May 14, 2013
Once thought to be eradicated from North America, the legendary little pests known as bed bugs have been making an unwelcome comeback in hotels and homes. Lest you think bed bugs are relegated to fleabag motels, they have been spotted in luxurious locales as well.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are the common name for Cimex lectularius, a reddish-brown, oval-shaped insect that can grow to a quarter of an inch long. Bed bugs are wingless and survive by sucking blood from a host animal, preferably a human.
Why Are They Called Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs commonly hide in and around mattresses, box springs, headboards, and bed frames. Although these are their most common hiding spots, bed bugs can also be found in carpets, behind peeling paint or wallpaper, and in crevices in wooden furniture. Based on their size, bed bugs are capable of hiding anywhere within a home, apartment, or hotel room, primarily in areas near where people sleep. These pests are nocturnal and typically bite people while they sleep in an infested bed. Bed bugs are usually active just before dawn.
Why Are Bed Bugs Reappearing?
Bed bugs were once all but eradicated with broad-spectrum pesticides such as DDT, which killed a wide variety of bug types. Concerns about health and the environment led to many of these pesticides being removed from the market. Today, pest control methods are more focused, designed to kill a particular species only. Bed bugs, since they are not specifically being targeted, are slipping through the cracks.
Where Did Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs travel surprisingly well, and are quite comfortable stowing away in luggage and even clothing. The bugs are increasingly found hiding in beds, upholstered furniture, and behind baseboards in urban hotels in America. Since they tend to stow away and travel with humans, any place that sees a number of world travelers is susceptible. Pilots, wealthy people, and business travelers can bring bed bugs along unwittingly.
What Can You Do to Avoid Bed Bugs?
Look around. Bed bugs are large enough to see. Look particularly under the mattress and in the seams, in and around the bed frame, and along any cracks or peeling paint in the wall or picture frames. Check for bed bugs in the cracks of any wooden furniture. You can also spot droppings from bed bugs, which may be tinged with blood.
What Should You Do if You Are Bitten by Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs bite exposed skin and can leave behind small, red, itchy welts. Although their bites can result in welts or bumps, some people do not have any reaction to the bite at all. The good news is that bed bugs do not transmit any diseases. The damage is more emotional than physical. The CDC does say that bites from bed bugs can be treated with topical emollients or corticosteroids. You can also take an oral antihistamine. If you are exposed, you may consider treating your home, as well.
What Should You Do if Bed Bugs Are in Your House?
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate. They hide well and can go up to a year without feeding. However, it’s important to rid your house of them as soon as possible, as they can breed and spread very quickly. Pest-Ops is equipped to handle bed bugs and would like to help you in removing these pesky pests from your home.
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest-Ops to eradicate these pests and to restore your peace of mind. To schedule an appointment, click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Stinging insects such as yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and bees are common summertime pests and their stings can be more than just a painful nuisance. The National Pest Management Association reports that stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. Those with allergies to stings are most at risk, although anyone can be affected if a large number of stinging insects swarm and sting at once.
One way to protect yourself and your family from stinging insects this summer is to ensure your property is free from hives and nests. On a routine basis, walk around the exterior of your home, paying special attention to overhangs, eaves, the underside of porches, and decks for nests. Also inspect shrubs, trees, sheds, and other structures. If you do find a nest on your property, do not attempt to remove it on your own. The colony can become defensive and attack en masse. Instead, contact Pest Ops in order to relocate or remove the hive in a safe manner.
Some stinging insects pose more serious threats than others. To determine the risk to your family, you will need to identify the species. With our trained technicians, Pest Ops will be able to properly identify a pest species and its threats.
“Stinging insects pose a major health concern for families around the country, and these are the months when you are at the greatest risk,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “It is important to take certain precautions to ensure that you are not their next victim.”
Experts at NPMA offer numerous tips for preventing stinging insects and treating stings:
- Hire a trained pest professional to destroy hives and nests around the home.
- Eliminate standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home.
- Keep trashcans covered and sealed.
- When dining outside, keep food covered until ready to eat.
- If approached by a stinging insect, remain calm and quiet. Avoid swaying or swinging, as this may provoke an attack.
- Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes, and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes.
Henriksen advises, “A licensed pest professional will be able to use an integrated pest management approach around the home to inspect, treat, and keep stinging insects at bay while giving homeowners the peace of mind they need to enjoy their backyards while the warmer temperatures stick around.”
Remember, it is not advised to attempt to remove a stinging insect nest on your own, and doing so can be extremely dangerous. Instead, work with Pest Ops to assess your property and the nest to determine the best way to eliminate the threat to your family. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Learn how to keep bed bugs from ruining your vacation
Summer is officially here and millions of Americans have images of vacations dancing in their heads. Many things can and do go wrong on vacations, from lost luggage to a mean sunburn, most getaways are hardly ever foolproof. However, nothing can wipe out relaxation and pile on stress and anxiety more than bringing bed bugs home with you. Bed bugs feed on human blood and are best known for their uncanny hitchhiking abilities. So before any of these pests ride home in your suitcase, read on to learn what savvy travelers can do.
Before you hit the road, sky, or rails, it’s important to be aware of ways to protect yourself and your family while traveling. Whether it’s during transit, your hotel stay, or upon your return home, when it comes to bed bugs prevention is the BEST cure. It may be one more thing to add to your vacation checklist, but it’s one that can make a difference.
Are bed bugs really in hotels?
Unfortunately, yes! These pests don’t differentiate between a 5-star hotel and a cheap, low amenity motel. To them, a bed is a bed as long as a blood meal is sleeping in it (and yes, that means you!). A 2011 NPMA and University of Kentucky survey found that 80 percent of pest professionals have treated bed bugs in hotels and motels. Although bed bugs are found in numerous places other than hotels, most travelers will stay in a hotel at one point or another during their vacation, putting themselves at a higher risk of picking up these hitchhiking bugs.
Once inside a hotel or home, bed bugs spread rapidly from room to room â€” through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing, and on luggage. In a hotel, bed bugs can even spread to neighboring rooms since guests may end up moving to another room and because they can crawl through the walls between rooms.
What should I look for in a hotel?
Upon entering the room, put your suitcase in the bathroom as that is the safest place for it. Bed bugs are least likely to hide in a bathroom.
Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains or spots or even the bugs themselves. Adult bed bugs resemble a flat apple seed.
Check behind the headboard, inside couch and chair cushions, behind picture frames, and around electrical sockets.
If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms or establishments immediately.
If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above or below the suspected infestation.Â Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage, and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.
Even if you determine your room is clear of any bed bugs, consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
What should I do when I return home?
Inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Your neighbors may give you strange looks, but better safe than sorry. Take the opportunity to educate them as to why youâ€™re unpacking your suitcase on the front porch. You might save them from a bed bug infestation in the future.
Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which can kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride home.
Wash and dry all of your clothes even those that have not been worn â€” in hot temperatures to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers or closet.
Keep clothes that must be dry-cleaned in a plastic bag and take them to the drycleaner as soon as possible.
How will I know I have bed bugs?
Maybe you didnâ€™t check the hotel room as thoroughly as you thought or perhaps you were too tired to vacuum your suitcase.Â Perhaps you did everything right but a few days after you came home, you wake up with red itchy welts on your body and notice the telltale pepper-like stains on your sheets. A few bed bugs snuck by you and have made themselves at home. Don’t panic! Although bed bugs are a difficult pest to treat, Pest Ops has many treatment options available that are successful in eliminating infestations.
The key is to begin treatment as soon as infestation is suspected or discovered. Bed bugs are not a DIY pest, as evidenced recently by an Ohio State University study and treatments should be left to Pest Ops, a licensed and experienced pest control company.
Don’t let this happen to you!
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops to avoid spreading them and to eradicate the infestation. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Summer is here and people across the country are enjoying backyard barbeques and days by the pool. But the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) cautions that anyone spending time outdoors this season should be aware of the health threats posed by stinging insects like hornets, yellow jackets, wasps, and Africanized “killer” bees. These and other stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year, the NPMA reports.
“Everyone knows that insect stings can be unpleasant, but few people stop to think about the serious health threats posed by these pests during the summer months,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “If a hive is provoked or threatened, they can swarm and sting en masse, which can be life-threatening especially for anyone who has an allergic reaction. For this reason, we strongly discourage homeowners from attempting to handle a stinging insect infestation on their own and instead recommend they contact a pest professional.”
When outdoors, be aware that stinging insects can build nests underground, in trees, shrubs, overhangs, eaves, utility poles, tires, houses, sheds, and other structures, depending on the species.
The NPMA offers these tips to avoid stinging insects this summer:
- Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
- Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects.
- Paint or stain untreated wood.
- Remove garbage frequently and keep trashcans covered.
- Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
- Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.
- Ensure all doors and windows in your home have screens that are in good condition.
- Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe.
Do not attempt to remove a nest on your own. If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your property, contact Pest Ops to rid your property of these unwanted pests and to prevent future infestations. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
As common summer insects like bees, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, ants, and others settle in for the season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers Americans a guide to other less known invaders that can put a damper on summer fun.
Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) â€” First found in Alabama in 1930, RIFAs were brought here from South America. Without natural predators in the U.S., RIFAs have thrived, expanding into at least 14 southern states. RIFAs are aggressive and are known to swarm and sting humans and animals when their mound-like nests are disturbed. Homeowners should seal internal and external crevices to prevent entry indoors.
Asian Tiger Mosquito â€” Originating from Southeast Asia, the Asian Tiger Mosquito is now found in the eastern, Midwestern, and southern states. While small, its bite is more irritable than common mosquito bites, and unlike most breeds, it prefers to feed throughout the day. It’s also known to spread several diseases, including Dengue, West Nile virus, and Japanese Encephalitis. People can protect themselves by using repellants and removing containers that collect water.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug â€” Likely brought to the U.S. from Eastern Asia, stink bugs were first found in Pennsylvania in 1998. Prevalent in the Northeast, they have also been reported in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and South. They aren’t harmful to people and property, but as their name implies, produce an odor when crushed. Homeowners should remove them with a vacuum cleaner and promptly empty the bag so the smell doesn’t permeate the area.
Africanized “Killer” Bees â€” Introduced to the U.S. in 1990 and first found in southern Texas, these vicious stingers are usually found in Southern states. Although their venom is no more dangerous than those of regular honeybees, their tendency to attack in greater numbers poses greater danger to humans. Only pest professionals or beekeepers should address infestations.
If you need your home to be inspected, a pest identified, or an infestation treated, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Bed bugs may have evolved when a close relative, the bat bug, switched to feeding off cave-dwelling humans. Bed bugs probably received their common name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. These pests have also been called “red coats,” “mahogany flats,” and “wall-lice.”
Bed bugs have been a household pest issue for more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. They were first brought to the United States by early colonists, where they thrived for many decades.
Then DDT came along. DDT seemed wonderful at the time due to its effectiveness in eliminating pests. Unlike most of the insecticides sold in stores today, DDT had a lasting effect: a long residual effect. Insects died when they crawled where DDT was used, even if it had been there for weeks. Though most homeowners used DDT for large pests like cockroaches, it killed bed bugs too. When the bed bugs came out to feed, the DDT was there to kill them.
Modern furnishings and appliances also helped reduce bed bug populations. Bed bugs donâ€™t care if a home is clean or messy; they just like good hiding spots and food. When modern furniture came into style, bed bugs had fewer hiding spots. Home appliances such as washing machines and vacuums also helped keep them at bay.
By the mid 1970â€™s, insecticides like DDT, which were blamed for environmental problems, were declining in popularity. The pest control industry began to use the environmentally friendly approaches that are common today. Using non-insecticide traps and monitors, blocking entry into homes, and using pest-specific, least-toxic insecticides became the staples of an integrated pest management approach.
Bed bugs were a rarity in America from the early 1950â€™s through the late 1990â€™s. A whole generation of people grew up who had never even seen one before.
Several factors led to the resurgence of bed bugs beginning in the late 1990’s; increased international travel, more targeted pest control products and methods, and a lack of public awareness about pest prevention methods.
These pests cause many problems and infestations can quickly spread. If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops at 865-966-0750 or click here.
Though they have long been a pest that causes one of the strongest reactions when discovered in a home or place of business, the health threats posed by cockroaches often don’t factor into the disgust felt at encountering them. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) cautions, however, that cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks, in addition to other serious health hazards.
The saliva, droppings, and decomposing bodies of cockroaches contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children. They are also capable of mechanically transmitting disease organisms, such as the bacteria that cause food poisoning, and are known to spread 33 different kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens.
“When people think of cockroaches, they definitely don’t have a pleasant association, but they may not fully realize the severity of the effects cockroaches can have on their health,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “We want to educate consumers about what they can do to avoid and eliminate these pests before being exposed to these risks.”
Cockroaches prefer warm, moist places with available food sources, so eliminating those attractive environments can help prevent cockroach infestations. NPMA offers the following tips to avoid cockroach infestations:
- Do not allow dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink and remain there overnight
- Keep food scraps in the refrigerator or in containers with tight-fitting lids
- Remove garbage from the home on a routine basis and vacuum regularly
- Periodically check and clean the evaporation pan under the refrigerator or freezer
- Seal cracks around the outside of the home to prevent pest entryways
If you suspect you have an infestation, contact Pest Ops to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners of the ongoing caution necessary when dealing with increased mosquito populations across the United States.Â Although the itchy welts of mosquitoes are associated with summer, these pests flourish well into the fall months and can transmit a multitude of diseases, notably West Nile virus (WNV).
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more that 29,000 people in the U.S. have been infected with WNV since 1999, with 11,760 of those cases resulting in serious illness.
“Although mosquitoes are considered a summer pest, these pests thrive in the fall,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Many homeowners do not realize that mosquitoes will remain active until temperatures drop below 60 degrees, which in most regions of the United States does not occur until late fall. Therefore, homeowners must be on-guard for conducive mosquito conditions and proactive in eliminating such breeding grounds. “This can minimize the serious health risks associated with mosquitoes, including West Nile virus.”
NPMA offers these proactive tips for homeowners to prevent mosquito infestations on their property:
- Eliminate stagnant water that can collect on your property, as this can create a mosquito breeding ground.
- Pay attention to pool covers, birdbaths, and flowerpots that accumulate water.
- Remove debris from gutters to prevent water collection.
- Wear protective clothing and use insect repellent when outdoors.
- If possible, stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are at peak activity.
If concerned about a mosquito infestation on your property, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Color: Usually red, black, or a combination of red and black
Region: Throughout U.S., most common in the North
Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
All species of carpenter ants mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.
Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood, or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. Carpenter ants will enter the house through wet, damaged wood.
Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.
Inspecting for and identifying carpenter ants require expertise. As a licensed pest management company, Pest Ops can help save your home from structural damage due to a carpenter ant invasion. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.