Brown Spider, Tacoma-based and family-owned pest control and inspection company

My First Memorable Spider Experiences

Last time we left off at telling some stories about spiders.

Childhood Experiences

I was ten years old and had just gone to bed and laying there I felt a “tickle” on my leg. I thought it was just an itch, so I brushed my leg off under the covers. When I felt it again and did the same. When it happened a third time, I felt I needed to examine the situation more in depth so I through back the covers. To my horror, there was a GIANT spider in my bed!!! You can bet that I pulled my covers back, every single night, from then on for a thorough inspection!

Another memorable experience came from my childhood as well. My mom made pickles every year and guess whose job it was to retrieve the old mason jars! You guessed it. And where did we store the jars? In the crawl space of course!

We lived in a tri-level house that had a fairly tall crawl space a kid could “walk” around in if he crouched. This was the handy place my mom stored these old, empty jars.  I accessed the area through a small door in the garage and I hated going in there. There were spider webs and it was dark, but I found my way around with a treble light I plugged into the garage outlet. I never would have imagined that years later I would be going into crawl spaces much tighter and dirtier thousands of times as a career choice!!  That was my introduction to crawl spaces and seeing where spiders love to hang out!

Skipping Ahead

Quite a few years, I had recently purchased my first house. It was a small 700 square foot house in North Tacoma. I’d been in the pest control industry for a few years now and was very used to seeing and dealing with spiders on a regular basis – just not inside my own home!

I was sitting in my living room watching TV when I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye. It didn’t scare me, but I must say it startled me. My first thought was that it was a mouse! But when I got up to get a clear look, I saw a GIANT house spider scurrying across the carpet. I’m not kidding! That’s how big this thing was!

Coming to an Understanding

Being in the pest control industry for so long, I have come to know the importance and relevance of spiders. I have also come to know the tolerance, and lack thereof, to spiders INSIDE folks’ homes and the levels of arachnophobia behaviors. It is not wrong to fear spiders nor is it wrong to want to have no part of them within the comforts of your own home. Spiders are beneficial creatures feeding upon many unwanted pests in our environment and have a very important role in the balance of nature.

As pest control experts, our job is to keep your home comfortable and free of spiders. This does not mean we are out to make spiders extinct nor kill off all of the orb weaver/garden spiders around the outside environment which are maintaining the natural balance. We have all had the unpleasant experience of walking face-first through an orb weavers web. While it is a little nasty, and uncomfortable, it is not a reason to spray gallons and gallons of pesticides around your yard, trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. in an attempt to extinguish everything that moves! This will only serve to pollute your environment unnecessarily and endanger other insect species that have every right, and importance, to exist.

Keeping unwanted spiders out of your home is a reasonable request that is easily accomplished through professional means. A maintenance spray will ensure that they will be kept out, while other beneficial insects and environments remain healthy and rightfully unfazed. This is the true meaning of integrated pest management.

 

Your Turn

There are many more stories and experiences with spiders that I’ve had, but those are the ones that really stick out. I think it would be fun to get some of your stories as well.  Please send your stories for us to share with everyone! Drop us a line here or send us a message on Facebook.

and when you go to bed tonight remember to……………….”SLEEP TIGHT AND DON’T LET THE BED BUGS BITE”.

Lind Pest Control logo with Hobo Spider

The Spider – Misconceptions and My Experiences

Bravo”!! to KCPQ 13 for their recent story regarding arachnophobia.

If I had a nickel for every person that said they had black widows or brown recluse I could have retired years ago! I have been very fortunate to have personally seen Mr. Crawford speak about spiders at several seminars. I am pleased to see some of these spider “misconceptions” put to rest (a little bit) by education via stories such as this and through social media.

I thought I would add my two cents in and speak to some of the findings and experiences I have had throughout my nearly 30 years of experience in the industry (and beyond).

Contrary to popular belief

Spiders are not aggressive bloodsucking creatures in search for its nearest victim to bite. They are quite shy, solitary creatures that tend to hide away and let their prey come to them and fall into their trap. As Mr. Crawford states, there are many types of spiders who have individual characteristics and different types of webbing traps.

Though most spiders do not display aggression like biting, this does not mean they are not capable of, and won’t actually bite you. Take the hobo spider for example. It has been known to bite people and inflict a considerable adverse reaction. The most likely scenarios for people getting bitten by this spider are completely accidental. Maybe it was in a pile of clothes someone picked up, or perhaps it was in the bed with you and became trapped between you and the sheet or blanket. It could have been hiding in a shoe you decided to wear. In all of these types of scenarios, the spider was exhibiting a defensive reaction.

Feeling trapped, a spider will protect itself and that automatic reaction would be to strike.

A spider bite can affect each one of us very differently.

The severity can vary. There are many variables between each spider and each human individual.

Hobo spiders do contain a level of venom, and if you are more susceptible to that venom, you are going to have a worse reaction than another individual. That being said, this doesn’t mean you would have the same reaction every time you get bitten by a spider. It is going to vary by the individual spider. It is much like a sting from a wasp and each individual’s tolerance and chemistry, if you will.

Ever been stung by a yellow jacket? I have been stung on several occasions. Sometimes I feel nothing more than an initial discomfort while other times I’ve swelled up considerably. I remember one particular time when I got stung on the wrist while I was golfing. My hand swelled up for a week!  My hand and forearm looked like the INCREDIBLE HULK!!!

We flat out don’t know what each individual’s reaction is going to be from a spider bite. I have seen people swell up considerably and have necrosis around the wound where the cells of the skin have died and left a pretty ugly wound.  As with every other type of wound, the importance of keeping it clean and away from infection, is of the utmost importance.

 

Stay tuned for additional insights and spider stories…

Yellow Jacket, Tacoma-based and family-owned pest control and inspection company

Have You Been Stung by a Yellow Jacket This Year? 

Ouch, I feel for you!

We had a very early start this year with wasps and yellow jackets. Our early warm spring that continues into a sweltering, consistently hot summer, led to population EXPLOSIONS of these nasty pests. While yellow jacket stings can really pack a wallop, they can also lead to other serious problems. There can be varying degrees of allergic reactions to their sting and in some cases can become fatal.  It is important to see a doctor if you begin to have a reaction after you have been stung.

 

Hidden dangers.

This time of year, they have formed pretty good size nests and are very aggressive while seeking nourishment for their colony. The most dangerous nests are the ones we don’t see. These can be in siding and ceiling cavities, within our homes, or underground. Treating these types of nests can be very tricky and dangerous. Having the correct tools, products, knowledge, and safety equipment are the most important aspects of exterminating these dangerous nests where we live, and our children and pets play.

We recently treated a ground nest where a couple’s son and his friends play basketball.  It was hidden in the ivy, on the hillside in range of an errant jump shot. We saw the nest while performing an ant treatment at the property, and informed the homeowner. They thanked us profusely for finding and treating the nest, as it was unbeknownst to them….and their son’s friend is highly allergic!

Another dangerous ground nest we found last week was in the backyard of a house where a couple’s young daughter had a small swimming pool. The nest couldn’t have been more than 5 feet from where the pool was! We were already at this house to treat a yellow jacket nest in a siding cavity at the front of the house. The homeowner requested we take a look around for other nests. We were able to spot and extinguish the nest before anyone was harmed.

 

Keep your eyes open.

LIND PEST CONTROL INC. performs treatments of this type several times each day.  There is a story behind each one and most have happy outcomes. A few have learned the hard way that they have a nest by being stung. Fortunately, this year, we have not run into a situation where an unsuspecting person or pet has been seriously injured by multiple stings. We still have a couple of months to go for our wasp season.

Each day their nests grow tenfold and they become more aggressive. Please keep a constant eye out for areas of concentrated yellow jacket activity in and around your home. Consider having a professional out to your house to give it the “once over”. We offer one-time perimeter sprays and or preventive maintenance sprays for spiders, ants, and other ground crawling insects.  We are glad to inspect the area during this service and make sure your family and pets are safe from these harmful pests.

 

Yellow Jacket, Tacoma-based and family-owned pest control and inspection company

Yellow Jackets: Beware of Ground Nests!

Home repairs: Lind Pest Control (Gig Harbor)

Give Your Home a Once Over

One of the best ways to keep your home pest free is to pay attention. Give your home a once over while you’re walking your yard with a cup of coffee in the morning.

Check your crawl space vent screens and crawl space access door.

  • Your screens should be ¼” mesh which is standard for allowing airflow in and keeping most pests out. They should be secured to the frame and free of tears or holes.
  • Check if cable lines or other conduits (such as air conditioning etc.) have compromised their integrity.
  • Your crawl space access door should have a solid concrete footing under it and a solid frame. The door should fit securely, leaving the area virtually free of small gaps which could allow rodent entry.
  • The door should have a latching device such as barrel bolts or a hook and eye assembly.
  • A door should not be mistaken with a well cover.
  • If you have a retaining well which has a cover over it, this is not sufficient to keep rodents out. They were designed for safety and water runoff.
  • If you have a well cover or a door which has gaps or openings, a door should be installed or repairs made.

A simple visual inspection as you walk your property is the best way to protect your home against pests and prevent more serious issues.

If you notice anything that seems incorrect or you would like one of our technicians to do a walk-through of your property, please schedule an inspection.

vegetation against house

Pest Control Tip: Why You Need to Keep Vegetation Away from Your Siding. 

Keep vegetation away from your siding.

Vegetation against the siding, especially when it’s dense, tends to hold moisture in the siding and promotes fungus growth which can promote rot and/or perfect moisture content for wood destroying organisms and other nuisance pests. It also provides hiding and harborage for rodents.

You don’t need to butcher vegetation back, nor have a barren landscape around your immediate perimeter of the house. A general rule of thumb is to keep a few inches of space between your siding and the vegetation. This allows proper airflow and a viewing avenue for homeowners and pest control professionals to keep a lookout for vulnerable pest entry points.

Don’t forget to keep your tree limbs trimmed back from the roof and gutter lines. We recommend 3 feet to 4 feet. Ever seen a squirrel jump?  They are capable of jumping quite far and are commonly found in attics of homes (along with rats). They can do considerable damage once inside.

Lind Pest Control Office in Tacoma, Washington

Pest Control Tip: Mulch, Bark, and Bugs

Adding bark or mulch to landscaping beds is a great idea to beautify your landscape, keep the weeds down, and retain plant moisture. Yet, it can create unwanted pest problems if you’re not careful.

Remember to keep about 3 inches of clearance between the bottom of your siding and the mulch. You should be able to see your foundation. Bark, mulch, soil, etc. which extends over and “buries” the siding tends to hold moisture in and rot your siding.

This creates a highly desirable conducive condition and a direct access for termites and other wood destroying organisms. Consider having the immediate perimeter of your house sprayed after your bark/mulch has been laid. This will offer protection against organisms which may be within, or attracted to, the purchased product.

Lind Pest Control & Inspection Services logo, Randy & Beth Lind

A Warning: Beware of Door to Door Pest Control Sales

A Buyer Beware Story

A longtime customer of ours recently called to relay an interesting story.  A “representative” from another pest control company rang his doorbell. They were “in the neighborhood” and would like to offer a free look around his home. Amusingly, he took them up on their offer. About 10 minutes later, the representative knocked on his door and told him that they had found a dampwood termite and showed him the specimen. Our client informed the representative that he had been with LIND PEST CONTROL for several years. He asked if he could keep the specimen so he could show it to us. The representative replied that he could not let him keep it because they needed it. Our client thought this to be very peculiar and immediately gave our office a call.

 

Our Follow Up

When we went out to the property, we performed an inspection and found nothing amiss. We explained that if he had dampwood termites, the problem of wet, rotting wood would be the condition conducive to their presence. No such conditions were found, nor dampwood termite presence. We serviced his home, as we do every quarter, and continue to protect and inspect it.

 

Please Do Your Research

Every year we see many pest control companies come out of the ‘woodwork’. We’ve seen “representatives” in our own neighborhood, knocking on doors trying to sell their product. Many times we see two or three guys park their personal car and get out to canvas the neighborhood. They’re mostly working on a sales commission basis. While we typically don’t have much of a problem losing customers to this kind of sales tactic, we do occasionally lose one to the lure of cheaper prices and false promises. I recall a couple of customers, in the past, who have immediately come back to us due to receiving poor service, or the company failing even showing up.

 

We are Dedicated Pest Control Professionals

LIND PEST CONTROL, INC. is dedicated to doing the best job we can do at a price that is fair to all.  Our professional TEAM consists of FULL TIME/PERMANENT office personnel to take your calls and offer advice and education and our PERMANENT field team consists of PROFESSIONAL/LICENSED technicians who are fully trained. Our company vehicles are nice, clean, and maintained. They are of uniform color (bright yellow and black) and branded with our logo, as are our technician’s full uniforms. We are a professional company and will not compromise the safety of your home, business, family, pets, employees, etc. You can be assured you receive this consistency each and every time.

Saving $10.00 or so per service is truly not worth the gamble of going with a company fishing from door to door trying to build a customer base by promising things they can’t and won’t deliver. Please be aware that these tactics are commonplace. If you run into this situation, please give us a call and speak to one of our qualified staff before you sign anything you might regret later. You may be convinced you have a pest problem you which never really existed.

 

Lind Pest Control Trucks

Kudos to the EPA: Cracking Down on Amazon Selling Pesticides

Kudos to the EPA for cracking down on Amazon for distributing pesticide products in February.

Regulation for a reason.

This represents part of the challenges we face as professional pest control operators. Pesticides need to be regulated very strictly so they can be tracked. As professionals, we are required to document our products and possess all necessary information including MSDS/SDS and product labels. Furthermore, we are required, and rightly so, to have accurate application records to show what particular products we use, exactly where we use them, at what percentage of them we use, what the outside temperature was and the direction the wind was blowing during application, etc.

How many products have ended up discontinued because they have been used incorrectly by people who have no real knowledge of how, when, and where to apply them? Or even worse, how many pesticides have ended up contaminating areas they should never have been? Nonrepellent pesticides, such as Termidor, have been proven game changers for our industry. Products such as these actually aid in the overall environmental health of mother earth. However, if mishandled, misapplied, misused, etc, these products are capable of doing harm to entire ecosystems through their “transfer effects”. Mishandling or misapplication of these types of products could result in their demise as well and without them, you might as well get used to having bugs in your house.

The potential risk of losing these pesticide products is a strong argument that licensed professionals should be the sole legal applicators of them.

 

Pesticide application is a science.

Many people are very capable of reading and following pesticide application mixing and application directions. They are also very capable of applying them when and where they should. However, it’s my opinion that a vast majority of the general public, who know very little about these products and their capabilities, tend to “overuse” and “misapply” them. I have witnessed it on many, many occasions throughout my career. Many have used the logic that “if the directions say to mix 1 ounce of product to 1 gallon of water then 2 ounces are sure to kill the bugs”. I’ve always responded to them with “if you have a medical prescription and it tells you to take 1 pill per day, do you take 2 (or more) because you think it’s going to work better for you?”  It makes about the same sense.

 

DIY pest control is not the best option.

I don’t know how many times potential customers have shown me stuff they have bought online. I have been shocked and amazed that these products are even available to them. Regardless, they have called me because the products they ordered did not work for them.  A few things come to my mind when I find this:

1-     The product appears to be legit, but it is a knockoff that doesn’t work like our professional products delivered to us via licensed and certified distributors.

2-     They did not mix and apply the product correctly.

3-     They used the wrong product for the wrong pest.

If you do not have the training or knowledge about pesticides, they can ineffective or dangerous. They can also be counterproductive. There are many categories of pesticide products, and each one is meant for very specific pests, application methods, and locations. Knowing and following these recommended guidelines will assure a successful treatment that neither damages the environment nor presents a health risk to people, pets, fauna, and flora.

I’m glad the EPA cracked down, and equally as glad to see Amazon comply wholeheartedly. It shows me that Amazon takes this very seriously, actually cares enough to admit their ignorance in the matter, and wants to set the record straight.

 

To the general readers of this blog who have pest problems:

I understand wanting to save a few bucks by doing it yourself. There are OTC products out there that work for very general and easy situations. However, if you have an infestation, you are best served to call a professional before you waste your money. You are more likely to make the situation worse and having to spend more money hiring a pro anyway.

An old wise friend (Big Al) once told me, he said Randy,

 

“I do what I do for a living and that’s how I make my money. I hire everyone else to do the work that I don’t do. While they are doing the work, that I have hired them to do, it doesn’t take me away from my job, so I continue to make my money”.

 

Sounds a little like a Yogi Berra comment, but if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

 

 

odorous house ants (sugar ants)

Pest of the Season – Odorous House Ants (Sugar Ants)

For a couple of weeks, it was starting to warm up…until the snow and frigid temperatures hit!!

With warmer temperatures, the ants return.

During those couple of weeks, we were inundated with calls about odorous house ants. This is the typical response we see when the frigid winter months have passed and the weather warms up a bit. The warmer weather signals them to emerge from dormancy. (This is also true for carpenter ants.)

When odorous house ants begin to emerge, they surface hard and fast. They have been lying in a dormant state for quite some time. The survival of the colony relies on the working castes gathering and providing nutrition for the reproductive queens as quickly as possible. While seeing ants is never a great feeling, the brief period of warmer weather provides an advantage. These ants are incredibly prolific and difficult to treat. If we can beat the cycle before the colony has had time to gather significant nutrition, we can gain the upper hand on this tenacious and prolific species.

If you are experiencing odorous house ants in your home now, it is safe to say you have at least one active colony. Waiting for and hoping they will go away is not a logical response. While they may seem to “disappear” for a while, they have merely completed the first step of colony growth. What follows weeks later is a full ‘invasion’ as the new workers emerge (tenfold) and continue with their quest for nutrition and colony survival. New queens will have developed in addition to existing ones, increasing populations at an alarming rate.

It is highly advised that you have them dealt with early and before they have an opportunity to nest in and grow their colonies within the confines of your homes or businesses. Swift and thorough treatment is vital at this time.

Before you try any over the counter treatment remedies:

While you may be tempted to treat the problem yourself, DIY treatments usually make the situation worse. You may kill some of the working caste initially, but you’ll also drive the rest of the protective workers and their queens into survival mode. That ‘mode’ is a splitting of the colony into several locations. Now you are fighting a battle on several locations, with more workers and more reproducing queens than at the start.

As the weather heats up again (it will be sooner than you think), you will begin to see these little guys around your kitchens and bathrooms if they are not dealt with in efficient and effective manner.

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