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.