While fleas and ticks are the most common pet pests, there are plenty of other parasites equally willing and capable of harming your pets (and you).
Mosquitoes are at the very least, a nuisance. They cause itchy bumps that may be painful, but beyond that, they may also carry serious and life-threatening diseases – some of which are the West Nile Virus (WNV) which can be harmful to you and your pets, Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE), and Heartworm, a silent killer that can be easily treated if caught in time. Feline friends grazing by windows may be especially susceptible to mosquito bites.
Mites are very tiny creatures that make their home on your pet’s skin. They’re very common and pass along easily from one pet to another. Typically, mites aren’t much of a danger (unlike the bacteria and disease carrier tick), but once an infestation occurs they cause a range of skin conditions for your furry friend from dry skin, itching and scabbing, to hair loss.
Treating a mite infestation is similar to that of fleas. Shampoos, chemical treatments, and oral medications are available for your pet to take.
Botflies, or Cuterebra, lie in wait for a host on blades of grass. They then enter the host’s body through any opening such as your pet’s mouth, ear, nose, or any skin wound. Some signs that your pet is playing host to these pests are a lump or bump on the skin which may or may not yet have a small hole in the middle, swelling, skin abscess, or it could be as innocuous as your pet continually scratching or licking one area of the skin.
Cuterebra typically infect rabbits or other outdoor rodents, but your dog and cat may fall victim too when they’re playing and hunting outside. If you suspect that your pet is housing a botfly, take them to the right away.
Your pets can catch worms just about anywhere – from your backyard, from other animals and insects (especially when cats and dogs hunt these smaller prey), and sometimes even from undercooked meat. They can also be born with it or get it from suckling on their mother when young. Intestinal worms, lungworms, and heartworms can be harmful to your pets, even deadly.
The good news is that they’re oftentimes easily treatable and preventable. Keep your pet and their toys clean, and your property free from other pests that may carry these harmful parasites like mice, rats, and fleas. Avoid feeding your raw meat or offal, and regularly treat your cats and dogs with an intestinal wormer at least every 3 months.
Remember, these pests are not only harmful to your pets but some of these diseases can easily spread to you and other loved ones, sokeep your pets clean and healthy and keep your home a worry-free zone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet if you think your furry friend is sick, and to a pest control service for help in getting rid of unwanted pests.
Our pets are an important part of our family. We shelter them, feed them, bathe them, and play with them. For many people, they’re as much part of the family as a sibling or a parent. But unlike our human loved ones, our pets can’t really communicate what it is that bothers them. If they could, I’m sure there would be a lot! Pet food lacking in flavor and you refusing to wake up when they want you to seem pretty given, but what about other concerns that may be more dangerous? Like pests that feed on your pets and make them itchy, irritable, and even ill? Let’s look at some of the common pests that may be plaguing our pets.
Fleas are definitely one of the most common pests that hound our furry friends. While fleas can feast on almost all domesticated mammals on the planet, cat and dog fleas love our cats and dogs the most. And by love, I mean love to feast on them. These cat and dog fleas aren’t specific to cats and dogs only though – if you have other pets like rabbits and hamsters, they’re okay with having them on the menu too.
Unlike ticks, fleas easily jump from one host to the next like transient travelers. Your pet can get them just by being near another animal that has fleas, or even stumble unto a flea that’s been lying in wait (they can survive for a few days without a host). They can cause itching, scratching, scabbing, anemia, restlessness, and skin infections.
If you discover fleas on your pets, take action right away. Your veterinarian may prescribe pills as a treatment for your pets, or you can give them a bath using medicated shampoo that kills these pesky parasites. There are also topical treatments available that come in the form of sprays, powders, and even ointment, though these target specific areas so you may be better off with the first two options for a general flea problem.
Ticks are quite similar to fleas and also feed on host blood, but they’re more dangerous in that they carry a lot more bacteria and diseases. Unlike fleas though, they tend to stay on one host for the duration of their lives unless that host expires before they do. They don’t fly or jump, but will lie in wait for another host. This is called “questing”, and ticks will hold on to leaves and grass with arms outstretched to catch the next ride that’s unfortunate enough to graze where they lie.
Some diseases transmitted by ticks are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), tick paralysis, canine hepatozoonosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis to name a few.
If you find any ticks, you should get rid of them right away. Put on gloves and use tweezers to pry them off as close to the tick’s head as possible, pulling straight out slowly and firmly. Do not jerk or twist, you want the tick to stay in one piece. After you’ve pried it off, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
It’s suggested that you kill the tick by drowning it with rubbing alcohol or soapy water, flushing it down the toilet, or by wrapping it tightly in tape or similar material and then throwing it out. If you’d like to have the tick tested to see what diseases it may have been carrying, keep it alive and place it in a sealed container with a blade of grass and take it for testing. Check with local government agencies, or ask your doctor where you can send it for testing.
Food and water are your home’s biggest attractions to pests, and when your house is unclean, anything from cockroaches to rodents find it easier to settle in. The more pests there are the more food it is for other pests that prey on smaller insects and arachnids so get rid of as many of these food sources as you can to keep your house as pest free as possible.
Food crumbs that drop from your plate or hand while you eat are a great source of food for a lot of pests like ants and mice, so make sure you clean up after eating and throw away any uneaten pet food that your pet no longer has any interest in. Dishes left on the sink means food for cockroaches, so don’t leave dishes overnight. Make sure to regularly clean the area around your fridge, stove and dishwasher to remove possible food debris and make it a habit to wipe down kitchen surfaces.
Many pests are attracted to humidity and damp spaces, so you may want to use a dehumidifier or two around the house especially in your basement. Some dehumidifiers can be set to turn on and off on a schedule so you don’t have to worry about setting it up day after day. Keep your house well ventilated, and fix any leaks as soon as you discover them. You may also want to invest in pipe insulation so your pipes don’t “sweat” and serve as a watering hole for pests.
Many pests like staying in dark, damp places while they wait for their turn to walk freely in your home while you sleep. Make sure you regularly clean out spaces that you don’t use to disrupt their peaceful environment as often as necessary. Bed bugs can live just fine in seemingly clean sheets and mattresses, so make sure to wash your sheets once every two weeks and thoroughly clean your mattress twice a year.
Cut back bushes and branches around your house – these often serve as bridges for pests to enter your house. Piles of leaves, rocks, and wood serve as great nesting areas for pests, so you may want to get rid of them or reconsider where you put your wood pile.
Pests can enter your house in a myriad of ways. Cracks and crevices on your walls, windows, and doors are how they typically get in. Make sure you block up cracks and crevices along your walls, seal gaps on your doors and windows, and install netting on any outside vent. Inspect cracks on walls where piping comes through such as the sink area as pests will use that to access a water source.
Keep your pets pest-free
Many people have pets that they take out during daytime and let in during nighttime, and that means your pets may waltz in with fleas that then spread across your home. Make sure to regularly treat your pets to a flea treatment and intestinal wormers, and regularly clean their sleeping areas and wash their bedding.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a pest control service for help in getting rid of unwanted pests!
Bees are flying insects known for their role in pollination. They’re closely related to wasps and, you may be surprised to know, ants. There are over 16,000 known species of bees and they are found in every continent except Antarctica.
The most commonly known bee species are social and therefore are territorial – they will sting to protect their colony from any perceived danger, though there are plenty of other bees that operate solo and essentially just want to be left alone.
Arizona is home to many social bees including honey bees. They have brownish gold hair all over their body and have black stripes on their abdomen, and can grow to around ¾ of an inch in length.
According to the University of Florida, up to 90% of all bees in Arizona are Africanized Honey Bees (originally produced by cross-breeding East African lowland honey bees to various European honey bees). The Africanized honey bee, known colloquially as the killer bee, is much more defensive than other varieties of honey bee and reacts to disturbances more aggressively and often attack in large swarms.
Regular honey bees aren’t usually much of a threat, but they will still sting you if they perceive you as a danger to their hive and colony.
Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair, and have black and orange, yellow, or white bands on their bodies. While honey bees have many stripes of yellow and black, bumblebees usually have blocks of color variable among species, most species having areas of black hair. They’re hairier, and their abdomens have a more rounded tip.
They can grow to be an inch long, typically bigger than honey bees, but their colonies are smaller, growing as few as 50 in a nest.
Unlike honey bees that can sting only once, bumblebees can sting multiple times. They are however not aggressive bees and generally ignore humans and animals alike unless they perceive a threat to their small colony.
Carpenter bees resemble honey bees, but typically have a shiny, black abdomen that lack hairs like the other two bees we’ve discussed. They’re bigger, growing up to be about an inch long. They have large jaws that help them chew through wood where they make their nests.
Also unlike the previous bees discussed, they are also traditionally considered solitary bees, though a mother and her daughters may cohabit. In this scenario, a division of labor occurs where they share in foraging and nesting duties, or one does all the foraging and nesting while the others guard.
They’re docile and rarely sting unless directly provoked. Male carpenter bees may approach other animals, but they’re harmless as they cannot sting.
Bees are essential to the planet. While there are others that help cross-pollinate flowers and plants such as birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles, bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 1/6 of the world’s flowering plant species. They’re responsible for pollinating billions of dollars’ worth of crops, and produce more than a hundred million dollars’ worth of honey.
If you find bees or a hive on your property, get in touch with an expert for help.
Spiders don’t typically go around biting people. Almost always, they end up biting people as a form of self-defense and that usually happens when you go stumbling about and not see that you’re about to come in contact with one very frightened spider. Sometimes, you’ll feel a stinging pain and not see anything right away – for some people, visible symptoms may take days to manifest, or even weeks.
Most spiders you’ll find lurking around in your home, garage, or woodshed are pretty much harmless (though their bites can still sting!). However, if you suspect you’ve been bitten by one of the deadlier types of spider such as the black widow spider or the brown recluse, their venom can do nasty, even deadly things to our bodies so immediate medical attention is needed.
Some symptoms of these spider bites include severe swelling, intense pain, muscle spasms, fever, and chills. You may also get abdominal pain, vomiting, and experience difficulty breathing and have lightheadedness. Note that the very young and the elderly are especially vulnerable to feeling the effects of a spider’s venom. If you feel any of these, get yourself to a hospital or clinic right away.
The effects of a general spider bite from spiders that are less deadly may be inflammation, redness, mild pain, and itching, and for these you may want to try a natural, at-home treatment.
The first step in treating the general spider bite is by washing the bite area with soap and warm water. Then apply ice or a cold compress, for 10 minutes, taking small breaks as necessary, to reduce swelling. Repeat several times during the day, especially in the first 24 hours. Do not apply the ice directly unto your skin.
This common household item has a lot of uses, and that includes spider bite treatment. Mix baking soda and water until it becomes a paste (three parts baking soda, one part water), and apply it to the spider bite area with cotton for about 5 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water. If the discomfort remains, repeat the process after an hour.
Salt has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, which make it helpful for treating spider bites at home. Wash the bite area and pour a little table salt on a damp washcloth, and wrap the washcloth around the bite area for at least 2 hours. This is equally effective using Kosher salt or sea salt. Reapply as needed.
Surprisingly, potatoes aren’t only very tasty and a great addition to many dishes, but they also have anti-irritating and soothing properties.
Peel a potato, wash it, and grate it. Place the wet potato shreds on a cloth and tie it, and rub it on the affected area. Leave it for half an hour before washing the area with warm water. Reapply with a fresh batch and repeat the process until the symptoms are gone.
Lemon juice helps lessen itching and swelling – simply extract the juice from the lemon and apply it to the bite area using cotton balls. Once dry, rinse the area with water.
It neutralizes the venom and has powerful anti-inflammatory qualities that control swelling and inflammation. Make a paste with 1 to 2 aspirin tablets by soaking it in water. Once paste-like texture is achieved, simply apply it to the bite area and leave it for about 2 hours. Then rinse the area with water, and repeat until symptoms are gone.
If the bite area gets worse or spreads, if the person bitten experiences difficulty breathing, severe pain, or you’re unsure if the spider was venomous or not, seek medical attention right away. It’s also possible to experience an allergic reaction to a spider bite, and symptoms of this include swelling of the lips, throat, tongue or eye area – seek medical attention right away.
Please note that the information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If you suspect that you have spiders on your property, get in touch with a pest control company right away to keep you and yours safe.
Rats and mice are common pests found in residential homes and business properties all over the world. You can distinguish between rats and mice by how they look: rats are large, typically gray or brown rodents with long tails and small ears while mice are small and typically light brown rodents with dark-colored tails and large ears.
To have effective pest control against rodents, you would be better served by not only knowing what they look like, but also knowing about their behavior – for example, setting rat traps on your kitchen floor may not be as effective against roof rats (who like to set up dwellings in elevated places such as attics) as it would be as effective against the common house mouse.
Typically, rats are more cautious in that they’re very careful when something new is found in their environment, such as a bait trap. They will want to avoid this trap for some time before they get used to it, while mice are more curious and will want to investigate right away when something new is introduced to their environment.
The deer mouse is small, typically only 3 to 4 inches in size not including the tail (their tails can be about as long as their bodies, dark-colored on top and lighter on the underside). They have large, beady eyes and large fur-covered ears. They can vary in color from white to black, but they all have a distinguishable white underbelly and white feet. They’re nocturnal creatures and prefer nests made of plant material, and as such are attracted to homes with plenty of vegetation, but they can also set up their base in piles of rocks or firewood.
Deer mice are one of the main carriers of the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. You can get this from direct contact with the rodent, their urine, or their droppings. This disease may also spread by breathing in contaminated dust with rodent urine or droppings. They’re also carriers of Lyme disease, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis.
They typically have small heads, feet, pointed snouts, and large ears with some hair. They have light brown bodies with some gray shading, an off-white underbelly, and a dark tail. House mice depend on people for food and shelter, and as such are quite common in Arizona homes. They only eat about one-tenth of an ounce of food a day, but can produce as many as 50 droppings per day – which means they are a major health hazard for the average Arizona home.
They can transmit salmonella and leptospirosis via their droppings. They’re carriers of lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), as well as tapeworms, infectious jaundice, and rat-bite fever.
Some signs that you have these pests in your home are droppings, urine odors, gnawed holes (and wires!), if you hear scampering noises, and even if your pet exhibits unusual behavior. If you suspect that your home has been invaded by these pests, get in touch with a pest exterminator right away.
About 40% of all mammal species are rodents, making them the largest order of mammals. These include rats, mice, hamsters, squirrels, porcupines, and their relatives.
Of these, only a handful of rats and mice are a nuisance to people, and we’ll be discussing the ones that may find themselves in our homes.
These rats are called pack rats because of their characteristic accumulation of food and various debris, which they keep stocked in their dens (or near their den area). Such collections may include edible plants, small pebbles, sticks, feces, insect and vertebrate remains, shiny metal objects, and other small items taken from humans.
Also known as woodrats, they have large eyes, protruding ears that are almost bald, and white-colored feet. They have long, thick and soft fur that can range in color from gray to reddish brown (and white to rust-colored on their underparts). Some populations of desert woodratsare black in color. Often confused with Norway rats, they have tails that are covered in fur.
They’re nocturnal and generally solitary. Bushy-tailed woodrats are vegetarians and prefer green vegetation such as leaves, needles and shoots, while Mexican woodrats eat fruits, seeds, nuts, and mushrooms. Some species also eat animal matter and small insects.
If they’re inside your home, they can damage electrical wiring, wall insulation, and pipes. They make off with small objects such as jewelry (remember, they like shiny metal objects), and they bring these items to their dens, which are lined with urine and feces. They’ve also been known to rip out padding from cushions and pillows to use as lining in their nests.
Pack rats carry diseases including the plague, and their dens and droppings are also a health hazard.
Also known as black rats, roof rats have black or dark brown colored fur with a lighter underside. They have long, hairless tails that measure longer than its entire body. They’re called roof rats because of their tendency to nest in the upper levels of the home such as attics, and they’re excellent climbers. Out in nature, they tend to nest in trees, and may find themselves in your home by walking along tree limbs that connect to your house.
They’re omnivores and have a wide range of food they can eat from seeds, fruits, fungi to a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates. They’ll also eat any food provided for cats and dogs, and food provided for some farm animals such as cows and chickens. They’re known to keep food in small caches to be consumed at a later time.
They carry and spread diseases such as leptospirosis and typhus, and their feces and urine also pose a health hazard. Roof rats are skittish and will avoid anything new introduced in the area, so it may be a while before they venture out to a trap or bait you’ve set up.
If you find either rodent in your house, get in touch with a pest control exterminator to have them removed.
Using cinnamon to naturally take care of an ant problem is pretty popular on the Internet. You’ll find article after article detailing the steps of eliminating an ant problem yourself using only cinnamon.
A study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications in 2014 showed that cinnamon essentialoil is in fact highly effective in repelling and killing ants at certain concentrations.
So yes, cinnamon essential oil can repel and even kill ants, but note that it’s “at certain concentrations”, and the cinnamon essential oils you can buy at any store may not have the same level of concentration as the cinnamon essential oils used in the study.
Cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powders can also repel ants, but it won’t kill them. Sprinkling cinnamon powder on ants will only scatter them and make them angry, and placing cinnamon sticks on their entry points and routes will only make them find a new way in and out of your house.
Taking care of an ant problem means finding the nest and eliminating all the ants there, and your store-bought cinnamon oil may not be potent enough to kill them and only repel them – and that won’t help you in the long run.
If you discover an ant nest or mound, you’d be better off using commercial insecticide,or better yet, use professional grade insecticide that is sureto get the job done.
Most of the ants you see in your home are only a small fraction of the colony that is surely nearby – and those are forager ants, meaning they’re only there to look for food. You can help yourself out by eliminating possible food sources for these ants so they’ll be forced to look elsewhere.
Mop and vacuum your kitchen and clean your food pantry to ensure there aren’t morsels of food ants can help themselves to. Immediately clean up any food spillage, and regularly sweep to make sure there are no crumbs and other food debris that will entice ants and other pests.
Keep your food in airtight containers (note that some ants can chew through plastic), and keep them in places not easily accessible to ants. If you’re keeping pastry on your kitchen counter, consider placing the container on a tray filled with water, and you may also want to cover it with something in case a fly wanders in.
While ants can get in your house just about anywhere including the cracks between your floorboards, it can help stave off an ant infestation (or other pest infestation) if you seal and caulk cracks and crevices on your property.
Cockroaches come into your house primarily because of two things: food and water. Most species of cockroach prefer the great outdoors to call their home, but other roaches, particularly the American cockroach, prefer the sanctity of your home where they’ll find shelter from the sun (and the elements), and most definitely food and water. Finding a regular supply of food and water is definitely high on their list.
They can come through your pipes and drains, windows, doors, the gaps and cracks on your walls, vents, and a number of other places you won’t even think to look. Once they establish that yes, your home is a nice, cozy place, you best believe they’ll set up shop there. They may call the rest of their family and friends in, or give birth to a whole brood of fresh roaches right under your nose.
What are these sources of food? Well, roaches can eat almost anything. They get most of their nutrients from the bacteria living on their bodies, so they’re not exactly concerned with how healthy their food is – they’ve been known to eat the most unexpected things like toothpaste and even glue (like the glue on the back of stamps). They can eat dead skin flakes, eyelashes, fingernails – they prefer dead things because their jaws are actually quite weak.
If they have their pick, of course, it’ll be a wide array of choices from your garbage bin. So if you want to make your place inhospitable from roaches, keep your garbage properly contained and disposed of in a timely manner. Don’t leave dishes on the sink overnight either, because they will love to clean off those plates if you give them the opportunity.
Roaches are nocturnal creatures, and during daytime, they prefer to find dark, damp places to settle in. Get rid of possible hiding places in your house such as old storage boxes, which are also great places for roaches to lay their eggs in. Fix leaky faucets and make sure you don’t have standing water where you don’t want it (which can also serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes). You may also want to wrap insulation on pipes that condense, as that can also serve as a regular source of water for roaches – remember, they can live for a month without food, but only for a week without water.
Seal or caulk gaps and cracks on your walls, especially if you have any gaps between the wall and any piping. Invest in screens for your windows and any outside vents, and use weatherstripping on windows and doors.
Also remember that cockroaches are a great source of food for a number of other pests like spiders and cockroaches, so if you have them, there’s a good chance these other pests will want to set up shop in your home too.
If you’ve tried to get rid of cockroaches on your own but still find them in your house after a day or two, then it may be time to call a professional pest exterminator like Watchdog Pest Control for a guaranteed pest-free home.
Blister beetles are an interesting bunch of beetles. There are about 300 species in the US primarily found in the Southwest, and they vary in color from brown, black, to gray, and may have yellow, reddish orange, black, or white stripes or spots. They’re about an inch to an inch and a half in length, have elongated, pliable bodies, long legs, compound eyes, a bowed head, and a distinctivethread-like antenna.
The master blister beetle, or Lytta magister, is a mix of deep black and bright red orange in color. You may find these beetles by the swarm in Phoenix during springtime, dangling from flowering brittlebushes.
When threatened, these beetles pop a blood vessel on their leg joints which secretes a bad smelling, yellowish substance that contains cantharidin, a burn agent (or a poison in large doses) that is colorless and odorless. When in contact with human skin, it causes painful blisters, hence why the beetle is called a blister beetle. It’s this same secretion that deters birds and mice to feed on these beetles, and leaves them to propagate their species in peace.
A male beetle courts a female by climbing on her back and sweeping his antennae across her head. If the male beetle is smaller than the female beetle, she refuses. When they do mate, they can stay attached to each other for hours, with some couples being observed to be attached for more than 24 hours. During this time, the female beetle goes about her business feeding from flower to flower with the male attached to her back.
Once they finish mating and separate, the female flies off to find a place where she can lay her eggs in the ground and she then promptly leaves them to their fate. Once these eggs hatch and turn into beetle grubs, they then burrow into the soil in search of food, which come in the form of grasshopper eggs. Sounds harsh for the little grasshopper babies, but bees may have it worse.
Other species of blister beetles have newborn larvae called triungulin. These triungulin pack themselves together by the hundreds to mimic the look of a female bee (they even smell like a female bee). When a male bee comes along to try to mate with fake bee, the triungulin then latch on to the male bee’s body and some of them get off when the male bee comes into contact with other actual female bees. Eventually these triungulin find their way to the bee’s nest where they feast on bee larva and their food. Other choice snacks include eggs of wasps and locusts.
If you find an infestation of these beetles on your property, call a professional exterminator to take care of them for you so you can remain blister free!