Dustin Pest Control Blog

Host a Pest Free Holiday Party

As the seasons continue to change, your risk of a pest problem can actually increase while temperatures drop. Do not let this risk keep you from hosting a successful and pest-free holiday party. Be proactive and follow a few tips for not attracting bugs during the holiday.
  • Keep lights low – Begin your pest control from the exterior of your house. No matter what the season, and even more so in the colder months, some bugs are drawn to light. There are a few different reasons why certain insects seem to be attracted to your firepits and patio lights. One of these reasons is the warmth that some bulbs/light/fire provide. To help avoid a gathering of moths from greeting your guests at the door, try replacing your bulbs with a warm-colored LED light.
  • Vents and Candles – The same delicious smells of ham or turkey and fresh baked pies are just as appealing to unwanted pests. As enjoyable as it might be to have your home filled with holiday scents, it could make you a giant magnet for bugs also looking for a feast. Cracking windows and turning on fans is like putting an open sign on your door for bugs. Make use of your kitchen vents, and light some candles. Try to avoid using sweet smelling and food-scented candles. Instead turn to an air “freshening” scents.
  • Keep things covered – During the process of cooking, it can be hard to keep everything constantly covered – but you should still try especially once everything is finished. Sometimes you do not necessarily want to clean up and put all the food away. Who knows how many, second, or third servings, might be taken? Instead try your best to keep your dinner covered whether it is with foil or airtight containers – anything will help to prevent contamination. This will also help with sealing the smells that could attract flies and other insects as well.
  • Keep your space clean – During a holiday party, things are certain to get messy – whether it is during food prep, eating or just plain partying. Do your best to stay on top of that mess. Clean up spills quickly and have the materials to do so available to guest and easy to access. Throw trash as it is made and remove full bags. Also, if possible, use trash cans that have a lid on them to help keep the smells from spreading.This will help prevent certain things annoyances like rats, cockroaches or ants.
  • Regular pest maintenance – The weather outside is frightful, and pests are not delightful. Just like us, pests are also seeking refuge from the elements outside. While it is cooler outside, your house is warm and inviting to insects and pests. Check your home for any cracks or small openings that could be entry points and seal them. Schedule regular pest maintenance to include an inspection and even a treatment every few months.

3 Untraditional Ways to Keep Bugs Out of the Home

Pest control is not an easy accomplishment on your own. While preventing and preparing a possible infestation is the most effective way to combat pests, once you have an infestation there are many methods you can try. Seeking professional help from an expert might be the route if you are dealing with an extreme or unknown problem, but there is nothing wrong with trying to tackle the task on your own. Through all the sprays, powders and traps, there is bound to be something that can help you with your pest problem. But what if you feel like you have tried it all? Or what if you want to try something more environmentally friendly than buying the same old products? No matter what the reason, here are three untraditional ways you can try to help keep bugs out of your home.    

Essential oils and herbs

Insects and rodents react to different smells just like humans do. If they do not like the way something smells, they will stay away and avoid the area. Mint has been proven to be one of the scents that will drive ants, spiders and fleas away. Rosemary is often used to repel mosquitos and flies – whether applied directly to the skin, like a bug spray, or around the house. Lavender, basil and garlic can also help keep the bugs away and are easy herbs to keep around the house in small planters.

   

Homemade and natural pesticides

Along with the idea of scent, a citrus spray from lemons, oranges or limes can be an effective repellant. Spiders do not like citrus, so keeping peels or rubbing areas like floor boards and window seals with them can help provide a barrier. This spray can also be used on contact to get rid of smaller, pre-existing problems. Vinegar is a cheap and natural repellent that can be used on many different surfaces to prevent any bugs from getting in. Epsom salt can either be sprinkled outside of your home or dissolved and used as a spray inside to combat pests. Cornmeal has also proven to be effective with ant infestations, as their body cannot properly digest the grain.

   

Electronic pest repellent

While there is some speculation whether this method is as effective as advertised, there are some devices that promise to repel pests for you electronically. There are a few different options available, the top two being ultrasonic and electromagnetic. Ultrasonic devices are supposed to emit a high-frequency sound undetectable to humans and small animals. Electromagnetic devices claim to have an effect on the nervous system of pests. Together, these two are supposed to both repel and even kill existing problems.

If you are in need of a professional pest control service in the Fresno area contact Dustin Pest Control. For over 50 years the professionals at Dustin Pest Control have served Fresno and the surrounding area’s pest extermination, prevention and removal needs.

5 Ways to Keep Termites Away

One of the biggest enemies in pest control is termites. While some house damage and pest infestations cannot be stopped, there are some preventative measures that you can take. Continue reading to learn five different ways you can actively prevent termites.

Keep your home dry.

Termites are attracted to moisture, so fix any leaks and stop any excess water build up. Invest in a dehumidifier if you tend to have a muggy house.

Seal any cracks or openings you can see in the house.

If termites are interested, they will find any way they can to get in. If there are any holes or openings around window or door frames, fill and patch these as soon as possible.

Keep up with the exterior of your house and the yard.

Maintaining the outside will help protect in the inside. Keep the lawn clear of any debris. Clean out gutters, and fix any damages such as loose siding and lost shingles. Debris that contains wood, especially wet wood, is like a buffet to termites. 

Termites live off of wood, so protect the wood in your home.

If you have a wooden structure, make sure the wood is properly sealed and that you keep up with the maintenance. If there is any rotting or damaged wood, remove or replace it as soon as possible. If you use firewood, store it away from the house and try for covered and dry location.

Check Your Property

The best preventative measure you can take is having a professional check your property. They will be able to check your property for any damages or vulnerable areas. Call your local pest control company to set up a routine inspection. Do you see signs of termites in your home? If so, let the professionals at Dustin Pest Control help get rid of those pests.

3 Green Upgrades this Fall for an Eco-Friendly Home

When it comes to making your home green friendly, there’s a lot to take into consideration. As the cold weather of fall starts coming around, you’re not going to find a better time to start making upgrades around the house. But what can you do this Fall to make your home green-friendly? How can you go about setting a positive impression for your children while teaching them the importance of an energy efficient home? Take a look at the following three green upgrades you can put towards your home to make it more eco-friendly this Fall.

Green upgrades for your home this Fall

1) Blown-In Attic Insulation

If you’re looking to get an immediate ROI for your green-friendly upgrades this Fall, consider adding blown-in attic insulation. Doing so, you’ll reap the benefits with some tremendous savings. According to the Department of Energy, the average homeowner has experienced a savings of up to 50% on their monthly energy bill. That’s easily one of the best investments you can make for your home.

2) Upgrade to newer appliances

As appliances around your home get wear and tear from years of use, you may want to consider swapping them out this Fall. Upgrading to more modern appliances will be more efficient completing tasks they were built for. Not only this, but your water-based appliances will use considerably less energy considering the water lines aren’t clogged up by hard water elements. Not sure what the lifeline of your home appliances looks like? Schedule a whole home energy assessment of your house. A specialist will complete an inspection of your homes energy usage and let you know what areas of your home will give you the most return for your money. A whole home energy assessment will not ly be useful, but it’ll save you loads of money over the long-term.

3) Use green pest control

While traditional pest control methods are the most used on the market, organic pest control services are on the rise with homeowners. As the crisp Fall weather starts taking over your yard, insects and other common household pest are going to be looking for a new home to stay warm. You may want to consider hiring an organic pest control specialist. As a quality substitute to those harmful chemicals, it offers a great opportunity for you to remove common pests. Ants, roaches, and other creepy crawlies will no longer turn your home into their home. It’s safer for you, your family, and your pets. Plus you’ll rest easy knowing you’re doing your part to help the earth. Once you’ve had your home sprayed with an organic pest control solution, invest a little money into having a fresh flower and vegetable garden. This will attract good bugs to your home which eat other insects. As an added perk, you’ll have fresh vegetables for Thanksgiving dinner. Not to mention the kids will have fun watching the ladybugs and praying mantis explore your mini suburban jungle. Which of these three green friendly upgrades for your home will you be making around your house this Fall to conserve more energy and have a greener impact to your community?

4 Pests That Love Water

4 Pests that Love Water

Why are cockroaches in my bathroom? Rainfall, changing temperatures and leaky appliances are all inevitable, but a pest infestation doesn’t have to be! Some of the biggest pests here in Fresno are bugs that love water. Take a look to help educate yourself about pest control and possibly prevent a future invasion.

Mosquitos

Mosquitos can easily transmit and carry disease like West Nile Fever, Dengue Fever and, with rising concern, Zika. These tiny, flying pests are ones to keep yourself concerned with and actively prevent. Mosquitos depend on water to reproduce – they lay their larva in and around standing water. Gutters, empty buckets/flower pots and even puddles are all perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos. Frequently check for leaks and dump standing water to help avoid a mosquito problem.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are impressive creatures, but not one you necessarily want to share your home with. Cockroaches tend to hide in dark, moist areas like under sinks and water closets as they look for food and water. While sealing food is one preventative measure to keep cockroaches from becoming unwanted guests, water leaks are more likely to cause a problem. If you see one cockroach, there’s a good bet there are more in hiding. So you should act as quickly as possible.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants may be tiny but can cause significant problems fast. A humid home or clogged gutters are a welcoming call to a miniature army of ants. While you might not find this pest inside your home, the outside of your house may be under attack. Carpenter ants prefer to nest in soft and dead wood, making the space under your house or voids around water appliances prime real estate. Take precautionary measures inside by sealing cracks and openings.

Termites

Termites are one of the most dangerous pest infestations for your home. Much like carpenter ants, termites commonly prefer to colonize in moist structures. Water-damaged wood is a starting point for these bugs to enter your home. Professional help is often needed for this type of pest control, but quickly repairing leaks and checking for damage in vulnerable areas often can help prevent or stop a termite problem. All these water-loving Fresno bugs are common pests in the area – so Dustin Pest Control has plenty of experience in tackling these problems. Keep these four critters in mind to help keep your home pest free!

4 Facts about Bed Bugs

Sleeping tight isn’t always enough to keep bed bugs at bay. Bed bugs are small parasites that feed on human blood. Typically, they leave red, itchy bites on their hosts, but sometimes they leave nothing behind. Without any marks, the only way to discover a bed bug infestation is to see them. Bed bugs are about the size of a grain of rice and can be found in the cracks and crevices of homes. If you think you have a bed bug problem, check out these four facts about bed bugs so you know what you’re dealing with.

Bed bugs are everywhere

It’s a popular misconception that bed bugs are only found in underdeveloped countries or unkempt places, when in reality they can be found almost anywhere. Bed bugs can crawl more than 100 feet per night, and they often sneak into luggage to travel even further. Bed bugs have been found in all 50 states, in both urban and rural regions.

Bed bugs are tough

Bed bugs are made to last. They drink nearly seven times their own weight in blood and can go several months in between feedings, which comes in handy when they’re on the go. While some things can’t stand the heat, bed bugs certainly can. They can survive in temperatures up to 122°F, meaning they’ll last through any hot summers. To make matters worse, scientists have come to realize bed bugs are building up resistance to some popular over-the-counter insecticides. If you have a bed bug infestation, call a local pest control company to remove them as quickly as possible.

Bed bugs don’t spread disease

According to the 2015 Bugs Without Borders survey, half of their respondents believed that bed bugs spread disease. Studies have shown that bed bugs are unable to carry disease from one host to another.

Bed bugs are up all hours

Bed bugs are most active at night, but they can be up all hours during the day as well. Bed bugs usually hide during the day to avoid being seen, but they will adjust their schedule based on your habits to take advantage of when you’re most vulnerable. Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide we emit when we breathe, and feeding when we’re asleep makes getting their lunch much easier.   Bed bugs are a nuisance that feed on our blood when we are least expecting it. They are fairly common and can be found all over the world, in all kinds of conditions. You might be tempted to try to remove bed bugs by yourself, but they are hardy insects that have built up a resistance to popular over-the counter-treatments. To help prevent bed bugs from invading your home, check regularly for their presence in mattresses, luggage and folded clothes. If you need help with a bed bug infestation, call a professional pest control company so you can remove them before they can spread even further.  

The Life Cycle of a Termite

In the United States, there are over 50 species of termites and over 2,000 worldwide! Have you ever wondered how long termites live? Do they just chew apart wood, reproduce and die? The termite’s tale is actually quite an interesting one.

The Life Cycle of a Termite

A termite life starts as they hatch from their egg. Much like bees, termites are extremely social insects, and they all work together to maintain their lives under the ruling of the termite queen. A termite will fill one of the different roles needed to keep the colony functioning. Just like a company needs different people to do different jobs so does a termite colony. Termite colonies are inhabited by workers, soldiers, reproducers, and the queen. To maintain balance inside of the colony, the queen produces pheromones to shape the development of younger termites so that they will mature into the role needed. Termites can live anywhere from 2-50 years and colonies can remain active for as much as 50 years. The Workers Typically the largest group in the colony, worker termites don’t have wings and have soft bodies. It is the job of the workers to find and collect food, take care of the eggs and younger termites and to build and uphold the structure of the colony. After they are hatched from their egg, they start the molting process. Molting is when a termite grows a new soft exoskeleton under its hard exoskeleton. After the termite reaches maturity, the original exoskeleton sheds and the new exoskeleton becomes hard. The Soldiers Soldiers are the defenders of the colony. They are much larger than the other members of the colony. The heads of a soldier termite tend to be darker, and they have bigger mandibles. Mandibles are the oral appendage near the mouth of insects used to handle food or defend themselves or their colony. The Reproducers Reproducer termites are responsible for procreation. The reproducers continue their growth process called swarming. Once they hit maturity, they develop wings and darker bodies. After mating takes place, they shed their wings. When the weather is warm enough, these termites leave the colony to mate and form new colonies.

So You Think You Have Termites

Known as the silent destroyers termites can go unnoticed for months or even years. While a termite infestation may not be easy to spot early on there are some smaller signs you should be aware of.

Hollowed Out Wood

Termites eat wood from the inside out so while there may not be any visible damage you can typically hear a change inside the wood. Tap on the wood from the outside you may notice that it sounds less solid and more hollow than before. If the wood sounds hollow there is a good chance you have termites.

Heaps of Wings

After flying termites have mated they shed their wings before forming new colonies. Because termites are social insects this tends to happen in large quantities. Swamps of these wood-eating pests can contain anywhere from 60,000 to 1 million termites. Termite wings are thin and resemble fish scales or tiny feathers.

Flying termites are often confused with carpenter ants so it’s important to remember that Carpenter ants do not shed their wings the way termites do. If you notice discarded wings assume they are from termites and call a professional pest control company.

Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are tunnels construction of soil and wood created by termites for travel. Termites build mud tubes to protect themselves as they travel to and from their nest to their food source.  They are normally found on the outside of homes. To test to see if a tunnel is still being used you can destroy a section of the tube in the center. If the tube is repaired, then the colony is still active and living there. 

Being aware of these small but powerful signs can help you stop a termite infestation earlier than if you only depended on visible wood damage. If you notice any of these symptoms give Dustin Pest Control a call to schedule your termite inspection.

DIY Rodent Control Strategies You Can Count On

Commensal rodents are rodents that want to “share” your house with you. They can fit into openings as tiny as a fourth of an inch. The three most common household rodents in the United States are the Norway rat, the roof rat, and the house mouse. The first step to rodent control is determining what kind of rodent you have. If you see the rodent, you can determine the type by its size. The smallest of them are the house mice, second are the roof rats, and the biggest are the Norway rats. The house mouse and the roof rat are easily mixed up, so the next step to identify them is by their droppings, size of the tail, and eating habits. Here is a chart that clearly shows the differences between all three. Once you’ve identified your rodent, you have to pick the best rodent control strategy to rid them from your home. Rodents are most active at night, so chances are you won’t see them during the day. The most successful rodent control strategies have to do with both trapping and baiting. If you suspect that your rodent population is large, you have to bait them to get the population down and then trap the remaining.

Baiting

When setting out baits, try not to interrupt their habitat, so they stay in that area and eat the poison. After setting out baits, continue with food source removal and sanitation procedures to keep more rodents from entering your home. Eliminating the rodents’ food source is crucial when using bait because regardless of the quality of the bait the rodents will always choose something else. The bait should knock down your rodent population very quickly. After bait, the next step is traps.

Trapping

When using traps, it is crucial have the type of rodent identified. The size of the trap is based on the size of the rodent. One of the most common mistakes when setting out traps is not setting out enough. It is better to set out too many than not enough. With your rodent population dwindling from the bait, trapping the rodents shouldn’t be too hard of a task. Mice traps should be placed 1-2 feet apart, and rat traps 10-15 feet apart. After setting the traps, check them each day to see if any rodents have been captured. If these rodent control strategies aren’t effective, call Dustin Pest Control, a Fresno pest control company, to help with your rodent problem.

How to Identify the Types of Ants in Your Home

Although they are small, ants can be big pests when they colonize in your house. Ants normally enter your home near a water or food source –, so either typically the kitchen or bathroom. They normally travel in trails and can range anywhere from the size of a grain of rice to almost microscopic. Two of the most common types of ants you will find are odorous house ants and carpenter ants. The first step to getting rid of them is identifying them.

Identifying House Ants

Identifying Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants love sugar and will mostly be found in the kitchen. These ants leave a trail when they travel, so just killing the ones you see won’t get rid of the problem. The rest of the colony will smell the trail and come right back to the same place. The only solution is to eliminate the entire colony. The first step to getting rid of ants is to sponge clean where you saw them walking. This will get rid of their odorous trail and prevent the rest of the population from finding them. Then locate where they entered your home and place poisonous ant bait to kill the rest when they try to enter.

Identifying Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are most commonly found in homes near wooded areas. They normally will live outside your house for a while before entering when they are searching for food and water. These ants will not bring the placed bait back to their nests, so placing it at the entry point will not work. Carpenter ants dig tunnels within holes, so to find their nest look for little piles of sawdust where they have entered the wood. They search for soft, moist wood that is easy to burrow into. If you can’t find the nest but know where they are entering your home, try following them back to their colony. They most natural way to get rid of these ants is to inject diatomaceous earth into their nest. It is made from decomposed algae skeletons and is not poisonous to humans, but lethal to insects. This treatment might have to be repeated more than once. Different ants can be hard to identify and require different types of treatment. If you cannot get the ants out of your home, contact Dustin Pest Control for professional advice and treatment.
Scroll to top