How to Bug-Proof Your Pantry

A bug-free pantry is one of those things you take for granted until you don’t have one. Nobody wants crawly critters in and among their food; it’s gross, it’s unsanitary and even dangerous.

Contact the pros at Environmental Pest Management to keep your pantry clean and pest-free!

Secrets of a Bug Free Pantry 

The good news is, you can bug-proof your food storage area with a few tricks and a little effort. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can protect your food, your home, and your family.

bug free pantry--bugs on grain

Know the Usual Suspects

Before you set to work, make sure you know what you’re up against. The most common (and harmless) home invaders you will encounter near your food included weevils, moths, and small beetles. 

The varieties of beetles you may find in your pantry are merchant grain beetles and flour beetles. Merchant grain beetles are fans of processed foods and baked goods, whereas flour beetles are your standard grain-lovers. Flour beetles larvae are the infamous mealworms, which are known for destroying stored grains and flours.

On the more threatening end of the spectrum, you may find cockroaches, who can carry disease.

A Clean Pantry is No Guarantee

Don’t beat yourself up if you see an unwelcome guest the next time you reach for a box of cereal! An infestation isn’t a reflection on you as a person or housekeeper. Unfortunately, no matter how tidy you keep things, you may still find yourself the victim of a buggy pantry. 

Be Aware of the Bug Bait Hiding In Plain Sight

Cereal is just one of the foods insects, and other bugs may find attractive in your home. Other foods that creepy crawlers find irresistible include grains, different flour varieties, and processed foods. They’re not so different from you and me, are they?

Bugs can also go after nuts, beans, dried fruits – even spices!

Basically, bugs are people, too. If you like to snack on it, chances are, there are bugs that will, also.

Shop Smart

A bug free story starts in the supermarket. Examine packaging when you purchase a food item; if the box or wrapper appears damaged, do not buy it. 

Why?

Well, because a lot of times, bugs infest pantries through packaging that was infested from jump street.

Additionally, check expiration dates both when you’re purchasing items and periodically, at home, too. Avoid buying anything that’s too close to its expiration date and throw out expired items at home.

bug free pantry--bugs on grapes

At-Home Prevention Hacks

Once you bring your groceries home, you have a few tricks at your disposal to preserve them from bugs.

Sealed, air-tight containers are a great route to a bug free pantry. Once you break the seal or open a package, transfer the contents to Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers (or something similar).

Interestingly, bay leaves are another hack you can use to ward off critters. To utilize its aromatic properties against would-be invaders, put a bay leaf in dry goods containers. Items like rice, grains, and flours are ideal for this strategy. 

Do a Quick Clean Up

Now, as stated above, a clean house is no guarantee that you will have a bug free pantry. Having said that, that’s no reason not to do your best to straighten up.

As much as possible, clean up crumbs and sticky spills as you spot them. 

Make cleaning your pantry a part of your cleaning routine: clean up crumbs and wash shelves with soap and water. While you’re in there, inspect for cracks, holes, and crevices that may provide an on-ramp for pests. Fill up any holes you find with caulk.

When Should I Start Panicking?

Now, a couple of bugs here and there around the house do not constitute an emergency in and of themselves.  

The problem comes when you spot the bugs in your food stores. Likewise, if bugs turn up near food storage sites: your kitchen, and yes, your pantry.

What To Do For a Bug Free Pantry When Prevention Is Not an Option

So a bug has turned up in your container of dry rice. First thing’s first: don’t try to salvage it; throw out any infested stored food you discover. Make sure you throw it away in a sealed trash container!

Next, inspect any packages or containers you have stored near the original offender. Check to see whether the infestation has spread to other containers. Perform a quick ocular once-over, or a more thorough method: pour contents out and inspect them with a flashlight.

If you want to be totally confident in your bug free pantry, freeze potentially-contaminated foods for three to four days. Alternately, cook them for 1-2 hours at 140 degrees.

Then, you’ll want to go scorched-earth on any remaining bugs. Clean your pantry with soap and water, and vacuum it. Avoid materials that may harm your food: pesticides, ammonia, boric acid, or bleach.

Bring In the Pros

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, bugs remain determined. You can take this as a compliment – you have a delicious pantry! On the other hand, you’ll probably need to bring in the big guns.

A pest control company can eliminate the forces invading your pantry, and finally, give you a bug free pantry. Don’t worry about researching and executing the best pantry defense tactics yourself.

Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste time when it comes to preventing food waste and spoilage.

bug free pantry--bugs on flour

Environmental Pest Management For Your Bug Free Pantry Needs

Safely secure your pantry by contacting Environmental Pest Management. Environmental Pest Management brings over three decades of pest management experience and a commitment to you and your family’s safety.

Our concern for your home or professional environments extends to our common home, Earth. That means we use non chemical materials to the greatest extent possible to get you back to normal, safely.

Whether you need a bug free pantry, or you are dealing with another pest control issue, Environmental Pest Management can help. Contact us today to discuss your pest control needs, and to determine how our Master Licensed Technicians can assist you.

Why You Should Use Professional Pest Control

As the weather changes, so do the habits of household pests. Pests and insects are looking for places to hide and stay warm and cozy in the winter or cool and comfortable during the summer. 

When this happens, these invaders are going to seek the comfort of your home, making them an annoyance to the family. These tiny invaders can come into your home and cause property damage, intruding in objects like food products, wood, and papers. 

Often homeowners will take it upon themselves to rid their homes of unwanted pests. This means a trip to the hardware store or trying a new DIY treatment. Both of these options can be challenging to accomplish alone and lead to a dangerous outcome. 

Rather than treat it yourself, contact Environmental Pest Management to handle unwelcome house guests. 

When you hire professional pest control, you can rest assured that individuals are trained to handle chemicals safely and effectively. They are well versed in practices to keep your family safe. For the quickest, most efficient, and lasting pest removal, hire a professional pest control service.

Keeps Your Family Healthy 

Besides being bothersome and gross, pests can carry many diseases or harmful bacteria that can increase your family’s exposure to illness. For example, cockroaches are known carriers of the bacterias E. coli and salmonella. 

Both infestations or cockroaches and rodents can exacerbate health issues related to allergies and asthma. Cockroaches and rodents have a protein in their droppings known to cause allergic reactions in individuals with sensitive immune systems. These reactions can cause life-threatening asthma attacks and allergic reactions.  

Ticks are carriers of Lyme disease, ants can contaminate your food pantry. Bees and wasps can cause injuries or trigger anaphylactic reactions through the venom they inject when they sting. 

The longer a pest resides in your home, the more dangerous conditions can become. A pest professional not only eliminates the invaders but provides helpful information on how to prevent them from returning. 

Pest control concept in flat style design. Cockroaches run away from home.Chemical treatment and protection against termites, cockroaches, fleas, agricultural pests.

Eliminates the Risk of Using Chemicals

Most of the readily available pest treatments on the market have been approved for home use. However, you should always be cautious in handling chemicals that are unfamiliar to you. A skilled pest technician knows when and how much chemicals to use to prevent any harm to humans or pets. 

Many pest removal products on the market will appear initially effective; however, they will not permanently eliminate your infestation. Many of these treatments are only effective on the surface. 

These products will rid you of the pests that you see scurrying around your home and property.  However, they do not treat the problem at the source. 

The source of a majority of infestations, whether a termite colony or rats nest, are often out of your sight. These “invisible” pests can not be controlled with over the counter pest control products. 

Identify and Eliminate Pests 

Pest companies eliminate all different types of pests. This list includes various rodents and a variety of insects- bees, ants, cockroaches, mosquitos, flys, wasps, fleas, and termites. 

Different baits and chemicals are necessary to withdraw and eliminate each different pests. A licensed pest technician is educated in the safe and proper dosages of chemicals. They also know where and when to apply them. 

A noteworthy benefit of using a professional pest control service is that the professionals have the knowledge to identify the pest invading your property. Knowing which pests are at your home and how they get in helps decide which elimination method is best.

Companies can eradicate pests by using poisoned bait, baited traps, or various chemicals. Some professional pest control companies specialize in organic or green pest control

Locating the Source

Your professionals will maximize the effect of the treatment by also locating the source of the infestation. If the infestation source is not located and eliminated, more infestations are likely to occur within the home. 

Some sources can include batches of hidden eggs, nests,  garbage cans, plants, soil, pet food, or particular areas within your walls. 

Pest Control Worker Hand Holding Sprayer For Spraying Pesticides

Save Your Time

When you hire professionals, they can provide quicker and more successful results than if you try to treat the infestation yourself. Between their experience and the products and chemicals that are not as readily available to consumers, they swiftly implement plans for extermination and eliminate pests in a short amount of time. 

A typical treatment can last from anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. Any moisture, sanitation, and environmental conditions can affect the length the treatment may last. It can take up to six hours for treatment.

A larger problem that requires any fumigation can take up to a week to complete. The home will need time to retire to a safe environment for your family. 

Avoid Damages to Property and Belongings

Different pests can pose unique risks to your property and belongings. Termites cause damage to approximately 600,000 homes in the U.S., costing U.S. residents an estimated $5 billion annually in damages. 

If you have a termite infestation, your belongings and the structural integrity of your home are compromised. These insects feast on hardwood floors, wooden furniture, and structural beams that support your home. 

Other insect invaders prefer to eat fibers putting clothing, upholstered surfaces, beds, blankets, and towels at risk for damages. While a rodent infestation can result in damages to your electrical wiring and insulation in your home. 

The most efficient way to protect yourself from these damages is to pay a licensed professional to identify and quickly eradicate the pest infestation within your home and property.

34 Years of Experience

When you choose Environmental Pest Management, you are getting 34 years of pest management experience and our commitment to excellence. Our company is associated with the National Pest Management Association and the Minnesota Pest Management Association. 

We pride ourselves on the use of environmentally safe products and our master licensed technicians. Contact us to book your free inspection today. 

The Truth About Borax and Boric Acid

When people look for ways to control bugs at home, borax and boric acid are often looked to for a solution. But are they useful? More importantly, are they safe?

If you have pests bugging you at home, you are probably desperate for anything that works. While some at-home remedies can be successful, the best thing to do is call a professional.

The experts at Environmental Pest Control have years of experience handling residential and commercial pest problems. Call us today for a free quote.

boric acid powder in spoon with boric powder topview

What is Borax?

Borax has been used for many years in America and throughout the world. It can be called several different things: sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. Borax is a boron compound. It is also a mineral and a salt from boric acid.

Typically, you will find borax in a white, powdered form that will dissolve in water. The most common places you will discover borax used is in laundry detergents, cosmetics, and enamel. It can also be a fire-retardant and an antifungal.

Interestingly, borax was used in gold mining as a flux, so miners did not have to use mercury in the extraction process. Mercury is toxic. However, it wasn’t as successful as mercury.

Borax was discovered in Tibet in the 700s. It was found in dried-up lake beds. Initially, it was transported along the Silk Road. It didn’t become common until the late 1800s.

What is Boric Acid?

Boric acid, on the other hand, is also known as hydrogen borate, boracic acid, and orthoboric acid. It is a weak acid of boron.

You will find boric acid in insecticides, antiseptics, and as a flame-retardant and neutron absorber. You will find it as a colorless crystal or white powder, both of which dissolve in water. 

Boric acid is called sassolite when it is in mineral form. You will find it in volcanic areas. It is created from the steam in fissures in the ground. It can also be discovered as a constituent of other minerals, like borax, boracite, and colemanite, and found in sea salt and most fruits.

The first person to prepare boric acid was Wilhelm Homberg. He used borax and mineral acids to create boric acid. Borates, however, have been used since the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Crystalline boric acid in test tube, on a blue background. It is used in many industries, including medicine, as a poison for the destruction of cockroaches.

Can I Use Borax and Boric Acid to Control Pests?

Boric acid and borax are similar. They are merely different formulations of one compound. Borax is a form of boron and is taken straight from the ground as a mineral; you will find it in cleaning products. Boric acid is more refined and processed and is used in chemical products.

Both borax and boric acid are toxic to people and animals when ingested. They are not necessarily dangerous to handle. Any product you find with either compound will be labeled only for external use.

It is essential you take extreme caution when using either of these products or any pesticides around children and pets. If used incorrectly or not monitored, kids or pets could get very sick.

When it comes to killing pests, your best bet is boric acid. Borax should not be used as a pesticide, though some people confuse the two or think they are the same. Borax can kill pests, though it is not nearly as effective as boric acid.

You will often find boric acid used in pesticides. You should be able to find it as a tablet, liquid, or powder or in a trap. Boric acid kills certain insects by absorbing into their bodies and poisoning them. Once absorbed, it will affect their metabolism and exoskeletons.

Traps or baits using boric acid rely on insects coming into contact with it. A bug will walk through the fine grain boric acid or be exposed to the liquid form. As a powder, it will stick to them.  A bug will attempt to clean themselves, ingesting the acid in the process.

It is important to note that too high of a percent of boric acid can actually repel bugs. Most commercially bought baits and traps will only use 5-10% boric acid in their formulas. If you buy powdered boric acid to spread out, it will likely be around 98% boric acid.

What Boric Acid Will Kill

While many think that boric acid will kill any pest in their home, the unfortunate truth is that it will not. Boric acid will only kill bugs and insects that groom themselves. The bug needs to ingest the acid after cleaning themselves.

The most common pests to use boric acid on are ants and cockroaches.

Domestic ants eat cooked poison from egg yolk and boric acid. Poison in the form of puny piece of in the form of globe. Around lie crumbs. A problem for life from pests. A way to get rid of parasites.

What Boric Acid Won’t Kill

Unfortunately, many pests get into homes that boric acid will not kill. If your pest problem is any of the following, skip the boric acid and call the professionals at Environmental Pest Management.

It is worth repeating, using boric acid in your home to control pests can be useful, but also dangerous. If humans ingest it, there can be dire consequences. Boric acid is hazardous to humans for the same reason it is hazardous to bugs.

If you choose to use boric acid in your home, please take extreme caution. It is wise to avoid using it altogether if any pets or children will be around boric acid traps or bait.

When storing either borax or boric acid, ensure they are kept high and out of the reach of anyone who shouldn’t come in contact with it. As with any chemical, caution must be taken.

Call Environmental Pest Management Today

If you have a pest problem and need professional help, call Environmental Pest Management today. We have years of experience protecting families and ensuring bugs do not pester them.

Environmental Pest Management only uses safe methods that will not harm your family. We understand how important it is to keep your family safe. We will exterminate any bugs in your home and make sure they don’t come.

Call us today for a free quote. We customize solutions for each client so you can rest easy knowing the best pest control plan for your home.

DIY Bug Treatments: Fact or Fiction

Everyone has heard of DIY bug treatments. Whether they involve dryer lint, essential oils, or other household items, many seem too good to be true.

While there are some things that are successful at deterring pests, your best bet is calling the experts at Environmental Pest Management. We care about the safety of your family and use products that will only harm bugs, not your loved ones.

When bugs invade your home, get rid of them fast. Reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

A lot of cockroaches are sitting on a white wooden shelf.The German cockroach (Blattella germanica). Common household cockroaches

Can You Handle Those Bugs Yourself?

There are as many home treatments for pest control as there are types of pests. A successful DIY bug treatment will

  • Only require items you already have or that are easy to get
  • Be inexpensive
  • Be effective at ridding your space of pests and
  • It won’t be hazardous to your health or the environment.

Some pests can have an impact on your health. Cockroaches and dust mites can worsen asthma and allergies. Take action to get them out of your space. If you have severe allergies, you might want to skip the DIY and hire a professional.

Common DIY Bug Treatments

You can find anything on the internet. But how much of it is accurate? Here’s what we found. 

food grade diatomaceous earth supplement - powder and in a glass of water

Can you get rid of ants with used coffee grounds? 

The treatment:

Take your old coffee grounds and use them to surround anthills. You can also sprinkle them directly over the nest or along the ant path. Some sources claim the coffee grounds are toxic to the ants while others state that they don’t like the smell of coffee. 

Conclusion: fiction. A hill of coffee grounds may cause an ant to change its path once, but if you come back a day later, you’ll find the industrious little buggers will have moved the grounds out of their way.  

Instead, lay down a barrier with diatomaceous earth (DE). This natural product dries out the exoskeleton of ants when they walk through it.  It will also deter bedbugs, spiders, fleas, ticks, and cockroaches.

Can you drive out spiders with essential oils?

The treatment: Use peppermint, lemon, or chestnut oil to repel spiders. Apply undiluted oil with a spray bottle, dropper, or cotton ball to places you suspect spiders are using as an entrance. Spiders use their legs to smell, so they are very sensitive to oils on surfaces.

Conclusion: Fact – at least for some scents. Peppermint and chestnut oil do repel some species of spiders. Lemon oil doesn’t bother them.

Spiders like damp places. You can reduce the number of spiders in your basement by dehumidifying it to 40% and sweeping down webs when they appear. 

Eucalyptus Essential oil in Amber Round Glass Bottle with Glass Dropper and Fresh Eucalyptus leaves on wooden background. Phytotherapy.

Can you trap fruit flies with vinegar and dish soap?

The treatment: Pour about ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar into a glass or used soda bottle. Add a couple of drops of dish soap. Cover the top or opening with plastic wrap and poke a few small holes in the wrap with a toothpick.

The vinegar smell will draw in the fruit flies. They will find their way in through the little toothpick holes. The dish soap reduces the surface tension of the vinegar, so when they land, they will break through the surface and drown.

Conclusion: Fact. This trap will catch and drown fruit flies. But remember, just trapping will not eliminate all of them. Make sure to get rid of any overripe fruit or standing water, or they’ll keep coming back.

Do bay leaves smell bad enough to protect your food?

Here’s the theory: Cockroaches and other insects are repelled by the smell of bay leaves. Place your shelf-stable food in sealed plastic containers. Place a bay leaf on top to ward off insects. Some versions also suggest crushing the leaves and putting the leaf dust along insect paths.

Conclusion: Fiction. The only effective part of this bug treatment is sealing your food in containers. Cockroaches are drawn to garbage and spoiled food. They will dig through animal dung for their meals. They aren’t put off by terrible smells.

Can you burn out bees and wasps?

This treatment calls for pouring gasoline on a bee or wasp nest and setting it on fire. 

Conclusion: Fiction and basically a terrible idea. Wasp nests are extremely flammable, but they tend to be on or near other flammable items, like your house. 

This method is also bad for the environment in general. The gasoline contaminates groundwater and kills plants. Even if you’re okay with all of that, this method doesn’t kill all of the wasps, because they won’t all be in the nest at once. Any remaining ones will be very aggressive.

Central vacuum cleaner hose laid on the floor in the living room. Cleaning room conceptual shot, focused on foreground.

What Else Should You Do?

Regardless of the method you choose to remove those pests, follow up with these steps.

    • Vacuum. You might catch some bugs that have traveled away from the main infestation. Make sure to empty the vac outside right away.
    • Clean bedding.  If you had an infestation in your bedroom, wash all of your blankets and sheets on hot. Freeze your pillows to get rid of any bugs that might have made a home in them. They need to be at 0º or below for at least four days.
    • Clean the bug trail. Mix the same amount of vinegar and water in a container. Spray and wipe down any place ants or other crawling bugs traveled. Some bugs leave a pheromone trail that will attract more of their kind. You can also use a household cleaner.

 

 

How to Make Sure Those Bugs Stay Out

Once you’ve gotten rid of your uninvited guests, make sure they don’t come back. These tips will help keep your home bug-free.

  • Store your food in airtight containers. Raise the pet dishes off the floor.
  • Remove standing water and fix any leaks. Don’t leave damp towels or sponges around. Bugs are drawn to water.
  • Walk around your home and take a close look. Seal any cracks in your foundation. Fill any gaps around doors or windows.  
  • Make sure the dryer vent damper closes completely.
  • Keep your outdoor garbage secure and sealed. 

Remember, Help Is Out There

If the DIY method you tried didn’t take care of the whole problem, you need professional help. A good exterminator will guarantee his work. Contact Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

How to Clean Your New Home to Prevent Bugs

When you purchase a new home, it is one of the most exciting and exhilarating times you will ever experience. Whether it is your first time since buying a house or your fifth, it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement. 

Unfortunately, as with any significant life transition, you will be forced to take the good with a measure of bad. Just because a home is new to you, it doesn’t mean you won’t inherit a few issues. 

The last thing a new homeowner wants to deal with is a pest problem. At Environmental Pest Management, we want to help you to prevent and overcome any potential pest problems. Let us walk you through some of the steps you can take to ensure your new home is pest-free.

Cockroach on toothbrush,Contagion the disease, Plague,Healthy,Home concept.

New Home Inspection

Before you close on the purchase of your new home, you should have two separate and distinct home inspections. You will need a basic home inspection and a WDO Inspection.

Basic Home Inspection

For this basic inspection, you will need to hire a licensed and qualified home inspector. This professional inspector will perform a thorough inspection of your potential new home. 

This inspection will show the structural condition of the home, with a specific focus on the plumbing, electrical, roofing, and HVAC systems. 

Additionally, the inspector will test all the appliances and check all the pipes and spaces under sinks for leaks. 

WDO Inspection

A WDO, or Wood Destroying Organisms Inspection, is more commonly known as a termite inspection. The more general term WDO is used because while termites are the most common wood-destroying organisms, they are not the only wood-destroying organisms. 

A qualified WDO inspector will be able to detect certain signs and symptoms that a typical home buyer will miss. 

On top of searching for an existing wood-destroying organism infestation, a certified inspector will be able to point out potential avenues for future infestations. You will be able to prepare for and prevent a possible problem before it arises. 

On average, termites and other wood-destroying organisms case over $5 billion in damage and repair costs each year. To avoid high costs and lengthy repairs, work to prevent termites and other pests from entering your home in the first place. 

Once you have purchased your new home, there are some proactive measures you can take to ensure a lower likelihood of infestation. Let’s go over a few now, room by room. 

Kitchen

Many pests and rodents are attracted to the same food that you and your family enjoy. The most effective way to prevent pests is to limit their food supply.

Make a family rule that food stays in the kitchen and dining area only. The fewer areas where crumbs can accumulate, the less likely you will have an infestation throughout your entire home. 

Now that you are keeping food residue contained in a small area of your home, you must work to keep that area free of residue and debris. Clean your kitchen and dining room floors daily to avoid food build-up.

We recommend that you sweep every day and vacuum as much as possible, at least once a week. 

Any spills should be cleaned immediately. If any food or liquid accidentally spills under your furniture, make sure to move and clean under each piece to avoid attracting unwanted visitors. 

Pay special attention to your sink area. Be sure to wash dishes every day and do not leave a full sink to sit and stew overnight. 

Such a prize will be hard for pests to resist.

Make sure to take care of any slow or clogged drains right away. Remember, just like you, bugs and pests need water to survive. 

Pantries

The place where you store your food is particularly vulnerable to unwanted pests. People tend to overlook pantries and storage spaces when cleaning. 

Make sure you wipe down bottles and containers after you use them. This step is especially crucial with sticky products, like honey or syrup. 

All of your food and ingredients should be stored appropriately. Invest in some good, high-quality storage containers. Look for products that are airtight and easy to seal. 

Keep an eye on all of your fruits and vegetables. Make sure to throw out or compost any products that are spoiled or on the way to spoilage.  If you have ever had a fruit fly infestation, you know just how difficult it is to rid your home of those pesky fliers.

Closets

You may not realize the drawing power dirty clothes can be to pests. Never store or put away dirty clothes in your closet with your clean clothes. 

Have a designated place for dirty clothes. Try to find a space that is separate from your clean clothes. 

For those of you who live in places that experience severe winter weather, make sure to have your winter clothes suitably cleaned before you store them away for the warm summer months. 

Just like your food and ingredients, you will find it beneficial to purchase and use airtight storage containers for your infrequently used seasonal clothing. 

Woman cleaning sofa with yellow vacuum cleaner. Copy space. Cleaning service concept.

Garbage

Of all the places in your home, the most likely breeding ground for a pest infestation is probably wherever you keep your garbage. 

To prevent pests, make sure you wash out all of your used containers before you throw them away. On top of that, make sure you are constantly cleaning your garbage receptacles. 

Rotten or rancid food residue is a sure draw for pests and insects. At least once every other week, take your trash can outside and thoroughly wash them with soap and water. A hose is a helpful tool for this task. 

Also, make sure your trashcan has a lid that provides an adequate seal. Keep your lid on your trashcan as much as possible to harness the smell. 

As all of us have no doubt learned, pests are an unfortunate part of our everyday lives. It is almost impossible to completely rid our homes and lives of these unwanted and unwelcome critters. 

The best we can do is take the proper precautions in order to possibly prevent a potential infestation. 

If you live in the Twin Cities, MN area, and you are suffering from a pest problem, contact Environmental Pest Management for your free estimate today. We are your one-stop-shop for safe and effective pest control and removal.

Summer Travel Plans? How to Avoid Bed Bugs

Summer is almost here! Even though this summer might not be a completely normal one, people will be traveling. Summer travel and bed bugs are an all-too-common concern.

If you have plans that will take you away from the warmth and safety of your bed and into an unknown (and potentially infested) bed, don’t fear. We have tips to ensure your trip is safe.

The last thing you want to do is bring home a suitcase full of begs to end a ruined trip.

At Environmental Pest Management, we have the experience you need to ensure your home and travels are pest-free. Contact us today for a free quote if you think you have pests that need evicting.

Suitcases in airport. Travel concept.

How to Check for Bed Bugs During Travel

Did you know there is a Bed Bug Registry? This handy website allows you to search for your hotel before traveling to see any bed bugs reported. You can search by hotel name, city, and state.

Of course, hotels are not the only place to get bed bugs. You can pick up these pesky creatures on airplanes, in taxis or Ubers, or anywhere else you come in contact with upholstered furniture or items.

To check for the presence of bed bugs, you are not looking for the actual bugs. Instead, you are looking for what they leave behind. You are looking for tiny black dots. It might seem like someone dropped a pen over and over again. 

Here are some tips on where and how to check for bed bugs while traveling.

  1. Consider a hard-shelled suitcase over a clothe or soft material suitcase if you don’t already have one. Bed bugs have a hard time getting past the hard shell. There are many crevices for them to find in a soft suitcase.
  2. When traveling by plane, train, or rented car, check the seat edges and creases. You are looking for the actual bug that resembles an apple seed, or what they leave behind.
  3. Before you unpack at your hotel, thoroughly check the room for signs of bed bugs. You likely won’t see the bugs as they are nocturnal, but you will see their poop if they are in the room.
  4. Never set your luggage on the bed or other upholstered furniture or directly on the carpeted floor. Use the provided luggage rack or place your bags in the bathroom or on a dresser. Hanging your clothes is a good option, as well.
  5. Check under the sheets for signs of the bugs. Remember, it might look like small ink stains along the seam. You might also see small blood spots on the mattress.
  6. If the beds have headboards, check around and behind it.
  7. Inspect any upholstered furniture in the room as well as window treatments. Bed bugs aren’t limited to beds.
  8. If you find any signs of bed bugs, immediately contact management. It might be best to change hotels as bed bugs easily travel between rooms in a hotel.
  9. When you get home, vacuum off your luggage. Empty your clothes into the washer and thoroughly check your bags for signs of bed bugs. You should see those tiny ink-like stains along the edges or corners.
  10. Finally, wash in hot water anything that can be washed. If you happened to pick up a bed bug or two, they will not survive a hot wash and dry. 

accommodation inspector testing the bed

What to Do if Bed Bugs Follow You Home

Unfortunately, you might not catch bed bugs before bringing them into your home. Even if you thoroughly check your hotel room, you can still pick them up in a variety of places. These bugs are destructive and have a strong will to live and spread.

If you realize you have picked up unwanted hitchhikers during your are travels, seal all of your things in plastic bags before you head home. The last thing you want is to track these pests into your home. It only takes one falling out of your suitcase for your entire house to become infested.

If that happens, call Environmental Pest Management, and we will take care of the problem for you.

When you do get home, unpack your bag outside, if possible. If you can’t do that, don’t go farther than the garage.

Lucky for us, bed bugs can’t survive high heat. Wash everything in your bag in hot water. You will want the water to be at least 100℉. Then, dry on high heat. This process should take care of any bed bugs that made it this far.

Next, you will want to tackle that luggage. The good news is you don’t have to throw it away. Grab a flashlight and magnifying glass if you have one and inspect the seams and crevices as best you can. 

If you see any, vacuum up the little pests with a vacuum and brush attachment. Go over the entire suitcase, focusing on any spots you see signs of bed bugs. 

If able, wash and scrub your bag with warm, soapy water. The final nail in the blood-sucking bedbug coffin would be a thorough steaming of your suitcase with a handheld steamer.

Traveler with suitcase in airport concept.Young girl walking with carrying luggage and passenger for tour travel booking ticket flight at international vacation time in holiday rest and relaxation.

Call Environmental Pest Management

With these tips, you can ensure the only thing you’re bringing home from your travels are good memories. We can help make sure bed bugs, and other pests, stay out.

If you have recently traveled and think you have bed bugs, call Environmental Pest Management today. We will give you a free quote before completing any work.

Bed bugs are a common problem for many travelers. We will make sure you only have happy memories from your trip, not lasting dread and itchy spots.

We also handle more than bed bugs. We have experience exterminating mice and rodents, wasps, ants, roaches, bees, beetles, and more. We also install TAP Insulation to provide extra protection for your home from unwanted guests.

Call us today and let us know how we can help you. 

Warm Weather and Termites… How to Protect Your Home

Termites and warm weather are probably not the first two things you think of when someone says the word “summer.” Warm weather might spring to mind, sure; but since when do they go hand-in-glove with termites?

 Environmental Pest Management can help you deal with any burgeoning termite problems your home may experience this summer.

termite damage

Termites and Warm Weather: What’s the Connection?

You may be wondering why warm weather brings out the termites. The fact is, termites love warm weather; these bugs are found in 49 states (Alaska is the exception).

Termites draw their moisture from the ground. Homes with water leaks or condensation accumulation are also attractive to them, however. When temperatures get higher than 60 degrees, termites tend to hunt for moisture around homes before searching outdoors.

In summary, humidity plus warmth equals prime termite conditions. 

How Do I Know My Home Has a Termite Infestation?

There are a few tell-tale signs of a termite infestation. 

First of all, termites tend to shed their wings when the weather starts to get warm. A pile of termite wings is a pretty good indicator that you have termites.

Additionally, like many bugs, termites are attracted to lights. If you are concerned about termites, you may want to check around light fixtures and windows.

Rotting wood can also be a critical indicator that your home is under attack from termites. Bubbling paint can be another tell-tale sign that termites, as are a hollow sound when you tap a wood structure.

Finally, if your home is dealing with termites, you may notice mud tubes. Mud tubes are small, pencil-sized tunnels that termites use for protection and to retain moisture. These termite highways will typically appear near the foundation of a home.

Closeup on termites going in and out of their tunnel

Why Are Termites a Problem?

If there are two things homeowners have to prepare for, it’s termites and warm weather. Higher temperatures can mean a long, tedious chore list, from cleaning gutters to washing siding. Termite-prevention should also be part of your springtime to-do list.

Termites present a variety of serious challenges. These tenacious little critters can chew through floors and walls, even carpeting and wallpaper! 

A termite colony working together can be pretty harmful, since they can eat round-the-clock for days. This level of damage can pose a threat to your home’s structural integrity.

The National Pest Management Agency estimates that termites cause over $5 billion in damage yearly.

For everything you didn’t want to know about termites, read here.

How To Prevent Termites in Warm Weather

Fortunately, there are certain proactive steps you can take to prevent termites during the spring and summer.

First, make sure you inspect your home for the tell-tale termite signs we mentioned above. Termites commonly appear in wood features, so windowsills, door frames, and floor boards/wainscoting should appear on your termite checklist.

Next, check for leaks and any excess moisture around your home. Remember, when you add humidity to the mix of termites and warm weather, termites are a risk. An important part of termite prevention is diverting water away from your home, through gutters, downspouts, and splash locks.

You should also be sure to check AC units and faucets for leaks. Rotted roof shingles can also be a source of leaks, so roof inspections are also essential for termite prevention.

Additionally, you should avoid leaving anything out that might attract hungry termites. This next tip is especially important for homeowners with wood-burning fireplaces. Try to stack lumber away from your home, instead of against it; always inspect it before you bring it inside.

Finally, if your home is recently-constructed, inspect for foam boards or grade stakes that builders may have left behind. While termites don’t eat foam board, we know that they can and do tunnel through it. 

Is It Possible for Weather to be Too Warm for Termites?

Termites tend to survive best in temperatures between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. While termites tend not to fare too well when temperatures fluctuate too much, do not underestimate these survivors. These insects tend to be far more skilled and able than other animals or insects at accessing cool places.

In fact, termites can survive and thrive in the famously hot Sonoran Desert. They do this by skillfully locating and sheltering in cool, underground spots and shaded areas. 

Termite species who don’t share their desert cousins’ subterranean-locating abilities have other skills. During hot weather, drywood termites move their nests from close to a log’s surface, to the log’s cooler center.

So even if you live in a very hot area, unfortunately, you are not safe from the threat of termites.

termite nest at wooden wall, nest termite at wood decay, background of nest termite, white ant, background damaged white wooden eaten by termite or white ant

Environmental Pest Management Can Help with Termite Prevention and Elimination

Whether you are looking to prevent termites or deal with an ongoing infestation, Environmental Pest Management can help. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection!

If you are serious about preventing termites, you should consider a regular professional home inspection. The experienced hands at Environmental Pest Management can assess your home’s risk and alert you to a current termite problem.

We require our staff to attain the level of Master Licensed Technician, a multi-year process to attain true field expertise.

We belong to state and national professional associations in the pest management field. Our affiliations include both the Minnesota and National Pest Management Associations. That means we are able to provide our customers with the very latest industry knowledge and best practices. 

Environmental Pest Management brings over 30 years of know-how to our work, and that’s not all. You can also rely on us for environmentally-responsible pest management techniques and methods. If you require pest management in your home, apartment, office, or even hospital, we will determine the best, safest solution.

Our commitment to the environment means that we use non-chemical means of pest management as often as possible. Often, we find these pesticide-free methods are more effective and longer-lasting than traditional pesticides.

Termites and warm weather are a scary combination for any homeowner, business, or landlord. For efficient termite treatment, trust the job to an experienced company with deep roots in east central Minnesota. Contact Environmental Pest Management and say good-bye to your termite fears!

What is Commercial Pest Management?

When most people think of pest management, they think of houses or apartments where people live. However, bugs don’t stick to just homes. Pests take refuge anywhere they can find. Hence, commercial pest management.

Commercial pest management is just what it sounds like: pest control for businesses. If you are a business owner and don’t have a pest control company, you need one. Maybe you already have one, but are they the best?

Business owners have many decisions to make and things to consider. Don’t let finding a trusted pest control company take up any more of your time. Call Environmental Pest Management today for a free quote. 

We will make sure your business stays pest-free so you can focus on doing what you do best.

Industrial pest control

Main Differences Between Residential and Commercial Pest Management

Pest management is different when it comes down to it, whether it is intended for residential or commercial locations. While the ultimate goal is to remove unwanted pests and ensure they don’t return, how things are done vary.

Speed of Service

Sometimes, residential service requires the tenants to temporarily relocate while service is completed, depending on how severe the problem is. However, it would be extremely difficult for a company to close down for even a couple of days for service.

Because commercial service needs to be done with as little interruption to the company as possible, commercial pest management tends to have a quicker turnaround than residential service.

Commercial service generally costs more, as well. Because the area to treat is often larger, and the company will not want to shut their doors, commercial pest management comes with a higher price tag.

Types of Service

Homes, for the most part, are relatively similar. With comparable setups come like problems. So, most residential pest management is done in similar ways.

Commercial buildings, on the other hand, can be vastly different in size, type, and purpose. Because of this variation, commercial pest management needs to be customized to each client. It would be irresponsible to treat a hospital or restaurant like you would a factory or retail store.

Customized treatments don’t end with removing pests. A commercial pest management company you can trust will have a customized plan to ensure pests don’t return. A good company will consider everything from location to types of bugs to the layout of building in a preventative strategy.

You will want to find a company that can customize your service and has the knowledge and experience to ensure things are done right. Environmental Pest Management is that company.

Tails of rats on a wooden table.

Types of Bugs in Commercial Clients

While homes are more likely to be infested with ants, bedbugs, termites, and other smaller pests, commercial locations tend to attract larger pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches. However, a good commercial pest management company understands that just about any bug can get anywhere and will plan accordingly.

Mice and Rats

With rodents like mice and rats, we always look for the entry point. Traps only work so well for so long if you don’t stop them from getting in. Finding where they come in and closing that option will be our number one priority. 

We will aim to control the situation with permanent seal up, void treatment, baiting, trapping, and natural repellents. A holistic approach will ensure the most successful results.  

Cockroaches

In our area, we are always on the lookout for the German Roach. This creative little pest is always finding ways into buildings and often hitches a ride on with visitors or in shipments.

To successfully treat cockroaches, we rely on routine inspections. We rely on the newest technology to treat a cockroach infestation and ensure we are always up to date. We have lots of experience removing these pests, and our goal is complete elimination.

Other Pests

As we all know, mice, rats, and cockroaches are not the only pests that plague businesses. Whatever comes your way, whether it’s ants or another crawly pests or wasps or another flying pest, you can be sure we are prepared to handle it.

We always use a combination of baits and other exterior management techniques to control populations from entering buildings. We continually work to develop the safest and effective programs to not only eliminate pests but also prevent them from entering.

We will carefully consider the needs of your establishment and develop a customized plan that addresses the problems you face.

Reasons for Commercial Pest Management

 

  • Sanitation. Whether or not you are producing items for consumption, pests are dirty. With pests come a variety of diseases. If you are in the food industry, you can’t risk these diseases. Even if you are not, pests create unsanitary messes that you don’t want to deal with.
  • Reputation. After spending years or decades building up your business, the last thing you want is for an infestation to ruin your reputation. If customers see bugs in your establishment, it will affect how they view your business. Don’t let pests ruin all you have worked for.
  • Cost-Effective. It seems counterintuitive to pay for something to save money, but in the cases of pests, it’s true. You are paying to ensure you don’t lose products or customers to a bug infestation. Bugs can ruin products and scare away customers.
  • Health. Many different pests carry a variety of diseases. Furthermore, the droppings of pests are unsanitary. This is especially true if you are in the food industry. The last thing you want is someone, either a customer or an employee, getting sick from something that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Mid section of pest control man standing next to a van

 

Call Environmental Pest Management Today

If you own a business and don’t have a pest control company, call Environmental Pest Management today. We have years of experience serving customers throughout Minnesota. We will work with you to come up with the best plan for your business.

If you already have a company, call us today for a free quote. We want to ensure you are getting the most comprehensive service at the best price. Let us prove to you we are the best in the business.

What is TAP Insulation and Why You Want It

TAP spray foam
TAP spray foam

Insulation is one of the most fundamentally important parts of your home. It serves many different purposes, including lowering your energy bill and keeping your house comfortable.

Since insulation is so important, why not go above and beyond? If your insulation could give you even more benefits than usual, then that is an easy choice for you as a homeowner.

TAP insulation will give these improvements and then some. This insulation is an environmentally safe, sound dampening, fire-resistant, pest controlling insulation.

TAP stands for Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control, which are the main characteristics of it. With all the added benefits of TAP, you get more bang for your buck.

This unique and innovative insulation is excellent at keeping any unwanted pests out of your home. These pests include ants, termites, cockroaches, silverfish, and many more.

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Contact the professionals at Environmental Pest Management, where you can request a free quote.

Worker Spraying house attic insulation

Thermal

The obvious benefit of any insulation is the ability to keep your house warm on cold days and cool on hot days. It does this by blocking the outside weather while trapping in the comfortable temperatures inside your home.

Better insulation means you don’t have to use as much energy to regulate the temperature of your house. Using less energy directly translates to you, saving more money on your bills.

The secret to good insulation is the balance between how dense it is and how light it is. Density will stop the airflow, while light materials (and air pockets) will trap heat better.

Since TAP is denser than your traditional insulation, it does a better job of stopping airflow. The efficiency is especially useful for the coldest months of the year when you need it most.

Additionally, TAP is an ENERGY STAR partner with the Energy Star seal of approval. You can be at ease, knowing your insulation is of the highest quality and safety standards.

Acoustical

One advantage that many don’t consider when thinking of insulation is noise reduction. Poor quality insulation won’t reduce noise nearly as well as higher quality materials.

The noise cancellation works both ways! Annoying sounds from outdoors, such as traffic or sirens, won’t pierce into your home. At the same time, your indoor sounds, such as toilets flushing or appliances running, won’t make it outside.

As with the thermal benefits, sound likes to travel through solid materials. TAP gets designed with small air pockets that quickly disperse the noise coming through the fibers.

The noise suppression of this material is unparalleled. A standard installation of TAP insulation across your entire attic area will nearly eliminate all of the outdoor noises.

You don’t have to deal with annoying noises such as airplanes flying overhead or your neighbors mowing their lawn at an inconvenient time. You deserve peace at all times.

White construction foam on a wooden wall

Pest Control

While the high-quality materials of TAP make it stand out above the crowd, it becomes truly unique with its ability to keep pests out of your home. It would be best if you always had the comfort knowing that no pesky intruders are wandering around in your attic or your walls.

TAP insulation uses a borate material that is commonly used by pest management professionals. The borate material is added directly to the paper fibers, making it a powerful all-in-one solution to pest control.

The borate material is typically placed around the baseboards of homes and the outside of homes to kill insects. You have nothing to worry about, as the material is safe for humans.

The substance will cling onto the legs and bodies of insects crawling around, which then get consumed by the insect when it cleans itself. The particles disturb their digestive functions which leads to starvation.

TAP is an excellent solution for removing all sorts of insects. Anything from roaches, crickets, beetles, centipedes and millipedes, termites, and ants will all get targeted.

With this pest control solution, you don’t have to go through the trouble of strategically laying traps or buying additional pesticides for your home. The TAP insulation will be working around the clock, 24/7, actively stopping bugs and critters. For more information about pest control safety, check this out.

How It Compares To Standard Insulation

Now that you’ve seen all of the benefits of TAP insulation, I’m sure you’re wondering what it all means compared to the “normal stuff.” Let’s jump into it.

R-Value

First, we need to know how insulation gets measured against other materials. The term is called R-value, which stands for resistance value. R-value is the indicator of performance for the slowing of heat. The higher the R-value, the better the results you can expect from your insulation.

With that said, TAP Pest Control Insulation boasts an R-value of 3.6 per inch. This R-value is higher than any other type of insulation on the market.

The performance of TAP, coupled with the acoustical and pest control capabilities, makes this choice a no brainer. It is a great option to keep your home both warm and secure.

According to the Insulation Institute, residential electricity prices have jumped by 39% since 2004. Now more than ever, you want good insulation in your home to keep the costs down.

Technician spraying foam insulation

Going Green

While many products like to claim to be “green,” not all of them live up to the expectations. From the production to the benefits, TAP has you covered.

TAP insulation is made from 80% recycled paper and then combined with the borate material. The reuse of such a large amount of paper is a massive victory for the environment.

Additionally, the energy your home will be saving will reduce your carbon footprint drastically. Month by month, you’ll be using less energy, which saves you money and helps the ecosystem.

The benefits of TAP insulation cannot get overstated. You get to stay more comfortable in your home while keeping annoying critters at bay. If you’d like to remove your old insulation and install a brand new blanket of TAP, contact the experts at Environmental Pest Management.

Preparing Your Home for the Warmer Weather

The shift from winter to spring brings many changes to the world around you. Temperatures rise, and flowers bloom—a time for new beginnings.

Spring is a time for exploration and renewal. It’s important to realize that you won’t be the only one eager to get around and adventure!

One thing to be aware of when transitioning into the new season is the critters that like to come out as well. Various animals and bugs could crawl into your home, which will cause trouble for you and your home down the road.

Of course, you want to know the difference between “good” bugs and “bad” bugs. Check here for what to look for.

Tackle these spring pests by knowing where to look, and what to do when you find them. You don’t have to fight the battle alone! Contact Environmental Pest Management for professional pest control services in the Twin Cities area.

Close-up image of cockroach in house on background of water closet.

Cleaning Your Home

The first thing you should do as you prepare your home for the spring weather is to clean everything as well as you can. Bugs and critters love moving into dark, cluttered areas, and any mess in your home will be a perfect place for them.

One central place you should consider looking at is where your food is stored. Everything needs to eat to survive, and these bugs are no different.

It’s a good idea to take out all of the food in your cupboards and off your shelves and physically inspect each item. If there’s any holes in the packaging, it’s time to throw it out! Small animals love to get into food and eat up any crumbs available.

After taking out all of your food objects, consider cleaning the shelves themselves. Vacuum any leftover crumbs and wipe down the area with a damp rag.

You’ll want to remove as much clutter as possible when you’re cleaning. Your closet can be a potential spot for lots of clutter. Remove articles of clothing you no longer wear and make sure clothing is appropriately hung up or stored.

Additionally, if there are items that are especially important to you, you can better protect them. Placing clothes in airtight bags means that they get protected from moisture, humidity, dust, and of course, any pesky bugs.

Where To Look

 You may have small bugs and insects roaming around your home without you being aware. Knowing where to look will give you an advantage when dealing with these critters.

Kitchen

The kitchen is the biggest target for bugs looking for food, water, or a damp spot to hide. Because of this, you should be vigilant when inspecting and cleaning your kitchen.

The bug that loves your kitchen the most is the ant. They seek after crumbs and sticky spots, as well as certain fruits that may be on your counter top.

In addition to the recommendation of cleaning out your cupboards of stale food and leftover crumbs, another sneaky spot that ants love is behind your appliances. Many people don’t consider this area because of the difficulty of cleaning it. 

These appliances will include your stove, refrigerator, and possibly dishwasher. Pull them out and vacuum behind them to avoid potential ant problems in your home.

Bathroom

Some bugs that love moisture include the cockroach and the silverfish—one place in your home that can often create moisture in your bathroom.

You can remove some sources of moisture by checking on the integrity of the pipes in your bathroom. If you find any leaks from pipes or faucets, you should tighten them back up. Additionally, washing the shower curtain and liner will help with moisture problems. 

With that done, the last spot to consider is the medicine cabinet. The medicine cabinet could get filled with clutter and various items you no longer need, so clean it accordingly.

Basement

The basement is an excellent spot for both spiders and rodents to reside. They love it because of the often dark and cluttered areas that are good for hiding in.

To combat these pests, look to removing as much clutter as possible. When storing your items, consider using plastic containers instead of cardboard because plastic is more secure.

When examining your basement, keep an eye out for tiny cracks or holes. It doesn’t take much for critters to find their way into your home, so sealing these cracks is of utmost importance.

Outside

The last place you’ll have to look at is the outdoor area around your house. The outdoors will be where the insects and rodents find their way into your warm and cozy home.

Inspect the perimeter, including your shingles, pathways, and gutters. Keep an eye out for damage, deterioration, and clogs. These can be signs of bugs on your property.

Cockroach on wooden floor in apartment house

Treating Your Home

The final step for battling the bugs is managing your home and property to avoid future problems. Knowing what to look for and what to fix will help you tremendously.

Upon preparing your kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor area, don’t forget to check the water sources. Pests love damp areas, and a leaky faucet will provide them a safe place to thrive. Check your faucets and outdoor taps for drips and pooling water, and have it repaired if leaks get found. 

Whether your pests fly or crawl, a window is still easy to access for them to enter your home. Make sure you have correctly fitting window screens and that your windows get sealed. Old windows may have cracked or broken seals that little bugs can easily squeeze through and invade your home.

Wood is an excellent home for many pests, especially termites. If there were previous leaks or water damage in your home, consider replacing any wood that was left to absorb the excess water. Once the pests move in and start further damaging the forest, the foundation of your home could become compromised.

Your home is an excellent place for not only you to live but many other critters as well. As you can see, there’s lots of options for finding, removing, and preventing bugs and rodents in your residence. You don’t have to fight these battles alone! Contact the professionals at Environmental Pest Management for a free quote and peace of mind.