Q: Why worry about termites?
A: Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood, but also damage paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems. Termites can injure living trees and shrubs, but more often are a secondary invader of woody plants already in decline. While buildings may become infested at any time, termites are of particular importance when buying or selling a home since a termite inspection/infestation report is normally a condition of sale. Besides the monetary impact, thousands of winged termites emerging inside one’s home are an emotionally trying experience — not to mention the thought of termites silently feasting on one’s largest investment.
A: Discovering winged termites indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment.
The swarmers are attracted to light and are often seen around windows and doors. Termite swarmers emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations out in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not necessarily mean that the house is infested. On the other hand, if winged termites are seen emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining porches and patios, there’s a good chance the house is infested also and treatment may be warranted.
Oftentimes there will be no visible indication that the home is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact.
Confirmation of infestation often requires the keen eye of an experienced termite inspector. However, even the most experienced inspector could possibly overlook damage that is hidden. Termites are sneaky little buggers 🙂
A: Ridding a home of termites requires special skills. A knowledge of building construction is needed to identify the critical areas where termites are likely to enter. Many of these potential points of entry are hidden and difficult to access. Termite control also utilizes specialized equipment such as masonry drills, pumps, large-capacity tanks, and soil treatment rods. A typical treatment may involve a liquid pesticide, known as a termiticide, injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, and within foundation walls.
In short, termite treatment is a job for professionals. A possible exception would be if a mailbox post, sandbox or other small wooden object not attached to the house was infested. “Do-it-yourself” products, sold to homeowners at retail stores or bought over the internet, will seldom eradicate an existing termite problem.
Q: Does the entire house need to be treated… or can they just treat areas where I see termites?
A: Subterranean termite colonies may contain hundreds of thousands of individuals, foraging in many different directions.
Most companies offer “perimeter” treatment using one of the non-repellent liquid termiticides (Termidor, Premise, etc.). Typically this will involve a thorough application around the entire outside foundation wall of the building, and spot-treating any infested or high-risk interior areas. If the homeowner is considering such a treatment, they should inquire whether it will be accompanied by a service agreement in case termites return. (Service renewal agreements usually state that if termites return, the company will return and retreat the affected areas at no additional charge provided the renewal agreement is maintained.) It’s a bit of a gamble to purchase any termite treatment option without an ongoing service agreement. Holistic offers them!
Q: How long will the treatment last?
A: All liquid termiticides should control termites for around five years, however, the actual length of control on a given structure will depend on such factors as: environmental conditions, the construction of your home, and density of termites in the area.
Q: Will the chemicals harm my family or pets?
A: Termiticides are tested extensively for adverse effects on health. Before a product can be used, numerous studies are conducted by the manufacturer and independently evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Based on the current body of knowledge, registered termiticides pose no significant hazard to humans, pets or the environment when applied according to label directions. Despite the negligible health risk from a properly performed termite treatment, people with lingering concerns should consult their physician prior to treating. Most of the newer liquid products have essentially no odor.
CONTACT Holistic Pest Solutions to learn more about our termite treatment plans or give us a call at 434 842 1700. Whether you’re in Charlottesville, Waynesboro, or close by to either, Holistic Pest Solutions has the perfect plan for you that is as Green As You Wanna Be!
*Our Environmental Commitment: Holistic Pest Solutions is committed to the preservation of our environment. Our goal is to nurture the soils and plant life of lawns and landscapes. Utilizing holistic pest control practices that cause the least amount of impact on the environment.
It turns out that mosquitoes, along with many insects that bite, are attracted to certain odors in human skin. They’re especially attracted to your body odor and other secretions, meaning that if you’re spending a lot of time running around and sweating, or working hard in your garden at the end of the day, you can expect to have more mosquitoes following you around. Alternately certain strong—or unpleasant to the insect—smells can both hide the scent of people and prevent them from getting close enough to bite you. This is why deet sprays and citronella candles sell like hotcakes in the summer. There are several plants with strong scents that we find pleasant, which you can use to help mask your own smell and keep nearby mosquitoes populations under control. The aroma needs to be in the air around you, at the very least, and ideally on your skin. To get the maximum effect of these natural mosquito repellents, crush herb leaves in your hands to release their perfume and essential oils, and then rub the leaves and their oils over your skin.
By including these plants in your garden, you can reduce your dependance on deet sprays and high chemical citronella candles.
This member of the mint family has white flowers and a gentle lemony scent, as well as some healing properties. Lemon balm is particularly good at keeping mosquito bites low, but it’s also an invasive species, so be careful when growing it in your garden. It does well if you plant it in a pot on your patio, or other outdoor areas.
This fragrant mint cousin contains a natural chemical called nepetalactone, which is both a feline attractant and a useful insect repellent. Though if you’re not interested in a bunch of cats moving into the area, skip this one and move onto a different plant.
A 2009 study showed that the essential oil from this delicious staple from your indoor herb garden is toxic to mosquito larvae. Grow this amazing plant around any natural water sources, such as a pond, to help control the rate of eggs being laid.
One of the 7 cool things we never knew lavender could do is repel flying insects like mosquitoes, moths, and flies. The flower’s perfume is well-known, and while it will scent the air, it’s most effective way to control insects is by actually rubbing the plant on your skin to release the oils.
In its concentrated form, peppermint is sometimes used as an insect repellent, and its oil has been shown to repel the adults and kill the larvae and eggs of several species.
Citrosum (aka Mosquito Plant)
This perennial is actually marketed as “mosquito plant,” and sometimes referred to as the citronella plant primarily due to its strong citronella scent. Unfortunately, though it’s the most heavily marketed, there’s some research that suggests it’s also the least effective garden plant at mosquito control. Still, there’s some benefits to be had from rubbing the crushed leaves on your skin, and if there’s nothing else around, it will provide some protection.
Sage + Rosemary
If you’re planning to gather around a fire, try burning a little sage or rosemary. The incense these plants give off when they burn not only smells good but is unpleasant enough to most species of insects that it’ll repel them—as long as you’re near the smoke.
Of course, if you don’t have a green thumb or just don’t want to be bothered by planting all of these scents, contact Holistic Pest Solutions. We can treat your property and rid of annoying and biting mosquitoes.
CONTACT US to learn more about our maintenance plans for seasonal pest control issues or give us a call at 434 842 1700. Whether you’re in Charlottesville, Waynesboro, or close by to either, Holistic Pest Solutions has the perfect plan for you that is as Green As You Wanna Be!
Spring has arrived! It’s time to say goodbye to the cold weather and hello to new life once again. The flowers are just breaking through the soil, the birds are singing, and the trees are growing new leaves. If you’re anything like us, one annual task looms in the way of that fun: THE DREADED SPRING CLEANING. This chore is tedious and incredibly time consuming, but it’s necessary after months of being cooped up indoors. There are so many things to do: work on the garden, dust the curtains, sweep the floor, wash the pollen off the car OVER AND OVER again…
You may be wondering, “What does Spring cleaning have to do with pest control?” Well beyond giving critters less places to hide – not much. But we care about our environment, so we’d like to give you some great green methods to use for this year’s Spring Cleaning.
Reuse whenever possible
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Give your unwanted clothes a new life by donating them to your local thrift shop or charity. Or use them as rags when you’re cleaning. By reusing clothing and other goods, we can cut down on waste entering landfills.
Learn how reducing, reusing, and recycling can help you, your community, and the environment by saving money, energy, and natural resources. Recycling programs are managed at the state and local level—find information on recycling in your community. Anything plastic, metal, paper should be able to be recycled. Click your area for recycling options in Charlottesville, Waynesboro or just Google recycling option in your city. Learn more at https://www.epa.gov/recycle.
Use cleaning products that are safer for your family and the environment
Look for products that are labeled biodegradable, eco-friendly, or non-toxic. Some great tips you could try are:
Ditch air fresheners – Indoor air may be up to three times more polluted than the air outdoors, so go fresh the natural way by opening your windows. For a light, citrusy fragrance, place orange peel mixed with sage in small bowls through out your home.
Avoid products with labels that read toxic, corrosive, irritant, flammable, or combustible
To many, the idea of making your own cleaning products out of household items may sound a little too granola crunchy — but if you really stop and think about it, it makes good economic, environmental and health sense. Not only are homemade cleaning agents much safer and healthier for everyone in your family than harsh store bought cleaners, but they can save you a lot of money as well. In an economic climate like this one, that’s good news! There are plenty of sites online that will give you tips on making your own eco-friendly cleaning products – check them out!
To water the lawn, consider using grey water or even rainwater. An average family typically uses 30% of its water for the garden or the lawn. By using alternative water such as rainwater from a rain barrel, you can cut down on wasted water and even lower your water bill. Consider NOT leaving the water running while brushing your teeth, take showers instead of baths, put a recyclable plastic bottle filled with water into the back of your toilet bowl… these are all tips we’ve heard in the past and easy ways to conserve water in our homes.
And now to bring us full circle
Things to look for that indicate a need for pest control
Do you have ants crawling around your kitchen? Did you find mouse droppings in your pantry or ripped up toilet paper under the bathroom sink? Find yourself walking into spiderwebs in the attic? If you have pest control needs in your home, please contact Holistic Pest Solutions for a complimentary consult!
We all live busy lives. Anything that can make life easier is something we want to know about, right? Now that the weather is warmer, pests have become… well… more PESTY. Mosquitoes are biting, wasps are stinging, ants are crawling, termites are swarming… ugh! Holistic Pest Solutions offers affordable 6 month contracts for pest control maintenance in and around your home, but are there eco-friendly life hacks to keeping pest out of and away from your home, yard and family? Are the life hacks easy and inexpensive? Is this particular pest control company nice enough to give free advice? The answer to ALL of those questions is YES. We’re here to help you with these great Eco Friendly Life Hacks. Check em out:
START AT THE SOURCE
The best way to avoid pest problems is to start at the source. Keep kitchen counters/sink/floors clean of food and odors that may attract bugs – wipe down with a 1 part vinegar/1 part water.
- Fix leaky faucets – many pests are attracted by water.
- Transfer your dried goods (cereals, chips, cookies, crackers) to sealed containers or jars.
- Use a kitchen trashcan with a lid and rinse out any juice bottles or soda cans before throwing them away.
- Don’t keep compost piles near home and preferably contained.
- Clean trash cans regularly. Best is trash pick up 2x per week, but missing a weekly pick up can create fly breeding site.
- Landscaping and weed eating is important for removing pest harborage close to house.
Many pests can be deterred by a scent that they have an aversion to. For instance, research shows that peppermint is a scent that spiders, cockroaches and mice do not like. Using a spray of peppermint oil and water anytime you see an issue may help. If you have an issue with fruit flies, fill a disposable paper or plastic cup about halfway with vinegar. Add a small amount of dish soap and stir. Cover with plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, poke very small holes in the top of the plastic. The fruit flies are very attracted to the vinegar smell and will find their way into the cup, but they won’t be able to get out. Once you have a collection of dead fruit flies, toss the whole thing. It has been said that Citronella, Catnip and Marigolds planted in gardens can deter certain insects and small animals with their smell(s). Certainly worth a shot!
Are you a magnet for mosquito bites? Are you concerned about being covered in red splotches, white goopy cortisone lotion or pink calamine lotion all summer? Turns out, lemon and lime juice are acidic (and antibacterial) enough to numb the itch. Rubbing a slice all over your bites really helps with the itch! Keep them on hand all summer (even more than usual for spritzing on fish tacos, margaritas, etc.)
We don’t want to be presumptuous or anything, but Holistic Pest Solutions can help save you from needing the previously mentioned stinky, sticky, life hacks. We offer 6 month contracts for controlling mosquitoes, ants, termites, wasps … whatever your issue might be. This means you can essentially completely avoid pest in your home. We’ll perform a thorough inspection of your property to identify the contributing factors and then we’ll treat for seasonal issues at the exact time they need treating in order to keep infestations from occurring. Our highly trained technicians are trained to spot issues before they are noticeable to most homeowners and will implement long term solutions to keep your house pest free year round. Why wait until the ants invade your kitchen or the termites eat away at your foundation? Get in front of the problem!
If you need a really great Eco Friendly Pest Solution Life Hack, Holistic Pest Solutions is more than happy to oblige. Our pest management covers roaches, ants, millipedes, centipedes, mice, rats, pillbugs, spiders, crickets, and paper wasps. Generally, we do every other month visits (monthly if needed) and the Maintenance Agreement sets you up for six services. If you need Termite treatment, our plan includes an initial treatment with an option to have an annual retreatment/inspection, if needed.
CONTACT US to learn more about our maintenance plans for seasonal pest control issues or give us a call at 434 842 1700. Whether you’re in Charlottesville, Waynesboro, or close by to either, Holistic Pest Solutions has the perfect plan for you that is as Green As You Wanna Be!
And so are the pests it brings. The first day of spring in Virginia arrived just a few days ago and we’ll soon see a big increase in insect issues. Since we’ve had a mild winter, there is an increase in issues concerning termite swarmers, carpenter bees, spiders, wasps, and rodents. With the weather warming up insect activity is definitely increasing. Ants will come next and then mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.
Here is a list of the most common springtime pests that Virginians should look out for:
Carpenter bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets – Bees of any kind and wasps are waking up from their winter sleep and are on the look out for free pollen, which is in abundance in the springtime. These insects are the pollinators of the insect world and are VERY beneficial in the environment too. However some colonies can get extremely large and these insects can get aggressive if provoked. Carpenter bees could specifically bore into your home to make their nests and can cause extensive wood damage.
If you find that you’re having an issue with honey bees/bumble bees in your garden, remember that these bees are very beneficial to the environment. Swarming bees look spectacular, but they are usually not aggressive. Do not try to scare the bees away by waving your arms wildly at them or throwing water at them as this is liable to aggravate them. If the bees are easily accessible, a local beekeeper may be willing to remove the swarm for you at no cost to you. Don’t try to remove the nest or kill these very beneficial bees. Call Holistic Pest Solutions and we’ll give you someone to contact that will remove them safely without killing them.
Termites – Swarmer termites are the springtime termite issue. We’ve been seeing them earlier this year due to the mild winter. You may think it’s a flying ant, but if you have termites then you may have an underlying structural problem. Termites are responsible for between $2-3 billion in damage each year in the U.S. alone!! This means that they are accredited with causing more damage each year than storms and damaging more than three times as many homes as fire.
Ants – Ants are the most common pest found in the United States. Like termites, ants are highly social insects where each ant has a particular duty within the nest. Because of this great focus on duty, ants can seem quite determined and are hard to control once established within or near a structure.
Mosquitoes – As most of us know, ANY standing water outside should be eliminated or changed once a week for bird baths, etc. Some conditions that should be corrected in order to reduce the attractiveness of your home for breeding or staging include gutters should be clean and free flowing, leaf accumulation should be removed from under decks, shrubs and around the home and the lawn should be cut regularly.
To prevent insects, bugs and other pests entering your home;
- Create a barrier between the inside and outside of your home and seal off cracks and crevices around the building.
- You may opt to have your windows and doors open during the spring time – check and repair any screens over doors and windows to avoid insects getting in your home.
- Eliminate any standing water that may be caused from a leaking pipe or broken guttering not only deterring mosquitoes but termites as well.
- Eliminate any weeds and trim bushes and shrubbery from the outside of your home.
- Maintain a clean kitchen ensuring any crumbs are swept up and surfaces are clean. If flies get into your home they can transfer pathogens and spread bacteria which is potentially harmful to humans.
- Store any open foods in tight fitting lidded containers to avoid attracting pests. If pests do get in to your food then they can contaminate it making it unsafe for consumption.
- Have a spring clean inside your home, vacuuming those hard to reach areas where spiders like to hide.
Our Services for home are developed specifically with your family and pets in mind. Holistic Pest Solutions provides household pest control services for any kind of pest problem in the Central Virginia (Charlottesville, Augusta County, Louisa County, Fluvanna County, Greene County, Orange County.) If you have a pest problem, CONTACT US today!
First and foremost, did you know that the plural for Mosquito can be spelled MOSQUITOS and MOSQUITOES and both are correct? But I digress. Here are some interesting facts that you may not know about mosquitoes. If you begin to have problems with them at your home as the warmer weather approaches, do not hesitate to CONTACT US. We do treat for mosquitoes and we have long-term solutions to take care of your problem. Now for the really interesting stuff – Things You Didn’t Know About Mosquitoes:
What A Bug!
- Only female mosquitoes bite. Both male and female feed mainly on fruit and plant nectar, but the female also needs the protein in blood to help her eggs develop. Once she’s had her fill of blood, she’ll rest for a couple of days before laying her eggs.
- There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes. About 175 of them are found in the United States, with the Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex pipiens,Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) among the most common. The Anopheles is a malaria carrier, and the other three are known to spread various forms of encephalitis.
- West Virginia has the fewest species of mosquitoes. There are 26 in the mountainous state, while Texas has the most with 85. Florida is a close second with 80 identified species.
- Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly.” The word reportedly originated in the early 16th century. In Africa, New Zealand and Australia, mosquitoes are often called “Mozzies”
- Mosquitoes don’t have teeth. The females “bite” with a long, pointed mouthpart called a proboscis. They use the serrated proboscis to pierce the skin and locate a capillary, then draw blood through one of two tubes.
- A mosquito can drink up to three times its weight in blood. Don’t worry, though. It would take about 1.2 million bites to drain all the blood from your body.
- Female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. Usually, the eggs are deposited in clusters – called rafts – on the surface of stagnant water, or they are laid in areas that flood regularly. Eggs can hatch in as little as an inch of standing water. Females will lay eggs up to three times before they die.
- Mosquitoes spend their first 10 days in water. Water is necessary for the eggs to hatch into larvae, called wigglers. Wigglers feed on organic matter in stagnant water and breathe oxygen from the surface. They develop into pupae, which do not feed and are partially encased in cocoons. Over several days, the pupae change into adult mosquitoes.
- Mosquitoes hibernate. They are cold-blooded and prefer temperatures over 80 degrees. At temperatures less than 50 degrees, they shut down for the winter. The adult females of some species find holes where they wait for warmer weather, while others lay their eggs in freezing water and die. The eggs keep until the temperatures rise, and they can hatch.
- The average mosquito lifespan is less than two months. Males have the shortest lives, usually 10 days or less, and females can live about six to eight weeks, under ideal conditions. The females lay eggs about every three days during that time. Females of species that hibernate may live up to six months.
The Little Bloodsucker
- Mosquitoes have six legs. They also have a head, thorax and abdomen. On the head are two large compound eyes, two ocelli (simple eyes), two antennae and a proboscis. Two large, scaled wings sprout from the thorax.
- Midges and crane flies are often mistaken for mosquitoes. Biting midges are smaller, have shorter wings and tend to feed in swarms. Mosquito traps often attract and kill biting midges. Meanwhile, crane flies are much larger than mosquitoes – up to 1 ½ inches long in some cases – and do not bite.
- Male mosquitoes locate females by the sound of their wings. Females can beat their wings up to 500 times per second, and the males pick out the higher frequency of those beats when seeking a mate.
- Mosquitoes can’t fly very far or very fast. Most mosquitoes can fly no more than about one to three miles, and often stay within several hundred feet of where they were hatched. However, a few salt marsh species can travel up to 40 miles. The top speed for a mosquito is about 1.5 miles per hour.
- Mosquitoes generally fly below 25 feet. However, some species have also been found at extraordinary heights, including 8,000 feet up in the Himalayas.
- Mosquitoes can smell human breath. They have receptors on their antennae that detect the carbon dioxide released when we exhale. Those plumes of CO2 rise into the air, acting as trails that the mosquitoes follow to find the source.
- Sweat helps mosquitoes choose their victims. Our skin produces more than 340 chemical odors, and some of them smell like dinner to mosquitoes. They are fond of octenol, a chemical released in sweat, as well as cholesterol, folic acid, certain bacteria, skin lotions, and perfume.
- Body heat marks the target. Mosquitoes use heat sensors around their mouthparts to detect the warmth of your body – actually, the blood inside it – then land on you and locate the best capillaries for tapping.
- Mosquitoes feed day and night. Some species, like the Aedes are daytime biters, while others, like Culex, start biting at dusk and continue a few hours into dark.
- Mosquitoes have been around since the Jurassic period. That makes them about 210 million years old. They’ve been mentioned throughout history, including in the works of Aristotle around 300 B.C. and in writings by Sidonius Apollinaris in 467 B.C.
- The bumps from mosquito bites are caused by saliva. While one tube in the proboscis draws blood, a second pumps in saliva containing a mild painkiller and an anti-coagulant. Most people have minor allergic reactions to the saliva, causing the area around the bite to swell and itch.
- Malaria is caused by a parasite that lives in mosquitoes. The parasite gets into mosquito saliva and is passed on when the insect bites someone. West Nile and other viruses are passed the same way. Mosquitoes can also carry and pass on canine heartworm.
- West Nile virus came to the U.S. in 1999. Scientists first identified it in a feverish woman in Uganda – the West Nile district – in 1937. There were large outbreaks of the virus reported in Israel, South Africa, and Romania up through the late ’90s. The virus first appeared in the United States in 1999 with an epidemic in New York.
- Mosquitoes do not transmit HIV. The virus that causes AIDS does not replicate in mosquitoes and is actually digested in their stomachs, so it’s broken down without being passed on.
- Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest “animal” in the world. The Anopheles mosquito, in particular, is dangerous because it transmits malaria, which kills more than one million people every year, primarily in Africa. Alexander the Great is believed to have died of malaria in 323 B.C.
- Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes. Remember, they are drawn to heat and darker clothes retain more heat than light-colored clothing.
- Insecticides may work, but only in the short term. Permethrin, one of the most common chemicals used by local mosquito control programs, kills mosquitoes on contact by disrupting their central nervous systems. However, eggs and larvae often are not affected. Once the insecticide dissipates, mosquitoes can return.
- Bats do not eat mosquitoes. At least, not very many of them. Mosquitoes make up less than 1 percent of a bat’s diet. And purple martins, a bird popularly believed to be a mosquito predator, eat very few mosquitoes. They prefer dragonflies and other insects.
- The two main mosquito predators are fish and dragonflies. Gambusia, or mosquitofish, feed on mosquito larvae and are used all over the world to help control mosquito populations. Dragonfly larvae, called nymphs, eat mosquito larvae, and adult dragonflies prey on adult mosquitoes. Some towns in Maine release dragonflies every summer as a natural form of mosquito control.
- Bug zappers are useless against mosquitoes. Studies have shown that less than 1 percent of the insects killed by zappers are mosquitoes or other biting insects. The devices attract and kill beneficial or harmless insects, like moths, and have no effect on the overall mosquito population. Electronic repellers have also proven ineffective in scientific testing.
Although the overall mild winter we’re experiencing here in the state of Virginia may very well be affecting activity of termites, they DO remain active year round – even in cold winters.Continue reading
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