Category Archives: pest control

Bees and Pollination

Bees and Pollination

This week is National Pollinator Week, it’s safe to say the bee is the most recognized pollinator.  No doubt bees are some of the best workers on the planet, buzzing about from flower to flower, visiting different plants and vegetation working nonstop all day long. Unfortunately bees can often be feared as a nuisance and unwanted insect.  When generally bees are there to do their job and go home without causing trouble.

What do these bees and pollination do for us besides create amazing honey? In truth, likely much more than we can possibly realize. There are hundreds of types of bees, all with different roles, habits, nests, and hives. Pollinating is absolutely critical and a major job role for many of the bees and plants around our world. Bees don’t only make honey and help flowers grow. They do so much more and they certainly don’t get the recognition they deserve. In addition to the flowers and many plants bees’ help, there are many crops that rely a great deal on help from the bees and just wouldn’t survive if it weren’t for the bees working hard pollinating and doing what they do.

While we don’t need bees to pollinate every single crop, here is just a brief list of some of the foods we would lose if the bees weren’t around: apples, mango’s, kiwi fruit, plums, peaches, nectarines, guava, pomegranates, pears, black and red currants, alfalfa, okra, strawberries, onions, cashews, cactus, apricots, avocados, passion fruit, Lima beans, kidney beans, green beans, cherries, celery, coffee, walnuts, cotton, flax, macadamia nuts, sunflower oil, lemon, figs, limes, carrots, cucumber, hazelnut, cantaloupe, watermelon, coconut, tangerines, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, cocoa, vanilla, grapes, tomatoes.

If you have a large amount of bees on your property that have you concerned, please do not harm them.  You should contact your local bee keeper to report the bees (you can call non-emergency or even your local human society to help find the proper person).  The bee professional will assess the situation and will remove the bees (often times for free) or they may conclude that the bees will be moving on soon.  Either way, its bests to keep the advise of a professional to help protect the bees and ensure safety to humans.

Earwigs in Your Home?

Earwigs in Your Home?

If you are finding earwigs in your home, 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 will reproduce up to 20-60 eggs in a single season. They will lay their eggs in a burrow in the soil. Most species of earwigs will 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 be found near water sources such as beneath sinks, in bathrooms, in utility rooms, and even hanging around your pet’s 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, windows or they may even hitch a ride on your pet.  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 your home be sure to check those areas for moisture. If you can get the earwigs under control on your own, call Alpha Home Pest Control to help you prepare and defend your home against unwanted pests!

(208)475-4440

Alpha Home Pest Control-QualityPro Certified

Alpha Home Pest Control has some exciting news to share.  We have always strived to hold high standards for our pest services offered, customer service and our first class employees.

We are proud to announce that Alpha Home Pest Control is officially QualityPro Certified. The QualityPro certification helps to take our professionalism to the next level.  QualityPro is the pest management industry’s leading certification program.  Being QualityPro certified ensures that our company, Alpha Home Pest Control is following the highest of standards on all areas of business and services.  To achieve this honorable certification of pest control distinction, Alpha Home Pest Control has met rigorous standards and as well as demonstrate excellence in Business Operations, Consumer Satisfaction, Environmental Stewardship and Training.

This really is an excellent program to be part of, and is earned by less than 3% of pest control companies nationwide. This gives Alpha Home Pest Control customers just one more reason to rest assured when trusting Alpha Home Pest Control with their home or business.

QP Mission: QualityPro sets the standards of excellence for professional pest management companies and their employees through education, training and certification, providing consumers protection and confidence when selecting a nationally accredited company.

To learn more about QualityPro Click Here

Pests, Allergies and Your Health

Pests, Allergies and Your Health

Certain pests and your health won’t always mix well together.  Creepy crawly unwanted pests and rodents aren’t only annoying, they can contribute to some serious health problems. Preventative actions are important when it comes to protecting your home, business, schools, hospitals, restaurants, daycare’s and elderly rest homes.

Some examples:

Cockroaches can play a role in asthma and allergy triggers. You may be experiencing what seems to be common seasonal allergy symptoms but if you have pests inside the home, pests such as cockroaches may be adding to the severity of the symptoms.  The shedding of cockroaches’ body parts and feces can irritate and cause an increase in severity of asthmatic symptoms.

 

Mice are known to spread more than 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly through handling live or dead mice, coming in contact with mice saliva, urine feces, and by being bit by the rodent. It doesn’t stop there either, the diseases can also be spread indirectly through mites, fleas and ticks that may have fed on an infected mouse. Some of the most common diseases carried by mice are Hantavirus, Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Rat-bite fever and Plague.

 

Flies, just the buzzing of flies around you are annoying enough but are they are known as carriers of easily communicable diseases. Flies carry diseases on their legs and the tiny hairs that cover their bodies. It only takes one landing for them to transfer these pathogens to the surfaces they land on such as food and counter tops. Diseases carried by common house flies include typhoid, cholera and dysentery. They have also been known to transmit the eggs of parasitic worms.

 

Whether it’s a home, office or commercial/public building be proactive and contact your local pest management professionals.  You will have peace of mind knowing that you are on a maintenance program against the battle of the unwanted pests and your health.

The Varied Carpet Beetle

The Varied Carpet Beetle

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(s) 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.

Typically, 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!

Beneficial Insects and Your Garden

Keeping unwanted insects and the creepy crawlies out of the house is on most people’s agenda, but what about in the garden?  Not are insects are harmful to your garden plants, in fact there are many insects that are actually beneficial.  The beneficial insects are like watch dogs for your garden; they will be your aide and rid your garden of the harmful pests.

What are some common beneficial garden insects?  Here are a few examples:

  • Lady Bugs: The lady bug is one of the most popular of the beneficial insects.  Lady bugs are the perfect opponent to have on your side when battling pesky aphids.  These helpful beetles also eat mealy bugs and other soft bodied insects.
  • Praying Mantis: The praying mantis is like the T-Rex of the garden, it can handle even the largest garden insect pest. They have the ability to camouflage with the surroundings of the garden and snatch up a great deal of pests.
  • Green Lacewings: The adult green lacewings feed on honeydew, nectar and pollen.  The green lacewing larvae are where the benefits start to kick in.  The larvae will consume crazy amounts of aphids and also feast on other soft bodied insects.
  • Spiders: Ok, so spiders aren’t every ones favorite helpful side kick, but they can sure stay on top of insect control in the garden.  The great thing is that, spiders won’t harm your plants; they’re just there to hang out and catch some dinner in their web.  Spiders will eat many insects such as aphids, caterpillars, flies and many other pests they may be trying to eat your plants.

Next time you think you may need a little extra help in the garden, don’t forget about all the beneficial garden helpers out there!  If you are working a professional pest control company, you can ask for your garden and surrounding area not to be treated.

Swarm of Bees on your Property: What To Do

Swarm of Bees on your Property? What To Do:

No doubt bees are some of the best workers on the planet, buzzing about from flower to flower, visiting different plants and vegetation working nonstop all day long. Unfortunately bees can often be feared as a nuisance and unwanted insect.  When generally bees are there to do their job and go home without causing trouble.

What do these beautiful creatures do for us besides creating amazing honey? In truth, likely much more than we can possibly realize. There are hundreds of types of bees, all with different roles, habits, nests, and hives. Pollinating is absolutely critical and a major job role for many of the bees and plants around our world. Bees don’t only make honey and help flowers grow. They do so much more and they certainly don’t get the recognition they deserve. In addition to the flowers and many plants bees’ help, there are many crops that rely a great deal on help from the bees and just wouldn’t survive if it weren’t for the bees working hard pollinating and doing what they do.

While we don’t need bees to pollinate every single crop, here is just a brief list of some of the foods we would lose if the bees weren’t around: apples, mango’s, kiwi fruit, plums, peaches, nectarines, guava, pomegranates, pears, black and red currants, alfalfa, okra, strawberries, onions, cashews, cactus, apricots, avocados, passion fruit, Lima beans, kidney beans, green beans, cherries, celery, coffee, walnuts, cotton, flax, macadamia nuts, sunflower oil, lemon, figs, limes, carrots, cucumber, hazelnut, cantaloupe, watermelon, coconut, tangerines, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, cocoa, vanilla, grapes, tomatoes.

 

So what should you do if you discover a swarm or hive of bees on your property?

  • You should call your local bee keeper to report the bees (you can call non-emergency or even your local human society to help find the proper person)
    • *The bee professional will be able to help evaluate your situation and help determine if the bees need to be removed, or if they will likely be moving on their own within a short time
  • You should avoid the area and keep children and pets away from the swarm
  • Do not attempt to control the bees yourself. Do not tease the bees by throwing rocks or spraying with water! Do not use any chemicals around the bees
  • Bee Keepers are there to help and in most cases will remove the bees for free. Remember the importance of all bees. If you come into contact with a swarm or hive please take the proper precautions and alert the proper authorities such as your local bee keeper.

If you’re still unsure of who to call we would be happy to direct you to the proper people! Give us a call 208-475-4440

When and How to Hire a Pest Professional

When and how hire a Pest Professional can be tough for some people.  There are many people that prefer to tackle the pest problem themselves and actually enjoy trying DIY solutions. 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.  The “when” and “why” of hiring a pest professional have a few factors that come into play.  For example: What type of pest are you dealing with can play an important role as well as the size of the infestation.

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.

 

 

 

 

What is IPM?

What is IPM?

When working in the professional pest control industry we are handling many different types of products and chemicals.  Knowledge and caution is important when using these types of products. Safety of humans, animals, the structure to be treated, type of pest and environment all need to be taken in to consideration.

That is where IPM comes in.  IPM (Integrated Pest Management) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

The IPM approach is not only just for pest and insects around your home, IPM can be applied toward both agricultural and non-agricultural settings. On the side of organic food production IPM concepts may be applied as well, limiting the use of pesticides product from natural sources as opposed to synthetic chemical products.

When it comes to IPM and pest control, prevention is just as important.  You can easily start “do it yourself” prevention strategies around your home.  For example, repairing window screens, weather stripping around doors, repairing leaks as soon as possible, not leaving pet food/water out all night, keeping your yard clear of clutter and leaf litter etc.

Taking IPM seriously and using this approach is in pest control management helps us be a better and more efficient pest professional to our customers and environment.

Billbugs

In Idaho one of the most common lawn pests is the Bluegrass Billbug; these pests can cause some serious damage to your lawn if not taken care of properly. Alpha Home Pest Control can help make a proper diagnosis.

Damages from billbugs can resemble drought/lack of watering, with irregular patches of dry grass. Some people may think the dry looking lawn isn’t getting enough water and will continue to water more, however, the damaged lawn will not respond to the extra watering.

Adult Bluegrass Billbugs are gray, brown, or black with a curved snout and a hard body that is about 3/16″ (5 mm) in size. They overwinter in the soil mostly as adults. In the spring when the temperatures are starting to rise, the adult billbugs can often be seen walking on patios and sidewalks around May –mid June. Lawn damage from an adult billbug usually consists of holes in blades of grass caused by chewing. Damages that are far less serve than what their young larvae can do.

The Billbug larvae are white with a brown head, legless, C-shaped and about the size of a large grain of rice. The larvae are where the real damage is done. They feed on the grass roots and can easily spread causing large patches of dry looking lawn.

If you are noticing your lawn starting to get odd dry patches, it’s a good idea to do some investigating. (Remember, you can always call a pest professional to do this for you). Try the “Tug Test” to see if you have a billbug infestation:

  • Find a spot where the dry grass meets green grass, hold the dry grass with your hand and gently tug on the dry grass
  • If the grass easily lifts up with no attached roots, and has a saw dust like material at the base of the blades and stems, billbugs are likely the cause.
  • You may also see the white larvae with their brown heads in the soil on the ground or on the piece of lawn you pulled up.

Now is the time these pesky bill bugs will start showing off the damage they have done, but don’t worry you still have time to correct the problem with a proper treatment plan.  The longer you wait, the more time they have to create lawn damage.  If you are noticing dry patches in the lawn that aren’t corrected with extra watering, follow the “tug test” and give us a call!