them

There are all sorts of natural and “DIY” methods that you can use to discourage or eradicate the ant population that has invaded your home. These are just a couple of them.

Use Powder: you don’t have to use toxic powder—anything powdery (like nutmeg, baby powder, etc) will work fine because it will suffocate the ants as they try to walk over or through it.

Diatomaceous Earth: it’s the stuff you see used often in fish tanks—it’s actually the fossilized remains of diatoms and is incredibly sharp. As the ants try to walk over or through it, it cuts into them causing them to dehydrate and die.

When to Call a Pro

At some point—if you are part of the population that is afraid of ants or if natural eradication methods have failed, you should call a professional pest control expert. If the population is incredibly large or you find an extensive nest, you’ll want to call a professional. If the ants are crazy ants, it’s time for a professional.

Basically, you’ll want to hire a pro to help you with anything that isn’t “just a few here and there.”

Telling the difference between an ant and a termite

Ants and Termites: Spotting the Difference

Spotting the difference between ants and termitesAnts and termites are both incredibly common pests. They are so common and look enough alike (termites and flying ants in particular look eerily alike) that, at first glance, many people confuse the two. It is important, though, that you learn how to tell the two apart.

What Does the Science Say?

Even in terms of entomology, the differences between ants and termites are subtle. Both live in social swarms that typically revolve around the reproductive agent known as queens in ants and swarmers in termites. The Kansas State Entomology Department has a great page that goes into detail about the scientific differences between these two creatures.

How You Can Tell what’s Crawling on Your Counter

The good thing about ants and termites is that, while they have wings, you don’t have to worry about them buzzing your face when you lean over to get a better look at them (the first step in figuring out which pest you’re dealing with). The three parts of the pest’s body you need to focus on are the antennae, the waist and the wings.

Spotting the difference between ants and termites.With Ants: the antennae are typically bent or arched. Their bodies narrow down at the waist and their frontal wings are larger than their wings in the rear.

With Termites: their antennae are usually straight. They have broad waists and their front and hind wings are of equal size.

Basically, a termite looks like a chubby and more proportionate ant.

What You Should Do with What You’ve Found

Deciding how to handle an invasion of ants or termites is going to depend largely upon which pest is plaguing you and how many ants or termites you are dealing with. With that said, there are plenty of things you can do yourself to prevent and defeat both ants and termites.

How to Deal with an Ant Infestation

If you have an ant infestation, things can get a little bit tricky. While cleaning and sealing up your home can do quite a lot to deter ants from forming colonies inside your home, if the colony has already been built, more action is going to need to be taken.

The good news is that you’re probably going to notice the flying ants for a few days while they explore your house and yard looking for places where they can mate and build new colonies of their own. You’ll start to notice “mounds” and that’s where you should focus your actions.

Create a “toxin” of honey and artificial sweetener to attract the ants along with borax, which is deadly for ants but not for humans or most pets. You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the mounds—it will dry them out and kill them when they come into contact with it. Also use turmeric. Turmeric is completely harmless for pets and humans and acts as an antiseptic and discourages flying ants.

How to Deal With a Termite Infestation

Even if you work hard to prevent termites from getting into your home, sometimes they win anyway. This is why if you start to notice termites in or around your home, you should hire a professional pest control expert to do a thorough inspection and help you come up with a plan for eradicating the infestation. A good expert will know how to “fix” an infestation in a way that has as little impact on you and your family as possible.

It is important to act quickly. The less time these termites and flying ants have to crawl over your walls, the easier it will be to get rid of them.

Keeping office clean

Caring For Your Workplace: How to Keep Your Offices Clean and Clear of Bugs

Keep your office pest-freeBe honest: when you hear the words “pest control,” doesn’t your mind immediately jump to your home? It is okay if it does: that’s where the focus lies for most of us. It is important, though, that you also put in some effort to keep your workplace as clean and pest free as possible. After all, the last thing you want is for a pest to hitch a ride home from work, right? So what do you do?

Getting Rid of Temptation

How often do you choose to eat lunch at your desk instead of going out? How often do you keep hot beverages nearby for sipping during the day? Do you keep tea bags or packets of hot chocolate or apple cider in your desk? Stop it.

Even if you bring your lunch from home, get away from your desk at lunchtime. Take your meal to the break room or even out of the building altogether. If the weather is cooperating, take it to a nearby park.

Instead of keeping tea bags, packets of hot chocolate or cider in your desk, bring them into work with you each day and keep them in a sealed Ziploc bag in your purse, briefcase or lunch bag. If you simply must keep a variety on hand, make sure they are sealed in an airtight container (sandwich bags, Tupperware type containers, etc.—no cardboard).

Clean Every Day

It sounds tedious but if you clean up your workspace every day, you’ll find that the task gets easier over time until it takes just a few minutes each afternoon before you leave. Even better, clean things during the day:

  • Put files and office supplies away as soon as you’re done using them.
  • Keep the clutter to a minimum; use digital reminders instead of scribbled notes.
  • Take your shredding and recycling out every afternoon.

If you snack at your desk, use compressed air to blow the crumbs out of your computer keyboard or laptop each afternoon and make sure you’re wiping down the desk before you leave. A quick swipe with the vacuum or carpet sweeper is also a good idea if you’ve been particularly messy.

If You Are in Charge

If you are the business’s owner, you’re going to have to take some extra steps to keep the space pest and bug free. Here are a few things that you can do:

Set up strict break room rules: used dishes need to be washed right away and food should not be left out unattended.

Ask employees to use the break room trash can for any food-based trash they might have and then have that trash taken out every day. If you don’t have a break room, ask them to take the food-based trash out to your dumpster or to an outdoor trash can to prevent pests from sensing it during the evening and night.

Hire a cleaning crew to come in at least once a week to do a thorough scrubbing of the workplace. Make sure to hire a cleaning crew that uses only environmentally responsible cleaning methods.

Hire a professional pest control expert to come in and treat the space so that pests won’t even be tempted to forage within the building. It is important that an expert treat the building for pests both inside and outside. Treating the outside of the building can keep the pests from being tempted to explore the inside.

Sad dog

Protecting Your Pets: What a Bug Infestation Means for Your Furry Friends

Trying to conquer a pest problem when you have pets can be incredibly difficult. For one thing, if your pet goes outside regularly, there’s a large chance he or she will just track whatever you’ve recently gotten rid of right back in. For another, not all pest removal strategies are pet friendly. So what do you do? How do you keep the pests away with as little disturbance to your pet as possible?

First Things First: What’s the Nature of the Pest?

Sad dog

Before you go overboard and decide to tent your house and move you and your pets out for a while, it is important to figure out what exactly you’re dealing with. There are some pests (ants, for example) that you might be able to eradicate on your own using a few simple DIY methods. For another, the method of pest removal for bedbugs is going to be different than the method of pest removal for termites or cockroaches.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have seen the pest or several of the pests. If your problem seems to be largely nocturnal, you’re going to have to do some investigating. Here is a great article that gives a quick rundown of the telltale signs of different pests – check it out and see if anything sounds familiar.

You’ve Identified the Problem: Now What?

Remember: how you deal with a pest depends largely upon which pest you’ve got. There are plenty of general DIY pest control solutions you can undertake that pose little to no threat to your pets.

Go over your house top to bottom and inside and out. Look for cracks and holes and seal them up with an environmentally responsible filling. Steel wool, for example, makes a great plug for small holes because mice and rats won’t chew through it. Install weather stripping on your doors and windows to keep pests from crawling in around those fixtures.

You can also try sprinkling eco-efficient “pest deterrents” on the property. Coffee grounds, for example, are good for your landscaping and can be a great deterrent for a variety of pests that might want to invade.

But What if the Problem is Serious?

If you’ve got an infestation or if you’re dealing with a pest like bedbugs, you’re going to need to take extreme measures. Before you do anything else, you need to find and hire a pest control expert – schedule an appointment with Hulett Environmental Services by clicking the link.

Once you’ve got an appointment with a pest control expert, you can start figuring out how to keep your pets safe during the pest removal process.

Where Should Your Pets Go?

Sometimes you’ll be able to keep your pets at home with you, especially if the pest problem is localized and your pest control expert is using human and animal friendly measures to eradicate whatever pest is trying to infiltrate your home. Obviously you’ll want to secure the pets so they won’t get curious about what the exterminator is doing, but that should be enough.

Other times, like with bedbugs or termites or an infestation that is more serious, you’ll have to find a place to board your pets.

Boarding presents its own set of problems: it’s expensive and you risk exposing your beloved pets to the illnesses, diseases and issues that are plaguing the other animals boarded at the same facility. The last thing you want is to get rid of the bedbugs and bring home fleas. Make sure you choose a boarding facility that keeps healthy and ill pets separated.

If you’re really worried, your best bet is to stay with a friend or family member who doesn’t mind accommodating your nervous animals. If you don’t want to put anybody out and can afford to do so, you can book space at an animal friendly hotel, motel or short term rental building.

Finally, make sure that, before you allow your pets back into your home, that all traces of the pest removal process are gone. Do a thorough cleaning to get rid of any residue or other materials that you worry might harm your pet.

Then you can get back to the business of just doing your best to make your home as unattractive as possible for pests in the first place!

How to Deal with Bedbug Bites

How to Deal with Bedbug Bites

How to Deal with Bedbug Bites- 670Bedbugs are problematic enough when they aren’t biting you. Dealing with the bites, though, that’s a whole other problem. Here are some tips to help you deal with and treat bedbug bites.

Bedbug Bites: The Details

Probably the most important thing to know about bedbug bites is that you won’t feel them right away. One of the stranger things about these insects is that their bites are painless. Another thing that is important to know is that you won’t know for a while that you’ve been bitten. According to the CDC, a bedbug bite can take as long as a few days to “show up”.  So, by the time you notice the bites, you could have a big problem.

Identifying Bedbug Bites

At first glance, bedbug bites look like pretty much every other type of mite or insect bite that you might acquire while you sleep. There are some things that will help you tell these bites apart from the other red and itchy types of bites you might get.

The bites are typically found on the shoulders, hands and arms. These bugs seek out exposed skin and aren’t likely to crawl inside pajamas.  The bites are usually in a straight line though they can be randomly clustered too.

How to Treat a Bedbug Bite

Unless you are severely allergic to them, like a mosquito or flea bite, the bite of a bedbug is more annoying and itchy than it is dangerous or life threatening. You won’t require any medication to treat it. Just because they’re mostly harmless, though, doesn’t mean they won’t be incredibly irritating.  Some people find that they lose sleep because the itching gets so intense. It will be tempting to scratch and scratch at the bite, but you must resist. These bites, when scratched open, can easily become infected and that is the last thing you need.

In addition to keeping your hands off of the bites, you can try a topical ointment to help relieve the itching. Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend looking for an ointment that contains hydrocortisone. You can find these ointments and creams pretty much everywhere and at relatively low prices. Mayo Clinic also recommends taking an oral antihistamine like Benadryl or anything containing diphenhydramine if the itching gets overly bad.

If topical treatments and oral antihistamines don’t work, you should see a doctor. He or she can prescribe a steroid cream that will help relieve the irritation and itching.

How to Treat Your Home

Unfortunately you can’t get rid of bed bugs completely by yourself. You’re going to need to enlist a professional pest expert to kill off the infestation. The sooner you do this, the better off you will be—especially if you’ve been losing sleep over the idea that the bedbugs have decided to move in.

Sometimes, though, it can take a while for a pest expert to have time in his or her schedule to help you tackle your bedbug problem. While you wait, here are a few things you can do; while they don’t completely eradicate the infestation, they can give you some peace of mind.

1. Clean Your House

Scrub your home from top to bottom. Make sure you clean along the backs of your furniture because bedbugs can infest tables and walls as easily as they can move into your bed and upholstered furniture.

2. Inspect Your Furniture

You’re going to be tempted to get rid of your furniture and buy all new stuff, but resist. For one thing, once the pest expert tackles your house, you should be able to use your furniture normally. Plus, not everything will be infested. Carefully inspect cushions (especially along the seams) for holes and rips.

3. Buy a Bag

You probably don’t have enough to buy a brand new bed. You should, however, have enough for a bed kit—these are bags that you zip around your mattress to help keep it safe from future infestations. This can give you incredible peace of mind at night while you’re trying to sleep.

How to Protect Your Home and Electronics from Crazy Ants

How to Protect Your Home and Electronics from Crazy Ants

How to Protect Your Home and Electronics from Crazy AntsThere are very few (if any) species of ant out there that people actually like. For a long time the fire ant enjoyed top billing as the most destructive and invasive species. Now, though, it looks like there is another type of ant that will win that title and it is called, appropriately, the Crazy Ant.

In some places it is called the Raspberry Crazy Ant after the exterminator who “discovered” them and brought them to the attention of scientists and the government. In scientific circles and outside of Iowa Colony, Texas, the same ant is called the Tawny Crazy Ant. Whatever you want to call it, the “crazy” part is right.

What is a Crazy Ant?

Crazy ants are a species of ant thought to have originated in Brazil that is invading and taking over the Gulf regions of Texas, Florida and other bordering states. They were first spotted a few years ago and have steadily and alarmingly been marching outward ever since.

At first glance they might look like reddish sugar ants. They’re tiny—about an eighth of an inch big—and swarm in extremely large numbers. They get the name “crazy” because unlike other ants that are known for traveling in lines, these ants move in unpredictable patterns, making it hard to track them back to their “home bases.”  It is not uncommon to find piles of billions of them swarming around and up and over each other, looking like piles of squirming top soil.

What Do the Crazy Ants Want?

Another feature in their “crazy” moniker is that the things that attract “typical” ants: wood fibers, sugar and other sweet smells and foods have little to no effect on these ants. These ants are found more often in the electrical workings of homes and belongings. While scientists think they are drawn to the warmth of the electrical currents that pass through homes and other devices, some think that they might actually be attracted to the electricity itself.

Whatever their motivation, these ants invade wiring systems (house-bound and device-bound alike) by the millions, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage by shorting out electrical devices and wiring systems.

What Can You Do If You Find Them?

Once you find these ants the only realistic way to fight back against them is to call an exterminator or professional to help you kill the creatures that have invaded as well as any eggs that may have been laid; their queens seem particularly indestructible. Don’t try to take them on yourself unless you have experience in professional levels of pest control.

How Do You Discourage Crazy Ants and Keep Them Out of Your Stuff?

Experts agree that some of the best things you can do to keep crazy ants at bay involve keeping any vegetation on your property well away from your actual home or pathways into it. Be sure to seal all of the cracks and crevices in and on the outside of your home and keeping your home as clean and sealed up as possible.

A publication from the State of Texas also stresses the importance of carefully inspecting everything you buy before you bring it into your home or onto your property to make sure that you aren’t accidentally bringing crazy ants home with you. It is also important to inspect luggage and other items you may have been traveling with—especially if you’ve been traveling within the gulf region.

Act Quickly

Many exterminators and experts will say that if you notice huge swarms it might actually be too late for you to do anything about the infestation—even on the professional level. This is why as soon as you see even one crazy ant (learn how to identify them here) you should get a professional onto your property to make sure that any colonies that might be setting up are wiped out before they can really take hold.

Top 5 ways to Rid Your Home of Roaches

Top 5 Ways to Rid Your Home of Roaches

Top 5 Ways to Rid Your Home of RoachesResearchers recently found that there is a species of cockroach that survived by eating dinosaur waste. Other research shows that there is an evolutionary ancestor to the cockroach that crawled the earth millions of years before the dinosaurs showed up. It’s no wonder that we believe they will live forever and survive the nuclear apocalypse/holocaust situation people think is coming. If they’ve lived through all of the rest of evolution, surely they’ll outlive us, right?

While we marvel at how survival-capable cockroaches seem to be, that does not mean we welcome their presence in our homes. In fact, catching a glimpse of even a single cockroach is enough to send most people into fumigation frenzy. Luckily you don’t necessarily have to go that route. In fact, there are several things that you can do to keep those bugs from setting up camp in the first place. Here are just a few of them.

Hiring Help

Hiring a pest control expert is something that helps you both get rid of the cockroaches you have already and prevent new pests from invading. Regular spraying (with environmentally responsible sprays and products of course) can keep your house completely roach free.

If the problem is particularly bad (for example, if there is work being done on nearby buildings or constructions sites), you’ll want to hire an extermination expert to really go to town on your home and its foundation. It might take a while for them to be able to fit you in, though; so, while you wait, here are a few things you can do.

Clean It Up

Cockroaches are attracted to warm and dry places that they can burrow into. Piles of newspapers, mail or magazines are a perfect roach hut. Clutter also provides a desirable shelter and, depending upon where it is located, a source of food. Scrub your house from top to bottom. Get rid of the piles of clutter. Put everything away. Invest in some air-tight sealable containers for food and cooking ingredients. It won’t get rid of them completely but it will discourage new roaches from invading when they find that there are very few places to hide.

Borax

Most exterminators will recommend mixing some borax with sugar and sprinkling it around. The sugar attracts the roaches. The Borax acts as a toxin and dehydrates the roach’s exoskeleton. Borax is a fairly harmless product but if you’re worried about your kids’ and pets’ exposure to it, limit the sprinkling of it to your upper cabinets and in higher places.

Note: Do NOT use this mixture near anything that has to do with food (food prep spaces, pantries, dishes).

Fabric Softener

Cockroaches do not like fabric softener. You can test this out by laying a sheet out and watching how a cockroach reacts when an encounter takes place. If the problem in your house is really bad, you can get in some “target practice” by filling a spray bottle with a couple parts of liquid natural/organic fabric softener and water. Spray the roaches when you see them. Enjoy their immediate demise.

Catnip

Catnip is also a natural roach repellant. Sprinkle it around under your sink and in your cabinets and close to your doors. You might even consider sprinkling it around outside. The great thing about catnip is that it is harmless for pets and your kids so you don’t have to worry about vigilantly watching every leaf in the house.

Remember, if the cockroach population grows to problematic proportions, the best thing to do is to hire a professional to help you get rid of them. In the in-between though, using these natural and environmentally responsible roach repelling methods can help out quite a lot.

7 Things You Need to Know About Tent Fumigation

7 Things You Need to Know About Tent Fumigation

7 Things You Need to Know About Tent FumigationWhile tent fumigation, or “tenting”, is usually a last resort for pest infestations, it is also something that sometimes cannot be avoided. If your pest control expert has told you that tenting is in your future, here are some things that you need to know.

Prep Work for Tenting Is Extensive

The work that goes into preparing your house to be fumigated is extensive. There is more to it than simply getting you and your kids and pets out of the house. House plants need to be moved out temporarily. You’ll need to make sure that the doors in your house, big and small, are open. Take all of your bed linens out of the house. You also need to get all of your food and food prep items out of the house as well. You’ll need to make sure that all of your appliances are off and that any gas flames and pilot lights are out. You can find a good list of each detail you need to take care of over at About.Com.

Prep Work Isn’t Just Inside

While the fumigation gasses are going to be centered inside of your home, some are going to leech out via gaps in the tenting or around the bottom seals. This means that you’re going to need to make sure that you prepare the landscaping that sits close to your home. You’ll need to trim things back so that they are at least a foot away from the structure of your home. This helps keep them protected and keeps unruly shrubs or trees from preventing the tent from fully covering your home.

There are Different Types of Fumigation

Tenting does not get rid of all termites or wood beetles. There are subterranean termites too and those pests will need their own treatment. This extra treatment helps set up a barrier that keeps them from getting from their nest and back into your home.

The Time for Tenting Varies

Some homes only need to be tented for a few hours to solve an infestation problem. Other homes need to be tented for as long as a week. How long your home needs to be tented is going to depend upon the size of your home and the extensiveness of the infestation.

You Can’t Do It Yourself

A lot of people will try to do their own “DIY fumigations” by trying things like setting off a bunch of room-specific bug bombs. This can be helpful if your home has been infested by pests such as fleas, which can be conquered on a personal level. The DIY fumigation cans are not nearly as lethal or dangerous as tenting (though they aren’t exactly super safe either). Tent-level fumigation though is something that can only be done by a professional. In some states, a fumigator needs specific licensing and certifications before they can do any fumigating. If the pest problem has infested the structure of your home as well as its surface, always go the professional route!

Don’t Rush Back In

It can be tempting to rush back into a fumigated home as soon as your pest control expert posts the notice that re-entry is okay. It is important though that you not rush things. Go in yourself first—give the house at least an extra day to settle before you bring in kids and pets.

Hire a Sanitation Expert

In fact, before you and your family move back into your home, hire a sanitation expert to clean your home from top to bottom and to sterilize the space so that it isn’t just suitable for re-entry but suitable for living in again. Yes, you could do some cleaning yourself, but a sanitation expert will have skills and products he can use to make sure your home really is as clean as possible.

Tenting can be environmentally responsible even if it doesn’t appear that way at first glance. Make sure you hire a properly certified and licensed pest control expert such as Hulett Environmental Services.