Take a look at this news report on the re-discovery of rats in Alberta. Rats were extirpated from the province in the 1950s, but there have been periodic sightings since then, the latest at the landfill in Medicine Hat. The segment starts with a soundbite from our very own Ryan Frawley, Sales and Service Manager at Active Pest Solutions!
This is an interview given by Ryan Frawley of Active Pest Solutions with Erika Jaramillo writing for the Consumer Media Network.
Summer Pests: Enjoying the Great Outdoors by Taking Evasive Action
Humans aren’t the only creatures that love to come out and play when the temperature heats up—bugs love to bask in the warm weather, too. If you’re not prepared, you may get some “extra” crunchy protein in your burger or be attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes at your family’s next BBQ this summer season.
Experts warn that thanks to the warm winter and minimal rainfall, some parts of the country will experience an even greater pest problem than usual: bugs didn’t have a chance to die off in the winter but crops did, which means bugs now have no shelter to hide and will make a new home in, well, yours, especially if you live in Tampa, New Orleans, or Houston, the top ranked “buggiest cities” in the U.S., according to The Huffington Post.
But there are some simple tips that can help you keep pest infestation under control as well as help protect your family from the various diseases that bugs may carry this season.
Protecting Your Home
Bugs aren’t only a nuisance, they also contain tons of potentially life-threatening diseases. In fact, cockroaches alone carry a whopping 33 different types of bacteria and six different kinds of parasitic worms that can contaminate the surfaces they walk on. Cockroaches have even been linked to triggering asthma in small children, especially in inner cities. That said, you need to make sure that you work diligently to ensure that these small vermin (and other pests) do not harm your family or breed in your home.
- Fix Leaky Faucets: Some bugs, including mosquitoes, roaches, and silverfish, love a big gulp of water and naturally tend to dwell near puddles of water or leaky faucets. Experts advise examining your house to make sure there are no leaky faucets or pipes. If so, fix them.
- Clean Dishes/ Countertops: Fruit flies, ants, and roaches gravitate to any sort of morsel of food, even the tiniest crumbs you may think is inedible. Therefore, you need to make sure that your home is clean—especially the kitchen. But remember that even if your home is pristine, messy neighbors can attract pests as well. “If you’re clean, you’re pretty unlikely to get cockroaches,” says Ryan Frawley, Sales and Service Manager of Active Pests Solutions based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “And if you do, it won’t be hard to get rid of them, unless you’re unlucky enough to live in an apartment next to a person who isn’t so clean.”
- Keep Trash Away From Kitchen and Doors: Pests love human food and your trashcan or recycling bin is the easiest way for them to access it. If possible, try to isolate your trashcan(s) outside, away from the kitchen, and make sure that it has a tight lid. When dealing with meat carcasses or animal fat/skin for example, throw it away in a separate plastic grocery bag and tying the ends in a knot before dumping in the trash.
- Make Sure Window Screens Are Not Torn: The screens on your windows are there to help prevent bugs from crawling in your home on a hot day. Before you let the natural air cool down your home, make sure that there aren’t any holes in your screens. If there are, replace them.
- Correct the Issue: At the slightest inkling of an infestation, it’s important that you take immediate action to resolve the issue. You do not want the pests to procreate and multiply. You can try home remedies or poisonous sprays and traps from the local store. If nothing seems to work, hire a professional exterminator. “If you see a mouse, cockroach or bedbug in your house, you should call right away. These are all animals with a high reproductive rate, and are perfectly comfortable living in your home. They’re all active year round, and they won’t go away by themselves,” says Frawley.
Protecting Your Yard
Controlling the amount of outdoor pests can also ensure that they do not get inside of your home or ruin any front yard or back yard activities. But it can be overwhelming to find a starting point. Scott E. Armbrust, urban entomologist and owner of Rid-A-Pest Exterminators, Inc. based in Littleton, CO gives us his inside tips:
- Clean the Gutters: There are certain species that thrive in this environment. “Moisture-loving insects such as earwigs, springtail and mosquitoes thrive in clogged gutters, so be sure to clean-out the gutters early in the spring.”
- Prune Trees: Tree branches can actually serve as an exceptionally easy access into your home. “Carpenter ants, squirrels and roof rats use tree branches that touch your house as a highway. Prune your trees so that none of the branches are touching the house.”
- Trim Shrubs: Dense shrubbery can also serve as an expressway for pests and give access into your home. “The build-up of debris under the plants can provide an ideal harborage for rodents, snakes, spiders, yellow-jackets and scorpions. Trim the shrubs and remove the fallen leaf and twig debris.”
- Be Weary of Plants: Although some species of plants like peppermint are said to work as insect repellents, those planted too close the front door can cause problems. “Carpet beetles that eat wool, furs and a variety of human foods also love pollen. Planting flowering plants such as spirea near windows increase the likelihood that these small beetles will get in your house. “
Mosquito and tick bites are uncomfortable and itchy, but if the wrong insect bites you, you can potentially get the West Nile Virus or Lyme Disease respectively. That said, it’s important that you help prevent unnecessary bug bites.
- Wear Insect Repellent: It won’t kill the bugs, but it will help blood-thirsty mosquitoes and ticks from finding you. The Centers for Disease Control recommends applying an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535—especially during mosquito peak hours, which is dusk till dawn.
- Wear Light Colored Clothing: Not only is it easier to spot dark ticks and mosquitoes when wearing light clothing, but some research suggests that insects are actually attracted to dark colored clothing worn in the day time.
- Avoided Wearing Scented Perfumes/Lotions: Mosquitoes are attracted to the chemicals found in perfumes and some scented lotions.
- Avoid outdoor exercise during peak mosquito hours: Mosquitoes are attracted to perspiration, heat, carbon dioxide, and lactic acid. All of these chemicals are released from the body after exercising.
With just a little bit of effort, you should be able to enjoy your summer pest free.
This is an interview given by Ryan Frawley, Sales and Service Manager at Active Pest Solutions, to Aaron Crowe writing for hsh.com.
Help! I have critters in my home!
Feb 01, 2012
Aaron Crowe HSH.com
When critters invade your home, is it best to call your local exterminator or tackle the project on your own?
Trying to catch bats in an attic doesn’t sound like the safest do-it-yourself method to get those winged critters out of your home, but it worked for Jeff Gordon, a blogger who writes about healthy living alternatives.
“We had no idea that the bats were there until my daughter had gone up to the attic one day to store some boxes and screamed at the top of her lungs when a couple bats flew out from behind a rafter,” Gordon wrote in an e-mail.
He put on heavy work gloves and tried to snatch the juvenile bats with his hands. But when that didn’t work, he ended up chasing them out through an opening in his attic fan. Gordon bought some fiberglass compound at a hardware store and plugged the gaps and holes in his attic, which pest control experts say is a smart and inexpensive way to keep wild animals out of your home.
Critters can be deadly
Although few bats have rabies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the diseases that they and other animals might have don’t make removing them yourself worth the risk, pest experts say.
Some pests can be deadly, such as a swarm of 60,000 bees that attacked a Miami man who was renovating a home for his daughter last year. Apparently, the man tried to remove the bees himself. He was found dead in the house, surrounded by the insects.
Mice and rats can carry hantavirus, a deadly virus for humans carried through the urine and feces of rodents.
“Once they’re in your home, it’s going to be difficult to get rid of them yourself,” pest exterminator Ryan Frawley says of rodents.
Doing the job right
Frawley says people think that the smell of mothballs or a dousing with a hose will force critters out. What it usually takes, he says, is trapping them.
In addition to posing health risks, wild animals can cause serious damage to a home. Squirrels and mice will often gnaw on wood beams and electrical wires and will run around in the early morning, creating a noise that’s not easy to ignore.
Whether it’s winter and they’re looking for a warm place to sleep, or spring when a mother will move in to have babies, many animals get into your home through small holes in a roof or near the basement. Others critters chew their way in. Raccoons prefer hollow logs to nest in, but Frawley says he’s seen young mother raccoons dig into roofs because the inexperienced moms are often left without the best nesting sites.
“I’ve seen raccoons just tear off a roof and tear shingles off and make their own entrance,” he says.
Mice, rats and squirrels, oh my!
Mice can get through gaps next to gas lines leading into a house, says Scott Armbrust, owner of Rid-A-Pest Exterminators in Littleton, Colo. “A mouse can fit through something the size of a dime, so it really doesn’t take much of an opening,” he says.
Simply trapping and removing the pests may not be enough. After pests are removed from an attic with insulation, for example, it’s important to go back and remove the animal droppings that could carry a virus and to spray with disinfectant, Armbrust says.
To get rid of mice and rats, cheap snap traps work well, Armbrust says. If someone wants them removed humanely, live traps are more expensive. That’s because a pest control expert like Armbrust will have to return daily to check the traps and charge $120 each time.
There are also sonic plug-in devices that sell for about $15 that send sound waves to drive the mice out of a house. These products have mixed reviews, but when it comes to removing pests, what works for one person may not work for another.
Armbrust, along with many other pest control experts, charges a per-trip fee to remove squirrels — about $100 per squirrel for removal. Armbrust says it once took him a month and a half to get rid of 30 to 40 squirrels that lived for years in the attic of a home where the rental tenants didn’t care about the noises above.
Removing other common invaders
Getting rid of small birds yourself is possible if you’re up to the task, but a live skunk that can spray or bite you is best left to a professional, says Sam Lazarus, co-owner of ServiceMaster by Best, a cleaning and restoration firm that doesn’t remove animals but cleans up after they’re gone.
The spray from a skunk can get into everything in a home just like smoke after a house fire, says Lazarus. He remembers cleaning all of the contents in a mobile home that was hit by skunk spray.
“The odor permeated through the whole mobile home,” he says. “It was gross.”
About the author:
ACAaron Crowe is a freelance writer in San Francisco. He has worked as a writer and editor for websites and newspapers, most recently covering personal finance for WalletPop.com. He has also written for Bankrate, AARP and was one of the initial writers at AOL Housing, covering the housing and rental markets.