Dustin Pest Control Blog

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.

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!
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