Tag Archives: facts

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

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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How Do I Know if I Have Bed Bugs?

16053289 - illustration of the bed bug life cycle on a white background

illustration of the bed bug life cycle by blueringmedia/123rf.com 

 

  1. Seeing Adult Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny, but can be seen by the naked eye, but spotted easier by using a flashlight and magnifying glass.

Look for:  ¼” flat, rusty brown colored bugs that resemble an apple seed. After feeding, engorged bed bugs are more elongated and are a dark-purplish color.

  1. Fecal Stains

After feeding on a human, bed bugs will defecate and leave behind stains.

Look for: Brown stains on sheets that appear similar to a stain a felt tip marker would leave behind. These stains may also be found on pillow cases or on the mattress itself.

  1. Blood/Reddish Stains

When bed bugs become engorged after feeding they leave behind blood spots on the sheets or mattresses. Bed bugs can also get crushed when you roll over them while they’re feeding.

Look for: Reddish stains on your sheets. Stains may also be found on pillowcases and your pajamas.

  1. Case Skins

When juvenile bed bugs grow, they shed their skin a total of 5 times before reaching adulthood.

Look for:  Lighter colored empty bed bug shells.

  1. Eggs and Eggshells

During an active bed bug infestation, eggs and eggshells can be found.

Look for: Pearly white ovals (about 1mm long). Eggshells are similar in size and color but will be less shiny and somewhat flattened.

  1. The Nose Knows

Bed bugs emit a distinctive buggy smell, which comes from pheromones they emit. This smell may only be noticeable in larger infestations.

Smell for: A strong, musty odor.

  1. Red, Itchy Bites

Bed bugs feed on humans while sleeping and leave behind red welts.  Bed bug bite reactions differ from person to person.

Look for: Bed bug bites can range in look depending on how one reacts from the bite. Look for itchy red bumps or marks on skin. Marks may be in a cluster or line.

*Note: Bites alone are not proof that you have bed bugs. Bites and rashes can be caused by various other reasons.

When Inspecting for Bed Bugs…

Bed bugs can be found in various places. Search around the bed, check seams, tags, box spring and in cracks of the bed frame and headboard.

Bed bugs can also be found in seams of couches and chairs, in curtains, in dressers, under wall hangings and in appliances.

Note: A less-cluttered living space makes for an easier inspection and treatment area if bed bugs are found.

Professional Inspection

Early detection is important. A professional inspection by a licensed and trained pest specialist can give you immediate answers.

Our staff (and our bed bug dog, Pepper) are trained to inspect for signs of a bed bug infestation. Give us a call at 262-679-4422 or toll free 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at www.safewaypest.net.   

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In the Matter of Mice- Mind-Blowing Mouse Facts

Have a mouse problem? You are not alone!

According to the NPMA (National Pest Management Association), each winter, mice and other rodents infest and invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States.

Mice tend to enter homes in the fall and winter to find food, water and a warm shelter. Although some may find these litter critters cute, they can spread over 200 human pathogens and are quick to reproduce.

Mind-Blowing Mouse Facts

  • A female mouse can have 6-10 litters per year, with 6-12 babies per litter. Mice have a gestation period of 2 months and can be re-impregnated within 24 hours.
  • Mice may be small, but they can eat 15-20 times per day.
  • Mice are good jumpers and climbers; they can jump a foot into the air, which makes for easy access to your counter tops.
  • A mouse can squeeze through an opening the size of a dime.
  • A mouse can produce between 40 and 100 droppings per day.
  • Mice are germ carriers and spread diseases such as salmonella and Hantavirus.

If you see a mouse in your home, you can assume there are probably more or will be soon. Because mice carry disease, it may be best to contact a professional if the situation calls for it.

The pest specialists and office staff at Safeway Pest Management are knowledgeable and ready to help with your mouse problem. Give us a call at 262-679-4422 in Muskego, 262-354-3444 in Oconomowoc or toll free at 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net.

Ask us about our new special Winter Residential Rodent Program!!

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