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Tips To Keep Your Holiday Decorating Pest-Free

DSC_1315c-001With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you may find yourself not paying as much attention to the details of pest prevention. So, how about we save you some time and give you a few simple things to watch for to avoid a visitation from intrusive pests over the holiday season? Done!

Check the Green Garnishments

Living decorations bring the beauty of nature into your home, but sometimes they bring in a little too much nature (remember the squirrel in the tree in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?). Trees, wreaths and other live decorations can harbor hitchhikers such as spiders, moths and other pests. Therefore, it’s wise to inspect and shake live greenery out before bringing the decorations into your home.

Inspect Ornament Boxes

The joy of opening those holiday storage boxes that have been sitting in the basement or attic all year long can quickly become a nightmare if they weren’t stored properly. To keep from bringing any critters into your main living area, check and unpack items from boxes while they are still in storage for signs of pests such as droppings, chewed cords and gnaw marks.

After the holidays, give yourself some bonus gifts and repack your decorations in brand new, tightly-sealed storage containers and save yourself from surprises next year.

A Final Tip to Warm Up To…

If your holiday plans include snuggling up next to the fire and sipping your choice of holiday cheer, remember to inspect your firewood for any pests before bringing it indoors.

Outdoor tip: Storing firewood at least 20 feet from your home and on a raised structure will help keep pests out of your firewood.

If you’re in need of professional assistance with a pest issue, give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800. 

Visit us on the web at: Safeway Pest Management

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Filed under mice, Pest Prevention, Rodents, Spiders, Uncategorized

Some Sure Signs of Rodents

12476009 - mouse in the kitchen eating bread

As winter sets in, chances of a rodent sighting in your home will rise as rodents attempt to find their way indoors to escape the cold. Being that mice can be destructive and can also spread disease, it’s important to learn identification facts to safeguard your home.

Droppings– Droppings are one of the most obvious sign of a mouse infestation. Dropping pellets tend to be tiny (about ¼ inch), black, and numerous.  You may find waste matter around nesting sites, in food storage areas, on shelving, floors or counters. If you’re looking for additional waste clues, mouse urine will show up under ultraviolet light.

Route Rub Marks– Mice tend to use the same routes and travel against walls when navigating, this leaves dirty grease smudges on walls, floors and baseboards (from their oily fur). You may also notice urine spots on those same routes.

Scent and Sounds-Open a cupboard and get a whiff of a distinctive smell? A strong ammonia odor (the scent of urine) may be obvious, especially in enclosed areas.

Noticing any scratching sounds? You may hear scurrying noises in walls and ceilings, especially at night when mice are most active.

Did You Know: Mice can enter your home through a hole the size of a dime!

Gnawing Damage-Mice have teeth that continuously grow and so they like to gnaw to keep their teeth shorter. Gnaw marks and holes can be found on plastic and wood and most dangerously, on electrical wires which can be a fire hazard.

Food storage sites can also be areas in which to see gnaw marks. Mice will chew up boxes and contaminate stored food items.

Noticeable Nests– House mice shred paper and other soft materials, such as cotton, wall material and insulation for nesting sites. Good hiding places for nests include: cabinets, in dishwashers, behind refrigerators, ceilings, wall voids and other dark storage areas. Usually young mice will be present within the nesting site.

Eek! I’ve seen a mouse!-Lastly, you may spot live or dead mice around your home. Typically, if you see one, there’s most likely more.

Did You Know: a female house mouse can give birth to a half dozen babies every three weeks and can produce up to 35 young per year.

There are ways you can prevent an infestation in your home by:

  • Eliminating moisture sites within the home and keeping basements, attics and crawl spaces ventilated and dry
  • Replacing weather stripping around windows and repairing damaged screens
  • Sealing cracks and any open holes on the exterior of your home with caulk and or steel wool
  • Installing door sweeps on exterior doors
  • Storing firewood at least 20 feet from your home
  • Storing food items in sealed containers and disposing of garbage regularly

If you’re in need of professional assistance with a pest issue, Give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800. 

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Filed under mice, Pest Prevention, rats, Rodents, Uncategorized

Your Fall Pest-Proofing Checklist

Your Fall Pest-Proofing Checklist    gg62677099

With autumn right around the corner, and insects soon ready to find the warmth around your home, this is the best time to check off some chores from your fall pest-proofing checklist! Below are some preparations you can make to your home to prevent pests from invading your home this fall and winter.

  • Inspect your home for any cracks and entry point holes, paying close attention to the sunny-sides of your home as those sides (the south and west sides) are more attracting to pests looking for warmth. Seal up any you holes you may find with caulk and/or steel wool. For an extra dose of protection, check around pipes and utility entry areas for entry points as well.
  • Pests are attracted to moisture. Keep areas such as basements, attics and crawlspaces ventilated and moisture-free. The use of a dehumidifier will aid in keeping your basement dry.
  • Clean up leaves and outdoor debris. Trim back any branches or shrubbery around the house. Branches can become insect roadways into your home.
  • Check and repair any screen damage.
  • Install door sweeps to eliminate an entry point for insects and moisture.
  • Clean debris out of gutters.
  • Seal out moisture, drafts and insects by replacing weather stripping around doors and windows.
  • If you’re chopping up firewood for the winter, store it at least 20 feet away from your home.
  • Treat yourself to a fall treat for your pest-proofing preparedness!

Our licensed and certified pest specialists can inspect your home for you and treat your home if need be. Call Safeway Pest Management at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800.

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net


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Filed under Ants, Asian Ladybeetles, Cluster Fly, Flies, mice, Pest Prevention, Rodents, Spiders, Uncategorized

Take Caution: Situations and Advice Regarding Stinging Insects

22148529 - wasps on comb

In discussions with our clients, sometimes we run into some common situations that require some advice regarding stinging insects. With your family’s safety in mind, we are taking this opportunity to highlight some of those frequently visited circumstances and offer some helpful solutions.


Situation: Using a pressure washer or hose to spray down an active stinging insect nest around your home.

What Happens: Flooding a nest with water may make the nest fall, but typically it will not kill the insects, at least not all of them. It will however make them more aggressive and potentially cause an attack in response. Doing this may also flooding or water damage to areas around your home.  The remaining stinging insects will rebuild the nest in a nearby location soon after you destroy their nest.

Solution: The nest needs to be treated before it can be knocked down or removed. For safety reasons, it’s best to have a licensed and certified technician perform the treatment.


Situation: Plugging entrance holes in an active stinging insect nest.

What Happens: It’s a common misconception that by simply plugging the doorway to a nest, the insects will simply leave and move on.  Some may even go as far as treating the nest with a store bought liquid insecticide and then plugging the hole directly afterward. What really occurs is that the insects, by using light as a guide, will easily find another way to enter and exit the nest. Sometimes the new entrance ends up being in an even worse location, such as when a plugged outdoor entrance causes the insects to create a new entrance, which leads them into your home. You will also find that the stinging insects will also grow more aggressive if you block their entrance.

Solution: If you call to have the nest professionally treated, you may need to revisit the nest in the evening (when it is safest) to unplug the entrance hole so that nest can be treated through that access point. When a professional treats a nest, the product used will penetrate the nest more deeply and tend to be effective on the first application. If the nest is professionally treated, it should not be plugged or removed until completely certain that the nest is in an inactive state.


Bonus Situation: You’re walking around your yard and stumble onto an active ground bee nest.

Solution: Ground bee nests are easier to spot than you think. Regularly check your yard for conical shaped holes with piles of dirt surrounding them. Sometimes several holes can be found relatively small area.  If you do find nests in an unsafe area, avoid them and give a professional a call for control and treatment advice.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Wasp VS Hornet…Plus a Bonus Predator

People easily confuse bees with yellow jackets and hornets with wasps, probably because in most cases we are trying our best to keep our distance. But, when dealing with a sting or a threatening nest around your home, identifying information can be pretty handy. We will do our best to help you figure out which stinging insect and nest is which.

First off, here’s some general stinging insect knowledge regarding bees and wasps.

Bees: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairy, long antennae and are important pollinators.

Wasps: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairless, long antennae, most have a thin “waist”, many have bright orange and yellow colors (stripes on legs, abdomen or thorax) Wasps include both yellow jackets and hornets.

Most species of wasps are predators.

Paper wasp front view no textPaper wasps have smooth bodies, usually dark brown with yellow markings and a slender waist. When paper wasps are flying they can be recognized by two rear legs “hanging down”. Paper wasp nests are made of paper-like combs and found hanging under eaves, door frames, soffits, deck rails, roofs, porches, trees, shrubs.

yellow jacket

Yellow jackets are a type of predatory wasp. Most yellow jackets are black and yellow, but some are black and white, like the bald-faced hornet. Yellow jackets tend to fly in a side to side motion and are very aggressive. Since they have stingers with barb, their sting is often very painful. Yellow jacket nests are made of paper with a single hole in the bottom, they nest in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that are easily hidden from predators.

5267976 - a bald-faced hornet at rest clearly showing large mandiblesHornet is a loosely used word to typically identify the bald-faced hornet, which is the largest of the wasps. Bald-faced hornets are yellow and black or white and black, look similar to the yellow jacket, but longer and thinner. Hornets are aggressive when defending their nest and sting repeatedly. They build their nests entirely on the exterior and out in the open and the nests are football-shaped and out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs.

A Bonus Predator-The Cicada Killer Wasp

45488506 - cicada killer dragging a paralyzed cicada.

Recently, a predator has made its presence known in our area. The cicada killer wasp has been found nesting in at least one of our southern-most counties. These solitary wasps choose sites with specific characteristics to nest, they like well-drained, light-textured soils in full sunlight that are near trees harboring cicadas. At 1-2 inches long, their size tends to be a bit intimidating. Luckily, the cicada killer wasp is more of a docile insect, unless you have the unfortunate luck of being a cicada. The female wasp is known for snatching a cicada right in mid-air, then using the stinger it injects venom that will paralyze its victim so that the victim cicada can be taken back to the nest to deposit an egg into. The egg will then hatch and feed on the cicada before maturing to adulthood.

Although docile, stings to humans and pets can occur if you happen to accidentally stumble upon one.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, at our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412  or toll free at 800-956-0800

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Keeping Your Summer Cookout Pest-Free

DSC_2474gSummer gatherings are one of the highlights of the warm months, but they are best done without the addition of creepy, crawly uninvited guests.  Insects such as mosquitoes can cause annoying bites and can potentially transmit dangerous diseases and stinging insects can pose a threat to guests with allergies.

Following the tips below will help keep your outdoor cookout pest-free and allow you to sit back and enjoy your gathering time.

Pre-Cookout Yard Inspection and Clean-Up

Inspect your yard for any potential insect problems such as ant hills or stinging insect nests. Call a professional pest management company if needed.

Mow the grass the day before a cookout can help reduce harborage for insects hiding in taller grass, such as ticks.

Drain any standing water sources to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

Pick up leaves, sticks and any fallen fruit that may attract insects from your yard and out of your gutters.

Make sure trash is properly stored in a covered container.

During the Cookout

Have on hand an EPA approved repellent with DEET to ward off mosquitoes.

Remind guests (even make a sign) to close doors tightly when entering and exiting your home to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside.

If you’re attending a cookout, have a change of clothes along. If the weather allows for it, long sleeves and long pants will protect from bites from mosquitoes.

Avoid wearing perfumes or fragrances that will attract insects.

Have plastic cups available for use. Beverage cans and bottles are attractants for stinging insects.

Keep food tightly sealed and covered and/or keep food in sealed coolers.

Keep food prep areas clean and immediately wipe up any spills. Ants and flies are especially attracted to leftover food remnants.

Keep trash in covered receptacles. Keep trashcans away from main gathering areas.

Use fans to create a breeze that will keep insects away.


If you’re in need of professional assistance with an insect issue, give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800.  

Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Filed under Ants, Flies, Fruit Fly, Mosquito, Pest Prevention, Stinging Insects, Ticks, Uncategorized