How to Bug Proof Your Home

bug proof avondale home

If done correctly, pest proofing your Avondale home is actually a long-term savings in not only pest management but also energy costs while increasing your home value. Far too often, the homeowner relies on pesticide treatments self applied through purchases of pesticides from a local nursery or home improvement center. A single application very rarely corrects the problem so continuous multiple applications are necessary. Costs can dramatically increase in this way and you may become frustrated by this approach. Simply excluding pests from your home by following some general measures provided in this document will give you the best approach to managing unwanted pests.
Another benefit of pest proofing homes and buildings is an improvement in energy efficiency of the building, resulting in a welcome reduction in utility bills. Some pest management companies provide excellent pest proofing services. The first step is to conduct a thorough inspection of your home.

Inside Your Home

  1. Screen all openings. Include screens (20 mesh or finer) on doors or windows that can be opened, and on all ventilation openings. After maintain all screens in good repair. This stops the entry of many pests; however, certain tiny pests, such as aphids and leafhoppers, can get through standard mesh screening. The only way to deny entry to these small pests is to keep windows and doors closed.
  2. Install door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. No light should penetrate underneath exterior doors. The bottom of garage doors can be fitted with a rubber seal (not vinyl as it performs poorly in cold weather). Sliding glass doors can be sealed by lining the bottom track with foam weather stripping.
  3. Door seals. Be sure to inspect all seals of doors including the tops and sides. This is especially true for double doors that lack a central vertical support.
  4. Fill cracks. To exclude rodents, lizards and insects look for cracks around windows, doors and in fascia boards. For small cracks use good quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Latex-type caulks clean up easily with water and can be painted although they are less flexible than pure silicone. For larger openings, fill with a strong material that matches the structure such as wood, cement, sheet rock or mortar.
  5. All outside doors should be self-closing. Where this is not possible, a second screen door should be installed. This is particularly important for areas of scorpion or snake activity.
  6. Seal all utility openings. Include entry points of pipes and wires, around outdoor faucets, gas meters and laundry vents. Cracks should be cleaned and any peeling material removed. The hole can then be filled with a suitable sealant.
  7. Repair leaky piping. This will reduce water availability to pests. Inspect plumbing regularly, as a problem may not be apparent. Water damage can also weaken walls creating additional entryways.
  8. Install wire mesh. Use 14 inch hardware cloth over the attic, roof, chimney and crawl space vents in order to prevent entry of birds, bats, squirrels and rodents. Wear gloves when installing hardware cloth, as the wire edges are extremely sharp. Mesh screens can also be installed around the base of portable classrooms. The crawl spaces are attractive to many pests such as widow spiders, scorpions, cats and rodents that may create further insect and health problems (e.g., fleas, ticks, lice, etc.).
  9. Use airtight storage containers. Especially true for pet or human food. Certain small ants can gain access into ordinary jars by following the thread. If in doubt, keep the food in the refrigerator or freezer.
  10. Employ good sanitation procedures. Vacuum up all food crumbs; do not let soiled dishes sit out overnight. Dust under kitchen appliances and clean pet food dishes.

 

Outside Your Home

  1. General yard clean up. Remove clutter, in particular leaves and grass clippings from around the foundation and clean out window wells and drainage guttering. Prune shrubs and tree limbs touching the house to eliminate entry points.
  2. Use pest resistant trash receptacles. Lids should be self-closing with a tight seal. Dumpsters must be steam cleaned frequently.
  3. Pest proof your compost bin. A well-maintained compost bin will not attract pests into the area. Do not compost any meats, fish, bones, oils, fatty foods or dog/cat manures. Burying food waste into the center of the pile will reduce smells that attract pests. Ensure that each layer remains slightly damp and turn or poke holes in the pile every week or two to discourage nesting. Harvest finished compost at the bottom of the bin every three to six months. Avoid rodents and other small animals gaining access with a secure lid and stop them from burrowing in by lining the bottom and sides of the bin with hardware cloth (galvanized wire mesh).
  4. Encourage birds and bats. They are excellent predators of pests. To persuade birds to take up residence in your yard, plant trees or shrubs for nest sites, and provide a fresh water source. To encourage bats, put up houses for bats to roost in during the day.
  5. Plant flowers. This will help to encourage many beneficial insects. For example, the annual flower, alyssum, attracts flower flies and tiny parasitic wasps. Wildflowers and native shrubs are an effective and attractive addition to a yard.
  6. Regular maintenance checks. This requires a specific “walk-around” to inspect areas of previous insect activity and ensure all pest-proofing measures have remained intact.
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Pest Control Tips for Carefree Arizona

A successful pest control program requires more than simply relying solely on your recurring Pest Control services. Understanding that recurring pest control plays a critical role, supplemental pest control methods include the client’s cooperation in properly preparing and maintaining the property being serviced. Properly preparing and maintaining a Pest-free environment includes:

Interior Considerations: Seal holes in walls and around pipes, cables and wires. Seal cracks and crevices with paint or caulk. Seal other holes ¼” or larger. Fix leaky plumbing. Correct excessive moisture problems. Remove clutter. Organize storage rooms/closets. Store Pest nesting material (fabric, paper, rug scraps, plastic, and insulation) in Pest-proof containers. Clean and screen drains. Cap drains in basement floors. Store human and pet food in Pest-proof containers. Maintain excellent sanitation conditions. Dispose of Pest- or Rodent-infested goods. Remove fecal matter (rodents & birds). Sanitize animal fecal matter after removal. Investigate secondary pest potential from primary pest infestation (e.g. fleas, mites).

Exterior Considerations: Cut vegetation back from building walls at least 18″. Remove ivy and other vines from sides of buildings or nearby trees. Trim back tree branches that touch or rub against building. Seal and/or repair air conditioning unit(s). Seal holes in walls and around pipes, cables, and wires. Seal other holes ¼” or larger. Repair damaged roof. Move compost into Pest-proof containers. Fix leaking irrigation. Eliminate standing water. Maintain properly functioning drains. Maintain order in storage shed(s) and/or garage(s). Store Pest nesting material (fabric, paper, rug scraps, plastic, and insulation) in Pest-proof containers. Store grass seed and pet food in Pest-proof containers. Remove debris, lumber and/or rock piles. Move firewood piles as far away from the structure as possible. Cut grass and eliminate weeds. Remove fallen fruit or nuts. Remove fecal matter (rodents, bats, birds). Sanitize animal fecal matter after removal. Investigate secondary Pest potential from primary Pest infestation (e.g. fleas, mites).

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How to Remove a Tick from Your Child: A Guide for Parents

Ticks are familiar to many of us in Arizona,where they are found year-round in most of the state.There’s no doubt that these parasites are scary, but that doesn’t mean you have to wrap your kids in bubble wrap or lock them in their bedrooms. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about removing ticks, that way you can relax when the kids head outside to play.

How do I remove a tick from my child?

A tick has bitten your child and is still latched to your child’s skin, what do you do next?
“The best advice for parents who find a tick attached to their child is to not panic,” says Kristen Nordlund, a public affairs officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “There are simple steps they can take to remove the tick with a set of fine-tipped tweezers.”
The following tick removal process comes directly from the CDC:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  4. If your child develops a rash or fever within the next few weeks after the tick was removed, take them to a doctor and make sure to tell him or her about the recent tick bite.

Ticks usually need to be attached for several hours in order to spread a disease. For example, the blacklegged (or deer tick) needs to be attached for about 24 hours to pass on Lyme disease. It is also important to know that not everyone who gets Lyme disease will have the “telltale” bull’s eye rash. It’s always a good idea to have your child tested more than once for a tickborne disease because sometimes tests can come back as false negatives.

We know ticks are still terrifying, but we hope you feel better prepared with this information. If you feel that your home has a pest problem feel free to call Bug Guardian Pest Prevention today at (480)345-2847.

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Black Widow Control in Anthem

As the temperature increases in Arizona you might notice that more and more black widows are noticeable in your Anthem home.
Why be concerned about Black Widow Spiders?

  • The venom of a Black Widow Spider is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake!
  • The Black Widow Spider bite feels like a pinprick. If bitten, a person experiences nausea, muscle ache, and paralysis of the diaphragm which makes breathing difficult. In rare cases, bites can be fatal—especially to small children or the elderly.
  • Black Widow Spiders are shy but move quickly and bite, if disturbed.

Identifying Black Widow Spider Infestations:

  • Identifying Black Widow Spiders of the female species is easier, as they can be seen hanging upside down on their webs, which makes the red hourglass mark very visible. The male Black Widow Spiders are harmless—only the females bite.
  • Black Widow Spiders can be found hiding in dark places like garages, wooden piles, cellars, shades, etc. and the webs can be observed closer to the ground.
  • The female Black Widow Spider spins a large web in which they suspend a cocoon filled with hundreds of eggs, and the female Black Widow Spider rarely leaves the web.
  • If you spot a Black Widow Spider, do not bother it.

Black Widow Spider Control must be thorough and your cooperation enlisted in removing any Black Widow Spider webs. If you believe you have a Black Widow Spider infestation in your Anthem home contact Bug Guardian Pest Control today.

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9 Do It Yourself Pest Control Tips for Cave Creek Homes

To protect your home and help prevent the potential or continued infestation of your home, follow these tips.
1. Seal Exterior Walls and Cracks – Even small cracks can make way for pests to get through.
2. Fix Loose-Fitting Windows and Doors – Loose fittings can create access points for pests to enter.
3. Seal Gaps Around Plumbing – Scorpions can enter houses through plumbing gaps.
4. Keep Leaves and Yard Debris Away from Home – Debris around the home can attract roaches, scorpions, ants, and other pests.
5. Wash Clothing in Hot Water after Hotel Stays – Bed bugs are often transferred from hotels to homes via clothes.
6. Steam Clean the Mattress – Steam cleaning your mattress will kill bed bugs.
7. Keep Your Home Clean – Put food away, wash dishes, and take out trash. Pests like roaches are attracted to food.
8. Clean around Walls and Cracks with Detergent – Cleaning smells can deter ants from entering the home.
9. Maintain Regular Scheduled Pest Control Visits – End existing infestation and help prevent future pest problems by calling the professionals at Bug Guardian Pest Prevention.
Following these steps will help to prevent infestation from all types of pests in Cave Creek Arizona.

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Flea and Tick Pest Control for Your Peoria

Most Peoria pet owners know the importance of keeping their pets free from fleas and ticks – they can cause itching, irritation, and the transmission of harmful diseases.  But what most pet owners don’t know is that only a very small fraction of the infestation actually occurs on the pet – 95% of the infestation is eggs, larvae, and pupae that are in the pet’s environment. This is why the preventative treatments for your pet are only part of the solution.

Even the healthiest homes and yards can have fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks can infest your lawn, yard and garden in a variety of ways and make you and your pets miserable. Migration from other yards, carried in by nocturnal mammals or strays passing through can all contribute to an increased population of fleas and ticks. At Bug Guardian Pest Prevention we have a proven program that is centered around using quality pesticides that are family and pet friendly.

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Warmer Weather means more Pests in Arizona

Arizona residents know that in February we move from the winter chill into warmer temperatures in the 80s. With this warmer weather also means an increase the pests around your home in the Valley.

The warmer the weather gets, the more insects we will be seeing. This means that with the warmer climate comes an ever increasing number of insects. And this will continue as long as temperatures continue to rise. While this is a good thing for a number of insects such as butterflies, this also means an ever-increasing number of bad insects such as scorpions.

 How to Discourage Pests from Entering Your Home

 

  1. Eliminate debris (rocks, wood piles, etc) pests can hide under during the day around your home, & several feet out.
  2. Repair any leaky pipes.
  3. Add door sweeps.
  4. Make sure all weather stripping around your home is in good order.   
  5. Screen vents around and on top of your home.
  6. Change exterior light bulbs to yellow bulbs, because they are less attractive to MANY bugs!
  7. Make sure your not over watering. (most watering systems are set daily, but every 2 to 3 days is sufficient)
  8. Fix broken watering system parts. 
  9.  Make sure all water on your property is draining. (no hidden puddles)
  10. Trim all plants, and make sure they aren’t touching your house.
  11. Keep grass areas trimmed low.
  12. Clean up all food crumbs, spills, etc., in a timely manner.
  13. Seal all concrete expansion joints with calk.
  14. Calk all block fence “I” blocks  
  15. Prevent “sewer roaches” from coming up drains by using ALL drains regularly.  Pipes under drains have a U shaped loop call a “trap”.   If these drains are used regularly, water will stay in the bottom of the U shaped pipe.  This water in the  ”trap” prevents sewer roaches from coming through and into your home
  16. Contact a Pest Prevention Professional such as Bug Guardian for regular visits
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Scorpion Removal in Scottsdale

There are more than 45 species of scorpions found in Arizona. Most common in the Scottsdale area is the Bark Scorpion which also happens to be the most venomous and only lethal scorpion in Arizona. The sting of the Bark Scorpion is can be fatal to young children, the elderly and those who are allergic to the venom.

Scorpions are often found in the desert, although there are many urban habitats that are attractive to the scorpion. Scorpions are often found near mountains, buttes and the outskirts where there has been little urbanization. New construction can cause scorpions to move from there habitat this explains why homes adjacent to new construction often find themselves infested. A water source such as a lake or canal will attract prey for scorpions.

If you notice scorpions around your Scottsdale home, Bug Guardian Pest Prevention will find the cause or causes of your scorpion infestation and work with you to solve your problem. Instead of spraying with toxic chemicals we offer Organic, Natural, Pesticide Free Scorpion Pest Control for the safety of you and your family. Call Bug Guardian Pest Control today if you notice a scorpion problem in your home.

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Hiring a Pest Management Professional

The most effective way to deal with a bed bug infestation is to hire a Pest Management Professional (PMP), frequently known as an “Exterminator”. If you try to control bed bugs on your own you are likely to fail. When looking for a PMP take the time to do some research and find a good company. The cheapest may not be the best option.

Questions to Ask the Pest Management Professional

When looking for a PMP to help you, we recommend that you ask the following questions:

  • Are they licensed? Ask to see the issued license before work commences.cfans_asset_370766-beware-of-companies
  • Does your company carry liability insurance?
  • Is the company affiliated with the National Pest Management Association? (The NPMA has drafted best management practices for their members to follow).
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau to learn if the company has a complaint history.
  • How much experience does the company and applicator have inspecting and treating for bed bugs? What kind of training do employees receive, and how often?
  • What is the company’s standard procedure for dealing with bed bug infestations?
  • What is the length of the treatment?
  • What are your (as the customer) responsibilities in helping control the infestation?
  • Ask the PMP if follow up visits, after the initial treatment, are part of the management plan?
  • If a heat treatment is planned, does the company also use a supplemental insecticide?
  • What safety precautions need to be taken during a bed bug treatment?

 

Additional Information

  • Effective insecticide treatments may require three types: residual chemicals that have a specific duration, immediate acting (chemicals that come in contact with bed bugs), and dust (applied to hiding areas of bed bugs away from human activity).

Reviewing the Contract

When you have selected the pest control company that you would like to hire, carefully review the contract for:

  • Company name, address, contact information
  • Details on work to be completed
  • Insecticides or treatment methods to be applied
  • Any pre-treatment instructions you will need to follow
  • Start/end date and dates for follow up visits (if necessary)
  • License and insurance coverage offered by the company
  • Any possible exclusions, cancellation policy, and arbitration clause to settle disputes
  • Guarantee
  • Price

If insecticide products are to be applied, you can request a copy of the product label and copies of the material safety data sheet (MSDS). Reputable pest control companies will provide these documents and review them with their clients as part of their service contract.

Preparation for Treatment

Prior to the treatment date follow any instructions supplied by the PMP. Following these instructions is critical for successfully controlling bed bugs and may include:

  • Laundering your clothing and bedding
  • Reducing clutter, picking up all objects from the floor
  • Making physical repairs to your home
  • Moving furniture and items so perimeter of room is accessible
  • Emptying closets, bedside tables and dressers
  • Encasing mattresses and box springs

After the Pest Management Professional has completed treatment, contact the company if you have concerns or questions.

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Arizona Pests Q & A

Arizona bark scorpion

At Bug Guardian we wanted to take the time to answer some of the questions you have about Arizona pests. It is our hope that with this knowledge you will be able to better understand the pests that live around us and if the need arise contact us with all your pest control needs.

What makes homes attractive to pests?

Pests are attracted to food, water and shelter. Exclusion techniques and removing food and water sources will help deter pests. Simple measures such as keeping food in sealed containers and cleaning up after each meal to avoid leaving crumbs can help. Fix leaky pipes and drains to ensure that if pests do get in, they won’t have ideal conditions in which they can thrive.
How do pests get into homes?
Pests enter structures through cracks and crevices around windows, doors, along foundations, ripped screens, uncapped chimneys, and also through holes where utilities enter a structure. Firewood, groceries, and other deliveries can carry pests in, too. Seal any openings with silicone caulk or steel wool, and to avoid hitchhiking pests, examine packages thoroughly before bringing them inside.
Where are pests most likely to settle in?
Pests have direct access to basements and attics through roofs and foundations, so they should be kept well ventilated, dry, and clutter-free. Also, because of the concentration of food and water, kitchens and bathrooms are other common areas.

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