Tag Archives: alpha home pest control

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.

Bees and Pollination

Bees and Pollination

This week is National Pollinator Week, it’s safe to say the bee is the most recognized pollinator.  No doubt bees are some of the best workers on the planet, buzzing about from flower to flower, visiting different plants and vegetation working nonstop all day long. Unfortunately bees can often be feared as a nuisance and unwanted insect.  When generally bees are there to do their job and go home without causing trouble.

What do these bees and pollination do for us besides create amazing honey? In truth, likely much more than we can possibly realize. There are hundreds of types of bees, all with different roles, habits, nests, and hives. Pollinating is absolutely critical and a major job role for many of the bees and plants around our world. Bees don’t only make honey and help flowers grow. They do so much more and they certainly don’t get the recognition they deserve. In addition to the flowers and many plants bees’ help, there are many crops that rely a great deal on help from the bees and just wouldn’t survive if it weren’t for the bees working hard pollinating and doing what they do.

While we don’t need bees to pollinate every single crop, here is just a brief list of some of the foods we would lose if the bees weren’t around: apples, mango’s, kiwi fruit, plums, peaches, nectarines, guava, pomegranates, pears, black and red currants, alfalfa, okra, strawberries, onions, cashews, cactus, apricots, avocados, passion fruit, Lima beans, kidney beans, green beans, cherries, celery, coffee, walnuts, cotton, flax, macadamia nuts, sunflower oil, lemon, figs, limes, carrots, cucumber, hazelnut, cantaloupe, watermelon, coconut, tangerines, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, cocoa, vanilla, grapes, tomatoes.

If you have a large amount of bees on your property that have you concerned, please do not harm them.  You should contact your local bee keeper to report the bees (you can call non-emergency or even your local human society to help find the proper person).  The bee professional will assess the situation and will remove the bees (often times for free) or they may conclude that the bees will be moving on soon.  Either way, its bests to keep the advise of a professional to help protect the bees and ensure safety to humans.

Beneficial Insects and Your Garden

Keeping unwanted insects and the creepy crawlies out of the house is on most people’s agenda, but what about in the garden?  Not are insects are harmful to your garden plants, in fact there are many insects that are actually beneficial.  The beneficial insects are like watch dogs for your garden; they will be your aide and rid your garden of the harmful pests.

What are some common beneficial garden insects?  Here are a few examples:

  • Lady Bugs: The lady bug is one of the most popular of the beneficial insects.  Lady bugs are the perfect opponent to have on your side when battling pesky aphids.  These helpful beetles also eat mealy bugs and other soft bodied insects.
  • Praying Mantis: The praying mantis is like the T-Rex of the garden, it can handle even the largest garden insect pest. They have the ability to camouflage with the surroundings of the garden and snatch up a great deal of pests.
  • Green Lacewings: The adult green lacewings feed on honeydew, nectar and pollen.  The green lacewing larvae are where the benefits start to kick in.  The larvae will consume crazy amounts of aphids and also feast on other soft bodied insects.
  • Spiders: Ok, so spiders aren’t every ones favorite helpful side kick, but they can sure stay on top of insect control in the garden.  The great thing is that, spiders won’t harm your plants; they’re just there to hang out and catch some dinner in their web.  Spiders will eat many insects such as aphids, caterpillars, flies and many other pests they may be trying to eat your plants.

Next time you think you may need a little extra help in the garden, don’t forget about all the beneficial garden helpers out there!  If you are working a professional pest control company, you can ask for your garden and surrounding area not to be treated.

Pantry Pests

It’s that time of year again!  Time for spring cleaning which should include going through your pantry and cupboards tossing out the expired and forgotten food! Cleaning the pantry may not be a glamorous task, but it could save you the headache of a pest infestation starting in your pantry.

Pantry pests can be a real problem.  No 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, people will store their large bags of pet food in the garage and it’s 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.

 

 

 

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

 

Early Spring Cleaning Tips

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 Early Spring Cleaning Tips.

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!

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.

 

 

Ants a Common Winter Pest

Ants, a common winter pest.  Here in the Treasure Valley the snow has been melting away and we have already answered a handful of calls for ants.   We have mentioned before, pests do not just “go away” and/ or die when winter hits.  Ants will find a safe place to try to escape from the cold just like rodents and spiders do. Depending on the type of ant, their safe place may be rooming with you, underneath the house, in the kitchen and even up in the attic.

It’s not definitely not unheard of to spot ants in the kitchen during the middle of winter with frozen grounds outside.  However, once the temperature start to rise, snow is melting, that means the ground is warming up and ants will be on the move.

The most common types of ants that we deal with in our area are Carpenter Ants, Odorous House Ants (also known as Sugar Ants) and Pavement Ants.

Carpenter ants can be found residing both outdoors and indoors. Usually in moist/damp decaying or hollow wood. Carpenter ants cut galleries into the wood grain to make their nests and to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. When they do this activity you will commonly see bits of wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants.

Odorous house or sometimes referred to as “sugar ants” are small, measuring 2.4 to 3.3 mm in length. They have dark brown or black bodies with one node on their petiole, which is hidden by their abdomens. The thoraxes of odorous house ants are unevenly shaped when viewed from the side. The most noticeable characteristic of these tiny ants is the strong, rotten coconut-like smell they give off when crushed.

Pavement Ants, which usually make their homes in pavements, are small about 2.5 to 3mm long. They are black-brown ants, with lighter legs and antennae. They can be identified by two spines on the back, two nodes on the petiole, with parallel lines on head and thorax. The colonies can be moderately large.

If you find ants or other pests inside your home or office, give Alpha a call 208-475-4440

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.

 

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