No More Bugs in Your Rugs! Learn About What Causes Carpet Beetles

A portrait of a carpet beetle isolated on a white background
A portrait of a carpet beetle isolated on a white background

You might not be familiar with the tiny carpet beetle, but these bugs can cause irreversible damage to your home. Mostly they prefer clothing and carpet, creating holes, and you might find worms in these areas. So what causes carpet beetles? 

At Environmental Pest Management, we know once you’ve discovered an infestation, you’ll want to get rid of carpet beetles. That’s where we come in! 

We are industry experts. We know what causes carpet beetles and we can kill them and their larvae, so there is no way they can return. 

No one likes to deal with a carpet beetle infestation. Let’s find out a bit more about these insects and how to get rid of them. 

What Causes Carpet Beetles? 

A carpet beetle in gray carpet

Before looking at what causes carpet beetles, let’s describe them. 

The adult carpet beetles are small and black to dark brown. The damage that is caused usually happens in the larvae stage, and they look like tiny little worms. You will find them on your carpet and clothes. 

There are three species of carpet beetles: The Carpet Beetle, The Furniture Beetle, and The Black Carpet Beetle. They are quite the quaint family! 

The furniture beetle prefers wood. This critter often gets inside the home when wood furniture or timber gets brought into the house. They will lay their eggs in the wood so that it can be incredibly frustrating to get rid of them. 

The carpet beetle is considered a common domestic pest. The beetles can damage anything made of natural fibers, so think of furniture, clothing, and carpets. They lay their eggs there, and if you notice holes in items you’ll know their presence. 

The black carpet beetle is reddish-brown and covered with bristles. They will damage your carpets and furniture, so you want to get rid of them as soon as possible. 

Carpet beetles live outdoors and feed on pollen and nectar. They can get into the home through flowers or plants.

Beetles have also been known to get in through cracks in doors and windows. Vents and chimneys are also easy ways for them to make their move inside. 

They love wool, so you may find them in wool clothing or wool rugs. It is devastating to find holes in your favorite wool blanket caused by these tiny scoundrels! 

They may also be attracted to animal hides that may be hanging in the home. Dried flower arrangements and even dog food can attract beetles and give them something to feed. 

How Do You Identify a Carpet Beetle?

What causes carpet beetles? A close up of a speckled carpet beetle.

There are a few identifying factors of a carpet beetle:

  • As stated, they are black to dark brown
  • In length, they are typically 2mm to 5mm long
  • All varieties are oval-shaped
  • They have short looking clubbed antennae

Wondering if carpet beetles are harmful? Likely not, but some people have allergies to insects. 

If you are allergic, you may have red, itchy eyes, a runny nose, or hives. If that is the case, it is imperative to have a professional pest controller take care of the infestation quickly. 

Having a difficult time finding the buggers? They are attracted to light, so try looking where the light source is, and you may find them crawling around. 

The larvae, however, are laid in the dark and take over a year to develop into beetles. Carpet beetle larvae are more destructive than the beetle stage, and that’s a good reason why a professional may be required to help out with carpet beetles and larvae in the home.

But How Do You Get Rid of Carpet Beetles? 

What Causes Carpet Beetles? Keeping an unclean home can attract these pests. Someone vacuuming their rug in order to prevent carpet beetles.

Getting rid of carpet beetles takes persistence and patience. 

To start, you should use an insecticide or a pesticide inside and around the perimeter of the home. Indoors, not only should furniture and carpet be vacuumed but steam cleaned as well. Infested items should be bagged for 24 hours then washed. 

Wash any stained clothing. If there are any beetles left around, they won’t want to feast upon anything clean and fresh. 

Also, seal up food in tight containers for now and keep all flowers outside of the home. 

You can also always call in pest control to handle the situation, so you do not have to yourself. 

What will pest control do to control the infestation? 

  • First, they will likely vacuum the whole area well, including window sills and around the door.
  • After that, they go over the vacuumed area with a steam cleaner.
  • A potent insecticide is then sprayed over the infestation area. Ingredients may include deltamethrin, bifenthrin, or cyfluthrin, as these work magic against carpet beetles.
  • Boric acid, which is powerful against carpet beetles, is then used over the area.
  • It is suggested to then go over all the home areas with rubbing alcohol, including doors, window sills, ledges, and baseboards. 

How Can I Keep Carpet Beetles From Returning? 

Someone putting their clothing in vacuum sealed bags to prevent carpet beetles

Now that they are out, how can you keep them out? 

For one, wash clothing well and store it properly in sealed bags from season to season. Always wash linens and towels regularly, so all is fresh and clean. You can add cedar strips or mothballs when you are storing items to help keep critters away. 

It’s okay to use an insecticide around the outside of the home at the advice of a pest control expert. Talk to us about how often routine maintenance is required. 

Never let holes or tears in windows go unrepaired and fix any broken sills from windows and doors. Those can be entry points for lots of Minnesota bugs

Call In The Experts For Your Carpet Beetle Woes

Someone using their cell phone to call pest control experts to help with a carpet beetle infestation.

Now you are an expert in the cause of carpet beetle infestation and how they are managed. Do you want to tackle this on your own?

You may want to leave it to professionals. That’s why we are here! 

Environmental Pest Management can handle whatever pest issue you have so it is no longer causing stress in your life. 

Summer is back, and the bugs are going to be in full force! Contact us for information, with questions, or for a quote today!

Keep an Eye Out For These 7 Types of Ants in Minnesota

A very closeup portrait of an ant isolated on white.
A very closeup portrait of an ant isolated on white.

Spring has sprung in the Midwest, unleashing a plethora of pests, including – ants! Environmental Pest Management knows everything about ants (and whatever else is bugging you). And are here to help discuss the types of ants in Minnesota. 

They’ve been in the business since 1986, and service the Twin Cities metro area, its surrounding suburbs, and parts of western Wisconsin, too. 

Whether your ant infestation is at home or work, Environmental Pest Management is here to handle whatever’s bugging you. Contact them today for a FREE quote.

Common Types Of Ants in Minnesota

A colony of ants drinking from a drop of water.

In Spring, ants are eager to find a food source and a nice place to live. Their presence can be a big problem until you call a pest control professional. Environmental Pest Control has helpful ways that you can prepare your home for warmer weather.

Although there are 12,500 different ant species, only about ten call Minnesota home. If you see red ants, don’t freak out! It’s doubtful that they’re Imported Fire Ants.

Here are the most common types of ants in Minnesota:

Carpenter Ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) 

These ants are some of the biggest you’ll encounter! Reaching 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch in length, they are usually black or brownish. They may also have long yellow or gray hairs.

Cornfield Ants (Lasius alienus) 

Often mistaken for Carpenter Ants, Cornfield Ants are pale to dark brown but can also be red, black, or a mixture of colors. They range in size from 1/10-inch long to 1/4-inch long. Unlike Carpenter Ants, this odorous house ant emits a nasty odor when crushed.

Field Ants (Formica spp.)

These ants are medium-to-large in size, ranging from 1⁄5 to ⅜ inches in length. Their color can vary as some are black, while others are a combination of black and red. Although these ants don’t nest in your home, they build large ant mounds in your yard, which are unsightly and problematic.

Larger Yellow Ants (Acanthomyops interjectus)

If you smell lemons when you kill or disturb these ants, you’ve got Larger Yellow Ants in your home. These ants range in color from yellow to brownish-red, and workers grow to around 3/16-inch long.

Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum)

Pavement ants are a bit like watching “Game of Thrones.” These warring ants fight each other over territory. The pavement ant only grows to 1/8-inch in length and has a reddish-brown or black body. Furrows line the heads of pavement ants from top to bottom.

Pharaoh Ants (Monomorium pharaonis)

These tiny-but-mighty ants are about 1/16-inch long with pale yellow to red bodies with a darker color in their middle sections. They are often mistaken for other ant species.

Thief Ants (Solenopsis molesta)

These little buggers measure about 1/10-1/16 inches. They may have a range in color from yellowish to brown. One unique feature is that their antennae have ten segments with a two-segmented club. In comparison, Pharaoh Ants have 12 segmented antennae ending with a three-segmented club.

Spring Cleaning to Help Prevent Ants

A woman wearing a denim shirt and blue rubber gloves wiping down her counter and spring cleaning to help prevent ants.

As we’ve mentioned, Spring is the time ants become active again. Now is an excellent time to go through the following rooms to check for signs of ants and other pests:

  1. Bathroom 
  2. Basement
  3. Kitchen
  4. Outside

It is also wise to check the seals around your doors and windows. Ants are persistent, creative creatures and can easily find their way into seemingly closed-off homes.

Sometimes a deep cleaning and good ol’ ant traps are all that’s needed to get rid of ants. You think you clean up well enough, but they come back before you know it, and further, any control is needed. That’s the time to call Environmental Pest Management for a free quote. 

What Ants Prefer

Carpenter ants on a piece of wood

  • Carpenter Ants: These ants love wood and wooden structures, especially rotting, wet or damaged wood. They’ll tunnel through the rotting wood to build their nests under your bathroom floor, roof, or behind walls. Carpenter Ants love grease, meats, and anything sweet. 
  • Cornfield Ants: OUCH! Did you know the Cornfield Ant bites? Luckily, the bite isn’t serious and merely causes a slight itch or stinging. True to their name, Cornfield Ants prefer to nest outdoors. These ant nests leave unsightly craters in lawns or planters as the colony increases. If you’ve found Cornfield Ants in your home, it means you have moisture in your home’s wood.
  • Field Ants: Like Cornfield Ants, these sizeable ants create mounds in open areas like lawns and meadows. Although they don’t nest in homes, they may find a way inside when swarming or searching for food. Common points of entry are loose weather stripping and cracked windows. Ant nests built close to the foundation may also enable ants to enter your home quickly.
  • Larger Yellow Ants: These nocturnal ants get busy at night. Like Pavement Ants, these pests often nest under concrete or home foundations. Although they don’t damage masonry, they can be very tricky to control once established.
  • Pavement Ants: These ants love greasy foods and sweets like most other pest ants. They often enter homes through the nests that they build under concrete slabs and homes with concrete foundations. They also like to nest under heated slab foundations throughout the winter.
  • Pharaoh Ants: Pharaoh ants feast on high-fat and sugary foods. They also enjoy a good snack of soap, toothpaste, and other hygiene products. If you notice them coming back again and again, it’s because they leave a pheromone trail to show other ants where your goodies are. The ants will infest your food stores in large numbers if they find food in the same spot twice.
  • Thief Ants: Thief Ants get into your home through cracks in your woodwork, holes in walls, and open doors. These ants feed on greasy foods high in protein or sweets. During your Spring cleaning, make sure to check your children’s room to make sure there’s no candy hiding under the bed or in the closet. 

Help Is On The Way

A pest specialist spraying for ants in a customer/s kitchen.

If infestations are hard to manage yourself, it’s best to call in the past professionals at Environmental Pest Management. They’ll immediately identify the problem and fix it. Contact them today for your FREE quote.

A Helpful Guide About the Mosquito Lifespan

A mosquito isolated on a white background.
A mosquito isolated on a white background.

In the United States, there are 176 species of Mosquitoes. And in Minnesota, you know that summertime is ubiquitously associated with slapping those persistent pests. If you do nothing to eliminate the bugs, just how long is the mosquito lifespan? 

If you do not want to find out, then Environmental Pest Management has some options for you. Finding solutions to decrease the summertime bugs is just one of our specialties. 

If you have a curiosity about the mosquito, then read on to learn a little more about the lifespan of one of our most famous summer nuisances. 

Learn More About the Mosquito Lifespan 

A diagram depicting the stages of the mosquito lifespan.

Some mosquitoes can live up to six months long, from laying the eggs to the buzzing whine of a skeeter in your ear. Did you know that mosquitoes have a 4-stages of growth? 

Mosquitoes can breed and live in any standing water source, whether natural or human-made. 

Mosquito eggs have been found deep below the ground in mines and even on mountains at 14,000ft. Understanding how they develop is crucial to understanding how to manage their presence in your yard. 

You may not be aware of where these sneaky buggers are breeding near your home, but pest control experts can find them. 

Some mosquito species are referred to as “floodwater” species, meaning they lay their eggs in temporary water sources created by rain or flooding. Others are called “permanent water” species, which indicates they lay their eggs in water sources that are long-standing like ponds. 

Despite the 300 different mosquito species worldwide, they all develop the same way. There are four stages of mosquito growth: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. 

Water is necessary for development as both the larva and pupa stages happen aquatically. 

The Stages of the Mosquito Lifespan

Mosquito Eggs

An illustration of a mosquito egg raft.

The female mosquito will lay her eggs either on the surface of standing water or right at the edge of the waterline. She could find this water inside a tree hole, a pond, a birdbath, exposed potholes in riverbed rock, or an old bucket that has collected rainwater. 

The egg development phase takes only a few days before they are ready to hatch, depending on how warm the temperature is. If the water source evaporates or if the eggs are laid outside of water, the eggs will become dormant until the needed hatching conditions occur. 

This could take years in some situations, even overwintering until the eggs are back in the water again. They must be in or very near water to hatch. 

Mosquito Larva

Mosquito larvae underwater. Larvae is just one portion of the mosquito lifespan.

Once the eggs have hatched, the mosquito begins the larval stage of development. The larva hang suspended from the surface of the water in clusters. They require oxygen, so an air tube or siphon protrudes from their body and extends towards the surface. 

It acts much like a snorkel, allowing them to breathe. 

The larva filter-feed micro-nutrients for sustenance and swim deeper if needed to escape from a predator. The shape of their body creates an S motion as they swim. Because of this, they are nicknamed “wigglers” or “wrigglers.”

The larva will shed its exoskeleton four times before entering the next stage of development. This process can take 4-14 days, depending on the species, water temperature, and the amount of food available to them. 

Pupa Stage 

A mosquito pupa hanging beneath the water's surface.

Once the mosquito has developed to the pupal stage, it no longer needs to feed. It does still need to be in the water to survive. They also still need to breathe oxygen, so the pupas remain close to the surface. 

They are, however, becoming more physically active. The pupas use a rolling or tumbling motion to escape to deeper water if needed. This motion warrants them the common nickname of “tumblers.” 

The mosquito pupae are in this form for 1.5-4 days before they are ready to shed their exoskeleton one final time. 

Adult Mosquitoes 

An adult mosquito isolated on a white background. The adult stage is one of the four stages of the mosquito lifespan.

Once the pupa sheds its skin, it emerges as a fully formed adult mosquito. There are male and female mosquitoes, which lead very different lives. 

The male mosquitoes linger near the breeding site after hatching because reproduction is hardwired for survival. 30% of newly hatched adults will die within the first day, so their instincts have evolved to make them breed as fast as possible. 

How long do mosquitoes live? The male mosquito’s lifespan lasts 6 or 7 days. 

For the female, that quick turnaround isn’t easy. She has to eat before she can lay more eggs. 

While the male subsists entirely on plant nectar, the females need blood meals. Before laying her eggs, she needs to drink blood and plant nectar. 

How long do female mosquitoes live? Surprisingly, female mosquitoes can live upwards of 6 months, but generally, their lifespan is about six weeks. 

These flying insects will travel between one and ten miles for a blood meal. Some species can travel upwards of 40 miles. After each blood meal, the female mosquito will lay her eggs or oviposit. 

Some will complete this cycle several times in their lifespan, and some will lay their eggs only once.  

Why are they attracted to humans?

A mosquito biting a human.

Two main factors attract mosquitoes. Scenting carbon dioxide and heat are primarily how these flying insects hone in on their prey, whether human or animal. The source does not matter to them. 

The itchy bites are only one source of frustration from this pest. Mosquitoes also can transmit viruses and diseases, making them deadly in some areas of the world. The mosquito is most infamously associated with West Nile Virus and Zika Virus. 

Making Peace with the Pest

Mosquitos dead after flying into a light bug trap.

These summertime visitors are impossible to avoid, but there are ways to manage their presence. Understanding the mosquito lifespan can help pest control experts to disrupt it. 

We can help prevent more mosquitoes from hatching near your home so you can enjoy your summer in peace. 

Our team of master licensed technicians at Environmental Pest Management can help you manage the insects near your home. While there is no way to get rid of them entirely, there are very executable methods to ensure you are doing what you can to keep them at bay. 

Contact us at Environmental Pest Management to learn more about how we can help you today.

12 Common Minnesota Bugs

A black and white Weevil on a white background
A black and white Weevil on a white background

Though it does not feel like it, our Minnesota winter is coming to an end. As we approach summer, our crawly friends will be coming out to make their presence known. 

Or some of us may have some winter visitors holed up in our homes to escape the cold outdoors. It is important to know if your house guest is a friendly flyer or a harmful home invader. 

Take a look at these common Minnesota bugs that you are likely to find all year round. 

If you find any of these pests in your home and want them to vacate the premises, call Environmental Pest Management. We will send your pests packing!

A Stink Bug on a bright green leaf. Stink Bugs are a common Minnesota bug.

1. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

These guys were unintentionally brought to North America from South-East Asia. You will find these common Minnesota bugs hiding out in your home during the wintertime to escape the low temperatures. 

The stink bug will sneak through cracks and crevices in your home’s siding or door and window frames. Though they are not harmful, these guys do stink (both literally and figuratively). 

A red male tick on a white background.

2. Ticks

I think it’s safe to say we all know about these pests. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there are roughly twelve different kinds of ticks.

The three main types you might encounter are the American dog tick (or wood tick), the black-legged tick (or deer tick), and the lone star tick. Each of these carries the possibility of a tick-borne disease.

Ticks are crawlies you do not want to have around. If you do experience a tick bite, be careful with removal.

A Silverfish close up on a white background. Silverfish are a common Minnesota bug.

3. Silverfish

These pests have a suitable name for these flightless bugs with fish-like movements. Although they are very otherworldly looking, they are more of a nuisance than anything. 

Their destructive tendencies can make them a major annoyance. The silverfish’s discarded exoskeleton can also trigger allergies in some cases. 

Two ants on a white background

4. Ants

Ants are a common pest found in and around Minnesota homes. The best way to control an ant infestation is to identify them correctly. 

Most ants are more of a home-owner headache than disease-carrying and destructive. The University of Minnesota has a lot of great information on ant identification.

A cockroach on a sink

5. Cockroaches

Yes, of course, these guys made the list. Four types of cockroaches can infest Minnesota homes: the brown-banded cockroach, oriental cockroach, American cockroach, and the German cockroach. 

The best way to avoid these guys is to keep your kitchen and pantry clean. Store pantry foods in air-tight containers and clean dirty dishes frequently. 

They can carry diseases and can trigger allergies and asthma.

An earwig isolated on a white background

6. Earwigs

These guys are mostly a problem during Minnesota summers (July and August). They can come in large numbers. 

They do not cause any harm to humans or property damage but can give off an awful odor. One earwig will not live long inside the home. If you’re unprepared, earwigs will continue to enter the home through the summer months. 

A close up photo of Weevils on grains of rice.

7. Weevils 

These insects are a small, pear-shaped beetle with a noticeable snout. Weevils will seek shelter in your home from unfavorable weather conditions, especially dry, hot weather. 

These guys are classified as pantry pests and may try and find a home in your rice or grains. Store your grains and other weevil-loving food in air-tight glass or plastic storage containers. 

A Boxelder bug is a dark beetle with orange markings

8. Boxelder Bug

These common Minnesota bugs are black with orange or red markings. You can identify them by the three stripes on their back right behind their head. 

These bugs like warmth and are unlikely to cause you a problem during the summer months. They can become an issue in the fall and winter months when they are seeking warmth and shelter. 

They are primarily a nuisance as they often enter homes or buildings in large numbers. 

A wasp on a leaf

9. Wasps

Yellowjackets (including baldfaced hornets) and paper wasps are two common wasps you can find in Minnesota.

Wasps will construct their nests on the inside or outside of buildings, inside trees, and in the ground. Usually, wasps do not cause a problem if they are not near human activity. 

If you find a wasps nest inside or outside your home, it should be eliminated to reduce the risk of stings. 

A multi-colored carpet beetle close up

10. Carpet Beetles

These small guys can be found indoors throughout the year. They are commonly spotted during the spring and summer. 

Carpet beetles can be tricky because adults feed on pollen and are not pests alone. However, their larvae are destructive because they feed on natural fibers of animal origin.

They are not so much a concern for your carpet as they are your closet and items containing materials such as feather, wool, fur, or silk.

A large larder beetle on a white background. 

11. Larder Beetles

These oval-shaped dark brown beetle can be identified by the cream or yellow-colored band with six dark spots that run across the top of their wings.

These guys were fittingly named larder beetles (think lard) because of their attraction to food pantries and animal by-products. Both the adults and the larvae feed on high-protein materials or products. 

They will eat furs, feathers, wool, dead animals and insects, cured meats, dry pet food, and cheese.

Indianmeal moth on a white background

12. Indianmeal Moths 

Indianmeal moths have light gray wings that darken near the hind with no distinguishing markings. They may have a reddish-brown or coppery color on the outer portion of their wings. 

These pantry predators get their names from their diet of “Indian corn” or maize. They can be found in homes living in stored food products including, grains, dried fruit, seeds, spices, or pet foods. 

To help prevent these common Minnesota bugs, it is important to keep your pantry clean and store dry food products in glass or plastic air-tight containers. 

Environmental Pest Management Battles Minnesota Bugs

A pest control worker spraying a cabinet under a bathroom sink

All year long is a bug battle. Pests enter and exit homes depending on weather, life cycles, or other habits. 

If you find yourself with one or any of these common Minnesota bugs, Environmental Pest Management can help. We are proud to service Burnsville, MN, and surrounding cities

Contact us today for safe and effective pest management.

What are Silverfish Bugs?

A Silverfish bug isolated on a white background
A Silverfish bug isolated on a white background

Out of the corner of your eye, you see something skitter across the floor. You immediately stop what you’re doing to investigate. 

Just as you expected, it’s an unwelcome creepy crawler. But what on earth is it? An elongated silver/brown bug that’s very extraterrestrial looking. The Silverfish. 

But what are Silverfish bugs

Silverfish look otherworldly enough to give anyone a small fright. If you find an infestation in your home, give Environmental Pest Management a call for a free quote. 

In this article, we will answer the question, “what are silverfish bugs,” so you can identify the culprit correctly!      

Silverfish Stats

What are Silverfish bugs?

Color: They range in colors from a white sliver color to brown

Size: They can be anywhere from 12-19 mm in length

Shape: They are elongated and tear-dropped shaped.

Appearance: They have a 3 part segmented tail at the end of their abdomen

What Are Silverfish Bugs?

Four Silverfish ranging in size next to a book.

They are small, wingless bugs that get their name from their coloring and fish-like movements. Silverfish are nocturnal creatures and, like most bugs, prefer to hide in dark, moist locations.

Silverfish can grow anywhere from half an inch to an inch long. They have a lifespan of two to eight years. 

Silverfish are most known for their odd appearances. They have two long antennae on their head and three-segmented bristles on their rear. 

They scurry about in a side-to-side motion that resembles a fish’s movements. You will often find silverfish searching for dark, moist, humid environments to hide. 

Where do Silverfish Live?

A Silverfish living in a basement

You can find Silverfish throughout most of North America. They are capable of thriving in a majority of climates. 

However, as we have mentioned, they prefer dark, damp areas (75-97% humidity), such as kitchens, attics, basements, and bathrooms. They seek out damp paper, cardboard, or clothing.

You might find them living under your bathroom sinks, in your boxes stored in your garage or attic. You could also see them hiding in the corners of your humid closet. 

Silverfish Reproduction

A closeup of a Silverfish bug on white carpet.

Before mating, the silverfish perform love dances. The male will lay a spermatophore, which is taken into the female’s ovipositor. Depending on the species, a female can lay anywhere from 2 to 20 eggs. The eggs can take 19-43 days to hatch, depending on climate and species.

They will deposit the eggs in cracks in the home or attic, making them difficult to spot. Silverfish are capable of producing eggs all year. 

Are They Harmful Or Cause Damage?

Damage caused by Silverfish bugs on a piece of paper.

The short answer to this question is yes. Silverfish are not poisonous nor carry any harmful diseases. Although, there is evidence that they can cause some people to experience reactions or allergies. 

A protein called tropomyosin found in their molted exoskeletons can cause an allergic reaction. You may find that you can be allergic to either their dry, molted skin or droppings. 

The most irritating part about silverfish is their destructive appetites. Silverfish thrive on a diet of carbohydrates, consisting of sugar and starches.

Their food sources will consist of cotton, linen, cellulose, paper, silk, and other dead insects. 

Silverfish do not discriminate when it comes to their food sources. You can find them in your pantry or tearing through your closet.

They will eat through the glue, book bindings, and pages of books and feast on clothing with natural fibers. Silverfish will not know the difference between a treasured book or piece of clothing from the toilet paper under your bathroom sink. 

How to Spot a Silverfish Infestation

A Silverfish infestation on a book.

The most common way people find out they have a silverfish infestation is finding one on their floor, bathtub, or sink. Another indicator of a silverfish infestation is damage from their feeding. 

You could also find traces of their tiny pepper-like droppings.

How to Prevent Silverfish

A woman setting up a dehumidifier to help prevent bug infestations.

Unfortunately, it can be easy for a Silverfish infestation to go unnoticed. They are quick-moving, nocturnal creatures. Their secretive habits and fast reproduction can allow an infestation to get out of hand quickly.  

You can take some precautions to prevent Silverfish from invading your home. 

  • Clean your floors and vacuum regularly to remove any leftover food crumbs. Food debris can become a potential feeding site. 
  • Store cereal or other grains in plastic containers to limit food sources
  • Reduce clutter within the home.
  • In crawl spaces, open vents to limit moisture build-up.
  • Utilize dehumidifiers in basements or humid areas
  • Clean your gutters and ensure water flows away from the house. 
  • Seal any cracks in the foundation where insects could enter.
  • Eliminate entry points by sealing or caulking doors, windows, and trim. 
  • Replace or repair broken or missing screens. 

What about Traps?

A close up shot of a silverfish bug so you can see the scales.

If silverfish have taken over your home, it is best to call a professional to create a plan to solve the infestation. Traps and store-bought insecticides will only kill the individual insects and not solve the widespread infestation.

The only way to rectify a silverfish infestation is to address the adults, offspring, and eggs. Many of the DIY methods falter over time, offering relief for a short time, followed by the infestation’s resurgence. 

The silverfish traps you find on the market can only target a few individual insects. They are not effective in trapping an entire population.

Environmental Pest Management Can Help

A pest control working spraying for bugs in a window sill.

At Environmental Pest Management, we use integrated pest control to solve your concerns. We will use a practical, environmentally safe approach that will be long-lasting and effective. 

Eliminating just the silverfish bugs will not provide a long-term solution. We will take care of the problem at its source: the eggs. 

We use our extensive knowledge of the pest’s life-cycle, habits, and feeding practices to treat your home. Your home will be pest-free and treated with environmentally conscious products.    

We work with you to develop a comprehensive pest management plan that will work best within your home. Contact us today for a free inspection.

It Really Stinks! How Do Stink Bugs Get in the House?

A stink bug on a white background
A stink bug on a white background

What’s that smell? It is the aroma of an unwanted house guest; you guessed it: a stink bug. So, how do stink bugs get in the house? Keep reading to find out how these stinky invaders are finding their way into your home. And, keep them outside with a few of these easy and natural tips. 

If you discover an on-going stink bug infestation that natural remedies aren’t solving, contact Environmental Pest Management for a free quote. We will evict the unwanted pests and solve the stink they’ve caused. 

The Stink Bug Origin Story

A Brown Marmorated Stink Bug on a house siding

Fittingly named for their brown marble pattern backs, the brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) are native to South-East Asia. These invasive hitchhikers found their way over to the United States from China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. 

In the late 90s, they appeared in the United States in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Since they’ve landed domestically, you can now find them crawling around most of the United States.

While they can be a major pest, they will not harm you or pose a threat to your health. However, when threatened or squashed, these pests release a nose-assaulting scent. They use the scent to fend off predators. 

Why They Come Inside

A stink bug in the house on the window.

Decreased temperatures and shortened fall days cause the brown marmorated stink bug to seek refuge for diapause. Diapause is a crucial component in their lifecycle where the adult stink bugs’ reproductive activity ceases.

They scout out the prime location for their overwintering, which usually tends to be inside your home. Once they’re nestled in, they release their pungent aroma to attract others to the location. 

While overwintering stink bugs can be a major buzz kill, you do not have to worry about them reproducing or causing damage to your home and valuables.

How Do Stink Bugs Get in the House?

A ripped screen could be how stink bugs get into the house.

Stink bugs will sneak into your home from any cracks and crevices they can find in window and door frames. They will scuttle in through any gaps or holes in the foundations or underneath your home’s siding.

You will mainly see an overwintering population in large structures located close to wooded areas, agricultural fields, gardens, and orchards. They can also occur in locations where there is a dense amount of ornamental plants that attract stink bugs.

Dealing with Stink Bugs

A stink bug on a baseboard in a home.

Once in the home, stink bugs generally hang out in tight spaces and upper floors. You may spot them tucked between your curtains and up along the top of the walls in your attic or upstairs bedrooms. 

Here are some different techniques you can use to make your home stink-bug-free. 

Prevention Methods

Seal points of entry 

Before the temperatures outside begin to drop, inspect the outside of your home. Search for any cracks that could be a potential entry point. Pay close attention to your home’s siding and utility pipes. 

Check behind your chimney and wooden facia. You can fill any holes or cracks with a quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk.

You can also install screens over your attic vents and chimney to reduce access. 

Repair or replace

A repairman holding a ripped screen he replaced

Stink bugs are capable of entering your home from the smallest openings. It is crucial to repair or replace a damaged window or door screen. Be sure to look for any loose mortar or torn weather-stripping, too. 

Eliminate moisture

Check for moisture build-up around your home. Ensure that you do not have any clogged drains or leaking pipes. Eliminating any moisture build-up will help prevent many pest infestations. 

Proper ventilation

A red dehumidfier in a basement

Ensure that your basements, garages, attics, and crawl spaces get plenty of dry air. Doing so can help reduce the amounts of refuge spots. You can also look into using dehumidifiers in these areas.

Lights out

Like a majority of bugs, stink bugs are attracted to lights. Try to keep your outdoor lighting minimal. In the evenings, you can turn off outdoor lights when not in use and pull the blinds to prevent indoor lighting from spilling outside. 

What if they’re still getting inside?

If you notice they’re still getting into the home, here are some preventative measures you can take within the home.

Neem Oil 

Neem oil in a brown glass bottle, perfect for deterring stink bugs

Neem oil comes from a common South Asian, and Indian ornamental shade tree called a Neem tree (Azadirachta indica). The plant-based oil works as a natural insecticide by interfering with the stink bug’s instinctual overwintering behaviors.

Since the oil affects stink bugs’ natural process, it can take up to a week for the oil to take effect. Combine 2 tablespoons of neem oil with 32 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spray all entry points such as windowsills and infested areas. 

Mint Essential Oil

Freshen your home while combating stinky pests. Combine ten drops of mint essential oil and 16 ounces of water. Mist solution on windowsill and doorways to deter entry.       

Garlic Spray

Mix 4 teaspoons of garlic powder or a few crushed garlic cloves with 16 ounces of water. Liberally spray on any entry points where stink bugs are entering your home. 

Hang up Fly Tape

Flies trapped on fly tape.

Hanging fly tape near windows and doorways will catch these pesky stinkers. You may find it an unattractive method, but it’s simple and effective.

Utilize Dryer Sheets

You might have a box or two of these already lying around. Stink bugs are offended by the odor of dryer sheets. You can use them to wipe down window sills, screens, and doorways to ward them off. 

Pull out the Vacuum 

A woman in socks vacuuming up stink bugs in her house

For larger infestations, you can use a vacuum cleaner to suck the crawlies up. This method is best if you have a bagged vacuum cleaner. You’ll want to throw out the bag immediately once finished. That way, you keep from gassing out the entire family with the aroma of stink bugs.  

Stay Away from Chemical Ridden Insecticides 

Woman spraying chemicals to kill bugs

While it may be the easy to grab any generic chemical-filled insecticide, this is not the best option. These chemicals can also pose risks to children and pets and harm the environment.

There are very few that do the job properly. If your chosen chemicals manage to work, the bug corpses can attract new bugs to feast. 

Too Stinky of a Job?

A pest control worker spraying for stink bugs

No longer will you be asking yourself, “how do stink bugs get in the house?” but knowing the answer doesn’t solve the problem at hand. 

Call Environmental Pest Management for a free quote. We have decades of experience with stink bugs and crawlies of all kinds.

We will come to your home and use Integrated Pest Management, which means we solve the problem using environmentally safe products. We work diligently to provide you and your family with long term and safe solutions.

Look Out for These Basement Bugs

A basement window with cobwebs.
A basement window with cobwebs.

What do you do if you see basement bugs? Instinct might say “sell the house!” but good news: you have less drastic solutions available.

Let’s look at what kinds of bugs you might find downstairs and how to prevent and eliminate these pest problems.

Like pill bugs, some might be annoying, while others, like termites, could damage your home.

If you are unsure if you have bugs in your basement, call the experts. Reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

What Basement Bugs Might Homeowners See? 

A centipede is a common basement bug. See one crawling across a baseboard.

You might not see any if you don’t look quickly when you click on the lights! Basement bugs scooch out of sight because most prefer places that are dark and damp.

Here are the usual suspects:

  • Earwigs and spiders
  • Termites and carpenter ants
  • Pillbugs and sowbugs
  • Centipedes and millipedes
  • Camel crickets and cockroaches

Let’s look at who’s on the lineup for pest control services.

Earwigs and Spiders

A small spider on a shelf in a basement bathroom.

Earwigs are also called pincer bugs because of the pincers they use to fight other earwigs. They may appear scary but are rarely harmful to humans.

They like being outside where they can feast on decaying plant matter. They may have accidentally hitchhiked to your basement in boxes or come in an unsealed crack.

With their trademark eight legs (instead of the buggy six), spiders are not insects. Their presence may still bug you, though! Like earwigs, they look frightening to many people and are undesirable visitors.

Termites and Carpenter Ants

In Minnesota, we’re more likely to deal with dry wood than subterranean termites, but both do show up here.

Termites are not directly dangerous to you and your family, but they can cause significant harm to your home. 

Carpenter ants might bite you, but again, the biggest trouble with them is they’re likely to damage structures. Professional pest control will evict these unwelcome wood destroyers.

Pill Bugs and Sowbugs

A Sowbug on a white background. These are common basement bugs.

You may have fun childhood memories of pillbugs as the roly-poly bugs that ball up when touched. Sowbugs look similar but don’t roll into balls.

These bugs are not scientifically insects. Instead, they are crustaceans related to their water cousins like crawdads and lobsters.

As land-dwelling crustaceans, pillbugs and sowbugs need reliable moisture sources to survive.

Centipedes and Millipedes

A centipede crawling along a basement floor.

Centipedes have 30 legs, not a hundred as their name might suggest. Likewise, millipedes don’t have a thousand legs but do have up to 90.

Both come inside buildings seeking warmth.

Millipedes won’t usually live long indoors. They may produce a foul-smelling liquid in self-defense. Avoid touching them as this can be irritating to bare skin.

Centipedes are an ally in that they eat other pests like spiders and flies. Even so, they can bite, so avoid contact with them.

If you see centipedes, let it be a red flag that other basement bugs likely need removal.

Camel Crickets and Cockroaches

A closeup of a large camel cricket on basement carpet

Camel crickets have a humpback shape for which they’re named. You won’t hear camel crickets as they don’t make chirps. They do jump, so watch out!

Cockroaches are winged red-brown oval-shaped bugs about an inch or longer. They don’t bite often but can transmit diseases.

You may see their feces or eggs before you see them. They’re also foul-smelling, so their odor may give them away too.

What Keeps the Bugs Out? 

A man sealing a window with caulk to prevent basement bugs.

Take these steps to reduce the number of basement bugs that make their way inside.

Block Their Entry Point

Basement bugs use nearby brush and debris as bridges from their natural outdoor environment into your home. Keeping the foundation cleared helps deter them.

Clean the perimeter as the first line of defense.

Seal Cracks and Crevices

Get out your caulk gun and go hunting to seal any cracks you find. All of these basement bugs will take advantage of tiny openings.

Remove Their Food Source

Removing leaves and decaying garden matter from nearby your home will shut down the outdoor bug buffet. 

Inside your basement, keep your food stored on shelves in sealed containers. This will prevent your food from becoming theirs!

Eliminate Moisture

Water is the enemy of housing structures. Ensuring a dry building helps your home itself and keeps it unwelcoming to basement bugs.

Many bugs like centipedes need dark and damp habitats to survive. Making your basement light, bright, and dry will be comfortable for you and hostile to pests.

Audit the pipes and plumbing in your downstairs rooms and crawl spaces to confirm there are no leaks. Fix any drips or condensation problems.

How Do You Get Free of Basement Bugs? 

A dead cockroach on its back on a white background.

After you’ve taken measures to secure your home, you may still discover basement bugs.

Catch and Release

If you feel inclined, you can escort the trespasser off-premises. Cover it with a clear glass container and slide a piece of firm paper or cardstock underneath.

Take care if you try this approach, as some basement bugs do bite or pinch! Cautiously carry the covered critter outside and release it far away from your home.

License to Kill

Of course, this is your home, and you can kill basement bugs at will! There are some simple weapons to use against them.

Boric acid powder works to kill the invaders.

You can keep a spray bottle of water and rubbing alcohol and fire a shot of this at bugs you find. Label the sprayer to prevent misuse, and store it away from children.

Vacuum up basement bugs for handy removal. Empty the bag or canister to be sure they and any viable eggs leave from your home.

Call Professional Pest Control

A woman calling fro pest control on her large, rose gold iPhone.

If you see something scurry, there’s no need to worry! We have decades of experience identifying and removing pests and infestations.

We use Integrated Pest Management, so if we can choose non-chemical control, we do. We come to your home to clear it of pests and keep it safe for you and your family.

Call the bug busters at Environmental Pest Management for a free consultation or more information today. We’re ready to relieve you! Say goodbye to “ughs” over basement bugs!

Are Spiders Insects?

a Wolf Spider
a Wolf Spider

Are spiders insects? No, they’re insect hunters! 

Insects like mosquitoes carry diseases, and spiders kill our insect enemies.

If the enemy of our enemy is our friend, then spiders are our friends! Even so, we understand that these particular “friends” can be pests.

Protect your home from unwanted pests; reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a quote today.

What’s the Difference Between Spiders and Insects?

Three Wolf Spiders isolated on a white background
spider isolated

As one scientist put it: “Arachnids are as distant from insects, as birds are from fish.” That certainly emphasizes how different they are!

Are Spiders Insects? The Eyes Have It.

Spiders see with eight simple eyes, while insects look through two compound eyes. Either way, you’ll probably have an easier time telling them apart by counting legs instead of tiny eyes.

These Legs Were Made for Walking

A dark fishing spider

Spiders walk with four pairs of legs, while insects have three. 

Insects have six legs. Count eight legs, and you see a spider.

If we scaled the fastest spider to our size, it could move between 50 to 140 miles per hour.

In reality, that spider at its actual size is moving at only about one mile per hour. Any speed can feel too quick for comfort when it comes to spiders!

Contact us at Environmental Pest Management if you’d like support enforcing boundaries that keep them outside. They have important work to do out there, eating insects and feeding birds!

Only Insects Have Wings

Goldenrod Crab Spider on a leaf. Native to Minnesota

Not all insects have wings at all times, but spiders never have wings at any time. 

Are spiders insects? Fortunately not—can you imagine a flying spider?

Spiders cannot fly, but some jump. Some even sail through the air on parachutes they build with their own silk!

Spiders Make Silk

A spiderweb with water on it

Are spiders insects because they make silk?

Not all spiders live in webs of their own making, but all spiders can make silk. Those who spin webs use them as traps to catch their prey, mostly insects.

Some insects can make silk, too, but they live only in tropical or subtropical climates. Here in Minnesota, only spiders are spinning webs.

The Body Of A Spider—Look At The Head And Thorax.

A close-up of a Nursery web spider

Spiders and insects also differ in their number of body parts. Spiders have only two body segments, while insects have three.

It takes a head, thorax, and abdomen to be an insect. Those first two segments are conjoined in spiders as one section called the cephalothorax (or prosoma).

On their abdomens, only spiders have silk spinnerets; insects don’t.

Are Those Chelicerae or Antennae?

A spider anatomy diagram

Another distinction between spiders and insects are their extra appendages.

In front of their first pair of legs, spiders have chelicerae with fangs. The fangs inject venom into prey like insects, or unfortunately, sometimes into people.

Almost all spiders make venom, but only about 1% of spiders species are considered dangerous for people.

Some insects also make venom, but it is through stings, not fangs, when they injure people.

Only insects have antennae on their heads, while spiders never do.

Features in Common

A spider next to an ant

Spiders and insects wouldn’t ever be confused for each other if they didn’t share some common features!

Both spiders and insects have segmented bodies and hard exoskeletons (instead of backbones like humans do). They sometimes shed or molt their exoskeletons to grow bigger.

Also, both have joints in their legs. Accordingly, the animal group they all belong to is called Arthropoda, which means “jointed foot.”

Spiders vs. Insects: an Epic Battle

A Black Widow Spider getting ready to eat it's prey

Scientists recognize groups of animals from Kingdoms down to Phylums down to Classes. The Phylum Arthropoda includes the Class Arachnida and Class Insecta.

Spiders belong to Class Arachnida and insects to Class Insecta. (Other creepy-crawlies like centipedes and millipedes belong to other classes.)

For a million years, Class Arachnida and Class Insecta have been in an epic battle. Humankind does best if neither wins because they’re keeping each other in balance.

Most of us also don’t want their war within the walls of our homes!

If you’re wondering how to keep the fight outside, call Environmental Pest Management. Our professionals want to protect your home from being their battlefield.

Class Arachnida

Common black and yellow fat corn or garden spider (Argiope aurantia) on his web waiting for his prey

Spiders belong to Class Arachnida. Other members of this class are scorpions, mites, and ticks, and they have the classic eight legs of Arachnida.

Scorpions don’t live in Minnesota, but we do have interesting little cousins here called pseudoscorpions.

Good news for us Minnesotans—pseudoscorpions don’t pose any threat to people. If you see a tiny creature that looks like a tick but has pincers, it is harmless.

Unfortunately, ticks can be dangerous because they often carry diseases that they can transmit to people.

Are ticks insects? Are spiders insects? No, they both have those classic eight legs.

Stop signs have eight sides, and arachnids have eight legs—like nature’s Stop! If we count to eight, it’s often safer to take heed.

Call us at Environmental Pest Management to address any concerns you have with spiders or other pests in your home.

Creating a Hostile Environment Against Spiders

A close p of a Daddy Long Leg Spider

Making the areas inside and outside your home unattractive to spiders can naturally encourage them to go elsewhere.

Spiders like dust and they hide in places like stacked boxes. Reducing these areas tells them that they aren’t welcome.

Outside, spiders see bushes, firewood, and other piles as luxury resort accommodations.

Keeping the perimeter directly around your home clear deters spiders from living nearby. Then they’re less likely to take that next eight-legged step into your home.

Check these natural remedies to help keep spiders at bay as well. Spiders detest some herbs and oils, like cinnamon and citrus. 

The same scents that can make your home festive during the holidays can also deter spiders.

Call the Professionals at Environmental Pest Management

Someone spraying a pest control treatment on flowers

Are spiders insects? No, but you probably still don’t want them in your home.

We practice integrated pest management. We know spiders play important roles in our world, and we recognize their value—outside!

We work to keep them outside in an environmentally mindful way. We choose non-chemical means whenever we can.

Call us at Environmental Pest Management for a free quote. We’ll solve your pest problem by addressing the source of concern for safe and long-term results.

Eek! There’s an Earwig

An earwig on a white background
An earwig on a white background

The earwig is an insect that gets its name from an old wife’s tale of crawling into people’s ears. However, these bugs are nothing to fear! 

These insects are a common household pest, but they can cause damage if not handled properly. 

Environmental Pest Management can help protect your home from unwanted pests, including the common earwig. Reach out for a free quote today. 

Read on to learn about earwigs and how to prevent this common household and garden pest!

What Exactly is an Earwig? 

An earwig crawling in a home

An earwig is commonly referred to as the “pincer bug” or “pincher bug” because of the pincers on their abdomen’s back. Earwigs use the pincers for defense against other earwigs. 

These are harmless insects with a negative reputation. Many people are frightened of them because of their pincers, but they do not harm humans. 

Pincer bugs produce a pheromone (scent) that they use to attract others of their kind. Many scientists believe this is the reason earwigs live in clusters or large numbers. 

They are an insect with multiple species. There are over 20 different earwig species in the United States. 

They live on every continent of the world, except for Antarctica. 

These insects are nocturnal. They prefer cool, damp areas and are outdoor insects. 

They cannot fly, scurrying where they need to go on their six legs. By the end of their life cycle, they may be around ½ inch to 1 inch long. 

These bugs are scavengers and look to protect their self-interests. They thrive on a healthy food supply and a safe, protective environment. 

Earwigs love plant life, so they are known to wreak havoc in gardens.

Their common preferred foods include:

  • Apricots
  • Vegetables
  • Plants
  • Flowers
  • Dead leaves

They are also known to feed on mites, insect eggs, and other dead insects. You can find them under rocks, woodpiles, or in piles of leaves. 

They prefer the outdoors but can make their way inside via trash bags or through foundation cracks in the home. 

Whether in the garden or through seeking shelter in your home, pincher bugs can be a nuisance. 

How Can You Prevent Pincer Bugs? 

A man caulking the exterior of his home to prevent an earwig infestation

There are a few steps you can take to prevent earwigs from getting into your home: 

Fill All House Cracks and Holes

Be sure to check the foundation around your home, especially near entrances and doors. Caulk any cracks and holes as pincher bugs use small crevices to make an entrance.

Protect Your Windows

Always use a screen on your windows for protection. Make sure to cover any holes in window screens to protect the entrance of bugs. 

Remove Piles of Ruffage

Pincer bugs prefer environments that offer food and protection. 

To control earwigs, remove their source of supply. Remove piles of leaves, stone, and old wood that create a safe environment for earwigs. 

Move Vegetation Away From the Home

Keep mulch, dead leaves, or vegetation away from the home’s foundation. They are ideal food sources for these pests. 

Keeping plant debris away from the house will decrease the likelihood of entering through your doors and windows. 

Fix Leaky Drains and Pipes

Because these insects love cool, moist environments, look for any leaking pipes or drains in your home. Make sure you fix any leaks if you find drippage to ensure earwig control. 

A gutter filled with leaves is a perfect place for insects to live

Clean Gutters

Always clean your gutters and drain pipes. If backed up, they will create wet spots near the home that may attract earwigs. 

Trim Your Trees and Bushes

Keeping your trees and bushes trimmed can prevent excessive shade and damp areas. Regular trimming will help to keep earwigs away! 

Sometimes you do everything right, but you end up with an earwig infestation. Here is what you can do if that happens to you. 

How Do I Get Rid of Earwigs? 

a bottle of boric acid solution to prevent pests

There are a few solutions if you end up with an earwig infestation. Though harmless, they are unattractive intruders whom you do not want to visit for long! 

Use Dish Soap and Water

Mix dish soap and water to spray areas where earwigs may be entering the home. This earwig control method works well in the garden and outside the house but is not efficient for indoor use.

Boric Acid Powder

Boric acid is a naturally occurring compound that can be very effective at killing earwigs. It is non-toxic but can be irritating if it gets in your eyes or mouth. 

Apply treatment to areas where insects may be entering or living to remove the critters effectively. 

Rubbing Alcohol and Water

You can make a mix of rubbing alcohol and water to use when you see an earwig. Spray onsite to kill the insects immediately. 

Vacuuming

Vacuum any earwigs you find in your home or garden. 

After vacuuming, make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or empty it into soapy water. You want to make sure to destroy any eggs you may have managed to catch. 

Light Traps

Earwigs are attracted to bright light. To attract these little bugs, place a light source by a dish-soap-and-water trap or a boric acid trap. 

Earwig Pesticide

Pesticides can cover areas where you have found the critters. 

Effective pesticides include Sevin, malathion, pyrethrins, and diatomaceous earth. Several of these products can be used both indoors and outdoors.

For Real Results, You Need and Exterminator

A pest exterminator working outside along a fence line

Have you tried to remove a large infestation on your own, but they keep coming back? In this case, it is best to contact an exterminator. 

Professionals can evaluate the infestation to determine the best course of action. Understand it may take some time or several treatments to fully rid of the problem. 

With persistence and effort, exterminators are very successful at removing these pests for good from your home! 

Environmental Pest Management Will Team With You Against Pests!

Man bugs circle and crossed out with red

Whether you have earwigs, mice, bats, ants, or any other pest, Environmental Pest Management can free your home from chaos. We work with homeowners, business owners, and apartment complexes to keep them free of infestations. 

Protect your home from unwanted intruders. Contact us today for more information or a free consultation. 

I Have Flea Bites! Now What?

A close-up of a flea
A close-up of a flea

Nothing puts a damper on summer fun like insect bites. But if you’re still getting itchy red bumps after going indoors, you may be dealing with flea bites.

Fleas like to hitch a ride on furry pets. When your dog lies in the yard, he’s an easy target. After your pet comes inside, you’re an easy target, too. 

If you need help debugging your home, contact Environmental Pest Management today. Our pest control experts will provide a solution that works for you. Get your free quote today.

The Basics About Fleas

A flea life cycle diagram

Fleas are parasites that hop onto any warm-blooded host available. Their strong claws make them difficult to dislodge. Hair or fur can make them difficult to spot.

Fleas have strong hind legs that give them the ability to jump about 12 inches vertically. Bites on your lower legs and feet are often caused by fleas. 

Fleas reproduce by laying eggs. Eggs can take anywhere from 2 days to two weeks to hatch. 

After hatching, flea larvae grow in dark, humid environments. The dark and humidity under a carpet is a perfect habitat for them. 

After another 1-2 weeks, the flea larva spins itself into a cocoon. It emerges as an adult about four days later.

The adult flea lives about 2-3 months and may lay about 5000 eggs in that time. An adult flea can bite and feed up to 400 times a day. 

How Do I Know If I Have Flea Bites?

A closeup of flea bites on a human leg

Fleas are tiny – about the size of the tip of a pencil. They are small enough that you might not notice them if you aren’t looking for them. 

Fleas can’t fly, but they jump. This little bug packs a big bite. A flea will continue to bite until it is gorged and leave a raised, itchy welt.

Take a good look at your pet. Brush his fur and look for small, black dots. 

Unlike other bug bites, flea bites are likely to occur on your lower legs and feet. A series of red bumps may be the outcome of walking through a flea-infested area. 

Scratching the bite may cause increased itching. Treat bites with an itch cream containing hydrocortisone. Many creams are available without a prescription. 

Though uncommon, flea bites cause an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms range from hives to difficulty breathing. If you have severe itching, swelling, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention.

Flea bites can last up to three weeks but normally disappear within several days if you refrain from scratching them. 

Fleas can transmit diseases, including plague, tapeworms, and typhus, but this is very unusual. It is more likely that scratching those itchy red spots will break the skin, resulting in an infection.

What Do I Do If I Have Fleas?

Couple cleaning their dog and house from fleas

If your home is infected, there are steps you can take to get rid of fleas:

1.Treat your pet and your home at the same time. Bug control requires a blitz attack. If you treat Rover this weekend but don’t vacuum until next weekend, bugs will re-infest in short order. Treat your pet with a flea shampoo, and follow up with preventive treatment. Talk to your veterinarian about the best product for your pet.

2. Vacuum. Do the floors, the furniture, the baseboards, and any other small areas of your home that fleas or their larvae could be tucked into. Take your vacuum outside to empty it.

3. Steam clean the carpets. 

4. Wash all the bedding in hot water, including your pet beds and blankets. Dry them at the highest setting the items can handle.

5. Apply an insecticide that kills both adult fleas and eggs. Wear gloves and a face mask, and leave the area until the spray dries. 

6. Vacuum again to get any remaining fleas or eggs. 

Keep in mind that flea larvae may be dormant for weeks or months, waiting until the temperature is ideal. If you miss any eggs, you could be starting this process again soon.

Fleas In Your Yard

A man mowing his lawn to prevent fleas

If you’ve just eliminated fleas from your home, you don’t want your pet to carry fleas right back in. Don’t wait to discover another round of flea bites. Take action to keep fleas out of your yard.

Fleas prefer shady, humid spaces. Your pet might also consider that shady spot a good place to relax and nap. 

If Fido has fleas, and he likes to lie under the elm tree, odds are you will find fleas living under that tree.

Take these steps to reduce insect bites in your yard and new infestations in your home:

  • Mow the grass. Fleas like to hide in tall grass. Grass that is less than 2 inches tall deters their natural predators, so aim for 3-4 inches.
  • Clean out any areas of damp leaves or other debris. Fleas love to hide and lay eggs in these deposits.
  • Don’t overwater your yard. Fleas love soggy ground and compost.
  • Apply a flea killing treatment. There are several sprays and pellets on the market. 

If you’re uncomfortable using an insecticide, a natural alternative is to release the fleas’ natural predators into the environment. Nematodes can be purchased at your local garden store. These tiny organisms live in soil and help control many garden insects. 

  • Add cedar mulch around plants and in shady areas. Cedar is a natural flea deterrent.

Once your flea infestation is under control, apply a preventive treatment o a regular basis to keep them from coming back.

Consider Professional Help

Portrait of confident pest control worker wearing cap against truck

Flea control requires a targeted approach. 

Be flea-free without tearing your hair out (or shaving your pet’s hair off.) Contact Environmental Pest Management today. We’ll provide a solution that takes the stress off. Get your free quote today.