7 Tips to Help Keep Pests Out of Crawl Spaces

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

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

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

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

We provide safe and effective pest management year-round. 

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

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

Common Pests Your Crawl Space Attracts

A vole peaking out from under a deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning your crawl space helps fend away pest activity. 

Tip #2: Remove External Debris and Foliage

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

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

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

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

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

Tip #3: Seal Cracks and Openings 

An unsealed foundation crack in a home.

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

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

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

Tip #4: Shine a Light 

Someone shining a flashlight to find pests in their crawl space

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

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

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

Tip #5: Set Traps

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

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

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

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

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

Tip #6: Install Proper Ventilation 

A de-humidifer next to a moldy wall.

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

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

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

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

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

Tip #7: Crawl Space Encapsulation

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

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

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

Regular Inspections Are Best

A pest specialist explaining something to a customer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Bug Spray Made Of?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Does Bug Spray Work?

A small blonde child being swarmed by mosquitos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insecticides

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are Bug Sprays Safe?

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

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

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

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

Natural Alternatives

Two class amber-colored bottles filled with eucalyptus oil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you sick of researching ways to deal with bugs? 

A woman using bug spray to keep mosquitos away.

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

Protect Your Home and Yard From These Stinging Insects

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wasps and hornets

Appearance 

A portrait of a wasp, a common stinging insect.

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

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

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

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

Social hives versus solo-resident nests 

Wasps building a nest on a building.

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

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

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

Carnivorous hunters

A yellowjacket eating a piece of salmon.

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

Wasps can sting their target multiple times.

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

Honey bees or bumblebees

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

Appearance 

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

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

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

Communal hives

Bee keepers checking on their honey bee hives.

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

Helpful and hairy

A bee covered in plant pollen

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

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

What happens when you get stung?

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

History of the stinger

A closeup of a wasp or yellow jacket stinger

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

Anatomy of the stinger

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

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

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

Why does it hurt?

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

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

That message translates into the sensation of pain. 

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

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

How to prevent wasp and bee stings

A group of yellow jackets on a table.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

What is Integrated Pest Management?

A dead cockroach in someon'es home after using the integrated pest management approach
A dead cockroach in someon'es home after using the integrated pest management approach

Pest Management Technology has advanced, just like technology has brought positive outcomes in other sectors. There is no longer a one size fits all method to pest control. Integrated pest management combines effective techniques customized to your pest problem. 

Experts can now eliminate pests economically with less risk to humans, property, and the environment with integrated pest management. Not only will you find peace of mind with integrated pest management, but the results will be long-term. 

Environmental Pest Management uses integrated techniques to prevent pest activity and deal with pest problems when they occur. Our experts will assess your concerns and will implement specific, effective solutions based on their findings. 

This article will explain what integrated pest management entails and why it is a resolution of choice. 

What is Integrated Pest Management? 

pest control worker lying on floor and spraying pesticides in kitchen

Integrated pest management (IPM) uses techniques to control pests while minimizing the use of chemicals. Integrated pest management emphasizes the use of low toxicity methods to reduce harm to humans and the environment. 

What are pests? Pests are organisms that may cause damage or interfere with our property or livelihood. They include organisms that may impact the health of humans or animals. 

Pests are capable of transmitting disease but often are just an inconvenience. Pests are not only animals or insects; they may also be plants or pathogens that harm any part of the ecosystem. 

IPM practices are considered ecosystem-based solutions for pest control. IPM uses a combination of techniques: 

  • Biological control
  • Habitat manipulation
  • Modification of cultural practices
  • Use of pesticides only if indicated
  • Treatment goals of removing only the targeted pests

There is a five-step process for integrated pest management: inspection, identification, monitoring, action, and evaluation. 

How Does Integrated Pest Management Work?

Integrated pest management is customized to the situation to minimize pest damage. Thus there is no single pest control method used. IPM programs use a four-tiered approach: 

Set Action Thresholds

Before experts take action, IPM experts set a threshold to when and how they will intervene to control pest infestations. If not met, intervention is not considered necessary. Often economic threat is a consideration in action thresholds. 

Monitor and Identify Pests

pest control worker examining kitchen with flashlight

Pests do not always be controlled or eliminated. Many are required to keep our ecosystem healthy and vibrant. IPM programs monitor and identify pests accurately so experts can implement proper control methods. 

Monitoring involves evaluating the environment to identify which pests are present, how many they are, and what damage they have caused. Proper identification is essential to determine likely damage and pick the best management plan.

It is harmful to use pesticides when they are unnecessary. Proper monitoring and identification of pest control concerns minimize the use of toxic chemicals and the risk of using the wrong chemicals to control the situation. 

Prevention

Prevention is the most important step in pest control management. Integrated pest management works to manage indoor and outdoor spaces to keep pests from becoming a threat. The techniques used are effective and economically efficient, presenting a low risk to humans or the environment. 

Control

Exterminator in work wear spraying pesticide with sprayer.

Once action thresholds, monitoring, and identification indicate a pest problem, control methods are implemented. Both risk and effectiveness are weighted to determine the right control method to use. 

The first choice is often highly targeted chemicals such as pheromones to stop pest mating or mechanical control such as trapping. If these methods are ineffective, then other techniques may be considered, such as pesticides.

Pesticides used when necessary and in combination with other interventions for effective, long-term control. Pesticides are selected so they are minimally harmful to humans and the environment. 

The best chemicals will do the job but are safe for other organisms, the air, soil, and property. 

Determining the right intervention is part of assessing, implementing, and monitoring for integrated pest management. 

Assessment, Implementation, and Monitoring for Integrated Pest Management

Woven into the process are proper assessment, implementation, and monitoring of the pest concern. You will find innovative and creative techniques through each step of management. 

Assessment

A worker searching for signs of pests

Assessment includes a comprehensive evaluation of the situation. Experts look at why:

  • Why you have ants in one area and not another?
  • Why you hear rodents on a certain side of the house?
  • Where are the pests entering? 

Experts discover the road to a solution through investigation. Building structure, geography, climate, soil properties, and other conditions can contribute to pest control issues. 

Implementation

Ants in the house on the baseboards and wall angle

Using the same method for pest elimination will not be effective for everyone. A customized approach leads to the best solution. 

The four-tiered approaches of integrative pest management: action thresholds, monitoring and identifying, prevention, and control are all part of the implementation process. 

Experts will also advise on eliminating pest “hot spots.” Proper cleaning, maintenance efforts, and sometimes ongoing chemical treatment are included in the plan. If chemicals are necessary, experts will recommend the least toxic and harmful options. 

Monitoring

A pest worker working with a customer

After intervention and treatment, know you will not be left alone. Pest management specialists are accessible year-round to ensure interventions continue to be effective. 

Pest control experts evaluate new signs of pest activity and conditions at follow-ups that may invite further intrusion. Pest control is dependent upon collaboration for long-term results. It is necessary to have a trusting relationship between you and the experts to work together for the best possible outcome. 

Environmental Pest Management Can Provide a Solution For You

Dead cockroaches due to integrated pest management

The experts at Environmental Pest Management use Integrated Pest Management to address your pest concerns. This practical, environmentally sensitive approach is common sense because it is safe and effective. 

By using comprehensive information on pest life-cycles and how they interact with the environment, we can address virtually all pest control concerns, regardless of the challenge. Importantly, we can do this ethically and economically. 

Contact us today to book your free pest inspection. You will soon understand how integrated pest management can work for you!

Why You Need to Get Rid of Mice in Your Air Vents

A mouse in an air vent
A mouse in an air vent

Have you heard the sound of little rodent feet in your ductwork at night? If you have mice in your air vents, don’t wait another night to tackle the problem.

Maybe there have been telltale mouse droppings in the corners of the kitchen. You may have even witnessed the tiny creature running across the room and into a sneaky hiding place. 

You are aware there is a mouse in the house. When there is one, there are more, making a home often in your HVAC system. 

Homeowners often find mice in air vents because it is a dark space where they can hide and keep warm. A mouse in your ductwork has access to your whole house.

If you have a mouse infestation, it is time to call in the experts. Environmental Pest Management  offers residential, commercial, and multi-family pest control management. 

Our goal is to solve your problem safely, for the long-term, and at a reasonable price. Contact us today for a free estimate.

Please continue reading for our reasons why you need to get rid of mice in your air vents. 

The Dangers of a Mouse Infestation in Your Air Vents

The two reasons mice are a danger are disease and damage. 

Disease

a field mouse on a white background

Mice are in the mammal family of rodents. There are over 2,200 different types of rodents found in the family. 

Altogether, these rodents make up 40% of all mammals. Besides mice, other animals in the family include squirrels, rats, chipmunks, and prairie dogs. 

Unfortunately, rodents carry 35 different diseases for which humans are susceptible. Fleas or ticks can transmit diseases to humans and other mammals, including pets. 

Mice droppings (both urine and feces) can be quite toxic to humans and full of harmful bacteria. 

If you have a mouse infestation, you must be careful about how you eliminate the infestation. Pest control companies are recommended because the dust in mouse nests in air vents can be hazardous to breathe. 

Not only can mice make you sick, but they can cause damage to your home. 

Damage

Wire damage caused by mice in air vents

Mice are notorious for causing physical damage to homes and businesses. Mice easily chew through the siding and building materials to get into your home. 

Mice can even chew through electrical lines, which can ignite a fire in your home. 

Additionally, mice can chew holes in furniture, wood, or cabinets. Mice can be anywhere there is food, and you may identify their presence when you find holes in food containers. 

Mice need to “gnaw” to keep their teeth in a serviceable condition.  You can imagine the damage several mice can create in a heating system. 

If mice have found a home in your ducts, it is essential to call a professional to have them removed. 

How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Air Vents

Mouse prevention trap on exterior of home

Professional pest management companies identify where mice nest in air vents. The professionals will also find favorite feeding grounds. 

By eliminating food sources and exterminating nests, the mice will not be able to maintain life in the home. Pest control experts will eliminate the mice and properly clean the infestation area. 

Proper clean up is important to reduce the risk of allergies, illness, and future mice in your air vents. 

Once successfully eliminated, you’ll likely want to assess your air ducts’ damage and clean the air ducts. 

Finally, you may want to install stainless steel mesh vent covers to keep mice out in the future. Pest control professionals can make recommendations on the best hardware to use to keep mice away, moving forward. 

How Air Infiltration Can Affect the Spread of COVID

An air filter for a home HVAC system

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a clean and well-maintained HVAC system can reduce the spread of COVID-19. The rate of air change is increased, reducing the recirculation of air, and increasing the introduction of outdoor air.

Have HVAC systems regularly inspected, maintained, and cleaned. Keeping the vents clean and functioning can help reduce the spread of other viruses in the home or office space. 

Obviously, with a mouse infestation, the heating and cooling system is unable to work as intended. Rather than providing the environment with clean, circulated air it becomes clogged and can spread allergens and disease from rodents. 

Once a pest control company successfully eliminates the mice from your ducts, you will want to have them inspected regularly. Even with the installation of barriers, mice can be drawn back to places they’ve previously been. 

Steps You Can Take To Keep Mice Away

Someone throwing away leftover food from a plate to prevent mice

There are a few suggestions you can do to keep mice out of your home: 

  • Clean your home or workspace
  • Keep food in thick or metal containers with tight lids
  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink
  • Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can
  • Keep compost bins far from the home 
  • Never leave pet food out overnight

Take these steps after a reputable pest control company has removed the mice. You will find greater success with keeping the intruders away for good. 

Call in The Best To Eliminate Mice in Your Air Vents

A pest control technician showing a customer an iPad

You want to ensure the mice are removed safely and will not return.  Environmental Pest Management will eliminate the rodents and help you identify the source, so they don’t return in the future. 

At Environmental Pest Management, we address the what, why, how, and when to find a solution for your pest concerns. 

We use what is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a practical and environmentally sensitive approach that relies on common-sense practices.

IPM programs use current and comprehensive information on pests’ life cycles, including how they interact with their environment. 

Through the use of IPM, we can manage the intruders ethically and economically. 

Contact us today to book your free pest inspection. We will work to eliminate the mice so you can breathe in healthy air!

Everything You Need to Know About Larder Beetles

Beetles
Beetles

If you have ever gone into your kitchen and opened your pantry, or larder, and seen small brownish-black beetles having a picnic, you know what it’s like to have larder beetles in your house. You probably weren’t thrilled about it.

At Environmental Pest Management, our job is to keep your home pest-free. Whether we’re helping to evict unwanted guests or prevent them from arriving in the first place, you can count on us to use the safest, most environmentally friendly products to get the job done.

Unlike some bugs that can invade your home, larder beetles are noticeable because they tend to travel in groups and don’t try to hide. Here’s everything you wanted to know about identifying these insidious insects and encouraging them to take up residence elsewhere

What are Larder Beetles and How Do I Identify Them?

When you’re dealing with pest control, the first step is to identify who you saw scurrying through your pantry. Knowing what type of bug you’re dealing with lets you know what techniques or products will be useful in dealing with them.

Larder beetles get their names from the place they are often found – in your larder – which is an old word for your pantry or cupboard, where you store food, especially grains and meat. They are small in size, only about ¼”  to ⅓” long, and oval-shaped. Look for the brown band around the midsection of their black body. It’s the primary identifying characteristic of a larder beetle.

Of course, larder beetles have six legs like all insects and two jointed antennae. The brown band typically has yellow or black spots on it, and tiny, densely packed hairs cover the larder beetle’s stomach.

Larder beetle larvae are about ½” long and do not have the characteristic beetle shape yet, and look more like a sow bug except that the bands on its body are striped brown and black. Like the adult larder beetle’s stomach, larder larvae have short yellowish hairs on their bodies.

Why are Black Larder Beetles in My House?

Larder beetles and their larvae are hungry. When we say that they are omnivores, we really mean they will eat anything. Stored food such as cereals, oatmeal, cookies, bread, dried pet food, stored cured meats, tobacco, carpet fibers, dried fish, cheese, clothing, dried museum specimens, and the carcasses of other bugs. They’re in your pantry or garage because of one thing: access to food.

If you’ve had another pest infestation problem, such as stink bugs or boxelder bugs, sow bugs, or ants, or rodents such as mice, moles, or bats, and there are carcasses in your attic or walls, then larder beetles are going to love your home. Even if you don’t know about the dead bugs in your attic, the larder beetle knows and will tell their friends.

Larder beetles can bore through wood and drywall to get to your food, so not only are they unsanitary, but they are also destructive. They can even bore into tin and lead, to lay their eggs in your canned tuna or black beans.

In the winter, larder beetles often hide in crevices or other sheltered places.

They may even lurk in your walls or garage. In spring, they emerge, looking for a place to lay their eggs. There will be dead bugs or other food sources in your home, so in they come. Females will lay around 100 eggs, which hatch in just a few days, eat consistently, and reach maturity in about six weeks.

Signs of Black Larder Beetles in Your House

wood

Aside from seeing the bugs or their larvae themselves, other signs of a larder beetle infestation include:

  • Holes bored into your boxes, bags of pet food, or other food storage containers
  • Larvae burrowed into a melon, potatoes, onions, or another food source
  • Skins from when the beetles molt
  • Spilled or scattered food — they aren’t precisely fastidious eaters

Strategies for Dealing With These Pests

Larder Beetles

If you’ve got larder beetles in your home, you need to do some severe sanitation to get rid of them. Merely removing the items containing beetles and wiping down your kitchen isn’t going to do the trick. Here are some steps to take to deal with a larder beetle infestation.

  • Everything in your cupboard or pantry must come out.
  • Throw out all food infested with larder beetles.
  • Throw out any opened food containers in your pantry, even if you don’t see signs of the beetles. That includes bags or canisters of flour, cereal boxes, partial pasta boxes, etc.
  • Inspect all canned food items for signs of entry.
  • Change your food storage containers to hard (BPA) plastic or glass, which larder beetles cannot enter.
  • Wipe down all shelves and the pantry floor with a solution containing vinegar or bleach.
  • Thoroughly vacuum all cracks and crevices
  • Look for cracks or holes in the walls, baseboard trim, or other areas where the beetles could have entered. Use a caulk gun to seal these and keep the beetles away.
  • Throw out partial bags of pet food. Store in a hard plastic container with a tight lid.
  • Check behind stoves and other appliances, which may harbor treats and secret passages for larder beetles. Clean this area and seal any gaps.
  • Seal any gaps in doors and windows that could allow entry to larder beetles or other pests.
  • Line the edge of your pantry walls or cabinet backs with diatomaceous earth to help deter and kill any larder beetles (or other bugs) who dare to return.

Contact Environmental Pest Management for Help

Larder beetles can be tricky to get rid of, just because they are so persistent. At Environmental Pest Management, we’ve dealt with larder beetle infestations before so that we can put your mind at ease.

We have a toolbox full of strategies to ensure the pest goes out and don’t come back. We’ll always use the least invasive and safest products and procedures to keep your family and pets free from harm while still eradicating pests and preventing them from returning.

Give us a call today, and we can help make larder beetles a thing of the past, just like the word larder.

6 Methods to Get Rid of Bees Naturally in Minnesota

Bees
Bees

Most of us are aware of the vital job that bees do for the planet, but having bees around our homes can present a bit of danger since they sting. Then there is the problem of how to get rid of bees and their hives without using toxins.

Learning how to get rid of bees naturally can come in quite handy for those who want to get out there and tackle the problem themselves. Below, we are going to talk about why we should find ways to remove bees without killing them, why we should remove bees from around our homes, and six ways to get rid of bees naturally. It’s time to learn how to remove bees so that you can enjoy your yard and home without worry about getting stung.

Bees Are Important

A bee pollinating a purple flower with a yellow center.

Usually, when we think of bees, we don’t think about them in a good way. The first thought that comes to mind is being stung. We understand that. Bee stings not only hurt us but also kill the bees. But let’s not forget that bees are vital to our planet.

Bees are responsible for a lot of the food other mammals and humans eat. Yes, there are other methods of pollination, but bees are responsible for about one-sixth of the pollination that occurs, and they pollinate a number of agricultural plant types, i.e., our food.

Also Read: Bee and Wasp Control

The very work of pollination is a wonderfully natural way to maintain our system of food production. We already hear of food shortages and people starving. This problem would be accelerated if there was a decrease in bees.

So do we need bees? Yes. But there are times when we need to be wary of bees.

Why Should You Get Rid of Bees

A large wasp nest in a tree. Wasps are a type of bee you should considering removing.

    • Allergies to bees: There are people with allergies to bees so severe that they could die from a simple bee sting. If there is someone in your family with a bee allergy, it is essential to do what you can to make sure there are no bees around your home. Learning how to get rid of bees is a piece of knowledge that can save them a visit to the emergency room–or even save their life.
    • Bee Stings: Most of us have been stung by a bee at least once in our lives. We can all agree that bee stings hurt. If you have a bee nest or hive near your home, the chance of bee stings greatly increases for you and your family. Some bee stings are worse than others, and sometimes the location of the nest, like in the ground, can increase the chance of multiple bee stings for your children or pets, which may be out playing in the yard.
    • Aggressive Bees: Bees can be bad enough when they aren’t feeling aggressive, but sometimes they can amp up and go on the offensive. The reasons why they can become more aggressive include a lack of flowers in the area to pollinate. Other stressors are hot weather and feeling a need to protect their nest. The possibility of dealing with bee aggression is an excellent reason to look for ways to get rid of them from your home.

How To Get Rid of Bees: Home Remedies

A beekeeper moving a bee colony.

There are numerous ways to get rid of bees naturally. Some of these methods are safe for the environment but kill the bees, while others are safe for both the bees and the environment. Below are six ways to get rid of bees.

  1. Call a Beekeeper: If you live in an area where you can find a beekeeper, this is an amazing first choice. Beekeepers are professionals when it comes to working with bees. A beekeeper would more than likely love to take the beehive and take care of the bees and keep them alive.
  2. Soda: Bees love sweet liquids. This method involves cutting a soda bottle or can in half and filling it up with a very sweet soda, then placing it in an area where you have noticed a lot of bees. The bees will be attracted to the soda and come to drink it. Note, this method is environmentally friendly but will kill the bees as they will eventually drown in the soda.
  3. Moth Balls: There are some smells that bees don’t like and mothballs are one of them. To use mothballs, hang them near the bee nest or nests, and eventually, the smell will deter the bees from coming back. You can also hang mothballs in different places around your yard to keep your entire yard bee-free.
  4. Vinegar Spray Solution: Vinegar spray is a great natural way to get the bee out of your yard, as well as simple to make and use. Just mix equal amounts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle, shake and the mixture on the nest when the bees are sleeping, at night, as well as around plants where you tend to see a lot of bees. This mixture will kill the bees, so make sure you remove all of the dead bees.
  5. Cinnamon: If you find a hive and want the bees to relocate without killing them, consider sprinkling cinnamon around their hive every day for about a week. The smell will send the bees looking for a place to relocate.
  6. Repel Bees Using Plants: A great way to keep bees out of your yard without having to remove them or kill them is to plant bee repelling plants around your home. Having these plants around your home should prevent bees from even stopping there. Citronella, Mint, and Eucalyptus plants are good bee repelling plants and easy to grow. If you’re not much of a gardener, try citronella candles to help repel many types of bees.

When To Call In a Professional

A pest control specialist teaching a customer the best way for how to get rid of bees naturally.

There are going to be times when calling a professional will be your best option, even if you are comfortable attempting to get rid of the bees yourself. Bees can make nests in tricky spots like the ground, in the siding of your home, and other hard-to-reach areas. This is what professionals do for a living, so tap into their expertise.

We understand that getting the bees away from your home is essential to you. We also understand that bees are crucial to the earth and do a fantastic job at helping provide food and beauty to the planet. Finding a way to keep your family and the bees safe is a top priority for Environment Pest Management as it is for you.

If you would like more information about bee removal in Minnesota, give us a call. Pest control is what we’re all about, and we would be happy to help you.