How To Prepare For A Bug-Free Winter

 

We often think of summer as the worst time to battle insects. But pests often invade our homes in the winter, searching for relief from cold weather and food scarcity. Nobody wants to spend the winter cold and hungry. Well, pests are no different. The change of weather is a common trigger for a home invasion by perimeter pests like ants, cockroaches, spiders, and crickets. So, start preparing now by learning how to bug-proof your home for a pest-free winter.

Seal Your Doors

Various insects and pests can pass through even the smallest cracks and crevices. For example, our doorways often have small openings at the door jambs and molding that bugs can exploit. Examine your doors, using caulk and weather stripping where needed, to seal your house from bugs. Home sealing for pest control also helps to keep your utility bills down by keeping the heat in and cold air out.

Add Screens

You probably have window screens to keep pests out of your house. But when was the last time you checked on their condition? Screen frames get bent, the screen can tear or develop holes, and rust can lead to openings that pests will march through. When you examine your window screens, check the vent screens, too. Because you don’t see them every day, they may need repairs to keep your home bug-free. Check them periodically throughout the winter to ensure they are still in good condition.

Maintain Your Yard

When learning how to bug-proof your home, you’ll see how vital yard maintenance is. Preventing pests from nesting in your yard is the first step to keeping them away from your home. This begins with trimming and maintaining trees and shrubs. Sick plants are a haven for many insects. Keep leaf litter, weeds, brush piles, and other garden debris cleaned up, so they don’t provide nesting sites for pets. Remove sources of standing water, and clean up any fallen fruits and vegetables to reduce the number of pests that seek refuge in your yard. This type of preventative maintenance can go a long way to keep your yard and home bug-free.

Repair Cracks

Track down any drafts of cold air, cracks, or weaknesses in your home’s walls that might serve as an entry point for pests. Repairing any cracks will help ensure you have a bug-proof house this winter. Rotting or broken wood, broken or chipped bricks, and cracked or chipped stucco can also provide openings through which insects can enter. Carefully examine your house’s siding to ensure there are no gaps or areas where bugs can enter.

Seal Around Pipe Penetrations

Typically, a gap exists in every spot where a water pipe penetrates a wall in your home. Pests can use those gaps to enter your home. Although the gaps were likely caulked at installation, caulk ages, dries out, and flakes away, which creates an opening for bugs. Inspect each pipe where it penetrates the wall to be sure the hole around the pipe is well sealed against pests. Similarly, air ducts that penetrate a wall, like those that separate your garage and house, should be inspected and well-caulked to seal the house from bugs.

Watch What You Bring Home

When thinking about how to bug-proof your home, note the ways that you could accidentally be carrying bugs inside with you. For example, when you bring in a freshly cut Christmas tree or firewood, insects could be coming along for the ride. In addition, fruit, plants from the nursery, and even the cardboard boxes your deliveries are shipped in can transport pests. Before carrying these items indoors, inspect them carefully and avoid storing cardboard boxes in your home. They are an inviting habitat for many insects, especially during winter months.

Store Trash Properly

In addition to removing any excess packaging or cardboard from your home, storing trash properly is another important part of maintaining a bug-free house. Trash provides food, egg-laying locations, and shelter for pests indoors and out. And any pests that have taken up residents outside your home, may eventually find their way in. So, putting a lid over your trash can and regularly emptying it is essential to minimizing the potential for pests to enter your home.

Use Only “Yellow” Lights for Outdoor Lighting

As you know, insects, especially nocturnal ones, are attracted to light. But did you know that the color of the light can make a difference when it comes to attracting insects? Studies confirm that more insects are attracted to white lights than to yellow ones. And they tend to stick around white lights longer too. The studies indicate that insects have trouble seeing yellow light, which means fewer bugs. Using only yellow lights outdoors may help reduce the number of insects that hang out around your exterior lights. And less bugs hanging around your doors and windows means fewer bugs trying to find their way into your home.

Keep Your Home Clean

This one seems like a no-brainer, but when things get busy, cleaning your home regularly can fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Many insects have essential roles in their native habitats, such as disposing of animal carcasses, rotted fruit, and fallen trees. So, it’s natural that they are drawn to spilled food, discarded paper products, and other messes that are part of regular home-life. Therefore, keeping your home clean and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule is an important part of how to bug-proof your home each season.

Cover All Large Openings

Now that we’ve covered many of the smaller details and have you focused and mindful about sealing, screening, and caulking every tiny crack and crevice in your home, it’s time to go big! Don’t overlook those big openings like the chimney and the roof vents. A fine gauge wire screen can prevent bugs and bigger pests from entering your home through these larger openings. Birds, squirrels, and raccoons see these entryways as an open invitation to ‘come on in.’ Although, the arrival of unexpected visitors during the holidays can be fun. These are not the kind of surprise guests we have in mind. So, to prevent a squirrel, bird, or raccoon from crashing your holiday feast, cover any large opening before the weather gets cold.

Ensure a Bug-Free Home with Mosquito Joe

Learning how to bug-proof your home each season is essential for effective pest control. But you don’t have to do it all on your own. Mosquito Joe can help keep your home bug-free this winter with perimeter pest control services. Our perimeter pest control is designed to keep all sorts of creepy, crawling insects out of your personal space. So, the only guests you have this season are the ones you invited.

And when the weather starts to get warmer, our barrier spray service and natural treatments will make the outdoors fun again for the whole family while ensuring your house remains a bug-free home. We offer comprehensive pest control solutions across the country and tailor our services to meet your specific needs. Learn more about how we can help you make your home and garden safe for your family and pets.

Call us at 1-855-275-2563 or schedule an appointment online today! We will be happy to arrange a free consultation so that you’ll be on your way to enjoying a bug-free winter.

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7 Tips on How to Prevent Ticks in the Yard

 
Ticks and the diseases they carry pose a threat to the health of your family and pets. It’s important to understand how to prevent ticks in your yard and what to do when you find them. As our winters warm, tick season is expanding, and preventing ticks becomes a bigger concern in more parts of the country. Let’s explore some essential information about ticks and the potential harm they represent. Then we’ll dive into our seven tips on how to prevent ticks in your yard.

First, Understanding Different Kind Of Ticks

Out of approximately 850 species of ticks worldwide — over 90 can be found in the United States. However, most tick species don’t bite humans, though they do feed on our pets. The ticks that are most likely to bite people and transmit disease are:

  • American dog tick also called a wood tick
  • Blacklegged tick, also called a deer tick
  • Brown dog tick
  • Gulf Coast tick
  • Lone star tick
  • Rocky Mountain wood tick
  • Western black-legged tick

Fortunately, tick-preventing techniques are equally effective for all varieties.

Why Is It Important to Efficiently Control Ticks?

It’s true that most ticks don’t bite humans, and those that do, don’t always transmit disease. However, don’t skip learning how to prevent ticks because you like your odds! Every tick bite sucks the blood from its warm-blooded host, whether wildlife, pets, or people. While doing so, they cut a hole in the skin to insert a barbed feeding tube.

If not removed, a tick will remain attached to its host, feeding on blood for seven to ten days. Unless the tick is removed properly, tugging stimulates the tick to salivate and regurgitate into the host’s bloodstream. Meanwhile, improper removal may cause the tick’s head and jaws to pop off the body and remain embedded in the host.

Even when they don’t transmit diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick bites get infected and can cause anemia for your family members and pets. So, let’s see how to prevent ticks in your yard.

7 Tips for Preventing Ticks in the Yard

The following tips will help you in preventing ticks in the yard and keeping your family and pets safe from these nasty biters:

  1. Cut down on hiding places for ticks by keeping the grass mowed, shrubs and trees trimmed, weeds pulled, and leaf litter picked up and discarded.
  2. Move swing sets and sandboxes away from wooded areas.
  3. Keep fences and other barriers to wildlife in good repair. A tick can ride in on an animal, drop off and be ready to bite your pet.
  4. Create a barrier between the lawn and garden areas and any surrounding woods by laying down gravel or cedar wood chips.
  5. Don’t overwater. Ticks are attracted to moisture.
  6. Keep bird feeders, bird baths, and squirrel feeders well away from pet areas.
  7. Schedule professional tick control services.

Additional Steps to Preventing Ticks from Biting

Most Americans who get bitten by ticks pick them up in their own garden. That’s why it is so important to learn how to prevent ticks in the yard. However, ticks are commonly found at most of our favorite outdoor destinations, including the mountains, the woods, and beaches. Let’s consider additional steps to prevent ticks from ruining your outdoor fun .

Know When to Apply Tick Spray

Consider using a tick-repellant spray with a concentration of 20-30% DEET. Several on the market are effective at preventing tick bites on hiking and camping trips for people and dogs. When it is tick season in the area, a repellant spray is an excellent way to protect your family on vacation.

Know Which Areas to Avoid

Do some basic Google research to learn whether you live, work, or vacation in an area with tick infestations. This knowledge can help you prioritize your tick prevention efforts.

Dress Accordingly

If you go hiking or camping in an area where ticks are a problem, wear light-colored clothing, so tiny ticks are easier to spot. Also, choose clothing that covers your skin, including long sleeves, a high neck, long pants with the legs tucked into your socks, full-coverage shoes, and a hat. Using a DEET tick repellant spray and then dressing carefully is the best approach to preventing tick bites while hiking and camping.

Remain Vigilant for Ticks and Bites

As important as preventing ticks in the yard is, it’s vital to avoid an infestation in your home. Take care to inspect yourself, your kids, and your pets when coming in from exposure to ticks. Shower or bathe to easily dislodge any ticks that have not attached. Then, carefully search for ticks, with particular attention given to the following areas:

  • Neck
  • Under arms
  • Behind ears
  • Behind knees
  • Inside elbow joints
  • Under hair and on the scalp
  • Inside the belly button
  • Around the waist
  • Groin area

When examining pets, run your hands along their skin, feeling for bumps. Check the spots listed above and your pet’s mouth, ears, and between their toes.

Have Routine Tick Control Treatment by a Trusted Specialist

A professional tick control service makes preventing ticks in your lawn and garden much easier. Together with our tips above about denying ticks a habitat in your yard will help to keep ticks from taking over your property.

Contact Mosquito Joe for Tick Control!

Mosquito Joe provides more than effective and efficient mosquito control service and flea control. We have also been providing reliable tick control since 2010. As a proud Neighborly company, we have made it our business to become the local pest control experts in neighborhoods across the county.

When you hire Mosquito Joe, you trust that your service will be done right and on time. Every visit is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise and the Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee!

At Mosquito Joe, preventing ticks from feeding on your family is our business. Call us today at 1-855-275-2563 or contact us online for a free quote or to schedule professional tick control services. We make your pool, patio, and yard safe for bite-free fun!

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The Green Homeowner’s Guide to Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Yard and Garden

 
A pollinator is any animal or insect that carries pollen from the male part of one plant to the female part of another. Some of the most popular examples of pollinators include bumblebees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats. Each species plays an important role in the pollination process, though bees tend to be the most relied upon.

Why Are Pollinators Important?

According to an article published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, “pollinators and pollination are crucial in the functioning of almost all terrestrial ecosystems including those dominated by agriculture because they are in the front line of sustainable productivity through plant reproduction.” These tiny creatures make such a large impact that, without them, our world as we know it would not exist.

Pollinators are so important that some companies — even those who specialize in insect extermination — have protection management programs in place to help safeguard the environment for pollinators and actively work to protect them.

The Relationship Between Pollinators and the Environment

Don’t be fooled by their name — pollinators do more than transfer pollen from flower to flower. The same article published on ScienceDirect explains that another role of pollinators is to “monitor environmental stress brought about by introduced competitors, diseases, parasites, predators, as well as by chemical and physical factors, particularly pesticides and habitat modification.”

Scientists can analyze these species to better understand the condition of the various crops vital to our food system. When they see signs of a decreasing population, it could be an indication of an increase in pesticides being used for crops. However, in more recent studies parasites, disease, and habitat modification have proven to have a larger impact than pesticides as more land is cleared for additional crops.

The decline in the bee population is so severe that various activists, scientists, organizations, and more made it their mission to spread awareness about the importance of this species. This has led to an increase in the number of bee conservation programs and activities that individuals can take part in to help prevent this vital species from going extinct.

Pollinator Conservation

Coming together both at home and within your community can help spread awareness about the importance of conservation. Protecting these animals and insects is vital to their existence and will benefit our ecosystem as well.

Finding ways to educate others on the benefits of conservation can help spread awareness and understanding about the importance of these species. If you have children, try to engage in more backyard activities, like building a backyard habitat, to capture their attention, get them involved, and teach them about the importance of pollinators. Involve them in the planting and maintenance of your family’s garden. Even suggesting the idea of starting a community garden can be beneficial.

One of the many benefits of educating your children on conservation is that it will teach them habits that will help them make eco-friendly choices as an adult. They can take what they learned as a child and apply it to their future — educating others along the way. Aside from personal development, planting gardens that attract pollinators has numerous benefits. For example, attracting bees and butterflies to your garden and community can:

  • Help signal when something is awry in the ecosystem.
  • Reduce the number of pesticides that are being used.
  • Provide educational opportunities.
  • Help foods and flowers thrive.
  • Contribute to the lifecycle of flowers and other plants.

How to Choose the Best Plants for Landscaping

Not all plants attract pollinators. Some may even do the opposite. This is why it is important to know which plants to choose for conservation landscaping. You will want to find plants that are in season and are compatible with your area. Let’s take a look at which types of plants are most attractive to the various pollinating species.

Bees:

  • Alyssum
  • Anise hyssop
  • Aster
  • Bee balm
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Butterfly weed
  • Clover
  • Coneflower
  • Cranesbill
  • Poppies
  • Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan)

Butterflies:

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Bottlebrush
  • Butterfly bush
  • Coral bean
  • Coral honeysuckle
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Firebush
  • Firecracker plant
  • Firespike
  • Gumbo-limbo tree
  • Horsemint
  • Jatropha
  • Lantana
  • Lion’s ear
  • Milkweed
  • Parsley
  • Passion flower
  • Pawpaw
  • Providing water to wildlife
  • Purple coneflower
  • Saltbush

Hummingbirds:

  • Beard tongue
  • Bee balm
  • Butterfly bush
  • Catmint
  • Clove pink
  • Columbine
  • Coral bells
  • Daylily
  • Larkspur
  • Desert candle
  • Iris
  • Flowering tobacco
  • Foxglove
  • Lily
  • Lupine
  • Pentas
  • Petunia
  • Pincushion flower
  • Red-hot poker
  • Scarlet sage
  • Scarlet trumpet honeysuckle
  • Soapwort
  • Summer phlox
  • Verbena
  • Weigela

Like the bee balm and sage, some of the plants are also great ways to help combat ticks and mosquitos.

Tips for Landscaping Maintenance

Just as it is important to purchase plants that attract bees and other pollinators, it’s important to maintain the land around them. Bees and butterflies get their water from puddles and damp soil. If your yard doesn’t allow for that, you may want to consider finding alternative ways to water them.

Installing ponds, fountains, creeks, shallow pans of water, or birdbaths can serve as watering stations for pollinators. However, if you choose one of these options, you must clean them often. Mosquitos and other pests and bacteria are often attracted to stagnant bodies of water. Cleaning a birdbath with a garden hose and non-bleach mixture is a great way to ensure the birds and bees are hydrated, without attracting mosquitoes.

Other ways to ensure your landscape is well maintained are to:

  • Mow often
  • Don’t overwater the lawn
  • Fertilize your lawn, trees, shrubs, and garden
  • Inspect your trees and shrubs for broken branches
  • Pull weeds often
  • Understand what type of soil you have

Pollinator-friendly gardens and habitats will require standard maintenance such as thinning, fertilizing, amending the soil, removing dead stalks, watering, and removing invasive plant species. When attracting butterflies and bees, you might also attract other insects and pests. You can deter these pests by investing in barrier spray services or an all-natural treatment option.

You can always discuss it with a specialist if you are unsure of how to properly maintain your landscaping.

Landscaping Alternatives for Rentals and/or Apartments

Those who live in a rental and/or an apartment may not have as much freedom with landscaping options as those who own their own home. But this doesn’t mean that they can’t have any of the flowers and plants listed above.

Participating in a community garden, making use of planters, and (if able) installing window boxes are excellent alternatives to landscaping while in a rental.

Alternative Ways to Shelter Pollinators

If you’re one of the many who have a difficult time maintaining a garden, don’t worry — there are still ways you can house pollinators without having to maintain landscaping. You can still do your part in the conservation process by investing in bee hotels and butterfly houses.

Serious gardeners and pollinator enthusiasts may even consider taking their conservation a step further and become their own beekeepers.

Beekeeping 101

Beekeeping is commonly taken on as a career. However, some may choose to pick it up as a hobby. But it isn’t as easy as it may look. Beekeeping takes a lot of time, patience, and dedication.

There are a lot of benefits associated with beekeeping. You can have access to an endless supply of honey, make various products out of beeswax, and help with repopulating the species.

However, along with the pros comes to the cons. Beekeeping can get expensive. You have to purchase the right clothing, smokers, hive tools, frame grips, and the bees themselves — all of which can cost on average around $300.

Beekeeping is a serious commitment. Before deciding what you want to do, you will want to be sure that you can provide the bees with everything they need.

Additional Resources and Further Reading

Here are additional resources to help answer any leftover questions about pollinators, how to attract them to your garden, and/or the impact they have on the environment.

Brochures:

Organizations:

Create a Pollinator-Friendly Environment

Creating a pollinator-friendly yard can feel intimidating at first. However, armed with the information above, you can confidently begin your landscaping journey with your pollinating pals firmly in mind. However, when dealing with pests like mosquitoes and ticks, it’s best to call in the pros. Your local Mosquito Joe has the training and expertise to help keep mosquitoes and ticks at bay for up to 30 days. We offer both traditional and natural barrier sprays that can help make your outdoor time fun again. To learn more or to get started, call us at 1-855-275-2563 or request a quote online today!

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How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Sandbox: Cinnamon!

 
A sandbox can create hours of fun for kids but sharing it with bugs is nobody’s idea of a fun time. If you’re looking for safe and effective ways to keep ants and other creepy crawlies away from the kids’ sandy playtime, cinnamon in the sandbox may be your solution.

This fragrant spice and pantry staple just so happens to be highly offensive to unwanted sandbox intruders. You sprinkle, they run!

While you may be hesitant to put pesticides and other chemical-based repellant products in or around the sandbox, cinnamon is child-safe, eco-friendly, and affordable.

Read on to learn more about keeping bugs out of the sandbox with cinnamon, so the kids can enjoy bug-free fun in the sand and sun.

Does Cinnamon Keep Bugs Out of a Sandbox?

Yes, cinnamon in the sandbox does more than creating a pleasant aroma. The strong, spicy scent also repels bugs—they want nothing to do with it! The spice contains eugenol, an aromatic compound commonly found in traditional insect repellants.

Bugs also don’t like cinnamon’s powdery texture, and cinnamon has chemicals that have been shown to kill mosquito eggs and repel adult mosquitos, making it a triple-whammy to keep bugs out of the sandbox.

Related Topic: What Are the Best Essential Oils to Repel Ticks?

How Much Cinnamon to Put in Your Sandbox

If you’re ready to add cinnamon to the sandbox, you may be wondering how much is enough. Sprinkling too much cinnamon in the sandbox can lead to eye irritation for the little ones who are playing in the sand.

For best results, start with one tablespoon of powdered cinnamon for an average-sized sandbox (typically 48” x 48”). Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over the surface of the sand and mix it with a rake to disperse the spice throughout the box.

Another natural bug-repelling option is to use cinnamon oil: add a few drops of the essential oil to a spray bottle full of water and spray the entire sandbox area. Once dry, the kids can jump in for bug-free sand play.

Keep in mind that although cinnamon will repel bugs, it won’t necessarily kill them. If you notice too many bugs in the sand, it’s a good idea to dump the sandbox, fill it with fresh sand, and add the cinnamon to prevent a bug infestation from reoccurring.

Added Cinnamon to the Sandbox but Still Got a Bug Problem?

If you’re overwhelmed by bugs in your sandbox, it can be a sign that your yard needs some pest control help. The trusted pest control experts at your local Mosquito Joe can help make your yard itch-free with natural barrier treatments that can last up to thirty days. Give us a call at 1-855-275-2563 or request an estimate online today.

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Mosquito Vision: Can Mosquitoes See?

 
Have you wondered about mosquito vision? Maybe yes, maybe no, but you’ve undoubtedly experienced first-hand that these pesky insects manage to bite at all times of the day.

Perhaps you’ve even heard some of the latest research that indicates mosquitoes are attracted to the color red. Before you throw out all of the red clothing you own, let’s dig a little deeper to uncover the facts behind mosquito eyesight. The truth is that mosquitoes use their sight but also olfactory senses (sense of smell) and thermal cues to find prey for their blood meals.

Read on to see if there’s any good strategy for avoiding their bite!

First, How Do Mosquitoes See?

The human eye has one large lens. Mosquito eyes have hundreds of small lenses called ommatidia. These enable the mosquito to see in several directions at one time and to detect movement.

Mosquitoes see in black and white and perceive outlines and shapes rather than crisp, clear details like humans. When they’re on the hunt, mosquitoes use their two compound eyes but also their thermal detectors (located in their mouths) to seek out the prey and move in for the bite.

When the mosquito flies within 15 to 50 feet of you—day or night—you’re on their radar, giving them the option of moving in for a meal. Of course, only female mosquitoes feed on blood, so absolutely no worries if you’re dealing with a male mosquito (not that you are likely to know either way).

How Many Eyes Does a Mosquito Have?

A mosquito has two compound eyes—one on each side of its head. Although there are only two eyes on each mosquito, their vision plays a major role in prey detection.

Can Mosquitoes See in the Dark?

Yes, mosquitoes can see you in the dark. They have excellent night vision and can detect objects at low light far better than humans can.

How Mosquitoes See Humans

Mosquitoes use multiple senses to “see” humans, including their sense of smell, vision, heat detection, and, yes, if you’ve been wondering, even carbon dioxide detection. The first thing that typically attracts a mosquito aside from them seeing you is an exhalation of carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes have sensors to detect CO2. Then, they use their other senses to zero in on the prey.

New research indicates mosquitoes are especially attracted to the color red, including the reddish aspects of all skin types. Human skin—regardless of the pigmentation—gives off a long-wavelength signal in the red-orange range. So, when exploring the great outdoors, it’s a good idea to cover as much of your skin as possible.

When Is the Best Time to Be Outside to Avoid Mosquitoes?

When it comes to the best time to be outside to avoid mosquitoes, it’s really a toss-up. With over 176 species of mosquitoes, some are active during the day, while most are active at dusk, dawn, or nighttime. In other words, there’s no great time to avoid mosquitoes.

If you’re outside, you can almost guarantee some mosquito may be seeking you out. However, the majority of mosquitoes venture out at night to avoid the sunlight that can dehydrate them or even kill them. The daytime poses less of a mosquito threat to you and your family members, but it’s still common to get a bite during daytime hours.

Related Topic: How Many Times Can a Mosquito Bite You?

Mosquito Eyes Freaking You Out? Give Us a Call

If you’re hoping to find a better way to escape mosquito vision to spare you and your family from itchy bites, there is a way. Turn to the reliable team at your local Mosquito Joe for the top mosquito-repelling solutions for your property, including natural barrier treatments. Give us a call at 1-855-275-2563
or request an estimate online today.

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