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Bird Exclusion

Bird Exclusion

When most people think of pests, they think of rodents, various insects or wood destroying pests such as termites, things like that. But did you know that birds can be a destructive pest as well? Bird control and bird exclusion tactics have become important when dealing with persistent pesky birds.

At first you may think that it’s cool to have a bird nest so close to your home. Which of course it is a neat thing to be able to witness daily to see the habit’s and activity of the cute bird, but you may soon realize that having them so close really isn’t such a good thing.

On the pest control side of things we have seen many times how bird related issues can cause a number of problems for business such as damages to the building’s exterior or product contamination.  Bird droppings are not only unsightly but can cause unsanitary conditions and ruin the finishes of buildings. Bird droppings aren’t always the easiest to clean up either, depending on where they are located and how bad it is, you may need to call in a heavy duty cleaning team to properly clean the affected area. Some birds carry diseases that could be transmitted to humans and are considered a public health risk.  If you have birds nesting on buildings or on your home, you run a risk of your home being infested with bird mites. Bird mites are like lice for birds.  The bird mites are typically found near the nesting area of birds such as pigeons, starlings and sparrows. Bird mites will be another whole pest issue that will need a pest professional to eradicate

Some common bird exclusion tactics including installing exclusion devices such as heavy duty and properly installed screens on vents of the home.  This will keep the bird from gaining access into your attic area.  If you are having issues with bird nests a product such as bird spikes may be installed to deter the birds from landing in that area.  The bird spikes can be made of stainless steel or plastic.  And do not fret, bird spikes do not harm the bird, they are a humane way to deter the bird from landing or being able to nest in that area.

Alpha Home Pest Control offers Bird Exclusion services, if birds become a problem to your home or business give us a call.  We will tailor a bird exclusion treatment plan that will resolve your problem quickly.

 

 

Pest Control in the Winter

We have heard it many times, pest control in the winter is a waste and not needed because the pests “go away”.  The truth is, winter pest services are just as important as any other, if not more valuable.

When the temperatures start to cool and winter begins, pests, rodents and spiders, insects do not just fly south for winter and “disappear”. The fact is they have high motivation to find a secure winter home, even if it is inside your home, attic, basement, garage, even businesses!  The pests are not picky, if they can find a way inside and are not disturbed, they will stay.

Most know that rodents such as mice are a likely suspect to be sneaking into your home to stay warm.  Mice can cause a slew of problems if they go unnoticed; nesting in insulation (which will have to be completely replaced), chewing wires creating fire hazards, getting into the pantry and helping themselves to your food, and we can’t forget to mention all the urine and mice droppings they leave everywhere!

The biggest concern is with pests that can cause damage to the building structure. Wood destroying pests such as termites and carpenter ants are a major concern. Unfortunately, both of these wood destroying pests can be difficult to notice at first as these pests are often inside walls, attic and even crawl spaces.   You need a pest professional to do a thorough interior inspection once a year, if these pests are identified a treatment plan must be started asap to gain control over the situation and save the structure from continued damage. For these pests, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like; hot summer or coldest of winter, damage will be nonstop.

Remember, winter pest services are just as important as any other time of the year and can save you expenses in costly repairs.

Keep Pests Out

At Alpha Home Pest Control we encourage our clients to be proactive, using proper exclusion tactics and making their homes “unattractive” to the pests, helping keep pests out.

Here are some common Q and A’s for homeowners to help understand why being proactive is important.

 

Q: What attracts pests to your home?

A: If you think about it, like most living things pests are attracted to and need food, water and shelter. Making sure you have followed good exclusion techniques and sealing up/off food and water will help keep pests at bay. Using air tight containers to store food (including extra pet food) and repairing leaky pipes and drains will make your home less attractive and the pests will be less likely to stay.

 

Q: How do pests find their way in?

A: Pests commonly find their way into homes through windows and doors that do not have a tight seal when closed and through cracks that may be around the window or doors. They don’t always crawl or fly in, sometimes they are carried in by you or even your pet! Groceries, firewood, and luggage are ways that pests can be carried into the home unseen. Be sure to inspect any packages and belongings before bringing them inside.  Another thing to add the check list is foundation vents, inspect the screen for any holes or being loose, correct any problems right away.  Broken foundation vents are a welcome mat for mice, other insects and even cats!

We always advise that firewood not be stored against the house.  Firewood attracts many pests’ spiders, ants, and termites to name a few.  Termites can cause a lot of damage and can be a very costly expense.  Another tip to follow is having about a 2 in. gap between your foundation and plants and grass.  Allowing bushes and shrubs to grow so closely to your home creates a stepping stone for pests and critters that may want inside.

 

Q: What to do if you have an infestation or starting to see more pest activity?

A: If you find yourself having pests issues and are unsure of how to properly handle the problem, call your pest management right away before the issue multiplies, which can slow down the elimination process and be more costly.

 

Call Alpha Home Pest Control (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Local Businesses

 

In recent years there has been a movement. People are realizing that it’s not all about big box stores, national companies and brands. More and more people are ditching the big names and opting to support their smaller local  businesses. When it comes to business bigger is not always better.

When you support local it’s not just giving your money to a small business and that’s the end, there are multiply benefits. Local business owners are more inclined to support other local companies, on both a business and personal reasons. If you think about the big box stores and chain businesses, they tend to get supplies from corporate and their employees may be as personally invested in supporting locally.

Actually knowing the people behind the business where you’re buying products from or are receiving a service from takes on a different feel. You get to know these people by name, they get to know you. They will recognize products you buy and services that are needed by the community. The community is wanting a business to succeed and feeling proud when they do. The whole community celebrates a favorite business and you grieve if they are forced to close their doors.

Often times, you will notice that you will receive better customer service from smaller “mom and pop” shops. If you have ever had to call a number that starts with 1 800 you know the frustration it can entail, being put on hold, only to be transferred multiple times and to be put back on hold again, with your question still not fully answered. Generally with local companies you will be speaking to someone who has a great understanding of business and will be able to resolve any concerns you have.

 

Buying from and supporting local business has many benefits. We encourage you to explore your community, you may find wonderful new businesses opportunities with great customer service.

 

Bats

Bats are amazing creatures and they definitely have an important impact on insect control and pollination around the world.

Here are a few interesting facts about bats and pollination:

  • Bats help with the pollination of many types of fruit from around the world, including bananas, mango and peaches to name a few
  • Researchers believe that 500+ tropical plants are pollinated by bats every year
  • Bats are able to help pollinate by using their very long tongues. Their tongues roll into the bodies near the ribs
  • Some bats can live more than 30 years
  • Bats can find food in total darkness-using echolocation
  • Many bats eat insects and are capable of consuming 1,200 mosquitoes in one hour and can often consume their body weight in insects in one night
  • Bats can fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour
  • Other types of bats consume fruits and nectar and play important roles in pollination
  • There are only 3 types of “vampire” bats that will consume blood-none live in the U.S.

Everything in the animal kingdom has a balance.  It seems as if birds, bees and butterflies take care of pollinating during the day, and the bat fills the role during the night.  Going along with the balance of nature as most know, bees are often attracted to flowers with bright vibrate colors and sweet smells.  Bats on the other hand are attracted to flowers and plants that are more neutral colored.  Also, flowers that have a musty-rotten smell will attract bats.

Also since most bats migrate they are able to fly great distances before dropping seeds into new locations. This in turn allows a new plant to grow if the environment is right.

Bats are pretty amazing creatures, not only do the help keep insects and mosquitoes in check, they are able to take on the extremely important role of pollination.  Please take a moment to appreciate bats and all their important role they play in our wonderful world.

Fall Pest Prevention

The weather has finally started to cool and summer is winding down.  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 critters 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.

Beneficial Insects in the 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 the a professional pest control company, you can ask for your garden and surrounding area not to be treated.

Grass Spider

Grass spiders also known as the funnel web spider, one of the most distinctive things about the Grass Spider is their web.  Grass spiders tend to make their webs near the ground in the grass, weeds, fence lines and even wood piles.  What is interesting about the grass spiders web is the tunnel or cave that will usually be located off to one side. Grass spiders are more of the wait and attack type.  They don’t wait for prey to get tangled and stuck in the web, in fact their webs are not sticky like most other spider webs.  Grass spiders are quick and the tunnel works as an advantage for the spider as it makes it harder for prey to escape.  Once prey stumbles into the tunnel web the grass spider will attack.

Grass spiders are often mistaken for wolf spiders.  Although they do share similar colors, light brown to grayish and have light and dark strips near the head of the bod.  Grass spiders have much thinner bodies than wolf spiders. Grass spiders also have noticeable spinnerets from where they produce their web.

Grass spiders aren’t typically an indoor invader but you may notice them when temperatures start to drop in the fall.  Grass spiders can be unsightly to look at but these guys are low risk to humans and are unlikely to bite, unless threaten.  Grass spiders are actually considered to be beneficial to gardens and as a use of “organic” pest control.

False Black Widow

Some people may have never heard about the False Black Widow.  The false black widow spider is not as famous as the true black widow, but it does share a similar body shape.  The false black widow female is 6-10 millimeters in length, its color ranges from a purple-brown to black with light yellow markings. The shape of the false black widow is very similar to the true black widow with the bulbous body being more oval in shape.  The false black does not have the famous “hourglass” shape on its belly.

Like the true black widow, the false black widow also makes its web to look like jumbled irregular shape.  The spider relies on a messy web to catch prey such as small insects and other spiders which reports have included the true black widow.

Spring is when these spiders mate.  Females can produce 3 or more egg sacs each mating season, with each egg sacs that can contain 200 plus eggs.  It is reported that the males do not live long after mating with a life span of about 18-20 months.  False black widows can be found living in man-made structures year round, outside they can be found in cracks and crevices of rocks, under bark and on foliage growing low to the ground.

As for bites and venom, the false black widow can and may bite but usually only when threatened and in defense.  The bites of a false black widow are similar but much less severe than from a true black widow.  Some of the symptoms include moderate to severe pain at the bite site, nausea, headache, and lethargy.

It’s important to remember everyone may react differently and if you think you may have been bitten by a possible false black widow or medical attention may be needed.

Alpha Home Pest Control

Green Stink Bugs

We have been seeing a lot of Green Stink Bugs lately.  They seem to have taken over residential patios and gas station pumps during the night. These green stink bugs are large and have an oval shape, often referred to as shield shaped.  Their bright green color makes them hard to miss.

You can probable guess how the stink bug got its name.  Stink bugs get their name from the unpleasant odor of a chemical they produce and they will release this foul smelling chemical if threatened or crushed. So think about that before you go stomping on a stink bug!

Stink bugs use their sharp mouth parts to pierce plants and suck juices from it.  Most stink bugs don’t cause a tremendous amount of plant damage, unless their population gets out of hand. They will feed on flowers, leaves, stems and fruits.  They can become a pest inside the home as well.  Stink bugs may find their way into the home while they are looking for shelter for warmth during the colder months.  You may start to notice them inside during late summer or fall.  If you do find a stink bug in your home, remember they will release a very unpleasant odor if crushed.  You could use a vacuum to remove them from the home but be aware that they may release that odor or get crushed inside the vacuum, leaving you with a foul smelling vacuum.  A different approach could catch and release them outside.

Like most other pests, stink bugs will likely find their way into the home through small cracks, gaps and torn or missing screens. The best thing you can do is to be preventative.  Walk your property and check window screens, door sweeps, and foundation vents. Repair or replace damaged screens, caulk can be used to seal off any gaps or cracks.