Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us and we can’t wait to eat lots of great food and spend time with loved ones. However, as pest control experts, we are hyper aware of the fact that this time of year can also bring around unwanted guests, such as rodents and bed bugs. The colder weather, visiting guests, and extra food laying may increase your chances of developing some sort of infestation over the holidays. To stay pest free this Thanksgiving, take a look at the following tips (especially if you’ll be hosting!):
Store Your Food Properly
As you’re gathering the food for your big meal, be sure keep it in sealed, airtight containers and store them on high pantry shelves or in the refrigerator. Also, as you’re preparing food, be fastidious about cleaning up crumbs which may attract rodents. After the big meal, do not leave leftovers or desserts out on the table overnight.
Clean and vacuum your kitchen and dining areas as good as possible after your guests leave. Crumbs, fallen food, and even the scent of food will attract rodents.
Holiday meals often create an excess of garbage and scraps. Be sure to take your filled garbage bags to your outdoor barrels at the end of the day. Outdoor barrels should be sealed tightly and kept in an area that doesn’t allow for easy access indoors.
Beware of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can be carried into your home by even the cleanest people! If you have older children coming home to visit, throw their overnight bags and their clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill any bed bugs. Once guests leave, wash linens in hot water and check on and around your mattresses for any signs of the little pests.
Seal Proof Your Home
As you’re decorating and pulling things out of attics and basements, be sure to inspect for small holes and cracks that pests can enter in through. Now is a good time of year to ensure that your home is protected before the winter really sets in.
If you need help pest proofing your home or suspect an infestation of some kind, contact us at 1-877-PESTS-55 for more information and to schedule your free in-home evaluation!
Late August into early September is one of the busiest times of year for moving. Students are returning to their college apartments and rentals are changing tenants. And, in recent years, the number of people renting an apartment is rising. However, with the convenience of renting come the cons, one of which is the possibility of a pest infestation. Shared walls, close living quarters, and connected utilities make it easy for pests to move from one apartment to another and also make it difficult to find the source of the infestation. Common pests that plague apartment buildings and townhouse units include bed bugs, cockroaches, flies, and rodents.
If you’re moving into a rental unit in the coming weeks, follow these simple tips to keep those unwanted houseguests away:
Proof Against Apartment Pests
- Vacuum regularly
- Dispose of garbage on a daily basis in covered receptacles located outdoors
- Keep your kitchen tidy. Sweep on a daily basis, wash dishes after use, wipe up crumbs and spills on the counters and floors.
- Store food in airtight containers and keep them on high shelves.
- Notify your landlord of any leaky pipes or areas of moisture and insist that they get fixed quickly.
- Pests, like bed bugs, often hide in furniture so be very cautious when accepting or buying used pieces. Be sure to give them a good inspection and cleaning before bringing them into your home.
- Keep clutter to a minimum – pests love to hide in piles of clothes and in boxes.
- Seal entry points.
We at Freedom Pest Control are experienced in exterminating pests from multi-unit apartments. Please call us today at 1-877-PESTS-55 for more information!
It’s a new year! If your new year’s resolution is to get control over the pests that may be inhabiting your home, then we want to make sure you’re heading into 2018 armed with as much pest control knowledge as possible. Read on as we debunk some of the most common myths surrounding pest control. Then, give us a call to schedule your free in-home estimate.
Clean Houses Don’t Get Bed Bugs
Clean homes CAN suffer from a bed bug infestation. This is because bed bugs are very good hitchhikers. If you’ve recently visited a hotel or a friend’s home that has developed a bed bug problem, then it is very likely that they will travel home with you in your luggage, purse, or clothes.
Mice Love Cheese
As the classic game, Mouse Trap would suggest, mice love cheese and we should put it in our mice traps. However, mice are much more apt to look for foods with high levels of sugar like cereal, peanut butter, and sugar cubes. These would be much better options for your traps!
Cats Keep Mice at Bay
Any cat owner can probably tell you about a time or two that theirs has come home feeling very proud of himself for catching a mouse. And while it’s true that cats do, on occasion, like to playfully chase and catch a mouse, they do not regard them as threats or feel a need to help eliminate their presence in your home. A cat is definitely not enough protection against a mouse infestation.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist! In fact, the smallest, hardest to see pests are often the most dangerous because they can cause damage before they’re discovered.
Bug Zappers are Effective Against Mosquitoes
Bug zappers attract bugs with bright lights. However, mosquitoes aren’t attracted to light, like moths are, so don’t bother with the zappers if mosquitoes are pestering you.
Call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55 today to schedule your free in-home evaluation!
‘Tis the season to be jolly and nothing takes the fun out of the holiday season more than a pest infestation! It’s no news that pests often make their way indoors during the cold months seeking shelter and food. But, during this season of decorating, visiting, and travel, the chances of finding pests in your home increase. Follow our simple tips to ensure that you don’t spend the upcoming weeks feeling all Grinch-like!
Christmas Trees, Wreaths, and Greenery
Spiders, mites, moths, and other pests love to take up residence in the trees and greenery that we often bring indoors this time of year. To avoid carrying these little “buggers” indoors, inspect your live items very carefully and give that tree a really good shake before taking it home.
Taking out boxes full of decorations that have been packed away for almost a year may disturb cockroaches, mice, and other pests that have taken up residence. If you have cause for concern, unpack your boxes outside and look for signs such as droppings and chew marks. When it comes time to take down your décor, be sure to store your items in plastic containers that can be closed tightly. This will prevent pests that can chew through cardboard from making their way in.
Cozying up in front of the fireplace won’t be so relaxing if you’re firewood is housing insects such as spiders, termites, and ants! If you’re buying your firewood, we suggest burning it quickly before insects that may be dormant in your wood begin to hatch. If you like to cut and/or store your own firewood, keep it more than twenty feet away from your home and on a raised structure if possible.
If you’re hosting overnight guests, beware of bed bugs. Bed bugs are expert hitch-hikers and can travel on clothing, purses, and suitcases. After your guests have left, wash sheets, towels, and other linens in hot water. Check on and around your mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and nightstands.
Don’t be a Scrooge, call us today for a free onsite evaluation! 877-PESTS-55
It’s officially summer vacation season, which means many of us will be heading off to lake houses and beach rentals – can’t wait to get there, right? Well, hold up a sec – along with fending off those late-night raccoons nosing through the garbage, you may have to gear up for other even more annoying intruders – those dreaded bed bugs. No matter how highly-rated your host is on AirBnB, or how many great stays you may have had in the past, bed bugs are always a potential threat in any vacation home. Here’s a helpful checklist to walk through when you arrive, to make sure you and your family are avoiding bed bugs:
- Know what you’re looking for. Bed bugs are small, brown, crawling insects the size of apple seeds. It’s common to have bed bugs, though, and not actually see them – so don’t settle in just yet if you don’t spy one of these critters!
- Check mattresses and bed frames. Look for anything that looks like dark smears on the top or bottom of the mattress – they could be excretions – along with tiny white eggs, about 1 mm long. Bed bugs also shed their skin five or six times, so look for discarded bug shells. These insects tend to hide in the joints of a bed frame and along the slats, so inspect those carefully with the aid of a flashlight. Look along the crevices of the headboard, and down the mattress seams.
- Next, scan the sofas and pillows. Inspect the cushion seams, inside any slipcovers, and along any zipper on a seat cushion or throw pillow.
- Check closets and floorboards. Unfortunately, bed bugs don’t just thrive in soft places; they can be found where there’s no cushioning whatsoever. Look anywhere where the floorboards or molding meet the wall; in closets, inspect corners, door seals, and joints.
- Don’t forget nightstands, bookcases, and lamps. Carefully inspect drawer seals and corners, removing books where necessary. Check the insides of lampshades, and underneath lampstands. In bedrooms especially, inspect alarm clocks, picture frames – don’t skip any bedside décor.
Want more information? Get the facts on our Bed Bugs page (http://www.callfreedompest.com/pest/bed-bugs/)
One of the holiday events occurring this time of year is our children coming home from college. In addition to cooking the turkey, parents this year may be faced with the reality that their son or daughter may bring home some unwanted hitch hikers. That’s right, bed bugs. A college dorm is a great place for bed bugs to thrive as there is plenty of food (students), heat and clutter. As commented in the Washington Post, “Almost all campuses are dealing with bed bugs now.”
So what can you do to stop the unseen blood suckers from coming home for the holidays? Nothing. The first line of defense is the front door of your home. Bed bugs are not going to come out and shake your hand. You have to assume that your child has a high possibility of caring bed bugs home. That means any item your child is wearing or carrying in a suitcase or bag, could be infested with bedbugs. So be prepared by having a couple of large plastic bags at the front door for the arrival of your returning children. Upon arrival ALL items should go into the bags and the bags should then be tightly shut (twist tied). Bring the bags to the laundry area where all items that can be dried should go directly into the dryer on high (a minimum of 125 degrees Fahrenheit) for 40 minutes. The remaining items stay in the sealed bags, preferably outside, until departure. Washing is not necessary for bed bug control, just your attention to detail.
I wish everyone a joyful season of combating the hitchhikers and remember, don’t let the bedbugs bite!
Fast forward 7 weeks. No issues with bites or sightings for 6 weeks and then last week a blood spot on her sheet, a bite mark on her foot and her sweater she thinks may have bed bugs in it. Since Jenifer was well educated she knew what to do. Dry the sweater, bag her shoes for inspection and call Freedom fast. I have to admit this is not uncommon when people go back to the same hotel that was infested and pick up a fresh infestation to bring home. Even though Jenifer is extra careful about traveling she has another infestation. What made this difficult to figure out was the traps we use to stop bedbugs from climbing up bed posts were empty and the mattress and box spring were still properly encased. Yet she was bitten on the bed. The weak link was her laptop. She had it on her lap at the hotel, feel asleep and in marched the bed bugs. Jenifer brought the lap top home, used it on the sofa and in her bed and both were re-infested.
After a quick clear plastic bag inspection with some carbon monoxide (I inflated the bag) out came our little friends, ready to infest an office cube, customers site, or just another bed. You must be diligent in your everyday life to solve and remain bed bug free.
Preparation for your vacation
Before you leave on your vacation there are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard your home from infestation upon your return. By taking the time to follow these steps prior to your departure, you will decrease your chances of bringing home bed bugs.
- Carefully research your hotel prior to your departure by searching on Google for your hotel’s name – include the search criteria “bedbugs” or “bed bugs”. Read any recent reviews. If they have been treated for bedbugs, you’ll most likely hear about it online. If you see one unpleasant report, please, take it with a grain of salt. However, multiple bad reviews, or reviews which repeat a particular issue, can suggest that the property is not safe from bedbugs or other pests.
- Call the hotel and ask questions regarding bed bugs – what is the hotel’s policy on bed bugs? Has your room had any bed bug complaints? If they fail to provide you with straight forward answers or avoid answering the questions all together, that’s a dangerous sign and you should consider changing your accommodations.
- If you decide to continue with your trip as planned, start by packing a small bright flashlight to inspect the room for bedbugs upon your arrival.
- Pack a disposable luggage encasement or large contractor trash bag to put your luggage in when you arrive at your hotel room.
- Bring large zip lock bags for all the belongings you will be keeping out of your luggage, such as your keys, passports, credit cards, etc.
Upon entering your room, immediately take your luggage to the bathroom and place the luggage into the bathtub. Follow these instructions prior to settling in:
- In a hotel room the headboard is the only item that is not disturbed during daily housekeeping and is great harborage for bed bugs. By using your flashlight, try to get a good look behind the head board. If possible remove the headboard from the wall to get a better look behind. Most headboards are usually held on the wall with brackets, lift up 1 – 2 inches to remove. You are looking for several things – brownish black specks or bed bug feces, bed bug shells which are the bed bug exoskeletons and lastly, live bed bugs.
- Your next step is to take the bed sheets off the mattress and examine it carefully. Inspect the seams and the tag, as bed bugs often shield themselves in these areas.
- Now open all the drawers and cabinets in the room and look carefully inside for the same signs.
- When you have finished checking the room, carefully check to see the luggage rack is free of pests – look at it from top to bottom, and under the straps. Now place your luggage on the stand, being careful not to put any of your things on the bed or on the floor.
- If you determine the room to be unsafe and request another room, be sure to follow the same steps in the next room as the problem could be property wide, and not limited to one room.
- Once you have determined the room to be safe, take out your disposable luggage encasement (bag) and encase the luggage, being careful to only take out those items you are going to be using.
- Use the large zip lock bags for all belongings you will be keeping out of your luggage.
Before You Leave
- Inspect all of the items that were taken out of the encased luggage. After you have determined the items are okay, immediately place them in a separate bag in your luggage.
- Scan through your sheets with a flashlight before you leave. If you notice blood splotches, there is a good chance you have been bitten by bed bugs.
- Take the luggage out of the encasement and dispose of the encasement as you exit the room.
- Just prior to taking your luggage back into your home make sure you use the other encasement or trash bag and place each piece of luggage into the bag.
Arriving at Home
Even if you follow all the steps listed above, it is still very important to take precautions when you arrive at your home to avoid bringing any unwanted infestation. The best rule of thumb is to assume you have bed bugs, that way you will be more diligent in taking precautions. Bear in mind bed bugs are great hitchhikers, so it is just as easy to catch them from another suitcase on an airplane as it is from a hotel room. Sometimes the signs are not as clear, so it is best to continue to use caution to ensure your home remains safe from bedbugs.
- Do not bring your luggage contents into your home right away; it is best to leave them in the garage or in the car until you are ready to unpack.
- When you are ready to begin unpacking and laundering your clothing, it is best to carry everything into your home using a bag. Prior to washing your clothing, place the items in the dryer and using its hottest setting, dry your clothes for 30 minutes.
- Other items that cannot be put in the dryer should be wiped down with isopropyl alcohol before bringing them into your home.
- Your empty luggage should be vacuumed and inspected carefully before bringing it in your home. It is normally best to leave the luggage in the encasements or trash bags while they are in storage.
- Finally, make sure you dispose of all the bags that were used in transporting your clothes and luggage, in addition, remember to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag after vacuuming your luggage.