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Kill Bed Bugs Fast

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are bad news for homeowners and business owners alike.  Due to their small size and excellent instincts to stay hidden they often go undetected until it’s too late for DIY solutions.  Knowing what bed bugs look like, the areas they like to hide in and what bed bug activity looks like in those hiding areas is key to kill bed bugs fast.  Bed bugs can multiply quickly making early detection, swift action, and dedicated follow through extremely important for successful elimination.

What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

One of the reasons bed bug infestations spread so fast is because they are difficult to identify.  Depending on their stage of life, they can vary greatly in size. A baby, nymph, can be as small as the tip of mechanical pencil lead.  As if that doesn’t make it hard enough to spot they are also translucent until they have had their first blood meal. Can you imagine combing through a whole home or hotel room looking for a small clear speck?  Impossible!

Adult bed bugs can be easier to spot, but are still fairly small.  They are similar in size to an apple seed. A bed bug’s color will vary depending on how long it has been since their last feeding, but they are typically a reddish brown color.  Prior to feeding a bed bug will appear mostly flat. However, after a meal they will plump up and appear darker from the blood they just consumed.

Many people initially mistake a bed bug for a tick since they are similar is size and color.  However, there are a couple distinguishable features that will help you tell them apart. First, a bed bug will have 6 legs compared to a tick which has 8 legs.  The other main difference in appearance is bed bugs have a pronotum, fat neck for lack of a better description, where a tick doesn’t have a “neck” at all.  Acuratly identifying the problem pest is crucial to killing bed bugs fast.

Where are they hiding?

The other very important part of detecting a bed bug problem is knowing where they hide.  They are looking for shelter in areas of convenience and protection. Bed bugs are easy to smash and instinctively know to protect themselves by hiding in secure areas, but they also like to be close to their next blood meal.  Often times they will find hiding spots on the mattress or on the bed frame, but the bed isn’t the only place they will infest.  

Think about the places you spend the most time while being still.  Do you have a favorite recliner you sit in to read or watch TV? Do you spend long periods of time at your desk?  What about those waiting room chairs at your local doctor’s office? These places provide excellent feeding opportunities so bed bugs could be hiding in those pieces of furniture or in the hot zone, anything that is 2-3 feet around that area.  

How do I spot a bed bug problem early?

Once you know what bed bugs look like and where they like to hang out you will find it much simpler to spot a bed bug problem early.  Bed bugs will squeeze themselves into cracks and crevices for protection. Look along the seams of the mattress edge, the fabric folds on the corners of box springs and where the pieces of your bed frame meet.  You are not only looking for live bed bugs. You will also be looking for their shed molts (skin casings) and feces marks. The feces marks will look like someone took a pepper shaker to that area. Sometimes you can also find blood splatter in your linens if they were squished while trying to feed.

Widen your search out to the items 2-3 feet out from your bed, favorite recliner, office chair or other area of concern.  Bed bugs will hide in the seams and folds of curtains and drapes. They especially like to hide at the top near the curtain rod, in a nearby night stand or behind artwork hanging on the wall.  Other areas often overlooked are the seams between wallpaper or paneling. Also where the wall meets the baseboard or crown molding. They can even squeeze into a small hole in the wall where a nail or screw may have been previously.  

Can I kill bed bugs fast myself?

Your success rate to kill bed bugs fast will increase greatly if you catch the problem early.  If you can begin your DIY treatment methods when there are only a handful of bed bugs present and be diligent in repeating your efforts often to ensure elimination of stragglers it is possible to control them on your own.  However, it is very difficult to notice a bed bug problem until it beyond this point.  

Most of the time the people we end up performing bed bug treatments for have already tried all the over the counter products, essential oils and organic remedies they can find online.  They have thrown out or set fire to their furniture. They have replaced carpeting and even left the plastic on their newly purchased replacement mattress. However, they still can’t get rid of them.  They are better for a while, but they still linger on and eventually come back with a vengeance. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to give us a call.  

Have Yourself a Merry Little Pest-Free Baking

Preferred Pest Control shares tips for a pest-free baking this holiday season.

As the holidays draw near, families will begin spending more time in their kitchens baking festive treats and snacks. This popular tradition can quickly turn into a nightmare if you find signs of pests, such as cockroaches, rodents or pantry pests like beetles and moths. Once inside your home, pests can spread bacteria and contaminate food surfaces and ingredients. To ensure a pest-free holiday season, Preferred Pest Control, with the help of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), is sharing tips for homeowners to use to prevent pesky kitchen pests.

Preparing for a busy holiday season includes pest-proofing your kitchen and not just decking the halls.  Pantry pests such as beetles or moths can quickly infest the food in your cupboards and even contaminate the baking ingredients your family will use when preparing holiday meals this year. Other pests such as mice or cockroaches can spread throughout the house, causing an even bigger issue and headache for people.  Follow these tips today to ensure your holiday baking day is pest-free!

8 Tips to Stop Pantry Pests from ruining your holidays:

 

  1. Store food in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers.
  2. Always discard any food past the expiration date on the package.
  3. Sift through flour, sugar and other dry ingredients carefully before adding to your recipe.
  4. Routinely clean out pantries and cabinets, checking in corners for signs of pests.
  5. Check ingredients and food items to ensure packaging is intact before purchasing them at the store.
  6. Look for any cracks or holes where pests might be coming into your home and seal them shut.
  7. Keep a clean and crumb-free kitchen, carefully wiping up spills and sweeping frequently.
  8. Eliminate sources of moisture around the home, paying special attention to the area under the sink.

 

If household pests are a problem, be sure to contact us for help at 816-279-2000 or click here for more information!

 

Vampires Aren’t the Only Blood Suckers to Worry About this Halloween

It’s that time of year that we celebrate all things scary!  We love becoming a creepy spider or a blood sucking vampire for a night, but waking to a bed bug feasting on you or your children is a nightmare that many families face everyday.  Bed Bugs have been making a comeback for several years now and can be found just about anywhere. Over the years we have found bed bugs in a variety of places, from warming shelters to five-star hotels and everywhere in between.  Although bed bugs are tiny, they will make you feel like you are living in a house of horrors because they’re so difficult to find and eliminate.  Use the tips below to prevent and remove bed bugs so they don’t suck your blood this Halloween!

Tips to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation:

  • Get Rid of Clutter – Bed Bugs love small places and narrow crevices.  Removing clutter, especially around and under the bed, will minimize potential hiding places.
  • Don’t Bring Home Used Furniture – Furniture that has been disposed of could potentially be infested.  The couch may be free, but the cost of getting rid of a bed bug infestation will have you wishing you had purchased new rather than used.  
  • Make Your Bed – Bed Bugs prefer a messy bed, and when bed coverings touch the floor it is an immediate access point for bed bugs to climb into bed with you.
  • Move Furniture Away From Walls – This will discourage bed bugs from hiding in narrow spaces between your furniture and the walls.
  • Protect Your Mattress – Use a zippered mattress protector on your box springs and on your mattress under your mattress pad.
  • Use Light Colored Sheets – Using sheets that are white, or lighter in color, will discourage bed bugs from infesting your bed and make it easier to spot bed bugs, blood marks from feeding, their feces marks or shed skins.
  • Home Repair – Seal cracks in floors, walls, and ceilings.  Also repair peeling wallpaper. These areas make excellent hiding places for bed bugs.

Already suspect a bed bug problem?

While there isn’t fool-proof method for preventing bed bugs these techniques will make your home less susceptible to bed bugs and make an infestation much easier to diagnose.  Bed Bugs can easily hitch a ride in suitcases, on clothing and in other human belongings, allowing them to spread quickly and infest homes, transportation systems, offices and any other place where people gather. If bed bugs do find their way into your home, do not attempt to deal with the infestation on your own.  We’ve seen too many people put themselves in dangerous situations while trying to eliminate a bed bug problem. For peace of mind, it’s best to call us for a professional assessment and treatment options.  

For more information on bed bugs click here!

To schedule your FREE Bed Bug Inspection click here!

 

 

Keeping Mice Out This Fall



Mice and Rats may be lurking in the hidden areas of your home this fall.

This is the time of year when the temperature drops pushing mice and rats indoors for a warmer place to live.  Your warm home, office or even car can provide an excellent habitat for them to thrive. With a constant supply of food and water, plenty of places to build a nest and a controlled temperature they will make themselves right at home.  

In honor of National Pest Management’s Rodent Awareness Week we wanted to share the best ways to prevent mice and rats from seeking shelter in your home or workplace.  Want to know how to get rid of mice once they are inside? If so, read below for our best advice to the most common questions we get asked about rodents. 

How do I prevent mice from getting inside?  

It can be difficult to prevent mice from getting inside since they are able to squeeze themselves through an opening as small as ¼ inch in diameter.  That is a crack or gap about the size of a pinky finger! They often will find their way in through gaps around windows and doors, cracks and openings around the outside of the property or sewer lines. Take a walk around your property and look for the signs below to determine if you are making it easy for mice or rats to make their way into your home.

  • Remove debris such as weeds, wood piles, leaves and other debris away from the exterior of the property
  • Seal cracks ¼ inch or larger in foundation and walls with Rodent Stop®.  Also check around utility hookups for gaps around pipes and wiring.
  • Cover larger cracks, holes and openings with hardware cloth 
  • Seal opening around the roofline and gutters with metal flashing
  • Replace door sweeps and weatherstripping for a tight seal, especially around garage doors.
  • Ensure your windows close properly and the frame has a tight seal against the interior and exterior walls
  • Trim trees and landscaping back so nothing is coming into contact with any portion of the exterior
  • Dispose of food waste immediately. 
  • Keep outdoor trash cans and dumpsters located away from the exterior of the structure and have a trash service scheduled for regular pickups.
  • Store food, including pet food, in glass or metal containers.  While plastic containers will protect your food from mice, they will not stop a rat.
  • Adopt a cat or dog from your local shelter.  The scent of a dog or cat will be a deterrent.  Plus, they are excellent at tracking and even killing mice if they get into your home or building.

How do I know if a mouse has gotten inside?

If you are worried your home may already have a mouse or rat problem take a look at the list below. Here are some tale tale signs to search for:

  • Droppings – Mice and rats both leave dropping everywhere they go.  A mouse’s droppings are dark brown or black pellets with pointed ends.  They are similar in size to a grain of rice. The droppings from a rat are quite a bit bigger, ½ to ¾ of an inch long”, and are shiny black in color.
  • Strange Noises – rodents will often get in wall voids or above the ceiling.  When this happens you will hear scratching or rubbing noises coming from behind the wall, under a floor or above the ceiling.
  • Gnawed Holes – Mice and rats will chew through plastic, paper and cardboard.  Rats will also chew holes through wood, aluminum, improperly cured concrete, vinyl, plastic, mortar and even bricks!
  • Runways – Rodents will create pathways as they learn to navigate around undetected.  Look for a narrow cleared path along walls where debris has been slightly pushed aside.  
  • Grease Marks – When mice and rats are trying to find their way around they will rub up against walls, doors, baseboards, pipes, etc.  They will leave behind a greasy smudge in the areas they are coming in contact with.
  • Nests – Rodents will create a nest once they are inside.  They gather materials such as paper, insulation, and other soft items to shred and pile.  Look in corners of closets, under furniture, behind stored items and any other area that goes mostly undisturbed.
  • Pet Behavior – Both cats and dogs have sensitive enough hearing that they are able to hear a mouse moving behind a wall before you can.  If your dog or cat begins to pace near or scratch at the wall it may indicate they hear something stirring. Barking, whining and spinning in circles near the wall are also signs to pay attention to. Dogs and cats are also able to pick up on the scent of rodents. 
  • The smell of ammonia from rodent urine trails and nesting sites. 

 

What do rodents eat?

Mice will eat almost anything that you will eat, plus rotting produce, and insects.  Most commonly they will get into your stored food items. Keep your cereal, pancake mixes, nuts and grains in sealed containers to prevent them from chewing through the packaging.  They will even eat your pet’s food! Be sure to discard any food items that have already been compromised. Rodents carry loads of bacteria and can make your family and pets sick if they consume contaminated foods.

How fast can mice breed?

Baby mice are born in litters of 5 to 6 pups at a time.  It takes about 3 weeks for those pups to leave the nest on their own and begin hunting for food themselves.  Once they are about 6 weeks old they are able to reproduce. Their gestation period is 18 to 21 days making a new litter almost every other month.  With a life span of 2 to 3 years, a single mouse can produce a significant infestation quickly.  

How do I get rid of mice once they are inside?

If you have found evidence of mice in your home, office, barn, car or farm equipment swift action is necessary.  Putting it off for another day could expose you and your family to a variety of diseases that rodents carry. Below are 5 steps you can take to get mice out of your home:

1. Declutter – removing as many items from an area as possible will help eliminate their hiding and nesting sites

2. Clean– Mice can find the smallest of crumbs to feed on.  Vacuuming small pieces of food out of nooks and crannies and wiping spills and stickiness away will keep them from grabbing a quick meal. 

3. Seal food in air tight containers – This is important even for pet food.  While plastic storage options are great for keeping mice out of your food, it will not keep a rat out.  We recommend glass or metal air tight containers for the most protections against contaminated food.

4. Traps – There are a couple of different types of traps available.  Snap traps are an immediate kill when a mouse or rat triggers it.  However, it will leave you a rodent to dispose of exposing you to the diseases they carry.  Another option is glue traps which have an adhesive that sticks to the mouse as it walks across it.  This can be a cruel method since the adhesive won’t kill them and they will stay there until they starve to death.

5. Bait – There are a wide variety of rodent baits on the market.  All of them require taking proper precautions to avoid accidentally poisoning a pet, child, or other small animals.  Baits are designed to be placed in tamper proof bait boxes to prevent accidentally poisoning a child, pet or other small animal.  We strongly advise you to use an knowledgeable exterminator if baits are required. Not only is using an experienced exterminator safer, but their professional grade products will eliminate the infestation quicker and without having to suffer through the dead mouse smell that over the counter baits cause.

Where is the best place to put mouse traps and bait boxes?  

Trap and bait box placement will depend on if you are addressing a mouse or rat infestation.  Mice are curious and will gladly nibble on the bait right away. Rats are much more cautious. They know when something new is placed in their area and will avoid it.  Use these tips for success:

Tips for Bait Box Placement

  • Place on the floor along the wall or in a corner between potential nesting sites & food sources.
  • Make sure the opening is facing away from the wall or corner
  • Handle with gloves to avoid scent transfer & coming in contact with diseases.
  • Place mouse boxes every 8-12 feet, 15-30 for rats.
  • Open boxes to check activity frequently.  If no activity is occuring try moving that bait box to a new location.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike mice and rats, especially when it comes to sharing your home of office with them.  They are dirty and carry diseases. They ruin your food and can even cause structural damage. Now is the time to rodent proof your home so that you don’t find yourself spending time and money to clean your home and replace your groceries later on.  
Contact us at 816-279-2000 or dawn@toughonpests.com if you have additional questions about mice or rats!

 

 

Tips for Keeping Spiders Out

How to keep spiders out of your home this fall.

As Autumn begins to change and fall decorations begin to pop up, Preferred Pest Control reminds homeowners that a little pest-proofing goes a long way towards protecting your home and your health through the colder months ahead.  Spiders this time of year come in all shapes and sizes they are spinning their webs around in the most unsuspecting places.  It is very common to see spiders accumulating around your doors and windows, along your eaves and overhangs, on the kids’ swing set and other outdoor structures. As the temperatures begin to drop and we get further into fall spiders will want to move from those outdoor locations and into someplace warmer such as your basement, garage, storage area or even in the living spaces.  No place is off limits when it comes to a spider setting up its home for the winter.  

Although unsettling, spiders aren’t all bad.  They hunt other common household insects such as moths, beetles, and insects attracted to houseplants.  Spiders can also help control flies, earwigs and even cockroaches. Most spiders are harmless to people so they can easily be scooped up into a container and relocated outdoors. However, there are two types of spiders found in our area to be aware of.  The Brown Recluse and Black Widow spiders will bite if they are startled.  Be cautious when disturbing an area that has been left untouched for a while.  Boxed up holiday decorations, in the winter boots that were left in the garage all year, or under the leaves that get blown up against your foundation.  

When working in these spaces be sure to follow these tips and tricks to prevent bites and keep spiders out of your home:

  1.  Wear gloves and keep as much of your body covered as possible when working in landscaping or when moving stored items around.
  2. Leave outside lights off as much as possible to prevent drawing flying insects like moths to the exterior of your home.  Insects gathering around lights is like an all you can eat buffet for spiders.
  3. Seal cracks in your foundation and fill gaps around utility opening to keep insects and spiders from finding their way in.
  4. Clean regularly, especially vacuuming.  The power of most vacuums with be able to kill a spider and destroy any egg sacs that you come across.
  5. Add spider repelling plants around the outside of your home.  
  6. Place sticky traps in hidden areas.  This will not only stop spiders in their tracks, but it will also help you determine which parts of your home is seeing the most activity.  
  7. Reduce their food source.  Spiders feed on other small insects.  If you eliminate the other insects they are feeding you will get rid of spiders as well.  

This is a busy time of year for insects and spiders.  As seasonal pest invaders such as stink bugs and asian beetles arrive they will provide a bountiful feast for spiders.  Take precautions now to keep your home or office spider free this fall. Contact us today for additional help with spider prevention and control.

 

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