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Bed Bugs and Your Health

When most of us think about diseases and biting pests we usually consider mosquitoes or ticks. Not often do we think about bed bugs. While it is true that bed bugs do not spread disease as mosquitoes or ticks do, they can cause some issues with your health regardless. Let’s take a closer look at bed bugs and your health.

First of all, bed bugs do not spread diseases to humans, that we know of yet. That should be a weight off your mind if you are dealing with a bed bug infestation in your home, office, dorm, or school. They can, however, have negative effects on your health such as itchy, annoying bites,  insomnia, increased anxiety and, in some cases, anemia due to blood loss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, bed bugs feed on humans and other warm-blooded hosts, in order to survive and reproduce. They find a host by detecting carbon dioxide emitted from warm-blooded people or animals and respond to warmth/moisture. In order to feed, they penetrate the skin of the host and inject a salivary fluid that contains an anticoagulant to help them obtain blood.

Once a host (you or your family members) has discovered s/he is being targeted each night, there may be a level of anxiety and stress to finding and eliminating these pests. Obviously hiring a professional team of exterminators will be the first step and after treatments, your mind should be put to rest. Until that time, however, many homeowners who are experiencing bed bugs find that they suffer from insomnia and high anxiety. After all, this is a stressful situation.

In addition to insomnia, some people who experience bed bugs do have some health problems. For example, there are some who are allergic and will need to seek treatment immediately to stop the itch or the rash. In other cases, hosts have been drained of blood so often that they suffer from anemia. These cases should be seen by a doctor immediately to resolve the symptoms and put you on the path to recovery quickly.

If you are experiencing bed bugs and need assistance in eliminating them from your home or business, call Pest-End Exterminators now at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321. Our team can create a treatment plan and even use our canine detection program to root out the locations of your infestation.


Worst Nightmares – Identifying Termites in your Home

In our last blog, “Nightmare Pests – What’s Attracting Termites to Your Home?” we discussed the conditions that tend to attract termites to a home or a structure. Today, we are taking a closer look at the signs of a termite infestation. Take a moment to read further to find out the red flags or signs that you should look for in a termite infestation.

Since termites can cause thousands of dollars of damage to a home, it is a good idea to know what to look for in the dark, warm areas of your home that may be indicators of the presence of termites. In addition to the cost of the damage, the repairs can cause chaos in a home for weeks, if not months.

Red Flags:

  • Mud Tubes or Tunnels – One of the first things that homeowners may notice are these winding tubes that may be forming on your foundation walls or on the wood supports in your basement or crawl spaces. They may even be present outside along your firewood stack on outside structures. These pencil-sized mud tubes can be found wherever the ground meets your home. They are the means of transport for termites from location to location.
  • Wings – The discarded wings of termites may also be a sign that you have an infestation. These wings may be visibly collecting around the doors, windows, or other entry points of your home.
  • Wood Damage – While this sign may not be as fully visible as the tubes and wings are, all it takes is tapping on the wood in your basement to hear the difference between solid wood and that which has been eaten and hollowed out by termites.
  • Frass – Termite droppings are called frass and if you have termites you may notice this as an indicator of an infestation. Frass can appear as small black markings near an opening in the wood.

Do you have any of these signs of a termite infestation? Call Pest-End Exterminators now at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321 with any of your questions or if you would like an inspection.


Nightmare Pests – What’s Attracting Termites to Your Home?

Homeowners understand the dangers that catastrophes such as hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes can cause on a home’s structure. They know steps to take to safeguard their property and home in those circumstances. But many homeowners are either unaware or not fully informed about the steps to take to safeguard against one of the more destructive nightmare pests: termites. Read on to find out some of the conditions that may attract termites to your home and how to avoid this situation.

The Statistics:

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans spend at least $1 billion on Formosan termite control and repairs each year. The average homeowner with termite damage will spend approximately $3,000 to repair the damage. To combat these stats, it is important to understand the behavior and living conditions that can attract these nightmare pests.

The Attraction:

In order to fully understand termites, homeowners should know what termites are attracted to. Here are some of the conditions termites thrive in…

  • Wood and Cellulose Materials – To a termite, it’s what’s for dinner. Termites feed on lumber, firewood, newspapers, and other cellulose materials. Avoid storing stacks of newspapers in your basement or near the foundation. Also, consider the location of your firewood stack in relation to your foundation. The closer the stack the more likely they will find a way into your home’s structure. Inspect the wood structures in your basement annually to be sure there are no hollow spaces or chewed areas.

 

  • Warmth, Darkness, and Moisture – Warm, dark, and moist places are a favorite of termites. Places in your home that may meet these requirements include your basement, crawl spaces, or under sheds or adjoining structures. These are ordinary places where homeowners do not regularly visit, so termites can chew away undisturbed for months, sometimes even years at a time. To avoid this, inspect your creepy places annually to see if you notice any termite tubes or hollowed wood. In addition, you may want to install a moisture barrier so that termites are not attracted to the moisture in the soil under your foundation. Keep things in your basement as dry and clean as possible.

 

If you suspect you have a termite problem, call Pest-End Exterminators now at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.

 


How to Make Pest Control A New Year’s Resolution

Here at Pest-End Exterminators, we hope all of our clients have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year. Many of you may be creating your own Resolution list as 2019 draws near. Maybe you are resolving to straighten your finances, follow through on a workout schedule, or get more organized in 2019. These are all great resolutions! Since pest control and the comfort and safety of your family is our first priority, here is our resolution list for you to enjoy this year. Happy New Year!

  • May you avoid bringing bed bugs back with you from vacation by learning more about them from our blog Misconceptions about Bed Bugs.
  • May you be alert for the Red Flags of Rodents around your home.
  • May you promise to keep your gutters clean so you don’t harbor wildlife and other unwanted pests in this location.
  • May you keep your garbage cans locked so that wildlife will not create a mess and return to your home night after night.
  • May you use thick plastic or glass to store food in your pantry to avoid Pesky Pantry Pests.
  • May you store your firewood in the right location to avoid inviting pests into your home.
  • May you stay on top of sealing cracks and crevices around your foundation so pests do not see your home as having a “welcome sign” up.
  • May you store holiday decorations in rodent-proof containers. Replace cardboard storage containers with plastic ones.
  • May you clean up all messes and spills in a timely manner so as to not attract ants, insects, and pests inside and outside your home.
  • May you be wise enough to know when you need professional help in ridding your home of pests in the coming year!

Happy New Year from the Pest-End family to yours!

 


How to Control Common Winter Pests

Every winter, when the weather takes a turn for the worst, and the temperatures drop below freezing, the National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to take several precautions against common winter pests like mice, rats, raccoons, cockroaches, and spiders. The winter is an especially common time to find pests in your home due to the fact that, just like humans, these critters are looking for a safe and warm place to ride out the winter. Let’s take a quick look at the most common winter pests and how you can control them.  

The Likely Suspects

Pests are always looking for a warm, safe shelter and a dependable food source. Don’t think of the winter as a time off from pests, but rather a time when the pests merely move their activity from outdoors to indoors. Homeowners most commonly find that the following pests make their way into their homes during the winter months:

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Cockroaches
  • Spiders
  • Raccoons
  • Flies

Prevention

It is essential to the health and happiness of your family that you take preventative measures to keep pests out of your living areas. Pests can cause more hazards than just cobwebs in the corner. For example, rodents, like rats and mice, are known to carry diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus. Certain types of spiders can bite, causing serious side effects, and cockroaches can be a trigger for asthma and allergies. Take these quick steps to avoid diseases and allergic reactions this winter.

  • Eliminate sources of moisture in crawl spaces and basements. Make sure leaks and drips in bathrooms and the kitchen are repaired quickly.
  • Regularly inspect inside the home for signs of an infestation, including greasy rub marks caused by the rat’s oily fur, droppings from mice, or gnaw marks.
  • Keep counters and floors clean and free of crumbs.
  • Vacuum frequently and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Store trash cans and recycling bins in sealed areas such as a locked shed or the garage.
  • If trash cans are kept outdoors, use animal-proof lids.
  • Inspect the outside of your home for access points that would allow unwanted pests inside your home.

Do you have unwanted guests this winter? Contact Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.


What to Know about Fireplaces, Chimneys and Pests

We often think about having a cozy fire during the cold winter months. We often envision being curled up with a loved one under a blanket watching a favorite show, reading a book, or just getting lost in the flames’ dance. Unfortunately, the fireplace and the connected chimney are two of the most common places where pests can hide or get caught unexpectedly. Let’s take a look at the pests that are most common, the signs of a fireplace pests, and what you can do to prevent these incidents from happening in the first place. Get back to enjoying your fireplace as soon as possible.

Most Common Fireplace Pests

If you have a fireplace, you know that it can be a welcome place of rest and relaxation in the winter. The same goes for pests! Chimneys and fireplaces are a quiet, safe, and warm place to nest, hideout or, sometimes, get trapped by accident. The most common pests that find their way into fireplaces are:

  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Rodents

 

Signs of a Fireplace Pest

Many times when there is a pest, (or a family of pests) taking shelter in your fireplace or chimney, there will most definitely be red flags or signs of an infestation. Here are the most common signs that you have someone other than Santa Claus in your chimney.

  • Droppings – All animals leave droppings near or around their nest. If you have a bird, bat, or squirrel living in your chimney, you may notice droppings in and around your fireplace, or even outside your home. The smell alone may key you off to an unwanted visitor.
  • Noises – Many homeowners report hearing scurrying, frantic flapping, or squeaking in the chimney. These noises could be the signs of rodents scurrying around, birds who have gotten trapped frantically trying to find a way out, or the sounds of wildlife making themselves at home in your chimney.
  • Pet Panic! – Many times, the presence of a pest in your chimney or fireplace will be just enough to set off a pet such as a dog or cat to act excitable. Look for those reactions.
  • Tracks – Some pests will venture into your home from the chimney and eat your food, or leave tracks or urine marks. Be on the lookout!

Prevention

One of the best ways to keep pests of all varieties out of your chimney is by shutting the flue after using your fireplace each time. Another method of keeping pests from entering your home via the fireplace is to install a door to your fireplace. If you suspect that you may be harboring pests in your fireplace or chimney, call us at Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.


How to Check for Winter Pests: Follow This Checklist

Just when you thought that all the pests had died off, begun hibernating, or found a place to “overwinter,” you notice that you may have a pest problem. If your first thought is, “But it is winter, I didn’t think pests came out in the winter,” you would be wrong. Many times pests have the natural survival instinct to find a warm, safe place to spend the winter. Unfortunately for many New Englanders, that place may be your home. In order to avoid pests this season, we have created a quick winter pest checklist to help you prevent pests from finding a way into your home.

 

  • Seal all cracks and holes on the outside of the home. This includes examining the foundation, vents, utility pipes, plumbing pipes, and any openings that could allow a pest into your home.
  • Don’t forget the chimney! While you are looking up, check out the roofline to be sure there are no gaps or openings.
  • Replace and/or repair loose or rotting weather stripping or caulking around windows. Remember to look under doors, too! A door sweep is a quick and economical solution that will keep out the cold air and pests.
  • Keep firewood away from the structure of your home to avoid harboring nests too close or having the wood pile become a “bridge” of sorts to your structure.
  • Store all pet food indoors so as not to attract wildlife.
  • Keep bird feeders in locations where raccoons, skunks and other pests cannot access them.
  • Store the food in your pantry in strong plastic containers or glass containers that mice and rats can not chew through. In addition, keep your pantry clean and free of crumbs/spills.
  • Keep garbage tightly sealed outside your home.
  • Remove or trim branches that are touching your home, as they can become a way for pests to get inside.

Stay safe and warm this winter. As always, if you spot a pest problem, contact us at Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.

 


How to Pest-Proof Your Holidays

Something magical happens when a home is decorated for the holidays. Be it the twinkling lights, the decorated tree, or the fire blazing in the hearth, there really is nothing like this time of year. For many homeowners, the biggest worry during this season is the ever-growing gift list. As experts in the pest field however, we know that there are other worries. Some of these include unwanted guests just waiting for the right opportunity to hitch a ride into your home on items such as: your tree, decorations, or firewood. Read on to find out how pest-proof in order to make sure they don’t ruin your holiday cheer.

The Holiday Tree

Christmas trees, wreaths, and fresh garland are often cut from local farms and sold as decorations this time of year. An exhaustive (and gross) study by Science Daily has shown that, while your tree may be beautifully adorned with lights and ornaments, there could very well be up to 25 thousand insects, mites, and spiders sound asleep inside the tree. In order to avoid these pests coming out once they feel the heat of your home, here are a few steps to take prior to bringing your tree indoors. Inspect the tree for signs of pests, looking along the tips of branches and deep within the tree.

  • Shake the tree vigorously before bringing it into your home.
  • Vacuum up pests using an attachment.
  • Spray the tree with water if an outdoor source is still available.
  • If the tree is badly infested, return the tree for another one.
  • Do the same for garland and wreaths that could be harboring mice, spiders, and beetles.

Firewood

As we have stated in current blogs on our sister company website, Pro-Tech Lawn Care,  Firewood Pests can be a huge problem. Be sure to follow some simple guidelines when using firewood in your home. Just like with bringing in a tree, be sure to inspect the wood for pests, shake and bang the wood vigorously, and use the oldest wood first – first in first out rule. Be sure to store the wood far from the structure of your home.

Decorations

Every year, we take out the holiday decorations to adorn the mantle and living areas. Many times, homeowners find that critters have gotten into the boxes or made nests around them, as they are usually only accessed once or twice a year. We suggest the following safeguards so that pests do not find a way into your decorations.

  • Inspect all boxes before opening.
  • Use thick plastic containers that mice and rats can not chew through.
  • If you store your boxes in a shed or garage, open them outside before bringing anything indoors.
  • If you find boxes with droppings, chewed openings, or nesting sites, this could be a sign of rodent activity.

If you have signs of pests that have found their way inside your home this holiday season, call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.


Are Skunks Misunderstood?

We all know the distinct foul odor of skunks. In fact, many of us can identify that pungent odor from fairly far away. The smell is enough to make even the strongest among us feel ill and burn our noses and eyes. It is no wonder they have a reputation that precedes them. But is that reputation really just a misunderstanding? Let’s take a closer look at skunk behavior and what it means if you have a smelly visitor on your property, or heaven forbid, in your home!

Skunks are easily identifiable by their unique black and white striped appearance and fluffy tail. These adaptable and opportunistic animals inhabit most of North America, from southern Canada to Mexico, and from coast to coast. Skunks thrive in many different habitats, as long as food and shelter are available. They rarely travel more than two miles from their established dens, and a skunk will typically settle down within two miles of a water source.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that when they encounter a skunk it is purposely trying to spray them or their pets. In fact, skunks, like many animals are more frightened by humans than anything else. A skunk has usually entered your yard or property to gather food either from your garbage or grill area. Usually this food is intended for its young or other family members.

Studies by the Mass Audubon Society have shown that skunks use their spray as a defense mechanism when trapped or pursued. Given the opportunity, however, they would prefer to walk away from danger and spray only as a last resort. Additionally, skunks will give a warning that it’s about to spray by arching its back, raising its tail high in the air, turning its back toward the enemy, and stomping its front feet. Should you and a skunk meet “face-to-face,” stand still or slowly back away so the skunk doesn’t feel trapped.

The National Wildlife Federation reports that a skunk may emit a mere whiff of odor to repel a minor annoyance or, when fleeing a predator it can’t see, release a cloud of foul musk that can stop a pursuer in its tracks. For its most intense, targeted attack, a skunk twists into a U-shape so that both eyes and rump confront the threat, then aims a stream of noxious liquid right at its enemy’s face. Gagging, pain in the sensitive membranes of the nose and mouth, even temporary blindness can result from a direct hit. All of this is done as defensive measure to protect itself and/or its young. Self defense is a common characteristic of most wildlife.

So, you decide. Are skunks malicious or just protecting themselves? If you have a skunk problem on your property, call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.

 


Avoiding Apartment Pests

Apartment living is ideal for people who are not ready to settle down in one area or are saving for a downpayment on a house. Unfortunately, living in a rental means dealing with a management company or landlord whenever there is a problem such as a leaky faucet, clogged plumbing, or an invasion of pests. While owners of the property are legally bound to deal with these types of problems, including pests such as mice, rats, bed bugs, cockroaches, and the like, there are some steps you can take on your own to help your situation. Here are a few suggestions of how to deal with apartment pests.

  1. Clean Often – Living in an apartment complex many times means you have to share close quarters with people who are loud, cook with strong smelling ingredients, and leave behind a mess. Keep your area as clean as possible including: taking out the garbage and cleaning out the barrel regularly, wiping down your kitchen of crumbs and spills, keeping pet food bowls away until needed, and sweeping areas that can harbor crumbs and food items.
  2. Avoid Secondhand Furnishings – While finding a deal on a mattress or sofa may seem like a great idea at the time, these items may be harboring bed bugs and other pests that you do not want to bring into your home.
  3. Organize your Pantry – Since the kitchen area is a big draw for pests of all kinds, get your food items organized in your pantry. Store cereals, rices, and other food boxes in plastic containers to avoid attracting pests hoping to find a food source. Clean the pantry often and get rid of old items.
  4. Request Repairs – Check under your sinks in both the kitchen and bathroom(s) for potential leaks or drips that could be attracting pests. Call your property management team and request a repair in a timely manner.
  5. Check Packages – Whether you are returning from travel or are expecting a box from Amazon, check all packages for hitchhiking pests that would love to make their home inside your home.

 

Need more suggestions for how to prevent or rid your apartment of pests? Check back with our blog and call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.