Good advice – you will probably ignore!

Why do we humans procrastinate and not do what we know will be good for us in the long run? I don’t actually have an answer to that, but I do have some advice – that you will probably ignore.
Every spring we see cluster flies, lady bugs, wasps and yellow jackets, box elder bugs…all kinds of insects emerge from the walls and attics of homes. Our customers want them gone in a hurry! And who can blame them? Nobody wants to live with pests. And that’s why I’m in this business.
But there are some things you can do NOW, before these pests move indoors, to reduce pest populations next year. Take a walk around your home. Are there gaps around your water spigots? Do your screens fit tightly? What about gaps around and under doors, including the garage door – are they tight fitting? If not, these are pest highways into your home.
Rodents and insects use small gaps to get inside and overwinter until it warms up in the spring. On the first warm days they come out from hiding and suddenly you have a big problem. By screening around your chimney, checking the flashing and soffits, and making sure things are properly caulked, you can chase these critters off your property and make them someone else’s problem.
There is another benefit to sealing things up. You save significant energy. Who doesn’t want lower electric and gas bills? Your home will be more comfortable and you will have fewer pest issues in the future.
Come on…I’m not asking you to exercise or eat right. I’m not suggesting you get more sleep or turn off the TV. Those are serious commitments! I’m asking you for a one-time, one day effort to make your life easier next year. What do you say?

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Yellow Jackets – look out!!

There are very few “sure things” in life but this is pretty close: sometime between now and October 15th you’ll see a story on the news about someone being stung by a swarm of yellow jackets. It happens every year.
When the end of summer rolls around these wasps nests are big and mature. Something in nature tells them they have to get ready for winter and protect the nest so that some members can survive until spring. This is when they become really aggressive. Usually the homeowner is out cutting the grass, removing logs or clearing brush that has accumulated over the summer. The activity and vibration disturbs the yellow jackets in the ground or nesting in logs or walls, and the alert pheromone is sounded. All available team mates come from inside and outside the nest to attack the threat. This is the victim you see on the news.
Don’t be a target! Take a look around your environment. Try to notice flying insects – where they are coming from and going to. Usually yellow jackets have more than one nest opening so look for all exits. And then avoid those areas.
This is pest I recommend you call an expert for. You need a special skill level to safely deal with these guys. To help your pest professional and possibly save an extra trip, when the sun is going down carefully approach the areas where you noticed the exits. Put a rock or other marker all the places you saw them coming and going. When the sun is setting all the wasps will be in the nest and you are less likely to be surprised by these stingers coming home and attacking you. When the pest guy comes he can hit the areas you marked and eliminate the problem.
Be smart, be on the lookout and be careful. There are a lot of great things that might get you on the news…but this isn’t the one.

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The Truth About “GREEN” Pest Control

Not a week goes by without someone asking if “green” pest control is an option.
Well, it depends what you mean by that. Since the 1970s the industry has been pushing Integrated Pest Management – IPM – to reduce pesticide exposure to humans, animals and the environment.
By altering conditions conducive to infestations, pest populations can be reduced naturally. Things like better sanitation, repairing water leaks, installing window and door screens, cleaning the gutters and removing clutter that provides harborage to pests can make a big difference in the number of critters hanging around. But you will still have some.
I think what people are really asking is: are there natural pesticides that are effective? Sure. But by their very nature, they don’t last long and need to be reapplied frequently. Peppermint oil for example is used for a number of pest problems like ants and mosquitoes. But who has time to worry about pest control applications several times a week or month? Honestly, it’s not really practical.
And then there are the gadgets that are supposed to repel rats, mice and bugs that you plug into an outlet. I saw one the other day that had cockroaches living in the outlet where the device was plugged in. So, you decide how effective that is.
And finally, there are the folk remedies such as bay leaves scattered in your cabinets, or seltzer water poured on ant mounds. I won’t go into why these don’t work – just trust me, they don’t.
Here’s the bottom line. If you are going to hire a professional, hire someone with experience and qualifications to keep your family safe while reducing your contact with things that can harm you. Ask the questions to put your mind at ease about training and knowledge then let a professional take it from there. Honest, we know what we’re doing.

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My dog has ticks!

It’s summer and the TICKS are out!! They hang out in tall grass and along trails – just waiting for you, your pet or some other animal to wander by. Wearing long pants with the hem tucked in your socks (yes, I know!) and a long-sleeved shirt will go a long way to protect you. And some bug repellent is good too. Make sure to check yourself and your pet as soon as you get back. If you find an attached tick look at YouTube for a video that shows proper removal. Don’t leave the head stuck in your skin! If you are the proactive type, you can get a tool on Amazon that is made for just this purpose.

As for Fido, there are some remarkably good topical medications you can get from your veterinarian to control fleas and ticks if you are in a tick prone area or like to hike or visit woodsy places.

Let’s say you haven’t paid much attention until now, and have them in your house, you probably need a professional treatment to kill them off. Nobody wants to wake up with bloodsuckers in the sheets!

If a tick bites you, watch the site of the bite closely for the characteristic Lyme disease bulls-eye rash that often appears within 1-2 weeks. Other symptoms of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, headache and fatigue. If you have any of these symptoms it is best to see a doctor; the early stages of Lyme disease are commonly treated with a course of antibiotics and patients usually recover rapidly and completely.

Most cases of Lyme disease are discovered in the Northeast. But you should still be aware and be careful.

It’s summer and the TICKS are out!! They hang out in tall grass and along trails – just waiting for you, your pet or some other animal to wander by. Wearing long pants with the hem tucked in your socks (yes, I know!) and a long-sleeved shirt will go a long way to protect you. And some bug repellent is good too. Make sure to check yourself and your pet as soon as you get back. If you find an attached tick look at YouTube for a video that shows proper removal. Don’t leave the head stuck in your skin! If you are the proactive type, you can get a tool on Amazon that is made for just this purpose.

As for Fido, there are some remarkably good topical medications you can get from your veterinarian to control fleas and ticks if you are in a tick prone area or like to hike or visit woodsy places.

Let’s say you haven’t paid much attention until now, and have them in your house, you probably need a professional treatment to kill them off. Nobody wants to wake up with bloodsuckers in the sheets!

If a tick bites you, watch the site of the bite closely for the characteristic Lyme disease bulls-eye rash that often appears within 1-2 weeks. Other symptoms of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, headache and fatigue. If you have any of these symptoms it is best to see a doctor; the early stages of Lyme disease are commonly treated with a course of antibiotics and patients usually recover rapidly and completely.

Most cases of Lyme disease are discovered in the Northeast. But you should still be aware and be careful.

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No fleas for 10 years…why do we have them now??


Remember years ago when every summer was a battle with fleas? If you’ve been a pet owner in the past you know that you had the pest guy come out and spray everywhere and then come back again two weeks later to re-do the entire job. And you had to take your pet to the vet to be “dipped”. Even then you might have to have a third round to really kill all of the parasites.
About twenty years ago growth regulators started to appear. They were first used in mosquito control and then fanned out to other insect populations. When mixed in the tank with the regular pesticide, these growth regulators could break the flea life-cycle by causing the flea eggs to not hatch. One treatment and you were DONE! And it lasted for up to seven months – the entire flea season.
And then they came out with the topical stuff you put on the dog or cat once a month and you didn’t even NEED to get your house treated because the flea population couldn’t get established. Hoo-ray!!
So, why all of a sudden, are they back in full force? Because you quit using the flea stuff on your pets (or the fleas have become immune to that particular active ingredient) and you quit treating your home as a preventive measure. You…and everyone else. And the fleas are BACK with a vengeance.
It is the beginning of June. If you have pets, please consider having your home treated for flea prevention. And get your animals on a different or newer flea preventive. Treatments today are very effective and long lasting, as well as low impact to the environment, your children and your pets. It has never been less risky than now. And the new flea meds are getting great reviews. Please talk to your veterinarian about the best choice for your pet. Be careful of the over the counter stuff – some of it is fake and can cause real harm to your animals.
If you take steps now, you can have a flea free summer and save yourself a lot of money and aggravation with just a little expense upfront.

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How to protect your family during tick season


As temperatures rise and kids and pets across the U.S. return to playing outdoors, they’re more likely than ever to come in contact with ticks — and in some cases, experts warn, the dangers could be fatal.

Last week in Oregon, Amanda Lewis posted a video on Facebook showing her 4-year-old daughter Evelyn struggling to walk. The video, which has been viewed more than 12 million times, captured the unsettling moment as Evelyn tries to stand but her legs go limp.

By the next morning, the little girl couldn’t use her legs at all, and could barely move her arms. Evelyn was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors realized the cause — a tiny American dog tick in her hair, her parents said.

“They just went straight into grooming her hair and found it,” her father Lantz Lewis said in an interview with ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”

Once doctors removed the insect, Evelyn’s condition began to improve.

“It took her until pretty much the next morning before she was able to walk normally again,” her mother told “GMA.”

Evelyn was diagnosed with tick paralysis, a disease that can occur when a tick remains attached to a host for a prolonged period of time. Human cases are rare, and the symptoms, which start with weakness, typically diminish quickly once the tick is removed. But, in some cases, full paralysis can develop and may lead to respiratory failure and even death.

Lyme disease, the most common vector-borne ailment, is another concern during tick season. Approximately 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. However, an underreporting of cases suggests the actual count could be as high as 300,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The tickiest month across America is May, but April through June is really the highest tick activity season,” Thomas Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island Center for Vector Borne-Disease, said in an interview with “GMA.”

“In most cases, people have a day to find the tick and remove it before the tick has the chance to transmit germs that will make them sick,” Mather added.

Ticks are often found in areas with tall grasses, piles of leaves or even in the shrubs around your home.

To keep you and your family safe, experts advise people to always check for ticks upon coming in from the outdoors, wear clothing with built-in tick repellent, use tick repellent sprays and shower within two hours of leaving the outdoors to help wash away any unattached ticks.

If you’re trying to remove a tick, experts say to first protect your fingers with a tissue or latex gloves, and then gently remove the insect with a pair of tweezers.

“The best way to remove a tick if you find one attached is to use a pointy tweezer and pull it straight off. By using a tweezer, then you have the tick and you can take a picture of it, save it, identify it and then you’ll know better what risk you’re at,” Mather said.

Experts also advise not to squeeze the tick’s body when removing it, which could cause the insect to release its contents into the bite area and infect the host. Upon removal, drop the tick in rubbing alcohol to kill it and immediately disinfect the bite area, experts say.

ABC News’ Jesse Palmer and Erielle Reshef contributed to this report.

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Are you prepared for the spring invaders?

Can you feel it? People are getting excited about spring! They are working in the yard, putting down grass seed and fertilizer and weed eliminator. They’re at the garden store selecting new plants and trees. The weather is warmer and you can actually open the windows  – who doesn’t love that?!

But as tempting as it is to leave the doors open, and let the fresh air come in the windows, you can save yourself a lot of trouble with insects later if you check (or install) screens now.  Just like taking the right steps for your lawn and garden will pay off this summer, so will excluding the bugs before they get in the house.

Tight fitting, intact screens will keep out flies and mosquitoes as well as ants, wasps and moths. We don’t think about moths that often, but once they fly in they can lay eggs in your pantry food or on your natural fiber clothing. Next thing you know, you have weevils in your cereal and holes in your favorite coat. And once you have them they are a pain to get rid of … so a little prevention is worth the effort.

And while you’re at it, check around your home for cracks in the foundation, around windows and doors, and anywhere they shouldn’t be. This is a great time to caulk – before a pest family moves in. Every year I am called to the same accounts to remove wasps or other pests because the hole they were in wasn’t sealed up. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the money, but it is easy to prevent these problems!

Check for faucet leaks because ants and other insects need the moisture and move firewood away from your foundation. Firewood is a great please for termites to hang out and then move into your house. Again, money you don’t really want to spend.

If you get a jump on this now you will reduce the pest opportunities for the upcoming summer. Then you can enjoy that beautiful lawn and pretty flowers.

www.EcotechPestControl.com

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Are Bees Endangered?

I read an article recently that said 7 different species of bees are now on the endangered species list. It went on to say that crops are endangered too because there won’t be any bees to pollinate the plants and we are all going to starve!!!!

Let’s just calm down. I like bees, BTW. They are the non-violent, mind your own business insect of the insect world. They go about their routine and pretty much ignore you as long as you ignore them. If you haven’t watched Fried Green Tomatoes lately go check it out. There is a scene where the character walks right up to the hive and puts her hand in to scoop out the honey. I don’t recommend you try that, but the fact is bees are pretty tame.

So, why are the bees dying off? The main reason is a type of mite that has caused havoc in the bee world. Scientists are trying to get a handle on that but it is proving difficult.

Then there are the travelling bee hives. Did you know it is big business to transport bees all over the country at different times of year in order to pollinate whatever crops need it at the time? That is pretty stressful on the bee population and many of them die off.

Finally, there are neo-nicotinoid insecticides that are getting a lot of the blame and many people want to BAN them. But the reality is these pesticides control many pests that are destructive to crops. If you ban the pesticide to save the bees you will have other insects that destroy the crops.

It turns out that these pesticides can be used safely by following the manufactures instructions which are printed on the label. Studies show them to be effective and safe if they aren’t applied to crops in the flowering stage. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Instead of going off on a tangent because of poorly researched articles, we the public, need to be better informed.

That’s my soapbox minute for February. If you need some pest advice, please get in touch. I’m always happy to help.

www.EcotechPestControl.com

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Spring is Here!

Finally, spring is just about here! And you know that means ants. This is the time of year when they start to wake up. A lot of people have asked me where ants go in the winter – and while there are plenty of good guesses, we finally have an answer. Just like we thought, they kind of hibernate.

It turns out that many types of ants “fatten up” in the fall and then their bodies produce a type of alcohol that acts as an anti-freeze. They burrow in wall voids, under rocks or other protected spaces, and wrap themselves around the queen in order to protect her from the cold. When it starts to warm up the ants on the inside of this protective ball move to the outer layer to clean away the ants that didn’t survive. These dead ants will be the first source of a protein meal for the others.  Kind of like the Donner Party. (Google it if you missed that day in history class.) And next thing you know, YOU have ant trails in your kitchen.

If you want to avoid ants this season start looking around your home for ant activity. Check the posts on your porch, or cracks in your foundation or under rocks in your flowerbeds. I bet you will find some trails, especially on a sunny afternoon. This is the best time to prevent problems inside. If we can get to them before the babies are hatched, we can cut down dramatically on infestations in your home.

If you’d like more information or an assessment for control, I’m always happy to talk to you. So get in touch!

www.EcotechPestControl.com

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Cockroaches

I don’t know anyone who likes cockroaches. They are prehistoric and creepy looking. That’s good enough for me but there is more to dislike.

German cockroaches (the kind that live indoors in your kitchen) are the number one cause of asthma in children. In order to grow, most insects including roaches have to molt in order to get bigger. That means they have to shed their old skin and grow a new one. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me they saw an albino cockroach. What they actually saw is that few hours between losing the old shell and the new one hardening up.

You know roaches don’t clean up after themselves so they just leave the old skin behind which becomes an allergen that makes your child sick. When you consider that each egg laid by the momma roach contains 21-28 babies, it doesn’t take long to have a LOT of allergens floating around.

Then there is the disease factor. Roaches crawl around in drains, eat fecal matter (sorry) and other bacteria infested stuff. As they walk on your counters, over your dishes and your kid’s toys, they leave behind lots of nasty germs you don’t want in your mouth or on your hands. It’s no wonder we have such a problem with food-borne illness. Because cockroaches are everywhere.

If you have seen a few, you will soon be seeing plenty more since roaches reproduce at a rapid rate. Professional pest managers have new baits and other treatments that aren’t like the old “spray and pray” methods of years past. If this is a problem you’re having please call me to get help. Roach infestations just get worse without intervention.

www.EcotechPestControl.com

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