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Why are Bed Bugs such a Feared Pest?

Bed bugs are at the top of the list for most feared pests and experiencing a bed bug infestation in your own home can take its toll on any family.  If you think about it, bed bugs are like a physiological pest, they can take over your home as well as your mind

Over the years bed bugs have advanced their immunity and have developed a high resistance to today’s current pest products, which makes it next to impossible to handle them on your own.  Store bought products just do not work.  With bed bugs you need really need to take the situation seriously and break out the big guns and hire a profession to properly eliminate the infestation.

Bed Bugs are a parasitic insect, which means they feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.  You may think that checking your bed and sheets before you go to bed would be enough, no noticeable bed bugs, good to go right?  Not the case, bed bugs are masters when it comes to hiding. Bed bugs tend to hid in the smallest of cracks and crevices of a headboard, bed frame, dressers pretty much any furniture and they can be very hard to spot. Bed bugs will typically remain safe and hidden until it’s time to feed and consume a blood meal. Once the blood meal is consumed they return to their safe spot to digest and reproduce.

Bed bugs are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide, perfect invitation from a person sleeping in a warm bed.  Bed bugs will inject the host with its saliva which contains an anesthetic, this will help numb the area and often times the bite will go unnoticed during the feed.  Some people experience reactions to the bites and will wake up with the bite area swollen, red and itchy.

If you think you have bed bugs call your local pest professional right away.  A bed bug infestation can grow quickly, do not allow time for them to get established. It would be best to have a professional inspection and start treatment.

Give Alpha a call at 208-475-4440

 

Early Spring Cleaning Tips

As pest professionals, were here to remind you about early spring cleaning tips and to get a jump start on the “spring” cleaning around the home.  It’s safe to say we have definitely had a mild winter and some great temperatures the last few weeks.  With it being so warm out, this is the time that those pests seem to try and make up for lost time and come out of nowhere. Spiders are out making new webs, ants are marching along, mosquitoes start annoying, and bill bugs start eating away at lawns. But don’t fret, even if you don’t use a professional pest control company there are some ways you can help prepare your home to help keep it pest free this season!

Being proactive and following Alpha’s Early Spring Cleaning Tips.

Inside:

Clean out common clutter areas such as basements, attics, closets, under beds, and even bookshelves. Areas with clutter generally don’t get disturbed too much and make a nice place for pests and rodents to make a home and start a family. Keeping these areas clear of clutter and clean will minimize the hiding spots for many pests. The kitchen should also get a good deep clean. Go beyond cleaning up daily crumbs and spills. Check behind and under appliances for pest activity and give it a good wipe down while you’re there. Wipe down cupboard shelves, and inside of drawers, removing all crumbs and debris. Don’t forget the pantry. Dispose of expired foods, vacuum the floor and shelves, and wipe down all the shelves. If you keep a trashcan in the pantry give it a quick rinse, removing spills or sticky spots that may have occurred.

Outside:

You can start by raking up the yard. Getting rid of leaves, old mulch, and picking up fallen tree limbs can help keep pests away. Trim back bushes and trees away from the house. Just like clutter, overgrown trees and branches make a great home of all kinds of insects and pests. 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. Check for any standing water and remove it to help reduce mosquitoes.

Another thing that a lot of people seem to forget is the outside trashcan. Trashcans can attract all types of pests such as ants, bees, wasps, mice, even stray cats! On the day that your trash has been picked up, use a garden hose and spray inside of the trashcan, leave the lid open and let it dry in the sunshine.

Alpha Home Pest Control encourages you to be proactive against unwanted spring 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!

Ants a Common Winter Pest

Ants, a common winter pest.  Here in the Treasure Valley the snow has been melting away and we have already answered a handful of calls for ants.   We have mentioned before, pests do not just “go away” and/ or die when winter hits.  Ants will find a safe place to try to escape from the cold just like rodents and spiders do. Depending on the type of ant, their safe place may be rooming with you, underneath the house, in the kitchen and even up in the attic.

It’s not definitely not unheard of to spot ants in the kitchen during the middle of winter with frozen grounds outside.  However, once the temperature start to rise, snow is melting, that means the ground is warming up and ants will be on the move.

The most common types of ants that we deal with in our area are Carpenter Ants, Odorous House Ants (also known as Sugar Ants) and Pavement Ants.

Carpenter ants can be found residing both outdoors and indoors. Usually in moist/damp decaying or hollow wood. Carpenter ants cut galleries into the wood grain to make their nests and to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. When they do this activity you will commonly see bits of wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants.

Odorous house or sometimes referred to as “sugar ants” are small, measuring 2.4 to 3.3 mm in length. They have dark brown or black bodies with one node on their petiole, which is hidden by their abdomens. The thoraxes of odorous house ants are unevenly shaped when viewed from the side. The most noticeable characteristic of these tiny ants is the strong, rotten coconut-like smell they give off when crushed.

Pavement Ants, which usually make their homes in pavements, are small about 2.5 to 3mm long. They are black-brown ants, with lighter legs and antennae. They can be identified by two spines on the back, two nodes on the petiole, with parallel lines on head and thorax. The colonies can be moderately large.

If you find ants or other pests inside your home or office, give Alpha a call 208-475-4440

Bed Bugs and What to Watch For

Bed bugs and what to watch for can be difficult to detect in the beginning. Bed bugs are a gross and extremely uncomfortable problem to have. You don’t have to be a “dirty and unkempt” person to get bed bugs either, anyone can get them. Bed bugs are not picky and love to travel.  To them, the more the merrier. If you have an infestation, it’s best to find it early, before the infestation spreads or becomes established. Treating a minor (beginning stage) infestation is far less costly and easier than treating after it has grown and becomes more widespread.

To the average person, bed bug bites can be confused those of other biting insects such as mosquitoes or fleas, so it’s important to pay attention to where and when the bites are occurring. Did the bites show up after camping all weekend, have you traveled anywhere/stayed in a hotel, or just woke up with irritation that was not there the night before?

We have compiled an easy to read list of signs to look for, to help you know if you have a bed bug problem.

  • Itchy red bites: the appearance of flat, red welts in small clusters, zigzag lines or straight rows is a key sign of bed bugs. Their bites are irritating and scratching them can lead to bleeding and infection.
  • Unpleasant or uncomfortable nights of sleeping: It may seem obvious that the bed is where bed bugs are most often found. Of course they would be most active at night when you are in bed with them. If you find yourself with those itchy welts after sleeping in your bed (or trying to sleep), its likely bed bugs are the problem.

*Bed bugs tend to feed on exposed skin rather (than crawling their way up your pant leg) such as arms and shoulders, which some may leave uncovered while sleeping.

  • Rust color stains on sheets or mattress: After the bed bug feeds on a human they will leave behind blood stains which will usually be found around the corners and edges of the bed and have a rusty color.
  • Unpleasant musty odor. Bed bugs release pheromones and when there are a lot of them, the smell can be quite strong. The musty odor has been described as that of a wet towel.

Yes, the name is bed bug but the bed isn’t the only place you can find them.  Bed bugs can successfully travel across the country and even internationally to new countries. If the can do all that, they can certainly travel around the apartment, home or office.  Bed bugs can be found in couches, furniture such as desks, and dressers. Depending on the size of the infestation they can hid behind décor on the walls.  It’s important to just be aware of where and when the suspicious bits are occurring.

If you experience any of these signs we urge you to call a professional immediately.  Don’t just automatically sign up for a bed bug service.  A true professional will take the time to inspect and properly identify the pest in question.

 

Pest Control in the Winter

We have heard it many times, pest control in the winter is a waste and not needed because the pests “go away”.  The truth is, winter pest services are just as important as any other, if not more valuable.

When the temperatures start to cool and winter begins, pests, rodents and spiders, insects do not just fly south for winter and “disappear”. The fact is they have high motivation to find a secure winter home, even if it is inside your home, attic, basement, garage, even businesses!  The pests are not picky, if they can find a way inside and are not disturbed, they will stay.

Most know that rodents such as mice are a likely suspect to be sneaking into your home to stay warm.  Mice can cause a slew of problems if they go unnoticed; nesting in insulation (which will have to be completely replaced), chewing wires creating fire hazards, getting into the pantry and helping themselves to your food, and we can’t forget to mention all the urine and mice droppings they leave everywhere!

The biggest concern is with pests that can cause damage to the building structure. Wood destroying pests such as termites and carpenter ants are a major concern. Unfortunately, both of these wood destroying pests can be difficult to notice at first as these pests are often inside walls, attic and even crawl spaces.   You need a pest professional to do a thorough interior inspection once a year, if these pests are identified a treatment plan must be started asap to gain control over the situation and save the structure from continued damage. For these pests, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like; hot summer or coldest of winter, damage will be nonstop.

Remember, winter pest services are just as important as any other time of the year and can save you expenses in costly repairs.

Green Stink Bugs

We have been seeing a lot of Green Stink Bugs lately.  They seem to have taken over residential patios and gas station pumps during the night. These green stink bugs are large and have an oval shape, often referred to as shield shaped.  Their bright green color makes them hard to miss.

You can probable guess how the stink bug got its name.  Stink bugs get their name from the unpleasant odor of a chemical they produce and they will release this foul smelling chemical if threatened or crushed. So think about that before you go stomping on a stink bug!

Stink bugs use their sharp mouth parts to pierce plants and suck juices from it.  Most stink bugs don’t cause a tremendous amount of plant damage, unless their population gets out of hand. They will feed on flowers, leaves, stems and fruits.  They can become a pest inside the home as well.  Stink bugs may find their way into the home while they are looking for shelter for warmth during the colder months.  You may start to notice them inside during late summer or fall.  If you do find a stink bug in your home, remember they will release a very unpleasant odor if crushed.  You could use a vacuum to remove them from the home but be aware that they may release that odor or get crushed inside the vacuum, leaving you with a foul smelling vacuum.  A different approach could catch and release them outside.

Like most other pests, stink bugs will likely find their way into the home through small cracks, gaps and torn or missing screens. The best thing you can do is to be preventative.  Walk your property and check window screens, door sweeps, and foundation vents. Repair or replace damaged screens, caulk can be used to seal off any gaps or cracks.