Tag Archives: pest control

Mud Dauber

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

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.

Box Elder Bug

Do you have Box Elder Bugs hanging around your porch and windows?

It’s never fun when you notice you have bugs in your home, a few here and there usually isn’t a big deal right? Not so much when it comes to the Box Elder Bug. You may notice one or two inside but beware, these guys stick together and invade by the thousands.

The bodies of box elder bugs are black in color and are marked by red lines along the thorax and sides. Their wings are flat and red. They measure between 11 to 14 mm long.

Box Elder Bugs like to make their homes in Box Elder, Maple and Ash trees during the warmer seasons and find their way into buildings and homes seeking shelter for the winter. Like many other pests, they may enter through small cracks and crevices within the building, and remain inside, hibernating, through fall and winter. They emerge again when heat sources within the building are high and can usually be located in the warmest areas of the walls. Although Box Elder Bugs do not cause damage to buildings, their droppings are unsightly and leave stains on furniture and fabrics.

Adult bugs live and breed on the leaves of box elder trees, laying their eggs in spring. They feed on soft parts of box elder trees, including leaves, flowers and new twigs. They also extract juices, causing minimal to substantial damage to their host tree.

The eggs of box elder bugs are reddish brown in color, allowing them to stay well hidden in the bark of the host tree. After a few days, the eggs hatch into red and gray nymphs, which eventually mature and begin the breeding process again. Mature box elder bugs can be found gathering in large numbers on branches and where there is the most sunlight.

Once the Box Elder Bugs are established in a tree it can be nearly impossible to eliminate them. There are some things you can do to help control and reduce them. To stop Box Elder Bugs from multiplying, it is often helpful to remove their host trees from the area surrounding your home, but note the adults can still fly from locations off the property.

Exclusion is a great, long-term treatment option if done properly and works well for most general pests. Keeping them out is critical.

Repairing damaged windows and door screens

  • Installing door sweeps on exterior doors
  • Installing or repairing screens in roof and soffit vents (Remember they can fly)
  • Sealing holes or gaps around places where cables, wires or plumbing enters the structure
  • Sealing off/plugging gaps at doors, windowsills, roof joints, and fascia boards. Checking for and sealing gaps and cracks where different building materials meet. For example, where siding meets the brick exterior or foundation.

If you think you have an infestation of Box Elder Bugs, it is best to contact your pest professional for treatment advice and recommendations.

Bed Bug and Your Health

Bed bugs and Your Health

Bed bugs and their bites can affect people differently.  Some people may not get the “classic sign” of red itchy bumps after being bitten and for those people it may take longer to notice the bed bugs, giving more time for the infestation to grow. Some people may experience a more negative effect, such as an allergic reaction to the bites. An allergic reaction may have more intense itching and the area may swell into hives. While bed bugs have been found to carry more than 20 types of diseases including, viruses, bacteria and worms, they are NOT known to transmit any diseases.

Bed bugs have come a long way and over the years, they have developed an immunity to many pesticides making them impossible to eliminate with over the counter/store bought products. If you find yourself dealing with a bed bug infestation whether it be in your home or in a place of business, its best to call a bed bug professional as soon as possible.   The longer you wait, the more time the infestation has to grow and could end up costing you not just time but more money as well.  They are new treatments for bed bugs available aside from traditional spray applications.  Heat treatment is by far the most effective treatment, since they high heat temperatures are fatal to bed bugs in any stage of their life cycle, including eggs.

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.

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

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