Rodents 101

During the winter season, it’s estimated that rodents seek shelter in more than 21 millions homes in the United States. This means that many homeowners will likely be dealing with mice or rats in their abode over the next few months – and you could be one of them.

Rodents can spread dangerous diseases and can cause major property damage, so it’s important for homeowners to familiarize themselves with the types of rodents that invade homes this time of year. Here is a guide to help you identify common mice and rat species.

Deer Mice

  • Region: Deer mice are found throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: Deer mice prefer to nest in rural areas, specifically in fence posts, tree hollows and log piles. Deer mice are rarely a problem in residential settings, but they can wander indoors during the winter months while searching for shelter from the cold weather.
  • Threats: Deer mice pose a significant health threat because they are the most common carrier of Hantavirus. This virus is transmitted primarily by the inhalation of dust particles contaminated with the urine, feces or saliva of infected deer mice.
  • Prevention tip: Don’t store pet food or birdseed in garages or storage sheds, where it is especially attractive to deer mice.
  • Unique fact: Deer mice always have a bicolored tail that is usually half brown, half white.

House Mice

  • Region: House mice are found throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: Unlike deer mice, house mice usually nest in dark, secluded areas within structures. They are excellent climbers and can jump up to a foot high.
  • Threats: House mice can cause serious property damage by chewing through materials. In fact, they have been known to spark electrical fires by gnawing on wires inside homes. These rodents are also a health threat, as they can contaminate stored food and spread diseases like Salmonella, tapeworms and the plague (via fleas).
  • Prevention tip: House mice hide in clutter, so it’s important to keep storage areas clean and store boxes off the floor. Also, keep food in sealed, rodent-proof containers.
  • Unique fact: House mice can fit through an opening as small as a dime. Although they have poor vision and are color blind, their other senses are very keen.

Norway Rats

  • Region: Like house and deer mice, Norway rats are found throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: Norway rats are primarily nocturnal and often burrow in piles of garbage or under concrete slabs. They tend to enter homes in the fall when outside food sources become scarce. Indoors, Norway rats nest in basements, attics and other undisturbed dwellings.
  • Threats: Norway rats can cause significant damage to property by gnawing through a variety of materials, including plastic and lead pipes, to obtain food and water. They are also vectors of disease, such as plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, trichinosis and salmonellosis. In addition, these rats can introduce fleas and mites into a home.
  • Prevention tip: Regularly inspect the home for signs of an infestation, such as droppings, gnaw marks, damaged food goods and grease rub marks caused by rats’ oily fur.
  • Unique fact: Norway rats can gain entry to a home through a hole larger than ½ inch, or the size of a quarter.

Roof Rats

  • Region: Roof rats are thought to be of Southeast Asian origin, but they are now found in the coastal states and southern third of the U.S.
  • Habitat: Roof rats live in colonies and prefer to nest in upper parts of structures or in trees.
  • Threats: Historically, roof rats and their fleas have been associated with bubonic plague. Although cases are rare, roof rats also spread typhus, jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis and salmonellosis.
  • Prevention tip: Clean up fruit that may have fallen from trees in the yard. Also, ensure the garbage is stored in tightly covered receptacles.
  • Unique fact: The roof rat is also called the black rat or ship rat. These rodents are excellent swimmers.

If you suspect an infestation, Bug Guardian Pest Prevention today! Rodents are known to reproduce quickly, and what may seem like a small problem can turn into a big issue overnight.

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Enemy Hiding Within Your Home – Spider

black widow spider in Arizona

You would think your home is a safe haven from the dangers of the outside world, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Within your walls live many different types of spiders, many of which have venomous and lethal bites. Knowing how to identify them could literally save your life, and most live in very specific areas of your house, so depending on where you a spider, you can eliminate possible culprits. Needless to say, learning about the dangerous spiders that are sharing your abode is just plain common sense.

The brown recluse spider can be found all over the United States, but primarily inhabits the South Western states such as Arizona. While these spiders are deadly, they are not aggressive, only biting if it feels threatened. If you do get bitten by a brown recluse, you could be dealing with tissue loss and necrosis. Symptoms of the bite include fever, itching, shock, restlessness, and vomiting.

Much like the brown recluse the black widow spider can be found to inhabit South Western states like Arizona. Black widows are also not aggressive, but will bite if threatened.  A black widow’s venom can be up to 15x stronger than a rattlesnake. However, only a small number of fatalities are reported from their bites. Young children, the elderly and small animals are more susceptible to venom and should seek medical attention immediately following a bite.

These are just a few of the house spiders you should be looking out for, but there are many more, so do your research. It could save your life.

Have you found any deadly spiders in your home? If you have and need help removing them please feel free to contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention today!

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When Should You Call a Pest Prevention Expert

Pest Prevention Experts

At some point in time, every homeowner is going to experience problems with bugs, rodents or some other nuisance. In some cases, you can handle the problem yourself. In other cases, it’s in your best interest to hire a pest prevention expert.

Do It Yourself Solutions

Pest Prevention Expert

You can typically go to a home improvement or building supply store and buy pesticides or poisons to eliminate an immediate problem. It requires following the product instructions for safety and environmental concerns because you don’t want to spill toxins on or around your home. Usually you would only want to use a do-it-yourself solution as a one time deal. If a rodent takes up residence in your outbuilding or garage, or bugs are overrunning your yard, it’s not necessarily difficult to handle the problem.

Pest Prevention Expert

If you have an ongoing problem, a pest prevention expert is a better solution. They can use milder solutions to treat against insects without damaging your lawn, and more humane methods of dealing with rodents or wildlife. An expert solves these problems on a daily basis and understands how best to handle the situation. There are ways to aim the solution at the actual pest and not harm your pets. Preferred catch and release methods require equipment typical homeowners don’t have access to but allow you to rest assured you didn’t harm the animal. Further considerations are eco-friendly solutions professional exterminators use for insect control that is safe with repeated use around your house.

Regular Maintenance Plan

A benefit of a pest prevention expert services is a regular maintenance plan. The pest prevention expert will determine the needs of your home and develop a scheduled plan for prevention. You’ll realize the benefits of a regular maintenance plan when you consider most nuisances are better prevented than having to deal with them after they occur.

Conclusion

Consider the use of a pest prevention expert to make your life easier. For most laymen, the idea of treating an insect infiltration or dealing with a feral rodent is not very appealing. The expert knows how to deal with the problem safely, efficiently and humanely. Rather than having an ongoing problem, you can trust the professional will be able to find a solution and finish the job with one solid effort.

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Tips to keep unwanted pests out of your home

Unwanted Pests in Phoenix Valley

Finding that your home has unwanted pests is never a pleasant discovery. As seasons and weather transition, spiders, insects and rodents attempt to enter buildings – usually with the intent of finding shelter.

Below are tips to help keep unwanted pests out of your home.

1. Reduce access through vents.

One of the best ways to prevent pest problems indoors is to exclude them from your home. Provide crawl space and soffit (attic) vents with heavy-duty galvanized hardware cloth screens. For crawl space vents, use quarter-inch mesh screens, and for soffit vents use one-eighth-inch mesh screens.

Lightweight screen door screens are too flimsy and fine to be used to screen vents. Screen door screens get plugged up easily with dirt and debris and rats and mice are able to chew through them easily.

You may wonder: “Why use screening? Why not just board up the openings?” Boarding up is okay in some situations, but never board up or seal openings which are intended for ventilation. In periods of extreme cold, vents may be temporarily covered to prevent pipes from freezing, but the covers should be removed promptly when it warms up.

2. Address openings around your home.

Gaps around pipe entrances, cables or other foundation openings can be sealed with mortar, boards or steel wool combined with an adhesive. Aerosol foam insulation can be used to keep out bugs, but rats and mice are easily able to chew through it. Also, make sure your crawl space access door to underneath the house fits tightly and has no gaps, which can permit pests.

3. Check seals around entry and garage doors.

Entry doors and garage doors should have tight fitting weather seals and fit properly. Insects and spiders can pass through a one-eighth-inch or less gap, mice a quarter-inch gap, and rats a half-inch gap.

Door seals wear out with age and often don’t fit tightly after a few years. Thus, they should be replaced or adjusted regularly. Also, be sure all of your windows have tight fitting screens to keep out flying insects.

These are just a few of the ways in which you can help to keep pests outside. A “scorpion sealed” home or business will have fewer pest problems, but even if you were to build a fortress, lock the doors and never leave, some pests still eventually get in. This is why it is important to have regular pest management visits in addition to pest exclusion tactics.

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12 Arizona Bed Bug Myths

Arizona Bed Bug

Bed bugs were a blood-sucking insect disappearing altogether in the 1940s and 50s. However, they have made another appearance and they are now living in every state in the country. They live indoors and that means that they can remain prevalent all year long. It is believed that the critters made a comeback due to the lack of information that people had about bed bugs. Learn more about Arizona bed bug myths and what the true story is.

#1 Bed Bugs Fly

Bed bugs actually do not fly. These are wingless insects. Even though they lack this ability, they can still travel fairly quickly covering about three feet (1 meter) per minute by crawling.

#2 Bed Bugs Reproduce Rapidly

Compared to other insects, bed bugs are one of the slower ones when it comes to reproducing. An adult female bug lays about one egg each day. After the egg is produced, it takes 10 days for it to hatch and another six weeks for the creatures to develop into an adult. In comparison, a housefly will lay over 500 eggs in just a four day period.

#3 Bed Bugs Don’t Bite During the Day

It is true that bed bugs are nocturnal insects. However, the daylight is not going to keep them from coming out for something to munch on. If they are hungry, they will come out seeking a meal no matter what time of the day it is.

#4 Bed Bugs Only Live in Mattresses

Bed bugs do live in mattresses, but they also can live on just about any other surface as well. The insects have been found on railings, ceilings, chairs, in suitcases, on trains, and even on animals.

#5 Bed Bugs Come to Unclean Environments

These insects do not care where they live. You can find them in the higher income areas just the same as they can be found in lower income locations. The bed bugs seem to be more common in the denser, urban, lower income locations because of the inability of the people living there to pay for them to be removed properly.

#6 Bed Bugs Travel On People

Unlike lice and ticks, bed bugs do not like body heat. They will not travel with you, but they will travel with your belongings. They will more likely be found in a suitcase, in shoes, or inside of a backpack than on a human body.

#7 Bed Bugs Can Be Sprayed Away

In the past, pesticides were an effective method used to get rid of the bed bug. However, these resilient creatures are resistant to this type of treatment. One way to properly get rid of them is through a heat treatment and fumigation. These can be costly, but well worth it to be rid of the insect.

#8 Bed Bugs Carry Diseases

There have been no cases reported that prove a bed bug can transmit a disease. They can be the cause of secondary infections and they have been found with over 27 different viruses and bacteria in them, but there have been no reports of the bug actually giving a human a disease.

#9 DDT Would Eliminate the Problem

DDT was banned in 1972 and by that time bed bugs were already resilient to the pesticide. DDT would not be effective today.

#10 You Can Eliminate Bed Bugs By Leaving Your House Empty for a Few Weeks

These insects can live up to a year without eating, so leaving for a few weeks is not going to get rid of them.

#11 Bed Bugs are Too Small to See

Baby or nymph bed bugs are only about 1mm long making them hard to see with the naked eye. However, adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed.

#12 You Can’t Get Bed Bugs From Your Neighbors

Bed bugs are very capable of traveling from dwelling to dwelling. It is more likely to get them from a neighbor if you live in a condo or apartment setting, but they can migrate anywhere by crawling.

Bug Guardian wants to make sure that you and your family are safe from bed bugs. Contact us today and we will send out an expert to evaluate and treat your issues as quickly as possible.

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