Fall Pest-Proofing 101

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The trees are changing, the weather is cooling and you can now relax because those summer insects will soon be gone, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Although some summertime invaders will soon be a distant memory, others will be seeking a cozy and warm place to spend the winter.

There are two important key points to remember in pest proofing 101. First, you want to keep pests from invading and entering your home and secondly, you want to avoid making your home inviting for any pests that do find a way inside by eliminating food and water sources.

The number one thing on your to-do list is to inspect your home.

  • Look for cracks and entry point holes and seal up any you may find. Pay 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. Also check around pipes and utility entry areas for entry points.
  • Check all doors and windows. Check for cracks, check screens to make sure they are free of holes and are tight fitting. Install door sweeps where needed.

Some other helpful pest prevention tips:

  • Use containers with tight fitting lids in storage areas. Reduce clutter and store containers off of the floor.
  • Clean up leaves and outdoor debris. Trim back any branches or shrubbery around the house.
  • Store your garbage in sealed containers, and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Keep outdoor grilling areas and indoor food areas clean and free of food debris. Store food in airtight containers.
  • Eliminate water sources.
  • Keep bird feeders away from your home. Check into squirrel guards to keep wildlife at bay.

If you are in need of professional service, or if you’d like assistance in inspecting your home, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net 

 

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Filed under Asian Ladybeetles, Box Elder Bugs, Pest Prevention, Rodents, Spiders, Uncategorized

The Flea Facts

What are Fleas?

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.

The most common flea is the cat flea, which prefers feeding on human, cats and dogs.
What Is the Source?

Fleas are attracted to and can live on any warm-blooded animal, but seem to prefer humans, dogs, cats, rats and other rodents.

Don’t own a pet? Sometimes wild animals, such as mice, squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, etc., can cause a flea infestation in your home. Mice definitely lead this list as they are numerous and find access to your home much easier than most other animals.

In some cases even a previously removed animal can leave behind fleas. This will cause the fleas to search out a new host to feed on.

What are the Risks?

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. Flea bites cause itchy and painful red bumps. Fleas saliva can cause allergic reactions in humans and pets and can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets.
Flea Prevention Tips:

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. Seal any openings you find.

Some burrowing animals can make nests under decks or concrete slabs on homes without basements. Walk the perimeter of your home looking for freshly dug dirt and use a flashlight and search under the deck. 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.

Keep your yard clear of garbage and pet droppings.

Protect your pets by regular bathing and see your vet for annual check-ups and for advice on flea products and prevention.

Contact a licensed professional pest management specialist for assistance.

Safeway Pest Management technicians are knowledgeable and trained to treat fleas. Call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net 

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Early Appearance of Autumn Invaders

You may take notice of a couple of insects that are making their bothersome appearance a little earlier than usual. The Asian Lady Beetle and the Boxelder bug, both prominent autumn pests, typically look for residences to hide during the cold months of the year, but are displaying a good amount of activity already this August.

Boxelder bugs inherited their name by their preferred food source, the Box Elder tree. But, you can also find them feeding on the sap and seeds of other trees such as Maple, Ash and some other fruit trees. Their damage to trees is typically minor, they do not bite, and they also do not carry any diseases. They do, although, have the capability to leave behind “waste stains” where they have been. With all of that said, you may still consider them a nuisance when you find them covering the sunny side of your home.

Boxelder Bugs are pretty easy to spot. They are about a ½” long and have a black body with red markings on their wings.

Asian Lady Beetles are around 1/3”-1/4” long, they can be yellow-orange to red and they can have anywhere from 0-22 spots on their wings. Their diet includes plants such as Evergreens, Apple and Maple trees, alfalfa, wheat, cotton, tobacco, and small grains. Asian beetles emit an unpleasant odor and can stain surfaces with their yellowish secretions if disturbed.

Both bugs are most noticeable during the months of September and October. During that time, Boxelder bugs and Asian Lady Beetles can be found congregating in large numbers on the southern sunny and warm side of buildings, trees and rocks. Once the cooler temperatures of winter begin to set in, they will find their way inside of homes to find a protective place to overwinter.

To prevent Boxelder bugs and Asian Lady Beetles from making a home in your residence:

  • Seal off any cracks or crevices in walls, foundations and around pipes
  • Check for loose vents or entry by exhaust fans
  • Sweep and vacuum to remove and release unwanted beetles
  • Repair any torn window screens or door gaps

If the problem becomes too much to handle, it may be best to call a licensed Pest Management professional to assist.

Ask us about our Fall Preventative Treatment that prevents insects like the Boxelder bug and the Asian Lady Beetle from entering and hibernating in your home over the winter.

Call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net 

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Which Bee Do You See?

Is it a bee? Is it a wasp? It can be super confusing to identify a specific type of stinging insect, so let’s take a quick tour of some types of stinging insects in Wisconsin and their distinguishing traits.

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

Bees: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairy, long antennae

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)

Honey Bee:  

 

 

  • Nest: Human built or nests built within walls
  • Identifying Markers: Yellow-Orange in color (color can be faint in some bees), ½” in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Hairy eyes, can only sting once and then die

Bumble Bee: 

9251318 - bumblebee

Image by: dionisvera/123RF.com

  • Nest: Under stoops, under concrete by patios and decks, lower to the ground nesting areas
  • Identifying Markers: Very hairy bodies, legs and abdomen. Larger in size (1-1 ½”) , Yellow, orange or white hairs on both abdomen and thorax
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Defend their nest aggressively and can sting repeatedly

Carpenter Bee:  

7293137 - carpenter bee on a butterfly bush flower

Image by: steve_byland/123RF.com

  • Nest: Wood areas, under eaves, decks
  • Identifying Markers: Larger in size (1-1 ½”), Resemble the bumble bee, but have less color and upper abdomen is bare and shiny back
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Males (all black) do not sting, only females sting (tan in color), make burrows in wood for egg-laying

Yellow Jacket: 

yellow jacket

Image by:www.123rf.com/profile_epantha’

 

  • Nest: Upside down tear-drop shaped nest made of paper with a single hole in the bottom, nest in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that are easily hidden from predators
  • Identifying Markers: A brighter yellow in color, ½” in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Fly a side to side flight pattern before landing, they are scavengers and tend to invade BBQs and picnics. Sting repeatedly

  

Paper Wasp: 

Paper wasp front view no text

Image by: NPMA

  • Nest: nests are made of paper-like combs and found hanging under eaves, door frames, soffits, deck rails, roofs, porches, trees, shrubs
  • Identifying Markers: Paper wasps have smooth bodies, usually dark brown with yellow markings. Their body can be up to three-fourths of an inch long with slender waist. When flying, can be recognized by two rear legs “hanging down”.
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Very protective of their nest, can sting repeatedly

Bald-faced Hornet: 

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Image by: NPMA

  • Nest: Build their nests entirely on the exterior and out in the open; they build football-shaped nests out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs
  • Identifying Markers: Yellow and black (or sometimes white and black), look similar to the yellow jacket, but longer and thinner, Up to 2’ in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Extremely aggressive, can sting repeatedly

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 or toll free at 800-956-0800

Visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net

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Summertime Pest Menaces

Although there are many bothersome pests making their existence known as summer settles in Wisconsin, there are a few topping the summertime charts.

Mosquitoes

It has been quite moist in Wisconsin, to put it mildly. All of this rain has to land somewhere, and much of it can collect in areas of our yards that might not come to mind. Be certain to check the areas listed below and try to make your yard a mosquito no-breed-zone.

Water Holding Containers:  Put away items such as empty flower pots, water jugs, yard toys, old tires

Small Boats/Canoes and Wheelbarrows-Store these upside down

Roof Gutters: Clean clogged gutters

Water Fountains and Bird Baths– Change the water frequently (at least once or twice a week)

Backyard Ponds-Consider agitating the water by adding a waterfall or fountain

Other Mosquito Reducing Tips:

Keep shrubs and grass in your yard well trimmed, screen all windows and doors/patch any holes in any screens, and properly maintain swimming pools.

Spiders

With over 500 species of spiders in Wisconsin, it’s not surprising that some species, both large and small, decide to build their webs on our homes and businesses.

The largest species are members of the family Lycosidae, such as wolf spiders, funnel web spiders and nursery web spiders.

Most spiders are beneficial in managing pests due to their diet of insects. Speaking of taking bites, although poisonous spiders exist, most spiders are harmless.

Spider Reducing Tips: Keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free, caulk around window and doors to prevent spiders from entering, keep wood and rock piles away from your home and remove webbing in your home by using a broom or vacuum.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter 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. Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but burrow into wood and nest within the wood. Unfortunately, nesting sites can be dangerous around your home. Many times you will see these bees around your eaves and building nests within wood structures on your property such as sheds, decks and in wood piles.

These bees typically are not aggressive, but can sting multiple times without dying if they feel their nest is being threatened.

Carpenter Bee Reduction Tips: Preventive treatments such as painting wood with thick coats of oil based or latex paints will help reduce nesting sites.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, have a spider or mosquito problem, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800

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

Ask us about our Mosquito Special! An entire season of protection for only $295!

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Filed under Mosquito, Pest Prevention, Spiders, Stinging Insects, Uncategorized, Wood Destroying Insects

Wasps-The Flying Villains

Paper wasp front view

Image by: NPMA

They instill panic and fear into even the toughest of victims, they build nests in the most unwanted locations, they are flying villains armed with a stinger; they are wasps.

Wasps are the more slender, less-hairy stinging insects.

There are solitary wasps and social wasps. Solitary wasps such as the great black wasp and cicada killer wasp may be found digging tunnels in lawns. Both sting, but should not attack humans as long as they are not bothered.

Social wasps belong to a group that will build and defend their colony and queen. Social wasps include paper wasps, the bald-faced hornet and the yellow jacket. These are the more-aggressive wasps and can sting multiple times, and will do so if they feel their nest is threatened. Both hornets and wasps do not leave a stinger in the victim.

So which flying villain is building nests on your home?

European paper wasps and Polistes wasps build small nests and prefer to build in attics, but will build just about anywhere including eave peaks, railings and swing sets.

Bald-faced hornets build their nests entirely on the exterior; they build football-shaped nests out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs.  Bald-faced hornets are actually beneficial hornets if left alone as they kill and eat wasps and yellow jackets.

Yellow jackets prefer to hide their nests from predators in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that it is easy to hide the nest. Their nests resemble an upside down tear-drop with a single hole in the bottom.

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 or toll free at 800-956-0800

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

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Mosquitoes: Fight the Bite!

MosquitoThe most effective way to reduce the mosquito population in your yard and community is to eliminate potential breeding areas.

Standing water is the ideal breeding location for mosquitoes.

 

Some common areas where mosquitoes breed and some tips to reduce their numbers:

Water Holding Containers:  Put away items such as empty flower pots, water jugs, yard toys, old tires

Small Boats/Canoes and Wheelbarrows-Store these upside down

Roof Gutters: Clean clogged gutters

Water Fountains and Bird Baths– Change the water frequently (at least once or twice a week)

Backyard Ponds-Consider agitating the water by adding a waterfall or fountain

 

Some other helpful mosquito reducing tips:

Fill open tree stumps with sand

Keep shrubs and grass in your yard well trimmed

Cover Trash Containers

Check for any leaks on outdoor faucets

Check and straighten any tarps that have pooling water

Properly maintain swimming pools

Dispose of all empty beverage containers and lids

Screen all windows and doors, patch any holes in screens

 

Ask us about our Mosquito Special, an entire season of protection for only $295!

Safeway Pest Management Muskego Office: 262-679-4422 Oconomowoc Office: 262-354-3444 or Toll Free 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web: www.safewaypest.net

 

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Filed under Mosquito, Pest Prevention, Stinging Insects, Uncategorized