Spooky Pests You May Encounter This Halloween

October 24th, 2014

While it’s normal to see spiders, bats and other creepy crawlers invade your front doorstep on Halloween in the form of trick-or-treaters or spooky décor, homeowners should also to be on the lookout for real-life ghoulish pests this fall.

Here’s a guide to some common household critters, and a few simple tips to prevent them from turning your home into a haunted house.

Rats

Rats are one of the most reviled pests, due in part to their strange, hairy appearance. They are primarily nocturnal and can be found nesting in a variety of places – from inside piles of garbage to undisturbed areas of basements.

Rats can fit through an opening the size of a quarter, so it is easy for them to find access to our homes. Once inside, they can spread diseases by contaminating food and put homes at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires.

  • Tip: Before homeowners bring boxes of pumpkins and faux cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, they should inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings. Once Halloween is over and it’s time to pack away the ghoulish decorations, make sure they are stored in a plastic box with a sealed lid. This will prevent rodents from making out-of-season décor their new home.

Bats

For centuries, bats have caused unfounded fear in people, as they are often associated with vampires and haunted houses. Bats are nocturnal mammals that roost in dark areas of buildings, such as attics, belfries and under fascia boards, and in other sheltered areas like caves. They are known to fly from their secluded nests at dusk to get food and return just before daylight. Bats are frequentcarriers of rabies, which can be fatal if left untreated.

  • Tip: Homeowners should screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home. If an active bat infestation is suspected, it’s important to contact a licensed pest professional because bats are protected by law in most states.

Spiders

The sight of a spider crawling on the wall can frighten just about anyone, especially around Halloween. Although spiders often get a bad rap, only a few species found in the United States are actually dangerous. Homeowners should be particularly aware of the brown recluse spider, the black widow spider and the hobo spider, as these types of spiders are known to administer a painful bite when disturbed or threatened.

  • Homeowners can avoid coming in contact with spiders by keeping garages, attics and basements clean and clutter-free. Make sure to wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time, like Halloween decorations.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are similar to vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. Although bed bugs are often found in beds, they can also conceal themselves behind baseboards, underneath electrical switch plates and in furniture crevices. Bed bugs will hide in luggage, purses, laptop cases and other personal belongings in an effort to find a human food supply. Luckily, these elusive pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin.

  • Tip: If you plan on purchasing a Halloween costume from a rental or second-hand store, make sure to inspect it for bed bugs before dressing up to go trick-or-treating. Pay particular attention to the inside seams, looking for any signs of sticky white eggs, shed skins and the bugs themselves.

Atlanta Bed bug control

October 23rd, 2014

Bed bug control

3 Keys to a Successful Heat Treatment:

  1. Bring Heat. Electric bed bug heaters are placed within the space; introducing and recirculating heated air with a target temperature not to exceed 135°F.
  2. Monitor. Temperatures are monitored in real time from a remote location using wireless sensors to ensure lethal temperatures are reached without damaging the space and its contents.
  3. Move Air. High temperature fans move heated air throughout the space to reach insects in cracks and crevices or high infestation zones.

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October 22nd, 2014

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Pollinator Health Supporter

October 21st, 2014

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A newly uncovered fossil shows just how ancient bugs got down to mating business

October 20th, 2014

Who said archeology isn’t sexy?! A newly uncovered fossil shows just how ancient bugs got down to mating business.

Free Pest & Termite Inspection | Bug Busters USA Acworth, GA 30102

October 17th, 2014

How do I prevent a stink bug infestation?

October 16th, 2014

How do I prevent a stink bug infestation?

To prevent stink bugs from entering homes and buildings, seal all cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, outlets, behind chimneys and underneath the wood fascia and other openings. Be sure to use a high-quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors should be replaced to keep stink bugs out. It can also be beneficial to replace outdoor lighting with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to stink bugs. A licensed pest professional can treat for stink bugs in the late summer or fall to prevent infestations as they seek shelter from the cold.

How do I get rid of stink bugs?

If you’re already dealing with stink bugs in your home or building, use a vacuum cleaner to remove them. Be sure to discard the bag or empty the canister to prevent odor from spreading. For further assistance, contact a licensed pest control professional to assess the problem.

Why do they come indoors?

As the weather gets colder toward the end of summer and early fall, stink bugs begin searching for warm overwintering sites. This leads them to enter homes and other structures that could provide shelter. Stink bugs reemerge from their overwintering sites in early spring to become active once again. During warm months, they are frequently seen congregating en masse on the sides of buildings.

How to Control Ants

October 15th, 2014

There are as many ways to control ants as there are species of ants! Different species eat different things – making it almost impossible to inspect a single area and control the ant population.  The best strategy homeowners can employ when attempting to control ants is to clean, clean, clean. Wipe down counters, regularly remove garbage, clean up grease spills, rinse and remove empty soda cans or other recyclables and mop/sweep the floors. Homeowners should also keep food in sealed containers and keep pet food/water dishes clean. Outside the home, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water such as birdbaths or kiddie pools. Finally, seal cracks and holes around the home to close entry points.

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West Nile Infographic

October 14th, 2014

WNV Infographic

Click the infographic to enlarge!

Watch for Invasive Invaders

October 13th, 2014

Experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, encourage homeowners to also be on the lookout for the following invasive species:

Atlanta Pest Control

Atlanta Pest Control

Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) – RIFAs were brought to the United States in 1930 from South America and are mainly found in the southern region of the country. When disturbed, they are known to swarm and sting humans, often causing painful welts on the skin.

Asian Tiger Mosquito – Originating from Southeast Asia, the Asian tiger mosquito is now found throughout the eastern, Midwestern and southern states. This mosquito species can cause an irritable bite and spread several diseases, including Dengue fever, West Nile virus and Japanese Encephalitis.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Likely introduced from Eastern Asia, stink bugs are most prevalent in the northeast. While stink bugs don’t pose any health threats, they can produce an unpleasant odor when crushed.

Formosan Termite – Originally from China, Formosan termites are the most aggressive subterranean termite species. They are capable of consuming wood at rapid speeds, posing a serious structural threat to a property if left untreated.

Due to the health and property risks posed by invasive species, homeowners should frequently inspect the home for signs of an infestation and contact a licensed pest professional to treat any potential pest problems.

For more information on invasive pests, please visit www.bugbustersusa.com