Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pest control services may help minimize mosquitoes on your property

 Consumer tips on hiring a pest control company for mosquito prevention

 Servall Pest Control would love to help protect you and your loved ones from any diseases that pests may bring! Call us TODAY and let our professionals eliminate all your pest problems!

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 75 percent of the West Nile cases reported this year have come from five states: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma.

Almost half of the cases have been reported in Texas. While there are many do-it-yourself steps consumers can take to protect themselves, there is also the option to hire a professional pest control service.
The main method of transmission for the West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. But there are many things consumers can do protect themselves.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests the following:

• Remove any standing water, including water that may be left over in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant trays.
• Replace outdoor lights with yellow ‘bug' lights which tend to attract fewer mosquitoes than ordinary lights. The yellow lights are NOT repellents, however.
• Make sure window and door screens are ‘bug tight.'
• Use EPA-registered mosquito repellents when necessary.
• Stay inside during the evening, when mosquitoes are most active.

Consumers may also hire a pest control service to help reduce the number of mosquitoes on their property. Pest control services can provide different methods of elimination, such as misting systems or pesticide sprays.

If you're considering hiring a pest control service, BBB suggests the following:

• Research the company and compare prices. Check any pest control company's BBB Business Review before signing a contract. Look at the company's rating, how it has responded to past customer complaints and any advertising issues it may have had.
Solicit bids from at least three different pest control companies before making a decision.
• Ask for an inspection. According to many experts in the industry, the first step in reducing mosquitoes is to find the source. A pest control company cannot put together an appropriate plan of action without identifying the source of the problem.
• Ask about the warranty. Some companies will provide re-treatment warranty, meaning if the mosquitoes come back and the problem worsens, they will come back out and re-spray at no additional cost.
Make sure you get any warranty in writing.
• Be cautious of guarantees. While pest control companies can help minimize the number of mosquitoes, completely eliminating the pests may not possible.
Be cautious of any company that makes guarantees claiming it can eliminate 100 percent of mosquitoes. This is a red flag.
• Ask about safety and risks. Because pesticides and pest control strategies could be dangerous to touch or directly inhale, be sure to ask the company about the safety of the chemicals it uses.
Let the company know if you have pets, children or sensitive plants as that may impact the products it selects for your home.
• Read the fine print. Carefully review any contract before you sign. If you've decided on a monthly treatment plan, make sure that schedule is included in your contract.

As always Servall Termite & Pest Control is here for all of your pest control and home repair needs. Contact us today at one of our four convenient locations or visit!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hot, dry summer drives pests indoors

The heat only makes pests more of a problem! Read this article from and remember to call your local Servall Professionals to prevent and get rid of ALL your pest problems!

There was a bright spot in the scorching, parched summer that sent scores of moisture-seeking pests indoors — at least the moles weren't too bad.

But expect them to resurface soon, local pest control experts say, and you may have seen some already. They'll create another headache for homeowners after months of higher-than-normal sightings of critters and insects, including the poisonous brown recluse spider.

"With the lack of water, everything's coming inside," said Rick Isenmann, owner of STL Pest Control. He's received so many calls for service that he has doubled his staff this summer, to four from two.
The summer of pests started early and hasn't let up, he said. Termites usually start swarming in mid- to late April, but this year they started in late February.

"The brown recluses are really bad this year because we really didn't have a winter," Isenmann said of the poisonous spiders, which usually die in cold weather. "It really never got really cold out, and they kept multiplying."

And the insects they rely on as a food source also fared well, meaning the spiders had plenty to eat, he said.
Brown recluses are nothing new — a study found them in about 70 percent of homes that were sampled in the state, according to the University of Missouri Extension. The six-eyed spider typically covers an area about the size of a quarter when standing.

But as their name indicates, they usually stay away from people, which is good. People who are bitten will see a small white blister at the site of the bite, which will swell and become hard to the touch, according to the extension service. The tissue dies and sloughs off, leaving a sunken, ulcerated sore.

This summer's heat drove spiders out of their normal hiding spots when attics became unbearably hot, said Jason Everitt, staff entomologist and technical director for Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions.
Stinging insects, such as yellow jackets and paper wasps, as well as bald-faced hornets, are also more common, he said.

Last week, Everitt and Shawn Stone, a Rottler residential technician, went to the Ladue home of Mary Dubuque to coat the house with a barrier treatment and to make sure her house is pest-free.

"We don't want to see anything in our house," Dubuque said, adding that her teenage daughters scream at the sight of any bug. This summer, they saw spiders (not brown recluses) in the garage and some silverfish, which are small, wingless insects.

Meanwhile, ants continue to enter houses in search of water, said James Trager, a biologist at Shaw Nature Reserve who researches ants.

Ants are likely to be found around plumbing. The most common type of ant spotted indoors is the odorous house ant, which is black, tiny and fast.

"If you crush one, you find out why they're called odorous. They're quite smelly," Trager said.

And they're tough — they're among the more drought and heat tolerant of the ant species in the area.
The lingering effects of this year's drought on insects down the road could be minimal, said Mike Arduser, natural history biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

"They can recover instantly," he said.

But there's a perk to the dryness — less standing water means fewer places for mosquitoes to breed.
"It has been the most mosquito-free summer I've ever experienced," Arduser said. "And I like it."

As always Servall Termite & Pest Control is here for all of your pest control and home repair needs. Contact us today at one of our four convenient locations or visit!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Prevention is the most effective form of pest control

Read this article by Mark R. Patterson about how important it is to prevent pests from invading your home! 

There is an old saying that "prevention is better than cure". As far as pest control is concerned, prevention should always be the number one goal, rather than allowing an infestation and then exterminating pests once the situation gets out of hand. A pest or rodent infestation can cause serious damage and any action taken thereafter is nothing more than damage control. The preferred solution is always to keep pests out in the first place. There are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that a residential or commercial building does not suffer the evil plight of a rodent or pest infestation.
Whenever the terms 'pest control' is used, people automatically start thinking about chemical pest deterrents and exterminators. However, pest control also consists of a number of basic steps that do not require any chemicals or toxins. Most of these steps are targeted to secure a property against pests and rodents; if they cannot gain access to a suitable habitat, there is no question of an infestation ever occurring. As far as pest issues are concerned, the number one culprit in homes and offices are loose fittings and cracks, particularly around the floor and baseboards. Even the finest of cracks are sufficiently big enough for ants and termites to find their way inside. All loose and cracked areas should be caulked and secured so that no pests can work their way into a house or building.
Most people may not pay much attention to it, but are surprised to find out the number of pests that can enter a residential or commercial structure through the plumbing system. Besides serving as an entry point for pests, the plumbing system can also play host as a breeding ground for insects, particularly mosquitoes. Just like cracks in the walls, insects can very easily sneak into the house via the cracks in a pipe. The plumbing system in a building should be inspected regularly for any cracks or leaks, which should be fixed as soon as possible. Similarly, leaky and drippy faucets inside a house should also be repaired or replaced. A big mistake many homeowners make is to remove drain covers or to replace them with covers featuring with large holes. It is not uncommon for rats and mice to work their way up drainage pipes and enter a house, so it's probably best to have suitable covers in place over the drainage pipes at all times. Also, any standing water around the house should be gotten rid of; water under the plant trays and from air-conditioning systems should be promptly removed before they turn into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Most of time, pests and rodents infest a house only if there is a steady source of nutrition available. Cutting off access to any food will dissuade pests from setting up shop inside a home or office. Food should not be left lying around, not even pet food. Garbage bins should seal properly and all garbage should be disposed of at least once a week.
Professional pest exterminators can spray a protective layer to prevent pests from entering a structure. However, the basic steps have to be followed in conjunction with chemicals for pest control to claim to be effective.

As always Servall Termite & Pest Control is here for all of your pest control and home repair needs. Contact us today at one of our four convenient locations or visit! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bugs like it hot: Record heat kicks insects into high gear

As if this summer isn't bad enough already, the unusual warmth is turning bugs extra frisky.

We're calling it a breeding bonanza," says Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association.
Across the country, as a result of record heat, pests from grasshoppers to crickets and ants to bees are arriving earlier and in greater numbers than usual, entomologists at HomeTeam Pest Defense say.
"We're seeing an increase in a lot of different pests right now," company entomologist Russ Horton says.
Pest controllers are battling grasshoppers in Texas, ants in Florida, and crickets and bees across the country, he says.
"Insects develop more rapidly with higher temperatures," says entomologist David Denlinger of Ohio State University. He adds that insects did well this past winter given the lack of intense cold.
Through June, the USA was sweating through its warmest year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
Insects such as grasshoppers and crickets can be a nuisance to homeowners, but they are "very devastating" in the agricultural world, Horton says.
As harvesting season nears, the ongoing hot, dry weather could have grasshoppers and similar insects feeding in greater-than-normal numbers on alfalfa, tobacco and some vegetable crops, says Lee Townsend, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky.
"Grasshoppers should be abundant, because the bacteria and fungi that normally provide natural control are not very effective under hot, dry conditions," Townsend says.
Grasshoppers are already plentiful in New Jersey because of the hot weather, says entomologist George Hamilton of Rutgers University.
And the most annoying summer pest of all, mosquitoes, are enjoying the warmth, despite the record drought.
"Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a quarter- to half-inch of water," Henriksen says.
Texas and Florida are two spots where mosquitoes are particularly bad, Horton says, because those two states have been both unusually warm and rather wet this year.
Forty-seven human West Nile virus infections, which mosquitoes spread, have been reported this year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One man in Texas died from the virus.
Drought can drive insects into homes: Ants, for instance, Henriksen says, will come into homes to find water.
"If they're not finding it outside, they'll come inside," she says.
If the warmth stays into the fall, insects will continue to do well until the frost comes, Denlinger predicts.
And beyond that, "if we have another mild winter, we'll continue to see more pests out there," Horton says.

As always Servall Termite & Pest Control is here for all of your pest control and home repair needs. Contact us today at one of our four convenient locations or visit! 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fleas Are Back: Are You Ready?

Do you have pets that are infested with Fleas? Read this article to learn all about fleas and how to get rid of them for good! Call your local Servall Pest Control to help prevent them! 
Fleas are extremely important pests. They can thrive on pets, like cats and dogs, and they can be very irritating to humans. Some flea infestations are severe, to the point that they can cause anemia, especially for kittens and puppies.
The most prevalent veterinary problem that they cause for some pets is “flea allergy dermatitis” or FAD. FAD is caused when the flea punctures the skin for a blood meal and injects saliva. The flea saliva sets up a severe allergic reaction in the pet. As a result, the pet is severely irritated and causes self-inflicted trauma. Bacteria invade the wounds, causing pustules. The fur falls out, the wounds scab over and the pet really looks terrible. This sequence of events can be caused by a single flea bite on severely allergic animals. Because your customers feel their pets are part of their family, they will be asking your company for solutions.
About the Cat Flea. The cat flea is the most important flea in the United States. It attacks both cats and dogs, as well as many other animals. The cat flea life cycle is different from rodent fleas, and control is based on the biology and life cycle. Adult fleas live on the host all the time and take up to 20 blood meals a day.
Larvae hatch from eggs and infest premises both indoors and outdoors. All of these areas will need treatment. The flea larva has long hairs that protect it from predation, and the larva can coil around carpet fibers so they are difficult to remove with a vacuum cleaner. Larvae are going to be found in highest numbers where pets spend the most time. A cat usually sleeps about 80 percent of the time so most flea breeding occurs close to where the cat sleeps. Of course, pet bedding and resting areas should be checked for flea feces and larvae. These places also are important locations for treatment.
The eggs are laid on the host, but they are smooth and not attached to the host’s fur or skin. As a result, the eggs fall off the host into the carpet, onto the floor or into the lawn. We had one cat in our lab that produced 10,000 eggs in 24 hours with only an infestation of about 300 to 400 adult fleas. At the same time the eggs fall off the host, adult flea feces also fall off the host. The adult flea feces serve as flea larval food. From the standpoint of control, areas with pet access are going to have flea eggs falling off the pet. Areas where pets spend the most time will have the most eggs and flea feces. All areas where pets have access must be treated to kill flea larvae as they hatch from the eggs and contaminate their food sources.
When flea larvae are mature, they pupate. The pupae are found close to larval habitats. The last stage larva will spin a silken cocoon and incorporate debris from its habitat so it is camouflaged. We used to grow flea larvae in white play sand, so our pupae were always white in color and looked like a pile of boulders when viewed with a magnifying glass. We have a bottle of 300,000 flea pupae in our lab, which is enough to kill six cats from blood loss. If the fleas pupate in an apartment where the previous resident had a pet, and the new resident does not have a pet, pre-emerged adult fleas will remain in the pupal cocoon up to three to six months or until stimulated to emerge. These pre-emerged adults are protected from treatments. We have taken flea pupal cocoons, put them in a tea bag and dunked them in spray mixtures in a pest control sprayer. The fleas survived the dunking and were able to emerge and bite the host. Many flea control failures are due to pre-emerged fleas being stimulated by new residents to emerge, jump on the human host and bite.
Adult fleas are well adapted for jumping onto a pet and moving through the fur. They can jump up to 50 times their height to get onto a host. They have claws on their tarsae for holding onto hair of fur. The diameter of the hair is important for fleas. They are not able to reproduce on humans because they use all their energy jumping and moving rather than producing eggs.
One of the signs of a flea infestation is adult flea feces. Flea feces usually fall off the animal, but a heavily infested animal with wiry fur can completely change color to blood red, because flea feces are a dark red color. Infested animals also usually have tapeworms. The tapeworms lay eggs into proglottids (egg sacs) that are mobile, crawl out the butt of the animal and fall on the ground. Flea larvae consume the eggs and the immature tapeworms develop in the larvae and remain in the adult flea. When pets groom adult fleas and swallow them, the tapeworms are transmitted to pets. Tapeworms also have been found in people who have accidently ingested infected fleas.

Cat Flea Control. 
Flea control needs to be an integrated program that includes customer cooperation, veterinary treatment of pets and treatment of infested premises by pest management professionals. Customer cooperation includes combing pets with flea combs, washing and shampooing the animal every two weeks, and vacuuming flea larval breeding areas indoors to remove flea feces, eggs and adults. Customers also can have carpets steam cleaned, pet bedding can be washed, pet bedding and floors can be washed, and wild animals can be excluded from the premises.
Direct topical treatment of animals is starting to fail, probably due to resistance in flea populations. Many products are registered for direct treatment and include oral medication for animals and spot-on flea products. Many of the spot-on products are now not in favor with customers because the treatment is put on the shoulders of the animals. These treatments are easily transferred to owners and children when they pet or hug their animal.
There are several techniques and products available for pest management companies. First, do not apply any topical treatments directly to pets. IGRs are extremely effective for flea control and can be applied to the entire pet living area, both indoors and outdoors. Methoprene is not photostable and can only be used effectively indoors. Pyriproxyfen is photostable and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
An effective three-step program for pest control companies involves 1) treating flea larval breeding areas with boric acid dust (e.g., Borid is registered), 2) IGR larvicide all areas both indoors with methoprene (e.g., Precor, Precor 2000+) or indoor/outdoors with pyriproxyfen (e.g., Nylar, Ultracide), and 3) registered residual pyrethroid plus synergist (e.g., Exponent, Kicker, Zen-prox) to all flea-infested areas.
Borate dust will contaminate the flea larval food with borates and kill larvae when they feed. Borate dust is a good way to treat pet bedding and cracks in floors to control larvae. An IGR can be applied in aerosols indoors to infested rooms. It only takes 10 seconds to treat 80 to 100 square feet and a full can will treat more than 2,500 square feet. Prior to the flea season, pyriproxyfen can be applied to outdoor breeding sites. These treated sites will stop flea larval development for up to seven months; so one IGR treatment can last a full season. Pyrethroid treatment of infested areas needs to have a synergist added to the spray mixture. The synergist blocks enzymes in resistant fleas from detoxifying the insecticides. The synergist makes the residual insecticide work better.
In the early 1990s, veterinarians took over the flea control business. Now their products are not working as effectively as in the past. The flea business is starting to return to the pest management industry. Are you and your technicians ready to take on the business? If not, you will be missing a great opportunity to grow your pest management company.

Hands-on Tips for Eliminating Fleas
Effective flea control is a challenge that requires a proactive, multifaceted approach that takes both time and effort. Effective flea control should encompass an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach both inside and outside of the customer's home. Successful flea control programs will include the following tips and techniques.
Flea Prevention. Customers and PMPs should follow these five steps:
1. Pet owners should examine pets daily and look for evidence of adult fleas and "flea dirt" (dried flea excrement). They should regularly use a flea comb to groom the pet.
2. Bathe and shampoo pets as instructed by the customer's veterinarian.
3. Use a topical flea control treatment recommended by the customer's veterinarian.
4. Both the customer and the PMP can use a vacuum to remove flea eggs, larvae, pupae and adults. Using a vacuum helps remove "flea dirt," an important food source for flea larvae.
5.The customer should wash pet bedding once per week. Wash in hot, soapy water and dry at the highest setting.

Dr. Phil Koehler is an entomologist with the University of Florida. Roberto Pereira is an associate scientist in urban entomology with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.