Stink bugs are called as suchbecause they emit a pungent odor when they get disturbed or feel threatened (similar to skunks), or when their bodies are crushed. Descriptions of this odor vary widely, with some describing the smell as dusty, earthy, woody, oily, or like coriander. If you detect a coriander-like scent in your home and you don’t know where it’s coming from, it’s possible you may have a stink bug infestation. In some species of stink bugs, this defensive pungent spray contains cyanide compounds with a rancid almond scent.
The stink bug is also commonly referred to as a shield bug due to shape of its body.
There are more than 200 kinds of these bugs that call North America their home, and their diet consists of plants, crops, and fruits, and are usually a pest to owners of gardens and farmsthough they will also nest in homes especially during winter time, often staying hidden in walls or in quiet places inside your house until spring when they become more active again.
The most common type of stink bug is the Brown MarmoratedStink Bug. It is an invasive species and is found in 44 states (and the District of Columbia) throughout the US. It’s a mottled grayish-brown and is ¾ of an inch long. It has 6 legs splayed outward that makes it look larger, 2 straight antennae, and is triangular in shape. They have wings that stay folded, so it’s easy to miss that adult stink bugs are actually pretty good flies (nymphs do not have fully developed wings).
They are not known to cause structural damage nor do they carry diseases dangerous to humans and pets, but they are destructive to agriculture and an infestation of stink bugs also mean more food for other pests that feed on them (spiders, birds, bats, and parasitic flies to name a few).
A DIY approach for getting rid of stink bugs would be vacuuming them or leaving trays with soapy water (this mixture kills them and leaves no defensive spray for you to deal with). You can also spray them with it directly. Regularly vacuuming not only clears your house of dust and debris, but a number of other pests (such as stink bugs) get sucked in too. Squish them only as a last resort, as the stench they release lingers for some time.
To help make sure stink bugs don’t get in your home, inspect your property and seal off any cracks and crevices on your walls. Install window screens and use weather strips on doors. Make sure to install screens on any outside vent too. These not only deter stink bugs, but a myriad of other pests as well.
Regularly check your property every 3 months to reseal cracks and crevices and repair screens.
If you have a stink bug infestation, or need help getting rid of other pests, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a pest control company for assistance!
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.
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!
If you have a basement, chances are you’re already aware that there are bugs down there. Whether your basement is a sophisticated addition to your house or a messy storage area, basements typically offer a haven for bugs because it tends to be darker and damper relative to the rest of your house, and there’s generally less human and (pet) animal traffic.
In this blog post, we’re going to be talking about common bugs or pests you may find in your basement, and if they’re good for you or if you should give them the boot (figuratively speaking; there are better, less messy ways to deal with them).
A common dweller in basements all over (and a staple in Halloween decorations), spiders generally pose no harm and are in fact one of the more beneficial bugs (technically an arachnid) you’ll find in your house. They generally stay out of your way, and hunt other pesky bugs such as flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches! They even eat other types of spiders, so you may notice the species of spider in your basement may change every once in a while.
Cellar spiders and common house spiders are two of the more prevalent spiders found in American homes, and they’re harmless. Cellar spiders don’t bite, and while common house spiders do if they’re threatened, they only cause minor irritation (unless you have an allergic reaction, then you may want to seek medical attention).
The two spiders you may find in your home that are dangerous are the Brown Recluse and Black Widow.
While both are shy and would rather flee than attack you if threatened, their bites contain toxic venom that are very painful, and in very rare occasions, may even lead to death.
You can spot a Black Widow by the yellowish orange or red hourglass shape on its abdomen, and a Brown Recluse by its violin-shaped mark (and they have 6 eyes instead of 8, but you probably don’t want to get close enough to see). If you’ve been bitten by either one, seek medical attention immediately.
Despite looking like hellspawn, they’re generally also one of the more useful crawling inhabitants you may find in your home or basement. Centipedes only bite if they’re given no other recourse to try and escape – otherwise, they spend their time hunting other pests (including cockroach eggs).
They may crawl into people’s ears, but no more than any other small insect might, and they only come into your house typically in colder months to escape the cold outside. They have pincers that may pinch you when they’re threatened, but the force is rarely enough to break skin. They’re harmless, and like the other creepy-crawlies we’ve discussed so far, earwigs spend their time hunting more problematic pests.
They’re dirty and pose health risks, spreading bacteria wherever they go including salmonella, streptococcus, staphylococcus, and more. When you find cockroaches in your basement, it’s time to clean it out.
If you see what you think are termites (or pale ants) then take immediate action. They come in colonies and destroy your house from the inside and may cause structural issues. Measures you can take are keeping the room and surrounding area as dry as possible, including limiting your use of mulch around your house.
What you can do to limit these pests
As we mentioned earlier, these bugs are attracted to the relative darkness and dampness of your basement. You can make things more inhospitable for these illegal occupiers by cleaning out your basement and eliminating dampness as much as you can.
Clear out any unnecessary boxes and consider replacing them with plastic containers, as cockroaches and other small insects like to use these as hiding places (or breeding grounds for their little ones).
Make sure your pipes are all in working order and that there’s not any spot in your basement where water accumulates. Consider using a dehumidifier which also helps eliminate mold buildup.
For any pest infestation, get in touch with a pest control provider to make sure pests are eliminated and kept out!
There are plenty of ways to deal with pests in your own home and garden safely and naturally,with many pesticides and pest traps available for purchase both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. We’ll be discussing that in this blog post, including methods for items you’ll find available in your own home.
For Your Garden
There are many insects in our garden that are not harmful to our plants, and are in fact quite beneficial for them, so targeting bugs that you find are harmful to your plants can be tricky because many pesticides are indiscriminate in the insects and pests they eliminate. Some of these helpful insects like ladybugs even help us get rid of unwanted insects like aphids.
You can buy ladybugs specifically for this purpose from gardening stores. Before releasing them however, be sure to spray the area with water to make it more welcoming for them.
You can use oil or soap spray insecticides. You can make oil spray insecticides from 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of mild soap (often recommended is castile soap) or 1 ½ teaspoons of mild soap and a quart of water – mix thoroughly, and spray on infected plants. It’s recommended that you do this in the early mornings or evenings, and apply as often as necessary.
A popular insecticide for home gardeners is neem oil, and you can purchase this from many stores such as Walmart. Follow the instructions on the bottle, or mix 2 teaspoons of this with a teaspoon of mild soap, and a quart of water. Shake thoroughly, and you can spray this on your garden plants (and it works well when used preventatively too).
Other popular insecticide sprays are garlic and chili pepper. For a garlic insecticide spray, puree 2 bulbs with a quart of water and let it sit overnight. Then strain into a quart jar, add ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of mild soap, and fill the jar with water. For chili pepper, add 1 ½ teaspoons of chili powder to 1 quart or water, and 2 drops of liquid dish soap.
Another method you may want to try is cultivating pest repelling plants themselves, of which there are many. Basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and petunias, are a few examples of plants that repel pests.
As for gophers in your yard or garden, there are traps you can purchase or set up yourself – however, if you’re not sure what is allowed in your area, or you want to ensure it is removed as humanely as possible, it’s best to call wildlife services or a professional pest control company.
Other methods you can still try to get them to willingly leave your property: gophers have very sensitive noses, and these are a few things you can leave in and around their tunnels to discourage them from staying: mothballs, coffee grounds, fish scraps, dryer sheets, and your pets droppings (cats and dogs are gopher predators, and this is intended to scare the gopher away).
For Your Home
As you probably know, we don’t only share our homes with other people and perhaps our pets – we may not readily see them, but chances are there are also plenty of bugs in and around your house.
So how do we get rid of them and keep them out, safely and naturally?
The insecticide sprays discussed earlier in this article would work on a number of insects that live inside your home as well, such as chili pepper spray for ants.
For more difficult pests such as roaches, there are a few traps you can purchase. Glue traps are effective in catching roaches that stumble unto it, but it won’t affect their nest. Cockroach bait on the other hand, come in child-proof cases, and it is poisoned food that the roach consumes and then takes back to their nest to affect the other roaches there.
Using soap spray on roaches work in that it clogs their breathing pores, however they may be able to recover when the solution dries.
For mice, mousetraps work great. However, note that for these to be effective, you have to know where to place them. Look for their droppings – which are brown pellets – alongside walls, and place 2 mousetraps end-to-end in those areas. The reason for this is that mice may jump over one trap, but they won’t be able to jump over two.
Mousetraps may seem brutal, but they’re the more humane choice between a glue trap that means a slow death for the mouse, and poisons will mean some mice may die and rot where you can’t reach them to properly dispose of them.
As important is securing your home against these pests and preventing reinfestation.
Cut off their water supply. A number of these pests are drawn to moist areas, and roaches need water sooner than they need food to survive. Find and fix any leaks in your house, and make sure to regularly clean out containers that may have accumulated water, as these are also breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Keep your food properly stored. Don’t leave out dirty dishes overnight as cockroaches may feast on the crumbs left on the plates, and make sure to regularly throw your trash. Keep pet food in closed containers so mice won’t get to them. If there’s no readily available food for these pests in your house, they won’t want to stay.
Lastly, make sure your house is properly sealed. Your walls may look solid, but there are plenty of small cracks where insects and small animals can slip through.
Use caulk and expanding foam to fill any gaps in your exterior and interior walls, and weatherstripping for your doors and windows (if you have netting on your windows, make sure they’re in good shape). Don’t forget to check on your roof and close any gaps, and if you have a chimney, use a cap or guard cover to protect it from birds, raccoons, and other animals. Cut off tree branches that touch the house as these serve as bridges for bugs and other animals.
If a pest issue keeps reoccurring, if you’re not sure about the safety of the store-bought insecticides you’re using, or you want to humanely get rid of birds, raccoons and other unwanted animals, then it may be time to call that professional pest exterminator.
According to the American Pet Products Association, 68% of US households owned a pet in 2018.
That’s around 85 million families, many of which worry about pests in their home and garden too.
So when getting rid of these pests, how safe are our pets in the process?
Chemicals used on lawns have been known to make their way indoors, from our clothes, shoes, and our pet’s paws, and there are pesticides out there in the market that have been shown to increase the risk of cancer in both pets and humans. These pesticides have even contributed to the decline of the bee population across the world.
Most people are not aware of just how many dangerous chemicals there are sold in stores to the average homeowner who may be none the wiser, including flea and ticks preventative products for pets!
But you still need to get rid of unwanted pests that damage your home and garden, and pests that possibly carry diseases that are harmful to you and your pet, so what do you do?
When buying pesticides, make sure you read the warning label – you’ll be surprised to find out products harmful to you and your pets may be sold alongside products that are non-toxic and pet-friendly – and make sure you’re choosing the safer options, whether it is buying pesticides to use yourself or hiring a pest control company to eliminate pests for you.
Some pest control companies offer eco-friendly services and use natural green products, with Watchdog Pest Control only using products that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — once dry in 30 to 45 minutes, treated areas are then completely safe for both pets and people alike.
With these green products and services, you can be sure you’re using the safest, most effective products out there to rid your house of unwanted pests.