Fall Pest Prevention Tips

The weather has finally started to cool and fall is setting in. 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 rodents 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.

Centipedes in Idaho

Centipedes in Idaho

Centipedes can range from yellow to dark brown, occasionally with darker striped markings. Their length ranges from 1/8 – 6” (4-152 mm). What makes centipedes interesting is the number of legs they have, ranging from 15 – 177 pairs.

Centipedes are found in Idaho as well as throughout the U.S. and around the world. Centipedes prefer areas with high moisture and can be found under rocks, logs, even under leaves and yard debris. When centipedes find their way into homes, they are commonly found in high moisture areas/damp areas such as basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms and sometimes they make it into potted plants.

Centipedes can be somewhat of an unsightly pest. Lucky for us, most species of centipedes tend to keep to areas where they aren’t disturb by humans too often.  Most centipedes that you find around (outside, or even underneath) your home should be considered a helpful pests.  They are beneficial because they help keep other pests under control, eating other insects and pests, such as small spiders, cockroaches and moths.

Centipedes do not pose significant threat to health or property. However, some species of house centipedes have poison jaws which they use to inject venom into their prey. **If not handled with care and too roughly, *some larger* species can deliver a painful bite that can break human skin which may cause swelling similar to a bee sting.

Alpha Home Pest Control 

208-475-4440

 

 

 

Moths in the Pantry

Moths in the Pantry

Have you noticed moths flying around your kitchen or even in the pantry? Maybe you’ve seen them but just didn’t give it that much thought, after all what’s the harm in a moth or two right? Well if you are seeing moths near your kitchen often, you could have an Indian Meal Moth infestation going on. Indian meal moths are considered the most common among pantry pests.

What do they look like? The adult Indian meal moth is small, about 3/8 inches long with a wingspan of about 5/8 inches. Their wing color is generally gray but the rear half of the wing is a rust-brown or bronze. The colors and patterns on the wings make it easy to identify and distinguish Indian meal moths from other house moths. The larval is cream colored, sometimes with yellow-green or pink shades, and the head is a dark brown. Larvae are sometimes seen as they are wandering about in search of a space to pupate, or pass through the pupal stage. These little guys tend to enjoy finding a spot high on the wall, where the wall meets the ceiling.

How do they get into your home? The most common way the Indian meal moth finds its way into your home is through your groceries. That’s right, most likely something you bought was already infested when you brought it into your home. The larvae of Indian meal moths can infest a large range of common pantry dry foods such as bread, birdseed, dry pet food, cereal, flour, pasta, dry soup mixes, dried fruit, nuts, and most spices. They have also been known to infest chocolate and dried flowers that have been used for decoration like wreaths and other craft projects.

Inspection and what to do: If you think you may have Indian meal moths in your pantry you’re going to need to do a thorough inspection of all food to identify the infested food source(s). You basically need to inspect ALL food items with the exception of unopened tin cans. Bags of food that you haven’t even opened yet need to be checked, remember the infestation may not have started at the grocery store, but could have started at the factory before the item was even packaged. You’re going to be looking for moths (of course!) but you need to keep a keen eye out for larvae. The larvae cover their food source with a silken webbing. The silken webbing often accumulates casts skins and fecal pellets which may help make them easier to see and notice. Remember to check EVERY item. Finding the source of the infestation is critical in ridding these pests. Immediately tightly bag and dispose of all infested food and wipe down the shelves with warm water and soap to help remove any larvae and/or pupae. Also as advised with many other pests, store food in air tight glass or plastic containers to avoid re-infestation. Remember to check pet food and store it in air tight containers as well, even if you keep it in the garage.

If you feel you need help with the inspection or proper identification you can always call your pest management professional.

 

Give Alpha Home Pest Control a call (208)475-4440

Pest Control for Commercial/Businesses

Pest Control for Commercial/Businesses

Alpha Home Pest Control understands how quickly a business can come to a stop when there are unwanted pests invading your work space. Pests do not discriminate and can quickly invade a structure if they please, leading to an infestation that could harm your professional reputation. Commercial Pest Control is a must for any business.

Office buildings, restaurants, warehouse/storage areas, schools, churches, house/apartment rentals whatever your business may be, Alpha has you covered. Not all commercial pest control services are the same. We understand your facility’s uniqueness requires a custom designed pest management and grounds care program.

If you are already working with a pest management company and still have pests, you need to give them a call. Let them know that what they are doing isn’t working and you need a new inspection with a custom designed plan of action that you both agree on. Don’t lose money by giving it to a company that isn’t doing their job. Many pest control companies (such as yours truly) will re-service free of charge as well. If they don’t seem to be on board and try to talk you out of a new inspection, give them the boot and find a new company that have your best interest in mind.

You can rest assured when working with Alpha Home Pest Control. We’re licensed, certified, experienced, use sustainable practices and the latest tools and techniques in pest management. Alpha will always have your best interest in mind. The products we use are top of the line and are kid and pet friendly.

Call Alpha Home Pest Control to schedule your free commercial consultation inspection and estimate including a custom designed plan of action that fits your unique business needs. (208)475-4440

 

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.

 

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.

The Paper Wasp

The paper wasp gets its name due to the construction of their nests. Paper wasp nests are made with their saliva and combined with plant material and really do look as if to be made from paper. Their nests include numerous compartments, within which wasps lay their eggs and raise their young. These nests typically do not have an outer shell making the cells of the nest visible. It somewhat resembles an umbrella and depending where you are may also known as umbrella wasps. They love to build their nests in sheltered areas, such as door frames, window sills, around outdoor light fixtures and the eaves of houses.

Adult paper wasps generally feed on nectar and pollen, although they also hunt for insects that are used to nourish their colonies’ larvae. As larvae develop into adults, they do their part and help assist in expanding the nest and taking care of future generations.  Something that people don’t realize is that paper wasps are actually considered beneficial because they assist in pollination by feeding on nectar, and they help control pest insect populations by feeding them to their larvae.

Now even though they are beneficial, nests should not be permitted to develop in or near the home structure. If you’ve every been stung by a wasp you know that stings from paper wasps are extremely painful and may cause serious reactions to people who are allergic to the venom.

If you do find a paper wasps nest (or any nest) developing on your homes structure, it is advised that you call a pest control professional to assist in treatment of paper wasp infestations. Removing a paper wasp nest may be dangerous. Paper wasps generally only attack if they feel threatened and if your trying to remove and destroy their home, they just might feel threatened.

Call Alpha Home Pest Control for you pest control needs (208)475-4440

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