Monday, 12 August 2013
Thursday, 8 August 2013
Winter Pest Control Tips
By Kristin Masters
Just as humans prefer to bundle up indoors, insects and rodents like to find warmth and shelter however they can. Often this means creeping inside well-insulated homes for the winter. Although many pests go dormant for the winter, proper pest control measures protect homes from exposure to insects and rodents. The key to winter pest control is prevention.
Prevent a Winter Insect Invasion
While many insects go dormant over the winter through a process called diapause, others migrate south or seek protective shelter. Thus ants, roaches, and other pests may become more common sights during colder weather. Some simple steps can keep these insects from making a home in your house:
- Seal off holes on the outside of the house, where insects may gain entry. Smaller holes can be patched with caulk or spackle, while larger ones may require concrete to fill.
- Check around baseboards and inside cabinets for cracks and crevices that could hide six-legged occupants, and fill holes accordingly.
- Remove sources of food and water, which include dishes in the sink and crumbs inside cabinets.
- Outside, much and firewood hold moisture, making them popular hiding places for roaches. Store these at least two feet from exterior walls.
- If insects continue to invade, consider using a natural pest repellant to deter their entry. In conjunction with a sonic pest controller, these repellants will significantly decrease the incidence of pests in the home.
- To humanely remove insects, use a pest vacuum to catch insects and place them outdoors unharmed.
- Outdoors, trim hedges and trees in close proximity to the house. The branches can provide an easy path to the house for insects.
Keep Rodents from Taking up Residence
Unlike insects, mice and other rodents are not capable of going dormant for the winter. While some mammals, such as raccoons, do hibernate during the winter, most simply seek a warmer shelter. Mice, rats, and squirrels actively work on building warm nests year round, often inside homes.
- To prevent squirrels and other animals from roosting in the eaves or attic, repair and patch any holes or other damage.
- Clean out gutters and overhangs, where rodents can also build their nests.
- Store yard waste like leaves and moss away from the house prior to disposal. These materials are popular nesting materials.
- Keep birdseed in a sealed metal container. Mice can gnaw through plastic and eat seeds.
- Common entry points are around pipes, where small cracks are frequently just large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Block holes with steel wool.
- In the house, eradicate clutter that can hide mice and rat nests and provide material for the nests themselves.
Where to find bedbugs:
Bedbugs are most commonly found in bedrooms but infestations can also occur in other rooms such as bathrooms, living rooms, and laundry rooms. Top bedbug hiding spots are
Other common hiding bedbug spots:
-Bedside table clutter – books, picture frames, clocks, etc
-Around window and door frames
-Behind electrical outlet covers and phone jack plates
-Between flooring and baseboards
-Inside hollow items such as table lamps
-Between the folds of drapery, curtains or bed skirts
-In items stored under the bed
-Between couch cushions
What to look for:
Finding bedbugs can be difficult because they can be very small and flat and can hide in tiny spaces and climb through thin cracks the width of a credit card.
Look for blood spots and smears on bedding, pajamas, or mattresses and other areas close to the bed – these may indicate that bedbugs have been feeding.
Adult bedbugs are oval in shape and smaller than an apple seed – usually 4 – 9mm. Their color varies depending on where they are in their life cycle. Newly hatched bedbugs are 1.5mm and nearly colorless – although they turn red after feeding. Adult bedbugs are generally brown but turn reddish-brown after feeding. As young bedbugs grow and mature, they shed their exoskeleton several times. Look for shed exoskeletons while searching for signs of bedbugs.
In some cases, the accumulation of bedbug cast skins, and fecal spots, and bedbug eggs are visible under close inspection.
What to do if you find bedbugs:
Discard you mattress or seal your mattress and pillows with a plastic or hypoallergenic zipped covers. A young bedbug can live for several months without feeding and an adult bedbugs can survive for up to a year. Sealing mattresses this traps the bedbugs inside and prevents them from feeding which will kill them the bedbugs over time.
Do not apply any pesticide to mattresses or other surfaces that will come in contact with the human skin unless the pesticide specifically states that the product can be used in this manner. Food grade diatomaceous earth is an all natural pesticide and one of the best kept secrets in the war against bed bugs. Try sprinkling food grade diatomaceous earth inside your mattress cover before sealing it up.
Wash all your sheets, mattress pads, pillows, and other washable materials that could have come into contact with bedbugs in the hottest water possible to use without damaging your items. Place them in a hot dryer – again on the hottest setting possible.
You can vacuum to capture bed bugs and their eggs, but be sure to immediately place the vacuum bag into a plastic bad, seal it tight and dispose of it immediately.
External Link – University of Kentucky Bedbug FAQ