Cold weather brings everyone indoors. Sitting in your living room with a pair of slippers and a blanket wrapped around your shoulders can be a comforting feeling… until a mouse scurries across the floor.
Your family may not be the only ones enjoying the warmth of your home. Pests such as rats, mice, cockroaches and some species of spiders have life cycles longer than a year, meaning they need to find shelter during the winter to survive. These pests can pose serious risks to both people and homes.
When making their nests in walls, rodents can chew on electrical wires and drywall, and they are known to pass on diseases such as salmonella and Hantavirus. Cockroaches can contaminate stored food, leave droppings around the home and trigger allergic asthma, especially in children. On top of all that, some spiders commonly found around homes are poisonous.
Tips every homeowner can follow to keep pests outside during the fall and winter:
- Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and any other areas where homes may be open to the outdoors, like mail slots and animal doors.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Pests are attracted to areas of moisture, something they need to survive. Using dehumidifiers in basements and garages will help keep these areas dry.
- Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure. Some rodents can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
- Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Crumbs and a buildup of garbage are attractive to pests scrounging for food. It is recommended to clean up after each meal and to properly close garbage cans when they are stored in the home or garage.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows. These are easy ways to keep not only pests, but also cold air out of the house.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed. Removing areas where pests can hide near your home can reduce the chance of them finding a way inside.
- Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens. Torn window screens and cracks under doors are an ideal entry point for household pests. When you open the window, you could be letting in more than just fresh air.
- Inspect items such as boxes of decorations, package deliveries, and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Pests can find creative ways to get inside a home. Shake out or inspect anything that has been left or stored outside.
- Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time. Pests don’t discriminate between people food and cat food. Pet dishes that have been left sitting out are enticing for all kinds of insects and rodents.
- Have a proper outdoor drainage system. Installing gutters or repairing an existing system will help draw water and moisture away from your home, preventing any leaks or build up that might attract pests.
More on black widows: http://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/s…
Black widow spider bites are less common and more severe than other spider bites. Dr. Parada explains the symptoms in detail.
Although these ants usually nest outside, they will forage indoors in large numbers in cooler temperatures or after rainfall. Inside, crazy ants usually nest underneath floors or carpeting, inside wall voids and soffits.
Crazy ants can become a problem when they infest a home or another structure for a couple of reasons:
- Extremely large colonies resulting in massive infestations which can be difficult to treat, often requiring multiple treatments. Colonies may grow to about 1 million.
- These ants also have an odd propensity to nest in electrical boxes and around electrical equipment, causing short – outs and electrical equipment failure.
Hulett Environmental offers the following prevention tips for homeowners to help guard against termites:
- Carefully inspect the perimeter of the home for mud tubes and rotting wood.
- Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and check it for pests before bringing it indoors.
- Divert water away from the home through properly functioning downspouts and gutters.
For more information on termites, please visit www.bugs.com
When you hire a GreenPro provider we want to ensure that you receive the best service and have the highest level of confidence that all individuals sent to your home or business have met stringent criteria that go far beyond state and federal requirements. To guarantee this level of quality, GreenPro requires member companies to meet high standards that include:
- Perform criminal background checks on all employees.
- Comply with the toughest green standards.
- Employ highly trained, credentialed employees.
- Offer a clear, easy-to-understand warranty and termite service agreement.
- Maintain an up-to-date insurance policy.
- Advertise truthfully and ethically.
- Check employee references and driving history.
- Maintain a drug-free workplace.
- Require a professional dress code and service vehicle maintenance and appearance policy.
In addition, when providing a green pest management service, your GreenPro certified technician will develop a plan to precisely manage pests in your home and business in accordance with our rigorous third-party standards. GreenPro companies will:
- Provide green pest management training and testing for all sales persons and technicians selling or providing green services.
- Designate a manager that must attend a comprehensive green training program and whom is responsible for ensuring that the company is complying with GreenPro standards.
- Create a unique partnership with you to determine the best and most responsible way to solve your pest problems.
- Inspect and monitor the structure being serviced.
- Eliminate sources of food, water and shelter that pests need to survive.
- Follow guidelines to treat in and around your structure using the least invasive measures to manage your problem, while minimizing or eliminating the need to use pesticides.
- Only make traditional pesticide applications after discussing the options with you and getting your consent.
- Document all actions taken to accurately identify solutions that work for you.
- To ensure GreenPro companies are complying with program standards, member companies are audited by independent auditors.
Article By tnordlie
The UF/IFAS mosquito team has captured headlines yet again, this time with advice on combatting local populations of container-inhabiting mosquitoes.
Roxanne Connelly, a professor with UF/IFAS’ Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory and president of the American Mosquito Control Association, recently took to the keyboard and wrote a column published by the Gainesville Sun on Saturday, June 22.
The column, timed to coincide with National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, explains how residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes in their neighborhoods, by emptying and eliminating sources of standing water.
Florida is home to about a dozen species of container-inhabiting mosquitoes, which use small bodies of standing water as nesting sites. They include notorious disease-spreading species such as Culex nigripalpus (seen above), a significant human health threat.
You can read the full column here.