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!