Tag Archives: pest control

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.

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

 

Weevils in your Pantry

Pesky weevils in your pantry, more like in your food.  Mo one wants to think about bugs being in their food, but the reality is that it does happen and is more common than you probably care to realize.  A common pantry pest is the weevil.  There are thousands of different species of weevils, but the two most common found in the pantry are the Granary Weevil and the Rice Weevil.

These two types of weevils are actually very small beetles.  The granary weevil is described as 1/8-3/16 inch long, shiny reddish brown in color, and can’t fly.  The rice weevil on the other hand does fly, dull reddish brown, has four light colored spots on its back, and also 1/8-3/16-inch long.  Both types of these weevils are sometimes referred to as “snout weevils” because of the shape of their head.  On the end of that long snout is the mouth of the weevil, which the females use to drill holes into the casings of grains such as wheat, oats, rice, rye, corn and a variety of seeds and beans. After the female weevil drills the hole she then will deposit an egg and then create a gelatin-like substance to seal the egg in place until it is ready to hatch. The egg will be ready to hatch in just a few days, the larvae will then spend about a month eating its surrounding, growing and transitioning into an adult.  This is one of the reasons a weevil infestation may be go unnoticed at first. Once you start seeing the adults in the pantry and around the home, you have an infestation.

So now the fun part, how to rid your home of these unwanted pests?

To some it may seem like common sense to find where the infestation is taking place, remove the contaminated product and problem solved, right?   But that is not always the case and it can get to be a pretty tedious task!  You should absolutely start by cleaning out the pantry, cupboards and drawers.  You will need to thoroughly inspect all food that could possibly be housing these little weevils.  Every. Single. Item.  If you are unsure if the product has been contaminated it is advised to throw the item out.  You don’t want to risk a re-infestation.   All contaminated and “possibly” contaminated food should be put into a garbage bag and sealed tightly, immediately be taken to the outside trash can, and place as far away from the house as possible.  Vacuuming and wiping down all the pantry shelves, cupboards and draws with warm soapy water is a good idea.   Remember to give the spaces time to dry before adding products back.

When you are checking for contaminated products do not forget to check pet food.  Often times people will store their large bags of pet food in the garage and its possible for the infestation to be coming from the garage or anywhere else that may have any kind of grain stored away.

If you are following all tips and being diligent about inspecting but are still not able to resolve your weevil problem, you should call your local pest management.  Your pest management professional will be able to conduct an inspection all around your home, help you find the source and create a treatment plan to fit your needs.

 

 

Cockroaches and How to Spot Them

Cockroaches and how to spot them

If you think you have cockroaches sneaking around your home, office or business detecting them as early as possible is critical to winning a major war against these nasty home invaders. The longer they are there the more time they have to get established, get comfy and multiply, which makes them harder to get rid of and often times more expensive. The faster a pest management professional can evaluate and begin attacking the problem the faster you can take back and reclaim your home.

Alpha’s top signs of cockroaches and how to spot them:

  • ACTUALLY SEEING A COCKROACH. This of course is the most obvious sign you have a roach problem. Cockroaches are nocturnal insects, so the best time to spot them is during the night. You can typically see them scatter after entering a room and turning on the light. If you spot cockroaches during the daytime, this can mean the infestation has been going on for quite a while. Contact a professional pest management company immediately.
  • FINDING COCKROACH FECES/DROPPINGS. Finding their feces is a sure sign you have a problem. The size of the feces depends on what type of cockroach you’re dealing with (the German cockroach is one of the most common). Feces can look like small specks of pepper or coffee grounds. The more droppings you discover the higher the number of roaches you are dealing with. Be sure to take note of where the droppings are found as they will be important areas to target when treatment begins.
  • FINDING EGG CASES. Roaches produce egg casings called oothecae. Oothecae are oblong, brown casings that hold many eggs. The German cockroach as mentioned before can produce an oothecae with up to 50 eggs inside. After the eggs hatch the oothecae is left behind, leaving firm evidence of an infestation. Look for oothecae behind furniture, inside pantries, in books, between cracks in the wall and other tight protected areas.

Cockroaches can produce a strong, musty odor that gets stronger the longer they are there. This pungent oily smell can come from a large amount of roaches but just one German cockroach can create this smell on its own. You can also get an odor from dead cockroaches decomposing, as they produce oleic acid while decomposing, which can get quite strong.

If you think you may have roaches and have come across any of these signs on the list call your local pest management professional asap.

 

Alpha Home Pest Control (208)475-4440 or visit us at http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

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.

 

Common Winter Household Pests

Common winter household pests, when the outside temperature starts to cool many types of pests will start to seek warm shelter within your home or garage.  When pests are successful at keeping this new shelter throughout winter it can create problems in the spring, such as allowing time for a large infestation to build or even damage to your property (personal belongings and/or structural damage).

Common winter house hold pests and where might you find them in your home

  • Attics– The attic is a common place for pesky rodents such as mice and squirrels. Both types of rodents can cause some serious and costly damage as well.  Mice love to chew, they like to chew on electrical wires which can cause a major fire risk to your home.  If you have items stored up in the attic, be sure to store them in sealed plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes, mice will chew on and nest inside cardboard.  Mice can also cause a lot of damage to insulation as it is another place they like to nest inside of.  Plus all the urine and feces. It would need completely replaced.
  • Bathrooms– the bathroom is a nice place to a cockroach to hang around during winter. They love water and need it for survival.  Be sure to repair leaky pipes and that drains are draining properly.   Regularly check under the sink, around the tub and toilet for water leaks.  If you store items under the sink or have a bathroom closet, use sealed plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes.
  • Kitchen– the kitchen is a common place for many different pests, but ants are definitely at the top of the list. Ants can easily invade homes by the thousand and with so many possible food and water resources it can seem to happen overnight.  To help avoid finding an army of ants in your kitchen be sure to seal cracks and crevices, repair any water leaks from sinks, dishwashers or refrigerator water dispensers.  Wash dishes after every meal, wipe down counter tops and sweep and mop the floor, do not leave pet food out overnight.
  • Pantry– the pantry can host home to different pests but specially beetles, Indian meal moths and weevils. These pests can hitch rides home from the grocery store and invade into other products in the pantry. To help keep your pantry pest free do not buy products that have any type of damage to the package, store food items in sealed plastic containers, take time at least twice a year to clean out your pantry by removing everything, wiping down the shelves, and tossing out any expired and stale foods, paying extra attention to spices, flours and nuts.
  • Bedroom– the bedroom can be a place where you first notice bedbugs as for many people the first sign of bedbugs is irritated bite marks, but be aware that bedbugs are excellent travelers and do not just stay in the bedroom. Bedbugs typically enter the home through secondhand furniture (especially mattresses, box springs and couches) or brought home on luggage from hotels during traveling. If you do buy secondhand furniture be sure to carefully inspect for signs of bedbugs, look for dark spots which could be dried blood or feces from the bedbug, wash clothes and blankets as soon as you get home in hot water and dry on high heat.  Do the same with luggage and items brought home from traveling, all clothes and fabric material should be washed immediately.  If you do find signs of bed bugs or actual bedbugs themselves call your local pest professional as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the longer they have time to spread and get established in your home.
  • Basements– Basements tend to be place for storage. Basements can provide the perfect environment for rodents and a plethora of spiders and insects, especially of the basement is on the cluttered side.  Clutter provides many hiding spots or all these pests and material to chew on.  What you need to is keep your basement as clean as possible, repair any leaks to eliminate access to water, store items neatly in plastic containers that seal tightly.  Seal up cracks and crevices with a silicone based caulk.

Crawl Space

In addition to offering outstanding pest control services, Alpha Home Pest Control offers crawl space inspections as well.

There is a wide range of unwanted pests that could be hanging out in your crawl space.  Most common crawl space pests are rodents, ants and wood destroying insects such as termites. These types of pests if left untreated can cause some serious damage in the crawl space which can lead to costly repairs.  Pests will likely keep themselves busy by:

 

  • Chewing through electrical wires
  • Destroying insulation, perhaps using it for nesting
  • Leaving excrement all over
  • Carrying in filth on themselves, such as fleas and diseases
  • Damaging air ducts by gnawing holes
  • Damage to the wooden structure
  • Create a large colony (it doesn’t take long)

There is no need to wait until there is a pest problem to have a crawl space inspection.  If you are buying a home it’s a good idea to have the home inspected for pests especially wood destroying pests like termites that can eat away at your home.

It’s a good idea to have your crawl space inspected yearly by a pest professional.  Being proactive about pests can save you a lot of headache in the future.  Our certified technicians will ensure your crawl space stays pest free.  They will be looking for cracks, crevices and holes that may be being used as an entry point into the crawl space. If any are found they will be properly repaired.  Foundation vents are another common way pests find their way into crawl spaces. Be sure that you have secure screens with no rips or tears.

If you are fighting with pests in the crawl space, buying a new home, or just wanting a yearly inspection, give Alpha a call today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

(208)475-4440

 

Bird Exclusion

Bird Exclusion

When most people think of pests, they think of rodents, various insects or wood destroying pests such as termites, things like that. But did you know that birds can be a destructive pest as well? Bird control and bird exclusion tactics have become important when dealing with persistent pesky birds.

At first you may think that it’s cool to have a bird nest so close to your home. Which of course it is a neat thing to be able to witness daily to see the habit’s and activity of the cute bird, but you may soon realize that having them so close really isn’t such a good thing.

On the pest control side of things we have seen many times how bird related issues can cause a number of problems for business such as damages to the building’s exterior or product contamination.  Bird droppings are not only unsightly but can cause unsanitary conditions and ruin the finishes of buildings. Bird droppings aren’t always the easiest to clean up either, depending on where they are located and how bad it is, you may need to call in a heavy duty cleaning team to properly clean the affected area. Some birds carry diseases that could be transmitted to humans and are considered a public health risk.  If you have birds nesting on buildings or on your home, you run a risk of your home being infested with bird mites. Bird mites are like lice for birds.  The bird mites are typically found near the nesting area of birds such as pigeons, starlings and sparrows. Bird mites will be another whole pest issue that will need a pest professional to eradicate

Some common bird exclusion tactics including installing exclusion devices such as heavy duty and properly installed screens on vents of the home.  This will keep the bird from gaining access into your attic area.  If you are having issues with bird nests a product such as bird spikes may be installed to deter the birds from landing in that area.  The bird spikes can be made of stainless steel or plastic.  And do not fret, bird spikes do not harm the bird, they are a humane way to deter the bird from landing or being able to nest in that area.

Alpha Home Pest Control offers Bird Exclusion services, if birds become a problem to your home or business give us a call.  We will tailor a bird exclusion treatment plan that will resolve your problem quickly.

 

 

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

False Black Widow

Some people may have never heard about the False Black Widow.  The false black widow spider is not as famous as the true black widow, but it does share a similar body shape.  The false black widow female is 6-10 millimeters in length, its color ranges from a purple-brown to black with light yellow markings. The shape of the false black widow is very similar to the true black widow with the bulbous body being more oval in shape.  The false black does not have the famous “hourglass” shape on its belly.

Like the true black widow, the false black widow also makes its web to look like jumbled irregular shape.  The spider relies on a messy web to catch prey such as small insects and other spiders which reports have included the true black widow.

Spring is when these spiders mate.  Females can produce 3 or more egg sacs each mating season, with each egg sacs that can contain 200 plus eggs.  It is reported that the males do not live long after mating with a life span of about 18-20 months.  False black widows can be found living in man-made structures year round, outside they can be found in cracks and crevices of rocks, under bark and on foliage growing low to the ground.

As for bites and venom, the false black widow can and may bite but usually only when threatened and in defense.  The bites of a false black widow are similar but much less severe than from a true black widow.  Some of the symptoms include moderate to severe pain at the bite site, nausea, headache, and lethargy.

It’s important to remember everyone may react differently and if you think you may have been bitten by a possible false black widow or medical attention may be needed.

Alpha Home Pest Control