Avoiding Poisonous Pests This Summer

Northern California is no stranger to an array of miserable and pesky pests year round, but easily the most irritating, and even potentially dangerous, times of the year for biting reptiles and stinging insects. While these  creatures can cause pain and even trips to the doctor’s  office, there is no reason to let their existence keep you from enjoying the great outdoors this season. With a little preparation and know-how, you can safely and easily live it up this summer.

One of the most common and irritating pests on the planet is the mosquito, but with Sacramento seeing record levels of West Nile-infected birds this summer, they’re nothing to swat at. At dawn and dusk, try to cover your skin with airy fabrics that keep mosquitoes off but don’t heat you up too much. Or, if it’s just to hot to cover up, make sure to apply a thin but consistent layer of mosquito repellent before heading outdoors.

Snakes are another somewhat uncommon but also dangerous pest in the Sacramento area. If you live near fields in the suburbs or take a day hike, be sure to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, and call a pest control company if you see one. They are most active in the dawn and dusk and can often be found sunning themselves on a rock or quiet country road. Keep dogs on short leashes when hiking and always be aware of your surroundings.

Winning the War Against Warm Weather Pests

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The hot Sacramento weather can bring a lot of us into closer contact with pests than usual, as rodents and insects alike try to gain entry to our homes and businesses in search of cooler temperatures and guaranteed sources of water. But never fear, your trusty friends at Specialized Pest Patrol have a few handy tips for keeping many of the Sacramento area’s most common pests at bay.

  • Raccoons are, as always, in abundance in the Sacramento area this year, and reports of these clever mammals making their way into homes and garbage cans outdoors are increasing. Make your home a much less desirable destination by installing locks on pet doors, removing pet food from outdoor areas, and ensuring all outdoor trash bins are securely locked
  • Birds found dead of West Nile are at a record high in the Sacramento area this summer, so keep mosquito populations down and your family safe by conducting thorough, detailed searches for even the smallest amount of outdoor standing water. Consider having your yard and perimeter sprayed periodically as well, and always cover up or apply repellent when out, especially in the hours around dusk and dawn.
  • Rodents and other pests love to get out of the heat and sun in the summer, so make sure there are no entries for them into your home or business. Cracks or holes under an inch in size can still let in mice and roaches, so be sure to plug up any potential breaches with steel wool or caulk.

Enjoying a Pest-Free Memorial Day

If you’re like most people, you plan on spending at least a portion of your Memorial Day weekend outside, sweating by the grill with family and friends, or taking a dip in the pool to avoid the hot (some sources are saying we’re going to hit 100F) Sacramento weather. One thing you shouldn’t get heated-up over, however, is the presence of the various outdoor pests that can make you consider taking your barbecue indoors. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a couple of simple tips and tricks for keeping the bugs at bay so you can play:

  • To keep flies out of your potato salad and barbecue ribs, consider installing a fly trap on the outskirts of your perimeter.
  • Wasps and bees can often be found buzzing around your beverages, looking for something to quench their thirst. A wasp trap, or even just a tray of water set away your party, can keep these pests from hampering your fun.
  • Mosquitoes are everyone’s least-favorite barbecue guest, but they’re rampant in the hot weather of Memorial Day weekend. Keep you and your guests free from the pests by using citronella candles and some bug-repellent.

Practical Tips For Limiting Mosquito Exposure

Summer is quickly arriving in Sacramento, if the highs in the upper-90’s is any indicator. And with the arrival of summer comes the arrival of a prolific, irritating, and dangerous pest: the mosquito. Mosquitoes are found in so many countries on the globe and effect billions of people every year, but with a little careful planning, you and your family can limit your bites from these pesky insects, as well as limit your exposure to the many diseases that they carry.

Mosquitoes are not just annoying and their bites itchy, they can also spread a host of deadly diseases to both you and your pets. West Nile, Zika, and heartworms are all delivered via the bites of infected mosquitoes. For this reason, practical mosquito prevention is key.

  • Using a repellent, often containing DEET (a very efficient chemical repellent) is an excellent way to keep mosquitoes off of you and your family or guests at the next outdoor barbecue.
  • Pets should be given a monthly anti-heartworm medication in order to ensure that if they are bit by mosquitoes, they do not develop the deadly infection.
  • Doing frequent sweeps of your property, especially after rains or after sprinkler systems, to check for, and empty, any collections of standing water is essential, as even the murkiest and shallowest amounts of standing water will quickly become breeding grounds for these terrible pests.
  • Consider having a pest management company spray the barrier of your home or yard with a safe but effective repellent spray in order to keep mosquitoes away all season long.

5 Questions When Hiring an Exterminator

Hiring a pest control company is a little like finding a good dog-walker. You need to be able to feel that the person you let into your home is trustworthy, puts safety first, and can spot and handle any problems as they arise. For this reason, we’ve taken all of the questions you could ask a potential exterminator and narrowed them all down to the 5 essential questions that you must ask a potential exterminator.

  1. “Are your employees certified?” – This may seem like the most obvious question in the world, but there are plenty of pest control companies that run their business without the proper credentials. And when you are dealing with dangerous pests and a variety of chemicals and traps to catch and eliminate these pests, you are going to want to make sure they know what they’re doing, and can back it up with proof.
  2. “Do you stand behind your work?” – Any exterminator worth his or her salt will offer some sort of a guarantee with their services, whether for a refund or for repeated service to ensure the pests are really gone. In general, if an extermination company won’t offer you anything but their word that the service will be completed correctly, it’s best to find someone who will.
  3. “How do you handle termite control?” – Ants and cockroaches are entirely different beasts than termites, and a good exterminator knows this. While ants and cockroaches are unappealing and irritating, termites cause untold structural damage to buildings and homes, and must be eradicated thoroughly the first time, before they cause real devastation.
  4. “Are your treatments safe for my kids and pets?” – For pest control, there are a number of different solutions, traps, and chemicals that can be used to keep a business or home free and clear. While some situations may warrant the need for stronger solutions, a good pest control company should be willing to talk through your concerns and attempt to find alternative solutions if anything makes you uncomfortable.
  5. “What about the future?” – Here is where a reputable and trustworthy pest control company really shines: long-term management and prevention. An exterminator that is truly worth your time and money has a strong plan for prevention of future infestations, as well as a good business model for long-term management in future pest control.

Tips For A Pest-Free Spring Pt. 2

It’s April, and that means we are still in National Pest Management Month. In the spirit of the month, and with warmer weather leading to a quick uptick in pest presence, we are continuing our series on the many ways you can begin living that pest-free lifestyle and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

  • Keep all counters and floors clear of pest-bait by wiping and sweeping after cooking each meal, as ants and cockroaches are more than happy to set up shop in your kitchen.
  • If you can, save a sample of any pest you encounter, whether by trapping it in a jar or taking a quick cellphone photo. This can help your pest-control expert later as you try to identify what critter has infested your home or business.
  • Make sure that if you do need to seek out the help of a pest-management company, that you verify their license and credentials. At Specialized Pest Patrol, we are more than happy to show you the proof that we are qualified and experienced in handling any and all pest-related problems.
  • Get to know your pest-management professional by way of fully understanding their processes, warranties, and contracts. A truly reputable pest management company, like Specialized Pest Patrol in the greater Sacramento area, will be up-front with you about these and be happy to explain any questions you may have.

Tips For A Pest-Free Spring Pt. 1

Spring is in the air, with blossoms all around the Sacramento region, as well as warmer days and hay fever. Unfortunately, spring also tends to bring about the arrival of pests – especially of the insect and bug variety – following a dormancy in the winter.

We at Specialized Pest Patrol are celebrating National Pest Management Month this April by bringing you a few handy tips for keeping unwelcome guests away from you, your family, and your home and business.

  • Keep mosquitoes at bay by ensuring your gutters are free of debris and leaves. Cluttered gutters are a perfect breeding ground due to the inability for all water to drain away.
  • Make sure your garbage bins are sealed, both indoors and out. While fruit flies and other bugs are more than happy to breed in trash both indoors and out, unsealed garbage bins outside are a happy treat for raccoons.
  • Do an inspection of your home for point of easy access for rats and mice. Utility pipes going into your building, as well as small cracks around the foundation, are common areas of concern.
  • Keep fleas and spiders at bay by keeping shrubbery, tree branches, and grass trimmed away and short.

The Relationship of Pest Management

The relationship between home- or business-owner and pest control management company is a special one. Like all service-relationships, it requires communication, honesty, and trust placed into the side providing the service.

However, unlike other relationships, the relationship between pest control management company and home/business owner is one in which the home- or business-owner also must bring certain requirements to the table.

The creation of an environment that is free of pests involves a mutual understanding. The pest control management company must be willing to search and treat high and low throughout the property for the optimal freedom from pests. At the same time, home- or business-owners must be willing to make changes, if necessary, to their daily habits to ensure that pests do not return.

These changes can look as simple as “keep pet food out of reach of pests” or “don’t eat in bed.” They can also get more complicated, such as “install weatherstripping around doorframes” or “fix holes in window screens.” The willingness to make adjustments and be flexible when working with your pest management company can make all the difference between “routine pest management” to “full blown infestation.” Contact Specialized Pest Patrol today to begin your relationship with a time-tested and trusted community pest management company!

Change to Autumn Brings Yellow Jackets

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As summer begins to come to an end and Sacramento gets a bit of relief from all those hot summer days, new insects take flight to pester us. Particularly common in late summer to early autumn are yellow jacket wasps who are known for their aggression and painful stings. With changing seasons comes an overall change in their behavior, including more contact with humans.

Yellow jackets are always active, but their colonies continue to grow and amass both workers and reproductives as the year progresses. With growing populations comes increased competition for food sources. But it’s not just increased food scarcity that drives more contact between humans and yellow jackets, it’s also the type of food that the wasps are seeking out. At this point, they’re developing a sweet tooth.

In spring and early summer, yellow jackets are eating protein for the most part. However, the switch to fall means that they start looking for very high-energy food sources and carbohydrates, such as those seen in sodas. As people begin to head outdoors and enjoy the cooler weather for picnics and backyard barbecues, the chances of coming into contact with a yellow jacket increase exponentially. Further, yellow jackets nest close to or even in the ground, meaning you might not know you’re near a nest until you are upon it.

If you think you have a yellow jacket colony on your property, call Specialized Pest Patrol, Sacramento’s leading pest experts.

Brown Widow Spiders and Oil-based Pesticides

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In 2012, researchers at the University of California, Riverside discovered that brown widow spiders – less venomous than their black widow cousins, but still plenty venomous – have begun taking over Southern California, and are quickly making their way north and into Central and Northern California. The spiders have been on the radar of pest controllers and pesticide developers as they have been becoming more prolific in the area. They also are known to have egg sacs that are particularly resistant to pesticides.

Thankfully, researchers at the University of California, Riverside have just recently developed an oil-based pesticide that has proven much more effective at killing brown widow spider’s egg sacs than water-based pesticides are. Dr. Dong-Hwan Choe, a co-author of the study, said, “Th brown widow spider egg sac is constructed with highly hydrophobic silks, so the water-based pesticide sprays were not very effective in penetrating the egg sac and impacting the eggs inside.

“In contrast, the oil-based aerosols were highly effective in penetrating the egg sac silk, providing the compete prevention of the spider emergence.” Choe went on to add data regarding how prolific of layers the adult brown widow spiders are: “Field-collected brown widow egg sacs in Southern California average around 135 egg sacs with a range of 23 to 282 eggs.” Thankfully, with this new data on th effectiveness of oil-based pesticides, there is a likelihood of quelling the spread of non-native brown widow spiders throughout California.