Flea and Tick Control

 

Fleas

flea

With more than 2,000 different species of fleas, it's no wonder they're so abundant around the globe. So it's important to be prepared, whether you're at home or traveling with your cat or dog. Due to factors such as local climate conditions, the flea season as recommended by the Flea Index may vary from year to year. It should also be noted that fleas (in their various stages) can survive indoors during the cold weather months, therefore a monthly flea control regimen is recommended. Consult your pest control technician about flea prevalence in your area, how long it lasts and the recommended time to start your cat or dog on flea control.

Once you have decided you need to contact a professional to take care of a flea problem, here are some tips to help prepare ahead of time.

How You Can Help Your Family and Your Pet

What you do is critical for a successful flea control program. When you decide to use a professional service there are important things you need to do immediately before and after they treat your home and lawn. Flea control is a three-step process, home, lawn and pet.

Before Treatment:
  1. Observe where pets spend time-inside and outside the home.
  2. Take your pets to a veterinarian to be checked and treated for fleas. To help avoid reinfestation don't let freshly treated pets back into your home or yard until it has been treated.
  3. Vacuum carpets, floors, rugs, drapes, upholstered furniture, mattresses and cushions. Use a vacuum with a disposable bag and dispose of it by incineration or sealing in a plastic bag.
  4. Wash or dispose of all pet bedding.
  5. Clean or vacuum wood and tile floors with special attention to grooves, cracks and baseboards.
  6. Sweep porches, steps and decks
  7. Cut the lawn and remove debris and clutter prior to yard treatment.
  8. All unwrapped food should be covered or placed in cabinets or the refrigerator. Food preparation surfaces and utensils should be covered. Pick up pet bowls from inside as well as outside of the home.
  9. Be sure to remove all toys, decorative items, pillows and other items off the floor, including under the bed and closets, so that all areas of the floor can be treated.
  10. Cover fish tanks and remove birds and hamsters when the technician arrives.
  11. Make arrangements for everyone including pets to remain out of home and off the yard for approximately 4 hours after treatment to allow for area to completely dry.

 

After Treatment

Once your home and yard has been professionally treated, there are important things you need to do.

  1. All occupants and animals should stay off treated surfaces until they are dry.
  2. Vacuum carpets every day for 10 days and remove the vacuums bag outdoors and dispose of properly. Don't be alarmed if you see adult fleas when you are vacuuming. These fleas were in the pupa and egg stages, which aren't killed by the insecticide application. However, there is enough residual control to last up to 4 weeks. That's enough time to kill adults as they emerge and give good control in most situations.
  3. Wash food preparation surfaces and utensils that might have come in contact with the insecticide.
  4. Do not allow flea-infested pets in your home. If this happens, the house may get reinfested and retreatment will be necessary.
  5. Check all screening of foundation vents and other access areas to keep mice, rats and squirrels and other fleas carrying wild animals out.

 

Ticks

Ticks are relatives of spiders, scorpions, and mites. As such, their survival is dependent on a host (i.e., they're parasites). Specifically, ticks feed on an animal's blood or body fluids. The deer tick (Ixodes scapularis in the East & Midwest, and Ixodes pacificus in the West) goes through many stages during its lifecycle, and feeds on different species at each point.

Ticks begin as eggs (stage 1) that hatch into 6-legged larvae (stage 2).

tick

Larvae live and feed on animals (mice, deer, squirrels, livestock, and any humans who enter the tick habitat) for about a week before detaching then molting (shedding) anywhere from 1 week to 8 months later.

The larvae then become 8-legged nymphs (stage 3). Nymphs feed on animals, engorge for 3 to 11 days, detach, and molt about a month later (depending on the species and environmental conditions).

tick

Once the nymph molts, it becomes an adult tick (male or female). Ticks climb up grass and plants and hold their legs up "sensing" and "looking" for their prey. Ticks are attracted to their hosts by detecting carbon dioxide and heat through special organs located on the first pair of the tick's legs (Haller's organs). When a warm-blooded animal walks past, the tick can crawl onto them and begins feeding. Ticks insert their mouths, attach to their prey, and engorge themselves with a blood meal (stage 4). During feeding, tick saliva can get into the host's body and blood stream. Any tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi can then inadvertently spread this bacteria to the host.

Male and female ticks usually mate while attached to the host. A few weeks later, the engorged female detaches from the host and lays her eggs (1000 - 8000 eggs) on a leaf. A tick usually lives a year before dying.

(L to R) larva, nymph, adult male, adult female, engorged female

tick

 

Fruit Flies

 
 

There are over 4,500 species of fruit flies in the world. The genus Drosophilaincludes a large number of species of fruit flies belonging to the family Drosophilidae. Among these species, D. melanogaster Meigen, D. repletaWollaston, D. funebris (F.), and D. busckii are considered the most common species of fruit flies found inside buildings.

Although these flies are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables, they can breed in drains and wherever moist organic matter gathers. This makes them more than nuisance year round, especially where sanitation is an issue. Therefore, the key to successful fruit fly management program should involve the establishment of partnership between the location's sanitation personnel and the pest management professional (PMP) in charge in this facility.

Proactive approach is better. Start the fruit fly management program early before a big infestation is established in your place.

 

Management

Long-term management will not be accomplished without these four steps:

  1. Locating larva feeding areas
  2. Removing breeding areas
  3. Using pesticides
  4. Preventing and excluding future infestations.

Inspection
The early detection of any pest problems, including fruit flies, will save time and efforts. In areas where fruit flies are common pests, apply a regular inspection to locate all larvae feeding and breeding places. Because fruit fly adults can easily follow air currents, they could have several breeding places inside a structure wherever fermenting, moist and decaying organic materials are available. Anyhow, during the inspection, pay particular attention to the following common fruit fly breeding places:

  • Where fruits or vegetables are stored outside of refrigerators or coolers.
  • Recycling bins seldom used, emptied or cleaned.
  • Garbage cans, underneath and behind large appliances.
  • The film of debris that naturally accumulates in pipes, traps, sinks and drains.
  • Fermented dishwater from sinks, drain water from refrigerators or iceboxes.
  • Where the legs or feet of appliances, tables or cabinets touch the floor to locate any tiny amounts of organic debris that can harbor thousands of fly larvae.
  • Beneath counters and unseen boxes of stacked materials on a bottom shelf to locate rotting fruits and vegetables.
  • Empty tomato, ketchup, fruit and vegetable bottles stored in the basement.
  • Empty bottles or cans of vinegar, wine, cider and beer. Larvae feed on yeast of fermenting liquids.
  • Under floor mats.
  • All small cracks and crevices at floor level.
  • Dirty dried mops or brooms.
  • Cracks and voids behind liquor bars.
  • Any leaking pipe or standing water.
  • Outdoors, nearby dumpsters, garbage cans or in damp compost piles where fruits and vegetables are discarded.

Scorpions

Phoenix Scorpions
Although scorpions are thought of as having a deadly sting, cases of death by scorpion in the United States are extremely rare. But the presence of these pests on your property needs to be taken seriously.

Some people are allergic to the venom scorpions carry and may experience:
• Substantial pain
• Numbness in the area of the sting
• Nausea
• Difficulty breathing
• Convulsions (in rare cases)
• General discomfort and uneasiness

Important: If you are stung by a scorpion and there is the slightest indication of any of these unwanted side effects, seek immediate medical care.
Phoenix Scorpions tend to be most active at night especially if the temperature rises above 70 degrees. This is when they are the most dangerous and pose the biggest threat to your health and well being. During the day you’ll find them anywhere is it cool and moist. This includes under rocks and bricks, in wood (particularly fire wood), bricks, logs and in the bark of trees.

Most scorpions have the same basic features and are easily identifiable. Look for their lobster-like bodies, long tails and segmented abdomens. They can be brown, black, gray or green in color.

All Bug Guardian Pest Prevention technicians are fully trained to deal with the safe removal of scorpions. And like with other pests, once these pests are removed from your property, our technicians will inspect the area looking for any situations that are encouraging these pests to return including damaged window screens, loose fitting doors and windows, tree branches and shrubs that provide scorpions access to your roof and ground-level trash cans in cluttered areas (it’s best to place your trash and recycle bins on a platform at least six inches from the ground).

We highly recommend that you do not try to kill or remove scorpions from your property. In fact, it’s best not to disturb them at all. Their removal requires a trained technician with the knowledge of the different species as very specific methods of removal may be needed.

 

German Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common species of the cockroach. German cockroaches can breed at a rate of up to six generations per year. The German cockroach can fit through an opening as small as 3/8 inch in width.

 

Habits

German cockroaches will feed on almost anything, including soap, glue and toothpaste. German cockroaches are good hitchhikers and often find their way into new structures via grocery bags, cardboard boxes, drink cartons and secondhand appliances.

 

Habitat

German cockroaches prefer to live in warm, humid places close to food and moisture sources. They are frequently found in residential and commercial kitchen environments, and bathrooms. 

 

Threats

In addition to being a nuisance, the German cockroach has been implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Medical studies have shown that German cockroach allergens cause allergic reactions and can exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children. This makes German cockroach control incredibly vital.

 

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are a Small Pest Making a Big Comeback

Are you noticing itchy, red bumps after a night in bed? You may have bed bugs. Bed Bugs feed on the blood of humans and animals. These tiny pests feed mostly at night and live in cracks and crevices, making identification sometimes difficult.

Bed bugs travel well. They can be transported on clothes, luggage, personal items or even furniture. Bed bugs glue their eggs to surfaces which allow them to spread easily.

At first you may notice bed bugs around your bed. Once an infestation worsens, you may notice them spreading to your bed frames, baseboards, door casings, wallpaper and furniture.

Our Service

Bug Guardian Pest Prevention has extensive experience with bed bugs. Our service begins with a thorough inspection. We then recommend a treatment program that may include a pesticide application and recommend encasement materials. Our treatments are designed to meet the needs of your home or business and give you back your peace of mind.

 

Rodent Control

Rodents can be difficult to keep out of your property. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime and rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter. For proper rodent pest control, seal any cracks and voids. Don't overlook proper drainage at the foundation and always install gutters or diverts which will channel water away from the building. For serious infestations, contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention at 480-345-2847. 

If you do find signs of a rodent infestation in your home, contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of rodent control treatment.

 

Ants & Ant Control

With ants being the #1 nuisance pest in the United States, ant control is paramount to many homeowners.

There are more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., although only about 25 species commonly infest homes. Ants are social insects that typically live in underground colonies, made up of workers and a queen. Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets. Ants are easily identifiable due to their three distinct body region: head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae. Despite similar construction, ants vary in overall appearance. Small or large ants and brown or black ants are common nicknames for different species.

If you do find signs of an ant infestation in your home or business, Bug Guardian Pest Prevention promptly. We will be able to inspect your home or business, confirm the species of ant, and recommend a course of ant control treatment.

Wasp and bee control

Yellowjacket

Fig. 1: Yellowjacket

Baldfaced hornet

Fig. 2: Baldfaced hornet

Paper wasp

Fig. 3: Paper wasp

Honey bee

Fig. 4: Honey bee

Bumblebee

Fig. 5: Bumblebee

Wasps and bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Wasps, in particular, can become a problem in autumn when they may disrupt many outdoor activities. People often mistakenly call all stinging insects “bees.” While both social wasps and bees live in colonies ruled by queens and maintained by workers, they look and behave differently. It is important to distinguish between these insects because different methods may be necessary to control them if they become a nuisance.

Appearance

Wasps have a slender body with a narrow waist, slender, cylindrical legs, and appear smoothed-skinned and shiny. Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps are the most common types of wasps encountered by people (figs. 1, 2, 3).

Bees are robust-bodied and very hairy compared with wasps (figs. 4, 5). Their hind legs are flattened for collecting and transporting pollen. Bees are important pollinators. Honey bees are responsible for more than 80% of the pollination required by most fruits, legumes, and vegetable seed plants as well as many ornamentals that are grown in our landscapes. Bumblebees are important pollinators of native prairie plants.

Food preferences

Wasps are predators, feeding insects and other arthropods to their young, which develop in the nest. They are beneficial because they prey on many insects, including caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other pests. During late summer and fall, as queens stop laying eggs and their nests decline, wasps change their food gathering priorities and are more interested in collecting sweets and other carbohydrates. Some wasps may become aggressive scavengers around human food and may be common around outdoor activities where food or drinks are served.

Bees feed only on nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein) from flowers. Honey bees sometimes visit trash cans and soft-drink containers to feed on sugary foods.

Nesting sites

Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps make nests from a papery pulp comprised of chewed-up wood fibers mixed with saliva. Yellowjacket and baldfaced hornet nests consist of a series of rounded combs stacked in tiers. These combs are covered by an envelope consisting of several layers of pulp. Paper wasps construct only one comb without any protective envelope. These insects are sometimes known as umbrella wasps because of the shape of their nest.

Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps nest in quiet, out of the way places. Unfortunately, in urban areas this may conflict with people and their interests.

Yellowjackets commonly build nests below ground in old rodent burrows or other cavities. They can also build nests in trees, shrubs, under eaves, and inside attics or wall voids. Baldfaced hornets commonly build nests in the open in trees as well as under eaves and along the sides of buildings.

Paper wasps build nests under any horizontal surface and are commonly found on limbs, overhangs, eaves of buildings, beams and supports in attics, garages, barns, sheds, and other similar places. 

Honey bees make a series of vertical honey combs made of wax. Their colonies are mostly in manufactured hives but they do occasionally nest in cavities in large trees, voids in building walls, or other protected areas.

Bumblebees use old mice burrows, cavities in buildings, and other locations to make their nests. Like honey bees, bumblebees make cells of wax.

Life cycle of wasps and bees

Wasps and bumblebees have annual colonies that last for only one year. The colony dies in the fall with only the newly produced queens surviving the winter. The new queens leave their nests during late summer and mate with males. The queens then seek out overwintering sites, such as under loose bark, in rotted logs, under siding or tile, and in other small crevices and spaces, where they become dormant. These queens become active the following spring when temperatures warm. They search for favorable nesting sites to construct new nests. They do not reuse old nests.

Honey bees are perennial insects with colonies that survive more than one year. Honey bees form a cluster when hive temperatures approach 57° F. As the temperature drops, the cluster of bees becomes more compact. Bees inside this mass consume honey and generate heat so that those in the cluster do not freeze. As long as honey is available in the cluster, a strong colony can withstand temperatures down to -30° F. or lower for extended periods.

Wasp and bee stings

Wasps and bees sting to defend themselves or their colony. Stinging involves the injection of a protein venom that causes pain and other reactions.

Wasps and bumblebees can sting more than once because they are able to pull out their stinger without injury to themselves. If you are stung by a wasp or bumblebee, the stinger is not left in your skin.

Honey bees have barbs on their stinger which remain hooked in the skin. The stinger, which is connected to the digestive system of the bee, is torn out of the abdomen as the bee attempts to fly away. As a result, the bee soon dies. If you are stung by a honey bee, scratch out the stinger (with its attached venom gland) with your fingernail as soon as possible. Do not try to pull out the stinger between two fingers. Doing so only forces more venom into your skin, causing greater irritation.

Most people have only local reactions to wasp and bee stings, although a few may experience more serious allergic reactions. Local, nonallergic reactions range from burning, itching, redness, and tenderness to massive swelling and itching that may last up to a week. These local reactions can be treated with ice, vinegar, honey, meat tenderizer, or commercial topical ointment to relieve the itching. An allergic reaction may include hives or rash, swelling away from the sting site, headache, minor respiratory symptoms, and stomach upset. These allergic reactions are not life-threatening and can be readily treated with an antihistamine.

Very rarely, a person may suffer a life-threatening, systemic allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting, which can cause anaphylactic shock (fainting, difficulty breathing, swelling, and blockage in the throat) within minutes of being stung. These systemic symptoms are cause for immediate medical attention. People with known systemic allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings should consult with their physician to obtain an Epi-Pen™ or Ana-Guard Sting Kit™ to carry with them at all times. The venoms of bees and wasps are different, so having a severe reaction to a wasp sting does not mean a person will have the same reaction to a bee sting.