Winter Rodent Infestation

Winter-Rodent-Infestation

It’s nearing the season of food and family visits but, unfortunately, it’s also nearing the season for rodents to visit. When the weather gets colder, rodents search for warmth and food. Winter rodent infestations are usually prevalent by mid-November in Virginia. The best thing to do is prevent them from coming into your home in the first place. Once inside, these small and yet resourceful critters are likely to cause a lot of problems making them one of the most dangerous fall pests homeowners must contend with.

See also 4 Reasons Rodents Love Virginia

There are many problems associated with having a rodent infestation in your home. On top of the threats that each individual mouse or rat is capable of, they also breed very rapidly, which means that the danger level rises significantly once there are multiple mice running through the walls of your home. 

Rats-and-MiceCommon issues rodents cause in your home are contamination of food and surfaces from urine and droppings; spread of bacteria and possible disease; extensive damage to structures, furniture and personal belongings from their constant gnawing; and risk of electrical fire if they find electrical equipment to gnaw on. These are all very concerning issues, but we have some advice that might help.

See also Q&A About Mice And Rats

Here are six great tips to help you prevent a winter rodent infestation.

  1. Check your home for any cracks or holes, inside and out, and seal them. Caulk, steel wool, insulation and spray insulation are all good choices.
  2. Refresh any cracked mortar and replace weather stripping around the basement foundation.
  3. To block chimney entrances, without blocking the smoke, use screens at the openings. Also use them to block vents.
  4. Store any firewood at least five feet from the ground and twenty feet from your home. Cut back shrubbery and tree branches from you home as well.
  5. Keep basements and attics clear by storing boxes off the floor to keep the floors open.
  6. Make sure food is in airtight containers, even pet food, bird seed and raw pastas. Take your trash out regularly.

Learn more about Virginia wildlife at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/

If you suspect that you have rodent infestation in or near your home, Holistic Pest Solutions can provide you with a free assessment, suggestions, and treatment for long term control.  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 that is mindful of our clients AND our Earth.

*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.

The Trouble With Your Jack O Lantern

The Trouble With Your Jack O Lantern

The season for scary tricks and spooky treats is upon us. Get those decorations ready, make your scarecrows, purchase your candy, and carve those pumpkins! Maybe think twice before the pumpkin carving though. Something really scary could happen if you carve those pumpkins too soon. There are some pests that will be attracted to your jack o lantern and you would not like them in your home. So what is the trouble with your Jack O Lantern?  Let’s find out.

Pumpkin Spice Is So Nice, But Pumpkin Pest Are A Mess!

Your family eating those tasty pumpkin pies, breads and lattes make us ALL LOVE FALL. Unfortunately, rats and mice will take notice of a freshly carved pumpkin and see it as a great feast! Fruit flies and ants will be attracted to pumpkins as well, and will likely show up for the feast.

Best Way To Enjoy A Scary Pumpkin

We can’t just go without a jack o lantern. How can we still have the scary, smiling, orange blob without inviting unwelcome guest to your home?  If you want to have one inside, just don’t keep it for very long and check it a few times a  day for any signs of interested intruders. It would be best to carve it right before Halloween and then remove it right after.

Keep outdoor jack-o’-lanterns further from your home and remove them before they rot.  If you want to completely avoid the chance of attracting pumpkin-eating-pests, you could choose artificial pumpkins that can be carved or just paint faces on an uncarved pumpkin.

The trouble with your Jack O Lantern doesn’t have to be trouble at all!  Make good choices and have fun!

If you suspect that you have pests in or near your home, Holistic Pest Solutions can provide you with a free assessment, suggestions, and treatment for long term control if you need it.  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 that is mindful of our clients AND our Earth.

*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.

Bugs In The Eye Of A Hurricane

While we can’t stop a hurricane or even fully fathom the destruction they cause, SOME OF YOU may be wondering — where do the bugs and birds go in such a big storm? It seems the birds and bugs in the eye of the hurricane could be a common occurrence.

Many of us know that Hurricanes are humongous tropical storms that can span a distance of 600 miles or more. There’s one part of a hurricane where things are quite different, though. It’s called the eye, and it usually exists in the center of a hurricane. The eye can vary greatly in terms of both shape and size. The eye of a hurricane is often circular or oval in shape. This may be why it’s called an eye, since it’s shaped somewhat like a human eye.

A hurricane’s eye can be as small as only a couple of miles wide. Most hurricane eyes, however, range in size from 20 miles wide to more than 60 miles wide. Unlike the raging winds that exist throughout the rest of a hurricane, inside the eye it’s mostly calm. The peaceful, light winds within the eye contrast severely with the winds that make up the edges, known as the eyewall. The winds in the eyewall are usually the most severe and destructive winds in the entire hurricane. Birds and bugs are often seen in the eye of a hurricane and for pretty understandable reasons. When they start getting caught up in whipping winds, they naturally move to where there is some calm. It just so happens in a hurricane, this is the eye of the storm. Hurricanes are not only devastating to humans but also to wildlife. Large storms can accidentally release invasive species, eliminate food sources, and strand aquatic species on land if they get stuck in a storm surge.

Although the eye of a hurricane sounds like a not-so-bad place to be, experts warn that you should always stay inside a sturdy building during a hurricane, even if you think it’s over. Since you never know when the eye will pass by, you wouldn’t want to get caught in the destructive winds of the eyewall. Let’s all hope that we escape any more destruction this hurricane season! If you want to offer support for restoration efforts in Texas and Florida, severely damaged by Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, consider donating at give.salvationarmyusa.org

mosquitoesThe states that have been recently affected by hurricanes were left with a great deal of flooding.  Standing water and still warm weather makes for the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Based on experience following Hurricane Katrina, there will be several competing effects on the population of mosquitoes and the prevalence of arboviruses, such as Zikadengue and West Nile, that they transmit.

Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay eggs. Winds and floods will wash away containers that would have been breeding pools, but once the floodwaters recede, mosquitoes will recover. In 2006, a year after Katrina, Tulane University public-health experts reported that cases of West Nile infection increased more than twofold in communities that had been in that hurricane’s path. The study authors suggested that increased exposure was the culprit. Fleeing partially submerged buildings, people spent days outside waiting for rescue.  Without air conditioning or dry spaces, Texans and Floridians may find themselves outdoors, too.

If Virginia sees more rain from the hurricane season before temperatures drop, we may very well see an extension of mosquito season as well.

 

CONTACT Holistic Pest Solutions to learn more about our mosquito 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.

Mosquito Biting Season Tips

Mosquito Bites

Nearly everyone knows the awful sensation, the quiet buzz, then the irritating little sting. It means mosquitoes have arrived, and they’ve found whatever skin you’ve left vulnerable. Many people may not know much about mosquitoes except how they wreak havoc on your backyard barbecue or even the short walk to your front door. We will explore how Virginia’s hot and humid weather equals mosquito biting season, so you can be better prepared.

HOT AND HUMID WEATHER – A MOSQUITO’S BEST FRIEND

It’s known that mosquitoes enjoy wet and warm climates. The southern US is favored mosquito territory, and GUESS WHAT?  That’s us. Certain weather conditions can bring mosquitoes out in force, wherever you live. They are most active in temperatures above 80 degrees. As temperatures climb higher, mosquito activity can decline. Mosquitoes will bite less when it becomes excessively hot. However, higher temperatures also make any diseases they carry more active and hence more transmissible. So when mosquitoes are around, a cool spell following very hot temperatures could be ripe for mosquito borne diseases, as highly infectious mosquitoes increase their biting activity. Just as important, relatively high nighttime lows increase mosquito activity. So if nights are warm for an extended period, the mosquitoes will be worse at other times as well.

RAIN, the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY

Mosquitoes have a high affinity for warm, standing water. Any stagnant pond or even waterlogged junk you forgot to clean up is ripe for mosquito infestation. On the other hand, where standing water already existed prior, rainfall can disrupt the eggs that have been laid and therefore inhibit later mosquito activity. But once it passes this same rainfall will increase mosquito infestations if the water tends to pool nearby. Young mosquitoes will spend about ten days in the water only, so if a pool forms you may have some time before the problem becomes serious. The bottom line is to prevent pockets of extra, stagnant moisture whenever possible, as soon as possible.

Mosquito Biting Season TipsAll a female mosquito needs is an inch of water to lay batches of 100 to 200 eggs. Once she has laid her eggs, they hatch into larvae within 24 to 48 hours.  In general, heavy rains increase the numbers of mosquitoes in the area, and we all know that Virginia has received it’s share of heavy rain lately.

CONTACT Holistic Pest Solutions to learn more about our mosquito 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 that is mindful of our clients AND our Earth.

*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.

When To Treat For Stinkbugs

Three Brown Stink Bugs

Soon, stinkbug season will be upon us.  You may have seen them in your house this Spring, but stinkbugs can only be effectively treated (if the goal is to keep them out of your home) in August and September.  If you’re wondering when to treat for stinkbugs, the answer is REALLY SOON and making you appointment with us now will insure that you get on our list.  Here are some things you should know about the stink bug:

What Are They?

Native to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China, Halyomorpha halys were accidentally imported to the United States in the late 1990s (first seen in Pennsylvania) and remain a significant pest to agriculture. They have since spread to 33 states, and are heavily noted in the state of Virginia.  Sometimes known as “shield bugs” because of their distinctive shape, they’re much more commonly known as “stink bugs.”

See also Stink Bugs

Stink Bug Questions and Answers

Do stink bugs really stink?

Yes, stink bugs really do stink. A tiny gland located on their thorax between the first and second pair of legs emits a liquid toxin with the pungent odor (described by some as similar to that of smelly feet) that is their primary defense. This odor acts as a repellent to birds or any other predator that might threaten the stink bugs—including humans.  Stink bugs release their odor when chased, picked up, or stepped on. If you have a lot of them in your house, the smell tends to linger (fortunately it can be eliminated by washing down the surfaces with ordinary soap and water).

Why Are There So Many Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs reproduce 4 times a year. Each time a stink bug reproduces, it lays between 20-30 eggs on tree and other plant leaves. Stink bugs undergo metamorphosis in three stages: egg, nymph and adult. The eggs are laid in groups on stems and the undersides of leaves. When nymphs emerge, they look similar to the adult stink bug, but may appear rounder rather than shield-shaped. Nymphs go through five instars before becoming adults, usually in 4-5 weeks. The adult stink bug overwinters under boards, logs or leaf litter. In some species, the nymphs may also overwinter.

With no natural predators in the United States, multiple reproductive cycles, fast development and an ability to travel easily (hitching rides on buses and in construction materials), the numbers of stink bugs have exploded, and they’re spreading fast across the country.

When to treat for stink bugsWhat Makes Stink Bugs Such A Nuisance?

While stink bugs are NOT known for biting, stinging, or carrying diseases, they will gobble up your fruits and veggies – and even your ornamental trees and shrubs. What’s even more annoying to urban dwellers is their propensity for moving in: when the weather gets cold, they seek shelter in detached homes and apartment and office buildings alike, sneaking in through cracks, screenless windows and any other openings. And because they’re resistant to most conventional pesticides and small enough to hide almost anywhere, once they’re in, they’re tough to get out.

 

What Is The “Peak Season” For Stink Bugs?

Because stink bugs won’t reproduce indoors and their food is mostly outdoors, they won’t try to move into until it starts to get cold – usually around late September/early October. The insects sneak in through small cracks and openings in chimneys, door and window frames, air conditioning units, attic vents and holes in a home’s foundation. They hide out in toasty, dark spots during the winter, and emerge from hibernation late in the Spring. That’s when you’ll notice them become active again.  If you want to avoid Stink bug infestation in your home or office, the best time to get treatment is PRIOR to cold weather – September is probably the ideal month here in Virginia.

What’s The Best Way To Get Rid Of Stink Bugs?

Part of what makes stink bugs so difficult to control is the fact that they are resistant to many types of pesticides.  Holistic Pest Solutions can treat your home or business for Stink bugs utilizing very effective methods.  If you only have a few stink bugs here and there, you may be able to handle it on your own.  If you find them on your plants, shake them off into a bucket of soapy water – the soapy water keeps them from flying away. If you only find a few stink bugs in your home, vacuuming them up may be the best way to vanquish the little beasts, but be sure to use a vacuum with a bag that you can remove, seal up and discard when you’re done.  Flushing them down the toilet when they’re alive works well if you don’t want to smell them at all 🙂

Whatever you do, don’t smash them – not only do they smell bad, their distinctive odor attracts others of their kind. In addition to deterring predators, a stink bug’s odor sends a chemical message to other stink bugs, alerting them to danger. The scent glands also play a role in attracting mates, and even suppress attacks by harmful microorganisms.

CONTACT Holistic Pest Solutions to learn more about our stink bug 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.

How To Keep Termites Away From Home

How To Keep Termites Away From Home

Termites can be some of the worst pests out there – causing over a billion dollars in property damage each year.  This damage is difficult to spot and when it is, it isn’t always covered by homeowner’s insurance. Every homeowner should take steps to reduce the risk of attracting termites and other wood-destroying insects.  Holistic Pest Solutions wants to offer you some tips on how to keep termites away from your home so they’re less likely to start eating it!

Continue reading

Why The Wasp Stings

Outdoor Exposure To Stings

Did you know that only “social” wasps sting?  Most of the 20,000 species of wasps in the world are solitary and solitary wasps do not sting, so the wasps that most humans are more familiar with are social wasps who live in complex communities and that are normally very easy to spot.  Very few social wasps, such as paper wasps, mud daubers, yellow jackets, hornets, and umbrella wasps, create homes near human dwellings.  So why is it that most humans have been stung at some point or another?  This blog will hopefully give you insight into the dreaded wasps and who the wasp stings.

Continue reading