Well, March is over and it was pretty ho hum as far as the weather went. We had our cold days and (record) warm days. The bugs woke up from their winter slumber, especially the ants, and the April showers and (hopefully) a little warmer weather are sure to bring everything else out of hibernation.
Things to Look for
Make sure your gutters are clean, and your downspouts are flowing. Elbows should be in place, as well as splash blocks, to direct the water away from your house. Ants and termites are naturally attracted to areas of excessive moisture.
Take a look at your eave soffits. Are there gaps where siding trim meets the eave? Chances are nearly 100% that these gaps exist. Yellow jackets take advantage of these naturally attractive spots to enter into wall and ceiling cavities to create their nests. I have seen the first signs of this happening already. Now is the time to get out your caulk guns and seal these areas up. I did this at my own house a couple of weeks ago. A trip to Home Depot, an afternoon of work in the pleasant (not too hot yet!) weather and I have decreased my chances of these guys and other bugs getting into my house. I used a clear exterior product from DAP that goes on bright white. But not to worry it turns clear in no time and becomes virtually invisible. Next I sprayed around my perimeter and eaves to further secure my home against unwanted pest intrusion.
Check all of your window screens. Are they in place? Damaged? When the weather gets warmer, you’ll be glad that these are in place, and in good condition, to keep the flying bugs and insects out as you enjoy the nice summer breeze.
Speaking of Flying Insects
Mosquitoes. I’ve seen a new product on the market called Dyna Trap. This is a piece of equipment that is reported to emit carbon dioxide which mimics our exhaled breath which attracts mosquitoes. It also has a light to attract them. I came across this a couple weeks ago and did a little research. It sounds pretty good but comes at a little bit of a hefty price. I think around $180.00 or so. Then I saw them at Costco for about $70.00. I was going to pick one up, but when I looked at my cart and surmised my growing bill, I thought better to stick to my list. This is one of those moments when you say…..“Darn it, why didn’t I pick that thing up when I was there and I knew they had them in stock?” You know how it goes, you don’t have time to get back to Costco and when you do they’re out and probably wont be getting any more. Needless to say the jury’s still out on this product. If I get back to Costco and get lucky enough to get one, I’ll let you know how it works.
Be ready for spring and summer. Bugs will come and there is a good chance they will infiltrate your home somewhere somehow. If you don’t like pesticides around your home, at least make it more undesirable for pests. Using mechanical means of keeping them out, along with a responsible professional program of applying pesticides, is your sure ticket to a much more enjoyable spring and summer. THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT!!! Try not to use the approach of doing things after the problem has already surfaced. You are now fighting the battle defensively rather than offensively. Look at it from this stand point. If you’re Pete Carroll, and the Seattle Seahawks are leading by 3 touchdowns in the first quarter, you feel much better about your chances of winning the game than if you are behind by 3 touchdowns, in the fourth quarter, and the other team has the ball.
April showers not only bring May flowers, they bring a whole lot more to the party! Have a beautiful spring and summer season and let us, here at LIND PEST CONTROL, help you enjoy your homes, decks, and patios in a bug free environment!
Last time we left off at telling some stories about spiders.
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!
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.
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”.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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