Thursday, September 27, 2012

Upgrade your pest control this fall

(ARA) – Where do bugs enter your home? The short answer: all over. Sometimes they crawl or fly in when windows or doors are open. They also slip in through cracks in walls or foundations, holes in window screens or crevices in the home that let in cables, wires and pipes. Most commonly though, they’ll drop right onto your roof and crawl through the tiny openings in your siding and air conditioning vents, right into your attic.
Attics are the one area of homes that go overlooked when pest-proofing, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). This can cause big problems. For example, cockroaches, a common attic pest, are known to “carry at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens,” according to NPMA.
How do you protect your home? Start with your attic. The NMPA gives the following DIY tips for preventing pests in attics:
* Attics should be kept well ventilated and dry by using dehumidifiers and ventilators.
* Keep any items stored there off the floor and in sealed plastic containers to prevent nesting.
* Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home.
* Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
* Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
* Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around attic windows.
They also suggest homeowners “pay special attention to the home's insulation” which not only keeps your home’s heat or cool air from escaping, but also helps keep invasive pests out.
However, what makes pest control in your attic such a challenge is that it’s a constant process. In fact, the NMPA recommends pest-proofing the forgotten rooms of a house on a year-round schedule.
And every year, many homeowners spend large amounts of money and time doing just that. If they aren’t doing it themselves, they’re hiring pest management companies to come out and do it for them, which can be costly.
An alternative option that provides a long-lasting solution for homes is now available for the first time though that may offer some relief from this ongoing process: pest control insulation. It’s a DIY project that can be installed over a weekend and will combat pests year after year with little to no additional effort needed on the part of the homeowner.
“Before this, preventative pest control had to be reapplied on an ongoing basis,” says Bruce Harned, director of marketing at GreenFiber, manufacturer of the OrkinTherm pest control insulation. “Now, you can purchase and install a long-lasting solution once to proactively protect homes against pests before problems arise.”
While there’s definitely an infestation point at which you need to call in a professional, the best defense is a good offense. There are several preventive measures and good quality solutions for superior pest-control that can be easily administered by homeowners over a weekend.

 Servall Professionals want to help prevent and get rid of all your pest problems! Contact us today at one of our four convenient locations or visit!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wildlife Poses a Growing Pest Control Problem for Homeowners

 In autumn, homeowners typically work to prevent smaller pests - notably rodents - from seeking shelter indoors from colder temperatures. Yet, other wildlife such as birds, bats, squirrels, skunks and raccoons often go unaddressed despite the fact that they can pose similar, if not more, serious health and property risks. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take necessary steps to prevent nuisance wildlife from accessing their home during the colder months.

As wildlife is not viewed in terms of traditional pest control, homeowners rarely consider the health threats associated with wildlife, which are numerous. Birds often harbor diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus and histoplasmosis, a respiratory disease often spread through bird droppings. Bats, raccoons and skunks are frequent carriers of rabies, which is potentially fatal if left untreated. In fact, as many as 40,000 people each year in the United States are exposed to animals that might have rabies, and must receive preventive treatments.

"Wildlife populations are increasing, even in urban areas. Although these animals play a critical role in nature, they also present many public health and safety concerns," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Homeowners should not attempt to remove an intruding critter on their own. Although appearing cute and cuddly, these pests can display erratic behavior and can bite, peck or claw if they feel threatened. Instead, remove your family and pets from the home and contact your local wildlife or pest professional."

NPMA focuses upon exclusion in preventing wildlife from accessing properties. Homeowners are advised to keep trash in fully sealed containers, be proactive in fencing off open areas, such as under a deck or capping chimneys, as well as trimming overgrown shrubs and tree branches that can provide highways into the home.

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

Source: NPMA Staff

Thursday, September 13, 2012

'Tis the Season for the House Mouse

It is rat/mouse season so be sure to keep your eye out for these creatures. The house mouse is the most common rodent pest in most parts of the world. It can breed rapidly and adapt quickly to changing conditions. Be sure to have your house checked regularly to help keep out the pests!

 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, September 6, 2012

A New Tick-Borne Illness, and a Plea to Consider the Insects

In the summer of 2009, two men from northwest Missouri showed up at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, tucked up against the Kansas border 50 miles north of Kansas City. The men were seriously sick. They had high fevers, fatigue, aches, diarrhea and disordered blood counts: lower than normal amounts of white blood cells, which fight infection, and also lower than normal platelets, cells that control bleeding by helping blood to clot. But they had none of the diseases that were high on the differential diagnosis, the list of possible causes that doctors work their way down as they try to figure out what has gone wrong: no flu, no typhus, no Clostridium difficile, and none of the serious foodborne illnesses — no Salmonella, no Shigella, and no Campylobacter.

The two men had one thing in common, though: About a week before being hospitalized, each remembered, he had been bitten by a tick.

From that memory — teased out by an alert infectious-disease physician who was called to consult on the illness of both men — has come an unnerving discovery: a heretofore unknown tick-borne illness, technically a phlebovirus, that has been named Heartland virus in honor of the medical center where it was identified.
The discovery was recounted in a “brief report” in the New England Journal of Medicine last week. The two farmers, who both recovered, are the first known victims. But local physicians, along with staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who helped analyze the cases with rapid whole-genome sequencing, are sure there are more. In NEJM, they point out that the cause of these two men’s illnesses was only discovered because the men were so sick that physicians needed to look hard at what was going on, and add:
Although these two patients had severe disease, the incidence of infection with the novel virus and range of disease severity are currently unknown. Given the largely nonspecific symptoms observed, this virus could be a more common cause of human illness than is currently recognized.
There are two things worth thinking about in this report. The first is that it reinforces something that we tend to forget: Significant new diseases are startlingly common. In the past 40 years, at least one per year – sometimes several in a year – has been recognized for the first time or freshly linked to a causative organism. The World Health Organization published a list in 1996 (updated by the Journal of Infection in 2000). Some highlights, counting backward: There was Nipahvirus in 1998; H5N1 flu in 1997; new variant CJD (“mad cow”) in 1996; Hendravirus in 1995; Sabia virus (the cause of Brazilian hemorrhagic fever) in 1994; and Sin nombre (the cause of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome) in 1993. Going back to 1977, a banner year, there was Ebolavirus, Hantaan virus, and also Legionella, responsible for the 1976 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that made people wonder whether the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations were being attacked by biological weapons.

But the other thing worth thinking about is how many of those new diseases are vectorborne, transmitted by arthropods such as ticks or by insects such as mosquitoes. Heartland is one of three new tick-borne diseases identified just in the past two years, preceded by Noerlichia mikurensis in Sweden in 2010 and severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) in China last year. In the United States, Lyme disease is thought of as the major tickborne bad actor — but over the past two years, health authorities have been coming to grips with the unappreciated toll of other tick-related diseases, including erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, STARI, and babesiosis, which is moving into the blood supply. That’s not even to mention the toll of long-standing insect-borne diseases: malaria, one of the top five infectious killers in the world, along with rapidly rising dengue.

When we indulge in cultural fascination with scary new diseases, we tend to look to the animal kingdom — bats in the movie Contagion, whose scenario was based on the discovery of Nipahvirus, or monkeys in just about any account of Ebola. Like Gulliver among the Lilliputians, we have difficulty believing we can be brought down by something we can barely see. (In some cases literally: The tick suspected of transmitting Heartland, Amblyoma americanum, is half the size of a sesame seed.) But this summer has already been marked by the largest West Nile virus epidemic since the disease was recognized in the Americas, in a new and more virulent form, in 1999. Heartland is another reminder that we seldom consider the risks from insects and arthropods, and that we should.

 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!

Cite: McMullan LK, Folk SM, Kelly AJ et al. “A New Phlebovirus Associated with Severe Febrile Illness in Missouri.” 2012. N Engl J Med 2012; 367:834-841