The Homeowner’s Guide to Dangerous Utah Spiders

Written by BooAdmin on . Posted in I.D.

Utah’s desert mountain climate is beautiful and unique, and it makes Utah a truly remarkable place to live. Many people love Utah for its friendly, family-focused culture. Others love the rapidly growing business grid. Still others love the phenomenal skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and water sports. Utah is an incredible place, but there are two little problems.

Their names? The black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.

These two poisonous spiders can make living in Utah a bit dangerous unless you know what they look like, what they can do, and how to get rid of them. And because these spiders are so often found in homes across Utah, you as a homeowner should know how to protect yourself and your family. Learn more about these spiders below-and if you spot one, call your local pest control company immediately.

Black Widow Spiders

In this section, we’ll discuss the black widow spider so you can better recognize this pest.

What Are the Dangers of Black Widow Spiders?

Black widow spiders look shiny black in color, with a bright red, hourglass-shaped pattern on their bellies. They’re quite small-usually not larger than 10 millimeters in size. Black widows are desert spiders and quite at home in the relatively dry climate of Utah’s valleys.

Black widow spiders are the most venomous spiders in the US and Canada, with a venom that National Geographic reports to be 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. They don’t usually attack aggressively. They’re more likely to bite if they’re startled and feel threatened, like if someone sits on them or sticks their hand unknowingly into the spider’s web.

Most black widow bites are not dangerous-in fact, many people aren’t even aware that they’ve been bitten because so little venom enters their system. But for small children and those with weakened immune systems, the black widow’s bite can be deadly.

If you or someone you love is bitten by a black widow spider, you should seek immediate medical attention. You’ll likely feel muscle aches and nausea, but don’t panic. An emergency room doctor can help ensure that the black widow’s venom doesn’t cause serious damage.

What Are Black Widow Spiders’ Habits?

Like most spiders, black widows prefer the dark. They create irregularly shaped, messy webs in quiet corners, so you’ll likely spot a black widow in a dark corner of your garden shed or dry area of your kitchen. Black widows are solitary, and they’ll avoid noise and light whenever they can.

When reaching into dark places that you can’t see well, such as when you garden or clean, be sure to wear protective gloves. These spiders like to build their large webs near the ground and beneath protected ledges-just the sort of place you’d stick your hand into without thinking much.

What Should I Do About Black Widows?

If you spot a black widow in your home, your pest control company should be the first to know. Although black widow spiders are not aggressive, their bite can injure and even kill, so you need to live in a completely black-widow-free zone.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Below, we’ll talk about the brown recluse spider, its habits, and what you should do if you encounter one.

What Are the Dangers of Brown Recluse Spiders?

Brown recluse spiders are a light brown color with a dark mark on their backs. Because the shape looks a bit like a violin, these spiders are also called fiddle-back spiders. The average brown recluse spider is about the size of a US quarter (including its legs). However, in Utah, they’re known to be quite a bit larger-some adult spiders can even be nearly as large as the palm of your hand.

Brown recluse spiders are venomous. And although a study at UC Berkeley revealed that 90% of brown recluse spider bites heal without medical assistance, the venom can be dangerous and even deadly. Like black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders usually only bite when provoked or surprised.

If you are bitten, a small white blister may develop. This blister can eventually develop into a gangrenous, open, painful wound. You may also experience chills, nausea, and a fever. If you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse, go to the emergency room right away.

What Are Brown Recluse Spiders’ Habits?

Brown recluse spiders like closed, dark, dry places, so they’re so often spotted in piles of clothes, in bedding, or inside closets. In fact, most bites occur because someone puts on an old sweater or climbs into a bed that a brown recluse has made its home in these areas.

The best way to protect yourself and family members from brown recluse spiders is to keep tidy. Don’t allow piles of clothing or garbage to frow, and wash your bedding frequently.

What Should I Do About Brown Recluse Spiders?

Brown recluse spiders can threaten the health of you and your family members, so if you see one in your home, contact your pest control company immediately.

In fact, we recommend that you have your home sprayed for spiders at least once each year anyway. If you haven’t already had your home sprayed against spiders, insects, and other pests, do so now, before black widows or brown recluses have a chance to move in and get comfortable.

Talk to your pest control specialist if you have more questions about Utah’s dangerous native spiders.

Prepare Your Yard for Springtime With These Projects

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in Tips

Spring is just around the corner, and it is time to start thinking about your yard again. Landscaping each spring is important-after all, taking care of your yard improves your home’s value, eliminates the risk of pests, and keeps relationships between neighbors friendly.

The grass will turn green and grow quickly again as the weather gets warmer. The soil will loosen as the frost disappears. And your trees will be ready for some much-needed TLC. Are you ready for springtime landscaping?

Develop your landscaping strategy with our tips on tree care, flower bed and garden maintenance, and lawn care.

Tree Care

Your home’s trees provide shade in the summer and look beautiful during every season. Many homeowners don’t realize how fragile trees can be, but they need care if you want them to last for years.

The first thing you should do this spring is schedule your tree spraying service. A specialist can spray your trees with pet- and human-safe pesticides and nutrients that protect your tree from the elements. A tree spray keeps your trees insect free, kills fungus, and destroys tree diseases. It’s a good idea to get your trees sprayed at least once a year.

You should also mulch your trees each spring. When you mulch and fertilize the roots, you give your trees the oxygen and nutrients they need to quickly grow strong. Trees along the Wasatch Front need durable roots to withstand the strong winds that rush into the valley from the canyons. If you don’t know how to mulch and fertilize your home’s trees, hire a professional.

You may need to prune your trees as well. Springtime mountain storms tear branches easily, and top-heavy trees or ungainly, thick branches can topple and fall, destroying homes and endangering family members. After the winter snows have melted and the weather begins to warm, take a look at your tree and cut away any branches that pose a danger to your home.

Flower Bed and Garden Maintenance

Healthy, colorful flower beds are the perfect way to welcome in the warm weather. And you and your family love planting the garden so you can enjoy fresh fruits and veggies in the summer and autumn. But after months of snow, hard frost, and dry air, your flower beds and garden need a little care before you begin planting.

Nutrient-rich soil is weed-free, so one of the most important things you can do for your flower beds and garden is to spray and sterilize weeds. The company who sprays your trees can also spray your soil, killing weeds and preparing it for planting a few weeks later. Killing weeds will help your flowers and vegetables grow faster and healthier, but it also eliminates other pests, like insects and rodents.

You should also prepare the soil for planting in other ways. Prepare the flower beds and garden plot by removing winter mulch, working compost into the top layer of the soil, and oxidizing the soil by loosening the top layer with a hoe or rake.

Like your trees, the foliage you plant will need lots of nutrients. Organic matter-like compost, manure, or mulch-helps balance the air supply. While you’re preparing the soil, avoid stepping on the soil or using heavy equipment, as the weight compacts the soil and makes it more difficult for oxygen and light to reach the plants.

Lawn Care

Your lawn is one of the most important parts of your home’s exterior. In fact, many people in your neighborhood notice it first when they look at your home. Lawns tend to take care of themselves during the winter, but when spring arrives, you need to take charge.

Taking care of your home’s grass each spring is a necessary, but tricky, process. You’ll need to keep most of the work on your lawn light until the warm springtime air dries out the soil. Your first step should be to remove leaves, dirt, and debris from the grass so that it can dry out and begin to grow.

A little later in the season (around late April, if you live along the Wasatch Front), you should do the following:

  • Plant to fill in bare spots.
  • Fertilize the area (the type of fertilizer you use-and when you use it-will depend on the type of grass you have).
  • Aerate and dethatch the lawn. Mow and water the grass.

You should also have your lawn sprayed with a pesticide. Insects, rodents, spiders, and even larger pests will take more interest in your home during the springtime thaw, so it’s important to have your lawn sprayed to discourage pests.

 

Preparing your yard for springtime can be a fun, worthwhile activity for the entire family. As you care for your trees, flower beds, garden, and lawn, you’ll ensure that they look nice and stay healthy throughout the next year.

Call your local pest control specialists to schedule your first spraying and weeding service to get started.

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite: 5 Signs of a Bedbug Infestation

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in Tips

As a homeowner, you have probably heard horror stories about bedbugs. These pests can come from anywhere, and they often prove particularly difficult to exterminate. In a previous blog, we discussed how to avoid bringing bedbugs into your home.

But vigilance isn’t a surefire guarantee you won’t ever have to deal with bedbugs, especially if you have pets or children who might bring the bugs in. So how do you know if this pest has infiltrated your home?

In this blog, we list five signs of a serious bedbug infestation that will likely require professional removal.

1. Blood Smears on Upholstered Furniture

Bedbugs often come in large family groups. Because you’ll rarely have a single bug crawling on any given surface and the bugs feed during the night, bedbugs often get squished by sleepers. If the bug fed recently, it will leave a little blood smear behind.

Usually by the time you begin to see blood smears, you will also already observe some of the other signs on this list.

2. Dark Spots on Beds or Couches

Bedbugs make their homes in small spaces, but they don’t spend all of their time in cracks and crevices. When bedbugs travel over your furniture, they leave small fecal droppings. To the naked eye, these droppings usually just look like a series of black spots which usually appear on the edges of upholstered furniture.

If the droppings appear over a spread out area, you may need a magnifying glass to see the spots properly and rule out other causes. Droppings may appear in the following locations:

  • Creases in bedding or upholstery
  • Cushion edges and seams
  • Headboard, especially in cracks
  • Mattress edges and seams
  • Space beneath accent pillows

Droppings can also appear in the clutter around an affected piece of furniture.

3. Egg Shells or Skins in Small Spaces

Like other bugs, bedbugs reproduce by laying eggs and grow by shedding their skin. Reproduction and growth usually leave visible residue, especially when you have a large infestation.

If bedbug offspring are grouped particularly close together, you may see what appears to be white clumps in infested areas. You likely will not see any bedbug offspring since the larvae and young bugs are too small for the naked eye to discern easily. Instead, you may notice dark brown, tan, or transparent shed skin and whitish egg shells.

These signs may appear in the same place as bedbug droppings or where the bedbugs have started living. Check any small spaces, especially cracks in wooden furniture.

4. Itchy Bites in Linear Patterns

Bedbugs can survive by solely eating human blood. When a bedbug feeds, it leaves an itchy, red bite mark. You will likely notice more than one bite at a time.

Usually, bedbug bites appear in a triangular pattern on the skin. However, they can also appear in any of the following ways:

  • Circular but asymmetrical raised welts
  • Clusters of bites that may resemble mosquito bites
  • Rashes surrounding smaller bite marks
  • Small, irritated dots
  • Welts with a spot of blood at the center

These bites can be confused with other skin conditions and insect bites, so if you aren’t sure whether or not a patch of skin irritation comes from bedbugs, see a doctor.

Keep in mind that bedbugs only feed from exposed skin, so you’re unlikely to see bites on your legs or torso. Bites most often appear on the ankles and feet, hands and wrists, and neck.

5. Visible Bedbugs in Seams and on Sheets

Unlike their offspring, you can see adult bedbugs with the naked eye. You just may need to do some searching to find them. You’ll see several small bugs with an oval shape.

Try looking for bedbugs during the night using a flashlight or checking crevices where the bugs hide during the day. Don’t forget that bedbugs also hide in electrical outlets, books, and cupboards around the main infestation. Look for bugs in localized clutter as well.

Remember, even if you get rid of all the bugs you can see, bedbugs can become dormant and their young are practically invisible. If you find adult bedbugs, you’ll need professional help to get rid of the problem.

If you notice any combination of the signs on this list, call an exterminator with experience working with bedbugs specifically. Don’t put off getting professional help as bedbug bites can have a range of negative effects, including allergic reactions, rashes, and psychological effects.

As you work with a professional or wait for your scheduled inspection, use the strategies found in our Bedbug Flyer to begin dealing with the problem. Remember to stay patient while eliminating a bedbug infestation since the process takes a minimum of two weeks in almost every case.

For more information about protecting your home and family from bedbugs and other pests, read our other blog posts.

How to Winterize Your Home Against Insects

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in Tips

In a previous blog, we provided you with tips to mouse-proof your home during the summer. But as the days and nights get colder, it’s more important than ever to protect your home against pests.

You can use many of the tips in our mouse-proofing blog to winterize your home against mice and rats, but what about bugs?

Below, we’ve listed a few tips to help you winterize your home against insects. As you implement a few of these methods, you can keep creepy crawlies out of your home and avoid a potential winter infestation.

Clear Away Outside Debris

The best way to prevent pests from getting inside your home is to make sure that they don’t live near it. Many bugs take shelter in gardens, trees, bushes, and other forms of vegetation. Some even like to live in damp, dark piles of leaves on the ground or in the leaves in your gutters.

Make sure to clear away any debris outside your home. This step reduces the amount of bugs living near your home during the winter.

Take the following steps to ensure your yard is clear of debris:

  • Clean out your gutters as thoroughly as possible, especially before it starts to snow. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this job yourself, hire a cleaning specialist to do it for you.
  • Hire a tree trimming expert to remove hanging branches from your trees. These professionals can also cut back overhanging branches correctly and safely to keep them away from your home.
  • Many bugs use thick layers of dirt and plant life to hide as they scurry towards your house. If you have a garden, make sure the soil, mulch, and decaying plants don’t sit too close to your home.
  • You should also trim or remove any bushes near your home. Again, if you aren’t sure how to trim or remove these plants correctly, ask a tree trimming company to take care of the job for you.

Seal Any Cracks or Holes

Your home contains many entry points that bugs like to use. They can fly in through open windows and doors or crawl in through the chimney and fireplace. Your walls might even have cracks that welcome bugs inside. Whatever the case, insects will use these small crevices to get inside your home and stay warm in the winter.

Try the following steps to seal possible entrances:

  • Patch any holes in your window screens.
  • Close your chimney flue when you aren’t using your fireplace.
  • Replace the weatherstripping under your garage door. You can also add weatherstripping to your front door, back door, and windows. Add new caulking around cracked window ledges.
  • Repair any holes or cracks in your walls and doors.
  • Check inside and outside your home for water damage or wood rot.

Remember to inspect your home’s foundation as well. Not sure if your foundation has cracks or holes? Call a contractor and have him or her inspect this base structure for you. Professional contractors can easily pinpoint problem areas in your foundation and repair the issue quickly.

Organize Your Pantry

Open food sources attract dozens of different bugs into your home. As you work to winterize your home, take some time to organize your pantry or kitchen cupboards. If you have any open food packages in your kitchen, bugs will actively seek them out.

To avoid seeing bugs in your pasta, rice, or other dried foods, seal all open packages inside airtight containers. Many insects (such as drug store beetles and Indian meal moths) enjoy the same foods your pets do, so remember to store the following pet foods in airtight containers as well:

  • Bird seed
  • Cat food
  • Dog food
  • Dried treats Fish food

You can also call your local pest control company to learn more about which pantry items bugs like to munch on.

Fix Any Leaks

Just as insects need a reliable food source to survive through the winter, they also require a water source. And if you have any leaks in your home, these bugs will take advantage of the abundance of water.

Inspect the following areas of your home for leaks:

  • Pipes
  • Showers and tubs
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Water heaters
  • Water lines to your fridge

If you find a small leak in your home, you can patch it on your own. However, the most effective solution is to call an HVAC specialist or plumber to repair the leaks instead. These professionals can seal leaks properly to prevent future issues. Additionally, they can inspect your home for leaks behind walls and under floors and repair the damage.

Talk to a Pest Control Specialist

Use the tips above to safeguard your home against insects this winter. Should you find any pests in your home, get in touch with your local pest control specialist. These professionals can remove any bugs from your home so it can stay pest-free throughout the season.

For more information about keeping your home pest-free, check out the rest of our blog!

Cockroaches: Which Roaches Your Home Invites Inside and Why

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in I.D.

You aren’t much of a bug person. In fact, you keep your home and property clear of garbage, overgrowing plants, and clutter so insects don’t call your living environment “home.” But no matter how tidy your home is, you still find the occasional critter scurrying across your floors or countertops.

You wonder how exactly these bugs find their way inside your home. And if you see one insect in your kitchen or bathroom, chances are there are more hiding elsewhere in your house.

In another blog, we discussed the myths associated with cockroaches. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the roaches common to your area, as well as how your home inadvertently invites these critters inside. Read this blog post to find out how to make your home yours-and keep unwanted critters out.

Roaches Common to Utah

If you’ve ever seen “Men in Black,” you know that cockroaches come in all shapes and sizes. Though you’ll never have to worry about a colossal roach in your home, Utahans should know about the following four species native to the state.

German

These usually flightless cockroaches look light brown in color and have two black, parallel lines that run vertically behind their heads. German cockroaches range between one-half and five-eighths inches in length. Males and females look almost identical. However, males are typically lighter in color and the females have a wider abdomen.

This species of cockroach prefers warm and humid or moist areas, such as your bathroom or kitchen (specifically, your toilets, sinks, showers, and pipes). However, you’ll also find them wherever they can find food. Additionally, German cockroach feces emit aggregation pheromones to attract other cockroaches.

American

American cockroaches are some of the biggest you’ll find in the state. They measure over two inches in length and have wings to maneuver from place to place. These cockroaches display a rusty, burnt brown color. Males typically live about 200 days, whereas females have an average lifespan of 440 days, depending on the temperature of their environment.

You’ll commonly find American cockroaches in sewers and commercial food kitchens or preparation areas. These insects thrive well with German cockroaches, so if you see either of the two in your home, both species are likely present.

Oriental

Oriental cockroaches typically run between one and one-and-a-quarter inches long. They maintain a shiny dark brown or black physique with wings. Due to their color, you can sometimes mistake them for crickets. The males’ wings cover most of their thorax, while the females have much smaller extensions.

Unlike German and American roaches, this species thrives well outdoors. If you don’t find these insects near your sinks, tubs, or plumbing, you’ll likely discover them in your yard around plants, rocks, and mulch-even on your patio if it’s moist.

Brownbanded

These roaches don’t grow larger than half an inch long. Their exoskeleton shows a mixture of colors including:

  • Brown
  • Black
  • Grayish white
  • Burnt orange

You can easily identify Brownbanded cockroaches by the bell-shaped design at the bottom of their abdomen. Though these roaches have wings, only the males can fly.

This species of cockroach lives in warmer locations, including ceilings, inside and under furniture or appliances, walls, and even inside picture frames.

Items that Attract Cockroaches

Though you know which types of cockroaches to look out for, you still need to know which items in your home entice these pests to come inside.

Primary Sources of Food

As omnivores, cockroaches eat essentially anything. They often look to the following for their main food supply:

Garbage and organic compost

Unsealed or poorly tightened food containers

Crumbs on the counters, floors, and furniture Sugary, starchy, or greasy foods

They also thrive near water, so if you have any pipe leaks, your plumbing could unknowingly establish the perfect environment for cockroaches to thrive in.

Secondary Feeding Options

When they can’t obtain nourishment from the items listed above, roaches will search for other “edible” items, including:

  • Stacks of newspaper
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Book bindings
  • Leather
  • Toothpaste
  • Glue
  • Bars of soap
  • Wallpaper
  • Nylon clothes

If cockroaches can’t find their primary or secondary food sources, they’ll search for live or decaying plants, insects, and wood. Cockroaches can also go three months without food, so if they don’t find something immediately, they will begin to eat each other and even their own feces.

Preventative Measures to Take

If you don’t see cockroaches in your home, follow these tips to prevent them from entering your abode:

  • Immediately clean food preparation areas. Also wipe down your tables and chairs after you finish eating.
  • Repair any pipe leaks in your kitchen or bathroom.
  • Rinse off your dishes before you put them in your dishwasher. Any food scraps that don’t drain after a cycle will attract cockroaches.
  • Sweep and mop your floor regularly.
  • Clean in, under, and around appliances regularly.
  • Take out your trash as soon as the bag fills up. Be sure to tightly seal your trash can if possible.
  • Vacuum your carpets and rugs often. Throw away the vacuum bag or empty the container frequently. Wash your dishes as soon as possible. Don’t let them sit in the sink overnight.

To keep roaches out of your living environment, keep this advice in mind. But remember, cockroaches can find their way into even the cleanest homes. So if you spot one of these critters in your pantry or around your house, contact a pest control specialist immediately.

How to Identify Common Household Ants and Keep Them Out

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in I.D.

“The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah . . .”

Does this sound like something that has happened at your house? Ants are one of the most common household insects in the U.S. and some of the hardest to get rid of. They love to invade homes because human food contains so many of the natural sugars they enjoy. They find a food source, and then they tell their colonies to move in. Within a short time, you may have some unwanted houseguests.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the most common types of ants in the state-including carpenter, pavement, and little black ants-and describe what they can do to your home. We will also what these different species look like, what they eat, and where they live in each of the sections below.

The Big Guns: Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants range in size from 1/4 in. to 1/2 in., making them one of the largest ant species in the United States. They usually appear black, but some subgroups of carpenter ants have a reddish brown or yellow color. The worker class of carpenter ant has noticeably large mandibles.

Diet

Carpenter ants forage, which means they eat anything from dead insects for the protein, to fruits for the sweets. You will find them around aphids since they make the honeydew that they thrive on. They also tend to feed at night, when they work in groups to find food. Once these ants locate the food, they create the shortest path possible from the food source to the colony. This path is called a foraging trail. It continues until the ants deplete the food source.

Habitat

Carpenter ants live in areas where they can find moist, decaying wood. Contrary to popular belief, these ants do not eat wood-they excavate it to form galleries in which they nest and build to form their colonies. If you see a pile of wood shavings mixed with insect remains on your property, those shavings called frass, signal that a carpenter ant nest lies nearby. Potential Problems

Watch for a line of workers and swarmers (winged ants) entering your home to look for food, or scout out a new site to start a satellite colony. Perfect sites for satellite colonies may include porch columns, soffits, hollow core doors, moisture areas like bath, showers, and hot tubs, ceiling beams, skylights, stored items, crawlspaces, and attics, etc.

However, those leftover wood shavings we mentioned earlier signal a deeper problem. If the ants borer through the wood too much, they could undermine your house’s structural integrity. Avoid property damage and call your pest control experts at the first sign of trouble.

The Common Invader: Pavement Ants

The pavement ant is the most common species of ant in the country. These ants grow much smaller than their carpenter cousins and span about 1/8 inch in length. They have a light brown or black color. These ants got their name due to the fact that they usually build their nests in the cracks & under pavement. Sidewalks and driveways often show small mounds of soil indicating an ant nests.

Diet

Pavement ants eat almost anything. They will invade a home searching for vegetables, fruits, sweets, cheese, meat, and even other insects. If they get into your home, pavement ants can also contaminate your food.

Habitat

Pavement ants build their nests both outdoors and indoors. Outdoors, they live in pavement cracks, along curbs, or under rocks. Indoors, they prefer to nest under floors or in walls.

You can often see pavement ants carrying food and ant eggs on the sidewalk. After a queen ant lays eggs, her drones and workers transport them to a different nesting site to form a new colony.

Potential Problems

Pavement ants are generally harmless until they find your food. Once they find a few crumbs, the drones and workers swarm the food source and bring it back to the colony.

The Small Fry: Little Black Ants / Sugar Ants

Little black ants are the smallest of the three ant species mentioned here. A little black ant measures approximately 1/16 in. long and has a shiny black appearance.

Diet

Little black ants have an omnivorous diet, which means they eat pretty much everything. However, they commonly prefer aphids’ honeydew. If they invade a kitchen, large numbers of little black ants will travel through tiny cracks and form foraging trails to and from your pantry.

Habitat

Little black ants can live almost anywhere. Though they generally build their nests outside, these insects can build their nests in any dark and protected area, such as a foundation wall, baseboard, or wall void.

Potential Problems

Due to their short reproductive cycle and large colony size, little black ants represent one of the hardest species to eradicate. Mating season occurs during the summer months when mated females form rapidly expanding new colonies.

Some types of ants may carry and transmit disease organisms such as Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Clostridium, and Streptococcus.

 

Odorous House Ants

All brown in color, have a one-segmented petiole (connecting middle), 2.4 to 3.3 mm long, and when crushed emit a rotten, coconut-like odor.

Diet

Workers forage both day and night for honeydew, their favorite food, and both live and dead insects.

Habitat

Build shallow nests under rocks, firewood, cardboard, bricks, etc. when they invade a home, their nests are often outside. Indoor nests usually found in areas associated with moisture i.e. bathrooms, kitchens, & utility/hvac. They are active in as low as 50 degrees outdoors and can be active all year indoors.

Still have questions about ants in your home? Contact your pest control experts if you suspect an infestation. Only then can you rest easy knowing you’ve cleared every ant out of your house. Keep in mind that the eradication process may take time. After all, ants are resilient, and some of them may escape the first few treatments-especially if you attempt the treatments on your own.

In the meantime, throw away any food ants have touched, keep any additional food containers closed or in the refrigerator, and try to locate where the ant colonies might be. Then you can call your exterminator and eradicate the ants in no time. 

How to Keep Bedbugs out of Your Home

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in Tips

You do all you can to keep strangers from finding a way into your home. Locks on your doors, automatic lighting on your porch, and other security tactics help you feel safe. But have you considered nonhuman intruders? While no one intentionally welcomes bed bugs, people might not realize how their actions brings these pests into their homes.

Two of the most common ways you may open your doors to bed bugs include during a trip or move. Below, learn what to look for, where to look, and how to handle these situations.

What to Look For

To prevent bed bugs from coming inside your home, you need to detect them. These pests usually reside in or near beds in some hotels and other areas.

Look for bugs with small, oval shaped bodies. They vary in size depending on their age and if they’ve had a recent blood feed. Their color ranges from nearly white to tan to burnt orange, but they generally have a red-brown hue. You can also look for brown or reddish spots on fabric and black pepper-like fecal matter may also be present. One or more of these signs indicate the presence of bed bugs.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs When You Travel

Research

Bed bugs often find new homes when travelers bring them back from a trip. Before you book a hotel or hostel, look for any reviews or comments about bed bugs. A cheap night’s stay backfires if you have to pay for a bed bug fumigation.

Inspect

Even if you don’t find any reviews that mention bed bugs, don’t place luggage or other items on the bed until you have inspected your hotel room. Instead, use a bathtub or a luggage rack that’s away from the wall.

Check the mattress and furniture. Look at the mattress and box spring along the edges, corners, seams, and ribbing. Pull back the sheets and check under the box spring as well. Then move on to the headboard and furniture. Look in cracks and crevices-anywhere a tiny insect would hide.

If you suspect bed bugs, change rooms immediately. Or, if you wake up with bites, call management.

Remove

You want to take some precautionary steps to ensure the bugs don’t go home with you if you do find them. Remove any clothing while standing on a hard surface, and place the clothes in plastic bags with seals.

If you fear bed bugs have made their way to your luggage, move items in the suitcase to plastic bags as well. When you get home, unpack your bag somewhere out of the house like the garage or driveway. Vacuum any luggage you can’t throw in the wash, and empty the vacuum outside right away.

Afterward, launder clothing at a high heat or take it to a dry cleaner. If you prefer to hand wash an item, wash it at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Take special care to scrub at seams and folds where bed bugs can hide.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs When You Move

Prepare

Bed bugs can hitch a ride when you move, especially if you come from an apartment or home with a bed bug problem. Wash all clothing, sheets, blankets, and other fabrics, and place them in sealable bags outside of the infested residence. If you have infested clothes, a hot dry cycle kills the insects as well.

Wash any pets on moving day as well. While bed bugs prefer human blood, they may hitchhike on pets as well, especially if the bugs made their way into pet bedding due to overcrowding. Once you’ve cleaned your pets, keep them out of the house to avoid recontamination.

Prevent

Change clothing and shower when you get to the new house. It’s best to change outside of the house if possible, but you can also change over a hard floor. Place dirty clothing in a labeled, sealed plastic bag to wash later.

Before you get too settled, empty boxes outside and throw away the containers. Inspect items as necessary. While you move in, avoid clutter. A mess offers a place for bed bugs to hide and makes it more difficult for you to realize you have a problem.

If you choose to buy used or vintage furniture, inspect it before handing over the money as well. Again, check along seams, folds, and crevices. Even a one-of-a-kind piece you love or a killer deal isn’t worth a bed bug infestation.

You can take a few extra steps if you still worry your move will bring bed bugs inside. Invest in a mattress and box spring encasements. Or look for a bed bug interceptor, which keeps the insects from moving up your mattress. And if you don’t like the look of these devices, use a bed skirt that doesn’t touch the floor.

If you do inadvertently bring bed bugs home, work with a professional early on. The sooner you treat the issue, the less work-and money-it takes to solve the problem.

Check out our Bed Bug Flyer here on the steps to take to get rid of your unwanted guests!

Mouse-Proof Your Home This Summer

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in Uncategorized

Remember children’s movies with animal characters, like The Aristocats or Cinderella? These cartoon films taught you lessons you’ll never forget, not to mention they spurred your love of fluffy creatures.

But as cute as Monsieur Roquefort the mouse looks to the aristocats or how helpful Jacques and Gus seem to Cinderella, you know that mice in real life don’t hold the same appeal. Whether you shriek at the sight of mice in your home or pick the critters up by their tails and toss them outside, you still don’t want these furry pests anywhere inside your house.

You’ve heard that mice carry unsanitary bacteria and diseases. And mice also eat all of your food, get into stored items, and leave their droppings for you to find.

Even though mice usually avoid homes in summertime, you’ll still want to take measures this season to keep mice out of your home later on. Here, we’ll tell you more about the problems mice cause as well as the different ways you can mouse-proof your home.

Diseases Mice Carry

Aside from the fact that mice are often dirty, these rodents also carry several diseases that could greatly affect you and your family. Wild mice also have fleas, and these bouncy bugs carry other harmful diseases. Common diseases that mice transmit include:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Leptospirosis
  • Hantavirus
  • Bubonic plague

Additionally, mice destroy your home’s structural integrity. Mice often scratch and claw at your home’s frame and they also gnaw on electrical wiring within your walls. As a result, you’ll see many other pests in your home and you’ll need to pay for expensive repairs and maintenance to avoid fires, cave-ins, and other issues.

How Mice Enter Your Home

Even if you perform regular repairs on your home, mice can still find a way inside your sanctuary. In fact, mice can squeeze into holes as small as 1/4 of an inch in diameter-that’s about the width of your pinky finger!

You might keep your house tidy, but still unknowingly invite these rodents into your garage or home. Food, pet food, and garbage produce highly appealing odors for mice. Mice will find a way inside your home to partake of any form of sustenance they can. These scavengers enter your home through the following areas:

  • Window sills and ledges
  • Attic and Dryer Vents
  • Pipes
  • Open windows and doors
  • Foundations
  • Fence rails
  • Chimneys and fireplaces

Now that you know how mice can enter your home, it’s time to protect your home from a future invasion. Ways to Keep Mice Outdoors

1. Strategically place bait in/around your home.

We will place bait in safe and irretrievable places where mice travel most. Attics, crawlspaces, under cabinets, utility rooms, garages, storage rooms, and wall voids are the most common areas where these nocturnal critters take route. With their keen sense of smell they find and digest the anticoagulant bait, which then takes care of any odor, disease, and clean-up. Now that’s the worry free way to go!

2. Store pet food in airtight containers.

Though you might store your 75-pound bag of dog food in a large, plastic or metal trash can, these containers still release a pungent smell that attracts mice. These rodents will then gnaw and chew at potential entry points to gain access to the delectable kibbles. Once the mice realize they can’t get into the trash bin, they’ll move into your home for more easily accessible foods.

Instead, purchase an airtight container and store your dog or cat food inside it. This strategy keeps the smell of dog or cat food away from mice and your home free from infestations.

You should also apply this tip to garbage cans. Mice will eat anything, including your trash. Buy an airtight garbage bin to store your filled trash bags in until trash day.

3. Seal visible holes and gaps.

This method sounds easy enough. If you see any dime-size or larger holes in or around your home, seal them up immediately. You can use aluminum coverings or another durable material. Not sure what works best? Talk to your local exterminator or pest control expert.

4. Get a cat.

Pets won’t always keep mice outside, but mice avoid areas that smell like felines. And if a mouse courageously comes inside your house, remind yourself of Harry Potter-Crookshanks consistently hunts for Scabbers until one day the rodent disappears. The same principle applies to mice in your home. Cats love to chase mice and rid your home of the creatures.

Though you still have a few months before the winter months strike, you should still make every effort to mouse-proof your home during the summer. Try out these tips so that you and your family can enjoy your home year round.

If you notice a swarm of mice in your home after you’ve taken these measures, be sure to call a pest control specialist to eradicate the infestation immediately. You may also want to consult with contractors who can repair any unseen access points in or under your home.

Plants and Pests: How Your Garden Invites Pests into Your Home

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in Uncategorized

You want to plant your garden next week. Maybe you’d like to spruce up your home with some new houseplants. But you’ve had pest control problems in the past, and you’re afraid that ants, spiders, mice, and other vermin will destroy any flora you plan to decorate your home with.

Did you know that your gardening may unintentionally invite unwanted pests into your home? It’s true. Certain plants attract irksome bugs and critters while other plants deter and drive these bugs away. You can also grow specific plants to gather helpful insects around your home. These friendly bugs also rid your home of those nasty pests you’d rather forget about.

As you learn how to eliminate bugs and other critters from your property, you can plan your garden with confidence and enjoy the literal fruits of your labor.

Plants that Attract Troublesome Pests

Most people don’t know that the plants they bring into their homes or plant in their gardens attract destructive and annoying critters. Most household bugs and pests pop up because they detect one or more items in or around your home to eat or live in. Common invaders include:

  • Ants
  • Beetles
  • Boxelder bugs
  • Cabbage white caterpillars
  • Codling moths
  • Earwigs
  • Gall mites
  • Leafhoppers
  • Mice and rats
  • Sawflies
  • Slugs and snails
  • Tomato moths
  • Vine weevils
  • Wasps
  • Whiteflies
  • Wooly beech aphids

You have tried everything you can think of to rid your home of these pests. No matter how many times you use bug sprays or hire an exterminator, these pests quickly breach your defenses. So, chances are you have one or more plants that these creepy crawlers find delectable.

Common plants that attract pests include:

  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Fruit trees and bushes (apple, cherry, raspberry, etc.)
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Tuberous vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc.)
  • Zucchini

Plants that Repel Pests

Now that you’ve read through the lists above, you probably think that you’ll just avoid gardening this year. It looks like almost every plant attracts pests. However, even though it seems like most plants, fruits, and vegetables draw in one insect or another, you don’t have to shun a garden altogether.

Did you know that some plants and herbs repel certain insects and pests? Plant the following to keep your garden pest free:

  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Chives
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Fennel
  • Geraniums
  • Lavender
  • Lemon thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Petunias
  • Rosemary
  • Venus flytraps

Try some of these herbs and other plants to keep pesky invaders out of your home and away from your garden.

Plants that Invite Beneficial Bugs

You can also create a robust environment for plant-friendly bugs to live in. Even if you don’t like bugs anywhere near you, they pose a huge asset to you and your small plot of land. To invite these essential critters onto your property, you might not want to entirely weed your garden. Weeds and grasses create dark, attractive homes for centipedes, millipedes, and spiders.

You might also consider plants such as foxglove, Echinacea, and violas to bring in butterflies and bees. These insects travel through your garden and pollinate flowers. Your garden will blossom and flourish as these winged insects do their jobs.

Other beneficial bugs include:

  • Assassin bugs
  • Hoverflies
  • Lacewings
  • Ladybugs
  • Parasitic mini-wasps
  • Pirate bugs

These valuable bugs eat, kill, or prevent harmful pests from destroying the flowers, fruits, and vegetablesthat you cultivate. They also protect you and your family from beetles, mosquitoes, and many other harmful bugs.

If you want to your garden or other plants to thrive this summer, you should consider companion plants. Companion plants are exactly what they sound like-they include herbs, flowers, grasses, and bushes that you plant near your other fruits and vegetables.
These plants entice friendly bugs into a cool little ecosystem that they will then protect from harmful intruders.

Place these companion plants in your garden to welcome helpful insects:

  • Angelica
  • Catnip
  • Dahlia
  • Dandelions
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Goldenrod
  • Grass and weeds
  • Hyssop
  • Marigold
  • Mint
  • Sunflowers
  • White clover
  • Wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace)
  • Yarrow

Grow these flowers and herbs to complement the vegetation you already have around your home. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your garden will flourish.

Other Measures to Take

Despite your best efforts, you might still have a seemingly unmanageable pest problem. When unruly pests devour your peaches, rutabagas, or squashes, they tend to travel towards your home. You then find different varieties of flies, beetles, and other insects scattered everywhere. If your home seems more like a bug hotel than a peaceful oasis, call an exterminator and discuss your options with him or her.

After you hire an exterminator to rid your home from undesirable bugs and other pests, check your home for any plants that attract bad insects and crawlers. Then, beautify your home with foliage and herbs that attract good insects-your home will look and smell amazing, and the good bugs won’t allow bad pests to return.

Squash These 6 Myths About Cockroaches

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in Uncategorized

Cockroaches inspire mixed feelings in homeowners. Some scream when they spot the insect crawling around their pantry. Others feel disgusted when they have to squash the bug under foot. And a few people feel a sense of admiration for a cockroach that manages to live in seemingly impossible conditions.

Because many people associate cockroaches with strong emotions, they often generate myths and rumors regarding the bug. Those who fear them might amplify that fear with tales of cockroaches burrowing into skin. Those who despise them may tell others that the insects lead to disease. And those who respect them might exaggerate the bug’s abilities.

Well it’s time to squash these rumors once and for all.

Before you buy into another myth about cockroaches, take a look at these debunked tales and stories below.

Myth 1. Cockroaches Fear Light

Many cartoons comically portray cockroaches running from the light. Although some species do prefer to live in dark, quiet areas, some cockroaches love the light as much as we do. They’ll gather near windows or on television screens at night.

Most of the time, cockroaches don’t run because they fear the light; they do so because they fear you. They hurl themselves toward gaps and cracks because you are a much larger predator. Other animals, such as lizards and geckos, behave much the same way.

According to Robert Full (https://www.baycitizen.org/news/science/researchers-investigate-cockroaches/), biology professor at UC Berkeley, “this behavior is probably pretty widespread, because it is an effective way to move out of sight for small animals.”

Myth 2. All Cockroaches Are Pests

Scientists have discovered approximately 4,000 different cockroach species in the world. Some can fly, while others cannot. Some have light brown, reddish coloring, while others look dark brown, or even black.

However, only a small fraction of that number invades homes or buildings and can presents a danger to humans. In some areas of the world, people keep cockroaches as pets rather than killing them as pests.

Myth 3. When You Step on a Cockroach, You Release Their Eggs

If you keep up with your YouTube videos, you may have seen a clip or two of unfortunate people squashing spiders, only to release hundreds of baby spiders in their wake.

And since some species of cockroach carry their eggs in a capsule on their back or on their abdomen until they hatch, you might assume that this nightmarish scenario could repeat itself with baby roaches.

However, Robert Pereira (http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/19/bugs-insects-animals-science-myths-spiderscockroaches/), entomologist at University of Florida explains, “you’ll likely kill everything.” This includes the eggs and young ones.

Myth 4. Cockroaches Can Survive a Nuclear Explosion

Cockroaches are extremely hardy insects. And plenty of researchers have explored the roach’s ability to withstand radiation.

Cockroaches exposed to 1,000 rads (radon units) lived, though they experience a decreased ability to reproduce. And a surprising 10% of cockroaches exposed to 10,000 rads still managed to survive. (Humans, in contrast, can only survive about 400 to 1,000 rads before death.)

Researchers suspect that the roach’s ability to survive results from their slower cell cycles. Since they only molt about once a week at most, the radiation has a much narrower window of opportunity to attack the cells. (Humans, on the other hand, constantly divide cells, which leave them vulnerable to nuclear fallout.)

However, this slower cycle doesn’t mean cockroaches can withstand the explosion itself. The average cockroach dies within an hour if continuously exposed to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. But energy from a nuclear explosion can reach tens of millions of degrees.

Myth 5. Cockroaches Can Live for Months Without a Head

Cockroaches do not have the same blood pressure systems that humans do. They lack a network of blood vessels and capillaries that humans need to push blood through the body. Instead, they have an open circulatory system which puts far less pressure on the injured area. This means that when you cut off their head, their necks would seal via clotting rather than uncontrolled bleeding.

Furthermore, roaches breathe through spiracles, or little holes in each body segment. The brain does not control breathing and the blood does not carry the oxygen throughout the body. With this system, a cockroach could potentially live for a time without its head.

But don’t give the cockroach too much credit.

Without sensory input from the brain, the remaining body won’t have the ability to find or eat food and water. In this state, the average cockroach will die within a few weeks, rather than several months.

Myth 6. Cockroaches Only Infest Dirty Homes

Cockroaches are scavengers, so you might often see them crawling around the garbage bin or skittering around the crumbs in a dirty pantry. They will gladly eat the food you leave out on your counter and they’ll nibble away at the leftovers if you let them.

In dirty homes, cockroaches have easier access to food than in clean homes, but this doesn’t mean they infest only dirty homes. They’ll live anywhere they can if given the chance.

If you spot a few cockroaches in your home, call pest control services to remove them.