February 4, 2013
Where do bed bugs live?
Bed bugs live in any place with a high turnover of people spending the night; hostels, hotels near airports, and resorts are most at risk. But the list continues: apartments, barracks, buses, cabins, churches, community centers, cruise ships, dormitories, dressing rooms, health clubs, homes, hospitals, jets, laundromats, motels, motor homes, moving vans, nursing homes, office buildings, restaurants, schools, subways, theatres, trains, and used furniture outlets are also at risk. Bed bugs do not prefer locations based on sanitation or people’s hygiene. If there’s blood, they’re happy.
Bed bugs and their relatives occur nearly worldwide. They became relatively scarce during the latter part of the 20th century, but their populations have resurged in recent years, particularly throughout parts of North America, Europe, and Australia.
Where might they live in your home? Most stay near where people sleep, hiding near the bed, a couch or armchair (if that’s where you snooze), and even cribs and playpens. Their flat bodies allow them to hide in cracks and crevices around the room and in furniture joints. Hiding sites include mattress seams, bed frames, nearby furniture, or baseboards. Clutter offers more places to hide and makes it harder to get rid of them. Bed bugs can be found alone but more often congregate in groups. They’re not social insects, though, and don’t build nests.
How infestations spread through a home or within an apartment building differs from case to case. Inspect all adjacent rooms. Bed bugs travel easily along pipes and wires and the insides of walls can harbor them.
Before treating, you need to confirm that you have bed bugs. The only way to do that is to find a bug and get it identified by your local pest management professionals at Pest Ops.
To find a bed bug, look in the most likely places first (see above). Â If you find one, freeze it for identification or put it in a sealed jar with a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Then stop looking â€” you don’t want to disrupt the bugs â€” and call Pest Ops (865-966-0750).
How do I find out if I have bed bugs?
Look for bed bugs in all their life stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults. Also look for cast skins and blood spots. But note: blood spots, hatched eggs, and cast skins may be from an infestation that has been dealt with already. Live bed bugs are the only confirming evidence. Use a flashlight â€” even if the area is well lit â€” and work systematically. A magnifying glass will help you zoom in on hard to see spots. Start with one corner of the mattress and work around the piping, down the sides, and underneath. Do the same with the box spring. If you own the bed, slowly remove the dust cover (ticking) on the bottom of the box spring and seal in a trash bag. Next, inspect the bed frame. If you can take it apart, do so. Bed bugs could be hiding in the joints.
No bed bugs yet? Work out from the bed in a systematic way (clockwise or counter-clockwise) to the walls of the room. Look in the pleats of curtains, beneath loose pieces of wallpaper near the bed, the corners and drawers of desks and dressers, within spaces of wicker furniture, behind doors, windows, and baseboard trim, and in laundry or other items on the floor or around the room such as cardboard boxes. Inspect everything. Any crack, crevice, or joint a credit card edge could fit in could hide adult bed bugs. This routine gives you a systematic approach and increases the chance you’ll find evidence early on.
One last way to inspect â€” about an hour before dawn, lift the sheets and turn on a flashlight. It might lead to a discovery, but this method can also be unsettling.
If you don’t find bed bugs but bites continue or you find blood spots on bedding, contact Pest Ops and have us inspect.
If you find bed bugs at home, it’s best to keep sleeping in the bed â€” or try to find someone who will sleep there. Packing up to spend time elsewhere could bring bugs to an uninfested area; the bugs could move to neighboring rooms in search of a meal.
How do I have specimens identified?
Put specimens in small, break-resistant containers such as a plastic pill bottle or a zipper-lock bag with one teaspoon of rubbing alcohol in it. Also, you can tape them to a sheet of white paper with clear tape.
First, look at pictures on websites. If you think it’s a bed bug, package it carefully to prevent damage and contact Pest Ops for positive identification. Bed bugs have close relatives: poultry bugs, barn swallow bugs, bat bugs, and tropical bed bugs, to name a few. These bugs can also feed on humans and act like bed bugs do. For accurate identification, send a sample to Pest Ops or call our office.
How did I get bed bugs in the first place?
Bed bugs come in as stowaways in luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and more when these are moved between dwellings. Moving out won’t solve the problem, since bed bugs will just come with you. In fact, while dealing with bed bugs, it’s best not to sleep away from home. Used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses, are most likely to harbor bed bugs. Watch out for items found on the curb! Because they survive for many months without food, bed bugs could already be present in clean, vacant apartments.
The source of the infestation determines where your inspection should start. Look through these scenarios and see which fits:
â€¢ Only one bedroom: inspect that room first.
â€¢ People watch TV or sleep on a couch: check it after inspecting the bedroom.
â€¢ A traveler returned home: insects can hide in luggage and then crawl out when it’s dark and peaceful â€” begin where luggage was placed upon returning home.
â€¢ A used bed or piece of furniture (bought or from the curb) was brought into the house: inspect it first.
â€¢ The problem began after visitors stayed overnight: inspect the beds that they slept in and where their luggage was placed. Next, inspect the nearest place where people sleep.
â€¢ An infestation persists after several treatments by a professional: bed bugs may come through the wall from a neighboring apartment. Inspect rooms that share a wall with a neighbor. (This scenario happens in large apartment complexes and hotels where management didn’t get adjacent rooms treated.)
â€¢ If the building has a laundry room, inspect it too.
â€¢ Home health aides come in frequently: bed bugs may have hitched a ride on their bags.
â€¢ Backpacks go to and from school: could have bed bugs. Inspect the bed or couch nearest the spot where backpacks are kept.
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops at 865-966-0750.
January 28, 2013
What are bed bugs?
Some fast factsâ€¦
â€¢ Appearance: 1/4â€ long, oval, flat, 6 legs, and reddish-brown.
â€¢ Life Stages: Eggs hatch into nymphs. Newly hatched nymphs are tiny â€” about 1/16th of an inch.
â€¢ They feed only on blood.
â€¢ They feed when people are sleeping or sitting quietly, often when it’s dark.
â€¢ They seek shelter in cracks and crevices when not feeding.
â€¢ They excrete “blood spots.” Spots look like dots made by a fine felt-tipped marker. You’d see them near where they fed and near their hideouts.
â€¢ Adults can live over a year without a meal.
â€¢ Can be found in the cleanest of places. But clutter makes them harder to get rid of.
â€¢ They have no “grooming behavior” â€” meaning that insecticides meant to be swallowed by roaches and flies won’t work on bed bugs.
â€¢ Anatomy: A bed bug has 6 legs. Its antennae point forward and are about half as long as the body â€” not longer. Its head is broadly attached to its body and it has no wings. Eight legs indicate a tick or mite. Six legs and long antennae with two spikes coming off the back might be a roach nymph. Carpet beetle larvae have hairs all over their bodies. Carpet beetle adults have two hard wings.
â€¢ Color: A “drop of blood with legs” is probably a recently fed bed bug. It will be red, plump, and oval. After it digests its meal, it’ll be mahogany-colored, round, and flat. Unfed nymphs are tan. Eggs are oval, white, and stick to whatever they’re laid on.
â€¢ Size: You can see the adults â€” they’re about 1/4″ long. The trick is finding their hiding spots. They can wedge themselves into any crack or crevice. If the edge of a credit card can fit, so can a bed bug. Eggs and just-hatched nymphs are tiny: 1/16″ (1mm) long. Bed bugs plump up after feeding â€” just like a mosquito.
â€¢ Behavior: Bed bugs crawl â€” scurrying into dark, tight spaces to hide. They move as fast as an ant. They can’t jump or fly and you’ll never find them burrowing into your skin. If the insect you have came out on its own accord at night when the lights were out near the bed or a couch, it was probably a bed bug looking for a meal. Bed bugs aren’t social insects like ants, so they don’t need a colony. But while they group together in good hiding spots, loners could be hiding elsewhere.
Good pest management professionals know how to find bed bugs and how to target every hiding place without harming people.
What can bed bugs do to me?
The serious negative effects of bed bugs are more mental than physical, but the itchy bites can’t be ignored either.
The mental effects are stress and lack of sleep. (And then there’s delusory parasitosisâ€”meaning the bugs really are gone, but you can’t shake the feeling that they’re still there.) Even if the thought of sleeping with bed bugs doesn’t keep you up at night, the time and money it takes to get rid of them can stress you out.
Householders worry what friends, family, and neighbors will say if their problem becomes known. Bed bugs aren’t associated with filth or social status, but many people think they are.
Bed bugs aren’t known to transmit disease. And some people don’t even get marks when bit. But scratching bites can lead to a secondary infection. Resist the urge to scratch. People with health problems and children are more at risk for infection because their immune systems are compromised or they can’t stop scratching.
What does a bed bug bite look like?
You can’t describe the bites as looking only one way. Some look and feel like mosquito or flea bites. Some people don’t react at all. On the opposite extreme, others get big, itchy welts that take two or more weeks to heal. Bites can occur singly, in clumps, or in a line. Bites can show up within hours â€” or two weeks later. Confirming an infestation on bites alone is impossible. You need evidence: a bed bug.
Bed bugs usually feed while people sleep, about an hour before dawn. But if they’re hungry and given the opportunity, they feed anytime. Feeding itself is painless â€” the bed bug’s saliva numbs the skin and makes the blood easier to drink. But later, many people react to the saliva, getting itchy bumps or rashes. After feeding for about five minutes, drawing only a drop or two of blood, bugs return to their hiding places. Although bed bugs can live for over a year without feeding, they typically seek blood every five to ten days.
The only way to know for sure what bit you is to find a bug and get it identified.
Bed bugs live off only blood â€” like mosquitoes do. They probably prefer to feed on people. But if people move out, bed bugs can survive by feeding on rats or mice â€” so control these pests, too. They’re attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide â€” what animals and humans breathe out.
Remember, not everyone reacts to bed bug bites. You could get an itchy rash while your home companion gets nothing.
If you think bed bugs bit you, call Pest Ops (865-966-0750) to have a pest management professional do a thorough inspection to determine whether a bed bug is in your living space.
January 16, 2013
- Bed Bug Basics: 10 Tips to Protect Yourself
- Attention College Students: Donâ€™t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
- Bed Bug Frequently Asked Questions
- Bed Bug Prevention
- Bed Bugs: Cimex lectularius
- Bed Bug Blog
- Bed Bug Videos
- Bed Bug Photos
- Bed Bug News
- Bed Bug Information
The 2011 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA)Â and the University of Kentucky, has found that bed bug infestations have increased and are now being found just about everywhere. The study, which surveyed U.S. pest management professionals, found that 99 percent of respondents encountered bed bug infestations in the past year. More than eight of out ten noted that bed bug infestations are increasing across the country. This represents a sharp increase in prevalence as only a mere 11 percent of respondents reported receiving bed bug calls more than 10 years ago. One of the most significant findings is that bed bug encounters have become much more common in public places than the previous year, in some instances increasing by 10, 20, or nearly 30 percent.
“The increase in bed bug encounters is likely due to a combination of factors, but one thing is clear â€” this pest shows no signs of retreating,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Of most concern are the places where pest professionals are encountering bed bugs, such as, schools, hospitals, and hotels/motels. In many cases the numbers of professionals who have reported treating certain types of businesses and commercial facilities has seen double digit growth.”
“Increased public awareness, education and vigilance are key in detecting and preventing bed bug infestations as these pests tend to travel undetected from place to place, breed quickly and remain one of the most challenging to treat,” added Henriksen. “NPMA advises consumers against the ‘this can’t happen to me’ attitude, because bed bugs are equal opportunity pests.”
Here are several key highlights from the 2011 Bugs Without Borders Survey:
1. Â Â Â Â Â Â Nearly all professional pest management companies have received bed bug calls in the past year. Respondents attribute the growth in bed bug infestations to increasing travel and movement of people, continued need for awareness, changing pest control products and methods, and bed bug resistance to available pest control products.
2. Â Â Â Â Â While nine out of ten respondents have treated bed bugs in apartments, condominiums and single-family homes in 2011 and 2010, in the past year reports of bed bug encounters have become more common in a many other places. For example, the numbers of professionals who treated college dorms, hotels, nursing homes, office buildings, schools and daycare centers, hospitals, public transportation, and movie theaters for bed bugs have all increased compared to last year. More specifically:
- College dorms (54 percent, up from 35 percent a year ago)
- Hotels/motels (80 percent, up from 67 percent)
- Nursing homes (46 percent, up from 25 percent)
- Office buildings (38 percent, up from 18 percent)
- Schools and day care centers (36 percent, up from 10 percent)
- Hospitals (31 percent, up from 12 percent)
- Transportation (train/bus/taxi) (18 percent up from nine percent)
- Movie theaters (17 percent, up from five percent)
- Survey respondents also report finding bed bugs in retail stores, laundromats, libraries, restaurants and airplanes.
NOTE: Percentages denote professionals reporting treating bed bugs in specific locations and percentage increases from 2010.
3. Â Â Â Â Â Â Bed bugs continue to be THE most difficult pest to treat, according to 73 percent of survey respondents. By comparison, 17 percent pointed to ants, nine percent said cockroaches and one percent said termites were the most difficult pests to control.
4. Â Â Â Â Â Â Six out of 10 respondents consider bed bug infestations a year-round phenomenon, while approximately 25 percent say that summer is the time of year when they receive more bed bug calls. As people tend to travel more during the summer months it may be likely they’ll have a higher risk of taking hitchhiking bed bugs with them from hotels and transportation sources to homes more so than at other times of the year.
5. Â Â Â Â Â Â When it comes to evaluation and treatment, visual inspection remains the most common method pest professionals use to determine if a bed bug infestation exists. However, the use of canines has grown from 16 percent to 43 percent in the past year.
6. Â Â Â Â Â Â Despite the many warnings that bed bugs are not a DIY pest, 25 percent of customers attempt to treat bed bug infestations by themselves before calling a professional. This number has decreased from the 38 percent who elected to treat bed bugs by themselves in 2010. Those who attempt to treat bed bug infestations by themselves often engage in dangerous and risky DIY practices putting themselves and their property at risk and are often ineffective at controlling the infestation.
Bed bugs are the size and color of a flat apple seed, like to travel and will hide in suitcases, boxes, and shoes to be near a food supply (humans). In addition to the mattress and headboard, bed bugs can be found behind baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices.
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops to inspect and to help eradicate the infestation. To schedule an appointment, click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
One out of five Americans has had a bed bugÂ infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel according to a new survey released by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
“Most Americans recognize that bed bugs are back in a big way.Â Our survey shows that people are taking the bed bug resurgence seriously and are modifying their daily routines to avoid infestations,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Although it appears bed bugs are here to stay, it is important that the government and pest management industry work together to provide accurate information to educate the public. The public, in turn, needs to practice vigilance to help in minimizing infestations and act immediately if they themselves have an infestation.”
The “Bed Bugs in America” survey offers a look at how the bed bug resurgence is impacting the lives of Americans. Here are key survey highlights:
1.Â Â Americans who have encountered bed bugs tend to be younger, live in urban areas and rent their homes.Â The incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to factors such as larger population size, apartment living and increased mobility, which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs.
2.Â Bed bugs are found in all 50 states.Â Specifically, the pests were encountered by 17 percent of respondents in the Northeast; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West.
3.Â Most Americans are concerned about bed bugs and believe that infestations in the United States are increasing.Â Nearly 80 percent are most concerned about encountering bed bugs at hotels; 52 percent on public transportation; 49 percent in movie theaters; 44 percent in retail stores; 40 percent in medical facilities; 36 percent in their own homes; and 32 percent equally pointed to places of employment and friends’ homes.Â The fear of getting bitten topped the list of concerns.
4.Â As the public’s awareness of the bed bug resurgence grows, many Americans are modifying their behaviors to minimize their risk of an infestation: Â 27 percent have inspected or washed clothing upon returning from a trip; 25 percent have checked a hotel room for bed bugs; 17 percent have inspected or vacuumed a suitcase upon returning from a trip and 12 percent have altered or canceled travel plans because of concern about bed bugs.
- 16 percent inspected second-hand furniture they have brought into their homes; 15 percent have checked dressing rooms when trying on clothing and 29 percent have washed new clothing immediately upon bringing it home from a store.
- Of the 13 percent of respondents who said they knew someone who had a bed bug infestation in their home, 40 percent said they avoided entering the infested home and 33 percent discouraged those who had the infestation from entering their own home.
5.Â Â Despite the availability of information, most Americans still have misconceptions about bed bugs. Â Nearly half of respondents incorrectly believe that bed bugs transmit disease. Â However, research conducted to date has shown that bed bugs do not transmit disease to their human victims, although some people may experience itchy, red welts; 29 percent inaccurately believe bed bugs are more common among lower income households, and 37 percent believe bed bugs are attracted to dirty homes.Â Bed bugs do not discriminate in regard to household income and are found in both sanitary and unsanitary conditions.
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops to inspect and to help eradicate the infestation. To schedule an appointment, click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
December 26, 2012
If you follow the news and have seen all the attention bed bugs have received in the past few years, you might think you know all there is to know about this pest: They feed on humans while they sleep, they cause itchy, red bumps, and they are hard to get rid of! But these pesky insects have a lot of secrets that you might be surprised to learn.
1.Â Â Â Bed bugs can live anywhere.
When most people think of bed bugs, they think of hotels. But the truth is, bed bugs can thrive in single-family homes, apartments, hospitals, college dorm rooms, office buildings, schools, buses, trains, movie theaters, retail stores, and just about anywhere that humans are. In fact, according to the â€œBugs without Bordersâ€ study, 89 percent of pest professionals report treating bed bug infestations in single-family homes, and 88 percent report treating bed bug infestations in apartments and/or condos. Respondents also report other common areas, with 67 percent treating bed bug infestations in hotels and/or motels, 35 percent in college dormitories, 9 percent on various modes of transportation, 5 percent in laundry facilities, and 4 percent in movie theatres.
2.Â Â Â Bed bugs arenâ€™t just city dwellers.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not just in big cities or third-world countries. They are found in all 50 states. The â€œBugs without Bordersâ€ survey found that 17 percent of pest control professionals report treating bed bugs in the Northeast; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West. However, the incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to factors such as larger population size, apartment living, and increased mobility, which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs.
3.Â Â Â Bed bugs are hardy.
These pests can live for several months without a blood meal. This means they can linger in furniture, bags, and suitcases for a long time until they are near a human host again. In addition, bed bugs can survive temperatures of nearly freezing to 122 degrees. Because of this, bed bugs are not a pest that can be treated with DIY measures. Professional pest control is the most effective way to treat an infestation.
4.Â Â Bed bugs are smart.
As a survival instinct, bed bugs are elusive. They know to stay out of view during the daytime, hiding in mattress crevices, box springs, baseboards, behind electrical switch plates, in picture frames, and even behind wallpaper. But at nighttime, the carbon dioxide we exhale drawls them out of their hiding spots.
5.Â Â Â Bed bugs are methodical.
Bed bugs have a predictable feeding pattern. Once a bed bug finds a host, it will usually feed three times, for 5 to 10 minutes each time. These three meals are often jokingly referred to as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But the three bite marks they leave behind â€” usually right in a row and on exposed skin on the chest, arms, or legs â€” are telltale signs of a bed bug infestation.
6.Â Â Â Bed bugs could have a degree in anesthesiology.
People often wonder why a biting bed bug doesnâ€™t wake up its human host when it feeds. The answer is that bed bugs feed by inserting two hollow, beak-like feeding tubes into their host. The first tube injects the bug’s saliva, which contains anesthetics to numb the feeding area. The second tube draws blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.
If you have a bed bug infestation, donâ€™t try to treat it alone. Instead, contact Pest Ops and our trained technicians will be able to inspect your home and recommend an effective course of treatment. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.
December 12, 2012
Over the next several weeks, with images of vacations, family reunions, and time off dancing in their heads, millions of Americans will be hitting the roads, skies, and rails, traveling to various holiday destinations. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises travelers to take some simple precautions to avoid the most unwanted holiday present â€” an encounter with bed bugs.
“Whether going to grandma’s house or a hotel, travelers should be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs. Parents whose children are returning from college should also inspect their belongings before bringing laundry and packed bags inside, as infestations have been reported on campuses across the country,” said Missy Henriksen vice president of public affairs for NPMA.
“However, there is no need to be alarmed or alter travel plans. With a few simple steps, travelers can diminish their risk of dealing with bed bugs,” added Henriksen.
Travelers should remember the following tips from NPMA:
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking. Don’t put luggage on the bed.
- Pull back bed sheets and inspect mattress seams, particularly the corners, for telltale brownish or reddish spots. Bed bugs can also be found in box springs and behind baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, wallpaper, as well as in upholstery and furniture.
- If changing rooms within the same hotel, ensure the new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
- If staying at a residence, inform the homeowner immediately of a suspected bed bug problem.
- Use a large plastic bag to store luggage.
- Upon returning home, inspect and vacuum suitcases before bringing them into the house.
- Wash all clothes â€” whether worn or not â€” in hot water or take them to a dry cleaner
If you suspect an infestation in your own home, contact Pest Ops to have a trained technician inspect the property. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.
October 31, 2012
When October rolls around, everyone enjoys a good scare when trick or treating or celebrating at a Halloween party. When that scare comes from an unexpected sighting of spooky pests like bats, spiders, rodents, and bugs, the fright is a lot less fun! The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers a guide to some of the more popular creepy pests.
“We all love decorating with plastic and faux spiders, mice, and bats during this time of year,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “What we don’t love is finding these living, breathing pests in unexpected places around our homes.”
Spiders – Arachnophobia aside, most spiders are mere annoyances, but the brown recluse and the black widow pose a danger to humans. Both species tend to bite when threatened. Their bites can be painful, cause allergic reactions, and be fatal to small children. To prevent spiders from nesting, keep garages, attics, and basements clean and clutter free.
Bats – These nocturnal mammals can cause alarm if they are found inside structures. Bat droppings pose a health concern as fungi which grow in the droppings can cause histoplasmosis, a lung infection. Because bats are protected by law in most states, homeowners should contact a licensed pest professional to remove the bat in order to comply with the law. Close off any entry points to prevent bats from coming into homes.
Rats – One of the most reviled pests, rats damage materials, contaminate food, and carry a host of diseases. Rodents can enter homes through quarter-sized openings, so seal up holes and cracks on the outside of the house.
Mice – A common pest, mice may be spotted frequently but that doesn’t make them any less creepy or dangerous. Mice pose a variety of health risks like allergies in children, and often serve as carriers for other pests like fleas and ticks. To prevent mice from entering the home, seal all holes larger than a pencil point and any cracks and voids.
Bed Bugs – These blood-sucking pests are found in homes, apartments, hotels, retail stores, hospitals, and numerous other places where people live and gather. Bed bugs easily travel from place to place in bags, furniture, suitcases, and on clothing. Vigilance is key in detecting and preventing bed bug infestations â€” and Halloween is no exception. Before wearing any clothing that came from a rental or a second-hand store, put it in the dryer on high for 20 minutes to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
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.
October 8, 2012
Five signs it’s time to call in a pro
As a homeowner, you know there are some home projects you can take on yourself (painting the guest room) and some that are better left to the professionals (installing electrical wiring in the basement). The same logic goes for pest control. In some cases, do-it-yourself measures are fine but in others, it is best to call in a pest professional to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. So how do you know which pest scenarios are DIY-approved and which are pro-worthy?
In most cases, the answer depends on the several factors, including the type of pest, its threats to your family’s health, the potential for property damage, and the size of the infestation. For example, one lone yellow jacket that found its way into your home is no cause for alarm. But a nest of yellow jackets near your front porch? Time to call in the pros.
Specifically, here are a few pests that you should leave to the professionals:
1.Â Â Â Termites
Termites are especially destructive pests that cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year. These wood-eating insects use their scissor-like jaws to chew through walls, floors, and ceilings 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that a termite infestation can cause serious property damage and compromise the structural stability of your home in a relatively short amount of time. What’s worse, damage from wood-boring insects like termites is not typically covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. Pest Ops technicians are trained to understand the unique biology and behaviors of termites. They can perform routine inspections to spot early signs of a problem, and if necessary, have the tools and know-how to effectively treat an infestation.
2.Â Â Â Other wood-boring insects
Like termites, other wood-boring insects such as carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and powder post beetles should be taken seriously. Carpenter ants, for example, excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter bees, on the other hand, bore through soft woods to lay eggs and to protect their larvae as they develop. Powder post beetles can be equally as destructive. These beetles create tunnels in unfinished wood during their larvae stage, reducing it to a fine, flour-like powder. Once the powder post beetles reach adulthood â€” as much as a year to five years later â€” they emerge and lay eggs on the wood, continuing the cycle. Given time, wood-boring pests can damage important support beams in your home, resulting in expensive repairs.
3.Â Â Â Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are certainly not a pest that should be handled on your own. For one, they are notoriously elusive, often hiding out in hard to detect places like behind electrical switches and under wallpaper. Our trained professionals know where bed bugs are likely to hide in your home and can develop a treatment plan to target the pests while ensuring the safety of your family and pets.
To effectively treat a bed bug infestation all stages of the bed bug life cycle must be treated, including bed bug eggs, nymphs (babies), and adult bed bugs. Unfortunately, DIY pest control methods are often ineffective against bed bug nymphs and eggs. Attempts to control a bed bug infestation on your own may only exacerbate the problem and give the infestation time to grow. And bed bugs reproduce quickly: one female bed bug can lay one to five eggs in a day and more than 500 in their lifetime, meaning that a small infestation can quickly grow out of control.
In addition, homeowners that attempt to control a bed bug infestation on their own often spend more money in the long run on failed treatments. Some residents with bed bug infestations unnecessarily throw out furniture, clothing, and other personal property in an attempt to control an infestation. In extreme cases, homeowners have seriously damaged their homes or sickened their families by misusing pest control products.
4.Â Â Â Stinging Insects
Infestations of any type of stinging insect – such as wasps, yellow jackets, or fire ants – should always be left up to the professionals. Stinging insects pose serious health risks. In fact, they send half a million people to the emergency room every year. A single colony of stinging insects can contain anywhere from a few hundred to 80,000 members, which can attack if their nest is threatened. Those with allergies to insect stings are especially at risk, but if a large nest of stinging insects attacks, it can be life threatening to anyone.
5.Â Â Â Reoccurring or heavy infestations
No matter the type of pest, if you have an infestation that keeps coming back no matter what you try, it’s time to contract Pest Ops. Reoccurring pest infestations are a sign that your home is just too enticing for pests. Perhaps a small access point (such as a tear in a window screen or a crack in the foundation) is providing easy access indoors for ants. Or perhaps a drip under the bathroom sink is creating the perfect conditions for cockroaches. Whatever it is, Pest Ops will inspect your home, determine the infestation, and help you resolve it once and for all.
DIY methods are also no match for heavy pest infestations.Â Because many pests pose serious health and property threats, a sizable pest infestation should be left up to the professionals to handle, before it can grow any larger.
As a homeowner, there are a lot of DIY steps you can take to help prevent pests from finding their way into your home, but even these are most effective when completed in partnership with a pest professional. And, if you suspect you have an infestation, your first step should always be to call Pest Ops. They will be able to properly identify your pest problem and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
** To schedule an appointment or inspection with Pest Ops, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.