Pests are adaptable and will always seek shelter. Most times the shelter is in our homes and businesses. Homeowners who do not pest proof their homes are taking a real chance. Pests are always drawn to conducive conditions. Unfortunately, the warmth, shelter and food found in our homes are just irresistible to pests, especially in winter moths.
Although some homeowners may have higher pest tolerance than others, pests can create major havoc inside a home, ultimately creating a dangerous and potentially costly situation for a homeowner. People who decide against pest proofing for the winter could be unintentionally creating prime conditions for property-damaging pests like termites to surface in the spring.
Hulett Environmental Services recommends the following steps to pest proof your home:
- Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of your home including areas where utilities and pipes enter your home. Frequent vacuuming can help to eliminate tiny pests that other pests feed on.
- Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
- Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
- Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
- Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
- Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.
- Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
- A licensed and qualified pest control professional is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.
While it’s normal to see bats, spiders and other creatures invade your front doorstep on Halloween in the form of trick-or-treaters or spooky décor, Hulett Environmental Services advises people to be on the lookout for real-life ghoulish pests this fall.
Halloween is a fun celebration of all things creepy and crawly, but it also serves as a reminder that actual pest infestations can cause quite the fright. The spirit of this spooky holiday, we are reminding homeowners to take preventative measures to keep pests from taking up residence indoors.
Here’s a guide to some common critters that may spook homeowners this fall, along with tips to prevent them from turning the home into a haunted house.
Rats – One of the most reviled pests, rats can contaminate food, spread dangerous diseases and create fire hazards by chewing through electrical wires. Before homeowners bring boxes of pumpkins and faux cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, they should inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings.
Spiders – Some species of spiders, mainly the brown recluse and black widow, can administer a painful bite when disturbed. Homeowners can avoid coming in contact with spiders by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time and shaking out shoes before wearing them.
Bed bugs – Bed bugs are similar to vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. These elusive pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin. Before dressing up in a costume that came from a rental or second-hand store, make sure to inspect it for bed bugs.
Hulett Environmental Services offers some additional tips to prevent a pest infestation this Halloween season:
- Seal cracks and crevices around the home’s exterior using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
- Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed.
- If you see signs of an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.
Where Do Ants hide?
It’s probably not a surprise the kitchen is considered a favorite ant hangout. In addition to food access, the sink provides a water source that ants need to survive. If you’re lax about immediately cleaning up crumbs and spills, you may be inviting ants in. Here are a few tips to keep ants out of the kitchen:
- Store sweet staples like sugar, syrup and honey in plastic containers that snap shut, and wipe them down to remove any sticky residue. You can also place a bay leaf inside canisters of dry goods like flour to keep the ants out. The herb’s pungent scent repels ants and other common pantry pests.
- Clean up grease spills from countertops and floors as soon as they happen.
- Any empty juice or soda containers should be rinsed out before recycling or throwing away. And, make sure to take the trash out regularly.
- Check the fruit bowl – any over ripe fruit will attract ants.
- Keep an eye out for water buildup in the sink and leaks around the faucet.
- If you have pets, be sure to pick up any leftover food and wash the bowls regularly.
Areas around the house with excess moisture are known to attract ants, so bathrooms are highly susceptible to an infestation. Carpenter ants, for example, often build nests in damp areas like behind bathroom tiles or under sinks. To prevent an infestation in the bathroom, homeowners should:
- Occasionally, inspect sinks, toilets and tubs for any leaks or drips.
- Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning by scrubbing the floors with disinfectant cleaner, and wiping down the inside of drawers with warm soapy water.
- Check to ensure shampoo, lotion and soap bottles are secured and no contents have spilled out of their containers.
Other Common Hideouts
Ants can easily find a way indoors through even the tiniest cracks, so other areas of the home are also common hideouts. The NPMA survey revealed ants are also found in the following areas:
- Inside walls (73%)
- Bedrooms (61%)
- Living rooms (60%)
- Basements (54%)
- Air conditioning and heating units (37%)
Most homeowners strive for that perfect lush green lawn and landscaping with bright green tropical plants. It is a time consuming and labor intensive process which leave you frustrated when it is ruined by bugs and insects. South Florida is home to several bugs that not only do damage to your lawn, but pose health and safety risks as well. It’s essential you get your lawn treated from alawn pest control professional to ensure your family’s safety and preserve your hard work.
Fire Ants are a common insect in South Florida that can attack humans and pets. They not only attack, but with force with hundreds and sometimes thousands in a colony. According to a University of South Florida publication there are several varieties of fire ants that thrive in the warm climate of South Florida. One variety is a mound building type that can wreak havoc on your landscaping building mounds up to 18 inches in diameter. It is essential that you get your lawn treated when you first see these ants or before to prevent a colony from forming.
Grasshoppers are a common outdoor insect that most homeowners don’t think of as a pest. In some areas their population can become out of control and they do severe damage to common landscaping plants. They constantly feed on green vegetation and often times the plants you cherish and maintain on a regular basis.
There are two types of whiteflies in southern Florida which affect a variety of trees and plants including ficus, palms and some fruit trees. Symptoms of an infestation include a large number of small white-colored flies, discolored leaves or an excessive amount of fallen leaves or branches. Treatment for these is necessary as they not only damage your landscaping but can affect your outdoor pool and ponds.
If you are concerned about your lawn or have an existing pest problem contact us at 866-611-2847 or online to schedule your free lawn analysis and receive a $50.00 coupon
Look Inside a Massive Hornets’ Nest: A group of European hornets conveniently built its nest on Reddit user Redararis‘ house, giving YouTube a safe view inside.
A new paper has found bat-eating spiders exist on every continent except Antarctica, with bats falling prey more often than expected.
Though bats are typically preyed on by vertebrates (with hawks, snakes and owls their most common predators), there are some invertebrate species quite partial to the taste of bat. We’ve previously written about the giant Venezuelan centipede Scolopendra gigantea, which hangs from cave ceilings and snatches bats as they pass. However, spiders eating bats was thought to be quite rare.
When two recent studies both reported spiders having bat for dinner, researchers wondered if this behavior was more common than suspected. After analysis of over 100 years worth of reports, together with interviews from bat and spider researchers, they found over 50 cases worldwide of spider attacks on bats.
90% of these attacks happened in habitats around the equator and 40% occurred in the neotropics (South America and tropical regions of North America). Interestingly it wasn’t just web-spinning spiders – 12% of attacks were by spiders such as huntsmen and tarantulas, which forage rather than make webs. In one case, a fishing spider was seen attempting to kill an immature bat (though it was scared off by photographers).
The authors point out that bat captures are likely still rare. It’s probable bats can detect webs using their echolocation abilities and even if a bat does fly into a web, only the strongest webs can take the impact without breaking. Unsurprisingly smaller bats are more vulnerable to spider web entanglement (and in some cases, it was exhaustion and dehydration resulting from this entanglement that killed bats rather than direct spider attacks).
To read the paper: http://bit.ly/13Z3QwT
Photo: A small bat entangled in the web of a Nephila pilipes spider in Australia. The spider appeared to be feeding on the dead bat. Credit to Carmen Fabro.
Information on Lawn Pests
Looking for information on lawn pests in Florida? You have found the right place on the web! Most homeowners in Florida take pride in maintaining their gardens and landscapes. But healthy landscapes can bring certain Florida bugs, and these pests feed on plants and grass. Unless protective pest control measures are taken, various outdoor invaders can do extensive damage to your yard and garden.
Chinch bugs are seriously damaging to St Augustine and other turf grass species. They suck the plant juices through their needle-like beak and can also cause other internal injuries to the grass, which can result in yellowish and brown patches in lawns. These affected areas are frequently noticed first along concrete or asphalt-paved edges, or in water-stressed areas where the grass is growing in full sun.
Aphids and whitefly feed on vegetable plantings, ornamentals and tender plant parts such as grass shoots, sucking out essential fluids. Aphids and scale excrete a sweet substance known as honeydew that attracts ants and forms a sticky coating on leaves. The honeydew can form a fungus called “sooty mold,” which can make leaves, especially on ornamentals, look black and dirty. Aphids can also transmit plant viruses to their food plants, which can cause the plant to die. These pests, as well as chinch bugs, are particularly prevalent throughout the spring months.
During fall and winter, mites and scale are common. Scale insects live in the soil and suck the juices from the grass roots of turf grass; they can also be harmful to ornamental plants. Symptoms attributed to scale insects include yellowing of the grass, followed by browning; scale damage becomes most noticeable when the grass is under stress due to drought, nutritional deficiencies and other afflictions. Ordinarily not a pest in well-managed lawns, mites are known to attack grasses. They suck the sap and cause leaves to appear blotched and stippled, and severe infestations can also kill plants.
Some of these pests are especially damaging since they are literally born and raised on lawn turf grass in the surrounding soil. Sod webworms eat various grasses as larvae and continue doing so as adults. Others, like mole crickets, destroy lawns by tunneling through the soil near the lawn’s surface, which loosens the soil so that the grass is often uprooted and dies due to the drying out of the root system. They also feed on grass roots, causing thinning of the turf, eventually resulting in bare soil. Mole crickets are common when the temperatures are the warmest and rainfall and humidity is high. They can also be found in and around your home in dark, damp places.
Slugsandsnails often move about on lawns and may injure adjacent plants. They are night feeders and leave mucous trails on plants and sidewalks. Plaster bagworms, close relatives of the clothes moth, are often found in sheds and garages.
Do you live in Florida and have a lawn pest problem in your landscape? Hulett Environmental Services offers custom designed lawn care treatments to control and prevent these pests!