7 Tips to Help Keep Pests Out of Crawl Spaces

A crawl space with wooden beams and yellow insulation.
A crawl space with wooden beams and yellow insulation.

Do you know what’s lurking beneath your home? Do you know how to keep pests out of your crawl space? 

If you haven’t been down there for a while, chances are you’ve acquired a few pests. Crawl spaces are notorious for attracting all kinds of bugs and rodents. 

If untreated, these pests can eventually make their way into your home. Thankfully, Environmental Pest Management is here to help. 

We provide safe and effective pest management year-round. 

With regular treatment, we can help protect the foundation of your home by keeping pests out of your crawl space. We are located in Burnsville, MN, but we service the greater Twin Cities Metro area. 

We offer residential, commercial, and multi-family services as well as TAP insulation. Schedule a free crawl space inspection with Environmental Pest Management today!

Common Pests Your Crawl Space Attracts

A vole peaking out from under a deck

No crawl space is fully immune to bugs and rodents. However, if you stay up to date with regular inspections and treatment from Environmental Pest Management, your chances improve significantly. 

Certain types of vermin are common to crawl spaces in Minnesota. You may encounter the following:

  • Bats
  • Chipmunks 
  • Mice
  • Moles
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Voles

In addition to mammals, insects are notorious for clustering in dark, damp spaces. Common insects found in your crawl space include:

  • Bees and Wasps
  • Beetles
  • Carpenter Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Earwigs
  • Silverfish
  • Termites

Let’s look at some effective prevention measures you can take to ward off any unwelcome guests. 

Tip #1: Keep Pests Out Of Your Crawl Space By Deep Cleaning and Removing Pest Attractors

A person using a spray bottle to deep clean. Regular cleaning is one way to help keep pests out of crawl spaces.

Crawl spaces are great for storage. However, make sure it contains absolutely no food of any kind, even pet food. 

Pests live and breed near food, including sealed food. Foods attract pests, so make sure your space is devoid of any and all. 

If yours does happen to contain food, make sure to remove it promptly. Then once cleared, give your crawl space a thorough deep cleaning to eliminate any crumbs or remnants. 

Cleaning your crawl space helps fend away pest activity. 

Tip #2: Remove External Debris and Foliage

A homewoner trimming hedges around their home to help keep pests out of crawl spaces.

The bushes and shrubs surrounding your home are natural habitats for all kinds of critters. Making sure your home’s exterior is clear will help prevent infestation. 

Many invasive bugs are attracted to certain types of foliage. For instance, the boxelder bug is known for being attracted to the boxelder tree, from which its name originates. 

Other pests and rodents are attracted to fruit trees and sweet perennials like hostas and roses. Stinkbugs and chipmunks love anything sweet and are notorious for hiding indoors when cold weather hits. 

Foliage from nearby trees can push up against the house, creating damp hiding places suitable for pests. Keep pests out of your crawl space by clearing all loose debris away from your foundation walls. 

Tip #3: Seal Cracks and Openings 

An unsealed foundation crack in a home.

Once the debris has been cleared away, it will be easier to spot any cracks or openings in your foundation. 

Cracks are an open invitation for pests to enter your home. 

Seal these open cracks with caulking, foam insulation, wood, or cement blocks and replace any broken boards. 

Tip #4: Shine a Light 

Someone shining a flashlight to find pests in their crawl space

Most crawl space bugs and rodents will flee at the first sign of light. 

You can’t stay down in your basement or crawl space with a flashlight 24/7. But you can have simple LED lighting installed. 

Low-cost and energy-efficient LED bulbs will help keep pests away. And if your space has any appliance parts or piping, it will be easier to service them with proper lighting. 

Tip #5: Set Traps

A dead cockroach next to a pest control trap in a crawl space.

Setting traps is effective, cost-efficient, and they do the job of keeping pests out of your crawl space. Traps should be placed both inside and outside the home. 

Not all traps are created equal. Traps purchased through a local retailer work for the short term, but the poison wears out over time. 

Another “trap” is having a pet who hunts. Some cats are great hunters for vermin like mice and rats, and dogs will occasionally eat certain bugs. 

Keep pests out of your crawl space by letting your pets inspect the area. Just make sure you don’t have any poison traps around when they’re running loose.

Tip #6: Install Proper Ventilation 

A de-humidifer next to a moldy wall.

Crawl space rodents and insects thrive in humid environments. To lower humidity and moisture levels, install a dehumidifier. 

While dehumidifiers are a quick fix, a ventilation system is best at keeping mold, mildew, and wood rot at bay. Vents can both open and close, which adapts well to Minnesota’s constantly changing weather. 

Most new homes are built with crawl space ventilation systems. However, if your home is older, you will want to remove and replace moisture-rotted beams before installation. 

Dirt and concrete walls and flooring will help further prevent moisture from spreading. 

Each state’s HVAC IRC code varies, but most ventilators are required to cover 150 square feet of crawl space. Be sure to check with your city’s code to make sure you have enough. 

Tip #7: Crawl Space Encapsulation

A vapor barrier being installed to help keep pests out of crawl spaces.

The most effective way to control moisture levels, create a vapor barrier, and seal off any cracks is plastic encapsulation. 

A 20-millimeter thick encapsulation will create a plastic vapor barrier in your crawl space. It will cover the floor, walls, and ceilings, so pests can’t enter your crawl space. 

Regular Inspections Are Best

A pest specialist explaining something to a customer.

Regular and frequent inspections in and around your home are the best prevention against unwanted pests.  

Find out more about Professional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by Environmental Pest Management. This service will ensure your home stays pest-free for as long as you own the home. 

Environmental Pest Management will answer any WHAT, WHY, HOW, and WHEN questions you may have. Their unique solutions will help get to the root of the problem. 

After identifying the source, they will help you take the appropriate measures to protect the foundation of your home. 

With Environmental Pest Management, you can prevent pests from entering your crawl space with regular inspections and treatment.  

Schedule your free crawl space inspection with Environmental Pest Management today!

Keep Those Bugs At Bay! How Does Bug Spray Work?

A parent spraying their child wit bug spray while doing outdoor activities.
A parent spraying their child wit bug spray while doing outdoor activities.

Bugs are part of summer, and so is bug spray. But how does bug spray work, and is it safe? Today you will learn all you need to know about everything bug spray. 

Summer is the best time of the year. There’s nothing quite like getting together with your friends and family, basking in the sun, and enjoying your backyard. 

There are endless opportunities for day trips, including going to the lake or a park. Unfortunately, a day outside often ends with the family covered in bug bites, and that itching can last for weeks. 

Environmental Pest Management provides bug control services in the Metro Twin Cities area and surrounding suburbs. We use safe products to protect the planet and your family. 

When bug spray isn’t enough for your yard, give us a call! 

What Is Bug Spray Made Of?

A backpacker spraying their legs with bug spray made with DEET.

Bug spray is excellent for making sure you’re not covered in itchy dots at the end of the day. 

Over the years, you’ve probably noticed the weird smell of many sprays, which has to do with the various ingredients. The main ingredient you will find in most bug sprays is DEET (also known as N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide.) 

DEET was first produced in 1944 as a pesticide in farm crops. DEET has been found to be slightly poisonous to some freshwater fish, but it is EPA-approved.

A study was released in 2014 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) It stated that “The Agency has not identified any risks of concern to human health.”

Many common sprays contain lemon eucalyptus oil. It serves as both an insect repellent and a remedy for killing certain types of fungus. 

Researchers say that the oil is as effective and long-lasting as products containing DEET and is a better natural alternative. 

Another ingredient that you are likely familiar with is citronella oil, which you can also find in candle form. 

Citronella is derived from an Asian grass plant known as the Cymbopogon genus. The plant produces a citrus-like aroma.

It is less protective than DEET, often only lasting for around 3 hours before you need to reapply.

Bug repellents work by irritating insects, so they don’t land on you. Natural alternatives also encourage bugs to leave the area.

How Does Bug Spray Work?

A small blonde child being swarmed by mosquitos.

You apply bug spray on a regular basis, but do you know exactly how it works?

The average bug spray isn’t designed to kill bugs but instead fights them off. 

Bug spray works by disguising the scent of your body from bugs. 

Bugs, like mosquitos and ticks, are attracted to the carbon dioxide that the human body produces. 

Carbon dioxide is released from the body through your sweat glands, pores, and even your breath. Pests associate this smell with a food source. 

Pests find the smell of bug sprays repulsive, which helps to keep them away. Try to stay away from lavender and basil as they are highly attracted to these scents. 

Insecticides

A pest control worker using insecticides in a client's kitchen. Clients often ask pest control specialists how does bug spray work?

While bug spray is a repellent, insecticides are used to kill bugs such as ants, cockroaches, and hornets. There are so many different kinds of insecticides because the goal of these sprays is to administer a quick death. 

The chemicals do this by causing paralysis and attacking their central nervous systems.

There is a flower called Pyrethrins, which produces natural insecticides. The flowers look similar to daisies and have been used for hundreds of years to kill bugs and head lice. 

Pyrethroids are synthetic chemicals in Insecticides that mimic the effects of the flower. This chemical is most commonly used in wasp and hornet sprays. 

Insecticides are best used late at night. A hive tends to be less lively at night, and they are less likely to attack you when you spray. 

While bug spray works by getting insects out of the area, insecticides work by killing the pests.

Are Bug Sprays Safe?

Someone spraying a can of blue bug spray into the air.

DEET, the most common active ingredient found in household bug sprays, is a pretty controversial topic. Although the EPA registered DEET without any expected health concerns, DEET is an irritant that can often cause rashes. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns parents not to use DEET on children under two months of age. But other than that, there are no age restrictions. 

Surprisingly, the only repellent with an active age restriction is the oil of the lemon eucalyptus plant. They state that it should not be used for children under three years old. 

Natural Alternatives

Two class amber-colored bottles filled with eucalyptus oil.

As mentioned above, lemon eucalyptus oil is a widely used natural alternative to most repellent sprays. There are also alternatives to harsh chemicals that kill bugs on the spot, though they may not be as effective. 

Soap sprays have been found useful for killing pests like mites, psyllids (plant lice), and whiteflies. The sprays work by covering the bugs in soap which cuts off their oxygen supply, essentially suffocating them. 

You can make your own soap spray simply by putting some mild liquid soap in a spray bottle. While less effective than a commercial spray, it is completely non-toxic. 

Diatomaceous Earth is a powder you can find in most gardening aisles, which acts as miniature shards of glass. The powder works best against bugs that crawl, like ants, maggots, spiders, and worms. 

Apply it around vulnerable plants, and pests will be torn up when they crawl through it. Diatomaceous Earth only works when dry, so if it storms, you must sprinkle more. 

There are also various species of plants that can be put in your yard that act as a natural repellent. To find out more information, visit our article on 7 Plants that Help to Keep Mosquitos Away.

Are you sick of researching ways to deal with bugs? 

A woman using bug spray to keep mosquitos away.

Whether you’re looking for management at home or at your business, Environmental Pest Management is here to help. We are located in Burnsville, MN. We serve the Twin Cities area and surrounding suburbs. Head over to our website to get a free quote today!

Do LED Lights Attract Bugs?

An LED bug zapper
An LED bug zapper

LED lighting has proven itself to be an energy-saving option to traditional incandescent or fluorescent lightbulb. When it comes to being outdoors, though, do LED lights attract bugs or deter them?

Insects are attracted to lights. We see examples of this by looking up at street lamps at night and seeing the swarms around them. 

Their attraction to light is based on an instinctual draw that helps them navigate the earth. 

At Environmental Pest Management, we understand the nature of the pests that we treat. We treat pest problems wholly and humanely in the Twin Cities greater area of Minnesota. 

For integrated pest management, we have a goal to know the life cycles of insects and their behavioral patterns. Those patterns include their attraction and relationship to lights. 

For a free quote and information on how to keep your home comfortable and pest-free, contact us today! 

Do LED Lights Attract Bugs? Here’s How Lights Measure Up.

A diagram of visible light and wavelengths

One way that light can be measured is in wavelengths, which are measured in nanometers. 

Warmer colors such as red, orange, and yellow measure longer wavelengths of light and are less visible to insects. Cooler colors, on the other hand, are measured in shorter wavelengths. 

The range from red-colored to UV light measures anywhere from 400-800 nanometers. Cooler tones will register 300-650 nanometers. 

Ultraviolet or UV light lies with the cooler colors and registers at 350 nanometers. That reading makes it very attractive to insects. 

Flying insects primarily use the light that they see to navigate. Much like humans, the light they see is only a fraction of the entire light spectrum. 

400 – 800 Nanometers

  • What humans see 
  • Ranges from the color violet to red 
  • It does not include UV light

350 Nanometers

  • Ultraviolet light

300 – 650 Nanometers

  • What insects perceive and are attracted to 
  • Includes UV light 
  • Insects prefer light that falls between 300 – 420 Nanometers. 

Insects can see UV light and are attracted to it, so many bug lights use it. 

 The three primary colors that bugs see are UV, green, and blue: the cooler tones on the light spectrum. Insects are less able to register warmer colors like orange, red and yellow. 

Staying away from lights with cooler tones can keep flying insects at bay in your outside spaces. Cooler-colored lights are often used in outdoor settings because they appear to be brighter. 

These were also the only lights available to customers for decades.  Bugs swarming around them at night was quite normal. 

An LED bulb that gives out a warmer tone will be just as bright without attracting annoying flying insects. LED lights with higher wavelengths do not attract bugs because the bugs can’t see them.

Going Toward the Light 

Do LED Lights Attract Bugs? Someone swapping an incandescent light bulb for an LED bulb because they do not attract bugs.

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are cooler in tone and put out a lot of heat. These light sources are typically used outside and attract flying insects. 

Incandescent and halogen bulbs are especially attractive to insects because they give off the most heat. 

These bulbs give out 90% of their energy in the form of heat. This is really important to the insects who navigate with heat receptors.

Insects of the blood-sucking persuasion are attracted to the change in temperature from one thing to another. So when a mosquito, for example, senses a higher temperature, they will go to it. 

The bloodsuckers interpret the change in temperature as a sign of a food source.

This is one of the reasons that insects are attracted to traditional lighting. The light insects are most attracted to is one that puts off lots of heat.

So, do LED lights attract bugs? 

LED bulbs are built to be more efficient and give off much less heat. Insects feel less of a change in temperature, so they aren’t drawn to these lights. 

This means you are not only running a more efficient household: you are avoiding bugs. You, my friend, are officially multi-tasking. 

Bug Zappers and Color Lights

A blue bug zapper surrounded by dead bugs.

Bug Zappers attract insects by using UV light to attract the bug. When the insect is in range, the device sends out a jolt that electrocutes it.

The bug zappers that come to mind are ones that glow purple with UV light and have bugs around them. 

They are often large and are accompanied by a loud buzzing and zapping sound.

Today there are  LED options for bug zappers that draw insects into the kill zone using UV light. The rest of the bulb, however, is an LED light that will not have a cloud of bugs around it. 

LED lights do not attract bugs the way incandescent lights do. But they do help make bug lights more efficient.

The LED options are also quieter than traditional bug zappers. 

If bug zappers aren’t an option for you, color lighting is an alternative. As we’ve covered, bugs are primarily attracted to “cooler” colored lights. 

Use a bulb that throws out a warm color light to draw fewer flying pests.

LED Lights Do Not Attract Bugs, So Keep The Light On. 

Someone holding an LED light bulb in their hands

As warmer temperatures creep in, knowing how to protect your home from pests becomes more of a priority. 

Environmental Pest Management is passionate about implementing safe and responsible ways to treat pest issues. Changing to LED lights uses no chemicals and is not harmful to humans, pets, or your home. 

We have a continued membership with both the National Pest Management Association and Minnesota Pest Management Association. Those memberships allow us to keep education ongoing and work with the best minds in our industry. 

The memberships to both national and state associations also hold us to a high standard. That higher standard keeps us doing our best for the client and the environment. 

Using methods that are more environmentally responsible leads us to use more humane processes as well. We evaluate your case and use the most ethical and environmentally friendly options.  

Our commitment to providing environmentally responsible pest solutions doesn’t stop at education. If you find yourself coping with a pest infestation, or would like a free quote, contact us today! 

7 Plants that Help to Keep Mosquitos Away

Warmer weather means the start of a lot of annual activities such as landscaping and spring cleaning. Adding some plants that keep mosquitos away is at the top of our list this spring. 

Introducing plants into your home and yard that deter mosquitoes is a small and beautiful way to help prevent mosquito activity. Fewer mosquitoes mean fewer bug bites, which means a better time had by all. 

At Environmental Pest Management, we take pride in finding ways to combat pests. Planting flowers and grasses that are natural deterrents of mosquitos are a great start. 

Reach out today for more information about protecting your home from pests and a free quote. We would love to get to know you and work with you. 

Are There Any Plants That Keep Mosquitos Away?

A bright flower garden in someone's backyard.

There are a variety of plants that may help deter mosquitoes. They also smell amazing and are fabulous additions to your Minnesota landscape.

Plants alone are unlikely to deter large amounts of mosquitos. Most natural repellents are made from the extract of the plant, not the plant itself. 

So unless you’re crushing your plants, you may be happier combining this strategy with other methods.

Start by clearing away any standing water in birdbaths or other containers. Mosquitoes love to lay their eggs in stagnant water. Then, add some of these plants to your backyard design.

Plants That Keep Mosquitos Away

1. Citronella Grass 

A citronella plant planted in the ground. Citronella is a plant that help keep mosquitos away.

Citronella may be the best-known plant for keeping mosquitos away.

Also commonly known as lemongrass for its scent, citronella grass is a common ingredient in most bug repellents. It’s also common in outdoor candles and torches meant for mosquito control. 

This beautiful lemon-scented plant is hearty and can grow to be quite large. The fragrant plant thrives in full sun and warm weather. 

You can use a potted citronella plant as a natural mosquito repellent in your home. Be sure to protect it from cooler temperatures. 

2. Marigolds

Bright orange flowers planted in a garden known as Marigolds.

Who doesn’t love a multi-tasker? Marigolds are an easy to grow annual plant that not only keeps mosquitos away but also protects against: 

  • Aphids
  • Tomato HornWorms
  • Squash Beetles

All of those pests can be harmful, especially to vegetable and flower-based gardens. Marigolds are also ideal for making a border when landscaping. 

3. Mint

A closeup of mint plant leaves.

Mint is a welcome addition to any yard or garden based on its scent alone. Not only does this plant keep mosquitos away, but it also smells lovely.

The more intense the smell of mint in the air, the better it is working

There are other reasons to plant mint in your yard. Different types of mint not only repel mosquitoes and other pesky insects, but it’s excellent for cooking and making refreshing drinks. 

Peppermint is excellent for nausea and other around-the-house uses as well, like cleaning and aromatherapy. 

4. Bee Balm 

Purple flowers known as Bee Balm.

Also known as Monarda and Horsemint, these are some colorful flowers. They come in red, pink, lavender, white, and purple. 

These gorgeous colors make them a helpful addition to any landscaping project. The chemicals that fight mosquitoes can be released by crushing the leaves to release the oils. 

The oils released have a pleasant fragrance. It is also attractive to both bees and hummingbirds, which are always welcome for pollination.  

5. Lavender

Purple Lavender flowers. Lavender is a plant to keep mosquitos away.

Lavender is widely known for its relaxing fragrance and medicinal properties. A lesser-known property is pest management. 

The oils and chemicals of this power plant will block the sense of smell for mosquitos. It can also keep rabbits and other pests out of your yard. 

Lavender is drought-resistant and is very low-maintenance, needing only good sunlight and drainage. 

6. Rosemary 

Closeup of rosemary plant sprigs.

Commonly used in cooking, rosemary is also excellent for deterring mosquitos! 

If used in landscaping, rosemary can protect lawns and gardens from carrot flies and cabbage moths as well. 

It is best to grow rosemary in a pot, as it seems to thrive when placed in them. Potting this plant also makes it ideal for use in the winter for seasoning. 

7. Sage 

A sage plant.

Sage has been used for centuries for several purposes ranging from spiritual reasons to ceremony to cooking. 

The smoke from sage plants can be used to stave off mosquitos. This is a great trick for those with a firepit or a campfire. 

Some insect-repelling plants that deserve an honorable mention include lemon balm, floss flowers, and scented geraniums. Adding any of these plants to your landscape will help keep mosquitoes away. 

Extracts and Natural Oils From Plants That Keep Mosquitos Away

A dropper dropping into a glass brown bottle of plant extarcts.

Getting the most out of your home is important. The plants being used in landscaping and decor should be no different. 

Some plants keep mosquitoes away better after a bit of processing. The oils and extracts that are found in these plants should serve in more than decor and repelling pests. 

Lavender

Lavender oil and extracts have been used in aromatherapy, spa treatment, and, yes, mosquito repellant. Not only does it smell good and get rid of pesky pests, but it helps you to relax as well. 

Bee Balm 

The extracts of the bee balm plant have several uses. Medically, the extract can be used for scrapes, stings, and stress relief. 

To release the oils and extracts, simply crush its leaves. 

Citronella

For the most part, citronella oil is burned to protect humans from mosquitos. It can be found in anything from candles to spray bug sprays. 

Bigger Issues Need a Professional 

Dead mosquitoes on a white background.

When plants alone don’t do the job, it’s time to call in a professional

Environmental Pest Management believes in treating pest issues while keeping the environment in mind. We also have a passion for keeping our clients safe. 

Call the professionals for your pest problem. We’ll address the issue and prevent you from using potentially dangerous chemicals around your home. 

For 35 years, we have worked using methods that are both environmentally responsible and humane. 

Treating the area with preventative measures will help deter a return of the infestation. 

We believe in doing our jobs right the first time so that our clients will be comfortable in their homes. 

We have memberships with the National Pest Management Association and the Minnesota Pest Management Association. These memberships allow us to partner with the best minds in our industry. 

Those memberships also offer us the opportunity to continue to educate ourselves in the very best methods. This alone guarantees excellent service to our clients. 

If you are in Burnsville, Minnesota, and the surrounding area, we are here to offer our services. Contact us today for a free quote and to see how we can serve you

How To Get Rid Of June Bugs

Summer’s coming! You know it’s summer when you hear the whack of June Bugs smacking into your sliding glass door. Let’s discuss how to get rid of June Bugs.

Are you ready to enjoy the season? If you want to relax this summer, let Environmental Pest Management handle pest control. 

We handle all kinds of indoor and outdoor pests in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. Contact us today for a free quote.

How to Identify June Bugs

A large June Bug on a green leaf.

There are hundreds of June bugs species, but in Minnesota, there are roughly 20 bugs with this name. June Bugs in our area are about an inch long and have an oval-shaped body.

These bulbous bugs have six hairy-looking legs and a pair of black antennae. They are dark brown, although some appear almost black or maroon. 

The June bug’s back and body is a hard, smooth shell with a uniform color and no markings. The underside is hairy. 

When they walk, they move in a bumbling way, almost as though their legs are too short for their bodies. When they fly, they always look like they’re about to crash.

They certainly are goofy, graceless bugs.

June Bugs are unique insects with two sets of wings. That hard shell covering the backside is a set of wings. There’s a second pair underneath the first.

The top set of wings serves to protect the bug but sticks out straight to be out of the way in flight. The top wings sticking out make this bug aerodynamically awkward.  

What Is A June Bug’s Life Cycle?

June Bug Larvae on potting soil

Adult June Bugs show up in or around (you guessed it) the beginning of summer. But where do they originate?

The bug begins life as an egg. The little white egg takes about three weeks to hatch.

The June Bug larva makes its way into your soil. It has a huge appetite, and it will molt twice before moving to the next stage of life. 

The bug will continue in the larval stage, eating roots and growing for one to three years. 

When the larva has grown and matured enough, it enters the pupal stage.

The pupa starts dark brown, gradually taking on an iridescent sheen. The pupa remains underground and doesn’t move at all during this stage.

The pupal stage lasts about three weeks. When this stage ends, the adult bug finds its way out of the ground and flies off to find a meal.

What Draws June Bugs To Your Home Or Yard?

June Bugs are attracted to moist soil and organic material. If you leave grass clippings left in your yard, June Bugs will be happy to dine there.

Damp soil is an ideal place for June beetles to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the June Bug grubs will burrow into your lawn.

June Bugs are drawn to any light source. If you have exterior lights on in early summer, you are likely hosting a nightly June Bug party. It may be the reason you’re researching how to get rid of June Bugs!

What Harm Do June Bugs Cause?

A June Bug on white blossoming flowers.

This flying, bumbling beetle is not a danger to people, and they do not want to bite or eat you. But June Bugs are interested in your plants.

June Bugs eat a wide variety of plant leaves, making Swiss cheese out of your lawn and garden. But that’s just the start.

The bugs lay eggs in your soil, turning your yard into a June Bug nursery. When the eggs hatch, the grubs feast on the roots of your plants.

A grub infestation can cause patches of dead grass to show up on your lawn. Brown patches in your yard are a sign of grubs munching on your roots.

Bugs in your lawn can also attract other animals notorious for being pests. Skunks and raccoons will dig small holes digging up grubs for dinner. 

How To Get Rid Of June Bugs

A bug zapper light installed and lit up to help prevent June Bugs in a yard.

The first step to getting rid of June bugs is to focus on the adults. 

If you aren’t squeamish, grab a pair of gardening gloves and pick the bugs off your plants by hand. Place them into a jug of soapy water to drown them.

If you prefer a hands-off approach, try this integrated pest management approach. This DIY insect killer is safe for humans and the environment:

  1. Mince four cloves of garlic. Soak them overnight in a tablespoon of mineral oil.
  2. Drain the oil, then add the garlic to a pint of water.
  3. Add a teaspoon of dish soap to the mix. 
  4. Put two tablespoons of your mix in a pint-sized spray bottle. Fill the remainder with water.

To get rid of June Bugs, spray the ones you see, as well as the plants they’ve been munching. The method also works well on Japanese beetles.

You can also reduce your June Bug count by installing a bug zapper. These bugs are notorious for heedlessly heading into lights. They fly straight into a crispy end with this contraption.

Once you’ve gotten control of the adults, you’ll need to address the grubs. 

June Bugs like to lay eggs in short grass, so don’t mow your lawn too low. You can set the mower to at least three inches to keep it at an ideal height. 

Deal with grubs naturally by introducing nematodes to the soil. You can purchase these microscopic worms online or at a garden center. Apply them with a spray bottle. 

A similar method is to apply a bacteria called Bacillus Thuringiensis, or BT. Apply in a spray or powder form to safely eliminate grubs.

If you need a more robust solution, try an insecticide that contains neem oil. This compound is toxic for many larvae but will not harm most beneficial bugs

Don’t Want To Deal With Bugs This Summer? Let Us Help

A pest control worker spraying a lawn.

If you’ve tried managing your outdoor pests, but they keep coming back, give us a call at Environmental Pest Management. We are experts at keeping your Minnesota yard free of nuisance bugs. 

Reach out today for your free quote to be on your way to having a pest-free environment!

Pests That Affect Your Pets: Fleas vs. Ticks

Outlines of a flea vs. tick
Outlines of a flea vs. tick

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to your animal incessantly scratching? Your dog could be scratching because of a common pet pest. The scratching can be from a pest, but is it a flea vs. a tick bothering your pet?

Fleas and ticks are tiny parasitic bugs that can cause people and animals irritation and transmit diseases. Though both fleas and ticks are tiny parasites, irritate, and transmit disease, they have more differences than you would think.  

If your home is teeming with tiny parasites, contact Environmental Pest Management for a successful pest control service.

Pests that Affect Your Pets: Fleas vs. Ticks

Three small dogs itching for fleas vs. ticks.

The most noticeable difference between fleas and ticks is that fleas like to invade. Fleas will infest your pets and invade the inside of your home. 

In contrast, ticks prefer to stay outdoors and will latch on to your pets if a suitable host wanders by. Both of these bugs have differences in characteristics, habitats, behaviors, bites, and how they spread disease.

Let’s dive into the differences!

Characteristics

Fleas

A large closeup shot of a flea to show the difference between flea vs. tick

Fleas are a dark reddish-brown color. They are easy to mistake as dirt in your pet’s coat.

They have tiny backward-pointing hairs that extend from their exoskeleton. They use their extended mouthparts to feed on their host’s blood. 

Although they may appear to be flying, this is not the case. They do not have wings.

Fleas use their strong hind legs to leap up to 13 inches or 200 times their body length.

Ticks

An enlarged photo of a tick on a white background

Depending on the species, ticks are usually larger than fleas. There are more than 850 species of ticks, and 90 of them can be found within the United States. 

Ticks can be a black, brown, reddish-brown, grayish-white, or yellowish color. They are more of a teardrop or oval-shaped bug with a large abdomen used for feeding. 

Adult ticks will have eight legs, while tick larvae will only have six. Ticks have three life stages: Larval, nymph, and adult- all of which are capable of biting. They are a close cousin to spiders. 

Habitats

A shaded area with tall grass is the perfect habitat for fleas and ticks

Fleas prefer to live in shaded areas with lots of tall grass. Since ticks cannot fly or jump, they prefer to live closer to their hosts. 

They will live in wooded or grassy areas close to homes or near rat burrows or bird nests.

What weather can they tolerate? Most of the time, we think of “flea and tick season” as the warmer months. 

While it’s true for fleas, they thrive in warmer environments. On the other hand, while yes, ticks thrive in warmer weather, they can survive the colder months. Some even hide underneath the snow.    

Behaviors

A tick biting human skin.

Fleas usually avoid biting humans unless there are no other suitable hosts nearby. Fleas will find one host, usually a dog or cat, and live there until they die.

On the other hand, ticks are not as particular. 

Ticks will attach themselves to multiple hosts and feast for a few days until they are engorged with blood, then move on to the next. Ticks will feed on pets, deer, opossums, rabbits, rodents, and even humans. 

 Fleas use their powerful hind legs to jump to and from their hosts.

Since ticks can’t fly or jump, many species of ticks wait for their hosts in a position called “questing.” When questing, the tick will hold onto a leaf or grass with its hind legs with its front legs outstretched.

Then once a host wanders by that area, they will quickly climb aboard and search for a place to latch.

Fleas vs. Ticks: The Bites

Flea bites on a leg.

When a flea bites its host, they inject their saliva into their skin. This can cause your pet to experience skin irritation, rash, and itchiness. 

When a tick bites, it is usually painless, and the negative symptoms will not appear until the tick has finished feeding. The symptoms of a tick bite can include pain at the site, swelling, rash, headache, sore muscles, or fever.

How They Spread Disease

A doctor removing a tick from a person's hand.

Fleas

Fleas can spread diseases such as typhus and plague. Fleas become infected when they bite an infected animal such as a rat, opossum, or stray cat. 

When the fleas bite their host, it causes a break in the skin. When the fleas feed, they poop. 

The poop is called “flea dirt.” The flea dirt from the infected flea can get rubbed inside the wounds. 

It is also possible for people to inhale in the infected flea dirt or rub it into their eyes.

Ticks

Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and tularemia through feeding. 

Depending on the species of tick and which life stage it’s in, it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours to find a feeding spot on its host’s skin. Once the tick has found its feeding spot, it cuts into the surface of the skin and inserts its feeding tube. 

Many species of ticks have a barbed feeding tube that helps keep them in place while feeding. They can also secrete a sticky substance to help keep themselves attached to their meal.

Before ticks bite, they can secrete a small amount of saliva that contains anesthetic qualities. The host will be unaware of the tick’s attachment.

The tick can go unnoticed in a hard-to-reach or out-of-the-way spot. Then the tick will feast on the blood slowly for a couple of days. 

If the host has any bloodborne pathogens, the tick will ingest them with the blood. Tiny amounts of tick saliva can enter the host during the feeding process. 

The infected saliva from the tick can transmit pathogens to the host during the feast. Once finished feeding, the tick drops off to prepare for its next stage of life. 

Any acquired pathogens or diseases can be transmitted at the next feeding. 

Protect Your Pets    

A pet owner applying flea medicine to a dog that has flea dirt in its fur.     

Preparing yourself for fleas and ticks is the best way to protect you, your home, and your pets from fleas and ticks. When it comes to fleas and ticks, it is best to use prevention methods. 

Keep your yard mowed and landscaped to help keep them from living in your backyard. Do not leave out any pet food that may attract unwanted animals, such as opossums or raccoons.

Talk to your veterinarian about a flea and tick treatment for your pet. And keep your pet’s bedding or carpets and rug clean to prevent flea infestations. 

If you think you have a tick infestation or live near a wooded area where ticks love to hang out, call Environmental Pest Management for help. We will prevent pet pests from infiltrating your home.

Protect Your Home and Yard From These Stinging Insects

A portrait of a yellow jacket isolated on a white background
A portrait of a yellow jacket isolated on a white background

Summertime is a season of sun, vacation, backyard barbecues. Inevitably, it’s also the season of stinging insects. 

How can you best prevent those pesky wasps, hornets, and bees from interrupting your party? 

Protect your yard and home from unwanted stinging insects, call the experts and connect with Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

Wasps, hornets, and bees: what’s the difference?

Wasps and hornets can be quite an annoyance at your garden party. Being more aggressive, they are harder to deal with than the friendly bee. 

Wasps and hornets

Appearance 

A portrait of a wasp, a common stinging insect.

Wasps appear armor-plated with a sleek, hairless body. The most common wasps in Minnesota are yellow jackets and paper wasps.

Yellowjacket wasps are yellow and black. Their thorax ends with a pointy tip. 

Paper wasps have a segmented body with a thin waist. They have dark coloring with smokey black wings.

Hornets are a wasp, but their bodies are a little rounder than yellow jackets or paper wasps. 

Social hives versus solo-resident nests 

Wasps building a nest on a building.

When wasps and hornets live communally, you can find their nests in trees, under the eaves of a house, or porches. These stinging insects can also live in individual nests usually found in sand or soil locations.

They raise their young in communal hives. Like honey bees, wasps and hornets have a single queen.

Wasps and hornets generally are not interested in humans unless they are defending their nests. The stinging insects are quite territorial, and if you come within a yard of their nest or hive, these insects may attack you. 

Carnivorous hunters

A yellowjacket eating a piece of salmon.

Wasps are predators and use their stingers offensively and defensively. They sting to stun or kill their prey, and they sting to ward off threats. 

Wasps can sting their target multiple times.

Wasps and hornets are essential in helping control the population of small insects. They also feed on sweet nectars from flowers and fruit trees. 

Honey bees or bumblebees

While these flying insects can also sting, they are generally much less aggressive. 

Appearance 

A portrait of a honey bee, isolated on a white background. Tehy are a common stinging insect.

Honey bees are yellow and black flying insects that grow fuzz or fur on their bodies. The presence of hairs on the bee’s body helps you differentiate them from yellow jackets. 

Bumblebees are rounder and plumper than honey bees. They also have black and yellow stripes and fuzz all over their bodies. 

Communal hives

Bee keepers checking on their honey bee hives.

Honey bees live in hives with a single queen, and their nests are often found in trees. Bumblebees live in holes in the ground. 

Helpful and hairy

A bee covered in plant pollen

Bees are helpful pollinators, and much of our fruit, grain, and vegetable production depends on them. Pollen attaches to their hairy bodies and is deposited to other flowers as they fly from bloom to bloom. 

While generally less aggressive, honey bees can only sting once, then die. If possible, do not kill honey or bumblebees, as they are important to our ecosystem and can be considered a beneficial insect

What happens when you get stung?

No question, stinging insects no fun. What is a stinger’s anatomy, and what is the biological response in your body after you get stung?

History of the stinger

A closeup of a wasp or yellow jacket stinger

In prehistoric times, the stinger was not for attacking but instead was how female wasps laid their eggs. This anatomical feature is why only female wasps and hornets have stingers. 

Anatomy of the stinger

Wasp venom is produced and stored in a sac near the stinger. The poison seeps out through valves, which leads to the sheath which holds the stinger.

The smooth stinger is coated in venom. The wasp is always ready to respond to a threat or attack. 

When you are stung by an insect, your body has a few biological reactions—the most common being: pain, redness at the site, and swelling. 

Why does it hurt?

A close up of a bee sting on someone's arm.

Peptides and enzymes in venom will break down cellular membranes in your skin. When neuron cells are affected, the injured cells send a signal to the brain. 

That message translates into the sensation of pain. 

Another element in stinger venom is a chemical that acts like norepinephrine. This chemical slows blood flow, which causes the pain to continue for several minutes.  

Hyaluronidase and MCDP (Mast Cell Degranulating Peptide) are also present in venom. They potentiate the enzymes that break down cell walls in your skin, which is why wasp and bee sting often lead to swelling and redness in the area. 

How to prevent wasp and bee stings

A group of yellow jackets on a table.

While it can be challenging to avoid stinging insects entirely in the summer, here are some great tips to encourage them to stay away from you and your loved ones.

  • Minimize wearing strong perfumes or scents.
  • Food smells especially attract wasps. When eating outside, clean up food scraps and leftovers quickly.
  • Avoid wearing dark colors and bright floral patterns as they are all attracted to these colors.  
  • Keep outdoor waste cans away from where people may be congregating as wasps are attracted to garbage. 
  • Wear closed-toe shoes if possible when walking on the grass. 

Most importantly, nests found near your home or in areas where people gather must be safely removed. It can be very dangerous to your health if the wasps or bees become angry and aggressive, so don’t try to remove them yourself.

Especially if you have an allergy to bee venom, do not attempt to remove a nest yourself. 

At Environmental Pest Management, we have Master Licensed Technicians who can help. Our team specializes in integrated pest management, which allows us to address a pest control or insect problem by non-chemical means. 

Call us if you would like to set up a free inspection to help you have a sting-free summer. We are masters at creating harmony between humans and the natural world around them.

Diapause and Pest Control

Maggot fly larva
Maggot fly larva

Dealing with an infestation of insects is a nightmare for many homeowners. It can be a real challenge to clear the pests completely.

It is a good idea to invest in the services of a professional pest control company. Experts who have a strong background in tackling several pest control problems: including diapause.

Insect diapause is a natural process in the lifecycle of an insect. Several external factors can cause it—and understanding these can be key in preventing an infestation.

Here at Environmental Pest Management, we know how to tackle any infestation—including a sound understanding of diapause. Get in touch with the team and see how we can help!

What Is Insect Diapause?

A flesh fly

In the simplest terms, diapause is a period of arrested development or reproduction in insects. The state is usually triggered or terminated by environmental conditions. 

Temperature, availability of food, changes in daylight, or temperature fluctuations are all regulators of diapause. Combinations of these can also set off insect diapause in a wide number of species.

There is an important distinction to be made here; the diapause response is ultimately genetically programmed. The aforementioned environmental factors do not cause it, but they can determine when it starts and ends. 

Quiescence, on the other hand, is a period of slowed development. Unlike diapause, this is triggered by environmental conditions, ending when optimum conditions return.

What Are The Main Environmental Factors?

A thermometer in the snow. Colld temperatures cna trigger insect diapause

As we mentioned, a range of environmental factors can play their part in insect diapause. Some of these include:

  • Temperature

Sudden changes in temperature, such as extremely cold or hot periods, can trigger the beginning or end of diapause. Additionally, alternating cycles of temperatures can also influence the process. 

The exact trigger and temperature will depend primarily on the type of insect; each has its unique requirements and cues.

  • Photoperiod

The term ‘photoperiod’ refers to alternating phases of sunlight and darkness throughout the day. Suppose there is an alteration in the phase due to external factors such as seasonal changes. In that case, the process can be triggered with shorter days and less light.

In many ways, the photoperiod is the most important aspect of insect diapause. It is also easy for pest control professionals to manipulate, as they can artificially create light cycles.

  • Food

As some insect species come to the end of their growing season, their food sources’ quality also deteriorates. Once again, this process can trigger diapause in certain species.

What Are The Types of Insect Diapause?

butterfly of silkworm with cocoon silk worm showing the three stages of its life

It is important to note that insect diapause comes in two main types: obligatory and facultative. The difference is important as it dictates when and why insects enter the phases of diapause.

Insects with obligatory diapause begin the period of arrested development at a point in their life cycle, which is predetermined. The process occurs despite any external environmental conditions. 

Obligatory diapause generally occurs mainly with univoltine insects—in other words, those who have one generation each year.

On the other hand, insects with facultative diapause will undergo diapause only if it is essential for the creature’s survival. It is the most common type of diapause, found in the majority of insects. 

This type of diapause is more commonly known as overwintering, and it is similar to hibernation in some mammals.

Facultative diapause is associated with bivoltine (insects producing two generations a year) or multivoltine insects (over two generations per year).

It is also worth mentioning reproductive diapause; this is a suspension of reproductive functions in an adult insect. It is commonly found in species such as the monarch butterfly, which goes into reproductive diapause to prepare for the long migration.

Why Can Diapause Be A Problem For Pest Control?

Green ShieldBug eggs on a leaf

While diapause is a natural phenomenon, it causes serious issues for the management of pests and unwanted insects. 

When diapausing, insects can endure adverse environments such as extreme temperature or moisture. They can also handle food shortages more readily and be able to withstand toxic chemicals and ionizing radiation.

Perhaps most crucial, diapausing insects can delay reproduction. It is integral if you aim to reduce population growth and is a key factor in your pest management regime’s timing.

All of these factors are critical elements of pest control. If they no longer work effectively on the insects, it is hard, if not impossible, to eliminate your pest problem. 

As the insects build up a tolerance to the factors we discussed – temperature, chemicals, etc. —they can resist a pest management program. They may also be able to synchronize their reproduction program to their maximum advantage, making full use of available resources.

What Can Be Done?

A dead bug on its back

It seems that the only way to tackle insect diapause for pest control is to learn to use it to our advantage. The process involves manipulating external factors to prevent the onset of diapause, giving pest control a chance to work by pinpointing the perfect time to use pesticides.

Controlling external factors is hardly a new concept; a recent study experimented with using artificial light to extend the day’s length in preselected plots. 

The test saw a 76% and 70% decrease in the onset of diapause in two insect species. Non-diapausing insects were then unable to survive the harsh winter, allowing control of their numbers.

In some cases, one can carefully manipulate reproduction; this allows pest control experts several options. They may calculate the predicted reproduction time and use it as a window to maximize the treatment’s effectiveness. 

Alternatively, experts may act to eliminate the insect before reproduction can occur—this can bring numbers down to more manageable levels.

Also, no stored-product insect species are currently known to diapause in the egg stage, and only one in the pupal stage. This information can also be useful to pest control experts, giving them a window to act.

There are also potential benefits from waking insects early from diapause or preventing it entirely. If these things can be done, the insects will likely die naturally from winter’s harshness and won’t need to be treated with pesticides.

How Can We Help?

A pest control techinician working with a customer in a kitchen

Understanding this part of the insect life cycle can be a useful tool when it comes to pest control. 

At Environmental Pest Management, our experienced, qualified team of professionals can help you tackle any infestation or pest control problem. Our experts have the skills and knowledge to quickly and easily handle infestations. They can use a range of methods to achieve this.

If you are looking to reclaim your property, take back control, and eliminate unwanted guests, we can help. Protect your home from unwanted pests; reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

What To Expect with a Pest Inspection

a cartoon about Pest Inspection
a cartoon about Pest Inspection

Bugs got you down? Are you in need of a pest inspection? Maybe you are buying or selling a home and need to make sure it is free of infestation. Perhaps you have seen those tell-tale signs of unwanted guests.

Whatever the reason, Environmental Pest Management is there to address your concerns. We have been in the pest control industry since 1986. You can trust us to solve the problem safely, effectively, and for the long-term. 

We will walk you through step by step on what to expect with a pest inspection, so you are free of the unexpected. 

What is a Pre-Purchased Versus Routine Pest Inspection? 

person looking an ant with a magnifying glass

There are two types of pest inspections, pre-purchased and routine. Pre-purchased are usually done with the sale or purchase of a new home. The state sometimes requires them; however, it is dependent upon where you live. 

With a pre-purchased inspection, professionals usually inspect before an offer is made on a home. Repairs from pests can be expensive, so a check can identify any issues and give a bargaining tool if necessary. It also eliminates any surprises before moving as no one wants to find out about a termite infestation after it’s too late. 

Routine inspections are completed at regular intervals, often annually. Having a routine inspection identifies issues before they cause expensive damage. Routine inspections can also identify construction faults, drainage, and environmental conditions that put you at risk for pests. 

What Does a Technician Do During an Inspection? 

A woman shaking hands with a pest inspector

A master technician will have the knowledge and experience to do a proper pest inspection. The inspection will include a strategic evaluation of the home, inside and out, to identify areas of concern. Technicians will look for evidence of an infestation, wood decay, fungi, and mold. 

The technician is going to look for evidence of past pest activity and risks for future infestations. Special tools such as moisture meters, motion detectors, and thermal imaging are used to identify areas of concern. 

Using the tools and their eye, technicians will evaluate the following: 

  • Rooms of the home
  • Subfloors
  • Roof Voids
  • Outbuildings such as sheds
  • Fences
  • Stumps
  • Retaining Walls

The pest inspection will likely take two hours or more depending on the home and land size. Detailed notes and photographs finalize a report before any steps of action. 

What Do I Need to Know About Pest Inspection Tools? 

An environmental home inspector is viewed close-up at work, using an electronic moisture meter to detect signs of damp and rot in wooden structural elements.

The technician will use high-tech equipment to assess the pest activity within and around the home. 

Experts include the following tools in a pest inspection: 

  • Thermal imaging cameras to locate nests and activity
  • Moisture meters to assess moisture levels in the walls as pests love moisture and humidity
  • Termatrac microwave radar detection units that can track termites in the wall and find nests
  • Heinemann boroscopes which help find live ants and any damage they may have caused

However, the best tool technicians have is their own eyes. Experienced technicians know what to look for and can often find subtle signs of pest activity. They may identify:

  • Dirt or mud in corners of rooms or along baseboards
  • Electrical issues and faulty plugs caused by pest activity
  • Damage to wood or plaster

They may also ask for help for damage or concern areas you have identified. It is your home, and you know it best. 

Should I Be Present for the Pest Inspection? 

A woman speaking with her pest inspector

It is best if you are present for the pest inspection. Technicians appreciate your presence as you can point out concerns, and they can explain problems to you on the spot.

If you cannot be present during the inspection, it is essential to make sure the technician provides you with a detailed report identifying current and potential concerns.

What Should I Look For in a Pest Report? 

Exterminator in work wear spraying pesticide with sprayer. Selective focus.

Pest reports should identify concerns and list recommendations to fix problems. Reports may identify areas that need further investigation, such as spots they could not access. 

Technicians include pictures in the report. Photographs help to give evidence to the issue. You’ll have a better understanding of the treatment plan.  

The report should identify concerns such as building faults, drainage problems, or environmental issues that make you vulnerable to pests. The information will also include recommended treatment and cost. 

The report should be available to you promptly, usually within 24 hours. Technicians will be accessible to address any questions or concerns. 

You must understand the report; ask questions if you do not. It should give you a better understanding of the home, property, and pest infestation damage. 

How Are Pests Exterminated? 

Exterminator in work wear spraying pesticide with sprayer.

Usually, the home will not be tented. Many of the products used now for extermination are effective without tenting. The chemicals used are less harmful than in the past. 

Why was tenting used in the past? It used to be the only way to get rid of pests. Tenting was sufficient, but the chemicals used were toxic and unsafe. 

Additionally, the exterminator will remove decaying wood. Removal may involve tearing out overhangs, part of roof extensions, window sills, support beams, flooring, or siding. 

Sometimes only a piece of the wood is removed. Communicate with the experts as to what they are removing or replacing. 

Make Sure You Use a Reliable Company With Experience in the Industry

Two Happy Male Pest Control Workers With Toolbox

Experience is the crucial factor of a reliable pest inspection. The technicians at Environmental Pest Management will solve the problem by identifying the source of the issue. By addressing the what, why, how, and when, we can find a solution for your pest concerns.

The experts at Environmental Pest Management use Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a practical and environmentally sensitive approach that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current and comprehensive information on pests’ life cycles and how they interact with their environment. 

Using IPM, we can manage pest damage ethically and economically. 

Contact us today to book your free pest inspection. We will work to eliminate the pests in your life.

How to Avoid Uninvited Pests This Holiday Season

a bug on a Christmas tree
a bug on a Christmas tree

Holidays are full of all things good: gifts, food, visitors. But occasionally, we find ourselves with visitors that were not invited and definitely aren’t wanted. Let’s discuss holiday pest control.

As fall turns into winter and the air outside gets chilly, most of us spend more time indoors. 

We aren’t the only ones wanting to cozy up inside as temperatures drop. Spiders, insects, and rodents all gravitate toward heated spaces as it gets colder outside. 

If you find yourself with unwanted guests, don’t be a gracious host. Contact Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today. We’ll provide a custom solution to evict those pests and make your season bright.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year… 

A mouse in a Christmas present

Unless you have an infestation. Consider holiday pest control options to avoid a present you don’t want. 

There’s nothing like getting a live tree for your home during the Christmas season. They smell amazing and make an unmatchable centerpiece for the holidays.

Many families make a tradition of trekking to the tree farm, choosing, and even chopping down their tree. Others might get a freshly-cut tree from a corner lot, placing their focus on decorating while sipping a hot mug of cider.

Whether you chopped it down yourself or purchased a tree from a parking lot store, use precautions to avoid holiday pests riding in on those branches. 

The best time to inspect your tree is before it’s in your house. Take a close look between the branches. Shake it well before you bring it indoors. This will also release loose pine needles outside, leaving you with less cleanup.  

Once your tree is up, you’ll probably reach for your decorations.

Where have you been storing those pretty baubles? If those boxes were in the basement or the garage, they might have become homes to insects or even mice. 

Control unwanted holiday pests by opening the box and inspecting its contents before you move it out of the storage area. 

If you do find spiders, centipedes, or other unwelcome bugs, empty the container in a place with easy cleanup, such as the garage. Clean the inside of the container with equal parts vinegar and water. Dry thoroughly and check each item as you put it back in the container. 

Store your decorations in plastic totes instead of cardboard boxes to control holiday pests. It’s harder for spiders and other insects to get into them. They’re also easier to clean. 

A Little Extra Work Will Make That Holiday Hearth More Relaxing.

Mouse looking over a red Christmas ornament

Everyone loves a crackling fire and a cup of something hot on a winter night. It’s less appealing to trudge across the yard for more firewood.

It’s tempting to put your woodpile within arm’s reach, but it isn’t a good idea. Woodpiles can attract mice. If your firewood is right outside your door, you might find yourself with more than kindling when you reach out for a stick. 

Avoid furry holiday pests by keeping your firewood at least twenty feet away from your door. Remove piles of leaves around your house for the same reason. 

Don’t Give Pests A Free Ride Home.

A top view of a bed bug

Bed bugs have become more prevalent in recent years. 

These little tick-like insects are drawn to the smell of carbon dioxide. They avoid light. These two traits make your suitcase full of dirty laundry irresistible. 

Whether you’re traveling to get away from it all or traveling to be near loved ones, you’ll probably be spending some time in a hotel room. Follow these tips to make sure you don’t check out with more bodies than you started with. 

Take these steps to control holiday pests.  At the beginning of your stay, prevent bed bugs from riding home with you:

  • Check reviews of your hotel before staying. Any hotel can have bed bugs, but a good hotel will address them swiftly. 
  • Consider where you put your luggage. Don’t put it on the bed or the luggage rack until you have inspected the room. Leave your luggage in the car or put it in the bathtub (you won’t be setting it on any bed bugs that way) while you check the room. 
  • Bring a garbage bag or sealing vacuum bag for your used laundry. The smell of sweat that attracts the bugs will be contained.
  • Bring an oversized garbage bag for your suitcase. Put the whole suitcase in and seal or fasten it when you aren’t accessing it. 
  • Inspect your room:
    • Use the light on your phone to check over the bed. Look in the seam of the mattress for live bugs or dark spots that could indicate previous or current bugs. 
    • Check the seams of any upholstered chairs or couches in the room.
    • If there is a headboard attached to the wall, use your light to check around the edges and as far behind it as you can see. Do the same with any pictures on the walls.
    • Check the luggage rack if you intend to use it. 

If you do find bugs in your room, tell management. They should offer you a different room – one that doesn’t share a wall with the buggy room. 

Spray your luggage with rubbing alcohol before you head for home. 91% rubbing alcohol is easy to find at drug stores and will kill bugs and eggs on contact. Only do this in a well-ventilated area – you don’t want to breathe it in.  Don’t soak the luggage or you may have discolored spots. 

When you get home, toss your luggage in the bathtub. Take your laundry out and wash it right away. If you have clothes that aren’t dirty, you can skip the wash and run them through the dryer for 30 minutes on high. The heat will kill any hitchhiking bugs. 

Spray your luggage down again with rubbing alcohol and let it air dry. Then vacuum the inside and outside of the suitcase before putting it away.

Enjoy The Holidays With The Ones You Love, And No One Else.

family celebrating ChristmasIf you find yourself hosting unwanted pests, don’t accept them like a poorly chosen present. Contact Environmental Pest Management today for a free inspection. We’ll customize pest control services to evict those unwanted guests and make sure they stay out