It happens to many of us at this time of year. We lay our heads down to dream of sugar plums, reindeer, songs, smiling faces, or even some remote and relaxing location away from it all.
Then we hear the noises up in the attic.
Maybe it’s just a little scratching. Maybe it’s a full night of traffic. The problem is, we have unwanted and potentially damaging house guests up there. They can’t stay.
That sound may be bats, who we typically consider friends in warm weather, thanks to their ability to control insect populations. But if they find a way into your home—and it doesn’t take much—they may hibernate there through the coldest months. Then, if the temperature rises enough, they may wake and move around the immediate area, which you might hear. They don’t pose a direct threat, but as we share on our website, they could damage your home exterior and, if left untended long enough, they could pose a threat to your family’s health.
More commonly, the sounds may come from rodents such as squirrels and mice. Given time, both could settle in and grow family trees that you didn’t have in mind when you moved in.
Squirrels require different measures, depending on the species. Gray and red squirrels will need to be trapped and removed. Flying squirrels, on the other hand, can be seen off with exit-only doors. It just depends on the situation, but our technicians will analyze the best approach.
Mice are another matter. They can chew wires same as squirrels, but also find their way into the lower levels of your home, where they find food, bedding materials, and new nests. They can also spread several diseases through their urine and feces. If mice are the case, then we draw up a customized plan to advise, monitor and treat your home until the problem is gone.
Whatever that sound may be, call us at 877-PESTS-55 when you hear it—even if it’s Christmas Eve, as one customer did a few years ago. (They woke up to a merrier morning.) The long winter nights are time for rest, not worry, and we can help.
In 2020, we are thrilled to introduce INTRAP, a new, high-tech approach to rodent control, and it changes everything—especially for our commercial clients, such as food processing plants and warehouses, schools and universities, restaurants, hotels, or apartment complexes.
Created here at Freedom Pest Control, INTRAP (Intelligent Real-Time Alert Program), harnesses the power of 5G connectivity to provide pest management that is ultra-efficient, responsive, and predictive.
Using traditional methods, our technicians get results with frequent site visits to inspect and rebait individual control stations, and to manually note activity in order to analyze trends.
But with INTRAP, we are on the watch 24/7. As the video above illustrates, our 24/7 intelligent commercial pest control uses dedicated technology that alerts our expert technicians the moment there is pest activity in, or near, our traps, making safety and compliance automatic. In addition, INTRAP helps us track and analyze data so we can better predict infestations before they do damage to a client’s business.
Case Study: Commercial Fish Processing Facility
Here’s an example of how INTRAP works for one of our clients, a 25,000-square-foot fish processing facility located on a pier in Gloucester, Mass. We effectively maintain traditional rodent control stations at ground level in the facility. However, the rafters above serve as “rodent superhighways” that require the time-consuming and disruptive task of inspecting high-level bait stations with a ladder.
Meanwhile, the dark, rocky, and dangerous space underneath the facility poses other challenges. As our senior technician and associate certified entomologist Justin Marchand points out in the video below, getting to dozens of traps in this area is very difficult, and must be coordinated with the tide schedules.
However, with INTRAP, Justin no longer has to continually climb ladders or crawl through the darkness to inspect each and every rodent trap. Instead, by the time he arrives on site, Justin already knows which bait stations have received visitors, or even had rodents pass by. So he only has to reset those traps that have caught a rodent, which allows more time for identifying and reducing the conditions that enable rodents to thrive.
Moreover, both individually and together, the INTRAP stations provide data that tells the story of where rodents have been and where they are going. That information helps us analyze, predict and treat the facility with a reliable integrated pest management plan.
A few days ago, we received a call from a local police department, relaying a citizen’s concern of a large hornet nest. Upon arriving on the scene, we quickly determined that the situation did not involve hornets and was no cause for concern. Instead, what we found was quite exciting-the first reported honeybee swarm of the season!
What’s happening in this situation is just one of the many fascinating qualities of the European honeybee species. The bees in this swarm represent roughly half of a colony, and recently left their nest to make a new home where they can expand their population. While scouts seek the new location, the others have formed a temporary nest around this tree. Their queen is somewhere in the middle, and the exterior layer of honeybees beat their wings continuously to keep the interior bees warm. As the cold air kills off the outside layer, the next bees in line take over the job. Within a few days, the swarm will be off to build their new nest.
Ever since they escaped from their early colonist hives, European honeybees have played a vital role in both natural and agricultural ecosystems. As one of 3,600 bee species in North America, the work they do to gather nectar (their favorite food) also helps spread pollen among wild plant species. But of all of those other species, European honeybees are most helpful to farmers, pollinating roughly one-third of the food eaten by Americans. Also, let’s not forget the many useful benefits of the honey and beeswax that they produce-the two reasons why colonists brought them to America.
Sadly, honeybee populations are facing several threats, as studies show that U.S. beekeeper colonies declined by 44% between 2015 and 2016, and wild populations declined across 23% of the U.S. land area between 2008 and 2013. Scientists attribute some of the losses to pesticides, climate change, habitat loss, the mysterious colony collapse disorder. The most significant threat may be Varroa destructor, the Asian mite that invaded the U.S. about three decades ago and has since proven resistant to many eradication efforts. As if that’s not enough, scientists now hope to prevent the next potential threat following the discovery of Asian giant hornets in the Pacific northwest.
In response to these many threats, efforts are forming across the U.S. to restore wild bee habitats, improve domestic beekeeping methods, reduce pesticides and increase awareness of their role in the ecosystem. We should be celebrating bees, not worrying about restoring them to their habitats. They are responsible for a lot of things that can benefit us, so they should be protected by as many people as possible. And if that means getting involved with, or starting your own fundraiser with the likes of GoFundMe, then that is what you should do. By doing this, the world’s agriculture supply, that bees are important for, will be protected and that should be our priority. So, while experts work to save these friends to farmers and Mother Nature alike, we hope you’ll find a new appreciation for this phenomenal species.
Earlier this year we’ve debunked many commonly believed pest control myths on our blog. Click here and here to refresh your memory. Now, as the year is coming to an end, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite interesting (and true!) facts about insects and pests. Read on to learn more and then give us a call to schedule your free in-home estimate.
Cockroaches can live up to a week without its head. They would survive for longer than that except, without the ability to drink water, they die of thirst.
…and they’re fast
A cockroach can run up to three miles per hour!
Ants do not chew their food in the traditional sense. Instead, they move their jaws sideways, similar to a pair of scissors.
Cricket’s ears on located on the front of their legs, just below the knees.
Rats are well-known scavengers. In fact, every year they contaminate enough food to feed two hundred million people.
…but they don’t live long
Most rats die before they turn one year old.
Termites love rock music! In fact, they eat through wood two times faster when rocking out to some tunes.
The common housefly has taste buds on its feet.
Bees may fly up to sixty miles in a day.
…and they kill their queens
Well, not maliciously. When a honey bee queen begins to die, she emits a pheromone that makes her smell unrecognizable to the colony bees and they will kill her.
Fleas may be tiny, but they can jump up to one hundred and thirty times their height.
Call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55 today to schedule your free in-home evaluation!
Here in 2020, as if we didn’t need anything else to worry about, news has emerged that Vespa mandarinia — also known as Asian giant hornets and in headlines as “murder hornets” — was identified in the Pacific northwest late last year. To be clear, New England has more to fear from our native hornets than this immigrant species on the other side of the continent, but there are still some things you should know.
The Asian giant hornet is the largest predator of its kind, with a two-inch body length, three-inch wing span, large mandibles it uses to decapitate prey, and a quarter-inch stinger that can penetrate an exterminator’s protective equipment. Like other hornets, it rarely attacks humans unless provoked. But it packs a serious punch when it does, delivering multiple stings and up to seven times the amount of a honeybee’s venom. Some reports claim that the Asian giant hornet accounts for around 50 human deaths a year in its native Japan and China. (By comparison, 89 U.S. deaths were caused in 2017 by our own hornets, wasps and bees.)
Honeybees are at the greatest risk from Asian giant hornets. When the predator scout discovers and reports a honeybee hive to its own colony, they can destroy the entire bee colony in a matter of hours, tearing the heads off of adults (hence the name “murder hornet”) and carrying its victims and their larva back home for a feast. This threat is particularly troubling in the U.S., where honeybee populations are already being decimated by parasites, viral diseases, and pesticides. Japanese honeybees have developed defense mechanisms for an invading murder hornet, but experts predict that European honeybees (most common in the U.S.) won’t stand a chance.
Hopefully, honeybees and humans in North America will have little to fear of the Asian giant hornet. After detecting a few nests on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island and one dead specimen in Washington state, entomologists are now conducting an aggressive program to monitor and capture queens this spring as they emerge from their underground winter homes.
In the meantime, we shouldn’t forget this intruder’s smaller cousins, like the bald-faced hornet. Read our post from last year on what to watch for and be wary of with these painful pests.
Rats! Just the thought of them will make a lot of people squeamish. And for good reason. Rats are highly invasive, tenacious and dangerous, carrying many diseases that put families and pets at risk.
We offer more information about them in our Services section, but in this blog post, we invite you on a rat inspection and initial service with Chris Sargent, sales director at Freedom Pest Control. In this short video, you’ll learn about signs of infestation, where they like to live, how to set a trap (and why you don’t want to), and how Freedom Pest Control goes about removing rat infestations—for good.
At first sight, the hornet’s large paper nest startles most of us, and for good reason. The inhabitants are very defensive of anyone within a few feet of their home and can pack a mighty wallop, stinging repeatedly if provoked. This is especially true for North America’s most common species, the bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculate), which is actually a member of the yellowjacket family.
From a safe distance, baldfaced hornet colonies are amazing feats of nature. They are started new each year (and never reused), growing up to three feet long over a few months. They house up to hundreds individuals that play important roles in the ecosystem, controlling other insect populations and pollinating many flowers and fruit plants.
However, if the nest is attached to your home or close to where you spend time outside, then it should be removed. But HOW it is removed depends on when you notice it.
The queen establishes the small nest in April or May, starting with maybe a dozen combs, each housing an egg that grows to adult within three weeks. The nest grows as she continues to add young queen and worker combs until late summer, followed by stingerless males around September.
If you notice the nest in a dangerous location during the late spring and early summer months, then you may be able to neutralize it yourself with the right store-bought product. But after a certain point, the safest option is to call in the professionals.
This is just one of many examples where members of Freedom Pest Control’s Gold Plan benefit. Our technician will most likely notice it during one of the seasonal inspections of your property, and take action then. But if the customer spies the nest between visits, then our technician will take care of the problem (or any other, for that matter) at no additional charge.
As the lazy days of summer roll in, you may begin noticing a lot of wasp activity. This is partly because, in spring, queen wasps reemerge from their overwinter nests and begin laying eggs to start a new colony. Queen wasps will continue reproducing and a colony can consist of hundreds to thousands of workers. During the summer months, wasps tend to stay close to their nests, which is bad news if they’ve decided to build one on or around your property.
The first thing you should know is how to identify a wasp as they are often confused with bees. There are a few ways to distinguish between wasps and bees. First, the abdomen of a wasp narrows before connecting to the thorax. Second, wasps have much less hair and third, wasp colonies are typically smaller than the average bee colony.
Wasps are dangerous! Here are some things you can do to deter them from building nests on your property and to keep yourself safe:
1. During the summer, wasps are attracted to protein foods. Do not leave food or open garbage cans on or around your property.
2. Seal vents, repair screens, and close up any cracks around windows and door frames where wasps may build nests or enter your home through.
3. Don’t swat or squash a wasp. Squashed wasps will release pheromones which will attract other wasps.
4. Keep your lawn short and your bushes trimmed
5. Remove sources of excess water
If you believe you have a wasp nest on your property, we do not recommend trying to remove it yourself! Please call a professional to do the job instead. Call Freedom Pest Control today for all your wasp removal needs at 877-PESTS-55!
We recently introduced you to carpenter ant swarmers, the winged version of a carpenter ant that leaves its colony to mate and start its own. Often confused with termites, carpenter ants tunnel through wood to build nests and can be difficult to locate. This tunneling can create a great deal of structural damage so proofing your home against them before they appear is super important.
Read on for tips on how to prevent against carpenter ants:
- Identify any areas in the home where there is moisture and correct the problem immediately. These would include roof, drainage, and plumbing leaks.
- Remove any tree limbs and branches outside your home that may serve as “bridge” to the inside.
- Seal up doors, windows, and cracks in the foundation that may serve as an entry point.
- Be fastidious about cleanliness. Make sure to clean up food crumbs and drink spills immediately. Remember, carpenter ants are attracted to sweet foods.
- Store food in airtight containers.
- Carpenter ants frequently nest in firewood so be sure to stack it outside and away from your home. You may also want to elevate your pile so it does not sit flush against the soil.
If you suspect that you may already have a carpenter ant infestation, or have found carpenter ant swarmers around your home, please contact a professional immediately. The damage that they cause can be quite devastating! We at Freedom Pest Control can help, please call us at 877-PESTS-55 for a free quote!
It’s spring time which means that homeowners should be on the lookout for squirrels that may be nesting in attics. If you’re hearing scampering up above, it is very likely that a female squirrel has built her nest in your attic. Female squirrels will build their nests near openings such as roof vents, roof edges, roof soffit intersections, wall vents, chimneys, and plumbing mats. Female squirrels give birth to a litter sometime in the spring, starting in March and continuing through the month of June.
A squirrel infestation is an issue for many reasons. Squirrels may do damage as gnaw on electrical wires and wooden boards. They also create a mess with droppings and urine, and can produce a great deal of noise, especially if they have gotten trapped in wall cavities.
Below are some steps to take if you have squirrels in your attic:
- Inspect your attic for entry points to identify how they may be getting in. While up there, check for signs of damage such as holes in siding, vents, and roof soffits as well as damaged insulation or chewed wires.
- Try to identify if it is a female squirrel with her young. A telltale sign is a nest made of found materials like cardboard, leaves, and insulation. If a nest is found at this time of year, you can be sure that babies are present as well.
- You may be able to scare the squirrels out with loud noises or bright lights. However, if this doesn’t work (since it is likely they will return, please call your local pest control professional. They will be able to take steps to remove them permanently.
- Once the squirrels are no longer living in your attic, be sure to repair any holes that may offer entry and install metal flashing to keep them from reentering through open access points.
Freedom Pest Control receives calls about termites in many different forms. It may be the house hunter asking questions about a specific area of damage in the basement. It may be from a homeowner who just came home and found thousands of wings in a window on the sunny side of their home. Or, it could be the apartment renter who found hundreds of small bugs in her bathtub.
Termites, more specifically Eastern subterranean termites, cause an estimated $5 billion in damage every year to homes across America. Every spring when the temperature, relative humidity, and dew point reach a specific point in your home, termite swarmers are drawn out of the wood like ants to sugar. This is the time of year when alates, the swarming termites inside of your home, emerge from their colony in search of a mating partner. They are attracted to light, so they normally come out and flutter towards your windows. You might think you have a month infestation or flying ants. But the truth of the matter is they are termites and they’ve most likely been in your home for about five years, the amount of time it t takes for a termite colony to develop before they swarm. This means that termites have secretly been doing damage to your home for all that time.
What to Do about Termites
The first thing you need to do is call your local professional exterminator. Freedom Pest Control is incredibly knowledgeable about termites and our technicians are experienced at exterminating them. Your technician will inspect your home and point out specific conditions that are conducive to the termites and steps you can take to deter them. Some of these steps include reducing moisture and removing bark mulch around your home (this is because any material containing cellulose that has contact with the soil around your home or in your basement is a feeding ground for termites).
If you think you may have a termite infestation, please call Freedom Pest Control today at 1-877-55-PESTS. We’re happy to come out and give you a free in-home estimate!
Carpenter ants aren’t harmful to humans but they can do a considerable amount of damage to your home. Often confused with termites, carpenter ants tunnel through wood to build nests and can be difficult to locate. As they hollow out wood, such as in ceiling beams and wooden doors, the integrity of the wood is compromised and can result in serious structural damage to your home. Therefore, early detection and removal is key!
Identifying Carpenter Ants
It is not uncommon to find a single carpenter ant in your home rather than a colony. Here’s what to look for:
- Carpenter ants are black but can have a dark red color
- Carpenter ants are the largest type of ant. They can be as big as ¾ of an inch long.
- Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae and a thin waist
- Carpenter ants are polymorphic, or not all the same size. This means that size does not necessarily differentiate between adults and juveniles
Carpenter Ant Swarmers
As the spring time begins to roll in, you may begin to notice carpenter ant swarmers crawling on the outside of your windows. Carpenter ant swarmers are winged carpenter ants that leave their colonies to mate and start their own colonies. Spotting carpenter ants in or around your home is a tell-tale sign that there is a mature carpenter ant colony nearby or inside your walls. If this is the case, the carpenter ant swarmers will only increase the population and perpetuate your carpenter ant infestation.
It is important to contact professional as soon as you notice a carpenter ant swarmer in or around your home. Ignoring them can result in a great deal of damage. If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation, please call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55!
If you follow us on Facebook (and now Instagram!), you may have heard that we are getting ready to move into a brand new office space in Merrimac, MA! We have loved our little space in Topsfield, MA over the past twenty-five years but as business has grown, so has our staff, and our needs. We’re pleased to announce that our new location will be open as very soon! Stop by to say and hi and to check out our state-of-the-art facilities!
In addition to requiring more space for our growing company (and for that, we have YOU to thank!), our primary reason for moving was to be able to provide our technicians with the best training in the business. Our new location will allow us to offer continuing education, support, and guidance to our technicians, staff, and colleagues. We’ve installed a classroom with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, a mock bedroom to help refresh seasoned technicians and train new technicians on our bed bug eradication techniques, as well as a mock residential kitchen to provide training on common insects like ants, cockroaches, and mice. That’s not all! We will also have a mock commercial kitchen set up specifically for training our technicians on what to look for in restaurants and food processing plants. Finally, our new facility also has a fantastic outdoor area to teach and practice treating against mosquitoes and ticks.
No matter our location, Freedom Pest Control remains the leader in pest control in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and, as always, home inspections are free with the purchase of any package. We pride ourselves on our highly trained service technicians and their knowledge, professionalism, and efficiency at removing pests, animals, and termites.
Please call us today at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free in-home estimate!
The holidays are over, and a new year is here! Now is a great time to make resolutions, set new goals, and get motivated to cross things off your “to-do” list. One of those items should certainly be to make sure your home is protected against pests because heading into a new year with a pest infestation is a total bummer. To ensure that your home stays pest free in 2019, follow these simple steps:
Keep Your Home Tidy and Clean!
We can’t stress this enough! Rodents and pests are less likely to take up residence in a home that is free from crumbs, clutter, spills, and easily accessible food. Be sure to maintain a clean kitchen and keep food in airtight and sealed containers. Wipe down counters and sweep floors on a regular basis and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or pet food on the floor overnight. Also, be sure to keep the rest of the home just as clean. Vacuuming and tidying up used cups and dishes each day will keep pests at bay.
Check for Standing Water!
Standing water in the home is an open invitation to insects and pests. Inspect your home for leaky pipes, dripping faucets, and windows that may be letting in moisture. Repair any issues that may cause standing water and be sure to remove that water immediately.
Seal Up Holes!
Rodents and insects can enter a home through even the smallest of holes. Inspect the interior and exterior home and look for cracks, holes, ripped screens, and broken doors. We also suggest installing screens over chimneys and vents.
Why not kill two birds with one stone here: get rid of clutter while eliminating hiding places for pests. Rodents often like to burrow into areas of the home that collect piles and clutter, such as basements and attics. Getting rid of boxes and unused clothes and blankets will deter pests from getting too cozy. You might also want to consider transferring any belongings into plastic storage boxes. Not only are plastic boxes an incredibly handy storage solution, but they can also stop pests in their tracks.
Be sure to prune tree branches and shrubs back from the exterior of your home to prevent pests from using them as a way to get on and in it. Also, keep piles of firewood, compost, and leaf piles far back from your home.
Finally, preventative pest control is one of the most surefire way to protect your home from unwanted guests. Please call us at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free in-home estimate.
Cockroaches have a tendency to elicit screaming and jumping on tables, and for good reason! Cockroaches are creepy and disgusting and are typically found in homes that are unsanitary (even though we know that they can make appearances in even the cleanest of homes). However, there are a number of insects that are often mistaken for cockroaches, including the water bug. There are many ways that the water bug differs from the cockroach, though. Read on to learn more:
Water Bug Characteristics
- Water bugs are generally bigger in size than a cockroach. A water bug is, on average, about two inches long.
- Water bugs have short antennae. Cockroaches are often identified by their very long antennae, almost the length of their body, as well as their six legs covered with spines.
- Water bugs can hold their breath for a long time and live and hunt prey in water. A cockroach prefers land and is typically found in dark, moist spaces.
- Water bugs are known for their ability to hunt down their food. In fact, once they’ve captured their prey, the water bug will inject it with an enzyme that liquefies its insides so they can suck out the liquid. Cockroaches, on the other hand, are scavengers and subsist on food and garbage that they find.
- Water bugs are known to bite if they are handled or feel threatened. Cockroaches are known to stay away from people and will hide if approached.
- Water bugs can fly and will do so from one body of water to another. Cockroaches can fly but they’re not particularly adept at it.
- Finally, and maybe most important, cockroaches spread disease and can cause health issues whereas water bugs typically do not.
Our pest control technicians are experts at identifying cockroaches and differentiating them from other insects. If you think you’ve seen a cockroach in your home, please call us at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free in-home estimate!
Here on our blog we often talk about how to get rid of the unwanted rodents, insects, and pests that may take up residence in your home. But, what about the four-legged creatures that already live in your home and are a part of your family? Unwelcome pests may cause your pet to get anxious and upset. Furthermore, it is important know how to keep you pets safe and healthy when pest control treatments and techniques become a necessity. Read on for some pet-friendly pest control tips:
Don’t Invite Pests In
First off, it is important to make sure that your home is always proofed against pests. Be sure to clean regularly, remove trash, and keep food sealed and in airtight containers. Remove any standing water in or around the home and fill in cracks and openings that pests may enter in through.
Choose Your Traps Wisely
When trying to catch rodents, snap traps are a popular choice but can be harmful to pets. Be sure to place them in areas that are not accessible by your pets or choose a snap trap that is enclosed.
Contain Their Food
Rodents love to eat your pet’s food Make sure your pet’s food bowls are always clean at night and only put down the amount of food that your pet will finish for the day. Eliminating this food source overnight will deter rodents from finding their way into your kitchen.
Make Your Pest Control Technician Aware
During your initial visit from a pest control technician, be sure to make them aware of what kind of pet, or pets, you own. Your technician will explain the procedures of the treatment that will be used and discuss answer any questions that you may. Please know that the safety of your pets is of our utmost concern and our treatments are completely pet friendly!
We at Freedom Pest Control love pets! If you are experiencing any sort of pest infestation and have concerns about how to deal with it with pets in the home, please give us a call! We can help you come up with a plan of action that is effective and safe. Please contact us today at 1-877-PESTS-55 for more information!
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!
As cooler temperatures are beginning to set in, pests are busy preparing for the upcoming winter. Many pests will do so by seeking warmth and shelter inside your home or place of business. One such pest is the spider because they have difficulty surviving in cold temperatures. The will head inside for protection against the elements and to seek out food as many of the flying insect populations decline due to the weather. Read on and get to know your common New England spiders:
The House Spider
The house spider is fairly common and is the type that one would typically find in their home. The house spider is small and yellowish brown in color with a rounded abdomen of about a quarter of an inch. They have eight legs, no antennae, and eight eyes. House spiders will create their webs in places of the house where other pests may also dwell, such as attics, basements, and other dark and cluttered areas. The house spider is certainly not dangerous, but its presence can be quite bothersome and alarming!
The Black Widow
Black widows are identifiable by their black body with a red hourglass shape their backs. Their bodies are rounded, they are about one and a half inches long, and they have eight legs and no antennae. They will typically hide in protected and cluttered areas like basements, garages, and crawl spaces. Though not extremely common in New England, the black widow spider does exist in the area and can be quite harmful. Their venom is toxic so please seek out immediate medical attention if bitten.
The Sac Spider
The sac spider is one of the creepiest looking spider you may encounter. They can have a leg span of up to an inch long, have a pale yellow color, and two rows of eight eyes. Unlike the house spider and black widow, the sac spider does not catch their prey in a web but prefers to hunt for their food at night. Though not typically aggressive towards humans, they will bite if threatened. Their bites are not harmful but are certainly painful!
If you’re experiencing a spider infestation, please contact us today at 1-877-PESTS-55 for more information!
Have you been outside in recent weeks and felt like there were a crazy amount of squirrels running around your yard, the parks, or darting across the roads? You may have even noticed an increase in squirrel roadkill. If so, you’re not alone and you’re not mistaken. Residents all over New England have been noticing a sudden surge in the squirrel population and there’s actually an ecological explanation for it. Here’s why:
Sudden Squirrel Surge
Fall of 2017 was a bumper crop year for acorns. If you have an oak tree in your yard, you may have noticed more acorns on the ground than usual. Bumper crop years happen about two out of every ten years and, during these years, there can be more than 250,000 acorns per acre as opposed to an average of 20,000 to 65,000.
This means that animals that survive on acorns, like squirrels and chipmunks, were able to really stock up last year, increase their fat reserves, and, in turn, improve their chances of survival over the winter months. Now, the squirrel population is high and this is the time of year when new litters are starting to venture out on their own in search of new territory and food.
Don’t be alarmed if you also start seeing more animals that prey on squirrels, such as foxes, fisher cats, hawks, and owls. Again, for these animals, more availability of food causes a population irruption.
Winter is Coming
Winter is coming, which means that this influx of squirrels will also be looking for someplace warm and cozy to spend the cold nights. Squirrels often take up residence inside attics via roof vents, chimneys, and roof edges. Once inside, they will build nests, create messes, make a lot of noise, and even chew on electrical wires.
We at Freedom Pest Control can help you ensure that your home is protected against squirrels and we are experts at squirrel removal. Please contact us today at 1-877-PESTS-55 for more information!
At the start of the new year, we shared some of the most commonly believed pest control myths. However, there are plenty of myths about pests in your home and, with the new school year beginning and colder weather on the horizon, we’d like to share a few more with you. Read on to find our whether your ideas about pests and pest control are valid or not. Then, give us a call to schedule your free in-home estimate.
You Only Need Bug Spray in the Evening
Even though fall is approaching, there is still plenty of time to spend outdoors. Most people believe that bugs and mosquitoes are worse at night and will apply bug spray as the sun starts to set. In fact, insects can be bothersome any time of day so bug spray is often necessary while the sun is still high in the sky. Those in areas where bugs are particularly virulent and who are in dire need of some new bug spray or repellant may want to check out and try this from Quantum Health to help ensure that they are not swarmed by the unpleasant little critters.
Cockroaches are Only Found in Dirty Homes
It’s true that cockroaches are typically found in dirty and unkempt homes. However, they are very resilient and may take up residence in a clean home as long as they have access to food and water.
Rats are Filthy
Though they are gross looking and undesirable house guest, rats are actually very concerned with cleanliness. In fact, they spend more than half of the day cleaning their nests, themselves, and their living quarters. Also, they have separate areas for sleeping and for going to the bathroom.
Fleas Only Live on Pets
Fleas are often found in the fur of dogs and cats. However, they can live for a long time without a host animal.
Only People with Pests Need Pest Control
The most effective form of pest control is preventative! Even if you don’t currently have a pest infestation, your home may not be completely protected against one. A pest control professional can help you pinpoint areas of the home that may be vulnerable to a pest infestation.
Call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55 today to schedule your free in-home evaluation!
It’s September and schools everywhere are back in session! Moms and dads are rejoicing, teachers are prepping for a new school year, and kids are thrilled to see their friends and show off their new clothes. However, for a school that has become infested with pests, the start of the beginning of the school year might not be so exciting or seamless. Schools provide pests with many nooks and crannies in which to hide and also offer a safe and warm place to live during the upcoming colder months.
School administrators should especially be on the lookout for the following pests:
- Flies buzzing around a classroom are distracting but, more importantly, flies are notorious for contaminating food.
- Cockroaches are not only creepy, but they can also trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks in children. They also spread many different kinds of bacteria including E. coli and Salmonella.
- Spiders are typically harmless but they can be bothersome, scream inducing, and can also be a sign of other pest infestations.
- Rodents can fit through very small spaces, sometimes as small as a dime, and can often times carry serious diseases. They can also leave behind gross droppings, make distracting noises, and emit terrible odors.
- Stinging Insects are very active in the early fall and their stings not only hurt small children, but can also cause allergic reactions.
The aforementioned pests don’t just target schools. They are also commonly found in office buildings, hotels, nursing homes, apartments, and a variety of other commercial businesses. Luckily, Freedom Pest Control offers commercial pest control services in addition to residential. If your school or place of business has been infested, please call us today at 1-877-PESTS-55 for more information!
If you’ve been outside late at night this summer, it’s likely that you’ve seen a bat or two flying overheard. Bats have gotten a bad reputation for being spooky, but they’re actually very interesting little creatures. Read on for fun five facts about bats:
Bats are Fast
Bats can fly up to sixty miles per hour!
Bats Live a Long Time
Some live for more than thirty years!
Bats Aren’t Afraid of the Dark
In fact, they can locate food in the pitch black! They let off high pitched sounds and find their way with echolocation.
Bats are Cheap Pest Control
Some bats can eat their weight in insects every single night!
Some bat species migrate south, just like birds!
…and Some Hibernate
Other bat species hibernate during the winter and often prefer to sleep it off in caves!
Bats can Identify Their Young
Even in a crowd of bats, mothers can identify their babies by their scent and sounds!
Bats can Fly
Duh! But what’s more interesting about this is that they’re the only mammals that can fly.
Bats Come In Many Sizes
The largest bats have a wingspan of up to six feet while the smallest weigh less than a penny!
Bats Don’t Want to Suck Your Blood
Contrary to popular belief, only three species of bats feed on blood – and they lap it up rather than suck it up!
Regardless of their interesting traits and characteristics, nobody wants bats to take up residence in their attic where they are known to hide and reproduce. Their noises may keep you up night, their droppings carry fungus that can cause lung infections, they are known for carrying rabies, and they can potentially contaminate your water.
If you suspect a bat infestation, please call Freedom Pest Control at 1-877-PESTS-55. Our experts can help identify and seal entry points and permanently rid your home of bats!
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!
Remember running around your backyard in the summer as a kid and trying to catch fireflies in a jar? This nostalgic summertime activity is still just as much fun and the little ones in your life will appreciate making these memories with you. Before heading out on your next firefly hunt, read on to learn some interesting facts about these magical little lightning bugs.
Fireflies Aren’t Flies
Fireflies are actually beetles and there are over 2,000 species of them. Only some firefly species will produce light and most of them are winged.
Fireflies can produce green, yellow, or orange light.
In order to produce their light, a certain chemical reaction must take place. This reaction generates light with very little heat and almost one hundred percent of the chemical reaction’s energy becomes light.
Firefly Light Serves a Purpose
Some firefly species use their light as a way to attract a mate. Male fireflies will emit a flashing pattern that is specific to its species and an interested female will respond with a single flash.
As part of their defense system, fireflies don’t taste very good to their predators. Therefore, predators will avoid fireflies after an initial taste.
The Firefly Population is Declining
Fireflies are not be as populous as they once were. This is due mainly to light pollution and commercial development. Fireflies don’t migrate if their habitat is developed and will, in turn, disappear in that particular area. So, if you do go firefly hunting, be sure to catch them in a jar that has holes in the lid and release them after a short time.
Fireflies are interesting and fascinating little beetles to witness flying around your backyard. However, a true beetle infestation is not so fun to deal with. We at Freedom Pest Control are here to help if you do find your yard being overtaken with beetles, or any other pest. Please call us at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free estimate today!
Summertime is prime time for gardening and, these days, more and more Americans are trying their hand at growing their own vegetables. There’s not better feeling than walking into your backyard and picking your own fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. However, pest infestations and visits from larger animals can cause quite a bit of damage to your garden. Fortunately, preventing pests from overtaking your garden is easier than you think – just follow these five simple steps:
To keep pests off your plants, cover them with a floating row cover. Floating row covers rest on top of the plants or on wire hoops and is pinned to the ground. To keep larger animals, like rabbits and deer, at bay, consider building a fence or using chicken wire around the entire garden.
Rather than planting one type of plant in a long row, intersperse different types of plants and crops with each other. This makes it more difficult for a pest to find its host plant and should prevent it from returning.
Some insects, like ladybugs, prey on those unwanted pests. These beneficial insects are attracted to plants that provide nectar, pollen, and shelter so be sure to include flowers that fit the bill.
Give Some TLC
Plants benefit from some tender loving care! Provide them with their optimum growing conditions. The correct light exposure, amount of water, and soil will create healthy plants. Healthy plants are better able to withstand attacks from pests.
Make Smart Choices
Choose varieties of plants that are naturally able to hold up to and resist pests. Here is a good list to start with.
We wish you luck with your vegetable gardening this summer! But, if you find that your garden or yard has been completely overrun by pests, please give us a call at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free estimate.
It is officially summer and thoughts of swimming, vacations, and lazy days are on the brain! What you may not be considering is that, as the days are getting longer and hotter, summertime pests are becoming more active. These pests, including ants, flies , wasps, gnats, and rodents, are also looking to escape the sun and heat and often find refuge from it in and around your home. The last thing anybody wants to do during their summer break is deal with a pest infestation. Below are some simple steps you can follow to keep pests from invading this summer.
In the kitchen:
- Keep kitchen counters clean and free from crumbs
- Be sure to store food in airtight containers and on higher shelves
- Don’t let dirty dishes pile up in the sink
- Take trash out on a regular basis
- Don’t leave pet food dishes out all day
- Keep fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator whenever possible and throw them away when they become overripe
In the basement and/or attic:
- Declutter and eliminate any piles of clothing or other items
- Keep basements and attics ventilated and dry
- Be on the lookout for holes in the walls and for possible hiding places
Outside your home:
- Maintain your lawn with regular mowing and trimming
- Keep firewood far away from your home
- Replace weather stripping around windows
- Repair any cracks, loose mortar, or openings around the foundation of your home
- Divert rainwater, sprinklers, and other sources of moisture away from your home
- Eliminate standing water
Most importantly, call a pest control expert if you suspect that you have an infestation or need guidance and support in preventing one. We at Freedom Pest Control have the knowledge and expertise to help you stay pest free this summer. Call us at 877-PESTS-55 or live-chat on our website with one of our customer service representatives today!
With spring here, and summer right around the corner, it is not unusual to find the occasional fly inside your home. These quick little guys often get into your home through cracks in a screen, open doors or windows, and behind children as they come in from playing outside. However, if you’re finding more than just a few flies in your home during this time of year, you may have a problem with cluster flies.
Cluster flies normally live outdoors but, in the late summer, they begin looking for a place to overwinter. They will gather on a sunny side of a house and, as night falls, they may make their way through cracks in windows or gaps in siding. They overwinter between the inside and outside walls of a home until the days get warmer and longer. This is when they may start to appear inside your home.
Beyond being annoying, cluster flies are generally harmless because they do not bite and aren’t attracted to garbage. However, if these flies are dead or dying inside your walls, they can attract other pests and lead to a much larger pest infestation problem.
Cluster Fly Characteristics
- They are sluggish and are often found clustering around windows and light bulbs because they are attracted to the light.
- Cluster flies are larger than they typical house fly
- Their bodies are a dark, non-metallic gray with a black checkered body
- Cluster flies overlap their wings when at rest
Cluster Fly Prevention
To keep cluster flies at bay, follow some of these simple tips: fill all cracks in and around the home, make sure that your screens don’t have any holes, install special fly lights.
Because a cluster fly infestation can lead to bigger pest problems, it is important to talk with a pest control expert about how to eliminate this problem. We at Freedom Pest Control can help you create and execute a plan of action. Call us at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your in-home estimate or live-chat with one of our customer service representatives for an instant quote!
A termite infestation is never good news and should be dealt with immediately upon being discovered. Termites cause billions of dollars of damage to homes and business on an annual basis. Nevertheless, termites and termite swarmers are quite interesting. Read on to learn more about these wood-eating menaces:
Termites, a relation to the cockroach, have been on earth for over 200 milion years
They have a varied palate
Some termites will eat just about anything that is made from plants, in addition to wood. Some have even been known to chew on plastic.
They shed their wings
When they set out to create a new colony, reproductive termites grow wings. Once the new colony is established, they shed their wings.
Workers and soldiers are blind
Because they spend their lives in dark, damp locations, the worker and soldier termites have no need for sight.
Termites never sleep and are constantly eating. This is one major reason why they are so destructive.
Even though they never take a break, a colony only eats about a pound or two of wood per day.
They like to tunnel
Rather than eating large chunks of wood at a time, termites prefer to eat in tunnels. This habit can ruin a structure.
Colonies work together
A structure with extensive termite damage has likely been caused by multiple colonies.
A queen termite lays millions of eggs in one lifetime
They’re head bangers
When a threat is detected, termites will bang their heads against walls to send warning vibrations to the rest of the colony.
We at Freedom Pest Control are experts in termite treatments. Please call us today at 877-55-PESTS to schedule your in-home evaluation today! Or, live-chat with one of our customer service representatives for an instant quote!
Spring weather was slow to arrive in New England this year so it’s likely that you’re still working to get your yard in tip-top shape. Before you dive into your spring clean-up and gardening, take a moment to consider how you can also prevent pests from taking up residence in your yard. Keeping your yard pest free will make it a more enjoyable space for you and your family and will also reduce the risk of pests making their way into your home. Here are some precautions you can take today:
Pest Free Yard
- Treat your yard to prevent against ticks and mosquitos. Our sister company, Mosquito Busters, can help guide you towards a method that is safe and effective.
- When considering your landscape design, keep plants and shrubs at least 18 to 24 inches away from the foundation of your house. Also, trim back trees and plants that might be too close to your home.
- Note damage that has been made to your lawn, deck, patio, or outdoor furniture over the winter. Damage may be a sign that pests have been present over the winter months. Our experts can help you to determine if you have an infestation problem.
- Use pressure treated wood when building raised garden beds, outdoor structures, and playground equipment. Pressure treated wood resists rot and decay, two things which attract pests.
- Make sure your mulch and wood chips are no thicker than three inches.
- Pests are drawn to piles of wet and rotting yard waste. Clearing your yard of leaves, twigs, and standing water will eliminate this problem.
- Remove dead trees, dying trees, and tree stumps before ants and termites find them!
- Finally, be sure to clean your gutters out at least twice a year.
Freedom Pest Control can help you determine if you have a pest infestation in your yard and can eliminate those pests. Call us at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your evaluation today!
Spring in New England means warmer temperatures, longer days, and the return of carpenter ants! These ants typically remain dormant during the winter months and begin to become more active as the temperature increases. Carpenter ants like to nest in moist or decayed wood and do not eat wood but, instead, chew it and spit it out. They’re name comes from the fact that they are skilled carpenters and make long tunnels in the wood in which they live. Carpenter ants prefer to eat sweet foods and meat scraps which is why we often find them around dishwashers, sinks, and dog bowls.
Even though an ant infestation can be incredibly frustrating and downright gross, carpenter ants are fascinating little insects:
In fact, they can lift things that are at least seven times their own weight
They’re good at finding their way home!
These ants leave behind a chemical substance as they travel and use their antennae to find their way back home. They can also recognize their fellow ants by the chemicals on their bodies.
Carpenter ants can bite and will inject acid into the skin, making for a very unpleasant experience.
As in, clean! Carpenter ants are very hygienic and keep their nests incredibly tidy.
They have a sweet tooth!
Carpenter ants are attracted to sweet foods like honey, syrup, and jelly.
Carpenter ants are one of the biggest types of ants and range from one sixteenth of an inch to three-fourths of an inch long. Queens can sometimes grow even bigger.
They can live a long time!
The Queens can live up to twenty-five years. Imagine how many millions of babies that an ant with this lifespan can produce!
Nonetheless, an ant infestation can cause damage to your home if it is left untreated. Please call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free in-home evaluation!