Dustin Pest Control Blog

Termites in Fresno: The Basics

Unlike a lot of the pests that can make their way into your home, termites can quite literally bring the house down. Termites are known as the silent destroyers. They can chew through wallpaper and wood. Because termites eat wood from the inside out, they can cause structural damage that typically goes unnoticed until it is extreme. Unfortunately, many insurance carriers don’t cover termite damage done by termites. That is why prevention is so important.

Preventing Termites in Fresno

Remove wood or debris away from the outside of your home. Damp or damaged wood attracts termites.Wood has cellulose in it, which is a staple in the termite diet. Termites also like wooded areas that are humid because they are the perfect cocktail of the water and the cellulose diet they survive on. Fix any rotten or damaged wood as soon as possible around your home and property. Wood that has rotted is a welcoming home for termites.

    Quick Tips:
  • Don’t keep firewood or other debris within 20 feet of the outside of your home.
  • Remove standing water or leaky faucets as they can contribute to moisture and wood rot.
  • Replace rotten wood quickly

Remember that termites are social insects; if you see one you can assume that there more nearby. So you think you might have a termite problem? How do you know?

Signs of a Termite Problem in Fresno

As mentioned above, termites typically eat their way from the inside out. Before you see the damage they have done, chances are you can hear it. Tap on wood to see if it sounds hollow where it used to be solid.

Check for discarded wings that resemble fish scales. Winged termites shed their wings after fertilization and as they go to form new colonies or are about to nest. A heap of discarded wings is an easy way to spot a nearby colony of termites.

Another clear sign is mud tubes. Mud tubes are small tunnels made of mud that termites travel through. They are typically located on the outside of structures that termites have done their home.

If you have noticed any of these signs contact a professional to inspect your home. Dustin Pest Control has been serving the termite pest control needs of the Fresno for over 50 years. Call us today to schedule your 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.

The Zika Virus: Things You Need to Know Infographic

Making quite the impact across the country, the Zika virus is a relatively dangerous virus that has no particular medicine to help cure it. Primarily a mosquito born disease spreading through a species of mosquito called Aedes via their bites, those infected may not even know that they’re infected because most of the time the Zika virus shows very mild to no symptoms at all. Although it was initially identified in humans as early as the 1950’s in tropical climates such as Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, the Zika virus has since been recorded in various and diverse regions all around the world including Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

Zika Symptoms

With the spread of the Zika virus, there are a handful of signs and symptoms to be aware of in case you or a family member were to become infected. These include, but are not limited to, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, fevers, rash and conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes). What is worse is that although most of the time adults may not be fatally infected, but a woman who is infected but not showing symptoms could pass the virus from her body to her fetus. What is worse is that although most of the time adults may not be fatally infected, a pregnant woman who is infected but not showing symptoms could pass the virus from her body to her unborn baby. An infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects and, worse case scenario, pregnancy loss. Needless to say, you should try to learn as much as possible to protect yourself against the Zika virus.

Zika Treatment

As mentioned earlier, there are no known treatments for the Zika virus, however, if you find yourself to be infected the best thing you can do is keep your body hydrated by drinking lots of water, taking non-aspirin medication such as Tylenol to reduce the pain and getting plenty of bed rest with a visit to a doctor for proper advice.

How do you protect yourself?

So what can you do to protect yourself from the Zika virus? It all comes down to self-awareness and preventative protection. When you’re outdoors, cover your skin with pants and long sleeve shirts to prevent mosquitoes from biting your skin. Use bug spray or find a pest control company to use mosquito control. Also, it’s important to empty any standing water collecting in your yard. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to lay eggs (the size of a bottle cap to be exact), so get rid of any standing water where possible.

Zika Virus Infographic

Find yourself a big fan of visuals or would you like to share this information with your friends or relatives? Take a look at the infographic Dustin Pest Control put together below: The Zika Virus: Things You Need to Know About Mosquitoes Infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

If the mosquitoes get too out of hand, make sure to call Dustin Pest Control for all your pest control needs!

How To Pest Proof Your Home for Spring

Springtime: the air is warming, the flowers are blooming, and the pests are beginning to hatch. Pests such as ants, cockroaches and wasps come out to play when spring offers its warm embrace. Your home provides shelter, food and water, which is everything a pest needs to flourish. Don’t let these springtime pests infiltrate your home! Here is how to pest proof your home for spring.

Examine and prep the exterior of your home

The exterior of your home gets worn down over time. The foundation cracks and the siding withers, allowing those spring pests to enter your home with ease. To keep those creepy-crawlies out of your home, make sure to inspect and fix any damages to the outside of the home on a regular basis. You can repair weaknesses with forms of plaster, caulking and other sealing agents – however, sometimes the best fix is to get your old siding replaced.

Keep your yard trimmed and cleaned

A maintained yard is a happy yard. Not only does keeping your lawn cut and cleaned make for a nicer aesthetic to frame your home, but it may also keep the springtime pests at bay. If you end up growing a jungle, you need to be prepared for the beasts that come with it. Make sure to trim, cut, mulch and take care of any other gardening techniques you normally use to keep the bugs away.

Keep your home clean

The simple act of keeping a clean home is enough to deter some spring pests. Pests typically enter the home with the motivation of seeking food and water. By regularly vacuuming and moping, you can keep your home free of rogue pieces of food that have taken refuge upon your floors – and thus keep the bugs out. Following these helpful tips and more can help you keep those annoying pests away when the spring finally rolls around. If the pests get too out of hand, make sure to call Dustin Pest Control for all your pest controlling needs!

How to Prevent Pests from Ruining Date Night

You’ve prepared the meal, set the table and lit the candles, or maybe you’ve picked out a favorite movie, popped some popcorn, and sunk into the sofa. Sounds like the perfect date night options, right? The last thing you or your date would want would be for any of uninvited guest to ruin the evening. Here’s how to prevent pests from ruining date night.

Ants

The army is marching, and its destination is your beautifully prepared meal (or delicious snacks!). No one wants their house to be covered with ants. They’re definitely a force to be reckoned with. Make sure your food is stored properly and that your kitchen is clean to avoid these intruders.

Mosquitos

SMACK! Your hand strikes your thigh with a force, and then you watch the bug flutter away unscathed. Itching, scratching and swatting is not the way you want to spend your romantic evening. As insignificant as these pests might seem, they sure can have an impact on your comfortability and enjoyment. Make sure to keep your doors and windows sealed tight as to prevent them from inviting themselves in.  

Cockroaches

The cockroach is the juggernaut of all pests: they are very resilient. The biggest concern with these bugs is their reputation for carrying disease. When you’re trying to enjoy a nice meal and the company of a loved one, you certainly don’t want to have to think about the possible disease scurrying around your kitchen or living room looking for scraps. Keeping a clean home is step one in avoiding cockroaches.

Rodents

“Eek, a mouse!” Not only can rodents be an annoyance, they can also be a danger to you, your health and your evening. These pests crawl around inside your walls chewing through wood, insulation, and wiring—and those aren’t the sparks you want around on date night! Rodent excrement can also be responsible for the spread of some illnesses and diseases that you definitely don’t want in your home. Look out for rat/mouse droppings in garages and other damp places around your home. Set traps or call a professional to get them taken care of. Don’t let date night be interrupted again, call Dustin Pest Control today!

How To Prevent Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are probably one of the most annoying pests you can have in your home. They don’t hide or avoid you, they usually come with dozens of friends, and they just make you feel like tiny disease covered menaces have invaded your space. Once fruit flies infest your home, it can be hard to get them out so prevention is key. Here are small things you can do to prevent fruit flies in your home.

Take out your trash often and clean trash cans

That brown part of the banana you tossed in your garbage or that empty orange juice container you put into the recycling bin without rinsing out may be trash to you but a welcome mat to fruit flies. Keeping trash covered and taking it to the dumpster or curb before it starts to smell or at least every other day is a good rule of thumb. Try to wipe down and rinse out the trash containers at least once a week to prevent build up.

Clean out bottles & cans before putting in the recycling

People often use old wine to “catch” existing fruit flies. Even the smallest hint of wine or beer can draw the attention of fruit flies. Before discarding any containers, it is a good practice to rinse it out with water to remove anything that might have a scent.

Don’t leave fruit out for long periods of time

Fruit flies get the name fruit flies because they tend to be attracted to areas where ripe fruit is left. This doesn’t mean you have to give up having fresh fruit in your house, just monitor it and only purchase amounts you know your household will eat before it has a chance to over ripe.

Rinse any food out of the sink or garbage disposal input

When every you wash dishes or use the garbage disposal be sure to thoroughly clean out the sink and make sure that no food is left to linger in the garbage disposal. Wipe down the entire sink with a cleaning product like bleach or soap and water. Running a combination of bleach and hot water down the garbage disposal is a great way to get rid of any odors that might attract the unwanted pests.

Keep it tidy

Just like fruit flies are attracted to trash or left out fruit they are also drawn to the dirty dishes in your sink. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink for extended periods of time. Attempt to make a habit of washing dishes and wiping down counters and stove tops at least once a day, if not after every meal. Once fruit flies get into your home, it can take a while to get rid of them. Fruit flies hatch new eggs daily and typically live 30 days. Because they reproduce so quickly and in the large numbers, you want to try your best to prevent the problem instead of trying to get rid of the pests. If you already find that your home has been infested with gnats, these are still good practices to implement to try to slow down the infestation. If you have a bug infestation in your home or business contact Dustin Pest Control today.

What’s The Difference Between Mouse And Rat?

If you ask someone the difference between a rat and a mouse, they will typically assume it has something to do with the size. The differences between rats and mice are much more complex than body size. Each is a completely different genus. While they do have similar physical characteristics and both belong to the rodent family, there is definitely a difference between mouse and rat.

The first thing to understand is that the terms “rat” and “mouse” are not scientific terms. Both categories include different species and subspecies. The term rat typically refers to the genus Rattus. The Rattus genus includes the Norway Rat also known as The Brown Rat, the Roof Rat, Cotton Rats and much more. The word mice typically represent the Mus genus and include the House Mouse, the African pygmy mouse, the Deer Mouse and various others. Species in these two genes are recognized by different characteristics.

Droppings

Often when you have a rodent infestation, you only discover it because you find droppings. Rodents can live secretly in your home for months before you might actually see one. One difference between a rat and a mouse is the size and shape of their droppings. Mice typically leave significant amounts of feces averaging about 65-150 a day. Mice droppings are spindle-shaped and about ¼ of an inch. Rats have larger pallets and therefore tend to produce fewer pallets at around 40-50 a day. Rat droppings are about ¾ inch long and ⅛ inch in diameter. They are curved resembling the shape of a banana.

Tail

Both rats and mice have tails, but there are subtle characteristics that can help you distinguish the difference. Mice have a thinner long tail, covered with little hairs. Rats have a thicker hairless tail.

Eating Habits

Rats eat much more on a daily basis than mice do. Mice eat up to 20 times a day, an amount equalling three grams a day and only require three millimeters. Rats eat 15-30g and drink 15-60 millimeters of water a day. Rodents tend to store and hide food so it may be hard to determine which rodent you have based on the amount of food they scavenge.

Body Size

As mentioned above, the difference in size is one of the biggest ways to determine the difference between the two animals. Mice have large ears and are 3-10 centimeters long. Rats have small ears and bodies that are 16-40 centimeters long.

Whether you have a rat or a mouse in your home, you should give Dustin Pest Control a call to schedule your rodent control services. Dustin Pest Control has been serving the Central Valley Fresno community for over 50 years – contact us today to get started!

How To Winterize A House For Rodents

When the weather gets cooler humans bundle up and seek warmth, the same goes for rodents. As temperatures decrease, your home may be the perfect place for rodents and other unwanted house guests to escape winter, making rodent control an absolute necessity. Here’s how to winterize a house for rodents.

Seal It Up

Did you know that some rats can fit through a hole the size of a quarter? According to RatBehavior.org thanks to their long and flexible bodies, some mice can squeeze through spaces as small as 0.96 inches in diameter. Look for any openings or cracks where rodents could squeeze into under entryways or windows. Also look for rips in screen doors or window screens. Remember to check areas that are made for letting things in and out of the house like dryer vents or drainage pipes. These functional openings can make it easy for rodents to get indoors. There are items like dryer vent cages, and steel mesh is easy options.

Clean Up & Clean Out

While the idea of wet branches and leaves might not be pleasant to us, they are incredibly inviting to rodents and other pests. Make sure you clean out downspouts, roof drain pipes and gutters. Edible vegetation and other junk or debris should also be removed from around the home as they attract rodents and are natural hiding places. When taking trash or recycling out for pickup, be sure to close bags up securely and keep containers or bags away from home. Your garbage may smell like a gourmet meal to a family of rodents looking for a meal.

Bring In The Pros

While there is a lot you can do to lower the risk of rodents entering your home, professional rodent control services are also a great option. For additional help with your rodent issues in the winter, contact Dustin Pest Control today!

4 Reasons To Be Spooked By Rodents (That Have Nothing To Do With The Ick Factor)

While there’s definitely the scare factor when it comes to rodents, there’s an even more important reason to make sure they stay out of your home. For centuries, rodents have spread disease, like the four lethal ones listed below. Your No. 1 defense against these ailments is to make sure your home is rodent-free.
  1. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) – This is a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease in humans caused by contact with rodents and has a mortality rate of 38%. Some of the flu-like symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, dizziness, chills and abdominal issues. Species that carry hantavirus include White-Footed Mouse, Cotton Rat, Deer Mouse, and Rice Rat.
  2. Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HRFS) – Symptoms of HFRS typically take 1 to 2 weeks to develop and can include headaches, back and abdominal pain, fever, blurred vision. Rodents that carry HRFS include The Striped Field Mouse (Apodemus agrarius), The Brown Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus), The Black vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) and The Yellow-Necked Field Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis). Fatality ranges from less than 1% to 15%, depending on which virus is the source of the illness.
  3. Rat-Bite Fever (RBF) – An infectious disease that is caused by two different types of bacteria and occurs often in Asia but cases have been reported elsewhere. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, vomiting, headache, joint pain and rash. The onset of symptoms usually takes 3-10 days to start. RBF is carried by the Common Rat (Rattus). The mortality rate for Rat Bite Fever is 7%-13%. In recent years, Rat-Bite Fever made national news when a 10-year-old boy in California died as a result of a bite from his pet rat in 2013.
  4. Tularemia – A highly contagious disease found in humans and animals. While rodents can infect humans, they can also be infected from tick and deer fly bites, contaminated water and contaminated aerosols or agriculture. Part of what makes this disease so contagious is that direct contact with an infected party isn’t required to get infected. Most rodents can be infected. Symptoms include skin ulcer a site of infection, sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, swelling of lymph glands and difficulty breathing. Most patients completely recover from tularemia.
Think you have a rodent infestation or just want the piece of mind? Have a professional from Dustin Pest Control come out and perform pest control services today. Last but not least, everybody have a fun and safe Halloween!
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