All posts by Randy Hulett

Avoiding Bed Bug Nightmares

Avoiding Bed Bug NightmaresIt’s been a couple of years since bedbugs made the national news, but the problem with these pests is far from solved. Bedbugs are still problematic for apartment dwellers, hotel stayers and even homeowners.

What Are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are tiny, flat, parasitic bugs. They burrow into bedding and upholstered furniture (hence their name) and come out only at night to feed. They will target the exposed skin of any other living creature, though humans are the most common targets because of where the bugs live and lay their eggs.

Do You Have Bedbugs? How to Tell?

The most obvious way to tell if you have bedbugs is to wake up and find one crawling around. You might also wake up and find that you’ve got insect bites. Your face, neck, arms and legs are the most common places to find them, but they can be on any part of your body.

Unfortunately, according to the CDC, it can take a couple of weeks for a bite to actually show up. Bedbugs can also go a few weeks without eating. This is why it is important to regularly inspect your home to see if you can find traces of these insects.

How to Find Bedbugs

Look through your sheets and bedding for exoskeletons that have been shed as the bedbugs grew. These exoskeleton shells are typically light brown.

  • After a bedbug feeds, it will typically leave bloodstains behind on your bedding.
  • You might also find dark colored fecal stains (these often get mistaken for the fecal stains of other pets).

The best places to look for these things include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Your own bedding. Look at your sheets and blankets.
  • Inspect your mattresses for signs of infestation: run your finger along all of the seams and check for breaks or holes.
  • Check out your dresser and table drawers. Make sure you pull these pieces out from the wall and inspect their backs.
  • Go over all of your upholstered furniture carefully, checking seams, cracks, and tufts.

Keeping Bedbugs from Infesting in the First Place

Over the summer, we have published an article called “How to Check for Bedbugs” that teaches readers how to do exactly that while they are traveling. One of the things mentioned in this article is the importance of working to keep from tracking the bedbugs in. After you get back from taking a trip, inspect your luggage thoroughly outside before you take it into your house.

It’s good to do this even if your trip is to a friend or family member’s house. Remember: bedbugs can happen anywhere! You might also like this video that goes into more depth on the subject.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs—Hire a Professional!

Unfortunately, simply keeping your home clean isn’t enough to keep bedbugs from invading. Remember, these bugs have been found even in pristine, almost sterile five star resorts. To make matters worse, bedbugs are typically billed as the “non-DIY” pest.

Basically, if you find one bedbug you are likely already infested and sadly, there isn’t anything that you can do yourself to get rid of them. Unlike fleas or lice there aren’t any “at-home” products you can buy to rid your home of these creatures. Laundering all of your clothing and bedding might help you feel better but it won’t keep the bugs from furthering their infestation.

The only way to truly eradicate bedbugs once they’ve set up shop is to hire a professional exterminator to get rid of the pests for you. The good news is that since the banning of DDT, most of the products that exterminators use to rid your home of bedbugs are environmentally responsible.

Don’t waste time – if you find one, get to work inspecting and contact us to keep these pests from taking over completely!

Note: Although DIY tips can be useful, they can also be ineffective and potentially very dangerous! It’s always advised that, when in doubt, you seek out the help of a certified professional such as Hulett Environmental Services to take care of any pest issues you may have.

How to Keep Your Home Rodent-Free This Winter

Keeping your home pest free is hard enough during the warm months when those critters have just as much interest in the outdoors as they do in the treasure trove that is your house. During the winter, when their primary instinct is to try to stay warm, keeping rodents and other pests out of your home can feel almost impossible. You might even be tempted to just give up and accept that you’ve got some new roommates.

How to Keep Your Home Rodent-Free This Winter

Earlier this year, we published a great list for keeping pests like insects out of your home. There are a lot of great tips here for making sure your home is safe from the creatures that seem to be able to traverse even the tiniest foundation cracks, but what about the “big kids?” What about rodents?

How Do They Get In?

According to an article in the New York Times, mice in particular can usually squeeze through spaces that are just slightly larger than the average pencil, like the space between the pipes delivering water and evacuating sewage and the walls of your foundation and house.

Other larger animals take advantage of entryways like dog/cat doors and unscreened doors that are left open (like when you’re unloading groceries from the car) and windows that get propped open to allow some fresh air into the home.

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

The simple truth is that you cannot watch every single potential entryway into your home every minute of the day. Rodents are quick and often subtle. You often don’t even know they’re there until you start noticing signs of destruction or seeing droppings.

Take some time to go through your home from the literal top to the literal bottom, both inside and out. Look for holes and cracks and do your best to plug them up. The aforementioned New York Times article says to plug the small gaps between the walls and pipes with steel wool, and we couldn’t agree more. Put solid weather stripping around your doors, especially on the bottoms. Fill any holes you find, caulk any cracks, etc.

What If They Get in Anyway?

Even though you love all creatures big and small (even the ones that skeeve you out), that doesn’t mean you have to surrender your home to them when they are cold or if they are causing destruction to your property. There are a lot of ways to discourage rodents from taking up residence in your home that don’t involve you having to worry about your karma.

Effective and Environmentally Reliable Tactics

One of the best things you can do to discourage rodents that want to get into your house is to use Bounce Dryer Sheets in cracks and to put them under the pipes in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Rodents do not like the smell of that product in particular and will likely turn around and seek friendlier smelling homesteads.

Other great ways to discourage rodents that might be seeking food and refuge include:

  • Keeping food items (including those that are boxed or bagged) up and off the floor and in tightly sealed containers.
  • Keep your garbage in a metal garbage can that has a lid that can be kept sealed tightly all the time.
  • Seal up any grains and/or pet food in containers that have hard to open lids.

You can find a bunch of other great tips in one of our previous articles.

Note: Although DIY tips can be useful, they can also be ineffective and potentially very dangerous! It’s always advised that, when in doubt, you seek out the help of a certified professional such as Hulett Environmental Services to take care of any pest issues you may have.

How Pest Control in West Palm Beach can Help Maintain A Pest Free Home

Pest Control in West Palm BeachOne of the best ways to keep your home free from pests or any type of infestation is prevention. Prevention is so important because even if all pests are exterminated using treatment, they may return if the initial cause of the problem is not addressed. By learning more about protecting your home against pest invasion with Pest Control in West Palm Beach, it should be possible to maintain peace of mind.

Eliminate Cracks in the Foundation

Cracks in the foundation or open windows are basically an invitation for a plethora of insects to take up residence in your home. Many insects will live in between the screen and glass of your window. Periodically clean out this space and caulk up visual cracks observed on the outside of your home.

Fix Leaks

Insects require a certain level of moisture to survive. This is why they are so akin to living in basements, where the humidity tends to be higher than in other areas of the home. Fixing leaks and installing a dehumidifier are both excellent ways to decrease the level of humidity.

Routinely Have Preventative Treatments Applied to the Home Exterior

Having a professional West Palm Beach pest control company routinely apply treatments to the exterior of your home can prevent invasive and often costly infestations. According to Best Pick Reports, “If you’re looking at preventative measures, have a less urgent pest situation, or have a pest problem outside of the home, such as mosquitoes, an outdoor service plan is the recommended method of keeping those unwanted bugs and wildlife away from your home and out of your yard.”

Take the time to contact us at Hulett Environmental Services if you have any questions about pest control in West Palm Beach.

Pest Control Pros in Fort Pierce, Florida Discuss Argentine Ants

Pest Control in Fort PierceArgentine ants are one of the many remarkable creatures that our pest control pros in Fort Pierce, Florida encounter. Perhaps you’ve read about the ants’ super colonies in periodicals like Scientific American and Molecular Ecology. The creatures have received such press over the years for several reasons, including those related to their behavior. It is that behavior that has categorically made them one of Fort Pierce, Florida’s most inexhaustible, defiant invaders to date.

The ants are believed to have migrated here from South America in the first half of the 20th century. Since their arrival, they have adapted to North America’s weather, landscape, food sources and pesticides in an amazing manner. They’ve also managed to run off their competitors and decimate populations of other animals (i.e. lizards). As such, they have truly established a reputation for being a tiny pest capable of creating problems of larger-than-life proportions. That’s why any encounter with them warrants immediate pest control in Fort Pierce, Florida.

The Argentine ants multiply quickly, can travel great distances and tend to grow up to 1/10-inch in length. They’ll also eat just about any human or pet food imaginable. In some instances, they’ve even been known to feed on sewage, carrion, household and industrial refuse.

When it comes to nesting sites, they tend to like setting up shop in the damp soil located underneath of stilt houses. However, other areas are fair game as well. Common places that our Fort Pierce pest control pros have found Argentine ant nests include unkempt flower beds, water damaged wood and household water closets. The pests often enter those areas by following electrical lines, plumbing fixtures and pipes.

To learn more about pest control in Fort Pierce, Florida, please contact us at (866) 611-2847. We help Floridians evict Argentine ants and other pests from their homes year round.

Give Your Family the Gift of Termite Control in West Palm Beach

During the next two months, many South Florida residents will be making lots of plans and enjoying the holidays. Of course in all of that seasonal excitement, it is very easy to forget about termite control in West Palm Beach. That’s why we wanted to remind everyone that now is a great time to establish or renew annual termite protection plans.

Remember, although termite activity may slow down in the cooler months it doesn’t end completely. As such, any termite colonies that may exist in a person’s home or on thier property will continue to feed and do damage. So everyone should continue to be on the lookout for signs of an infestation. Those signs include the presence of bubbling paint, mud tubes, hollow wood sounds and piles of frass.

In addition to eating, the termites will also undoubtedly be preparing for their spring swarming rituals. That’s usually about the time they start looking for more space to accommodate their growing population. Therefore, setting up an annual termite protection plan now may just help minimize the colony’s warm weather expansion.

At Hulett Environmental Services, our assortment of annual protection plans collectively cover damage by three different types of termites. Those types include subterranean termites, Formosan termites and drywood termites. All three types eat cellulose but have variations in behavior.

Because of that, each annual protection plan will obviously vary based on the type of termite involved. However, all of the new plans traditionally start with a free termite inspection. Depending on the plan, South Floridians may also be eligible to receive a complimentary perimeter spay and a $1,000,000 damage warranty.

For more information on annual termite control in West Palm Beach, please contact us at (866) 611-2847. Our team would be delighted to explain each plan in detail and arrange for an initial site inspection.

West Palm Beach Florida Pest Control Pros Can Send White-Footed Ants Packing

West Palm Beach Florida Pest ControlIn certain parts of the world, some people are strapping on their snow boots right about now and heading for the hills. Of course our West Palm Beach pest control pros know that this is not the case in South Florida. The only creatures that appear to be wearing snow covered boots in the Sunshine State are white-footed ants. Considered to be an Old World species, white-footed ants have been a part of the Sunshine State’s landscape since the 1980s. However, they didn’t make their way to South Florida until the 2000s.

They feature 3mm long, dark colored bodies and strikingly white tarsi. Hence, that’s how they came to be called white-footed ants. They also have one other bizarre feature. They give off a fruit scent when you accidentally step on one. Perhaps that odd odor may be partially attributed to their diet. It typically consists of honeydew melons and plant nectars. At this point, no one knows for certain whether that’s why their corpses smell like fruit or not.

Although it is not unusual, another white-footed ant attribute worth mentioning is their colony demographics. In most instances, the colonies contain a very large number of females that are capable of bearing a substantial amount of offspring. Thus, they can be quiet hard to handle without the aid of a West Palm Beach Florida pest control professional.

Our West Palm Beach pest control team knows that white-footed ants’ nesting sites vary. However, they tend to be particularly fond of wall voids in a kitchen or bathroom area. That’s apparently because it puts them in close proximity to food and water. We should also note that attics, dead vegetation and clogged rain gutter systems have been known to harbor colonies as well.

For more information on white-footed ants and how West Palm Beach Florida pest control pros can help send them packing, please contact us at (866) 611-2847.

Palm Beach Pest Control Pros Reveal Thief Ants’ M.O.

Palm Beach Pest ControlOver the years, Floridians have seen their share of crime dramas. Some have featured nefarious ne’er-do-wells of epic proportions. Others have had casts of characters whose shadows were no bigger than 1/32 of an inch. Those are the ones that our Palm Beach pest control pros have busted on more than one occasion.

Yes, we are referring to South Florida’s little incorrigibles, the thief ants. Known for their tiny frames, these ants have a penchant for home invasions and greasy grub. They’ve also been known to impersonate and steal from their fellow ants. So it’s safe to say that there is no loyalty among multi-legged thieves.

The ants typically sport yellow, two-segmented bodies and a stinger. They also tend to grow no bigger than 1/16-inch in length. So it is not uncommon to find them lurking in areas too small for other creatures to inhabit. Some of the places where they have previously sought refuge from our Palm Beach pest control pros are masonry cracks and the hollow cavities of walls.

It is also worth noting that each year the thieves swarm from early summer to late fall. During that time, they are looking for mates, ill-gotten homes and food. As such, South Floridians should keep a watchful eye out for the diminutive criminals while the weather is still warm. Signs of infestation often include trails of ants near a home’s electrical outlets or grease traps.

Once the thief ants find a good hide out, they tend to stick around awhile. Each nest usually has multiple queens, whose offspring are capable of reaching maturity in approximately two month’s time. When they do reach maturity, they join the others in a life of crime.

Would you like to learn more about the notorious thief ants, including how to end their crime spree? If so, please contact our Palm Beach pest control pros online or toll-free at (866) 611-2847.

Reasons Why Termite Control in West Palm Beach is Needed Year Round

Termite Control in West Palm BeachMany people mistakenly believe that termites hibernate during the winter months. The truth is that while colder weather can slow these creatures down, they nonetheless remain active, even during the winter months. As a result, termite control in West Palm Beach could be needed at any time of year if you are to combat these creatures.

Termites live in colonies deep within the soil, where they will constantly be looking for new sources of food. Although they move somewhat slower during the winter months, they nonetheless remain active in finding wood to digest. In some parts of the country, their movement is greatly restricted because the soil is frozen; however, here in West Palm Beach, that is rarely a deterrent for these creatures.

Termites often become active in stacks of firewood during the winter, which means it could be easy for you to bring them into your home if you have a wood-burning fireplace. Likewise, if you are storing old magazines or newspapers to help get your fire going, termites could easily take up residence in these piles as well.

Your home could have been infested with termites long before winter arrived. If so, the fact that it is a little bit colder outside won’t change the fact that you are already infested. In fact, you could just start noticing swarming activity taking place, or see remnants of the wings these creatures have shed while making their way through your house. Their indoor activity will not necessarily be slowed down during the colder season, as they will be able to benefit from the heat that’s already present on the inside.

Even if you don’t see signs of a termite infestation, it can still be a good idea to have regular inspections performed in order to catch problems early on. For a free consultation, contact us.

South Florida Exterminators can Conquer Pharaoh Ant Empires

South Florida ExterminatorsMonomorium pharaonis is the scientific name for one of South Florida’s more interesting pests. However, most people just refer to the creatures as pharaoh ants. Like the humans that they share a moniker with, these 1/12-inch long formicidae have been around for centuries. They have also been the target of our South Florida exterminators.

South Florida exterminator lore has it that the pharaoh ants got their name because of an erroneous connection to ancient Egypt’s insect plagues. Although these African natives didn’t participate in the plague, it doesn’t mean that they are not trouble with a capital T.

Pharaoh ants love to nest in hot, humid enclosed areas. So that makes them exceptionally fond of South Florida. Hot, humid homes are not their only nesting spots either. These South Florida pests have a penchant for medical facilities as well.

When they do infest medical facilities, it is not uncommon to see them drinking from blood plasma bags, IV bags or the mouths of sleeping humans. What makes such situations even more disturbing is that the ants are also known carriers of diseases. Some of the diseases connected to South Florida’s pharaoh ant population are streptococcus, salmonella and staphylococcus.

To add to the problem, once the pharaoh ants establish a nest, their numbers can grow quickly. Perhaps that is why they were once falsely associated with the plagues. How quickly can they reproduce? Well, each female, of which there may be more than 100 per nest, is capable of producing 400 eggs at a time. Those eggs are capable of turning into additional females in less than 40 days. So in as little as two months, a South Florida dwelling can literally become overrun with pharaohs.

The good news is that our South Florida exterminators know how to bring the pharaohs’ reign to a swift conclusion. To learn more about how they accomplish such a challenging feat, please contact us at (866) 611-2847.