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Fall Pest Control Tips

The lazy days of summer are just about over. Fall is upon us, and so will be fall pests if you don’t prepare the outside of your home properly.

As the cooler weather begins to settle in, the pests we so often associate with the outdoors can quickly become indoor pests. Just as humans seek shelter from the cold, outdoor pests will do the same and your warm home, full of food and water, is the perfect winter retreat.

What kind of pest might I find in my house in fall?

There are many fall pests: rodents, spiders, yellow jackets, ants, and cockroaches are the most common. But you might also find stink bugs, flies, beetles, bed bugs, lady bugs and bees.

Rodents

When we say ‘pest’ we aren’t just talking about bugs and insects. Mice and rats are the most common fall and winter home invader.

Keep these pests out of your home by sealing points of entry, usually around the outside of the house, with caulk and mesh.

Make sure vents are covered, screens are repaired, and install weather stripping around doors. Last, cut back shrubs and branches so mice can’t just walk up and over into your home from the yard.

Spiders

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You can knock down cobwebs all winter long, but before you do consider this … spiders are natures insect repellant. Spiders can reduce the amount of other pests in your home and out.

Sure, it is not fun to walk into a cobweb, but if you can avoid it you might consider leaving it alone. A spider wouldn’t build a web if it didn’t think there was food in the area.

Stinging Insects

Yellow jackets, hornets and wasps are the most common stinging insects found in the home. As the food source for these stinging insects starts to diminish, these stinging pests seek new food sources including juice, candy, pastries, meet, and dairy.

Keep your garbage cans closed tight, your screen doors fixed and closed, your vents sealed, and food sealed and stowed away if you wish to keep these pests from seeking shelter inside your home.

Ants

ants

Ants create trails so other ants from the colony can quickly and efficiently seek out new food sources. If you don’t want a trail that leads into your home you should consider the following prevention tips.

Seal all cracks around the foundation, store food in airtight containers, sweep floors often, eliminate sources of standing water and keep tree branches and plants cut back.

Additionally, don’t store firewood and building materials next to the home and don’t store unused firewood in the home overnight.

Cockroaches

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The cockroach – day or night, summer, fall, or winter, these are pests you do not want in your home; ever! Cockroaches are known to carry and spread all kinds of bacteria and they can trigger asthma attacks in children.

Since cockroaches tend to be found near pipes and drains, keep kitchens and bathrooms sanitized, vacuum frequently and ensure that all cracks around the home are sealed.

Also, store leftover food and pet food in storage containers, take out the trash daily, and seal entry points into the home with caulk and expanding foam.

10 fall pest control tips

Toss the chip clips, clothes pins, and paper bags. When it comes to proper sealing and storage of food use storage containers instead. Storage containers are harder to access, can be easily stacked and sorted, and they keep your food dry.

Insects are attracted to leaves, mulch, wet soil, and other common fall materials, and rodents often seek shelter in a garage or basement. But if you rake and dispose of the dead leaves, and clean up the inside of the garage, you are eliminating the hiding places often sought after by fall pests.

Pests need water to survive. In the winter, indoors, these pest will seek out water from condensation, leaking pipes, and ceiling leaks. Fix these issues and you’ll reduce one major resource that pests need to survive. If they can’t find water, they won’t stick around in the winter.

Pests like nothing better than easy entry into your home. A shrub, placed close to the house, gives them easy access to windows and doors. While a tree branch provides a path to your roof, chimney, and eaves just in case the windows are shut.

Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter. Use caulk and expanding foam to seal the space and deny entry.

Take the time to perform a thorough exterior inspection of your home. Look for openings, cracks, gaps, including in all exit and entry points of utilities and vents, damaged screens, and damaged or missing door sweeps. Remediate any issues you might stumble upon if you want to prevent pests from getting inside.

Many homes use firewood for warmth in the winter, but don’t be tempted to store it close to you home. Keep firewood at least 20 feet away from the house, and only bring in the amount that you plan to burn. You do not want to leave firewood in your home if isn’t being burned.

Windows screens, mosquito nets, and similar barriers protect against inquisitive summer and fall pests, but only if they provide complete protection. And as long as the frame is in good shape repairs are easy and can be done in a few minutes.

Make it a rule to never leave food out overnight, including dirty plates. These draw in hungry fall pests that will happily make your kitchen their winter home.

We need vents in our homes to expel bad air and bring in new/clean air. You can’t close these areas off completely, but you can introduce screens and mesh that allow the air to flow in and out, but is small enough to keep the pests from entering through this window.

The last word ...

To be honest, there are hundreds of precautions, preparations, and fixes you can install to help seal and prevent your home from the fall pest migration. Crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s can be a real chore and still, despite your best efforts, pests still might find their way into your home.

If they do, call Sigma Pest Control. At Sigma Pest Control, our pest technicians are trained to help manage pests of all kinds. Regardless of whether you have one pest or a thousand, we will design a program that is right 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 fall pest problems. 

Call Sigma Pest Control for a free inspection – 540-94-SIGMA. 

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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.

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Spider Spotlight: the Wolf Spider

Is it a wolf? Or is it a spider? The name “Wolf Spider” comes from the Greek word “Aukoc” meaning “wolf”. It is used to describe the spider’s hairy appearance, agile hunting capabilities, and excellent eyesight.

The wolf spider can range from 1/2 inch to two inches long and, like a wolf, they chase and leap on their prey. Wolf spider features include:

  • Orangish-brown coloring with gray and black splotches or stripes that give it a camouflage look.
  • The wolf spider has eight eyes, made up of three different sizes, and laid out in three rows on top of its head.
  • Like all spiders, the wolf spider has eight legs. In addition, the wolf spider has two extra leg-like appendages near its front.
  • Female wolf spiders can carry their egg sac on their body and sometimes be seen with the young riding on their backs.

Where do wolf spiders live?

Wolf spiders live just about everywhere: deserts, forests, grasslands, residential lawns. The ability of the wolf spider to adapt to its surroundings has made it possible to live just about anywhere on earth.

Their survival capabilities are due in large part to their ability to camouflage themselves from predators. From above, the wolf spider coloring makes them look like a moving leaf pile.

Wolf spiders are a favorite treat for frogs, toads, and salamanders. Some snakes and lizards are also known to each wolf spiders.

The wolf spider hunts for food without using a web. Some wolf spiders dig deep burrows into the ground where they can get away from the weather and predators. Some have been known to put a trap door on that burrow to catch unsuspecting prey.

Other wolf spiders will hide out under rocks, trees, and foliage.

What do wolf spiders eat?

Usually under the dark of night, the wolf spider will hunt for crickets, other spiders, ants, grasshoppers and many other types of small insects. Some species chase down and grab their prey, while others wait for it to walk by and ambush it. Wolf spiders often jump on their prey, hold it between their legs and roll over on their backs, trapping their prey with their limbs before biting it.

How do you get rid of wolf spiders?

If you have wolf spider activity around your home, it is a sign that you most likely have an insect problem. Remember, wolf spiders feed on insects and they’ll go where the food is. The more insects you have, the more likely you also have wolf spiders nearby.

There are several do-it-yourself actions you can take to keep wolf spiders out of your home:

  • seal cracks, crevices, gaps and other openings in the home structure, foundation, and around doors and windows,
  • remove piles of old papers and boxes to reduce sheltering areas,
  • keep the home clean and picked up of trash to remove food sources.

Regardless of the precautions you may take, wolf spiders are difficult to eradicate because they are a solitary spider that generally operates alone.

It is far easier to remove their food source; insects. Sigma Pest Control’s Quarterly Pest Control Service is your best protection against wolf spiders and other pests.

Keeping wolf spiders out of your house is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. That’s why our Quarterly Pest Control Service is so effective.

We return every three months to and treat your home and property for ants, spiders, roaches, wasps, fleas, centipedes, crickets, mice, rats and much more.