WHAT’S BUGGING YOU?
This is one question that is asked frequently when it comes to those who have experienced a bed bug infestation. People are curious to know if their bed bug problem from the summer will be resolved once the temperature begins to drop. Perhaps you woke up with some strange marks on your pillow case - or you’ve noticed mysterious red welts on your arms. Maybe you’ve spotted them right there in your bed. Bugs!
According to Wikipedia, bed bugs are a type of insect that feed on human blood, usually at night. Their bites can result in a number of health impacts including skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms. Bed bug bites may lead to skin changes ranging from invisible to small areas of redness to prominent blisters. Symptoms may take between minutes to days to appear and itchiness is generally present. Some individuals may feel tired or have a fever. Typically, uncovered areas of the body are affected and often three bites occur in a row. Bed bugs bites are not known to transmit any infectious diseases. Complications may rarely include areas of dead skin or vasculitis.
Unfortunately, bed bugs can and do survive the winter. Bed bugs have spread rapidly over the past two decades, and the prospect of infestation can strike fear into the most cool-headed of people. Hopper Termite & Pest understands the many concerns you may have, as we have battled bed bugs at a growing rate over the past several years. When we were researching our guide to the best mattress cover, we found a real lack of levelheaded, practical advice on what to do if you suspect a bed bug infestation at your home. Here are some next steps you can take.
If you think you have bed bugs, don’t move furniture out of the room, don’t throw mattresses and other belongings away, don’t rip up carpet, and don’t use DIY pesticides on the bugs. All of this can spread the bed bugs further throughout your home. Even if you know beyond a reasonable doubt that you have bed bugs, remain calm and don’t do anything hasty. Bed bugs spread rapidly, may leave itchy bite marks, stain and soil bedding and furniture, are difficult and expensive to eradicate, and carry social stigma—all causing real psychological distress. But they don’t pose any immediate threat to your family’s health because they don’t transmit diseases. They are actually much less of a threat than other blood feeders like mosquitoes or ticks.
There are many bed bug look alikes, including carpet beetles, spider beetles, roach nymphs, and bat bugs. Study guides show the size and appearance of bed bugs throughout their life cycle. Bed bugs typically hide during the day and are active from nightfall until an hour or two before dawn, clustering near a food source (i.e., you). To spot them you can grab a strong flashlight and look for bugs, eggs, and cast skins in cracks, crevices, nail or screw holes, furniture joints, seams, and under any mattress tags, as well as on the bed frame and baseboards near your bed.
There’s nothing distinctive about a bed bug bite, so neither bite marks nor red or light-brown blood stains on your bedding are proof you have them. Look for their characteristic brown-black, dot-like fecal stains (digested blood) on your bedding, mattresses, box springs, or baseboards.
If you have bed bugs, you will find some visible evidence. Bed bugs, from eggs to adults, are visible with the naked eye. They are not microscopic, they do not fly, and they do not spontaneously generate.
If you try to sleep in a different bed, different bedroom, or even on the couch, you could easily make the problem worse. You might be grossed out by sleeping in the room where you found bed bugs, but if you can cope, it’s much better to stay put, even if it means a few more nights of anxiety. If you sleep in a different bed, different bedroom, or even on the couch, you could easily make the problem worse, because hungry bed bugs will search throughout the home looking for a meal. It’s easier to treat 500 bugs in one room, than 50 bugs in several rooms. It’s probably okay to sleep in another room for one or two nights, but eventually, the bugs will seek you out.
We know from experience that you’ll probably want to hide your bed bug problem, but if you live in an apartment building or attached house, part of an effective treatment is coordinating inspections and treatments with your neighbors. Bed bugs can move easily between dwellings that share walls, so it’s crucial to inspect adjacent homes, treat any neighboring infestations, and put down barrier chemicals to prevent them from spreading. It doesn’t matter if you’re the cleanest person in the world or the dirtiest or somewhere in between - if you have blood, they’re coming for you.
You shouldn’t try to fight bed bugs on your own. Hopper Termite & Pest do not recommend any DIY treatments that would be safe and effective as a stand alone treatment. Bed bugs have developed resistance to many DIY insecticides. Spraying bed bugs with insecticides you buy at a hardware store or online will likely kill only some bugs and scatter the rest, making your problem significantly worse. Today, proven professional methods for killing bed bugs include using heat and steam (adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs die at temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit), spraying growth-inhibiting chemicals, and dusting powders that physically injure the bugs. Recently, an insecticide that infects bedbugs with a deadly fungus has shown promising results. All these treatments require professional-grade equipment and training.
Effective treatment requires a multi-pronged approach, including initial inspections and subsequent treatments at two-week intervals. Avoid hiring an exterminator who schedules treatment without inspection or who provides proof that you actually have bed bugs. Also beware of a pest company that tells you to throw away your mattress or other belongings. The National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization that sets standards for pest control companies in the US, states that in almost all cases, it’s never necessary to discard these items because treating them is part of the pest control company’s job.
Unless you live in Antarctica, you can still have a bed bug infestation during the winter. While bed bugs are not a fan of the cold weather, they can survive extremely cold temps. A study conducted at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities discovered that bed bugs can survive temperatures as low as -13°F. In order for the bed bugs to actually die, they need to be exposed to temperatures lower than 3°F for at least 80 hours.
Here are some methods and tips that may be helpful, that will work if used in conjunction with professional bed bug treatment. Even if you have to wait a while for professional treatment, there are some things you can do in the meantime, and are things you can do year-round as an ongoing regiment.
Clean infested areas. Wash any bedding, towels, or objects that can safely go in the washer with your washer set on the hottest water setting. When you get ready to dry the items, dry them on the highest temperature setting. Heat-treat bedding, clothing, and other textiles in your dryer will kill bugs and eggs. The dryer becomes your best friend. Every bug that you find and remove is reducing the population.
You can pick up bugs with tape or a sticky lint roller, or vacuum them up. Remove the vacuum bag immediately afterward, and seal it in a plastic bag for disposal, to prevent any bugs from escaping.
Encase mattresses and box springs in close-fitting, impermeable bed bug-proof covers. Mattress encasements should cover all six sides of the mattress, and have a zipper that won’t easily open to let bugs in or out. If you think you have an infestation, leave the covers on mattresses and box springs for 12 months.
Since bed bugs die after being exposed to severely low temps for at least 80 hours, many people have used their freezer as a way to get rid of the bed bugs lurking in their bedding and pillows.
Vacuum areas that may be infested with bed bugs and their eggs. Make sure you get to areas such as your mattress, the bed frame, baseboards, and headboards.
Place small, rimmed saucers dusted with talcum powder beneath the legs of your beds, chairs, or couches to trap bed bugs trying to climb up or down.
Remove other bed bug pathways by moving your bed away from walls and curtains, and don’t let bedding drape onto the floor.
Take your infected items outside and leave in the cold for a few days. However, since the temp outside rarely hits below 0°F for three days straight in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, this method doesn’t always work.
To prevent sharing your bed bugs with co-workers, friends, family, and the public at large, you should limit what you carry out of the house, and inspect those items carefully. Go minimalist (temporarily) and carry just a single bag in and out of your home. Before leaving, look over the bag’s exterior to make sure there are no insects on it. It can also be helpful to keep a clear, plastic bin with a lid near the front door and seal your belongings in it when you return home.
The tips above only get the process of removing bed bugs started, and will not completely solve your problem. The easiest way to get rid of bed bugs and keep your sanity is to call a professional pest and bed bug exterminator such as Hopper Termite & Pest, Inc. We employ some of the most educated and highly trained technicians in the state. In fact, Hopper Termite & Pest, Inc. is the only company in this area to be NPMA QualityPro Certified.
Whether you are experiencing a bed bug infestation in Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale, Bentonville, Mountain Home, Bull Shoals, Yellville, Mountain View, Flippen - or any area in between, Hopper Termite & Pest, Inc. can help. We are also certified to manage your bed bug infestation in Missouri. Don’t wait until your bed bug problem becomes overwhelming. Give us a call today and let us take care of you, your family, and your bugs.
Believe it or not, some things just will not go away! Even in extreme heat or unbearable cold, some household pests just will not give up. Yes - some pests will invade your home and will not only take up residence, but will actually thrive during the cold season. They're called overwintering pests, and they'll continue to cause problems for you as the months go by. They hide in boxes and storage closets, emerging on a warm winter day or staying in plain site as they enjoy the warmer indoor temperatures.
Insects overwinter by finding a warm place to call home, in many cases this is YOUR home. Bugs will enter structures, mulch, leaves or soil to protect themselves from the low temperatures. Bugs look at your house as their winter vacation home. On occasion, they will make themselves known during the overwintering period by venturing out into the living spaces of a house. Most often, they emerge in the spring time when the temperatures begin to rise. This is a big reason why there is such an increase in visibility of pests in and around your home in the springtime. They’ve been there all along; they just may not have been very active. At Hopper Termite & Pest Control, we have years of experience when it comes to dealing with these cold-hearted, cold-weathered fiends. Here are some pests to be on guard for during the cold months, and some helpful tips to give you the upper hand!
Ladybugs and Asian lady Beetles look similar and feed on plant-damaging insects. Although these beetles are beneficial outdoors, they're nuisances indoors. Some will remain hidden during the winter while others will fly around the room looking for a way outside.
Stink Bugs only live up to their name when they're defending themselves or if you step on them. They emit a foul odor, so it's wise not to kill them indoors. These pests congregate on the sides of your home in the fall and can easily slip indoors to annoy you during the winter.
During the winter, moths and flies survive indoors where it's nice and warm. If moths invade your home, they may breed and produce larvae that feed on your clothing. Flies are annoying no matter the time of year and will only increase in population if you don't eliminate them quickly.
Boxelder Bugs mostly feed on the sap from boxelder trees; however, they will also consume the juices from your house plants during the winter. They are considered a nuisance pest and don't pose a risk to people; however, they have been known to bite for defense. If these pests breed in your home, they'll attack your plants and cause even more problems as spring arrives. Other pests that overwinter include Mice, Caterpillars, Crickets, Flies and Mosquitoes.
Seal or caulk all cracks and crevices around foundation, siding, doors, windows, electrical, and plumbing.
Keep gutters cleaned out. Pests feed and make homes out of the built up debris.
Keep a clean home. Vacuum, sweep, mop, and clean up spills that will attract pests to your home.
Get regularly scheduled pest control with Hopper Termite & Pest. We will prevent bugs from coming in and will make it easier to control any pest problems that arise.
Overwintering pests are a nuisance and difficult to treat by yourself. Some insects, such as stink bugs, will come inside during late fall and find places to hide. Once winter arrives, they emerge and fly around your lamps or crawl along the windows. Hopper Termite & Pest Control professionals will inspect your home for overwintering pests, eliminate them where they hide and help to keep them out all season long. Give us a call today, and we will bring the heat to the cold war on pests!
MAKE THE LIST, CHECK IT TWICE
Now that the days are getting shorter and the wind is getting colder, it’s time to get on the ball and prepare your business and home for the onslaught of winter. Like it or not, insects and rodents are dead-set on infiltrating your space this time of year. Luckily, you have an expert advisor in this fight at Hopper Termite & Pest. We operate from years of experience, hours of on-the-job training, and know how and when to treat your home, business, property.
This blog addresses many things you can do to prepare for winter. This isn’t a complete list by any means, AND we strongly recommend employing our services to seal the deal to treat and/or prevent pest infestation. Hopefully these suggestions will go a long way to help you get ready for the months ahead.home in your house.
The first thing to realize when it comes to pests is that none of them are nice. At different times of the year many pests tend to focus on the outdoors, especially when it’s warm. This is when you may feel they have eased up and jumped on the “nice” list. However, when the cold temps arrive and things begin to freeze up, you will see more activity as they seek the shelter and warmer temps inside. This is when they become naughty little critters!
Along with mowing your lawn, clear dead leaves, fallen twigs and branches, and other lawn debris to keep them from piling up, providing cover for opportunistic pests. You should keep doing this after snow covers your lawn, too.
Insects and rodents commonly use firewood piles as shelter, building nests between logs and returning repeatedly with food for their young. Store your firewood 15-20 feet away from your home, and–if possible–keep it on an elevated shelf or platform at least 5 feet off the ground.
Walk the perimeter of your home. Look for loose mortar, cracks, gaps between screens, and openings around utility lines. Thoroughly patch up these gaps to keep pests from using them to get inside.
Pests that get onto your roof can easily use chimneys or shafts to crawl into your home. Installing a simple mesh screen will prevent this. Get a professional to help you install these screens; working on a roof can be dangerous.
Proper drainage is vitally important for preventing water accumulation. Check roof gutters and clear out leaves and debris. Make sure your sump pump drains properly, and your downspouts carry water far enough away. If your drainage system has any problems, the displaced moisture could attract pests.
You’re halfway done! Obviously, once we’ve shored up our outer defenses, we have to look inward. Any pests stubborn enough not to be deterred by our first line will break on our indoor defenses. Here’s how to make that happen:
No cardboard, no Ziploc bags--we’re talking hard plastic. Store all the food you keep outside of your refrigerator in a secure container that no pest could penetrate. Every pest that gets into your home wants food, so keeping them away from yours is paramount.
Basements are a pest paradise. Clean yours by organizing boxes and other clutter, vacuuming and dusting, and ensuring the humidity isn’t out of control. Even if your basement doesn’t appeal to pests, chances are they’ll get the message and leave you be.
Pests are shy, and they thrive in environments where they can flee into cover easily and frequently. Pests are also small, so for them, cover means just about anything they can get under. Clear out and organize anything that would constitute pest cover to force your fiendish foes out into the light.
Plumbing leaks are a shockingly common source of excess moisture. Check the pipes in your basement and under your plumbing fixtures for leaks, dripping, or condensation. No matter how small a leak is, it will attract pests, so deal with it ASAP.
Winter is the driest season, but humid parts of your home still attract pests looking for a comfortable environment. First, address sources of moisture like drafts, leaks, and puddling. If you’re still struggling with the moisture problem, consider investing in a dehumidifier.
Weather stripping is your home’s final defense against pests. It makes up the threshold between your home and the pests outside. Over time, wear and tear may make weather stripping ineffective. Check out the stripping on each door and window and replace any that looks even a little ragged.
These steps may seem like a lot now, but you’d be surprised how fast you can get them all done. If you get all your pest prevention chores done thoroughly before the snow starts falling, you won’t be surprised by any pests this winter. Trust us! We’ve seen quite a few winters, and plans like this never let us down. Need some hands-on help with your winter prep plan? Want to make doubly sure you don’t have pests and won’t invite them in this winter? Give Hopper Termite & Pest a call today. Together, we’ll throw the pest invaders back where they belong.
If you wait, not only will you have less time, you may miss your opportunity to get things done before pests begin their search for a winter home. Hopper Termite & Pest suggests you do the following: Inspect all your screens for rips or holes. When bugs and other pests start getting cold, these are the most obvious entry points. If you find that your screens are damaged, you may not have to have them completely re-screened. Smaller issues can be fixed with a small piece of screen and some clear fingernail polish. There are several helpful videos available on YouTube. After you've checked the screens on your sliding doors, you should check the weather stripping. When weather stripping gets damaged, it provides the perfect entry point for smaller overwintering pests like stink bugs. Inspect all entry doors to make sure your door sweeps are working. Pests don't need much of a gap to squeeze in. Do you have a chimney? Overwintering pests can easily climb down your chimney and gain access to your home when the fire is out. A smart way to stop overwintering pests is by installing a damper at the top of your chimney, instead of just above the firebox. Do you have any rotted holes in your exterior walls? Now is the time to get out the caulking gun to seal those holes up. Sure, it doesn't look as nice as you'd like, but it gets the job done until you can get the spot fixed properly. When overwintering pests come to climb around on your walls and search for the tiniest of gaps to exploit, they should find an unsavory surface that instantly repels them. Have your exterior walls, soffits and eaves treated by the professionals here at American Pest to force those pests to find another place to overwinter. Exclusion methods go a long way to reducing the number of pests that will find a way into your home this fall. But to fully seal and protect your home from overwintering pests, weak areas need to be treated with agents that kill or resist these pests. Hopper Termite & Pest have been protecting customers for years from pests that want to take up residence inside their homes. We would be happy to help you seal the deal! Give us a call today.
SEAL IT. SEAL IT GOOD.
If you wait, not only will you have less time, you may miss your opportunity to get things done before pests begin their search for a winter home. Hopper Termite & Pest suggests you do the following:
Inspect all your screens for rips or holes. When bugs and other pests start getting cold, these are the most obvious entry points. If you find that your screens are damaged, you may not have to have them completely re-screened. Smaller issues can be fixed with a small piece of screen and some clear fingernail polish. There are several helpful videos available on YouTube.
After you've checked the screens on your sliding doors, you should check the weather stripping. When weather stripping gets damaged, it provides the perfect entry point for smaller overwintering pests like stink bugs.
Inspect all entry doors to make sure your door sweeps are working. Pests don't need much of a gap to squeeze in.
Do you have a chimney? Overwintering pests can easily climb down your chimney and gain access to your home when the fire is out. A smart way to stop overwintering pests is by installing a damper at the top of your chimney, instead of just above the firebox.
Do you have any rotted holes in your exterior walls? Now is the time to get out the caulking gun to seal those holes up. Sure, it doesn't look as nice as you'd like, but it gets the job done until you can get the spot fixed properly.
When overwintering pests come to climb around on your walls and search for the tiniest of gaps to exploit, they should find an unsavory surface that instantly repels them. Have your exterior walls, soffits and eaves treated by the professionals here at American Pest to force those pests to find another place to overwinter.
Exclusion methods go a long way to reducing the number of pests that will find a way into your home this fall. But to fully seal and protect your home from overwintering pests, weak areas need to be treated with agents that kill or resist these pests. Hopper Termite & Pest have been protecting customers for years from pests that want to take up residence inside their homes. We would be happy to help you seal the deal! Give us a call today.