Tag Archives: pest control boise

Gopher Control

Gopher Control

Have you ever had the yard or garden of your dreams and then discovered someone has gone through and vandalized it? Having your prized yard or garden destroyed and eaten by some mysterious creature can be a frustrating situation for some to handle. If you are noticing piles of dirt or tunnels a long with the damage going on, you may have a gopher!

The Idaho Pocket Gopher is a medium sized rodent and is found in Idaho (of course) and nearby states. They are yellowish brown with dark brown-tipped hair on the back, their feet are whitish and they have dark gray around their nose. Their length is can range from 7 to 9 inches. They are herbivores eating a variety of weeds, grasses, crops and plants. Gophers are often mistaken for other rodents such as moles, voles and groundhogs. But there are some ways to distinguish them from other rodents.

Gophers are excellent burrowers; their tunnels can range from a few inches to a few feet in depth and several hundred feet in length. What is unique about the gophers burrow is the shape. As a gopher digs tunnels and pushes dirt to the surface, he comes to the surface at an angle, resulting in crescent (sometimes referred to as horseshoe) or irregular shaped mounds. Moles tend to have volcano shaped mounds at the surface of their burrows. Another thing to note about the gophers mound is that it will usually have loose dirt and plant mixture plugging the tunnel opening. They will come up to eat vegetation near the opening of their burrow and when they return they will close their door and fill the hole.

Gopher control can be a difficult and overwhelming, you need to be just as persistent as the gophers when tackling the invader.  You can call your local Department of Agriculture, some cities depending on where you live will provide help with trapping or you can work with a professional pest control company.

 

Pets and 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.

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 in hot water and dry on high heat, including your bedding 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.

Tips for Avoiding Ticks

Tips for Avoiding Ticks

Most people know that ticks can be dangerous to humans and animals such as the family pet.  Ticks can carry and transmit Lyme disease and other diseases as well.  But what can you do?  You can be educated about what to be aware of and what you can do to help prevent ticks from getting under your skin, literally.

You would think if something was biting and burrowing its head into your skin, you would feel it right?  That is not always to case with ticks.  In fact, tick bites are usually painless.  Ticks are so small most people are unaware they have been bitten.

Here are some tick prevention tips while enjoying the outdoors:

  • Wear light colored clothing, this makes it easier to spot ticks if they have hitched a ride with you
  • Clothing should cover your body well: Long sleeves, pants and tall socks.
  • Tuck pants into socks (it’s not a fashion show, just do it)
  • Hair should be covered with a light colored hat. If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to have it tied/pulled back, or braided
  • Insect repellent is a great tool also, spray clothing with the repellent
  • Checking for ticks should be done immediately after coming indoors after being in an area that you may have encountered ticks
  • Remove clothing immediately and place in the dryer on the HOT setting, to kill any ticks that may be stuck on the clothing
  • Check your body and hair for ticks. Pay attention to behind the ears, elbows, behind the knees, underarms, and private areas.

Ticks can be out during any season, if the temperature is right.  Ticks may become active even during winter, as long as the temperatures are above 40 degrees.

As mentioned earlier, tick bites are usually painless; this is why it’s very important to check your body for ticks.  Don’t forget to check your pets for ticks also.  It’s a good idea to check pets before they enter the home, as the ticks may be passed through the house onto beds and other furniture.

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

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!

Keep Pests Out

At Alpha Home Pest Control we encourage our clients to be proactive, using proper exclusion tactics and making their homes “unattractive” to the pests, helping keep pests out.

Here are some common Q and A’s for homeowners to help understand why being proactive is important.

 

Q: What attracts pests to your home?

A: If you think about it, like most living things pests are attracted to and need food, water and shelter. Making sure you have followed good exclusion techniques and sealing up/off food and water will help keep pests at bay. Using air tight containers to store food (including extra pet food) and repairing leaky pipes and drains will make your home less attractive and the pests will be less likely to stay.

 

Q: How do pests find their way in?

A: Pests commonly find their way into homes through windows and doors that do not have a tight seal when closed and through cracks that may be around the window or doors. They don’t always crawl or fly in, sometimes they are carried in by you or even your pet! Groceries, firewood, and luggage are ways that pests can be carried into the home unseen. Be sure to inspect any packages and belongings before bringing them inside.  Another thing to add the check list is foundation vents, inspect the screen for any holes or being loose, correct any problems right away.  Broken foundation vents are a welcome mat for mice, other insects and even cats!

We always advise that firewood not be stored against the house.  Firewood attracts many pests’ spiders, ants, and termites to name a few.  Termites can cause a lot of damage and can be a very costly expense.  Another tip to follow is having about a 2 in. gap between your foundation and plants and grass.  Allowing bushes and shrubs to grow so closely to your home creates a stepping stone for pests and critters that may want inside.

 

Q: What to do if you have an infestation or starting to see more pest activity?

A: If you find yourself having pests issues and are unsure of how to properly handle the problem, call your pest management right away before the issue multiplies, which can slow down the elimination process and be more costly.

 

Call Alpha Home Pest Control (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Bats

Bats are amazing creatures and they definitely have an important impact on insect control and pollination around the world.

Here are a few interesting facts about bats and pollination:

  • Bats help with the pollination of many types of fruit from around the world, including bananas, mango and peaches to name a few
  • Researchers believe that 500+ tropical plants are pollinated by bats every year
  • Bats are able to help pollinate by using their very long tongues. Their tongues roll into the bodies near the ribs
  • Some bats can live more than 30 years
  • Bats can find food in total darkness-using echolocation
  • Many bats eat insects and are capable of consuming 1,200 mosquitoes in one hour and can often consume their body weight in insects in one night
  • Bats can fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour
  • Other types of bats consume fruits and nectar and play important roles in pollination
  • There are only 3 types of “vampire” bats that will consume blood-none live in the U.S.

Everything in the animal kingdom has a balance.  It seems as if birds, bees and butterflies take care of pollinating during the day, and the bat fills the role during the night.  Going along with the balance of nature as most know, bees are often attracted to flowers with bright vibrate colors and sweet smells.  Bats on the other hand are attracted to flowers and plants that are more neutral colored.  Also, flowers that have a musty-rotten smell will attract bats.

Also since most bats migrate they are able to fly great distances before dropping seeds into new locations. This in turn allows a new plant to grow if the environment is right.

Bats are pretty amazing creatures, not only do the help keep insects and mosquitoes in check, they are able to take on the extremely important role of pollination.  Please take a moment to appreciate bats and all their important role they play in our wonderful world.

Fall Pest Prevention

The weather has finally started to cool and summer is winding down.  You may see an increase in pest activity such as spiders and mice.  These pests will be on the lookout for a place to keep warm through winter but before you get all cozy inside your home we have some great fall pest prevention tips to follow.

 

  • Keep your yard clutter free, free of leaf litter and free of unnecessary items. Many insects and critters will seek shelter in piles of clutter
  • Store firewood as far away from your home as reasonably possible (at least 20-30 feet away from the home)
  • Don’t stack firewood directly on the ground. Use concrete blocks, bricks or firewood grates to keep the wood from direct contact with the ground. Maintaining good airflow underneath the wood pile will help reduce moisture as many insects are attracted to moisture.
  • Do not let water sit stagnant in the yard. Make sure flower pots drain properly, rain water isn’t collecting where it shouldn’t be (check gutters too), bird baths.
  • Pets should get fresh water daily, food and water bowls should not be left out all night
  • Remove all grass and weeds from around the foundation. Creating a gravel or stone barrier (about two feet) between the lawn and the foundation of the home will help reduce insects climbing onto your home. Material such as pea gravel can be helpful
  • Foundations vents should have proper fitting screens free of holes and tears. Open/screens with holes will allow rodents access underneath your house, and that is not a good problem to have. Stray cats may also find their way into the crawl space when seeking warm shelter. They’ll have no reason to move on if there are plenty of mice to eat.

Following fall prevention tips like this can save you headache and money in the future.  Making your home less attractive to the pest can reduce their numbers if you are seeing them around your home.

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