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How Do You Know If You have Bedbugs?

How Do You Know If You have Bedbugs?

Small bites that are itchy all over your body may seem like a telltale sign –however, bites from bedbugs may look quite similar to those from other small insects, and they may even look like rashes or hives. Many people present no physical reaction to bedbugs at all, so it’s best to inspect your bed regularly to find signs that there may be creatures other than you occupying your bed.

Bedbugs tend to leave stains where they live – these stains may be blood from a crushed bedbug, or if the stain smears, there is a good chance it is bedbug excrement. If you find any unexplained stain on your sheets or pillowcases, carefully inspect your bed – from the underside of the mattress, seams and tags, to the headboard and any cracks in the bed’s frame.

They are about the size of an apple seed, have flat bodies, and are brownish in color. If it has recently fed, it would look more swollen and reddish. They may also leave tiny eggshells about 1mm in size, and tiny yellow flakes of skin that they’ve shed.

Bedbugs aren’t just confined to your bed – they can also be found on couches, chairs, cushions, curtains and the like. If a room is heavily infested, you will find them in a myriad of other places like loose wallpaper, wall hangings, appliances, and electrical receptacles.

While they prefer to stay where they can readily feed on you, like on the bed itself, they are willing to travel up to 20 feet from where they hide to where they can feed and back.

If you frequently travel and stay in hotels or other places often, you may be more prone to having bedbugs in your home, as they love to hitch a ride on your clothes and luggage – so be doubly vigilant.

Does Arizona Have Tarantulas?

Yes, and there are about 30 species of tarantulas that can be found in Arizona.

The Desert Tarantula, also known as the Arizona blond tarantula or the Mexican blond tarantula, is one of the most common species that can be found in the state of Arizona.

The wet monsoon and early fall is mating season for these tarantulas, and it’s during this time that you would see male tarantulas out and about – when they leave their hidden burrows once a year in search of a mate.

Female tarantulas usually stay by their burrows, which are typically small holes in the ground about the size of a quarter. If the nest is active, there would be strands of silk on the opening, and it is on these strands of silk the male tarantula would dance to entice the female to mate. Whether he woos the female successfully or not, he may become its next source of protein if he does not get away fast enough when she decides to take a bite.

During winter, their nests are plugged with silk, soil, and even rocks while they wait for summer.
They can live anywhere from 12 to 25 years (approximately 12 years for male tarantulas, and 25 for female tarantulas), which makes them popular pets for the more adventurous individual. While they’re venomous and would attack anything it can subdue for food, their bite is harmless to humans, typically at most causing pain no more than that of a bee sting.

Aside from its bite, they have barbed hairs on their abdomen that may cause irritation, and when attacked, these tarantulas have been known to fling these hair strands as a form of self-defence.
They can be up to 3 inches long, and 2 to 3 inches tall with a leg span of 3 to 5 inches. Male tarantulas are slimmer than female tarantulas and are covered in black hair while females have a tan or light brown color.

Despite their feared appearance, these are docile creatures and only bite under extreme duress.

The War On American and German Cockroaches

While there are more than 4,500 species of cockroaches, the American and German roaches are two of the more easily identifiable ones you might find in your home.
The American cockroach is thought to have immigrated to the Americas or the New World around the 16th or 17th century AD. It is the largest of its brethren, measuring anywhere from 1 to 3 inches. They also get to live the longest at around 2 years, which indeed is a very long time for a typical cockroach. If this makes you want to knit a tiny wizard hat for these wizened creatures, you are not alone (maybe).

They are reddish brown in color, and have a yellowish margin or figure 8 pattern on the region just behind their heads. They have antennae, 6 legs, and are oval-shaped. Adult cockroaches have wings (their immature offspring do not). They are known as one of the fastest running insects. They are opportunistic feeders, and can eat anything from flakes of dried skin to other dead roaches.

The German cockroach, much like the American cockroach, may also feed on things that may surprise you – in the absence of readily available food from your trash, they have been observed to dine on soap or toothpaste. In a more extreme scenario, they may even turn cannibalistic and attack other live cockroaches in an attempt to dine on them.

The German cockroach is the most common cockroach to be found in residential homes, and you can recognize them by their light brown or tan coloring, as well as the 2 dark parallel stripes on their backs, same as where you would find the figure 8 pattern on the American cockroach. They’re smaller at an average of half an inch, and also have a significantly shorter lifespan compared to the burlier Americans at 100 to 200 days only.
While German cockroaches have wings, they rarely fly, preferring instead to stealthily dart between your furniture.

Aside from seeing these cockroaches in your home in the flesh, other signs that would point to you having them would be:

1. Their droppings, which may be mistaken for mouse droppings. These are pepper-like, or have ridges on the sides and are blunt on the ends.
2. They leave behind their long, brown-colored egg capsules glued to various surfaces, possibly near food sources.
3. They exude a musty smell.

When you see one cockroach, there’s likely a hundred more you don’t see. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional right away before you have a full-blown infestation on your hands.

Roof rats, Norway rats, and Pack Rats: Learn How to Tell The Difference

The term “rat” is commonly used to refer to any rodent when, in fact, rodents are a superfamily that includes many different relatives. Inside this, there are rats and mice, known as the Muroidea family. These creatures share many characteristics but also many differences in their physical appearance and behavior. Those of the Rattus genus, the most well known being the roof rat and the Norway rat, are considered direct relatives and “true rats”; whereas the pack rat, is not actually a rat! Arizona is home to many of these rodents and, as they have become a plague, you may want to check out how to identify them.
The Rattus rattus Linnaeus, commonly known as “Roof rat” is the smallest of them all. The complexion of this animal is tiny, though it has a long tail. As they come from rain forests of Southeast Asia, they are good for climbing different surfaces, like wires. They do not like the cold, so Arizona is a nice warm place for them to live. If you find rat excrement and noises in the roof, your house may be infested with these rodents. Roof rats dig through wood, insulation, and pipes; dense vegetation also attracts them. As they can swim, roof rats sometimes use sewage lines to move to other places. They are usually found in desert city areas in Arizona like Phoenix, Yuma and Tucson.
Norway rats, close relatives of the roof rats and also known as “old world rats” or “brown rats” are less common than roof rats, but still a threat. They differ in color, as the Norway rat is brown or reddish, and the roof rat is black. While roof rats prefer living in high places, such as roofs, attics, and trees, their Norway relatives would rather stay in the ground; they build their dens alongside rivers and streams, underneath buildings or in garbage dumps. They are also a common pest in farms, as they settle in barns, kennels, and silos.
Pack rats, on the other hand, are not considered true rats as they belong to the Neotoma genus, they are a different species. There are over 20 species of pack rats, from the Arctic to Central America. The species found in Arizona is the White Throat Wood Rat, also known as “woodrat” and “new world rat”. They usually build dens with vegetation and wood, and they hoard bits and pieces as protection, such as leaves, chewed plastic and paper, and any object they can find.
Certainly, it is important to identify these plagues in order to keep them at bay. Originally from Europe and Southeast Asia, rats were introduced in the USA by trading ships in the 17th century, and they rapidly spread across the country. Roof rats, Norway rats, and Pack rats prefer the hot and sunny Arizona as their living space. Make sure you take all the sanitary measures to keep these rodents out of your property.

Bees Versus Wasps

You’re outside on the porch, enjoying a cup of coffee when you hear the lazy drone of a flying insect nearby. You might think nothing of it, maybe absentmindedly swat at it before you feel that hot, stinging, and likely familiar pain.

In 2001 to 2010, an estimated 10.1 million Americans visited emergency departments for non-canine bite
and sting injuries, and that doesn’t account for everyone that just stayed at home while their faces were
red and swollen!

As you take one last look at the culprit merrily buzzing away, you might wonder – was it a bee, or a
wasp?

Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the two.

If you were stung more than once, it was likely a wasp. Female bees can sting only once (male bees
don’t), as it is ultimately fatal for them when their stinger gets ripped from their bodies and left in ours –
but wasps can sting multiple times to their hearts content, and they’re also by far the more aggressive
creatures, often chasing their prey for hundreds of yards.

While both are territorial, and while bees do sting when provoked, they tend to focus on flowers and
not on people peacefully sipping coffee on their porch.

Both bees and wasps belong to the insect order Hymenoptera. There are more than 100,000 species of
wasps, including the common yellow jacket wasp that can be found in Arizona. They have yellow and
black stripes, and are often mistaken for honey bees. In fact, most experts think that people coming in
to complain about a honey bee sting, were in fact bitten by a yellow jacket.

While both insects are yellow with black markings, wasps are shinier, have a brighter yellow color, and
thinner waist. They have smoother bodies, while bees are hairier. They also have rounder legs versus
the flatter legs honey bees have.

As for their nests, wasps have no wax-producing glands so instead they create nests that are a paper-like
substance from wood pulp. Bees on the other hand build their hives in cavities that are protected from
the elements, like hollow walls, trees or attics.
When honey bees build their nests in your home, the damage done isn’t usually structural – however,
when they do leave to find a new home, the honey and wax comb left behind will ruin drywall,
insulation and sliding, so it’s always best to ask an expert.

While most people know bees are essential to the environment, not all wasps are bad – wasps can act as
a natural pest control, preying on crop-killing insects.
So if you find what you think are honey bees or wasps on your porch, make sure you have an expert
come by and take a look — so you can sip your coffee in peace.

Black Widows: A Dark Menace

Arizona is home to many different fearsome creatures, some of which have fangs and stingers, and that creep, crawl or slither. The black widow spider is one of the most common inhabitants of the valley which contains 22 different kinds of these arachnids.

The Black Widow is a creature that receives its name for its particular reproductive pattern and cannibalism: females, which are larger and stronger than males, eat their mates after copulating. These females can be easily identified by their characteristic 1.5-inch-black bodies with a red dual triangle-shaped mark on their abdomen. Males are smaller and weaker as their only function is to inseminate the females. Black widows search for dark, cool places to build their spider webs and lay their egg-sacs, usually on corners, on the floor, under patio furniture, around a barbecue, inside mailboxes, toys lying on the floor, and also in the outdoors, inside shrubs or vines. Black widows spread very fast as a female can lay up to 750 eggs (inside up to 9 egg-sacs) several times throughout summer. However, only some of the spiderlings survive, as the fittest prey on their weaker siblings.

Contrary to popular belief, these spiders actually hide from humans and do not attack unless they feel their shelters or offspring are being threatened. In case someone accidentally puts their hand in a black widow’s web, the spider will automatically bite that person. Black widow bites consist of two red spots that mark the area where the spider pierced the skin and injected the neurotoxin into the nervous system. The symptoms are mainly pain, muscle cramps, nausea and in extreme cases, trouble breathing. In order to prevent these unfortunate encounters, it is useful to learn how to identify these venomous spiders and to keep the house and surrounding vegetation clean and free of debris and clutter.
Though black widows are the deadliest spiders in the USA, they inject a little amount of venom when they bite a human, so people do not generally die from these bites. Nevertheless, if you are bitten by a black widow, call the local authorities immediately for help. In order to keep these creatures away from your home, make sure you keep others pests away, such as crickets, roaches, and mosquitoes, their favorite meals. In cold weather and drought, black widows look for refuge indoors, so make sure you keep your floors free of clutter!

Demystifying Spiders: Do They Crawl Into Ears and Mouths at Night?

Are you afraid of spiders? Do you like crushing these arachnids when you see them? Or do you immediately get out of a room if you see spiders there? Maybe you are one of those people who cannot sleep with any type of bug in their bedrooms because you are afraid one of them will crawl into your mouth. You shouldn’t be afraid of admitting it. You are a small part of the population that most likely suffers from arachnophobia. It means that you are afraid of spiders. The problem with this phobia is that, of course, it’s not very logical. After reading this article you will realize that you can sleep tight: it’s not true that spiders can crawl into your mouth while you rest!
First of all, spiders avoid being in contact with human beings as much as possible. The fact that you are asleep does not make you a probable victim. These small creatures do not see you as a harmless body and would not take this as a chance to attack you. In addition to this, the possibility of a spider getting into your mouth is very small.
It’s not very common for people to sleep with their mouths open. If they do, they are probably snoring. It’s not possible for a spider to want to enter into a mouth that’s moving air and resonating. Especially because a lot of vibration is produced by snoring. This kind of resonation is one of the things that repels spiders the most because it is a sign of danger for them.
If this information is not enough to make you feel better, let’s take a look at some statistics regarding spiders. Following some associations like the Poison Control Center, only two people died from spider bites between the years 2000 and 2004. And these species do not even live in the United States.
Even though it is true that there are some cases of people who have suffered in the hands of spiders (like the case of a Chinese woman back in 2011, who discovered she had a very small spider living in her ear canal), this is not common. As you can see, the chances of eating a spider while you’re sleeping are minimal. Rest assured that these arachnids will never try to enter into your mouth. You are far scarier for them than they are for you.

Bed Bugs And Where To Find Them

Bed bugs are certainly a nightmare. If you happen to encounter some of these tiny creatures, you will certainly have some itchy spots the next day. Now, what are bedbugs and how do we identify them? Keep on reading to find out more information on these insidious little insects.

Why are there so many?

Bedbugs are small, brown and elusive. Usually, they are not bigger than an apple seed. It’s not easy to see them unless they bite you. These insects usually suck the blood of animals until they find some unsuspecting person to bite. Fortunately, they cannot fly, though this does not make these bugs less annoying. They are incredibly quick when crawling over floors and beds of course.

In regards to their mating habits, females can lay a large number of eggs in very little time. These eggs are so small that it’s almost impossible for a person to see them. Once they are born, nymphs develop very fast: in only a month they are ready to lay eggs themselves. This makes it even harder for us humans to get rid of these nuisance pests. The only good thing is that they do not transmit any known diseases.

Where can I find them?

Unfortunately, bed bugs can enter your home through your clothes, suitcases, and by other means. They are so tiny that they can fit into virtually any space. Mattresses and bed frames are their favorite spots. This way they can have easy access to people whom they can bite. If they are not eliminated in time, they can scatter all over the bedroom and the house.

What happens when they bite?

Their main period of activity is night time. They prefer their victims to be asleep, and they feed on them over a period ranging from 3 to 9 minutes. Then, they go away without being noticed.
Their bites are not painful, which is nice considering that they are incredibly itchy. Almost 75% will develop a rash after being bitten, and 80% will have some kind of reaction.

All in all, what makes these pests so horrible is that they annoy us in the place where we should feel the most comfortable: our own beds. We are completely defenseless when we rest. These bugs should have the decency to at least let us sleep unmolested.

Where Do Scorpions Go In The Winter?

A common misconception about Arizona scorpions is that they die off in the winter. This is not entirely true though. Arizona scorpions actually dislike winters so much that they opt to hide in their homes until March or April. This is called hibernation and is also pretty standard for a wide variety of both insect and animal life.

They start hibernating as soon as fall begins, which is why most scorpions can’t be found on land during this time. What also helps them is the fact that they are built to endure a wide variety of temperatures. Although most scorpions are lone creatures, bark scorpions tend to form clusters when they hibernate or nest. They can even form groups of 30 or more scorpions huddled together. Once the clusters are formed, the scorpions stay safe until the weather begins to warm. Another option for scorpions during the winter is to make their way into a warmer environment. This warmer area could easily be your well heated home. They are very small and can even squeeze into a space as small as 1/16 of an inch. These creatures can be found hiding somewhere in your stores, tiny openings or maybe even your shoes, so be careful!

One of the reasons why it could be a little tricky to spot scorpions in your house is because they are nocturnal beasts that sleep during the day and come out at night. They feed on roaches, crickets and other insects. The bark scorpions are the only kind of scorpions that can actually climb walls which gives them a lot of options to hide within your house.
Just because it’s winter time in Arizona doesn’t mean that scorpions are gone hibernating for good. Always check your home for these pesky little critters just in case they were seeking a warmer environment. Watchdog Pest Control specializes in scorpion eradication, removal, and exclusion. Give us a call for details.

What Damage Can Rodents Inflict On Your Home?

 

Rodents: How They Invade and Attack

What would you do if you saw a rat crawling around the kitchen of your favorite restaurant? Disgusted, right?

What you probably don’t know is that many houses (especially older ones) are home to rodents without their owner even knowing. Whether these pests are hiding in your basement, attic, pantry, or even inside of your walls, the first step to solving your rodent problem is by knowing how these creatures get in, and the damage that you’ll see if they are living in your residence.

Invasion

One of the downsides of buying an older house is all the cracks and holes that are found along the foundation of the building and the small gaps in the windows and ceilings. Although they may look small, pests like mice are prone to get in. Often, rodents enter during the fall or winter time when food is becoming more scarce in their natural environments and the temperature is plummeting. Once they enter, they proliferate exponentially to host a huge population in just a matter of weeks.
The best way to prevent this unwanted invasion is by keeping track of all the openings in your house and filling cracks and gaps with metal or concrete that will block these rodents from entering in the first place. In the meanwhile, store all your food in airtight containers so that they don’t attract these creatures. A few simple steps can stop many problems before they even start.

Attack

Once a rodent gets into your home, the damage that it can cause can be enormous. The first thing that you would probably notice would be the mouse droppings, little black pieces that look almost like raisins. If you do find any, get some gloves and antiseptic spray to dispose of them and call pest control right away. Odd noises is another clue that rats are scurrying around in the walls and floorboards. However, the worst part of a rodent is it’s teeth. Rodents will gnaw on almost anything. Apart from having strange scratches and nicks all over your household belongings, rats can also chew on electric wires to cause a fire or other hazardous materials.
It’s really important to know the signs of a rodent invasion before your whole house becomes a mess of droppings and chewed belongings. Most of the time, mousetraps and rat poison aren’t enough. Don’t delay to call rodent experts like us to take care of these critters before they infest your house.