Category Archives: pest control

Keep Mosquito Population Under Control

Keep Mosquito Population Under Control

Nothing ruins summer outdoor fun like be being eaten by blood thirsty mosquito’s.  Not only do these annoying pests cause irritating painful bites; but they can transmit diseases to humans and cause problems for pets as well.  Don’t just move the party indoors and let the mosquito’s win. There are simple tasks you can do around your home to help keep the mosquito population under control.

Mosquito Population Control

Most people know that mosquito’s need water to breed.  Adult mosquito’s lay eggs in stagnant water, they will also use slow moving water, soil that stays moist or leaf litter that stays moist.  Removal of these types of water sources will help reduce mosquito’s from breeding near your home.

  • Walk your property after it rains, look for areas that puddle and do not drain well, if the puddles stay for a more than 3 days, consider re-grading the area
  • Keep gutters clean and free of debris.  If water is allowed to sit, the gutter becomes a great out of sight breeding ground
  • Swimming pools must be kept clean and chlorinated even when not being used
  • Drill holes on the bottom on outdoor garbage cans that are exposed to rain to allow drainage for any water that may accumulate
  • Aerate ornamental ponds to keep the water moving which will discourage mosquito’s from laying eggs.  You could also stock the pose with fish that eat mosquito’s
  • Other places for water are bird baths, garbage can lids, flower pot saucers. Do not allow water to stay for long, dump water every three days.  Remember to watch out for your pets, don’t leave out the same water in bowls for more than two days

There is always the option of contacting a pest control company. Professional products and treatments can significantly reduce mosquito’s. But the treatments won’t work as well if there is still standing water around the property.

 

Black Bugs with Red Marks on their Backs

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. A black bug with red marks on their backs.  You may notice one or two inside but beware; these guys stick together and invade by the thousands.

Black bugs with red marks on their backs

The bodies of box elder bugs are black in color. They have distinguishable marks of red lines along the thorax and sides. Their wings are flat and red. They measure between 11 to 14 mm long. These black bugs with red marks on the back can become overwhelming quickly.

What Attracts These Black Bugs with Red Marks on their backs?

Box Elder Bugs like to make their homes in Box Elder, Maple and Ash trees. During the warmer seasons they tend to find their way into buildings and homes seeking shelter for the winter. 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.  This allows 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.  Call Alpha Today

Mud Dauber Wasp

Mud Dauber Mud Nest Wasp

Mud dauber is a common name for wasps that make their nests with mud. There are many different species of wasps referred to as mud dauber’s; some other common names are dirt daubers, organ-pipe wasps, mud wasps and potter wasps.

Appearance

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 referred to as “thread-waisted” with some mud daubers possessing an extremely long and thin body segment; located between the thorax and abdomen.

Mud Nest and Feeding Their Young

In the spring, the overwintering pupae develop into adults. The adult females begin building a new nest. After completing the mud nest; adults 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 is sealed with mud. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey left by the adult wasp. Then they 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!

Beneficial

Mud dauber wasps 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 mud daubers become a problem and keep coming back, be sure to contact your pest management professional.

Commercial Building Pest Control

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.

Commercial Building

Office buildings, restaurants, warehouse/storage areas, schools, daycare’s, churches, hospitals, 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.

Pest Professional

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. You can request 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 properly. 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. Instead, find a new pest control company that has your best interest in mind.

Hire a Pest Professional

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. We’ll listen to your pest concerns and tailor your plan accordingly.

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

Ticks

Tick Exterminator - Tick Control

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.

Paper Wasps

Paper Wasp

Where does the name come from?

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 from may also be 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.

Feeding

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. They assist in pollination by feeding on nectar, and they help control pest insect populations by feeding them to their larvae.

Are paper wasps beneficial?

Yes, but even though they are beneficial, nests should not be permitted to develop in or near the home structure. 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, call a pest control professional.  Removing a paper wasp nest may be dangerous. Paper wasps generally only attack if they feel threatened. If you are messing with their nest or attempting to remove it, they just might feel threatened.

 

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

Earwig

Earwigs

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 a dark reddish-brown, have light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long.

Female earwigs reproduce up to 20-60 eggs in a single season. They will lay their eggs in a burrow in the soil. Most species 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. Their populations build up around foundations. Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions.

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 and windows.

Earwig Prevention Tips!

Because earwigs are attracted to moisture it is important to eliminate high moisture areas. You may not see a lot of them during the day, as they like to come out during night.

Eliminate damp moist areas especially around crawl spaces, faucets, and along the foundations. Make sure rain gutters and spouts direct water away from the house foundation and doesn’t start to pool.

Caulk or use weather stripping at all possible entry points such as doors, windows and pipes.

Create a dry border around the perimeter of the home; such as pea gravel can make an attractive barrier against earwigs and other unwanted pests.

Call Alpha Home Pest Control to help you prepare and defend your home against unwanted pests!  (208)475-4440

Spring Pest Checklist

Spring Pest Checklist

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

Being proactive and following Alpha’s Spring Pest Checklist:

Inside:

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

Outside:

You can start by raking up the yard. Getting rid of leaves, old mulch, and picking up fallen tree limbs can help keep pests away. Trim back bushes and trees away from the house. Just like clutter, overgrown trees and branches make a great home of all kinds of insects and pests. Insects and rodents can get through some of the smallest of holes. Check the outside of your home for holes and/or cracks and make sure all window screens fit properly and are in good condition. Check for any standing water and remove it to help reduce mosquitoes.

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

Alpha Home Pest Control encourages you to be proactive against unwanted spring pests. If you feel you need help preparing your home for spring or think you may already have a pest problem, don’t hesitate to call us!

BillBugs and Lawn Damage

Image is a black silhouette of a billbug - a small pest that can do significant damage to your lawn. Alpha Home offers effective methods to mitigate infestations.

BillBugs and Lawn Damage

In Idaho one of the most common lawn pests is the Bluegrass Billbug; these pests can cause some serious damage to your lawn if not taken care of properly. Alpha Home Pest Control can help make a proper diagnosis.

Signs/Damage

Damages from billbugs can resemble drought/lack of watering, with irregular patches of dry grass. Some people may think the dry looking lawn isn’t getting enough water and will continue to water more. However, the damaged lawn will not respond to the extra watering.

Adult

Adult Bluegrass Billbugs are gray, brown, or black with a curved snout and a hard body that is about 3/16″ (5 mm) in size. They overwinter in the soil mostly as adults. In the spring when the temperatures are starting to rise, the adult billbugs can often be seen walking on patios and sidewalks around May –mid June. Lawn damage from an adult billbug usually consists of holes in blades of grass caused by chewing. Damages that are far less serve than what their young larvae can do.

Larvae

The Billbug larvae are white with a brown head, legless, C-shaped and about the size of a large grain of rice. The larvae are where the real damage is done. They feed on the grass roots and can easily spread causing large patches of dry looking lawn.

What You Can Do

If you are noticing your lawn starting to get odd dry patches, it’s a good idea to do some investigating. (Remember, you can always call a pest professional to do this for you). Try the “Tug Test” to see if you have a billbug infestation:

  • Find a spot where the dry grass meets green grass, hold the dry grass with your hand and gently tug on the dry grass
  • If the grass easily lifts up with no attached roots, and has a saw dust like material at the base of the blades and stems, billbugs are likely the cause.
  • You may also see the white larvae with their brown heads in the soil on the ground or on the piece of lawn you pulled up.

Now is the time these pesky bill bugs will start showing off the damage they have done, but don’t worry you still have time to correct the problem with a proper treatment plan.  The longer you wait, the more time they have to create lawn damage.  If you are noticing dry patches in the lawn that aren’t corrected with extra watering, follow the “tug test” and give us a call!

 

Call Alpha Home Pest Control today! (208)475-4440

Pests, Allergies and Your Health

Pests, Allergies and Your Health

Certain pests and your health won’t always mix well together.  Creepy crawly unwanted pests and rodents aren’t only annoying, they can contribute to some serious health problems. Preventative actions are important when it comes to protecting your home, business, schools, hospitals, restaurants, daycare’s and elderly rest homes.

Some pest examples:

Cockroaches can play a role in asthma and allergy triggers. You may be experiencing what seems to be common seasonal allergy symptoms.  But if you have pests inside the home such as cockroaches, they may be adding to the severity of the symptoms.  The shedding of cockroaches’ body parts and feces can irritate and cause an increase in severity of asthmatic symptoms.

 

Mice are known to spread more than 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly through handling live or dead mice, coming in contact with mice saliva, urine feces, and by being bit by the rodent. It doesn’t stop there either; the diseases can also be spread indirectly through mites, fleas and ticks that may have fed on an infected mouse. Some of the most common diseases carried by mice are Hantavirus, Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Rat-bite fever and Plague.

 

Flies, just the buzzing of flies around you are annoying enough.  Flies are known as carriers of easily communicable diseases. They carry diseases on their legs and the tiny hairs that cover their bodies. It only takes one landing for them to transfer these pathogens to the surfaces they land on such as food and counter tops. Diseases carried by common house flies include typhoid, cholera and dysentery. They have also been known to transmit the eggs of parasitic worms.

 

Whether it’s a home, office or commercial/public building be proactive and contact your local pest management professionals.  You will have peace of mind knowing that you are on a maintenance program against the battle of the unwanted pests and your health.