Arizona Pest Q&A

Arizona is known for having a dry arid climate from Phoenix down to the Mexico border. With that dry climate comes a multitude of pests such as scorpions, spiders, ants and bees. However, here are three common questions that are asked that you might want answers for yourself about Arizona pests.

Q. What makes homes attractive to pests?

A. 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.

Q. How do pests get into homes?

A. 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.

Q. Where are pests most likely to settle in?

A. 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.

Read more

Preparing for Your Pest Prevention Specialist

Arizona pest prevention specialists

Arizona residents wish to enjoy their home without worrying about pests. There are many steps you can take to protect your home, and sometimes this will include calling a pest prevention specialist. Once you have scheduled an appointment for a pest prevention specialist to visit your home, you can take several steps to prepare your residence in order to make their visit as effective as possible. Below we have given several steps to make your home ready as well as some instructions to eliminate specific pests.

GENERAL STEPS TO PREPARE

Routine Cleaning for Pests

Regular cleaning can help prevent pests, but it will also increase the effectiveness of your pest prevention specialist’s work. This should include removing any sources of food for pests. Begin by sealing any open food. Then clear and clean any place food has been prepared or served. You will then want to clean hardwood floors with a detergent and use a vacuum cleaner thoroughly on any rugs or carpets. To maintain cleanliness, keep your garbage in a sealed can and remove it daily. Any loose paper products, toys, clothing, and other items should be put away as they can be places for pests to make their home.

Remove any visible insects or insect eggs. If you use a vacuum cleaner, make sure you remove the bag afterwards, seal it, and discard the bag. After removing what insects, you can see, wipe down and sanitize anything used to remove them. Also, now is a good time to wash your bedding and shake out pillows and cushions on any couches or other furniture.

 

Home Repair and Maintenance

If you water your lawn or use it to clean outdoor surfaces, do not water the lawn or spray down around the house during the day before treatment. If any water leaks or other maintenance issues come up, repair them before the pest prevention specialist comes.

Family Protection

If anyone in your home has special allergies, is pregnant, or is under one year of age, you will want to notify your pest prevention specialist. Depending on the treatment, they may need to avoid the residence during treatment and possibly for an extended time afterwards. Contact your pest prevention specialist before treatment so you can make arrangements. Also, you will want to cover any house plants, baby toys, supplies, or cribs.

Preparing your Kitchen

If the kitchen is an area where you have found pests or suspect them to be there, here are a few extra steps you will need to take. After all food has been sealed, you will want to remove it from any cupboards or your pantry and place it in an area that will not be receiving treatment. Clear and clean the top of any movable appliances, including refrigerators and stoves. Before your pest prevention specialist arrives, pull your movable appliances away from the wall and clean behind and beneath them. You will also want to remove small appliances, such as toasters or microwave ovens, from your counter and wipe the counters.

Prepare Info for Pest prevention specialist

Make note of specific pests and where you have seen them or evidence of them. Make a list of questions or concerns for your pest prevention specialist, including questions about any changes to make after the treatment.

STEPS FOR SPECIFIC PESTS

While the previous steps should be taken for any treatment, the following instructions include ways to prepare for specific pest prevention.

Insect Control Service

The previous steps cover most of the basics for preparing for this treatment. Removing food sources is particularly important because your pest treatment will likely include a gel which the insects will consume. Removing any competing food sources increases the effectiveness of this treatment.

Bed Bug Extermination

Treating bed bugs is one of the most extensive services needed. Prior to treatment, remove all bedding from all beds in the house. Wash all items, including dust ruffles, mattress covers, and sheets, on the hottest water setting. Follow instructions from your pest prevention specialist about when you should use the bedding again. Also, pick up any personal items from the floors around the house.

Read more

Tips To Avoid Stinging Insects In Arizona

stinging insects in arizona

Arizona is home to many different species of insects, arachnids and other pests such as rodents. The desert landscape provides ample materials for these species to survive and thrive in the dry and sometimes overbearing heat. While some of the insects and pests are harmless and fun to observe, there are a few stinging insect species in Arizona that residents should familiarize themselves with and beware of. Three of the most common stinging insects that Arizona residents will come into contact with are bees, wasps and scorpions. Natives to the area are familiar with these types of insects, but if you are new to Arizona, then the first sight of a scorpion can be somewhat traumatizing.

How to Get Rid of Wasps Around Your Arizona House or Swimming Pool

Wasps are one of the more dangerous stinging insects that fly in Arizona. What makes a wasp slightly more dangerous than your average bee is that they have the ability to sting you over and over again, and wasps also tend to be much more aggressive. While wasp nests should never be disturbed, keep in mind that wasps will attack while far from their nests as well. Wasp bodies in Arizona can be multiple combinations of orange, yellow, brown, black and gray. Wasps are often mistaken for hornets in Arizona, but this is not the case. Wasps in Arizona can grow to be quite large and should be considered as a serious threat if they are nearby.

Bee Species Found in Arizona; Western Honey Bee & Africanized Killer Bee

Arizona is home to two separate bee species, the first is the Western honey bee. The Western honey bee is not usually considered a huge threat, and has a mostly docile temperament. The Western honey bee is most interested in producing honey and will not typically bother humans. The other species of bee found in Arizona is the Africanized killer bee, which is also known simply as the killer bee. This species of bee is much more aggressive than the Western honey bee and will swarm in very large numbers. The sting of an Africanized bee is more potent than that of a Western honey bee, so fewer stings can still be quite dangerous, especially for those who have an allergic reaction to stings.

Arizona Bark Scorpions & Desert Hairy Scorpions Occupy Valley Desert

There are two species of scorpions found in the Arizona desert that will leave the hair on your neck standing up straight. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is a smaller species of scorpion that is often found crawling on kitchen floors or in laundry rooms throughout the Arizona Desert. This species of scorpion is quite dangerous due to its powerful sting that causes severe pain accompanied by numbness, vomiting and other miserable circumstances. The Desert Hairy Scorpion is the other species of scorpion in the Arizona desert. While this scorpion grows to be twice the size of the Arizona Bark Scorpion, its sting is not quite as painful.

Wasp, Bee & Scorpion Stinging Insect Pest Inspections, Control, Management & Removal in Arizona

If you come across any stinging insects such as bees, wasps or scorpions or any other pests in or near your home or business, contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention today and eliminate the presence of scorpions near your home.

 

Read more

Helpful Pest Control Hints for the Homeowner

Glendale Pest Control Solutions

As mentioned on another blog (When DIY Pest Control Won’t Cut It), we believe that the homeowner should let a professional handle their pest control needs. However, there are some things that a homeowner can do to help the pest professional keep their home pest free.

Many pest control applications create a chemical barrier between your house and the outside in order to keep insects from coming into your house. Trees, bushes, and vegetation that come into contact with the house can allow ants and other insects to bridge the chemical barrier. Thus, we recommend that homeowners trim trees and bushes so that the leaves do not come in contact with the house. We also suggest that the homeowner keep their lawn trimmed around the house in order to reduce the insect activity in those areas. It is also a good idea to remove ivy and any other vegetation that may be growing along the outside walls of the house. We also suggest that the homeowner use mulch, such as Cedar or Cypress, that has already been treated for insects. These steps will improve the effectiveness of the pest control applications and help to keep the bugs out of your house.

The homeowner should also be aware of entry points to their house for insects. Various pests can enter the house through cracks, crevices, holes in screen doors, and holes around air conditioning lines. Sealing entry points by caulking, replacing screens,  patching the holes around air conditioning lines, and replacing the weather stripping on doors can limit the entry points for the insects. These steps will improve the effectiveness of the applications from your pest professional.

Keeping your house, garage, crawl space, and gutters clean will improve the effectiveness of your pest control service. A garage or crawl space that is cluttered with boxes, furniture, and other items is conducive to pest activity (especially spiders). In addition, a crawl space or garage that is cluttered is difficult to inspect and the clutter makes a proper pest control treatment difficult to complete. Gutters that are clogged by leaves and debris are an excellent breeding ground for ants and other insects. Thus, regularly cleaning your gutters can reduce your ant problems.  Keeping your kitchen and cabinets clean will eliminate a food source for many insects such as ants and roaches. Vacuuming your carpets on a regular basis will aid in the control of fleas and spiders.

These steps, by themselves, will not keep your house pest free. They will, however, create an environment that will allow your pest control professional to peform pest control applications with maximum effectiveness.

Read more

Benefits of a Scorpion Home Seal

Sealing the Exterior of Your Arizona Home

You’ll be surprised at the high number of places where pests gain entry into your home, restaurant or business. Some insects and spiders only need an opening the thickness of a credit card. Mice can squeeze their way through a gap the size of a nickel. Once they make their way inside it will be difficult to evict them. Lock those pests out now.

Benefits of Sealing Your Property:

  • Keeping unwanted pests out like  scorpions, crickets, roaches, flies, mosquitoes, ants, silverfish, and earwigs
  • Properly sealed doors will result in keeping cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter from escaping these points therefore reducing energy costs
  • Selling a home that is sealed versus one that is not, in scorpion prone areas is always a benefit
  • When you scorpion seal a home and/or property and follow up with regular pest control, you drastically reduce the chances of finding scorpions and other unwanted pests inside your home.

Our customized home seal program will help prevent pest invasion, although it doesn’t guarantee that you will never see a pest again, it is always best to include monthly pest control spraying of your property. For more information on our Scorpion Seal Service contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention today!

Read more

Most Common Species of Scorpion to Invade your El Mirage Home

Arizona Scorpions

Before you can treat for scorpions, it is helpful to know which species are infesting a home or property. Here are the three most common species that threaten US homes:

Arizona Bark Scorpion

scorpion

Arizona Bark Scorpions are considered the most venomous scorpions in North America, with the number of Bark scorpion sting victims in Arizona alone estimated to be in the thousands each year. These scorpions measure an inch to inch and a half in length, and are a pale yellow in color.

Striped Bark Scorpion

Striped-Bark-Scorpion

The Striped Bark Scorpion is the most widespread scorpion in the United States. The scorpion is a smaller species of scorpion, measuring a total body length of 1 to 1.5 inches. This species has a powerful sting, which often results in pain comparable to that of a wasp; that can last for several hours. They are distinguished by their orangish brown color, and the black striped that run vertically down its back.

Striped-Tailed (Wood) Scorpion

striped-tailed-wood-scorpion

The Striped-Tailed Scorpion is sometimes referred to as the Arizona devil scorpion or Wood scorpion. These scorpions measure about two inches in length, are a tan to dark brown in color, and are a little thicker or stockier than the bark scorpions.

Please note that Desert Hairy scorpions are also common in the Southwestern U.S., but rarely infest homes to the extent as the above scorpions.

Scorpions & Scorpion Control

Today, scorpions are considered to be one of the most significant pests that afflict millions of residents throughout much of Arizona.

Scorpions prefer the outdoors but will wander inside through cracks in our homes. In fact, these malevolent stingers can squeeze through cracks as small as a credit card’s width. Once inside, they often make their way into shoes, piles of clothing and beds which, increases the chance of a human being stung.

Seeing a couple scorpions a week in your home would likely qualify as a significant scorpion infestation. In cases such as this, please contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention today to schedule an appointment.

Read more

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.

Read more

Ant Control in Arizona

Have you found an ant mound in your yard or somewhere near your home?

antsAnts affect us adversely by stinging or biting; invading and contaminating food; nesting in lawns, golf courses or within premises; stealing seeds from seed beds or feeding on germinating seeds; defoliating or gnawing into plants and plant products; fostering other landscape pests (e.g. aphids or scale insects on ornamental plants); gnawing holes in various types of fabrics; removing insulation from telephone wires or other equipment; killing young poultry, birds, livestock or game; simply annoying humans and animals with their presence; and possibly transmitting certain human diseases after crawling over sputum, feces, carrion and so forth.

Treatment:

The first step in any treatment plan is finding what is attracting the ants and removing the food source or stopping access to the food source. Then we inspect to find where the ants are coming from. This is often done by following the ant “trails” that they often follow. These trails will lead to the surface opening to the colony. Our customers often help us find these entrances by simply telling us where they see the most ant activity. Once we locate the colony entrances, we often use baits, non-repellents or a combination of both.

  • Baits: Baits use an attractant that ants think is food. Baits draw in foraging ants, which then take the bait back to the colony, where it is shared with the other ants. Baits often create more ant activity initially because the baits are attracting more ants. The bait’s active ingredient is untraceable and slow acting, giving the ants plenty of time to spread it throughout the colony – ultimately reaching the queen, which eliminates the colony.
  • Non-repellents: Because ants can’t detect non-repellent treatments, applying the liquid at the colony entrances means the ants will pick up the product as they go out to forage and carry it back inside the colony when they return. The non-repellent product will eventually spread through the colony, eventually reaching – and eliminating – the queen.

Homeowners usually notice more ants after bait treatments, which can be disconcerting. However, the increase in ant activity is good because it means the treatment is working. More ants are being drawn in by the baits, which then take the bait back to the colony to share with the other ants and ultimately the queen. The products are designed to ensure the ants survive long enough to transport the bait back to the colony. As the colony begins to die off, homeowners will notice a drop in ant activity, usually within 10-14 days. Depending on the species and the situation, it may take several treatments to control the colony.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Ant Control products, if misused, can potentially poison or otherwise harm you, your children, or your pets.

Prevention:

One of the easiest prevention steps you can take is to keep your food sealed in airtight containers and clean up crumbs, spilled pet food or any other food sources that might attract ants. You can also try to seal up cracks and crevices around your home. However, you should be aware that since ants are so common and are such prolific colonizers it is normal to have ants reestablish themselves around a home or building. Ants are small, industrious, and relentless, and if they want to find a way into your home, they likely will.

Our goal is to keep ants (and all pests) out. Each Bug Guardian service plan provides coverage for ants and is backed by a simple guarantee: “If between your scheduled treatments you feel you need additional service or are not satisfied, please call us and we will return and service your home, free of charge.”

 

Who should you call when you need an ant exterminator? Phoenix, Scottsdale and Maricopa County residents rely on the experts at Bug Guardian Pest Control.

Read more

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.
Read more

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).

Read more