How Can I Tell If I Have Cockroaches or Palmetto Bugs?

cockroachIf you are worried if you have cockroaches or palmetto bugs, the answer is that you have both. Palmetto bug is another name for the American cockroach. American cockroaches are different from the cockroaches that you usually see in your home. They are larger and can grow up to one and half inches in length. They tend to be a deeper reddish brown than the German cockroaches. Generally, the American cockroaches are outside roaches that will come in when the weather begins to get cooler. Another common name for American roaches is water bugs.

How Do American Cockroaches Get Inside My Home?

You may notice more American cockroaches in your home after a rainstorm. Too much water can drive them out of their hiding places and seeking higher ground. If you are noticing an invasion and it has not been raining a lot, you will need to track down how they are getting in your home. These roaches will crawl up trees and drop onto your roof and then come in through the vents in your roof. You can prevent this from happening by trimming back any tree branches that hang over your roof. You may also want to check around your door and install weather stripping to keep these roaches out of your home.

What Types of Cockroaches Cause the Most Issues?

There are actually five types of cockroaches in Virginia.  The most common types that cause infestations in your home are German cockroaches which are small and light brown. They tend to be found in your kitchen because they enjoy eating foods like sugar and meats. They will not survive cold weather or outdoors. Oriental cockroaches are another common indoor roach. They need to be near a water source and are more likely to be found around your plumbing or in sewers. They can be more difficult to kill because the pesticides will wash off them because of the amount of time that they spend in the water.

What Other Types of Roaches Are in Virginia?

Two other types of roaches are the brownbanded roaches that look different from German cockroaches because they have stripes that run across their body, while the stripes on the German cockroaches run down the length of the body. These can also be found inside of a home. The last type is the wood roach. These roaches rarely come inside and are usually found in the forest. If you find this type of roach inside the home, you do not need to worry because they do not start infestations inside a home.


Protect Your Home from Termites

termite-in-woodTermites will swarm in the spring. This means that you should take steps to protect your home in the spring. Many of these steps will help you to protect your home throughout the rest of the year. Termites can cause thousands of dollars in damage before you even realize that you have any issues with termites. Here are some steps you can take to protect your home.

Schedule an Inspection

One of the first things you can do is to regularly check for termites. An annual termite inspection can help you catch termite damage early. Termites swarm during the spring to set up new colonies, which make the spring an excellent time for your inspection. The exterminator can easily identify any areas that have been affected by termites or give your home a clean inspection report.

Watch for Signs

It is important to be aware of the signs of termites. You may have noticed mud tubes on the exterior of your home leading up the foundation to the wood portion of your home. You may notice wood damage in your home. Termite damage causes long grooves in the wood. You may see this in the floor joists or in your attic. If your floors become squeaky that is a sign of termite damage.

Address Issues Outside

If you are worried about termites, there are several yard projects that help to prevent termites. You can clear out any dead wood or tree stumps in your yard. Another project is to replace any old sheds or decks and build new ones out of treated wood. Be sure that you do not have any mulch that is touching your foundation.

Keep Termites Out

In addition to looking around your yard for weak spots, you should examine your home. Vents need to be covered with grates that are fine enough that they stop termites from coming in. Some termites will come in through your attic and not up from the ground. Dampwood termites prefer wood that has been damaged by water, and so it is important to repair any wood that has been damaged by a leaky faucet or pipes.

Set Up Monitoring

Another option is to set up monitoring stations around your yard. These monitoring stations hold material that termites eat naturally. Technicians can check the stations quarterly. Monitoring stations allow you to check for termite activity on your property before the termites reach your home. It is very effective for subterranean termites which are common in Virginia. If activity is found in the monitoring stations, you can begin treatment to stop them from reaching your home.

Should I Pretreat My Land for Termites Before I Build on It?

pretreat home for termites while in constructionTermites can cause serious property damage in a relatively short amount of time. Many people end up with more than one termite colony in their home at a time, because the colonies will expand each spring. When you are building a home or a building for your business on property that has been home to woods, you may be looking at how you can prevent termites from eating through your new building.

What Is a Pretreatment for Termites?

Pretreatment is a treatment that is done before the building is done. The pretreatment can be done in different stages of the building. One option is to treat the soil that the concrete slab is going to be built on. You can also treat the concrete itself and any gravel or infill that is put back into the area. The pretreatment works the same way a termite treatment does and creates a barrier that will keep the termites out.

How Long Does a Termite Pretreatment Last?

A pretreatment will last for up to five years, but the length of the effectiveness depends on how damp your soil is—the wetter it is the shorter the period that it is effective, which means if you have an exceptionally wet year or two, it may shorten how long the pretreatment will be effective. It also depends on the different treatments were applied.

How Can I Request a Termite Pretreatment?

Your exterminator can work with your builder to determine the correct time to complete the treatments. The treatments may also depend on the condition of the property before you began building. With proper scheduling, the pretreatments will not need to cut into your timeline of the build.

What Else Can I Do to Prevent Termites?

There are a few more things that you can do as a property is being built to prevent termites in the future. The first is to remove all existing wood from the area where you are building, this includes removing the stumps may be underground. This removes potential food sources that may attract termites to your property. Any wood that touches the ground needs to be treated for termites. This is especially important for wood for your deck since that is attached to your home. Finally encapsulating your crawlspace when your home is built can add an extra layer of protection against termites. This can also save you on your cooling and heating bills.

Can My Child Bring Bed Bugs Home from School?

child-backpackBed bugs are one of the growing nightmares that many U.S. residents. Even though they were once nearly eradicated in the United States they have made a huge comeback in the United States in the last twenty years. Most people associate bed bugs with travel, but that is only one of the places you can pick up bed bugs.

Schools have actually become one of the places where you can pick up bed bugs. Children who have a bed bug infestation at home will inadvertently bring the bed bugs to school inside of their backpacks. Once the bed bugs get to school, they will spread out throughout the school. They can also move from one backpack to another. If they ride home in another child’s backpack, they will begin an infestation at that home.  Bed bug eggs can hatch in just six days and begin feeding right away.

How Can I Stop Bed Bugs from Coming Home with My Child?

This is a difficult situation because it is not overly common. However, once it starts at a school it can quickly become a problem. Schools have banned backpacks at school while they are trying to deal with an infestation and to stop it from spreading. If you hear someone mention bed bugs in the carpool line or at a school event, you may want to consider not using a backpack.

What Should I Do If My Child’s School Reports an Issues with Bed Bugs?

The first thing is to not to panic. If the school has an issue with bed bugs there will be a plan in place to identify the source of the issue and to stop the spread. Be sure to follow any instructions that the school gives. You will likely want to stop sending a backpack to school. Bed bug infestations need to be severe to have your child bring bed bugs home in their clothes, but you can check them when they come home. Drying the clothing on high heat will kill any bugs that may be in them.

Do I Need to Worry About Bed Bugs for My Child at Boarding School or in the Dorm?

This is actually a growing problem in dorms. The schools should have a protocol in place, but you need to be careful when your children come home for breaks or for the summer. Check their suitcases and consider treating them and all their clothing, either by freezing them for several days or running everything through on high heat.

How Do I Prevent Mice from Getting in My House?

ratsAt one time or another, mice may be a problem that most homeowners may have to deal with. There are steps that you can take to prevent rodents from getting into your home. If you have recently noticed rodents in your home, you may want to take these steps. However, it is a good idea to complete these steps every year to stop any problems before they start.

Make Sure Mice Are Not Attracted to Your Home

According to the article What Attracts Mice to Your Home?, mice come into your home looking for food and shelter. They want an easy source of water and food. If you can store your food in your sealed containers, it is less likely that the mice will get into your home. Taking the garbage out on a regular basis will also eliminate the things that attract the mice to your home. Clearing out any clutter will also help prevent mice since it will be more difficult for people to hide.

Do an Inspection of the Exterior of Your Home

In addition to clearing out your home of things that may attract mice, you should take the time inspect the exterior or your home at least once a year. There are several areas that you need to check to make sure that rodents and other animals cannot get in.

  • Check the foundation of your home. As you walk around the exterior of your home, check where the foundation meets the siding of your home. Look for any weakened or rotted areas that would be easy for a rodent to chew a hole into. Repair any of these areas. Mice and other animals may take advantage of weakness caused by termites, and you will need to repair that to avoid future issues.
  • Check your crawl space if you have one. In addition to the foundation, you should visually check your crawl space if possible. The rodents may be making nests under your home and then crawling up inside of your home in search of food. Some crawl spaces make it easy to check, while others are more difficult. If you can check, you may be able to quickly identify the problem.
  • Check pipes leading into your home. If there have been any leaks, it weakens the wood and makes it easy for the animals to get in. Repair the wood around the pipes and install deterrents like steel wool or traps to prevent the animals from getting in again.
  • Look at your roof. If branches are hanging over the roof, you should trim them back. Be sure that each vent has a grate or screen over it that will keep rodents and other insects out. If you can see holes under your eaves protect them. Repairing any loose shingles will also protect your home.

Schedule a Professional Inspection

If you have completed this inspection and you are still having troubles, you may want to call a professional to have another set of eyes that can identify where the mice are getting in. An exterminator can help you clear up the problem and install exclusion barriers to prevent rodents getting in again.


Diseases that Rodents Carry

ratsThere are many issues that rodents can cause when they invade your home. They can damage your property, but according to the article Dangers of a Rodent Infestation, one of the biggest issues is the diseases that rodents can spread either through their feces or through direct contact. Here are some of the most common diseases and their symptoms.

  1. Hantavirus

Hantavirus is a deadly disease. It is found in the urine and feces that mice leave behind. People catch this disease when they inhale the dried urine. This usually happens when cleaning up after a rodent infestation which is why it is important to wear a mask and gloves when cleaning up after rodents. Symptoms include tiredness and muscle aches in the hips and backs. After the initial symptoms, the patient will have trouble breathing as their lungs fill with fluid. This has a mortality rate of nearly forty percent.

  1. Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is also spread by inhaling the dried urine and feces of mice. It can be passed from person to person. Signs of the disease include tired ness and a mild fever. However, it can become more serious and lead to hemorrhaging, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Some people will go deaf after contracting the disease. Women who contract this when pregnant have a much higher mortality rate with the disease.

  1. Plague

The plague can be spread through a flea that is infected or from direct contact with the infected animal. Symptoms of the plague vary by the type that you contract. There may be large swelling of the lymph nodes, or the hands or feet may turn black or the patient may have trouble breathing. There are medications that can treat the disease. This is not a disease that you wait to see if it will get better, you should seek medical treatment right away.

  1. Salmonellosis

This is a common illness that is spread by rodents and other pests. This is an illness that can give you abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea. You may also vomit. There may be blood in the diarrhea. Usually it will develop within three days of exposure and it can last up to a week.  It can lead to typhoid fever and other issues. This often resolves on its own, but it is important to make sure the patient stays hydrated while they are suffering from it.

  1. Tularemia

Tularemia is a bacterium that can be spread by handling the animals or by ingesting contaminated food or water. The disease may act differently depending on how you were exposed to it. It can cause a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes or even pneumonia with difficulty breathing and chest pains. It can also cause ulcers on your hands if you caught it by touching an animal or being bitten.

3 Common Termites in the United States

termitesThere are three basic types of termites in the United States. Termites can destroy a home as they eat their way through the wood inside of it. The type of termites you need to worry about may be based on the area of the country that you live. Here are the three basic types found in the United States.

Subterranean Termite

The Eastern subterranean termites are termites that are found primarily underground in the Eastern part of the United States, According to “Eastern Subterranean Termites,” these termites will make their nests outside underground. They will tunnel from their nests to the food source or into your house. When crawling up your foundation to the wood in your home, they will create mud tubes to protect themselves. They will only eat spring wood or along the grain. As the food runs out the entire colony may move onto another area and build a new nest. Other types of subterranean termites can be found throughout the United States.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are commonly found along the Pacific coast, but they are also found throughout the United States. They can also cause problems in the southwest deserts and in Florida. The dampwood termites tend to make their homes in damp and decaying wood that can be found on the ground. They tend to eat across the grain and the wood looks neat and clean after they have eaten it. They need damp wood to thrive and so addressing leaks and plumbing issues can help you avoid issues with this type of termite.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites do not live in the soil. They will make their nests directly in the wood. They do not need damp wood to make their homes. Drywood nests are often found in the attics of homes. The main way people identify them is by noticing the fecal pellets which are about a 1 millimeter in length and hexagonal in shape. These termites can be found throughout the United States. Since these termites live in dry wood, it can be more difficult to find an infestation, unless you are regularly check your attic and other areas where they may make their home.

The best way to protect yourself from termites is to schedule annual inspections. An exterminator can quickly identify the different signs of termites and especially for the ones that are common where you are living.  Termites are a very common issue for most homeowners, but if you treat for them and repair any damages that they cause, your home value should stay the same.

Dealing with a Bed Bug Infestation

bed-bugsBed bugs can quickly multiply and bringing one or two home from a hotel can quickly turn into an infestation. Bed bugs are difficult to kill because they are resistant to many insecticides. There are a few steps that you must take when dealing with a bed bug infestation.

Identify the Problem

The first step is identifying where you have bed bugs or if you are dealing with something else like fleas. You can look for signs in your bedding and around your bed. There may be blood stains on your sheets or droppings in your bedding. It is also important to find where the nest is. They may make their nest in a very small crack.

Contact the Professionals

The easiest way to get rid of bed bugs is to call in a professional. The exterminator will be able to determine if you do have bed bugs and find any nests they bed bugs may have created. Since the bed bugs are resistant to many types of insecticide, they may choose to use heat remediation to take care of the bed bugs.

Prepare Your Home for a Treatment

You will need to take steps to prepare your home. One of the biggest steps you will need to complete is washing all of your bedding in hot water and drying them in a high heat dryer. This will kill the adult bugs, the larvae and the eggs. You may also want to check your luggage and other areas that may have been affected.

Prevent Future Infestations

Since it takes so much work to clear up a bed bug infestation, it makes sense to take what steps you can to avoid bringing them home. In the article “5 Steps to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home on Your Next Trip”, it recommends checking your hotel room when you first check in and then to take the time to check your luggage when you come home. Be careful when you buy second hand furniture since this can also bring in bed bugs.

Five Facts About Fire Ants

Fire ants are well-known in the southern United States for their fierce burning sting and the nests that they build. Anyone that was experience the sting of a fire ant does not want to experience it again. These small red ants are notorious for causing severe pain. Here are five interesting facts about fire ants.

1. Fire Ants Are Not Native to North America

Fire ants are not native to North America. They were brought to the area by boat from South America. The first state with reported issues was Alabama in the 1930s. They have proved quite invasive as they have spread throughout the southern United States. They have been identified in 18 states including as far north as Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

2. Fire Ants Like Electrical Equipment

Fire ants are the leading cause of electrical equipment. They are known to crawl into air conditioners, and other electrical items like traffic lights. When shocked by a wire, they will sting the wire and emit a chemical that will attract other ants and eventually it shorts out the equipment they have invaded. According to Wikipedia, fire ants are the leading cause of stop lights shorting out in Texas each year.

3. Fire Ants Nests Spread Out

Fire ant mounds are typically about 18 inches high and may be as big as 30 inches wide. However, the mound itself is not a good indication of how big the colony really is. The ants will enter through tunnels that can be up to 25 feet away from the nest itself. The colonies can have as many as 250,000 ants in each one.

4. Fire Ants Can Hunt and Kill Small Animals

Fire ants are omnivores which means they will eat both plants and animals. They have been known to work together to kill small animals as a source of food for their colony. When they sting they will emit a chemical that attracts other ants from the colony who will also sting. This can overwhelm a small animal.

5. Fire Ants Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Although most people just receive an itchy sting or bite, some people are allergic to red ant bites. The symptoms are similar to those of people who allergic to bee stings. If you are dizzy, having trouble breathing or your tongue is swelling, you should seek immediate medical attention.

If you have fire ants you should treat them immediately. However, since they have such large nests and tunneling systems, it can be difficult to kill off the entire colony with products from the store. It is best to contact a professional to help you treat the fire ants that you have on your property. Learn more about fire ant extermination services from EcoTek Termite and Pest Control

Hоw People Get Bed Bugѕ And Hоw Tо Gеt Rid Оf Thеm

bed bugBed bugs are one of the pests that cause great nuisance and pain to its hosts. They аrе раrаѕіtіс nocturnal insects that lіvе bу ѕuсkіng blооd frоm wаrm-blооdеd аnіmаlѕ like humans, rоdеntѕ, bіrdѕ, аnd bаtѕ. Tо dо ѕо, thеу inhabit the nеѕtѕ аnd homes оf thеіr hosts. The most соmmоn ѕресіеѕ thаt іnfеѕt humаn hоmеѕ is knоwn аѕ Cіmеx lесtulаrіuѕ. It саn be found іn all five continents of thе world. There аrе аlѕо several other ѕресіеѕ оf bеd bugѕ.

In lеѕѕ dеvеlореd раrtѕ of the world, crowded соndіtіоnѕ, аѕ well аѕ birds аnd bаtѕ lіvіng near hоmеѕ, саn increase thе incidence аnd severity of bеd bug іnfеѕtаtіоnѕ. Prіmіtіvе ѕаnіtаtіоn dоеѕ hаvе ѕоmе іndіrесt соnnесtіоn wіth thе ѕеvеrіtу оf the infestations. Hоwеvеr, it muѕt be borne іn mind thаt bеd bugѕ feed on blood аnd not dіrt and that аnу соnnесtіоn bеtwееn сlеаnlіnеѕѕ and bеd bug іnfеѕtаtіоnѕ іѕ оnlу іndіrесt.

How tо get rid оf bed bugѕ

Hаvіng these bugѕ can create a lot of рrоblеmѕ еѕресіаllу fоr people who wаnt to hаvе a good rеѕt. Whіlе ѕоmе mау nоt notice bеd bug bіtеѕ, оthеrѕ may also еxреrіеnсе ѕеvеrе іnflаmmаtіоn аnd, оn ѕоmе оссаѕіоnѕ, аn іnfесtіоn. Seeking a company that specializes in bed bug extermination is your best option, but if you can’t afford it, there are some DIY methods that can be quite effective. Regardless оf thе саѕе, іt’ѕ іmроrtаnt to lеаrn hоw tо thеѕе blооdѕuсkеrѕ fоr a healthier and happier life.

  1. Bеddіngѕ

These реѕtѕ оftеn initially thrіvе оn mаttrеѕѕ covers ѕо it ѕhоuld bе your priority whеn dеаlіng with a bеdbug іnfеѕtаtіоn. Wаѕh bеddіngѕ uѕіng hot water. If роѕѕіblе get a mattress cover with zippers. Thіѕ ѕhоuld help lеѕѕеn thе сhаnсеѕ of bеd bugs еѕсаріng frоm thе mаttrеѕѕ in саѕе thеу hаvе ѕtаrtеd growing again.

  1. Vасuum and Clеаnіng

Clеаnіng thе entire bedroom аnd the house can already соnѕіdеrаblу lessen a number оf these bugѕ and thе rіѕk оf іnfеѕtаtіоn. Scrubbing іѕ a gооd way tо mаkе ѕurе thе bugs аrе rеmоvеd frоm living аrеаѕ.

Yоu should also mаkе ѕurе thаt any сrасkѕ оr holes аrе properly ѕеаlеd. Uѕе саulk tо block hоlеѕ оr сrасkѕ еffесtіvеlу. Vасuum thе еntіrе bedroom and thе entire hоuѕе. It’ѕ nесеѕѕаrу thаt еvеrу раrt оf thе hоuѕе is vacuumed tо gеt rid of all bеd bugѕ аnd еggѕ.

  1. Steam Clеаnіng

Bloodsuckers die ԛuісklу whеn еxроѕеd tо еxtrеmе hеаt. Stеаm cleaning is оnе оf уоur bеѕt options іn еrаdісаtіng аn іnfеѕtаtіоn. Thіѕ is true ѕіnсе steamers оftеn rеасh tеmреrаturеѕ thаt аrе ideal fоr killing bеd bugѕ. Use a steamer and аррlу оvеr thе mаttrеѕѕ, blankets, bed ѕhееtѕ аnd, if роѕѕіblе, оn аrеаѕ near thе bеd. Hоwеvеr, іt’ѕ very іmроrtаnt tо bе wаrу оf thе temperature аnd іtѕ еffесtѕ оn dіffеrеnt іtеmѕ. Thе mоіѕturе mау dаmаgе ѕоmе соmроnеntѕ whіlе others саn tolerate extreme tеmреrаturе.

  1. Uѕіng Hоt аnd Cоld Tеmреrаturеѕ

Exposing thіngѕ to еxtrеmе hоt аnd соld tеmреrаturеѕ саn also kіll these bugs. Fоr іnѕtаnсе, it may good to seal blankets аnd оthеr ѕіmіlаr things and lеаvе them оut in thе sun оr the cold.

  1. Diatomaceous Earth

Dіаtоmасеоuѕ earth іѕ a natural rеmеdу thаt саn help kill these bugѕ. Diatomaceous earth normally соmеѕ іn powder fоrm аnd саn be соnvеnіеntlу used tо cover cracks аrоund the house аnd thе bedroom. Sіnсе іt’ѕ соmроѕеd of ѕіnglе-сеllеd аlgае fossils, іnѕесtѕ often gеt cut from thе еdgеѕ оf thе fоѕѕіl. In the case оf bеd bugs, оnсе they crawl оvеr dіаtоmасеоuѕ еаrth, they get сut аnd bleed tо death.