Selecting A Pest Professional
A qualified and licensed pest management company that is a member of national, state or local pest management associations. Ask friends and neighbors to recommend companies they have used successfully. Buy value, not price. Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem. Find out if the company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during treatment. If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing prevention and management are necessary.
Pest control companies differ in their guarantees. If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing prevention and management are necessary. It is important that homeowners remain active participants before, during and after all pest control treatments. This type of vigilance helps the homeowner better understand their contract and possible guarantee, and helps the PCO understand the homeowner’s expectations.
Termites are wood-destroying insects. Their presence dates back to the dinosaurs. While they play an important role in nature, experts estimate they cause $5 billion of property damage each year.
Yes, the three major kinds of termites in the United States are dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood termites commonly live in heavily forested areas of the country as they prefer wet wood; while, drywood termites, much more rare in the United States, prefer extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.
Depending on your geographical location, termite swarms should be visible in the early spring. Termite swarms can be confused with flying ants. Telltale signs of termite infestation include soft wood in the home, mud tubes in the interior or exterior of your home (often near the foundation), and darkening or blistering of wood structures.
Termites are social insects that live in colonies. Each termite has a specific role in the colony. The queen lays the eggs - possibly several thousand each day in some kinds of termites. Workers termites are the only ones that cause damage to wood - their job is to gather food and enlarge the colony. Soldiers have huge heads and long jaws they use to protect the colony from enemies. The termites that you may see are the winged reproductives that swarm in early spring.
The truth is, there are two kinds of homes: those that have had termites and those that will get them. Termites work 24 hours/7 days a week at damaging the wood in and around a structure. And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to think that termites cannot be controlled.
Termites swarm in the early spring, depending on their geographical location.
The most important thing is to remove the conducive conditions termites need to survive. Termites love moisture; avoid moisture accumulation around the foundation of your home. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building. Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal. It doesn’t hurt to routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.
A pest control professional will come in and treat the problem so that you can live comfortably in your home.
The Delaware Pest Control Association and the entire industry are committed to providing highly effective treatment options for all pest issues. The most effective type of treatment depends upon the severity of the infestation, the species of termite, and the location and construction of the home or building. A trained and licensed pest control operator can assess each infestation separately and recommend a rigorous treatment plan that will effectively control the termite population.
Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own. On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise and technology to eliminate termite infestations.
They can range anywhere from $800 to $1,800 dollars, depending on where you live, the construction of your home, severity of the infestation, and the type of contract offered by your pest control professional. Your pest control professional will give you a free estimate.
All professional pest control products have been registered for use by the EPA. When they are applied according to label instructions by technicians who have been trained and licensed to use them, they pose virtually no risk.
A trained and licensed pest control operator is the best person to make a recommendation for each particular property.
Just as you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for yourself or drill your own cavities – you shouldn’t attempt to control termites – or other pests -- on your own. The products and the expertise offered by professional pest control far surpasses what a homeowner could do on their own. Leave it up to the experts for peace of mind. Why risk it?
What type of treatment is recommended? How long will the treatment take? How much will it cost? How long will it take to get rid of the termites? What type of contract or guarantee is offered? Are they a member of the National Pest Management Association?
Termite treatments typically will take no more than a day.
That depends on the location, extent of damage, and the products used to treat the infestation. After a thorough inspection, your professional pest control company should be able to tell you what they will use to get rid of the termites and how long it will take.
Other Wood Boring Pests
There HAS been an increase in bedbug infestations. Our member pest control companies who received 1 or 2 bedbug calls a year are now reporting 1 to 2 each week. That’s 50 times more calls.
These pests are not limited to any one specific type of dwelling. Pest control companies have been reporting the infestations in multi-family housing, apartments, hotels and even hospitals.
Pest control companies have reported bed bug activity on a national scale. Bedbugs are being found from the East to the West Coast; and everywhere in between.
Bedbegs should NOT be equated with filth or sanitation problems -- in hotels or in homes, for that matter. Bedbugs are VERY elusive, transient and nocturnal pests. They are often found in other areas besides the bed. And they are hardy. They can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to almost 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Bedbugs CAN be controlled with vigilance and constant inspection and treatment by professional pest control companies.
To prevent bedbug infestations, consumers need to be vigilant in assessing their surroundings. When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing. If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, contact a pest control professional. This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.
Bed bugs leave itchy, bloody welts on human skin. Adult bed bugs can live for a year without eating, making them especially hard to control. Once inside a hotel or home, bed bugs spread rapidly from room to room - through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing and luggage. In a hotel, bed bugs can even spread to neighboring rooms, since guests are may end up moving to another room.
Bedbugs are not just in beds. They can be in chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. In other words, they can be live pretty much anywhere.
Any effective bed bug control strategy should start with a careful, thorough inspection by a pest control professional of all known and suspected spots where the bugs may be harboring. This is not a pest that can be controlled effectively with do-it-yourself measures. As they are discovered, the pest control professional will develop a treatment and control strategy with the customer depending on the extent of the infestation.
Mosquitoes transmit at least three human diseases that have been found in the United States. All of them are potentially fatal. These diseases include West Nile Virus, Malaria and Dengue Fever.
West Nile Virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999, it can lead to serious complications of the liver or nervous system, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), meningitis or paralysis. It is the most widely known disease, likely due to its rapid spread throughout the nation. West Nile Virus has spread across the country from Pennsylvania to Washington state since 1999. More than 3,700 cases have been confirmed since that time. Forty-one states and Washington D.C. now have confirmed cases of West Nile.
Malaria was thought to have been eradicated in the U.S. but was detected in mosquitoes in Fairfax County, VA in 2002. From 1973 to 1983, travelers introduced 2,575 cases of malaria into the United States.
A small but important risk for dengue fever exists in the United States. Travelers introduce up to 100 to 200 cases into the U.S. each year.
Many homeowners erroneously believe that all pest management professionals do is spray chemicals to treat their homes. This is simply not true anymore. Many pest management professionals today use an Integrated Pest Management or IPM approach. IPM controls pests by getting rid of the three things they need to survive: food, shelter and water. And consumer education is a vital part of any IPM program. This approach consists of inspection, identification of the pests, employment of two or more control measures, and evaluation of effectiveness through follow-up inspections. Control measures include mechanical methods such as caulking, sealing and sanitation; biological methods such as encouraging pest-eating birds or fish; cultural methods; and, when warranted, chemical methods. When applied professionally and used according to label instructions, professional pest management products that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pose little threat to humans or pets.
The length of effectiveness is dependent upon several variables including temperature, humidity, surfaces treated, materials or control methods employed. The time lapse between treatments depends upon these factors and specifically the materials used.
Every care is taken when such pest management products are being used. When licensed, professionals use them in accordance with EPA- approved labeling, these products pose little threat to humans or pets.
Not every community provides municipal mosquito management. Only a concerted community-wide effort can properly manage these pests and reduce the risks associated with them. Therefore, homeowners must do their part. Pest Management Professionals can help homeowners reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and decrease the risks for mosquito-borne illnesses by inspecting properties for mosquito breeding sites, treating to control mosquitoes or suggesting corrective actions, and providing basic information, current news releases and references to other resources.
There are many ways a homeowner can reduce the risks from mosquitos: Eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites by replacing all standing water at least once a week. This includes bird baths, ponds and swimming pools. Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed. Introduce mosquito-eating fish such as gambusia, green sunfish, bluegills and minnows to standing water. Screen windows, doors, and other openings with fine mesh, sealing around all screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry. Avoid going outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most active: during dusk or dawn. Use repellent on exposed skin whenever and wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite. The most effective repellents currently available contain the active ingredient N,N-diethylbenzamide (DEET), in concentrations up to about 35% (greater concentrations don’t offer better protection). Wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants, preferably treated with a repellent as well.
Several pests are included in this category. The most well known are bees, wasps and hornets. Some species of ants, such as fire ants, are included in this category as well.
Stinging insects send half a million people to the emergency room each year. Although they are not labeled as public health threats, like mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus, they are certainly dangerous. Homeowners who suspect a stinging insect infestation should not attempt to control the infestation by themselves.
Stinging insects are at their peak during the warmer summer months.
Many types of stinging insects, such as yellow jackets, are social insects. They will sting to protect themselves and members of their colony. The insects give off pheromones, which cause other members of the colony to react as well. The chaotic reaction is too dangerous for a homeowner to address alone.
The first step in controlling any pest is to identify it correctly. There are many kinds of beneficial flies that closely resemble wasps, and there are many kinds of "solitary" wasps, such as sand wasps, which also look exactly the same as yellow jackets, but pose a lower hazard. After the type of pest is identified there are a variety of control methods that a professional could take. Many pest control professionals practice a new technique called integrated pest management, or IPM. This technique involves removing the pest's food, water and shelter. In the case of stinging insects, this could involve cleaning up your yard and sanitizing outdoor areas. The professional will use appropriate steps and techniques to address the particular type of infestation. Vacuuming is a new technique in stinging insect control.
Certain species of stinging insects can pose a large property threat. Carpenter bees are wood-destroying insects that can cause serious structural damage if not caught in time and properly controlled.
Homeowners can take a clue from the professionals and practice integrated pest management to avoid stinging insects and other types of pests. Again, it is important to consult a pest management professional to address an infestation correctly.
Be aware of stinging insect nesting areas, and use extreme caution when around them. Stinging insects can build their nests in attics, crawlspaces, building corners, under gutters, and under patios or decks. Seal exterior cracks and crevices to prevent insects from entering a structure and building nests. Stinging insects are attracted to open garbage cans and exposed food. Cover all food when outdoors. Be sure to keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans and empty them regularly. When spending time outdoors, avoid excessive use of fragrances, which can attract stinging insects. If you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, seek medical attention immediately.