Fire Ants in America

Fire Ants in America

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How Can I Prevent Termites?

termite control
Image courtesy of James Niland (CC by 2.0)

Termites are a common problem that many homeowners will have to deal with at one point in their lives. Termites move from place to place and expand their colonies. Termites are found throughout the United States, but tend to do less damage where there are cold, dry winters. If you are a homeowner, there are a few steps that you can take to protect your home from a termite infestation.

Consider a Pretreatment Before You Build

Many building companies will complete a pretreatment for termites before they build. This is a soaker type treatment where the termiticide is applied to the ground before the building begins. This provides protection under the concrete slab and around your home. If you are building a home yourself, you can request that the contractors do this before they start building.

Seal Off Your Crawlspace

Many crawlspaces have dirt floors. If you can seal off your crawlspace, you can limit the areas that termites can get into your home. You can hire a termite control professional to do this for you, or you can attempt to do it yourself. The project can be quite time intensive and depending on the current condition of your crawlspace, it may include mucking things out. A professional company will make sure is done correctly and give you the protection that your home needs.

Regular Inspections and Bait Stations

Regular termite monitoring can help you detect termites before they cause a lot of damage. Bait stations can alert you that termites are on your property and allow you to treat for them if it becomes necessary. The bait stations are chemical free, and attract the termites since they contain wood and cellulose. If termites are found in these stations, you can begin treatment.

Use Treated Wood

If you are building a new outdoor project like a deck or shed, be sure to use wood that has been treated for termites, especially if it will go directly into the ground. Subterranean termites will begin to eat the wood of the deck and give you no visible signs unless the wood is treated.

Stack Wood Away from the Home

If you keep wood for a fireplace or wood burning stove, you need to stack the wood away from your home. If you can store it on a concrete pad, you provide another layer of protection for the wood. You can also cover it with a tarp for additional protection.

Image courtesy of James Niland (CC by 2.0)

5 Things That Attract Cockroaches

cockroach on counterIf you are worried about roaches in your home, or that you may get them in the future, there are things you can do to make sure that your home is not as attractive to cockroaches. If you get rid of these things, you can reduce the chance of having roaches in your home.

1. Leaky Pipes and Moisture

Cockroaches need easy and steady access to water. They tend to congregate in areas where there is water like your kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. Making sure to mop up any spills as soon as they happen or cleaning up after a bath or shower can help. However, fixing any leaking pipes can make a big difference. If you discover a leak, be sure that the area around it dries out completely.

2. Cardboard and Paper

Cockroaches eat cardboard and paper. If you are storing boxes in your home, you are more likely to attract cockroaches to your home, especially where you store things. If you use cardboard boxes to store old clothes or books, you can change the containers. Instead of holding onto moving boxes  you may want to recycle them or pass them onto someone else to use.

3. Food and Its Smells

Roaches are looking for food and so anything that is giving a strong smell may attract them. Food that is left out on the counters or in the sink can attract them as well as the trash that you leave in an uncovered garbage can overnight. You can remove these elements by doing your dishes as you use them and by taking out your trash each night. Be sure that you do not have trash especially with food on it around your home.

4. Pet Food

Pet food can attract a number of pests because it is made up of high protein. The best way to deal with this is to store your food in an airtight container. If you have a real problem with roaches, you may want to feed your pets and then put up their bowls.

5. Clutter and Mess

Cockroaches like places where they can hide and small spaces. Clutter can create that and make it easier for them to find places to hide. Clutter also makes it more difficult to keep a room or space clean. If you live in townhomes or apartments, you may be fighting off roaches if your neighbors have issues with too much clutter or a messy home.

Cockroaches are known carriers of diseases ranging from samonella to dysentery, so it’s important to exterminate cockroaches as soon as you notice them in your home.

How to Check for Bed Bugs

bed bugOne of the best ways to prevent getting bed bugs is to check your hotel room for bed bugs before you unpack. If you suspect that you may have bed bugs, this process can help you confirm whether or not you have bed bugs at home. If you are in a hotel room, be sure not to put your suitcase on the floor or bed until the inspection is complete.  If you find bed bugs in a hotel room, take your luggage with you and request a new room. Be sure to complete the inspection again before you decide to stay in that room.

1. Check the Bedding

The first thing you should do is check the bedding. Bull the comforter or guilty all the way back and look at the sheets. If there are bloodstains on the sheets, this is a sure giveaway. You should also look for droppings, which are small and black as well as skin casings that they may leave behind.

2. Look at the Mattress and Box Springs

On the mattress and box springs, you may see rusty stains or the bed bug droppings. You may also see the bed bugs themselves or the yellow skins that nymphs shed. You may notice eggs which are very small or you may also see the bed bugs themselves. It is worth pulling the sheets all the way back.

3. Behind the Headboard

Another key place to look is behind the headboard and along the wall. You can also check behind the nightstand that is next to the bed. Again, you will be looking for the dark round droppings, the eggs and discarded skins as well as the live bugs. If you can shine a flashlight here, it may be easier to spot the bed bugs.

4. Bites

If you are worried that you may have bed bugs at home, bites are something that you should keep an eye out for. Bed bugs will bite you several times during a feeding, and the bites are usually in a straight line. Many people confuse flea bites with bed bug bites, but here’s an article for more information about fleas: Do Fleas Live on People? Whether you have flea bites or bed bug bites, you should call and request a free inspection from the professionals at EcoTek.

Facts About Carpenter Ants

ant controlCarpenter ants are different from the typical household ants in a few different ways. If you have carpenter ants, you will need to take steps now to deal with them because they can cause damage to your home that is similar to the damage that termites cause. Here are interesting facts about carpenter ants.

1. Carpenter Ants Size

Carpenter ants are bigger than the ants you may normally see around your home. They are between a quarter and a half inch in length. Many of the other household ants do not get longer than one sixteenth inch in length. The size difference makes the carpenter ants appear gigantic in comparison.

2. Carpenter Ants Homes

Carpenter ants get their name because they build their homes inside of wood. They do not eat wood the way that termites do, but they will build their nests inside dead wood, and when they do this they can weaken the structure of your home. They can be difficult to find because the damage is done behind the drywall or in areas that you may not see. They will also build nests inside the wood a termite colony already ate through.

3. Carpenter Ants Strength

Carpenter ants can lift more than seven times their own weight. Some people estimate that it can be up to fifty times their own weight. Either way that is a massive amount of weight to carry. The ants can also work together to help move objects.

4. Carpenter Ants Have a Long Life

The queens can live up to twenty-five years. The longer the queen leaves, the bigger the colony. They will even create satellite colonies that can stretch over large areas. This means that they can overtake your entire home.

5. Carpenter Ants Can Bite

Some species of carpenter ants have venom and the bite can sting similar to that of fire ants. Even if the carpenter ants in your home do not have venom, the bites can still hurt and cause welts. They may offer spray a sort of glue if they feel threatened. The glue is toxic and can hurt other insects and may even bother you.

Learn the difference between carpenter ants and termites

How Can I Tell If I Have a Mouse or Rat?

rat exterminationNo one wants to deal with a rat or a mouse running loose in their house. Both rodents can carry diseases and wreak havoc in your home. The treatments and traps may need to be different depending on the animal since rats tend to be quite a bit larger than mice.

General Signs of an Infestation

The general signs that you may have a rodent problem include scratching sounds late at night. The sounds may be in your walls or your ceilings.  You may see signs of droppings around your home, especially along the walls or near food sources. Another sign is chewed up boxes or bedding or even a whole in your wall. They are both voracious chewers as they create a nest to make their own.

Differences Between Rats and Mice

The most obvious difference between the two is their size. Rats can be up to eighteen inches long including their tail, while mice can grow up to seven inches long including their tail. While rats and mice can come in a number shades from light brown to grey, only rats are black. The tails are also different. A rat’s tail is longer and hairless while a mouse’s tail is covered in fur.

Sometimes it can be difficult to spot the offending rodent to make a visual confirmation of what you are dealing with. There are other ways to tell the difference. One is to look at the size of the droppings. A mouse’s droppings are shaped more like a grain rice and are black. A rat’s droppings are more similar to a raisin in shape and size. They also tend to drop fecal matter more often than mice, so you may see more of it.

Dealing with an Infestation

If you find out if you have a rodent infestation, you will need to act quickly to deal with it. Once you have identified the rodent, you will know what types of traps you should buy and use. However, if you are worried about your safety or your family’s safety, you should contact a professional who can sets traps that will keep your family safe and help with the decontamination process.

Find out How Do Bed Bugs Enter Your Home? and what you can do to prevent them from ever entering your home.

Can I Sell My Home After I Have Termites?

termite damageOne of the biggest fears associated with termites is the damage it can do to your home, which is your biggest investment. Termites can cause thousands of dollars in structural damage. However, finding out that you have termites does not mean that your home will become unsellable. Termites are such a common problem that many people look at it as matter of when your home is infested by termites as opposed to if your home is infested by termites. However, once you have had termites you may have a few more things to check off when it comes to selling your home.

1. End the Infestation

The first step is to stop the infestation completely. This means professionally treating for termites. It is important that you keep the documentation from the initial findings, and the methods that were used to kill the termites. This document will also likely contain the areas that need to be repaired as a result of the termite infestation.

2. Repair the Damages

The next step you will need to take is to repair the damages that the termites have caused. You can take before and after photos. It is also a good idea to keep this information on file. The report should explain the damage that was done, what repairs were made and when. It should also include an subsequent inspections done to make sure the work was up to code.

3. Prevent Further Termite Infestations

Once you have had termites, you should have your property inspected each year. Keep a copy of warranties that you purchase with the termite control treatment. You can also show these warranties to the person interested in buying your home. Generally, it is good practice to have annual inspections and treatments done and be able to show that you have done so.

4. Disclose the Information when It Is Time to Sell

Finally, you need to disclose the information when it is time to sell your home. It is the law and failing to do so can have serious penalties. However, the record of the treatment, repairs and further preventative treatments will show that your home is fine. There are areas of the country where most homes have dealt with termites at one time or another. A home that has been treated and repaired should not drop in value. If the repairs are not done, then it will affect the value of your home.

Contact EcoTek today to get a free estimate on the costs of a termite treatment for your home.

Learn how to tell the difference between termites and ants by reading: How Are Termites and Carpenter Ants Different From Each Other?

Life Cycle of Cockroaches

cockroach exterminationCockroaches are some of the hardiest creatures on the planet. They are known to survive in difficult conditions and as a result they can be difficult to eliminate them from your home. Many roaches will wander into your home looking for food and water and if they find it they will stay. Understanding the life cycle of roaches can help you understand the steps that you need to take to eliminate them.

Eggs

Roaches will lay eggs in pouches called ootheca. Each of these pouches can hold between 16 to 50 eggs. The number of eggs is determined by the species of roach. Some roaches will deposit this in an area that is close to food while others will carry it on their backs until the roaches hatch. The ootheca are flat and the same color as the roaches.

Nymphs

The eggs hatch about thirty days after they are laid. The nymphs will grow into adults. During this time they will molt and get bigger. You can spot a nymph because they are smaller and often have a white spot in the center of their backs. It can take three to six months for this phase.

Adults

Adult cockroaches can live up to a year. During this time, they will mate multiple times. Some cockroaches will lay eggs up to 90 times. The adult cockroaches may crawl over your dishes or food. Cockroaches live in nests in small spaces. They like refrigerators and rooms that have water.

Since cockroaches can multiply so quickly. A severe infestation can cause issues with people who have allergies or asthma. They can also spread disease. The nests are difficult to find on your own. A professional can help you effectively eliminate the roaches in your home. Contact the experts at EcoTek to learn about the different treatment plans available to you.

Learn more about cockroach extermination from Ecotek Termite and Pest Control of Virginia Beach.

5 Ways to Prevent Ants

antsAnts are a common household pest. If you see just one, many more are sure to follow until you see a steady stream of ants moving in and out of your home all day long. It is important to prevent ants from coming into your home. Here are five steps you can take to stop ants from invading your home.

1. Seal Windows and Other Cracks

Ants can come in your home through the smallest cracks around your windows or under your door. You can use caulk to seal the areas around your windows. You can add a plastic weather seal to your doors to make sure they are closing tightly. This has the bonus of stopping drafts too. It is important to remember that even the smallest space can allow ants in. Trace the ants back to the source to figure out where you need to apply additional caulking for deal with cracks.

2. Keep It Clean

Ants are coming in to your home in search of food. If the ants do not find anything to eat they will not come back. Be sure to store your food securely so that they do not get into it. Additionally, make sure you keep your kitchen and other areas clean. Wiping down your counters after you prepare food and doing the dishes right away will mean that the ants will not find anything to eat and will not come into your home. Sweeping in your kitchen and limiting the areas where you allow food in your home can also help, as well as taking out your trash each night.

3. Fix Your Plumbing

Ants are also looking for a steady source of water. A dripping faucet or leaking pipes may be just what they are looking for. If you find any area with a small, slow leak, be sure to address it before it becomes a serious problem. It may be as simple as changing out a washer in your faucet. If you think there may be more serious leaks, you can call a plumber to complete an inspection for you.

4. Put Up Barriers

You can put up barriers to keep ants out of your home. This can be as simply as applying a desiccant powder around your home or in front of doors or other areas where ants may be coming into the home. You can place animal safe ant traps around the exterior of your home to prevent them from coming into your home.  Salt is another option that will not harm your pets or children. It is not quite as effective as desiccant powder, but it also dries out the ants.

5. Stop the Problem Before It Becomes Serious

If you do see ants, the best way to get rid of them for good is to kill the queen. There are a variety of traps and sprays that can do this, but if you have pets or small children, you may be worried about leaving these out. The best solution is to call the professionals at EcoTek to come in and deal with the issue for you. EcoTek offers free inspections and estimates to help you deal with any unwelcome pests in and around your home.

Learn more about ant extermination

 

The Global Impact of Termites

Eastern Subterranean TermiteTermites are one of the most dreaded types of pests to find in your home–and with good reason. They are capable of doing tons of damage to a building without making their presence known until they’ve already decimated the surrounding structure. When you take a closer look at termites it’s easy to see why they’re one of the most successful types of insects on earth. They’re present on every landmass in the world, except for Antarctica, and they’re capable of establishing colonies filled with millions of individuals. Here at EcoTek, we spend most of our time getting rid of these pests but we also feel it’s important to know your enemy which is why we wanted to provide you with some facts about these insects. , as well as, a number of benefits their presence create. Read more The Global Impact of Termites