Author: Dustin Pest Control

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.

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!

Do You Need Mosquito Control?

If you’ve turned on the TV in the past few months then you’ve probably heard of the Zika virus, an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans from mosquitoes. While Zika’s symptoms can be uncomfortable — fever, joint pain, rash and/ or red eyes — the major concern is for pregnant women. There is a suspected connection between the Zika virus and women who give birth to babies with microcephaly.

What Is Microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a neurological condition that causes infants to be born with an abnormally small head and brain. Babies with microcephaly can suffer from a number of problems including hearing loss, vision problems, seizures and developmental delay.

How To Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes

You should always try to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquitos, pregnant or not. Aside from Zika, mosquitos have been known to transmit West Nile fever, Malaria, Dengue fever and Chikungunya virus.
  • Cover up. Wear long sleeved shirts and full pants when possible.
  • Keep them out of the house. Close the door quickly when going in and out. Try to avoid keeping windows and doors open without secure screens.
  • Wear mosquito repellent. Wearing mosquito repellent on uncovered skin can significant lower the risk of mosquito bites.
  • Be aware of standing water. Just like humans in the summer, mosquitoes are attracted to standing water during hotter months.
  • Build a barrier. Look into getting a barrier treatment with Dustin Pest Control.

What is Barrier Treatment?

Barrier treatment is a great way to protect your home and loved ones from the dangers of mosquitoes. One of our trained technicians will come out to your home and spray a barrier spray that will help eliminate mosquitos from entering the treated area for up to 3 weeks. In addition we will identify high risk areas to treat more aggressively. We use natural based sprays that are aggressive to mosquito but not hazardous to you or your family’s health. Think you may need mosquito control for your home? Contact Dustin Pest Control to learn more about barrier treatment!

How to Prevent Termites from Entering Your Home

Finding termites around your home is never a good thing. However, if you take some carefully calculated precautions, you can take some preventative measures to ensure they never have a chance from entering your home in the first place. Take a look at these 8 extremely helpful termite prevention tips to keep your home protected from this inconvenient pest!

8 Termite Prevention Tips for Your Home

1.) Inspect Your Home’s Foundation

When trying to prevent termites from entering your home, one very important tip is to keep an eye out for the foundation of your home. In particular, keep an eye out for mud tubes. Mud Tubes are created by termites as a way for them to gain access to their food. If you see cracked and/or bubbling paint, tap on it. If it sounds hollow, there’s a pretty good chance you may have caught the beginnings of a termite infiltration to your home.

2.) Stay on Top of Home Repairs

If you have old roof shingles, rotted fascias, and damaged soffits, you’re practically inviting termites to commingle with you at your home. Rotten wood is a prime location for termites to live and thrive. Repair any damages to your house as soon as they are made to prevent not only termites, but other pesky creatures from reaching the interior of your home and making a nest.  After all, the last thing that you want is to deal with an ant infestation, rodents behind the walls, or wasps in the fascia.

3.) Monitor Your Home’s Wood Exterior

When you’re making your home repairs, remember to pay extra special attention to all of the exterior areas that are made of wood. This would include door frames, skirting, windows, fascia, and anywhere else that could be made of wood for noticeable changes. Also, try your best to keep minimally an 18-20 inch gap between the ground and any of the wood portions of your home. Doing so, you will help reduce the risk of termite infestation around your home.

4.) Store Firewood Away from Your Home

If you have a fireplace in your home, chances are there is firewood near your home. When storing firewood, keep it at least 20-30 feet away from your home (or more if possible). This will give you a good distance where, if termites decide to infest your collection of firewood, they will remain a safe distance away from your home.

5.) Reduce Moisture

Termites tend to thrive in humid environments, so it seems only natural to reduce the moisture/humidity levels around your home to help create a not-so-welcoming environment for them to live in. Try using a dehumidifier around your home and keep the house at cooler temperatures. Creating a more effective ventilation system in your home as well as cracking windows and using fans can help tremendously, too.

6.) Redirect Water Away from the House

By redirecting water away from your house, you not only reduce the risk of flood damage, you protect your home’s foundation, and reduce the risk of creating an environment termites love to live in. Install gutters, splash blocks, and functioning downspouts not only add protectants for your home, they increase your home’s value which could (if you decide to resell later down the road) create the foundations for a bidding war on your home.

7.) Repair Home Leaks

Take the time to invest in your home and make repairs to any leaking faucets, exterior air conditioning units, and water pipes. Doing so, you will not only protect your home and keep property values high, but you will help prevent the creation of a humid environment where termites (amongst other creepy crawlers) like to thrive in.

8.) Get Your Home Inspected Annually

Sometimes it can be difficult to inspect your home by yourself. If you want to make sure the job is done correctly, you may want to consider having an annual inspection scheduled by a professional. As I’m sure you’re aware, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover wooding eating insect damage. What do you do to prevent termites from entering your home?
Having problems with an ant control issue? Contact Dustin Pest Control today to get started on a solution that works!

How to Get Rid of Ants In The House

With spring in full swing, it’s also a time for more ant infestations. Most ants are looking for sugary or greasy items to bring back to their colony. Knowing this and responding appropriately is key. Follow these tips to learn how to get rid of ants in the house.

Types of Ants

Before you determine your plan of attack, it’s helpful to know what kind of ants you’re dealing with.

Carpenter Ants – If you start to find wood shavings laying around your home, you could have a carpenter ant infestation. These guys are looking for protein and are gnawing through moist wood to create nests.

Sugar Ants – These are the most common ant you’ll find in your home, usually in the springtime. Also known as odorous house ants, these guys are looking for food.

Black Ants – These incredibly tiny ants, also called pavement ants, are typically outdoor critters but will enter your home to scavenge for food.

Getting Rid Of Ants

The Basics – When it comes to ant control, prevention is key. Keeping a clean home and storing food in durable air-tight containers will shut off their food supply. Wiping down surfaces with disinfectant will remove any odor that could be attracting ants in search of food.

Considerations – Even the cleanest homes can have an ant infestation. Also bear in mind that over-the-counter ant spray will kill the ants you see, but will not provide a comprehensive solution that gets to the source of the colony.

When To Call In The Pros – Sometimes the ants just aren’t going to go away until you get professional help. Pest control experts can identify the source of the colony and eliminate the problem for good. In the case of carpenter ants, a more involved approach involving professionals is typically required, and a failure to do so can lead to structural damage (or worsen any current structural issues).

Having problems with an ant control issue? Contact Dustin Pest Control today to get started on a solution that works!

The New Dustin Pest Control Website

Welcome to the new Dustin Pest Control website!

Don’t let the shiny new exterior fool you, we’re still the same great pest control company that has served Fresno for over 35 years. With our new website, we have made it easier than ever to schedule your pest control, termite control and post-termite repairs. Take a few moments to browse our new pages for facts and helpful hints about pest control. Thank you for your loyalty as we continue to improve Dustin Pest Control and the services we offer!
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