Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dealing with Termites on Rental Property

Whether you are a first time renter, or you have been one for many years there is nothing scarier than discovering a termite infestation. Finding a single termite may seem innocuous, but if you see one, there may be serious problems with the structural integrity of the home.

If you are a rental property owner, the first thing that should be done prior to purchasing a home is to have a termite inspection. This single step could save you from purchasing a home that has an infestation, saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars. If the termites show up after the property has been purchased, a call to your local exterminator is in order. While it may be possible to try to self treat the property, this is not effective in all cases. Additionally, by using a reputable service for the inspection you will be able to find out the extent of the damage in the home. The number one rule of thumb is to make sure that you keep up on any extended or yearly checkups to make sure the problem does not return. In some cases, the exterminator may need to set up bait stations outside of the home to ensure the insects do not return.

termite inspection, termite prevention, termite control

If you are a renter and discover you have a problem with termites, the first step is to consult your lease. If the lease stipulates that the renter is responsible for major pest control, then it is up to you to take care of the infestation. If the infestation has caused major damage to the home, the cost of repairs may be covered by the property owner even though you are required to get rid of the pest problem. If there is no mention of who is responsible for these types of issues in the rental agreement, you should contact your landlord about the problem. If the land owner fails to get the home treated or inspected within a reasonable amount of time, it may be possible for you to self treat the home and take the cost off of future rent payments; however, this depends on the laws governing rental agreements in your area.

Termite infestations can lead to costly repairs if left untreated. Whether you are renter or property owner, it is important that the problem is addressed as soon as possible.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What Happens to Termites in Winter?

Termites are insects that live in almost every region in the world. They eat cellulose and can cause serious damage in a home. Because of the damage to wood in the walls of homes termites can cause, many homeowners are aggressive about termite control in the warmer seasons. What many homeowners aren’t sure about is how aggressive they need to be in the winter months.

During the summer months, termites are very active insects. They live in large colonies made up three cast types: the reproductive cast, soldier cast, and worker cast. The size of a mature colony can vary depending on the species of termite. Some colonies, such a colony of subterranean termites may have 60,000 members while a formosan colony can have hundreds of thousands of members. The worker cast of termites will forage for food. Feeding such a large colony can damage a home quickly.

What happens to termites in winter depends on the type of termite and where the nest is located. All termites prefer a temperature of 75° F though the different species will respond to the changes of weather differently in order to stay warm. There are four species of termites: subterranean, dry wood, moist wood, and formosan.

Subterranean termites create nests in the soil. When the temperatures drop, the subterranean termites will dig further in to the ground in order to reach warmer temperatures. Colonies located at depths of 40 inches underground have been recorded. It is believed that, though they aren’t as active in the winter as the summer, subterranean termites will continue to be active during the winter months.

The three other species are above ground and so will find a home in wood. The dry wood termite finds a home in dry wood just as its name would suggest. Likewise the moist wood termite nests in a wood with a higher moisture content. These termites will stay closer to the nest during the winter months and will usually be found in warm climates with milder winters.

Formosan termites are another type of subterranean termite. This means like subterranean termite colonies, formosan termites also live underground. They are distinguishable from subterranean termites by the size not only of their bodies but also the size of their colonies. It is due to the enormous size of their colony that they are the known to cause the most damage out of the termite species. Because they also nest underground, Formosan termites will respond the same as subterranean termites during the cold weather.

Though termites may be more dormant in winter, there is still the possibility of an infestation. Termites need three basic elements to survive, warmth, water, and wood. In a heated home, termites can find their basic needs. Some indications that termites have invaded a home are mud tubes created from the burrowing termites, damaged wood or wing sheds of the reproductive cast of termites. Though termites in winter are less active, for a homeowner, it pays to be vigilant year round.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guide to Home Pest Control

Home pest control is a mandatory activity for any homeowner. Other than causing physical damage to your home, pests bring the risk of disease and infections to your family and you. Ants, houseflies and spiders can also be nuisances to your guests and make a bad impression of your hospitality. Sometimes it is not always appropriate to call an exterminator. Most of the tasks that relate to home pest control are easy to handle. You just need the right equipment and enough time. Look at the following methods of dealing with pests at home before you go on to seek external help.

Start with prevention
Begin by getting rid of the things that attract pest to your house. Prevention is the best cure. Look at your home carefully so that you can spot any signs of infestation. Carefully examine the ground that surrounds the external walls of the house. If you note any disturbance probe further to find out if pests are causing that disturbance. On the walls, you can check for holes and any other form of physical damage.

Involve a professional
If you doubt your abilities to check for pests, then involve a professional. You can let him or her do it, as a favor if you are in good relations with them, or pay for the inspection service. Often, the cost of pest inspection will be lower than the cost of treating and removing the pests from your home. The advantage of choosing professional help is that you will get a thorough inspection. They will get to the root of the problem and advise you accordingly. The inspectors are trained experts who have extensive knowledge on pests and they are best suited to identify even the most subtle details that you may overlook.

Use products carefully
Eventually, when you begin to deal with the pests, you will need to use pesticides. You can get these from a reputable store in your neighborhood. Follow the instructions on the over-the-counter products carefully. You should not mistake your familiarity with a particular product for expertise. You still need to go over the usage instructions even if you have used the same products before. A common instruction that you should not overlook is the use by date that indicates whether the product is fit for use.

When you are unsure of the products that you should get for your pest control needs, ask experts. You can ask the professional that you contacted to inspect your home. He or she will give you an accurate answer. After all, he or she already made contact with the situation in your home. Choosing to rely on the suggestions of the expert will help you avoid market gimmicks that cause you to buy what you do not need.

Controlling pests is not a time specific event. You have to stay vigilant and react to any threat as long as you are living in the house. Each small step that you undertake towards home pest control will eventually lead to a big difference in terms of the savings you make on exterminator costs. All prevention and control efforts will leave you happier because they lead to an enjoyable home that is free of pests.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Termites vs. Ants: Some Key Differences

Sometimes you encounter swarms of flying insects inside or around our homes, but find it difficult to identify them. Ants and termites look very much alike to the naked eye, and telling one from another becomes extremely difficult. Actually identifying termites versus ants requires an understanding of crucial features, which helps in differentiating between them. In fact, ants and termites are from two different insect groups, but look very much alike. Ants are capable of being a nuisance, but not as much as termites. A termite infestation can cause severe damage to property.

Both termites and ants generally reproduce during the springtime. The new nest is created away from the old one to avoid pressure on the existing resources. These insects make their departure especially on windy days for reaching far-off destinations. The perfect time for departure is just after a storm since the soil is moist and ideal for breeding. This exodus of adult bugs for forming their own colonies is known as swarming. The female and male termites shed their wings and prepare themselves to mate with their ideal partner. Moist soil or wood is a perfect place for them to start their own colonies.

In ant colonies, the male and female ants leave their old colony once the female ant is inseminated. After insemination the male ant dies. The fertilized female ant then looks out for a new place to lay her eggs. The choice of nest depends on the ant species. Swarming termites are often confused as flying ants. These winged ants and termites are referred to as alates. The termite alates look like ants due to their wings. These swarmers live for less than a day unless they burrow into soil.

Ways to tell the difference between termites and ants:
Wing Size
The wings of a termite are equal in length and run past the abdomen, while the wings of ants are unequal in length and end at the top of the abdomen.

Shape of the Antennae
Termites have beadlike and straight antennae, while ants’ antennae are elbowed.

Size of the Waist
Ants have a pinched abdomen, but termites' abdomens are more aerodynamic and broad.

Ants have compound eyes, but termites have no eyes.

Diet of Termites vs Ants
Ants are scavengers and depend on a variety of foods. Termites on the other hand feed on wood and grass. They can also cause come serious damage to properties and trees due to their feeding and nesting behavior.

The presence of swarmers in and around homes is a cause for concern and requires immediate action. If termite swarmers are found it is better to get your home inspected for more of these winged insects. The symptoms of termite infestation are the presence of shelters between the soil and wood and mud filled joints on wood or any finished area of the wood. If the wood is soft and can be easily pierced then it calls for immediate action against termites. A good professional pest control expert will be able to eliminate and treat the termite problem. Eliminating food sources and wastes inside and outside the homes can easily get rid of the ant problems. Ant nests need to be treated to completely get rid of them. Sometimes it becomes difficult to locate their nests, in which case you may need the services of a pest control company to destroy their colony.

The ant and termite swarmers group in similar weather conditions. If you notice serious infestation problem it is very necessary to store a sample for identification. This will help in deciding the proper treatment.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Link: 10 Organic Pest Controls

pest control, diy pest control, termite control, bed bug control

Going organic is definitely a huge trend in today's society, and pest control is no different. We all want to protect our man-made homes, but don't want to harm our natural environment in the process. Click the image to read about 10 organic pest control methods.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Inspect Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs

Great infographic on how to inspect your hotel room for bed bugs. An important step in bed bug prevention and bed bug control!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Quick Facts about Termite Inspection

Termites are among the most destructive insects and they can cause extensive damage to properties and furniture. The two general types of termites that destroy properties are the wood inhabiting and the subterranean termites. These termites are a major threat to homeowners, and they can hide in areas one least thinks of such as carpets, rugs, furniture, ceiling, walls, and appliances among other places. Termite inspection services are very important since they help property owners determine if there are termites in their properties. After the inspection is complete, once can decide on the appropriate measures to take.

Knowing the average termite inspection cost before deciding to hire the services of termite inspectors is important. It is hard to give the exact cost of termite inspection but some factors will help you estimate the amount of money you will pay for inspection services. The dimensions of a building are one of the factors that are used to determine the cost. The larger the area under inspection is, the more you should expect to pay.

Part of the termite inspection cost also relates to determining the procedures that will be followed in order to detect the presence of termites in or around your property, identifying the species, and considering the soil type in order to determine which product or method is appropriate to use to eradicate the pests.

When termite inspection is performed as part of the closing costs, termite inspection costs can range anywhere from 65 to 100 dollars and the inspector will provide you with a wood destroying insect report. This report consists of two parts; one part holds information about the immediate steps that you need to take in order to protect your investment and the second part lists the potential problems that may take place.

When a termite inspection is performed as part of a residential property purchase, a connecting 1-year warranty may be needed. There is a lot that you can expect from termite inspection specialists. For one, they look for evidence of termites by using various tools to probe wood in your crawl space or basement to find out if there is any damage.

They also check for damage along the interior and exterior surfaces of a building or foundation. They take their time to carefully inspect structures like joists, window sills, support posts, wood porches, basement window frames, cracks in cement, scrap wood piles, expansion joints, fence posts, and tree stumps. Termite inspectors assess the extent of damage caused by termites and then recommend the right course of treatment.

The termite inspection cost will vary from one company to another and it is appropriate to get quotes from a few companies. As you get such quotes, you should consider a number of factors. For example, you should only work with companies that are licensed to operate in your area even if it means that you have to pay a higher price for the termite inspection. If the termite inspection is being performed on your home, you should find out if your home insurance policy can cover the termite inspection cost.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Kill Bed Bugs

Learning how to kill bed bugs is necessary as these creatures are becoming a common problem to many people. Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that live in bedding and suck human blood. They are disastrous as they can infest any place but love box spring, blankets, mattresses, or mattress covers. They usually feed in the dawn hours and you won't have any idea of them other than the itchy, red bites left behind. It is important to note that infestations can be tough to eliminate and require dedication.

The following are the steps you can follow to learn how to kill bed bugs:

Bed bug treatments
First you need to ensure there are bed bugs that have infested in your bedding. This is important to be sure that the treatments are going to work effectively. Some nocturnal parasites such as bird mites also suck blood. You can check whether there are dark spots on the mattress as this is an indicator for bed bug waste.

Use a mattress encasement
A mattress encasement is quite different from a mattress pad. It encloses the whole mattress and can be zipped around it. The zipping will ensure that your bed bugs are trapped inside and will be starved to death since they will not be able to feed on you. This is a long term solution as bed bugs can live for a couple of months without feeding.

Vacuum often and thoroughly
This is another method used in killing bed bugs. This method is used when one is in middle of infestation. You can use a crevice tool to get every nook and cranny of your bed and the surrounding fabrics and furniture. You need to empty the vacuum away from your house and the clean the hoses and filter. If this is not possible, you can vacuum up with a flea powder containing Pyre-thrum. This will ensure the bed bugs will die rather than crawling out of the vacuum.

Use steam
You can rent or buy a commercial steam cleaner. It works on the same principle as the vacuum. You need to steam every piece of furniture and fabric in the bedroom and the immediate rooms. The heat will kill the eggs and bed bugs themselves.

Wash bedding and clothing
In this case you should use a washing machine with detergent and hot water. The items should then be dried by using the hottest dryer setting for more than 30 minutes to kill the eggs and bed bugs. The clothing and bedding should be placed in plastic bags when they are not in use. The infested room should then be heat treated for four hours.

Call an exterminator
If you have no knowledge on how to kill bed bugs, this will be your best option. It is a costly method but can make a great difference between buying new bedding or not. You should call an exterminator with lots of experience in dealing with bed bug infestations and should clean your house carefully before they arrive.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to Tell if You May be Hosting a Termite Invasion

Regardless of how well your life may be going, as a homeowner, you always need to consider the threat termites can pose to you. Not to say that you should be checking for them on a daily basis, but it would be wise to familiarize yourself with the many signs of termites being present in your home. If they aren't taken care of immediately, the termites can carve a path of destruction across your house, especially if you have many furnishings made from wood.

Contrary to what most people believe, termites aren't only active during spring. While it is a time of elevated activity where swarms are most easily detectable, termites stay engaged in their wood-eating activities throughout the entire year. There are many different types of termites, but they all resemble ants with wings, having six legs, two antennae and are about half an inch in length. They prefer to hide in dark and humid environments, meaning that you will probably have to make some efforts when searching for them.

One of the most common signs of termites you are likely to find in your house is hollowed out wood. If you believe that you are the victim of an infestation, go around your house and knock on your wooden items, especially furnishings such as night stands, tables and chairs (anything that is in contact with the ground basically). As mentioned above, termites prefer dark and humid environments to nest it, and so they usually eat wood from the inside out, safely staying away from the watchful human eye and in total comfort. Needless to say, if you tapped a piece of wood and it sounded hollow, then you’d better check it for termites, or at least signs of their presence.

While some signs of termites may be a bit harder to detect, this one isn't: groups of winged insects as well as discarded wings. Needless to say, one can always easily identify a swarm of insects when it's in their house, especially when said insects tend to discard their wings. The winged termites are generally referred to as "swarmers," and their functions are mainly reproductive as they are in charge of finding new colonies for their brethren to live in. If you have spotted some in your house, get ready for the possibility of there being a full-scale infestation.

If you are being invaded by subterranean termites, your best bet at finding them would be to look for mud tubes on the outside walls of your house. The termites build these tubes in order to make sure their environment remains moist while they are busy scavenging for food. If possible, try to store any wood-related supplies away from your house as much as possible, for as you can guess, they tend to attract the termites like nothing else.

Finally, there is the king of signs of termites: Frass, a more or less polite term used to designate excrements dropped by termites. As it happens, eating through wood requires termites to constantly make space in their bodies, which leads them to make frequent droppings while eating. They are tiny wood-colored, and pellet-like in shape, and wherever the termites dig, you are going to find them.

Should you confirm the presence of a termite infestation in your house, it is highly advisable that you get in touch with a termite extermination agency; the longer the problem persists, the higher the chances of your house becoming irrecoverable.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Telltale Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

While they aren't exactly deadly or exceedingly harmful, bed bugs can be one of the worst annoyances people have to deal with, and it has to be noted that if the problem is not taken care of, the bugs will turn their environment into the optimal breeding ground for bacteria and, consequently, infections. If bed bugs aren't taken care of quickly, they can spread like the plague and even infect entire buildings in some cases. Fortunately, there are bed bugs signs you can look for in order to detect their presence, even early on in the infestation.

First of all, you should be acquainted with how bed bugs look and when they tend to come out. In most cases, they are extremely small (about 5mm in width), are oval-shaped, flat, have six legs (although counting them may prove difficult), two antennae, as well as very short, dark brown or golden hairs. Their larvae are shaped quite similarly, except that their skin hasn't formed a thick layer yet, and so they appear bright red right after feeding, and golden at all other times. Bed bugs are nocturnal animals, meaning they only tend to come out at night and hide away during the day.

In addition to knowing what bed bugs look like, it would also help to know where they hide. Contrary to what their name may imply, bed bugs aren't exclusively confined to beds and mattresses; they will pretty much hide in any crack they can find. For this reason, it is possible to find bed bugs signs in mattress seams, sofas, carpet edges, night stands, behind picture frames, curtains, and even the smallest fissures in your walls and floors. Somewhat fortunately, bed bugs stay only a few feet away at the most from their feeding spots, meaning you should start your search for bed bugs signs at your bed, or wherever you tend to sleep.

One of the most common telltale bed bugs signs everyone looks for time and time again when trying to determine if they have bed bugs are tiny, dark brown bloodstains, usually found in sheets, mostly because it is where they are easiest to spot. These tiny bloodstains are actually the bed bugs' fecal matter, and anything which has them is probably infected with the nefarious pests.

Unfortunately, apart from seeing bed bugs themselves, waking up with plenty of little red bites on your body, and finding their fecal matter stains, there aren't really any effective methods of detecting them, but thankfully, they aren't exactly masters at playing hide-and-seek. Remember, you don't need to find every single bed bug in the colony to know that you have a problem: a few little stains or perhaps a couple of live bed bugs are good enough signs that you have an impending problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.

At this point, you could try dealing with the infestation using your own means and bed bug control products available to the public. However, if you are new to this business, there is a good chance that you won't get them all as they reproduce with great speed. Alternatively, you can always hire the services of a professional extermination company as they have access to much more powerful tools than anyone else does.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hello reader

Welcome to my first post on my brand new blog. If you've ever lived in a home, you've probably encountered some kind of pest. I started this blog as a way to share with you the many methods of keeping pests out of your home and the importance of preventing pest invasions.

I hope you find this blog helpful!

Thank you for reading.