What Steps Can I Take to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

bed bug extermination
Image courtesy of Gilles San Martin via flickr (CC by-SA 2.0)

Bed bugs can be difficult to deal with because the treatments for them work best when applied directly to the bugs, and they are excellent hiders. They will hide in cracks that you may barely notice. It takes a professional who has been trained in bed bug detection to be able to identify all the places that they may hide.

Call a Professional

The first step in treating for bed bugs is to call a bed bug exterminator who can complete the chemical treatment for you. This is important because you need to kill all stages of the bed bugs in order to end an infestation, and a professional will be able to do that effectively.

Wash Your Bedding

Take your bedding to a laundromat to wash. It is important to double bag the bedding. This will prevent the bed bugs from hiding in your car as you take bedding there. Throw the bag away when you get to the laundry mat, as it may now contain bed bugs. You may want to seal these bags in an airtight container to avoid passing the bed bugs onto someone else. Be sure to wash and dry the bedding on high heat.

Address Your Mattress and Box Spring

The first step is to vacuum your mattress and box spring. While you may be tempted to throw your bed away, you can take some simple steps to stop bed bugs from being a problem. Buy a cover for both your mattress and box spring that will trap any bed bugs that may be in your box-spring or mattress that the vacuum misses inside. They will not be able to survive. Additionally, it can serve as a protection to stop it from happening in the future.

Move Your Bed Away from the Wall

While you are working on clearing up the bed bugs, you do not want to worry about new bed bugs finding their way into your bed and onto you. You can move the bed frame away from the wall. You can treat the headboard with insecticide. You can also put the legs of your bed into bed bug traps that are designed to catch any bed bugs that may be trying to climb off the floor onto your bed. Since bed bugs cannot fly, these measures can help while you prepare for the extermination treatment.

Image courtesy of Gilles San Martin via flickr (CC by-SA 2.0)

How Can I Keep Ants Out of My Kitchen?

household antsNo matter whether you have carpenter ants or common household ants, ants are persistent insects. They will send scouts into your kitchen in search of food and water. If they find what they are looking for, then you may start to see a steady stream of ants coming into your kitchen. There are steps that you can take to stop ants from becoming a problem before they start to come in.

1. Treat the Exterior of Your Home

Treating the exterior of your home with an inspect spray can stop the ants from coming in through cracks around your door or through your foundation and up into your home. Usually the treatment will need to be applied a few times a year. Since it is outside, you do not need to worry about it affecting your family.

2. Seal up Cracks

Check your window frames for any cracks. Consider adding caulking around the edges of your windows and seal any cracks that you see. There is stripping that you can add to the bottom of the door if it is not fitting tightly which can also deter ants from getting in.

3. Fix Any Leaks

Ants will come in looking for water, and if you have any leaking pipes, this will soon become a steady source for them. Check your pipes periodically to make sure they are not leaking under the sink or in other areas where you may not notice them. Be sure that the area is thoroughly dried after you make the repair.

4. Do Your Dishes

Ants will eat food that is left on the counter on dirty dishes or even what is left on the sink. As soon as you are done eating, take the time to do the dishes and wipe down the counters and tables. Sweeping right after will clean up any crumbs and deter ants from coming in looking for food. Be sure that dirty dishes are not left in other rooms of the home and try to keep all of the food in the kitchen.

5. Take Out the Trash

The final step is to take out your trash each night, especially trash in your kitchen or that has food in it. This will stop the ants from finding it or looking to it as a steady source of food. It takes just a few minutes to empty the trash and it is much easier than trying to kill an established colony.

What Attracts Mice to Your Home?

rat nestMice are wild animals that are looking for a way to survive. You may find that mice try to come into your home more in the fall or winter as they are looking for a warm place to stay. Once you understand what mice are looking for when they enter in your home.

Shelter

Mice may enter your home looking for a place to make their home. They will want a quiet place that is near a food source. They will build their nests out of shredded paper and other items. They may make their nests in the walls, in cupboards or in the corners of your garage. If they can find a safe place that is free from predators like a cat, they will quickly settle in for a long stay. Mice reproduce rapidly which means a few mice can quickly turn into an infestation. Once rodents have infested your home there are many dangers that come with them.

Food and Water

Mice will come into your home looking for food and water. They will quickly find food that you may have left out on the counter or the table. They want food that is easy for them to access, but once they have established themselves in your home, they will begin to chew through plastic and boxes to get into the food that they want. They like grains, seeds, oats and fruit. They are vegetarian. They may also eat your pet food and it is a good idea to keep this in a sealed container.

Trash and Clutter

Mice will also go after the trash that is in your home. They like the easy access to the food that you throw away.  Clutter is another factor that makes your home more appealing. It makes it easier for the mice to hide and gives them a place to nest or forage. The cleaner your home the less likely the mice are likely to find their way in to stay.

Keeping Mice Out

One key to keeping mice out of your home is to put up deterrents in any areas where they can easily gain access to your home. Look for chewed up boards around pipes into your home, or around the foundation. You may also want to check out the eaves of your home and the attic. If you keep the food stored in airtight containers and take out your trash regularly, you are less likely to have to deal with mice in your home. If one does wander in, you will likely be able to spot it and take care of it before it becomes a serious issue.

Diseases that Cockroaches Spread

cockroach controlCockroaches are often associated with dirt and filth. Many people freak out when they see a roach in their home, and there is good reason for this. Cockroaches multiply rapidly and one or two can quickly turn into thousands. Cockroaches spread disease when they crawl over your dishes or get into your food. In addition to the diseases they can also aggravate people who have allergies or asthma.

Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is caused by the bacteria Salmonella. People who have this will have cramping and diarrhea and a fever. The onset is usually within one to three days of being exposed and can last up to a week. If you have a healthy immune system, you will likely recover without any treatment, but if you have a weak immune system, you may need to visit a doctor. If you become dehydrated, you may need to receive I.V. fluids.

Typhoid Fever

There used to be regular outbreaks of typhoid fever in the United States. However, the incidence has been reduced due to better sanitation.  The disease is spread by ingesting the bacteria, which can quickly spread to an infection in the intestines that can spread to the gall bladder and spleen. The disease can take up to two weeks to develop and last for up to a month. People can run a fever up to 104 degrees, have a poor appetite and diarrhea. This can be treated with antibiotics.

Cholera

Cholera is an infection that causes water diarrhea. It is spread through contaminated food and water. It can take between 1 and 5 days to develop and it can kill within hours if the person is not treated. The dehydration can kill you, and it is important to be treated quickly. The key is to stay hydrated, and there are special solutions that you can take to help with that.

Gastroenteritis

This is what people commonly call the stomach flu. It occurs when the lining of your stomach or intestines become inflamed due to a virus or bacteria. It can cause fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. It is easily spread from person to person and most people recover on their own. However, it is important to make sure the person stays hydrated throughout the illness.

Dysentery

Dysentery is spread through contaminated food or water. It causes bloody diarrhea that needs to be treated by a doctor. Symptoms also include fever and abdominal pain. There are a number of viruses and bacteria that can cause this, and cockroaches can carry those and contaminate your food or dishes when they crawl through them.

You can learn more about cockroaches by reading 10 Facts About Cockroaches

How Do Bed Bugs Enter Your Home?

bed bugsBed bugs are notorious for being difficult to get rid of. Plus, the idea of being fed on while you are asleep is definitely not an appealing one. Since bed bugs were almost completely eradicated in the United States for about forty years, many people do not understand the pest and how to avoid catching. The resurgence of the bed bug has been troubling. Although bed bugs don’t carry diseases, their bites can cause rashes and be very annoying. Here are the common ways that bed bugs enter your home and how to avoid bringing them there.

Bed Bugs Enter in Your Luggage

The most common way that people get bed bugs is by bringing them home after a business trip or vacation. They may stay in a hotel with bed bugs and not realize it. The bed bugs can easily crawl into your suitcase and catch a ride home with you.

To prevent this, you will need to inspect your hotel room when you arrive. Check the bedding and behind the baseboard for signs of droppings. Additionally, be sure never to put your suitcase or purse on your bed. The luggage rack is a better option since it sits up off the floor and it will make it more difficult to bring them home. Once you are home, inspect your luggage or treat with high heat before you bring it into your home. These steps should allow you to stop an infestation before it stops.

Bring Bed Bugs Home from the Gym

Your gym is another place that you my pick up bed bugs from. If someone brings in a gym bag that has bed bugs, the bugs can leave the bag and go looking for other places to stay. They may wander into your bag. Most people do not think of their gym as a place to worry about.

Be sure to keep your bag away from other people’s bags. Keep them off the carpeted floor and complete a quick check of your locker before you put your gym bag into it. This may be more difficult to prevent because there are not clear places where you can see signs of bed bugs.

Watch Out for Second Hand Furniture

Another common way to bring home bed bugs is through secondhand furniture. They may make their nests in the cracks in headboards or nightstands. They can also make a home in upholstered furniture. Bed bugs can be difficult to spot during the day if you do not have a trained eye because they are nocturnal.

It is important to completely inspect the furniture before you bring it into your home. If you suspect that there may be bed bugs, you should not buy it. You do have the option of treating it, but you can still run a risk of bringing them into your home.

Learn about The Eastern Subterranean Termite and how it can destroy your home.

How Are Termites and Carpenter Ants Different From Each Other?

Termites and carpenter ants are two different insects that can cause damage to your home. These wood boring insects can affect the property value of your home and can cause significant damage to your home. The treatment method is different for each of them and it is important to correctly identify them.

Characteristics of Termites

termitesTermites tend to make their nests outside and come into your home looking for wood to eat. You may be able to spot a termite mound near your home or see mud tubes along your foundation leading up to your home.

Termites are black with segmented bodies, but they have thicker waists and look nearly uniform in size. The workers and guards look a bit different from each other. Termites come in a variety of colors from beige to black. When the termites swarm they have wings. These wings are about twice the length of the termite and are uniform in length. The antennae are straight.

Characteristics of Carpenter Ants

carpenter antsCarpenter ants do not eat wood, instead they make their nests inside of the wood. This does mean that they may chew up the wood to make their nests. They may also take advantage of any damage left behind by a previous termite colony.

Carpenter ants look like a household ant except they are quite a bit larger. They are entirely black which makes them different from fire ants. The carpenter ants will have two sets of wings with the back wings being a bit shorter than the front wings. The antennae are bent.

Either pest can be a problem in your home and cause significant damage. In fact, one termite colony can chew through a pound of wood a day. This adds up quickly. If you suspect any of these issues, you should contact a professionals at EcoTek for a free inspection and free estimate for how much it will cost to exterminate ants in or around your home.

Learn 8 Facts About Ants

Winterize Your Home

With the onset of cooler weather, it is an excellent time to think about getting your home ready for winter. A few simple steps can help reduce the amount you pay in heating bills over the winter. The following steps can help you prepare your home for the colder weather.

1. Service Your Furnace

It is a good idea to have your furnace or heating system serviced each year. Generally, before the cold weather hits. If you do not have a professional o this for you, be sure to change out the filters and to turn it on to make sure it is working before the first freezing spell of the winter. This will let you know if you need to have work done on it.

2. Wrap Your Pipes and Water Heater

The hardware store sells items that you can use to safely wrap your pipes and water heater. When you wrap your water heater, you can reduce the amount that you pay to heat your water each year. It is like a quilt that you wrap around the water heater. If you have pipes that run through a crawl space under your home, it is a good idea to wrap those pipes to prevent them from freezing throughout the winter.

3. Fix Drafts and Cracks

Take the time address drafty windows and cracks around your door and window frames. You can apply a plastic layer to windows that will shrink when you apply heat and seal any drafts that may be coming in through the glass. Applying caulk along the window frames and door frames to stop any drafts can also help. There is also a weather tape that you can apply to a door that may have cracks in between the door and frame.

4. Do a Visual Inspection

Check your attic and the foundation of your home for any additional cracks not only can these let heat out, but they can let in animals that are looking for a warm place to make their home this winter. They can make a mess, cause damage and even spread disease if they do get in. If you suspect you have an issue with rodents call the experts at EcoTek who can safely trap and remove any animals and help with the decontamination of your home.

5. Don’t Forget Your Car

It is just as important to make sure your car is ready for winter. Take the time to check your tires and possible buy chains or change to snow tires. Check the antifreeze and other liquids in your car to make sure everything is ready to handle the extra cold. It is also a good idea to put an emergency kit in the car for winter in case you get stranded.

Life Cycle of Ants

life cycle of antsAnts are fascinating insects. They work together in colonies and can build extensive tunneling systems. Ants form a unique society structure working together. Many people are fascinated by the building that they do and may have an ant farm to watch it happen. Here are the four stages of an ant’s life

Eggs

Ants begin as eggs. The queen will lay all the eggs for the colony. There are workers that watch over the eggs and protect them. The eggs are very small and a queen can lay up to 300,000 eggs in just a few days.

Larvae

Once the eggs hatch, the ant larvae emerge. These are small soft insects. They are about the size of a period when they are first born. They will molt and grow several times as larvae. They will eat food that he adult ants chew up for them and give them.

Pupae

Once the ants have matured, they will spin themselves into a cocoon and develop into adult ants. At this stage, they are called pupae. Not all species will spin the cocoon. During this time, the ants will darken from white into black or brown. They will develop legs and antennae during this stage, but they are folded against the body.

Adults

Adult ants will continue to darken as they get older. The ants will be divided into workers, male ants or queens. The worker ants will take on specific jobs in the colony including foraging, building and caring for the younger ants. Most worker ants will live between one to three years. The male ants will mate with the queen for a few weeks, and then they will die. The queen will lay all the eggs for the colony. Usually a queen is larger than the other ants and will live much longer—up to fifteen years.

While ants are fascinating creatures, they can lose their appeal when they are invading your home and kitchen. If you notice an ant in your home, more are likely to follow as they seek out food and water to sustain the colony. To solve your ant problem, you must kill the entire colony. The experts at EcoTek Termite and Pest Control can help eliminate the ant colony and stop the ants from coming back.

Contact EcoTek for a free inspection and estimate, or learn more about ant extermination

5 Ways to Prevent Cockroaches

Cockroaches can wander into almost any home. They quickly multiply and can invade your home and spread germs by crawling over your dishes in your cupboard. They are always looking for steady water source and for food to eat. When a roach lays an egg sack, it contains up to 50 eggs. Most roaches will lay a new sack about every two months. Since roaches take about 100 days to mature, a few roaches can quickly turn into many. There are steps that you can take to prevent roaches from being in your home.

Take Out the Trash

It is important to take out your trash and to store your trash cans away from your home. Cockroaches want an easy source of food and taking your trash out each night will give them one less thing to eat. Be sure that your trash cans outside are sealed tightly, which can prevent the roaches from crawling in from outside and choosing to stay.

Find and Deal with Leaks

Cockroaches need to find water in order to survive. If they do not find it they will leave. You can often find them in your kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms. Be sure to have family members mop up after a bath or shower to minimize the amount of water you have around your home. Looking for leaks and a dripping faucet and addressing these issues can help you to reduce the chances of cockroaches creating a nest in your home.

Make Sure You Home Is Clean

Wiping down the counters, sweeping the floors and vacuuming each night will help to minimize the food sources for any roaches that may wander into your home. In addition to this cleaning and wiping out your cupboards regularly and mopping under your refrigerator can get rid of any crumbs that may accumulate there. Allowing food to be eaten only in the kitchen is another great way to limit the amount of cleaning you need to do each night.

Stop Them from Getting in Your Home

There are a few things you can do to reduce the number of roaches that get inside the home. Many roaches will come into the home through the vents on the roof. Trimming branches hanging over the roof can help to reduce the number of roaches in your home. Another step is to seal cracks around your doors and windows. Also seal the areas where the pipes come into your home. You can use caulking to do this effectively. You should also check any second hand furniture you bring into your home to make sure there are no roaches already living in them.

Find Professional Help

It has been said that for every roach you see, there is at least twenty others that you do not see. Do not wait until it turns into a true infestation. Call the exterminators at EcoTek to help you get rid of your cockroaches for good. They can safely treat your home for cockroaches while keeping you and your family safe. This will stop the roaches from spreading bacteria or diseases through their droppings.

Prevent Rats and Mice from Entering Your Home

rat and mouse exterminationAs the temperature starts to decrease at night, rats and mice begin to look for a warm place to spend the winter. Often this means the nearest heated building that may provide shelter and a reliable food source. Rats and mice carry a number of diseases and can quickly wreak havoc on your property. Here are five things you can do to prevent them from getting in your home this winter. Read more Prevent Rats and Mice from Entering Your Home