“Aww Rats!” Information and Prevention Tips

22704306 - brown rat, rattus norvegicus, captive, august 2009In a season that celebrates things that make you “Eww”, rats fit in just perfectly in an October, Halloween month.

Due to several factors such as mild winters, the availability of dwelling locations and ease in acquiring food sources, the population of rats in rural areas in Wisconsin is on the rise.

The most commonly found rat in Wisconsin is the Norway rat (also referred to as the brown rat, house rat and sewer rat). The Norway rat is typically 7-10 inches in length and colored brown with scattered black hairs and a white or gray underside.

Rats have been responsible for much human suffering throughout history and the spread of many diseases through fleas or by contaminating food sources. Some diseases include Rat-Bite Fever, leptospirosis, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Salmonellosis and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. One disease, which was historically devastating, was the bubonic plague, which killed millions during the Middle Ages.

The best form of protection is to take action to prevent rodents in and around your home.

Take Away Their Home and Food Sources

  • Get rid of outdoor food sources such as garbage, open compost bins, left out pet food, fallen fruit, bird feeders (keep feeders and bird food up off of the ground).
  • Stack fire wood 18 inches off the ground and away from all buildings to prevent rodent nesting and hiding locations.
  • Keep areas that provide cover trimmed such as bushes, vines and tall grass. Rodents can enter your home from tree branches that hang over your roof. Keep trees and bushes cut back to prevent access.
  • Remove any places of harborage in your yard, such as old appliances or vehicles.
  • Find and eliminate any entrance openings to your home.
  • Regularly clean out sheds and storage areas.
  • Regularly clean up trash in and around your home and property.
  • Prevent rodents from entering the home by checking indoors and outside of your home for gaps or holes and sealing them up. Rats and mice can fit into very small spaces.
  • Occasionally inspect your home for signs of a rat infestation, including checking for rodent droppings, gnaw marks, damaged goods and greasy rub marks caused by their oily fur.

Protect Your Family’s Health

If you believe you have rats and/or mice in your home take the following steps to protect your health:

  • Secure all food in sealed containers.
  • Throw away all food and drinks that may have come in contact with the rodents.
  • Clean cookware and cutlery before use.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing and eating food and drink
  • Wear shoes around your home and refrain from laying on the floor.
  • If you are bitten by a rat or mouse, contact a physician immediately.

The pest specialists at Safeway Pest Management are knowledgeable and ready to help with your rat or mouse problem. Give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800.  

Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

 

*Some information obtained courtesy of the CDC and Wisconsin Department of Public Health
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Bed Bug Peace of Mind for Sale-Products That We Offer and Travel Tips

Bedbug magnify44032861_sIt’s a worrisome question we all must ponder these days when we decide to travel, will we bring home bed bugs with us? When armed with knowledge and backed with some prevention aids, we can travel and return home more at ease.

Remember When Traveling:

  • If you’re checking in a hotel or motel, put your luggage in the bathroom tub or elevated on a rack away from the bed and wall and closely inspect mattresses, paying special attention to crevices. Also inspect the headboard, sofa and chairs.
  • If bed bugs are found in your room, request a new room, but not a room that is adjacent or directly above or below the room you were originally booked. Bed bug infestations can spread to rooms closest to the infested room of origin.
  • Perform a thorough outside inspection of your luggage upon returning home. Unpack outside of your home and as an extra dose of prevention, vacuum out your suitcase(s).
  • Launder all clothing in hot water. Lastly, as an added safety measure, place dryer-safe clothing items in the dryer for 15 minutes or more on the highest setting.

We can offer some extra peace of mind in the form of products we offer for purchase.

Products for Purchase Include:

Bed Bug Monitors– Offering a couple choice in brands of bed bug monitors for early detection and monitoring.

Mattress Covers and Encasements-Available in multiple sizes.

Large Bed Bug Monitoring Units for Property Management Companies

It is important to note that while monitoring tools and methods have certainly improved; no tool exists that is 100% reliable in detecting bed bugs. If you believe you may have a bed bug problem, we recommend an inspection be performed by one of our licensed technicians or by our certified bed bug dog, Pepper.

If you’re in need of these products, an inspection or would like service options for bed bugs, give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, 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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Just the Flea Facts

Cat FleaThere’s a possibility that the facts found here may leave you feeling itchy, but also more knowledgeable and better equipped to fight off some fleas.

Just the Facts

Did you know that there are thousands of species of fleas worldwide? That fact alone probably has your skin crawling. In Wisconsin we (and our furry friends) tend to only have run-ins with a few types of fleas. The cat flea is the most common domestic flea that we meet.

Fleas are small, wingless parasites that feed on blood. They appear flat, dark, and reddish-brown in color and are about 1/12”-1/6” in size.

Fleas do not have the ability to fly, but they can jump! Fleas can jump as high as 8” vertically, which is 150 times their own height.

Once a flea hatches and becomes an adult, it will jump onto a host. Fleas are attracted to and can live on any warm-blooded animal, but seem to prefer humans, dogs, cats, rats and other rodents. Once attached to its host, the flea will feed. The female flea can consume 15 times her own body weight in blood daily. Fleas will mate and lay eggs upon their chosen host. A female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime! Some of these eggs will drop off of the host and land in places such as our yards, bedding and carpeting.

The Threats

Besides the itchy, painful red bumps that flea bites leave behind, flea bites and infestations can cause allergic reactions in humans and pets and can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets. When fleas populate a mouse colony, disease can become a very deep concern, the worst disease on record being the bubonic plague. They also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats.

Prevention Tips

Since fleas can be transported on rodents and other animals, search the perimeter of your home in fall with a mirror, looking at the bottom side of your siding for any openings where animals or rodents may be entering your home. Walk the perimeter of your home looking for freshly dug dirt and use a flashlight and search under the deck to check for burrowing animals. A good prevention tip is to use chicken wire behind lattice to create a decorative “rat wall” to keep these critters out of these areas.

Keep your home clean and vacuum regularly, wash any bed linens that you think may be carrying fleas or their eggs.

Keep your yard clear of garbage and pet droppings; keep your lawn properly landscaped.

Protect your pets by checking their coats for fleas, especially if you see any excessive scratching or licking, bathing your pet (and their bedding and plush toys) regularly and see your vet for annual check-ups and for advice on flea products and prevention.

Fleas have the ability to reproduce quickly. Contact a licensed professional pest management specialist for assistance.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to handle your flea problem. Give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, 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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Carpenter Bees-Bee Informed

7293137 - carpenter bee on a butterfly bush flowerCarpenter bees (sometimes known as wood bees) are typically mistakenly identified as bumble bees due to their size and color. Unlike the fuzzy bumble bee, the Carpenter bee has a hairless, shiny and black abdomen and is about an inch in length. Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but burrow into wood and nest within the wood. Many times you will see these bees around your eaves and building nests within wood structures on your property . Carpenter bees prefer nesting within unfinished wood.

This year especially, we have had a rise in complaints regarding Carpenter bees infesting cedar wood areas.  

A few favorite nesting sites for the Carpenter bee are decks, under eaves and other wood areas such as sheds and wood piles. The female bee is quite the handy lady as she will use her strong jaws to drill holes into wood surfaces for the entrance to the nest and then she will make a sharp 90 degree turn and tunnel into the wood. These tunnels can run anywhere from 1 foot to 4 feet long and end with a carved out nesting area.

Typically, Carpenter bees are not aggressive. Only the females are equipped with stingers, and although they can sting multiple times without dying, especially if they feel their nest is being threatened, they are typically quite docile. The males may sometimes seem aggressive and you might see them flying around your head, but this is more just for show, a scare tactic really.

Interesting Fact: You can actually hear the sound of drilling within the wood as the female bees bore into the wood and carve out the tunnels and nests. You may also see sawdust around the edges of an entrance hole.

Carpenter Bee Reduction Tips: Preventive treatments such as exterior finishes with oil or polyurethane bases will help reduce nesting sites before they are found. Future generations of carpenter bees can return to try to use the holes and tunnels year after year once they have been established.

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, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, 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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Preventing Wasps from Building Nests in Your Backyard

22148529 - wasps on combIt’s true that some types of stinging insects are important pollinators and beneficial insects, but they are also a serious health threat to humans. Every year 2 million Americans are at risk for stings that will lead to an allergic reaction and 100 of those stings will most likely lead to death. The source of many of these stings will from social wasps such as paper wasps, bald-faced hornets, and yellow jackets, which can sting multiple times.

Preventing stinging insects from building nests on your home or in your backyard is a solid first step in protecting your family from possible attacks.

To limit suitable nesting sites:

  • Repair holes in walls, including sheds and other outer buildings
  • Caulk cracks in soffits and eaves
  • Screen vents and louvers
  • Limit attractants: Cover trash receptacles to prevent wasps from foraging for food

Some tips when dealing with a wasp threat:

  • Try to stay calm, jerky reactions and attempts to swat a stinging insect will provoke it to sting. Instead of swatting, try gently blowing the insect away.
  • A smashed wasp gives off a pheromone that will attract other wasps to attack. Try to wait patiently for a wasp to leave your vicinity.
  • If stung, gently and safely remove the stinger and clean the area with soap and water. Applying ice to the area and Benadryl and/or a hydrocortisone ointment can help dull the reaction some.
  • Anyone can have an allergic reaction to wasp venom; the chances of a reaction go up with the number of stings acquired. Let someone know you have been stung. Symptoms usually appear after a few minutes, but can be delayed up to 24 hours.
  • Seek medical attention (or dial 911) if you have any of the following occur: tongue and throat swelling, hives, wheezing, dizziness, shortness of breath, blue lips, or a drop in blood pressure.
  • If you find nests around your home, contact a licensed pest professional to deal with the nest(s) safely.

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, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800  Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

Ask us about our Preventative Wasp Treatment with an extended warranty until the end of October at no additional cost!

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Ant Attractants

ANTAnts can be frustrating to deal with when they are invading your living space, especially when they are marching through food areas. The best form of action is to prevent a situation from ever happening by eliminating potential attractants.

So what are some aspects of your home that could be attracting ants? Let’s investigate!

Ants can also be found in bedrooms, inside walls, in living rooms and basements and even in air conditioning and heating units, but kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the most vulnerable locations for ants, so we will concentrate on those rooms.

Ant Attractants in the Kitchen

  • Left over crumbs and spills
  • Grease spills on the counter-tops and floors
  • Sweet staples such as syrup, honey (especially sticky bottles) and sugar left out on counter-tops
  • Fruit bowls-Over ripe fruit is an ant attractant
  • Empty juice and soda containers
  • Water sources

Ant Attractants in the Bathroom

Ants, especially carpenter ants, are drawn to areas with excess moisture; this makes bathrooms an attractive place for infestation.

  • Leaking sinks, tubs, toilets and plumbing
  • Open shampoo, lotion and soap containers

Ways to Reduce the Chance of an Ant Infestation  

  • Clean up food messes. If you’re lax about cleaning up in the kitchen, you may be supplying ants with a food source.
  • Rinse out containers and take the trash out regularly
  • Check and repair the sinks, tubs, toilets, plumbing for water buildup and plumbing leaks
  • Seal cracks and crevices, repair screens on doors and windows and replace weather-stripping to prevent ants from entering your home
  • Keep tree branches trimmed away from your home

Ant colonies can be large so it may be best to contact a licensed pest management professional if you think you have an ant issue.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to inspect and treat ants. Call us at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net  and check out our current specials while you’re there!

 

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Tick Truths

blacklegged female on grass

Image by NPMA

  • Ticks are not insects. Ticks are actually arachnids like spiders, scorpions and mites. Unlike insects, all members of this group have 4 pairs of legs as adults, and haven’t any antennae.
  • There are a few ticks that are more commonly found in Wisconsin, the American dog tick, the brown dog tick, and the Blacklegged tick. The Lone Star tick is also becoming more prevalent in Wisconsin.
  • Ticks do not fly or jump. They will crawl onto grass or brush until they find a host to crawl up and attach to. It is thought that ticks also have the ability to wait on higher ground and drop onto a host.
  • Ticks need blood to survive. Ticks will bury themselves deep within a host and can stay attached for days to eat.
  • A quick tick check after being outdoors (check your pets too!) and a prompt removal of a tick is important. For ticks to successfully transmit a disease, such as Lyme disease, they typically need to be feeding for 24-48 hours.
  • Ticks transmit a wide array of disease-causing microbes. In Wisconsin several tickborne illnesses have been reported such as babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, spotted fever rickettsiosis and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the highest reported illness in Wisconsin.
  • Ticks are easiest removed by using a fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible, pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick; doing so can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this does happen, try to remove the mouth-parts with your tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. Once the tick is removed, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. *
  • To prevent tick encounters avoid known tick-infested areas. When you are outdoors, keep to the center on cleared walkways and trails and try to avoid brushing up against vegetation and tall grass.
  • Wear protective and lighter-colored clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots or sturdy shoes when you think you may be encountering a tick-infested area. As an added extra ounce of protection, tuck your pants into your socks. Tape the area where pants and socks meet so ticks cannot crawl under clothing.

Call our knowledgeable staff now for a free quote at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800 or visit our website at www.safewaypest.net  to request a free estimate and check out our current specials, especially our 3 tier Mosquito program, which also targets ticks.

*Source: Department of Entomology, UW Madison

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