Springtails

 

Springtails are tiny insects that will jump when disturbed and are often mistaken for fleas.  Their tails are equipped with a spring loaded structure called the furcula, when released will spring the insect up to 10 centimeters.  Springtails are usually light brown in color but can range from a dark brown to black color.   Springtails are wingless, so they are not capable of flying, only crawling and “jumping”.

Springtails need moisture to survive, they are commonly found in damp soils such as flower beds, under logs, under large rocks, in mulch and woodpiles.  They thrive under weed barriers and pretty much anywhere that is dark and damp.  Springtails will feed on mold, mildew, leaf litter and fungi that could be cause by leaking pipes or water damaged areas.

Springtails can sometimes be found inside of the home usually in kitchens, bathrooms or basements.  If there is no water damage inside of the home, it’s likely the springtails have migrated from an over populated site outside.  When there are situations like significant water damage to a home springtails maybe found inside the walls or even in water damaged furniture that has mold and mildew.

In most cases once you get rid of the dampness/moisture inside the springtails will be forced to move on and find a new site with moisture.  Spot treating inside where you are seeing springtail activity will not be of much help.  Treating the source is what needs to be done, which will likely be outside in the soil.

On a positive note, springtails are merely a nuisance pest.  They do not cause damage to clothes, the structure of your home or food products. Springtails do not sting or bite.  They usually are not an exterior problem.   The way they seem to show up out of nowhere in such great numbers, in many cases by the thousands is what is alarming and can be unnerving to most home owners.

If you find yourself with a springtail problem, call your local pest management company for an inspection and advice for treatment plan that will fit the situation.

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Mud Dauber’s

Mud dauber is a common name for wasps that make their nests with mud. There are many species of wasps referred to as mud dauber’s; some other common names are dirt daubers, organ-pipe wasps, mud wasps and potter wasps. Although their appearance varies, mud daubers generally are from ½ to 1 inch long. Mud daubers are colored either completely black or blue metallic. Some species have yellow or greenish markings on the body. Their body shape is often referred to as “thread-waisted” with some mud daubers possessing an extremely long and thin, stretched out looking body segment located between the thorax and abdomen.

Mud daubers are an interesting insect, especially in the way that they feed their larvae. In the spring, the overwintering pupae develop into adults. The adult females begin building a new nest and after completing the mud nest, they start capturing insects or spiders that are then placed into each mud nest cell. Eggs are deposited on the prey within each cell, and the cell sealed with mud. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey left by the adult wasp, and then change into the pupa stage (cocoon) that overwinters. Here is the interesting part, the prey isn’t killed, but stung and paralyzed before being placed into the mud cell. This is crucial because if the prey was dead, it would decompose and then become unsuitable nourishment for required larval development. Adults feed on plant nectar, honeydew and the body fluids of the spiders and insects they capture. At least two species of mud daubers are especially important since they are reported to seek out and capture spiders including black widow spiders!

Mud daubers can actually be very beneficial since they help reduce the numbers of some pest insects and spiders. Also, they are not likely to sting.  But remember, it is never smart to approach their nests without using caution. If you’re a “do it yourself-er” scraping off the nest or using a strong stream of water from a garden hose may work, but they still may return. If mud daubers become a problem and keep coming back, be sure to contact your pest management professional for their recommendations and assistance.

Give us a call, Alpha Home Pest Control (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Carpet Beetles

 

It can be hard to think of “beetles” living in your carpet without realizing it, but it can happen. Many people have seen them but few people know what these tiny insects actually are and capable of. Carpet Beetles are a common pest and often is mistaken for “some sort of ladybug” because of their similar characteristic shape. Carpet Beetles are small (about 1/8th to 1\4th) dome shaped insects. The Varied Carpet Beetle has an irregular pattern of white, brown, and dark yellow scales on its wing covers. In older adults the scales that form this pattern wear off, so the beetles may appear solid brown or black. Mature larvae are slightly longer than adults and are covered with tufts of hair that extend upright to form a round plume if disturbed. They have alternating light and dark brown stripes and are distinguishable from other carpet beetles because they are broader in the rear and narrower in the front.

Carpet Beetles have an unusual ability to digest keratin, the chief protein component of skin and hair giving them the ability to eat clothing, carpet and upholstery. They can be a significant nuisance in the home, in storage facilities, museums, and clothing stores.

What to look for?

Seeing adult Carpet Beetles are typically the first sign of an infestation, they primarily feed on pollen and usually don’t cause too much damage. It’s the Carpet Beetle larvae that are responsible for damage to clothes, ornamental decorations, and other natural fiber house wares. The larvae are what you should be seeking to control if you are unfortunately dealing with this insect. If you do have an infestation, examine those types of items closely. You can usually find traces of their discarded molt skins in darker areas, such as closets. The discarded molt skin from the larvae has been known to cause asthmatic episodes in some individuals.

It’s wise to remember that the most damage is caused by the larvae, which are typically found in dark, secluded areas of closets, under furniture, or at the area of where carpeting meets a wall. Adult Carpet Beetles have wings and are capable of flying; the adults are typically attracted to light and sunny windows. The females tend to lay eggs in clusters of lint where the larvae can emerge and sustain themselves on a high quality source of both essential proteins and oils shed by humans and pets. The more mature larvae tend to be more mobile and can sometimes be found crawling up walls or across ceilings.

Occasionally Carpet Beetle infestations can be the result of bird or wasp nests in wall voids where the larvae are feeding on discarded feathers and debris. More commonly the infestation can be traced to a pile of forgotten/neglected clothing or old upholstered furniture left in the attic, so it’s important to not overlook materials when inspecting for these fabric loving insects. Also, if you have pets be sure check around pet areas like beds or where your pet likes to lay. Carpet Beetles may be hiding under the pet bed or kennel as there would be plenty for pet hair for them to consume.

The majority of Carpet Beetle infestations can usually be controlled and eliminated by the homeowner being proactive, regularly vacuuming and staying on top of good housekeeping habits. If you feel like you have a case that is beyond what you can handle, give us a call!

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Elm Seed Bugs

 

In recent years the Elm Seed Bug has made itself known here in Idaho. It wasn’t until 2012 when elm seed bugs really started invading homes in sizable numbers. Common in central and southern Europe, it is unclear how exactly these bugs made their way to Idaho. They are black to reddish brown and have a unique triangle shape on their back. Elm Seed Bugs can be difficult to eliminate one they have had time to get established, but regular treatments will help keep these pests at bay, ask your local pest management about elm seed bug treatments.

Elm seed bugs can live a long time, typically 3 to 5 years which can be a problem when you’re battling against them. They are commonly found on elm tree, as their young will eat seed from the tree.   They will have to migrate away from the cold and extremely hot temperatures, which means winter and summer is when they well be seeking shelter. It will usually start with them gathering on the structure, looking for cracks and crevices to hind in. They can be found around gutters, windows, door frames, under siding and it will only be a matter of time before they make their way into the structure.

The elm seed bug is similar to the stink bug in that will release a unpleasant sent to mark territory. If a few of the elm seed bugs have decided your home is great for a nesting site they will likely release this scent and it may potentially attract other elm seed bugs in the area. They may also release the unpleasant sent if being handled and feels threatened and when it is smashed. If you are finding elm seed bugs in your home, it is not recommended to smash them, the vacuum will be your best tool to use indoors. Remember that to change the bag or empty the vacuum as they may be able to climb out through the hose.

The elm seed bug really is just a nuisance pest, an annoyance. They don’t appear to pose a threat to humans, pets, plants or crops, but their unpleasant smell is obnoxious to most.

Elm seed bugs can be tough to eliminate once they have had time to get established. If you think of have an infestation of elm seed bugs call your pest management right away for proper identification and to set up a treatment plan.  This particular pest will likely require regular treatments to keep their numbers down.

(208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol

Flea Control

 

Let’s talk about Flea Control.  Anyone who has a family pet of any kind knows how important it is to keep them happy, safe and comfortable.  Taking walks, and playing with pets keeps them healthy and happy, proper collars with I.D. tags help keep them safe if they were to get lost, giving them their own space within the home helps them feel comfortable knowing they have a loving secure home. If your pet has fleas they will not be comfortable.  Don’t wait till your pet has fleas, be proactive about flea control.  Do know what fleas look like?

Adult fleas are shiny and are a reddish brown to black in color and measure about 2.5 mm long. Adult’s fleas are parasites as they feed by drawing blood from their host.  They are covered in tiny microscopic hairs that help for easy movement through animal fur.  Fleas are wingless and cannot fly, but they are capable of jumping long distances.  As for flea eggs, they make things more difficult.  They are tiny and they are often not even attached to your pet, instead they are in carpets, rugs, cracks in the floor, upholstered furniture and possibly bedding that isn’t changed often.  Most eggs will hatch in just two days, making it easy for them to quickly spread and take over your home.

Common pets that can get fleas are cats, dogs, rabbits, pet mice and rats.  Even if you don’t have any pets it’s still possible for your house to contract fleas from non-domesticated animals such as squirrels, mice and rats that may find their way into your home!

So what should you do if you see your pet scratching excessively?  First, do a visual check through your pet’s fur.  Have them stand on a small white sheet or pillow case (this will make it easier to see flea’s that fall from the pet) and move the fur around.  Be focused, fleas are quick!  If you’re not seeing actual fleas watch their skin for bite marks, and “flea dirt” which is flea droppings.  The flea droppings look like reddish black pieces of pepper. If you see either of those, you can get over the counter flea treatments or talk with your vet about what will work best for your pet.

Next, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your house.  Vacuum all carpeted areas, furniture and areas where your pet lays, you should vacuum all areas daily for at least 1 week to stop they egg cycle. After each vacuum, remove the bag, place it in a plastic bag and seal it tightly, and dispose of it outside.  Using a steam cleaner would be a great tool to use if you have access to one or you could rent one.  Be sure to wash rugs, and all blankets and bedding, including yours if you allow you pet on your bed.

If you have followed treatment and clean up tips but just can’t seem to get rid of the fleas call a professional pest control company.  Most pest control companies have flea control treatment services available and will be able to inspect your home to find the infested source.  It’s important to note that if you do have your home treated for fleas, you need to have your pet treated by the vet the same day.  This will help ensure the success of the treatment.

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com     (208)-475-4440

Tiny Red Bugs

If you’ve ever noticed tiny red bugs crawling in or around your window chances are they are Clover Mites. Clover Mites are a close relative to ticks and spiders but they are true mites, not insects. To the naked eye they are no more than tiny red bugs and appear no larger than a pinhead. Clover mite adults have an oval shape body, eight legs, and are red to reddish-brown in color. The front pair of legs are very long compared to the other six legs and may be confused for the mite’s antennae. They mostly feed on clover, grassy lawns, plants and weeds and seem to appear by the thousands in the spring and fall.

These tiny red bugs will crawl up the side of the structure from the ground to invade your home. They get in through cracks and tiny openings around windows and doors. Inside, you may find them crawling around window sills, walls, curtains, drapes, furniture or directly on windows. The tiny red bugs will leave behind a tell-tale stain when smashed. When clover mites are smashed they leave a red stain. The stain is not blood, but is the mite’s body pigment. On the exterior, you may find thousands of tiny red bugs in large numbers on siding, brick walls, under loose bark of trees, foundation walls, around window frames and other outside surfaces. Clover mites can be found throughout the house, but they are frequently found on the sunniest side of the house or foundation, commonly the south side due to the warmth.

On the bright side, clover mites are not dangerous. They do not bite and are not harmful to humans or pets. Also these tiny red bugs do not cause structural damages like termites. They are simply nuisance pests, although they can be hard to eradicate. They are difficult due to their size; they invade homes in great numbers and are so tiny they can get through even the smallest opening.

If you have the tiny red bugs invading your windows and home, give us a call for an inspection and we’ll discuss efficient Control and Preventative measures.

(208)475-4440  http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Hiring a Professional Pest Control Company

 

Hiring a professional pest control company, finding unwanted pests in your home is never a fun experience and sometimes you may need to rely on a professional pest control company to help handle the situation. It can be a daunting task to find the right company that you feel comfortable with and can trust. There are many pest control companies out there but they are not all created equal, so it’s important not to rush in making a decision without doing a little research of your own first. Here are some helpful tips for choosing a professional pest control company for you.

Ask friends, family and neighbors about pest control companies they have used successfully and if they were satisfied with the service.

  • Look for qualified and licensed pest control professionals and companies, check to see if they are members of national, state or local pest management companies.
  • Ask to see proper licensing and credentials
  • Get quotes or bids from several companies you are considering
  • Only use someone you feel comfortable with and can trust. Don’t be let anyone pressure you into something you’re unsure of.
  • Be sure to understand what the contract consist of, work necessary to solve the problem, how long the contact is for, amount of money, early terminations fees
  • Don’t just choose by price alone. Buy value or price
  • If something is guaranteed, make sure it is in writing on the contract and what you need to do to keep that guarantee valid
  • Ask about the products they use (for example is it a spray, dust or gel, granular etc), names of the products, are they safe for children and pets? They should be able to clearly and confidently explain what the products are and how they work.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau for accreditation.
  • Social media is a great tool to check out reviews. Most companies have their own Facebook, Twitter and Google+ where customers can rate the company and leave a review, you can also look for the company on sites such as Angie’s List and Yelp.

Remember try not to go with the first company your see, follow some of our tips and they may save you a headache and money in the long run.

 

Earwig Control

If you are looking for earwig control, look no further, Alpha has you covered.  Earwigs are a common household pest and are unique with the way they look. They are easily recognizable by their pinchers located at the ends of their abdomen, which are generally harmless to humans. Earwigs will actually use the pinchers when sparing with other earwigs. They are dark reddish-brown, have light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long.

Female earwigs reproduce up to 20-60 eggs in a single season. They will lay their eggs in a burrow in the soil. Most species have one generation a year, and over-winter in the soil. Both adults and the young require moisture to live. Inside the home they can often by found near water sources such as beneath sinks, in bathrooms, in utility rooms, and even hanging around your pets water bowl.

Earwigs are nocturnal primarily feeding at night. They are scavengers, eating dead insects and decomposing plant materials. They are also known to eat live plants and can do damage to crops.  Earwigs may look for shelter in areas with mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris. They prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks, and stones.

Earwigs are a common household pest and can get in through entry points like doors and windows.  Their populations often build up around foundations when there is excess moisture. Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions.

 

If you’re finding pesky earwigs in or around your home call Alpha Home Pest Control to help you prepare and defend your home against unwanted pests!  (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Vacationing without Bed Bugs

If you plan on traveling this summer, vacationing without bed bugs is the way to do it! Bed bugs can be picked up in hotel rooms and you may not know it till they’ve made themselves at home in your own bed.
While you’re getting ready for your trip, we suggest packing a small flashlight to help investigate your hotel bed and other areas around the room. Remember to start checking out the room as soon as you get there. You can start by not setting your luggage on the bed, instead set it on a hard surface such as the bathroom counter or even setting it in the bathtub while you check out the room.

Keep Alpha’s bed bug tips in mind:

• Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, especially the corners. While using your handy flashlight, we also suggest moving or lifting the mattress to check underneath as bedbugs sometimes will be under the mattress. You’re looking for telltales signs of the rust colored spots.

• Check the head board and inside of drawers of dressers and nightstands
• Check anything upholstered like chairs and curtains
• Check the edges of the carpet for bed bugs, they can be anywhere in the room, but be sure to thoroughly inspect the carpet edges that are close to the bed

*If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms or establishments immediately!! If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and or directly above or below the suspected infested room. Bed bugs can easily catch rides on housekeeping carts, luggage, and even through wall sockets.

Remember that bed bugs are not picky and will hitchhike a ride with anyone. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into your home. You can use a vacuum or a garment steam cleaner before putting the luggage up for storage. Using a steam cleaner will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have stowed away with you. Don’t just put your clothes into a hamper; take them from the luggage directly to the washer (even clothes that may not have been worn). Wash all clothing in hot water. The longer you wait, the more time they will have to get established, which can slow down the elimination process.

 

Tips To Secure Your Home From Pests

 

At Alpha, we see it almost on a daily basis, pests and rodents finding their way into homes and buildings through entry points that shouldn’t be available.  Most common are cracks and gaps in doors, resulted from weather stripping issues or door not closings properly. Foundation vents completely open, with ripped screens or no screens at all which is like setting out a welcome mat for rodents and even cats.  Follow Alpha’s tips to secure your home from pests.

  • Keep up on yard maintenance, mowing regularly, raking up the yard.
    • Getting rid of leaves, old mulch, and picking up fallen tree limbs
    • Trim back bushes and trees away from the house.

 

  • Insects and rodents can get through some of the smallest of holes.
    • Check the outside of your home for holes and/or cracks and make sure all window screens fit properly and are in good condition.
    • Inspect foundation vents-ensure that have proper fitting screens, free from rips and tears

 

  • Check for any standing water around your property and remove it to help reduce mosquito’s
    • Inspect flower pots, yard decor, children’s outside toys (swing sets, slides, trampolines, sand boxes etc)
    • Keep rain gutters clean and free of debris

 

  • If you have a dog, keep up on dog poop duties
    • It would be ideal to pick it up as soon as it hits the ground, but even picking it all up once a day would help reduce flies and keep your yard clean

 

  • Trashcans can attract all types of pests such as ants, bees, wasps, mice, even stray cats
    • TIP: On the day that your trash has been picked up, use the hose and spray inside of the trashcan, rinse it a few times, leave the lid open and let it dry in the sunshine

 

Alpha Home Pest Control encourages you to be proactive against unwanted pests. If you feel you need help preparing your home for spring or think you may already have a pest problem, don’t hesitate to call us! 208-475-4440

www.alphahomepestcontrol.com