the house mouse sigma pest control

Meet the House Mouse

Up close, these little fellas look sweet and innocent, but when underfoot, scurrying across the room, and popping out of pantries, the house mouse takes on a whole new image. Did you know that they don’t mean to scare you? They are just making themselves at home, in your home, because it is warm, dry, safe (even from cats), and there is food … lots of food.

Say, “hello”, to the house mouse. House mice are gray or brown in color, with large ears, small eyes, and averages five to seven inches in length (counting the tail).

The house mouse is the most comment rodent in the world. What makes it so popular? Probably the fact that a single female house mouse can produce upwards of 150 babies a year.  

House mice usually feed on cereal grains, not cheese like most people think, but given the chance they will eat just about anything they can get their teeth on.

Now you know the most common facts about the house mouse, what are some things not so well known about the house mouse?

House Mouse Facts:

The house mouse has a keen sense of taste, hearing, smell and touch. That is why they can see and sense the traps laid out to catch them. They can sense that the environment has changed. If you really want to trap a mouse, set out several traps and dab each trap with different bait (peanut butter, bacon grease).

Living close to humans, and relying on them for food and shelter, betters their chance of survival. They make themselves at home in and around houses, barns, warehouses, granaries, fields and farms. In cooler weather, they almost always make their way indoors for warmth.

Nests are made in dark, quiet spaces, in between walls, cabinets, closets, basements, attics, storage areas, rafters etc. The house mouse prefers to keep their food source and nest close together.

The house mouse can squeeze into some pretty small places. If they can get their head into the space, then their body will follow. They have a backbone and skeleton just like other mammals.

House mice prefer to feed on grains and plants, but they will eat meat and dairy products if given the chance. They will even eat their own droppings to acquire the nutrients produced by the bacteria in their guts.

A house mouse produces between 40 and 100 droppings per day. That could be more than 35,000 droppings a year.

If they have a reliable food source, the house mouse will produce lots of pups. A single female can produce upwards of 150 babies in a year.

The word ‘rodent’ is Latin for ‘to gnaw’. Mice will gnaw through most barriers including plastic, rubber, vinyl, insulating foam, wood, drywall, and electric wires.

They HAVE to chew – a mouse has a tiny mouth and tiny teeth, but unlike humans, mice teeth never stop growing. They HAVE to chew in order to keep their teeth from getting bigger than their mouth.

Mice can run up any rough vertical surface. They will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface.

Rooting around dirty floors, alleyways, and sewers means mice are likely to pick up germs along the way. Mice are constantly exploring and leaving behind urine, feces and hairs in our food and clothing.

You can pick up these germs by: ingesting food or water contaminated with mouse urine or droppings, inhaling dust contaminated with urine or droppings, direct contact with an infected animal or its excrement, bites from infected fleas, ticks or mites

Prevention and Control

Like most pest control house mouse sigma pest controlremedies, the best offense is a good defense. Preparing your home against mouse infestation is better done BEFORE they mice arrive than after. Effective mouse prevention includes cleanliness and mouse proofing your home, and mouse control requires population reduction.

Prevention does not mean elimination. Making sure your home is clean, and your food is properly stored, doesn’t mean you don’t (or won’t) have mice. All places where food is stored, processed or used should be made mouse-proof. Dried grain and meat products should be stored in glass jars, metal canisters or other resealable airtight containers. A clean house and well stored food does reduce the likelihood that mice will set up shop in your home, but you also need to make sure they can’t get in in the first place.not afraid mouse

Eliminate the openings to your home by which mice might enter is another preventative measure against house mice. Seal any openings larger than 1/4 inch to exclude mice. Seal cracks and openings in building foundations and openings for water pipes, vents and utilities with metal or concrete. Doors, windows and screens should fit tightly.

Finally, along with preventive measures, you need to prepare for crowd control. Trapping is an effective control method when only a few mice are present in a building, but where there is one mouse there are surely more to follow. This is where help from a certified pest control professional comes in. They’ll know what to do if you have mice. They’ll know what to look for and how to remedy the situation.

How to get rid of cockroaches

The cockroach. Nothing says, “Yuck”, like the sight of a cockroach; dead or alive. Roches can be found in our homes, our favorite restaurants, our places of work, and even in our schools and libraries. No place is safe from a cockroach. They are equal opportunity cockroachinhabitants. If they have food, water and shelter, the cockroach will set up residence just about anywhere if allowed to.

Once they have infested an area, they multiply quickly. This is where the real danger resides. Cockroaches pose a serious health threat if left to spread and populate. Cockroaches carry bacteria that can cause food poisoning, diarrhea, allergies and even skin rash. It is important to get rid of them BEFORE they infest your home or business.

Keeping cockroaches from invading your home is one thing, it is an entirely different matter once they’ve already infested your home. Getting rid of roaches involves more than just spraying insecticides or setting bait traps. You need preventive measures, so they don’t have a reason to enter the home and professional remediation services for when they do. In this blog, we’ll discuss both preventive AND remediation strategies.

What type of cockroach is in my house?

There are over 4,000 species of cockroach on the planet. Lucky for us, only a couple types of roach call the United States home. The most popular are the German and American cockroach.

roach

The American cockroach has a reddish-brown color and is often larger than its German cousin; about 1.5 inches. American cockroaches are most common in homes, sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains. American cockroaches are resourceful feeders and will eat cheese, beer, tea, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, manuscripts, glue, hair, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, plant materials, and soiled clothing.

They prefer moist, warm areas above 84 degrees and thrive in crawl spaces, sewers and summer weather.

The German cockroach has a light-brown body with two black stripes down the sides of its backside. This roach variety measures less than a half inch in length. They are attracted particularly to meats, starches, sugars, and fatty foods. Where a shortage of foodstuff exists, they may eat household items such as soap, glue, and toothpaste. 

The German cockroach is the most common cockroach species on the planet. They are most often associated with restaurants, food processing facilities, hotels, nursing homes and other institutional facilities. 

How to make sure cockroaches do not invade your home

The best defense against cockroaches, is a strong offense to eliminate the very things that attract cockroaches to your home in the first place.dead cockroach sigma pest control

  1. Remove sources of food – all earths creatures need sustenance (food) to survive. But when it comes to cockroaches, they can (and will) each just about anything. Start by cleaning up spilled or leftover food. In the pantry, rotate your food so you don’t forget about the cereal box at the back. Don’t leave dishes on the county or sink, wipe down countertops, empty and clean cabinets, behind the refrigerator, under the oven, store your garbage in a bin with tight fitting lid – and empty regularly.
    1. Clean your kitchen appliances
    2. Keep food in sealed containers
    3. Limit food consumption to one room in your home
    4. Clean your floors frequently
    5. Empty pet food containers when not in use
  2. Seek out and address water issues
    1. Fix leaky plumbing and pipes
    2. Dry sinks, tubs, and showers after use
    3. Empty the pet water dish
  3. Eliminate their hiding places – In addition to food and water, roaches need shelter so they can breed and grow. Cockroaches are small, so they can hide easily. Their favorite hiding places include stacks of paper, cardboard boxes, and just about any cluttered space they can find.
  4. Keep your home or work clean – Removing clutter, sweeping floors, wiping down counters … these all make for a cleaner/healthier living environment, and at the same time it makes your home less enticing to them.

What are the signs of cockroach infestation?

Cockroaches like it warm and humid. During winter, they seek shelter from the cold, and your home is the perfect place to bed down. They enter the house through sewer connections, under doors, around plumbing, and through air ducts.

The first sign of a problem is seeing a cockroach. They prefer to come out and feed in the darkness, but if you see one during the day then you most likely have a serious cockroach problem.

Cockroach feces look like coffee grounds or black pepper. They like to stay out of sight, so they often travel along the baseboards, under appliances, and in the cracks and crevices of your pantry and counters. Look for the coffee ground like feces trail they’ll most likely leave behind.

If the infestation is bad, you’ll most likely catch wind of a strong, musty odor in the home as well.

How long does it take to get rid of cockroaches?

Cockroaches have lived on this planet for over 350 million years. They outlived the dinosaurs and countless other species, but just because they’ve lived this long doesn’t mean you can’t rid them from your home. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t take long to get rid of them when they invade your home.

If you followed the preventive measures listed earlier in this post, and still you have cockroaches in your home, then a multi-step remediation strategy, administered by a certified pest professional, is your next best solution.

The following steps are most popular for ridding your home of cockroaches, but options vary between different pest control companies:

  1. Spray/Barrier – this is a very popular option, but mixing the chemicals correctly, for proper coverage, is essential and should be handled by professionals.
  2. Bait – this is an easy DIY approach, but on it’s own it will only kill roaches that come across it. There are still eggs to kill as well.
  3. Clean-up – clean the house, inside and out. Especially the kitchen and anywhere else you store or consume food.
  4. Repair – fix leaks around plumbing and dripping faucets, seal cracks and openings to the home.

The last word ...

Cockroaches are the gift that keeps on giving if not addressed properly. Preventive measures are your best defense, but if you find you still have them then call Sigma Pest Control.

At Sigma Pest Control, our pest technicians are trained to help manage pests of all kinds, including cockroaches. Regardless of whether you have one cockroach or a thousand, we will design a right program for your situation.

We offer free inspections, and our professional and courteous customer service speaks for itself. No sales pressure, no gimmicks, and no hidden costs. You get first rate service and an end to your cockroach problems. Call Sigma Pest Control for a free inspection – 540-94-SIGMA.

bed bug

Why do Bed Bugs keep coming back?

bed bugs fredericksburg virginia sigma pest control
bed bugs on the furniture

We know how frustrating it can be to treat your home for bed bugs only to have them return. You think you’ve done everything right, but the bed bugs keep coming back. You washed the bed sheets, multiple times, and even used bleach, yet, there they are. You vacuumed, used a steam cleaner, ever covered the bed mattress, and still those resilient bed bugs are in your clothes, furniture, carpet, and other places.

The fact of the matter is bed bugs are tricky pests. You can pick them up from just about anywhere regardless of when you last treated your home. Check the Internet and you’ll find articles on bed bugs in malls, schools, subways, and hotels.

A single female bed bug can create as many as 200 bed bugs. If one room in a hotel or apartment gets bed bugs, the entire building will eventually have them.

What if they were never really gone to begin with? You went to the store, bought some bed bug spray, and treated the area where you saw them … but did you get ALL of them? You may have missed a spot. Perhaps you didn’t notice that they were also in your closet, on the chair next to your bed, or even in your suitcase.

That is the real problem with bed bugs. If you don’t eradicate them, they’ll just keep coming back.

The dangers of DIY

bed bugs fredericksburg virginia
bed bug spray with actual bed bugs on the bottle

Do-it-yourself bed bug treatment is not a recommended solution. While it is convenient to go the local hardware store and pick-up a bottle of bed bug stray, we can tell you from experience that it won’t be the last time to have to go back for more. Sprays kill living bugs, but bed bugs lay hundreds of eggs, making them particularly difficult to get rid of.

We often find that many do-it-yourself bed bug treatments are applied incorrectly and can often be dangerous.  Sometimes people choose an outdoor only chemical and apply it indoors. This is extremely dangerous if you apply such chemicals to the bedrooms and bed mattress where children sleep.  

Adults and children could have a terrible reaction to pesticides if they are applied improperly. Your best option is to call a professional like Sigma Pest Control. Not only are we good at what we do, but we also protect you by using HEAT TREATMENT and NOT chemicals or sprays.

Can bed bugs return even after treatment?

Unfortunately, yes, but that is often the result when treatment is applied incorrectly. Remember, just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t in your home. Treating the infested area is a start, but it is often a small part of the overall problem.

Sometimes, when a customer contracts with an exterminator, the customer thinks by treating only certain rooms that they’ll save money. This also is a reason bed bugs appear to return after treatment. The fact is, the treatment wasn’t thorough enough and spots were missed.

Regardless of the treatment, bed bugs can return under the right conditions. Treatments kill the existing bugs, but it is always possible that you’ll bring them into the house again.

How do you prevent bed bugs from returning in your home?

If you’ve already had a professional treat your home for bed bugs, be sure to keep a watchful eye out for their return. You’ll already know the areas treated, but also watch out for other areas as well. Create a routine where you inspect everything in your home thoroughly for bed bugs. Being vigilant takes a lot of effort, but it is worth it. Here are some things you can do to prevent a re-infestation:

  • Vacuum regularly the room, cracks and all seams, to pick up live bed bugs.
  • Use a hand steamer on all cracks/crevices where bed bugs lay their eggs.
  • Add mattress covers for use after treatment for both the mattress and the box spring.
  • Wash bedding, sheets, blankets in hot water followed by the dryer.
  • Treat all furniture near the bed.

When traveling:

  • Never place luggage on the carpet or bed. Always use the luggage rack.
  • Be sure to check for signs of bugs by lifting up the corner of the sheet and look on the edge of the bed near the seam for droppings.
  • Wash all items in hot water when you return to kill any bedbugs that may have come home with you.

Heat Treatment

Bed bugs are small, and they can hide out in the smallest spaces: cracks in the floor and walls, inside wall outlets, in carpet, drapes, folds in the blankets, shoes … etc. Heat treatment treats the entire room all at once, and a certified pest control manager can administer the treatment much more effectively than a do-it-yourself approach.

Bed bugs have a thermal death point, and when exposed to temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period, the entire population of bed bugs at all life stages (including eggs) are eliminated.

Our bed bug control and heat treatment is your best option because it is highly effective at killing both adult bed bugs and their eggs, wiping out the chance of a re-infestation. Not only are heat treatments more effective, but they are also better on the environment and your lungs and overall health.

Hire a Professional

Bed bugs are hard to see, so if you think you have bed bugs, call a pest management professional. Bed bug infestations can be a real nuisance to deal with. To take care of an infestations, it’s important to know what these pests look like, how to identify bites, and what potential risks are associated with bites. Thankfully, getting rid of bed bugs is as easy as calling a Sigma Pest Control technician. If you find that you have a bed bug infestation, be sure to call a Sigma Pest Control for efficient, professional, and effective pest control services.  

CALL US! (540) 947-4462 Sigma Pest Control 

carpenter ant sigma pest control

What do Carpenter Ants Eat?

Seems like there is an obvious answer to this question; carpenter ants each wood! In fact, they don’t each wood at all. The name ‘carpenter’ is used to describe a builder of things. The unfortunate outcome of this story is that in order to build they must first tear down.

Carpenter ants don’t get their building materials from Home Depot. Instead, they use your home, and the materials that you used to build it, as their own personal hardware store. Carpenter ants chew through wood in order to make tunnels, or galleries, in which to raise their young. In other words, they are building a nest in your home to raise a family.

While carpenter ants do not consume or digest wood, they do seek food, moisture, and shelter in order to make a suitable place to live. Your home may inadvertently provide the very resources that attract carpenter ants in the first place. It is a good idea to know the food ants crave and the ideal conditions that lure them to your property, and we have the answers if you’ll just read on.

So what do they eat?

Carpenter ants crave protein above all else. They get most of their protein from living and dead insects, but they’ll gladly consume the food scraps and crumbs found in your kitchen, under the stove, beneath the dishwasher, and in the pantry.ant and aphids - sigma pest control

In addition to protein, carpenter ants are attracted to sugars such as honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids. Other sugar sources include:

  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Granulated sugar
  • jelly

What attracts carpenter ants to my home?

Like most living creatures, ants need food and favorable living conditions to survive. In the case of the carpenter ant, they require three things: moisture, food, and shelter.

Moisture – Carpenter ants favor moist, damp areas. The moisture often makes things easier to chew through. Leaks that go unattended will lead to a softening or rotting of the wood and materials around the leak. They also seek areas where condensation collects such as doorways, windows, bathrooms, kitchens, drains, pipes, roof vents and laundry areas.

Food – Carpenter ants love protein and sugar. They are also extremely attracted to honeydew, which is a sweet liquid produced by aphids. Carpenter ants forage for food at night and look for anything sticky, sweet or meaty. 

Shelter – Carpenter ants will take up residence in wood and leaf piles, dead tree stumps, rotting fence posts … just about any place they can find rotting wood and debris.

Carpenter Ant prevention

To prevent carpenter ant problems indoors, consider addressing the following concerns:

  • Correct roof leaks, plumbing leaks and other moisture problems which will attract carpenter ants.
  • Seal cracks and openings in the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
  • Replace/remove moisture-damaged wood … Remove tree and shrub stumps and roots.
  • Remove rotten wood or lumber that is stored in a garage or near the house.
  • Store firewood as far away from buildings as possible.
  • Clip back tree limbs and vegetation touching the roof or siding of the house. 

What do I do if I have carpenter ants?

In most cases, you should contact a pest management professional to treat carpenter ants. At Sigma Pest Control, our licensed Pest Management Professionals are experienced in inspecting properties, locating nests, baiting techniques and proper/safe pesticide application.

The best way to control carpenter ants is to locate and destroy the nest, replace damaged or decayed wood and eliminate moisture problems, if they exist. This is not a job for ant traps and baits. Carpenter Ant infestation can become a huge problem real fast, and do-it-yourself remediation isn’t going to the do the job. You need a professional.

The last word ...

Now that you know what carpenter ants do eat, you can focus on what to do if you are seeing these insects near your home. Even though they don’t eat wood, carpenter ants can still cause a lot of damage.

Remember, ants are active year-round, that means you need protection year-round. Sigma Pest Control staff are trained to help manage ants and similar pests. Keeping ants out of homes and buildings is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. That’s why we recommend Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service (QPCS) as the best solution for ant prevention and infestation.

Once we’ve addressed the ant issues inside your home, we’ll focus our efforts on the outside to keep your home pest free. Exterior services will occur once every three months, and will include a foundation treatment, removal of wasp nests and spider webs using a telescopic tool that reaches up to 30 feet, a perimeter band around the home. And crack and crevice service. However, if the bugs don’t listen, we will come back and take care of it at no additional charge to you.

Call Sigma Pest Control at 540-947-4462 today and we’ll make sure your carpenter ant problems aren’t a problem anymore.