Waco Rat Control

Keep Pests Outdoors Where They Belong This Fall and Winter

As temperatures across the country drop and the holiday season approaches, iPest Solutions reminds homeowners to take steps to prevent pests from dropping by uninvited. Rodents and cockroaches, the most common winter pests, love nothing more than to spend the chilly winter inside a cozy home, bringing with them health and property threats.

Most people associate cooler weather with relief from flying pests such as mosquitoes and wasps, but the winter brings on a different set of pest problems that are just as serious, rats are most likely to cause problems in Waco this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to prevent these pests from entering their homes.

Aside from being nuisances, rodents and cockroaches are vectors of a wide array of diseases and can exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms – effects only worsened by the increased time spent indoors during the winter. Rodents can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.

iPest Solutions offers the following tips for keeping homes pest-free this winter:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent pests from getting inside. Be sure to check the areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Pests often take up residence in wood piles and can easily gain access to your home if the pile is nearby.
  • Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep storage areas well organized, and store boxes off of the floor.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Extra attention should be paid to kitchens and bathrooms as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
  • Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens in windows.
  • Screen vents to chimneys. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

We encourage homeowners to remain vigilant throughout the winter for any signs of pest infestations and to regularly inspect for any possible points of entry throughout the home.

ipest2

The Most Common Insect And Arachnid Yard Pests That Frequently Enter Waco Homes

The mosquito pest population was particularly high in central Texas this year, and several insect pest reports name Texas as one of the worst states for biting mosquito pests. Texas is home to some of the most dangerous disease-carrying mosquito species, including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. In residential areas, mosquito bites are generally sustained while residents are gardening or performing yard work, but it is not uncommon for people to sustain mosquito bites within their own home as well. In addition to mosquitoes, chiggers and fleas are common yard pests in central Texas. Chiggers are technically arachnids known as mites, and they are very common on turf lawns where residents often sustain bites. It is not uncommon for residents to unknowingly transport chiggers into their homes, but luckily, chiggers do not survive long within indoor conditions. However, this is not the case when it comes to another common lawn-dwelling arthropod pest, fleas. Fleas inflict bites on humans and pets in order to feed on blood, and both humans and pets often transport fleas indoors after the insect pests become attached to the body. Once indoors, fleas can establish stubborn infestations that are difficult to eradicate.

Basically everything people have heard about “natural” mosquito control is wrong. For example, bats prefer to feed on beetles, moths and grasshoppers, but not so much mosquitoes, and the Environmental Protection Agency states that ultrasonic mosquito repellent devices do not work to keep mosquitoes out of yards. Homemade repellents containing garlic are also ineffective against mosquitoes, and bug zappers may do more harm than good, as they also kill beneficial insects that prey on mosquitoes. The best way for homeowners to control residential mosquito pests is to remove stagnant water and containers that gather rainwater from lawns, as disease-carrying mosquito pests congregate around and breed within standing water sources. There also does not exist any reliable remedies for keeping chiggers out of lawns, but wearing pants and long sleeves can go a long way at preventing bites. Chiggers release digestive enzymes into skin in order to feed on tissue, and while some people may have a serious allergy to chigger bites, these mites can simply be brushed off of skin once they are found. Fleas routinely establish indoor infestations where they burrow into carpeting, upholstery and curtains. In order to avoid flea infestations, dogs should be treated for fleas and humans should perform yard work in pants. There does not exist in home remedies or over-the-counter products that can reliably eradicate flea infestations, so professional pest controllers must be contacted for flea treatments.

Have you ever experienced a flea infestation?

 

Ipest updated

50% Of All Kissing Bugs In Texas Can Transmit Chagas Disease To Humans

While the group of insects that are frequently referred to as “kissing bugs” may sound like approachable and affectionate insects, like ladybugs or butterflies, they are actually a public health threat in the southern states due to a parasitic disease that the insects transmit to humans through their feces. The term “kissing bugs” is a common name for the airborne insects belonging to the Reduviidae genus. These insects inhabit South America, Mexico and several southern US states, and they are well known for invading homes where they can pose a nuisance, as well as a serious health threat to residents in the southernmost states, particularly Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana.

Kissing bugs get their name for their habit of inflicting bites on people’s faces, sometimes around the lips. Several kissing bug species that inhabit the southern states carry a parasite species known as T. cruzi, which is regularly expelled from the insects’ bodies within feces. The parasitic disease that these insects transmit to humans, chagas disease, cannot be treated if the illness advances, and no vaccines have been developed to induce immunity to this disease. Unsurprisingly, the current number of reported chagas disease cases in South America exceeds 8 million, and although the southern US is home to several of the same kissing bug species that transmit disease to humans in South America, the T. cruzi parasite is not normally found in US specimens. This is why very few people have contracted the disease in the US during the past several decades. Unfortunately, this is now changing, as researchers are beginning to find more disease-carrying kissing bug species in the US, and chagas disease cases have been increasing slightly during the past 20 years in the country.

A ten month old baby girl in Texas was the first person documented as having contracted chagas disease within the US. This case was described in 1955, and only a small number of people have contracted chagas within the US since then, but several studies have confirmed that around 50 percent of all 11 kissing bug species in Texas are carrying the T. cruzi parasite. Chagas disease is often asymptomatic in younger people for many years, but 30 percent of all disease cases see victims develop life threatening medical conditions, and the disease can be passed to unborn fetuses from infected mothers. Kissing bugs do not transmit the parasite with their bites, but they do defecate on human skin after collecting a human blood-meal. These bites are irritating, and when people go to itch the wound, they are likely to unknowingly smear the parasitic feces into the bite wound, allowing the parasite to enter the body. The CDC states that kissing bug bites often occur indoors, but applying insecticides within a home can repel the insect pests.

Do you fear the possibility that chagas disease may become more common in the southern US?

wildlife

Waco Wildlife Control Experts

Waco Wildlife Control Experts | iPest Solutions

iPest Solutions offers tips on keeping wild animal invaders away from homes

Waco Wildlife Control

Although rodents are often considered the most common wintertime pest, iPest Solutions, a pest management company servicing Waco, advises homeowners that nuisance wildlife like raccoons and squirrels can also frequently invade homes during the colder months.

Wild animals are more apt to wander closer to human environments this time of year as they search for shelter from the elements. While they may seem cute and cuddly from afar, nuisance wildlife pose a unique set of health and property threats, especially if they find a way inside our abodes.

Below are some of the most common wild animals that may try to gain access to homes in the coming months.

Opossums – The opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. Opossums occasionally den in attics and garages where they may make a messy nest. They are also known to bare their sharp teeth and hiss when threatened, and in rare cases may bite.

Raccoons – Raccoons are rarely seen during the day due to their nocturnal habits. They can cause significant damage to roofs and chimneys while searching for places to build their dens in preparation for the winter months. Raccoons are one of the major hosts of rabies in the United States.

Squirrels – During the colder months, squirrels are known for invading homes in search of a place to keep warm. Fortunately, squirrels rarely pose a threat to homeowners, but they can damage electrical wires and telephone lines outdoors.

iPest Solutions encourages homeowners to keep trash in fully sealed containers, cut back tree limbs from the roofline and be proactive in fencing off openings to the home to prevent wildlife from accessing properties. Anyone who encounters a wild animal on their property should contact a pest professional for assistance, instead of trying to trap it on their own.

For more information on nuisance wildlife, visit www.wacopest.com

 

Cockroach Control Waco

Fall Into A Pest Proofing Routine

With summer on its way out, many homeowners may think their pest problems will wane, too. That’s not the case, according to iPest Solutions. In fact, with a new season comes different pest challenges to face and another round of pest proofing to do for the home. Pests like mice, rats, cockroaches and spiders will look for shelter in warm homes as the weather grows cooler, which is why iPest Solutions encourages homeowners to integrate pest proofing into their routines for the fall season.

Each season poses different opportunities for pest invasions, yet one thing remains the same—no one wants these critters entering their homes where they present property and health threats. Rodents, for example, are a more common fall pest and can contaminate food and damage drywall and electrical wires throughout a home. Cockroaches can trigger allergies and asthma, especially in children. These pest implications are far from desirable, which is why we must combat them.

To help homeowners battle pests all year round, including in the fall, iPest Solutions recommends these pest-proofing tips for the fall season:

  • Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Eliminate moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Contact a local plumber to come and fix it.
  • Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention where utility pipes enter the structure.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house; keep shrubbery well trimmed.
  • Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens.
  • Inspect items such as boxes of decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.
Ipest updated

Where In Texas Do The Highest Number Of Medically Serious Scorpion Sting Incidents Occur Each Year

Scorpions are primitive organisms that inhabit a variety of regions throughout the world, and along with spiders, they are among the hundred thousand documented species in the class Arachnida. Around 1,800 scorpion species have been documented worldwide, 25 of which are considered medically harmful. Dozens of scorpion species have been documented as inhabiting the United States, most of which can be found in the southwest, but several species dwell in the southeastern and even midwestern states as well.

The only scorpion species that inflicts medically threatening and potentially deadly stings to humans and pets in the US is Centruroides sculpturatus, or the “Arizona bark scorpion,” which can only be found in Arizona, southeastern California, New Mexico, and far west Texas. At least 20 scorpion species have been documented in Texas, particularly western Texas, and a few scorpion species are notorious for making themselves at home within and around homes in the state. The striped bark scorpion (Centruroides vittatus) is the most commonly encountered scorpion species in Texas, and homes located in all areas of the state are frequently invaded by these stinging pests.

Striped bark scorpions appear similar to all other scorpion species in that they possess the characteristic lobster-like pincers and stinger-equipped tail that is perfectly designed for striking enemies. This species can be recognized for its 2 to 2 ½ inch long body that ranges in color from tan to yellow and features two dark colored stripes running vertically down its back. These scorpions are encountered throughout the year with the exception of the coldest winter months, and they readily invade homes in large numbers to seek refuge from excessive bouts of heat and/or to seek moisture during periods of dry climate. Unlike many scorpion species, striped bark scorpions are capable of climbing walls and they frequently congregate in attics, wall voids, and on the shaded exterior sides of homes.

Striped bark scorpions are not motivated to sting humans unless they become disturbed or are mishandled, but medically significant scorpion sting incidents are frequently reported in the US, especially in Texas. According to data obtained from US poison control centers, Texas follows only Arizona as the state with the greatest number of annual scorpion sting incidents reported to poison control authorities each year. Between 2005 and 2015 an average of nearly 20,000 scorpion envenomation incidents were reported to Texas poison control centers annually, with San Antonio, Dallas and Austin as the most commonly affected areas.

Have you ever sustained a scorpion sting on your property?

Waco Rat Control

Have COVID Lockdowns Really Made Rodent Pests More Prevalent And Aggressive Toward Humans Around Suburban Homes?

The US is home to three non-native rodent species that each maintain an invasive habitat in urban and suburban areas where their survival is largely, if not entirely, dependent on resources that only humans provide. These resources include discarded food in garbage receptacles, food scraps beneath appliances and furniture, and stored foods within pantries and kitchen cupboards. In addition to easily accessible food sources, human dwellings are also full of small concealed spaces where rodent pests can establish ideal nesting sites. Wall voids and ceiling voids are favored nesting sites because they provide rodent pests with a safe refuge from hazardous climatic conditions, as well as protection from predators including humans.

The three primary commensal rodent pests in the country can each be found inhabiting structures throughout much of Texas, and they are commonly known as Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), roof rats (R. rattus), and house mice (Mus musculus). Of these three rodent pests, the house mouse is the most commonly managed species in all areas of the US. This is because, unlike rat pests, house mice have become too dependent on human habitats to make it in the wild. Norway rats are encountered within and around buildings in Texas more frequently than roof rats because the former outcompetes the latter for resources in urban areas of the state. While the Norway rat has become established throughout Texas, the roof rat’s habitat is restricted to the subtropical southern, eastern, and central portions of the state.

Many online media outlets are claiming that hoards of starving rodents throughout the country have been abandoning their usual urban dwelling grounds in order to migrate into suburban neighborhoods. Apparently, these mass rodent invasions started a few months ago in response to the depletion of their usual urban food sources. Now the pests are migrating into suburban homes in an effort to exploit a new food source. While urban dumpsters located behind restaurants, bars, and gas stations typically provide city-dwelling rodent pests with more food than they need, the nationwide quarantine has put an end to human-generated food waste in urban centers. According to Janet Hurley, an IPM expert with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, the sudden cessation of human activity in urban centers is only one of multiple factors behind the summer spike in suburban rodent invasions. Hurley states that rats become more active around suburban homes in July because they are seeking shelter for the coming arrival of cooler fall and winter weather conditions.

Have you noticed an uptick in rodent pests around your home?

Waco Wasp Control

How Wasps And Bees Often Damage Homes And Buildings

A 2014 study saw researchers survey the arthropod population within 50 houses located in both impoverished and affluent neighborhoods. The study not only revealed that people live with far more creepy-crawlies than they would like to suppose, but it also revealed that homes, no matter where they are located, contain roughly the same number and species of arthropods. When taking all 50 houses into account, the study’s authors found a total of 579 arthropod species from 304 families during the study. Of the 554 rooms surveyed, researchers were unable to detect arthropod specimens in only five rooms.

While the thought of living with arachnids, insects, centipedes and millipedes is unsettling to most people, it should be known that the vast majority of arthropod species found in homes are not harmful in any way. However, a small number of homes were found to contain insect species that are known for inflicting structural damage including termites, wood-boring beetles, and carpenter ants. When termites, or other wood-destroying insect pests establish an infestation within a home, a pest control professional should be contacted to carry out an inspection. Homeowners should also be aware that insects like carpenter bees, little black ants, and some social insects may inflict structural damage to wood and other construction materials within homes.

Both honey bees and social wasps like paper wasps and yellow jackets frequently establish nests within attics and wall-voids, and as these nests grow in size, costly structural damage usually occurs. In central Texas, a few paper wasp species, honey bees, bumblebees, bald-faced hornets, and aerial yellow jackets frequently establish above ground nests in trees, shrubs, patios, garage rafters, and within attics and wall voids. In many cases, wasp and bee nests that are well hidden within homes are noticed and professionally removed before structural damage occurs, but when hidden nests are not noticed, they often grow until their expanding size cracks walls and flooring.

In one infestation case that resulted in 3,000 dollars in structural damage, a couple realized that their home was infested with thousands of nesting honey bees only after massive amounts of honey began dripping down their walls. If indoor-nesting honey bees are destroyed with insecticide, fermenting honey and wax will leak from nests, resulting in significant damage. This is just one of many reasons as to why the indoor removal of insect nests is a highly specialized job that should be carried out solely by licensed pest control professionals.

Have you ever heard nesting insects rustling about within your wall voids?

Waco termite-control

The Most And Least Common Termite Pest Species In Texas, Where They Are Found, And The Degree Of Structural Damage They Are Known To Inflict In The State

Dozens of termite species have been documented as inhabiting the United States, and with the possible exception of Alaska, termite pests that attack the structural wood of homes and buildings can be found in every state. Most termite species in the country belong to one of three groups known as subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites, and pest species from each one of these groups can be found in Texas. Historically, experts were under the impression that only subterranean and drywood termite pests attacked structures in Texas, but multiple studies have conclusively shown that a species of dampwood termite pest can be found in the state. This pest is commonly known as the Arizona dampwood termite (Zootermopsis laticeps), and it swarms in and around El Paso every year from June to August.

While the desert dampwood termite is known for being the largest termite species in North America in terms of body size, the damage this pest inflicts to structural and decorative woodwork is considered insignificant, and they can only be found in the far southwestern portion of Texas. Many reliable sources state that the desert dampwood termite (Paraneotermes simplicicornis) species inhabits the southwestern and south central regions of the country from the southern California coast all the way to the Gulf Coast. While pest control professionals and urban entomologists refer to this pest as the “desert dampwood termite,” it should be known that this species is technically a drywood termite, though its taxonomic identity is in need of revision.

Like all dampwood termite pests, the desert dampwood termite is not a particularly destructive pest of sound structural lumber due to the species’ reliance on excessively moist and decayed wood to avoid dessication. However, these termites frequently establish costly infestations in utility poles, wood fences, subflooring in old homes, and decaying wood components of sheds, porches, and outbuildings. Homeowners living in areas of Texas where desert dampwood termites are prevalent refer to the pests as “rotten wood termites.”

The most destructive and economically costly termite pests in Texas are subterranean termite pests of the Reticulitermes genus, which includes eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes), the arid-land subterranean termite (R. tibialis), the light southern subterranean termite (R. hageni),  and the dark southern subterranean termite (R. virginicus). All of these subterranean termite species can be found throughout Texas. The invasive Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formanosus) can also be found in Texas where they are particularly prevalent and destructive to homes and buildings located along the Gulf Coast.

Have you ever spotted a seasonal termite swarm consisting of unusually large-sized winged termites known as “alates”?