As the weather warms, pet owners nationwide are bracing themselves for flea and tick season. If you have ever dealt with a flea infestation, you know how important it is to protect your pets from these pesky critters. If you haven’t faced fleas and ticks, consider this a helpful warning.
“Pet owners should take special care to protect their pets from ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes this season,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). “These pests are not just an annoyance, but could pose serious health threats to your pet and your family.”
Indeed, these small bugs are no small concern. Fleas, for example, are known for biting, leaving behind itchy, red bumps that cause Fido to scratch excessively. Flea saliva can also cause conditions such as anemia and flea allergy dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms.
“Fleas are known for their quick breeding capabilities, and a tiny few on your pet can quickly turn into hundreds in your home if left unchecked,” says Henriksen.
Ticks can be equally as hazardous to family pets. Female ticks can attach near a pet’s spinal cord, causing “tick paralysis.” The condition causes muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and, in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed. And as dogs are more likely than humans to pick up ticks while outdoors, they are more likely to contract Lyme disease.
Mosquitoes also pose a threat to dogs as several species can be vectors of heartworm parasites, which are deposited as the mosquito feeds on the animal. Each year, thousands of dogs become disabled or die from problems caused by heartworm disease.
The NPMA recommends these tips to help reduce your pet’s exposure to fleas and ticks:
- Check pets frequently for ticks, fleas, and flea dirt. Be aware of excessiveÂ scratching, licking, and nibbling behavior in pets.
- Avoid walking the dogs in tall grass, where there is a greater chance of fleas hitchingÂ a ride.
- Avoid tick habitats such as low-growing brushy vegetation along the edge of the woodsÂ or a trail. Check pets after a walk near or in such areas.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Frequently wash pet bedding, collars, and plush toys.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors, and furniture frequently. Empty vacuum bagsÂ in an outside receptacle.
If you suspect your home is infested with ticks or fleas, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Mosquitoes, known for leaving itchy red welts on their human victims, have long topped the list of warm-weather pest concerns. But this season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is reporting that mosquitoes are likely to be worse than usual, especially in many parts of the country that had an unusually warm and wet spring.
Heavier-than-normal precipitation can leave areas of standing water, which are perfect mosquito breeding grounds. This is cause for concern, as humans can contract West Nile virus (WNV), a potentially serious illness, when bitten by an infected mosquito.
What To Watch For
Symptoms of WNV infection include headache, fever, rash, muscle ache, and gastrointestinal problems. WNV infection can lead to encephalitis and meningitis, though as many as 80 percent of infected humans show no symptoms at all.
The NPMA recommends the following tips to prevent mosquito bites:
- To avoid mosquito nesting and breeding sites, eliminate standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, barrels, and other objects that can collect water. Add a fountain or drip system to birdbaths and ponds on your property to keep water fresh.
- Keep windows and doors properly screened to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Be alert when outdoors during dawn, dusk, and early evening hours, when mosquito-biting activity can peak. Also, avoid areas near water where mosquitoes gather, especially during peak activity.
- Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes, and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes.
- If you’ll be spending time outdoors, wear mosquito repellent with DEET as well as long pants and long-sleeve shirts.
If you have 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
- What types of pests are included in the stinging insect category?
- Are stinging insects considered public health threats?
- What time of year are stinging insects at their peak?
- Why shouldn’t homeowners try to control stinging insects without the help of a trained professional?
- What will Pest Ops do to control stinging insects?
- Can stinging insects also be a property threat?
- What can a homeowner do to avoid an unwanted encounter with a stinging insect?
- What are some tips to deal with stinging insects?
What types of pests are included in the stinging insect category?
Several pests are included in this category. The most well-known are bees, wasps, and hornets. Some species of ants, such as fire ants, are included in this category as well.
Are stinging insects considered public health threats?
Stinging insects send half a million people to the emergency room each year. Although they are not labeled as public health threats, like mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus, they are certainly dangerous. Homeowners who suspect a stinging insect infestation should not attempt to control the infestation by themselves.
What time of year are stinging insects at their peak?
Stinging insects are at their peak during the warmer summer months.
Why shouldn’t homeowners try to control stinging insects without the help of a trained professional?
Many types of stinging insects, such as yellow jackets, are social insects. They will sting to protect themselves and members of their colony. The insects give off pheromones, which cause other members of the colony to react as well. The chaotic reaction is too dangerous for a homeowner to address alone.
What will Pest Ops do to control stinging insects?
The first step in controlling any pest is to identify it correctly. There are many kinds of beneficial flies that closely resemble wasps, and there are many kinds of “solitary” wasps, such as sand wasps, which also look exactly the same as yellow jackets, but pose a lower hazard. After the type of pest is identified there are a variety of control methods that Pest Ops could take. Typically, Pest Ops uses integrated pest management (IPM) procedures to control stinging insect populations. This technique involves removing the pest’s food, water, and shelter. In the case of stinging insects, this could involve cleaning up your yard and sanitizing outdoor areas. As trained professionals, the Pest Ops team will use appropriate steps and techniques to address the particular type of infestation.
Can stinging insects also be a property threat?
Certain species of stinging insects can pose a large property threat. Carpenter bees are wood-destroying insects that can cause serious structural damage if not caught in time and properly controlled.
What can a homeowner do to avoid an unwanted encounter with a stinging insect?
Homeowners can take a clue from the professionals and practice integrated pest management to avoid stinging insects and other types of pests. Again, it is important to consult Pest Ops to address an infestation correctly.
What are some tips to deal with stinging insects?
Be aware of stinging insect nesting areas, and use extreme caution when around them. Stinging insects can build their nests in attics, crawlspaces, building corners, under gutters, and under patios or decks. Seal exterior cracks and crevices to prevent insects from entering a structure and building nests. Stinging insects are attracted to open garbage cans and exposed food. Cover all food when outdoors. Be sure to keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans and empty them regularly. When spending time outdoors, avoid excessive use of fragrances, which can attract stinging insects. If you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, seek medical attention immediately.
If you are experiencing problems with stinging insects, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment or inspection, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
During the summer, families that embrace fun in the sun, hikes through the woods, and even running through sprinklers will be back at risk from an age old parasite: the tick. Tick season peaks at the height of summer’s heat, and the incidence of tick-borne disease follows a similar bell curve that spikes in summer months.
The black legged tick transmits Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease most often occurs in the Northeastern states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey; in the upper mid-western states of Wisconsin and Minnesota; and in the Western states of California and Oregon. However, the CDC showed confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 45 states in 2007.
Other, less common, tick-borne illnesses include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI).
According to National Pest Management Association (NPMA) Technical Services Director Jim Fredericks, ticks are often associated with deep woods but many thrive in habitats near homes and businesses, especially where tall grass, weeds, and brush might be present.
“Ticks usually do not prefer neatly trimmed lawns but will populate gardens or overgrown areas including woods,” says Fredericks. “Pest control technicians can treat grass/vegetation near homes or businesses where people may come in contact with ticks to help protect people from illnesses like Lyme disease.”
The NPMA offers the following five tips to help protect homeowners from tick encounters this summer:
- Avoid tick habitats, if possible, such as low-growing brushy vegetation along the edge of the woods or a trail.
- Wear light-colored clothing, and tuck your pant legs into your socks and your shirt bottoms into your pants, to make ticks more readily visible.
- Apply repellents with DEET to clothing and any exposed skin.
- Check yourself thoroughly after you have been in known or potential tick-infested areas.
Ticks must be attached for more than 24 hours before they can transmit any pathogen, therefore finding and removing all ticks in a timely manner is critical to preventing disease.
If you are experiencing problems with ticks, feel free to contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.
April 8, 2013
In the heat of summer, unwanted pests are makingÂ their way into cooler homes, and they are more than just a nuisance. Pests pose risks to people’sÂ health and property, so it is important for homeowners to take steps to prevent infestations. ThereÂ are many ways in which homeowners can “pest-proof” theirÂ homes as part of their summer-maintenance routine. Taking preventive measures early in the seasonÂ is the best approach to keeping pests at bay.
“As the warmer weather brings back numerous pests, early summer is the perfect time forÂ homeowners to thoroughly inspect their homes as part of seasonal maintenance,” says MissyÂ Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management AssociationÂ (NPMA).
Various insects such as ants, flies, termites, and cockroaches are frequent summerÂ home intruders, as are those of the stinging variety such as mosquitoes, wasps, bees, andÂ yellow jackets.Â The NPMA recommends a number of methods to keep household pests outside, whereÂ they belong.
- Seal cracks and small openings in the home’s foundation as well as around windows andÂ doors.
- Repair ripped window screens.
- Cut tree branches and plants so that they do not reach too close to theÂ house.
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water, including bird baths and in cloggedÂ gutters.
- Inspect the outside of a home for nests built by stinging insects â€” typically foundÂ in the eaves under roofs.
- Keep kitchen counters clean and store food like sugary cereals in sealedÂ containers.
- Empty garbage containers frequently and seal indoor containers.
- Make sure pets’ food and dishes are not left out for long periods of time.
Clearing away all things that attract critters is one of the best ways to pest-proof a houseÂ because it denies pests the means of thriving in and around your home.
If you find any signs of an infestation in your home, contact Pest Ops for a thorough inspection that can help identify and treat the problem. To schedule an appointment click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
April 3, 2013
When temperatures rise, families â€” including pets â€” flock outdoors to enjoy the spring weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that fleas can cause significant health and property threats for homeowners and their pets.
Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded bodies and have an extraordinary ability to jump, allowing them to move easily once inside a property.
Although closely associated with pets, as flea saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis, and transfer tapeworms, these pests can cause significant problems for homeowners as well. Fleas often infest blankets, furniture, and even clothing, while also reproducing quickly, especially when warm-blooded hosts are present. Even more, the presence of fleas â€” if not brought in from the outdoors â€” can be indicative of a secondary pest problem as these pests frequently transport themselves on rodents.
“Fleas can pose serious threats to both health and property and as such, it is imperative that homeowners â€” and pet owners â€” be vigilant of these pests,” says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. “These parasites have the keen ability to infest and reproduce quickly, which makes them difficult to eradicate. If you experience a flea infestation, it is essential to address the problem in a timely, professional manner.”
The NPMA offers homeowners the following tips to help protect their pets from flea infestations during the spring season:
- Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt, especially after being outdoors. Be aware of any excessive scratching, licking, or grooming behavior.
- Avoid walking pets in tall grass where fleas often gather.
- Treat your pet’s environment: Wash pet bedding, plush toys, and vacuum frequently.
- Check your pet (and yourself) thoroughly after you have been in known or potential flea-infested areas.
If you suspect a flea infestation, contact Pest Ops to rid your property of these unwanted pests and prevent future infestations. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
July 23, 2012
Top Three Insects to Avoid this Season
In the pest control industry, we consider summer to be the official start of pest season. Itâ€™s true, household pests are a concern year-round, but there is no doubt we see an increase in many types of pests once the weather heats up. If youâ€™re like most and are planning to spend lots of time out in the sun this summer, itâ€™s important to be aware of the risks posed by summerâ€™s most dangerous pests â€“ and learn how to keep yourself and your family safe.
Mosquitoes are perhaps the most dangerous of summer pests. They are most well known for their pesky biting habits, which can leave itchy, red bumps. But the real threat posed by this pest is their ability to transmit numerous diseases including West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and encephalitis.
Although many of these diseases are rare in the U.S., some â€“ including West Nile virus â€“ are more common. In fact, the CDC reports there were more than 700 cases of West Nile virus in the U.S. in 2011, resulting in 43 deaths. According to the CDC, symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and in some cases, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
â€¢ Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
â€¢ Eliminate or reduce standing water on your property, which can be a breeding site for mosquitoes. Drain flower pots, swimming pool covers, barrels, and other objects that can collect water on a weekly basis. Add a fountain or drip system to ponds and birdbaths on your property to keep water fresh.
â€¢ Repair or replace any torn screens on windows and doors.
â€¢ Use an insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on exposed skin whenever outside for prolonged periods.
Ticks are always an issue during the summer months, but with their populations expected to be unusually high this season, they will be a major concern for those spending time outdoors. Of greatest concern is the blacklegged deer tick, found in the Northeastern U.S., from Virginia to Maine, in the north central states, mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota, and on the west coast, primarily in northern California.
Blacklegged deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease to humans, as well as to pets. The CDC describes the symptoms of Lyme disease as fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, which forms in the shape of a bull’s eye. According to the CDC, Lyme disease can also affect joints, the heart, and the nervous system if left untreated.
â€¢ Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors, especially in wooded areas or tall grasses.
â€¢ Wear light colored clothing, which makes it easier to spot ticks and other insects.
â€¢ Wear a bug spray containing at least 20% DEET when outdoors, and reapply as directed on the label.
â€¢ When hiking, stay in the center of trails, away from vegetation.
â€¢ Keep your own yard tick-free by cutting grass low and removing weeds, woodpiles, and debris.
â€¢ Inspect yourself and your family members carefully for ticks after being outdoors.
3. Bees & Wasps
Yellow jackets, Africanized â€˜killerâ€™ bees, wasps, hornets, and other stinging insects are a summer staple, frequently showing up at pool parties, barbecues, and baseball games â€”especially in the late summer months. But these pests can pose a serious health risk if a hive is threatened or provoked, causing them to swarm and sting en masse.
Stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. Young children, the elderly, and especially those with allergies are most at risk.
â€¢ Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
â€¢ Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects.
â€¢ Paint or stain untreated wood.
â€¢ Remove garbage frequently and keep trashcans covered.
â€¢ Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
â€¢ Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.
â€¢ Ensure all doors and windows in your home have screens that are in good condition.
â€¢ Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe.
Insects are an inevitable part of summer, but that doesnâ€™t mean you should spend the next three months hiding indoors. Instead, follow our prevention tips to help reduce your risk of encountering pests in your home and on your property. If you discover that you have a growing mosquito, tick, stinging insect, or other pest problem on your property, donâ€™t try to remove them alone. Instead, contact Pest Ops so we can inspect your property and recommend an effective treatment and prevention plan.
To schedule an appointment or inspection with Pest Ops, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
July 20, 2012
In a recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a nationally representative sample of American homeowners sounded off about the pests that concern them most and pose the biggest threat to their health and safety during the summer. Mosquitoes came in on top followed by ants, ticks, wasps and hornets, while spiders round out the top five. The poll conducted in early June 2006, had a margin error of plus or minus 3.47 percent.
Not only are these pests persistent and annoying, they can also cause health and safety concerns. “Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and Malaria among other diseases, ticks can spread Lyme disease, and ants, spiders, wasps, and hornets can produce painful bite or sting marks and pose a larger threat to those who have an allergic reaction,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “If a person is experiencing an allergic reaction or signs of illness from an insect bite or sting, they should seek immediate medical attention.”
NPMA offers these five helpful tips to avoid the top five summer pests:
- Clean out all parts of your kitchen where food products are stored to ensure that there are no crumbs or spills. Keep foods like cereal, crackers, and cookies in sealed containers. This eliminates the food supply that attracts ants, mice, and cockroaches.
- Dust and vacuum regularly to prevent cobwebs and the spiders that weave them.
- Many pests invade from the outside by way of vegetation that runs alongside your home. Make sure all tree branches, shrubs, and plants are trimmed back and that an ample barrier exists between your shrubbery and your home. Check for and seal off any holes on the outside of your home that might have been caused by winter damage. This will eliminate entry points for small pests such as mice, spiders, termites, and ants.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water around the home. Still, stagnant water attracts mosquitoes that can transmit harmful viruses. Also be sure to regularly check gutters, windows, grilles, porch lights, etc. for wasp and hornets nests. These stinging insects build nests in and around most solid surfaces outside the home.
- Check yourself and your pets for ticks regularly before coming indoors, especially if you’ve been in high grass or wooded areas. If a tick has latched on, be sure to completely remove it from the bite mark, especially it’s head. This can be done using a hot matchstick or vegetable oil.
If your pest problem persists, contact Pest Ops to safely eliminate or remove the problem. To contact us online, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
July 20, 2012
According to research conducted by the National Pest Management Association in 2005, 67% of homeowners are most concerned about pests during the summer. Barbeque season begins when the temperature heats up â€” the same time that insects become the most active. These prevalent summer pests can cause painful stings and carry diseases, as well as becoming a nuisance for you and your guests.
If ants, mosquitoes, and wasps aren’t on the guest list for your barbeque this summer, the National Pest Management Association recommends taking these precautions to discourage those unwanted pests from attending:
- Ants are attracted to typical barbeque fare. Plan to serve food and beverages indoors and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining. Keep food sealed in containers whenever possible and wipe tabletops frequently. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal. Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, disposing of them in tightly closed garbage containers.
- Mosquitoes feed on blood, causing painful bite marks and carrying diseases such as Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Encephalitis. Remove or drain any sources of standing water in your yard that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including birdbaths, wading pools, or garden ponds. When outside, wear insect repellent on exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites.
- Wasp stings can be painful and even send guests with allergies to the emergency room. Avoid decorating with fragrant candles or planting fragrant flowers that may attract wasps.
- Ensure all doors and windows in your home have mesh screens that are in good condition and keep doors closed when possible so pests cannot enter your home.
If you’re still concerned about an abundance of pests in your yard, contact Pest Ops to help control the problem. We can identify, treat, and remove pest-breeding grounds, allowing your guests to enjoy their hamburgers and hot dogs in comfort.
To contact us online, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.