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3 Simple Steps to Green Pest Control

Earth Day - canstockphoto6028076This Earth Day consider how a few small changes to your pest control routine could make a big impact on our planet. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to eradicating pests. IPM has often been used in agriculture and the same principals are now being applied to homes and businesses. Instead of simply using chemicals to kill-off a pest, the IPM method requires that you identify the pest, alter the environment in which the pest is found, and use pesticides as a last resort.

The next time you are struggling with a pest infestation in your home instead of immediately reaching for the can of bug spray, be kinder to our planet and take a green approach to managing pests with these simple steps:

Step #1: Properly identify the pest. Before any steps are taken to control a pest you should be certain you know exactly what you are dealing with. Monitoring your home with glue boards or traps can help to catch and then properly identify the pest at hand. The internet, your local cooperative extension or a pest professional can help you to properly identify the pest. A monitor will help to ensure that you have a clear sample of what is in your home.

Step #2: Be sure your environment isn’t conducive to the pest. Try to identify where the pest is most likely entering the home. Mice can enter the home through a crack or hole the size of a dime and insects like ants can come in through holes that are even smaller so it is a good idea to check your home for cracks or holes that lead pests inside. Take special care to check around doors and windows. Attics and basements are also notorious entry points for pests.

Glue boards and monitors will help narrow down the possible entry points into your home. Placing traps along walls will help to find rodents, placing traps near windows and doors will be a better place for insects. It is ok to use as many traps as you like around your home to help you narrow down the pest’s entryway.

Besides shelter, pests will enter your home in search of food or water. Remove these two requirements and you will likely see a reduction in pests. Make sure that all food items are stored in containers with tight fitting lids. Glass and metal containers give you the most protection against rodents. Make sure to clean any crumbs or spills up as quickly as possible. Ants are especially attracted to sweat smelling liquids like soda or juice. It is also important to remove the trash from your kitchen frequently.

Step #3: If altering your environment has not worked to control the pest select an appropriately labeled trap or pesticide. Although the primary use for glue traps and glue boards is to identify where the pests are entering the home, many times traps alone can solve a pest problem. Traps are becoming more sophisticated. For example, the Catchmaster® Multi-Catch™ Mouse Trap can trap many pest animals at once. This product is easy to use and versatile. It catches between 10 and 12 mice per setting and can be used with the glue board or without the glue board (so that it traps the mice alive).

By using the IPM approach DIYers can now monitor their home and trap pest like the pros do! These green pest control ideas are easier on our planet and on you.

Checklist for a Pest-Free Spring

906_SilenTrap-0022webSpring will be warmly welcomed by many this year, particularly those of us living in cold climates. We know you are eager to get out there and enjoy the warm weather but a little home prep now will help ensure that your home remains pest-free all spring and summer long.

Below is a checklist of actions you can take to ensure that you will not have to share your home with pests this spring.

  • Check for gutters and downspouts. This has been a harsh winter, many areas have withstood frigid temperatures, strong winds, and snow. A harsh winter can damage gutters and downspouts that help to remove water from your home’s foundation. That standing water at the foundation of your house can encourage a variety of pests from termites to mosquitoes to rodents.
  • Check your home’s perimeter for items that attract pests. When you do your outdoor spring clean-up and planting pay special attention to both the variety of plants as well as the products you use to mulch around the plants. Cut back branches of trees and shrubs as pests can use them like bridges into a home. Pine straw and some types of wood chips are attractive to many kinds of pests but both cedar and cypress work well as natural bug repellents.
  • Check your window and door screens for damage. Do a thorough inspection of window and door jams and screens around the home. Any number of pests including flies, ants, and even mice, can enter your home through screens that have been damaged. It is important to repair or replace all screens that have tears, rips, or holes before the warm spring days encourage you to open your windows.
  • Check and replace pest monitors. Spring is the time of year when many pest animals make their nests and have offspring. Since both insects and mice are small, without the help of a pest monitoring system you might not realize they are in your home until there is an infestation. It is important to have pest monitors around your house so that you can catch pests quickly, before they are able to multiply. If you have pests monitors (like traps or glue boards) in your home already, check to make sure that they were not damaged by the cold weather this winter. If your monitors were compromised, or if you don’t have monitors at all, spring is an excellent time to get them.
  • Check to make sure spring decorations are not enticing to pests. When spring finally arrives it is fun to celebrate the season with new decorations. Decorating is enjoyable, but make sure the decorations you use do not tempt pests. Keeping spring candy, like jelly beans, out in a dish may look nice, but it can lead to a serious pest problem. Many pests, especially ants, are attracted by sweet food items.
  • Check your pipes. During the winter the water in pipes that are not properly insulated may freeze. The expansion of the water when it freezes can create pressure in your pipes that can make the pipes break or crack; in the spring, when the ice melts, the broken or cracked pipes can leak. When the break is significant it will be obvious to any homeowner, however, if the pipe has a small crack water may slowly drip out making it less obvious. The pipes that are in most danger of freezing are supply pipes in unheated interior areas like attics, garages, crawl spaces, and basements. Pipes that run against exterior walls that are poorly insulated are also in danger of freezing. If you have pipes that were poorly insulated during the winter make sure to inspect them for any small cracks. If cracks go unchecked your house will have a moisture problem which will encourage many different pests like termites, cockroaches, and mold.
  • Use that last coating of snow for the season as a roadmap to potential entryways to your home. A light coating of snow is great to “track” field mice and other small visitors that have found hidden entry points into your home.  This indicates areas where you need to do some structural improvements to exclude unwanted pests in the future.
  • If you have electrical service in the attic, install an inexpensive Insect Light Trap (ILT) like the Catchmaster Silent Trap.  Check this Insect light trap after the first couple of warm days in the spring. The ILT will be your first line of defense against lady bugs and stink bugs that are becoming active after a long dormant winter.

 

 

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winter home - canstockphoto1420223The cool fall air has moved into much of the country and we are sorry to say, but you are not the only one who is aware of the fast approaching winter. Bugs, mice, snakes, and other pests are looking for shelter from the cold winter months and a structure such as that of your home or business are ideal accommodations with a nearby food source.

Indoor pests can be a serious danger for homeowners as many can contaminate food and other surfaces around the home with their droppings. Mice and other rodents may even pose a fire hazard if they gnaw on electrical wiring within the home.

When it comes to pests, prevention is the key. A few preventative pest-proofing steps as well as on-going monitoring of the home is a smart and naturally “green” choice to help keep pests at bay this winter. Here are a few effective things that you as a homeowner can do to help prevent and deter pests from moving into your home:

1. Promptly address home repairs – If summer storms or years of wear and tear have left parts of your home vulnerable to pests then now is the time to repair them, before the winter weather arrives.
2. Investigate the perimeter of the home – Cracks in the foundation or walls of the home, older windows or door with gaps in the jams, broken screens and outdoor plumbing or vents that are not properly sealed are all entryways for pests and rodents into the home. Take the time to seal these access points before the cooler weather settles in and you will help keep unwanted guests out of the home.
3. Maintain landscaping – Trim tree limbs that extend near the home, cut back shrubs that touch the exterior of the building and remove ground cover near the home. Look at your outdoor landscaping from the eyes of a pest. Does it offer shelter from the elements? Or provide a highway onto your roof or near your home? If pests are living around your home they will naturally seek shelter inside of your home when the weather turns cold.
4. Have good housekeeping habits – Store food in tightly fitting, sealed containers, promptly clean up after meals and never leave crumbs or spills around the home. Pests are always in search of a food source and even come equipped with ways in nature to notify other pests when they find one. Keeping a clean home can also prompt you to notice an infestation early on which always makes control easier.
5. Manage water – All living things need water to survive. Don’t allow water sources around the home attract pests and other rodents. Leaky pipes, poorly draining gutters, a leaky roof and other water around the home can serve as a water supply for pests and rodents.                          6. Monitor your home for pests and rodents – Strategically placed glue boards can alert you to a pest or rodent infestation in your home. Fall is a great time to place fresh glue boards in areas of your home that are vulnerable to pests like basements, attics and areas previously infested.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a rodent infestation this fall check out our full line of rodent products available online at www.catchmaster.com.

Tips & Tricks for Using Fly Control Products Effectively

SilenTrap_vs_Zapper_by-Catchmaster -croppedThe hot summer weather often brings out the flies! Once you have a few flies indoors they can drive you absolutely crazy. Knowing that flies can breed quickly and that the average house fly lives two to three weeks, we are certain you want this problem solved as quickly as possible.

Indoor fly problems can be frustrating. What can be more frustrating is purchasing products to control the situation and not catching flies! Just as is the case with controlling any pest around the house knowing a little bit about the biology of the pest at hand can make all of the difference between solving your pest problem and simply being frustrated by the process. The following points are very important to know when using fly products and can assist you in catching much more of these annoying pests:

  • Flies will gather around places that they feed or breed. Unfortunately that room in a house is usually the kitchen, the room where you least want to see flies. It is also not a place to put a fly swatter to use nor is it a place that you should be spraying toxic chemicals. Green products for fly control are a must in food handling areas and fly glue traps are an excellent choice.
  • Flies like sunshine and light in general. When using fly glue traps or paper you will want to hang the paper in a sunny part of the room either near a window or door.
  • Flies also prefer higher parts of a room where the temperature is warmer. So hang your fly traps up high where flies are naturally drawn.
  • Depending on the environment, you may want something discreet. For those circumstances where hanging fly traps just won’t do, consider the Catchmaster SilenTrap Flying Insect Trap. This trap blends in easily to any indoor room, attracts flies with light, silently traps flying insects with glue, and eliminates the zapping sound and hygienic concerns that electrocuting traps make.
  • Never use baited or scented traps near an outdoor party. While they will kill flies they will also be attracting more flies to the area!
  • Fly Glue Traps are bright yellow to attract flies to them. Be extra careful when placing them. Hanging near a door that is often open and closed may actually draw more flies into your home.

We hope these tips and tricks to fly control keep your home pest free this summer and beyond. For more information about flies visit our blog on House Fly Control Tips.

 

House Fly Control Tips

HousFlies - CatchMeIfYouCanREVe flies are probably one of the most common pests that you encounter in your home. Perhaps you think of them as just a nuisance, grab your fly swatter and attempt to eliminate them. But having flies buzzing around your home, circling around your kitchen, gives the impression of unsanitary conditions. Not to mention that flies are just downright annoying to have around.

And, while house flies may look innocent as they buzz about around your home, beware! Those same flies that are landing on your kitchen counter where you prepare your food, or even on your dinner plate, most likely have landed in some sort of filth, fecal matter or garbage just moments before. Flies defecate constantly and even regurgitate their stomach contents to help break down and ingest food. These habits can spread diseases like salmonella, tuberculosis and more to you and your family.

When it comes to house flies, your best bet is to prevent them entering your home. Consider these House fly control tips:

  • Keep a clean home. Clean up quickly after eating and do not leave food scraps out or crumbs on the floor. Wipe down kitchen counters and food preparation areas immediately after eating or preparing food.
  • When eating outdoors always use fly-proof containers to protect food, utensils and plates. Prevent flies from landing on your food and related items to reduce the chance of contracting a disease from flies.
  • Eliminate entryways into your home. Seal cracks and crevices, fix or replace broken screens or doors and ensure that doors are closed tightly when people enter and exit the home.
  • Keep trash areas neat and tidy: tie garbage tightly when disposing of them and ensure lids fit securely to garbage cans. If possible, schedule a twice per week garbage pick-up. Regularly clean out the residue at the bottom of trash cans to eliminate fly breeding.
  • Clean up after your pet promptly both inside and out. Feces will attract flies to the area.

Once inside the home, House flies can reproduce rapidly and you will want to take measures to control them. Even if you are quick with the fly swatter, it certainly is not the most hygienic method of fly control, particularly in the kitchen and food prep areas where flies are most likely to congregate. There are a number of green and effective house fly control products to assist you in catching flies in and around your home. With careful consideration for the products you choose and strategic placement you could easily eliminate the bothersome flies that get into your home. After you control current indoor house fly populations put to use the tips above to prevent future infestations.

If you find yourself struggling with high populations of house flies inside of the home you may want to consider working with a pest management professional to determine the cause.

The Secret to Getting Rid of Stink Bugs Inside of Your Home

SilentTrap-StinkBugsStink bugs are an invasive pest species that were first discovered in the United States around 1996 in Allentown, PA. They are believed to have come from a shipment from Asia and have now spread throughout all 50 U.S. states. They get their name because they do actually stink if they are crushed and it really does just “stink” to have them around in your house, and we don’t mean in a smelly kind of a way, they are just the pits to have around. The good news is that stink bugs are nothing more than a nuisance pest, there is no evidence that they harm us in any way. However, for some homeowners, they can become a rather large nuisance if large populations of the pest accumulate inside of the house and are dropping from the ceiling or buzzing around light fixtures.

The biggest problem homeowners face when it comes to stink bugs is that once they are inside they can be difficult to control. If you hire a pest professional to service your house for stink bugs you may be told that you must get on an annual program that treats the perimeter of your home killing stink bugs as they exit your home in the spring and then again as they attempt to re-enter in the fall. This annual program that usually consists of three or four outdoor treatments will help to reduce populations of stink bugs indoors the following spring. The treatment schedule is certainly effective, however, not every homeowner has great patience when stink bugs seem to be popping up out of thin air and falling into their cereal bowl. In the meanwhile a vacuum cleaner and tissues to grab the stray ones will be your best friends.

If you are dealing with a good amount of stink bugs in your home and prefer to not have to constantly vacuum them up or grab with a tissue and flush then your best bet is a light trap to capture them. When selecting a light trap for indoor use ensure it does not make that familiar zapping noise every time a pest is caught, is decorative enough to use inside of your home and includes a light that will attract stink bugs and other indoor flying pests. The SilenTrap™ by Catchmaster® is an extremely useful tool that can easily be placed on a tabletop or even hung. It will attract and capture stink bugs and can easily be moved from one room to another or put away when you stop seeing the insects. To learn more about the SilenTrap™ by Catchmaster® and its many versatile uses, visit us online.

The Secret to Why Pests Love Your Home

HouseLove-BlogMuch of the country experienced a very wet winter and spring. We are hearing from the pros that all of this moisture is already resulting in a tough pest season. Rodents moved indoors to escape the harsh winter weather while ants, carpenter ants, termites and beetles are making pest control company’s phones ring early this year. But wait, what do the wet weather patterns have to do with pests in my home? Let’s take a closer look.

Pests need three things to survive: food, water and shelter. You probably already realize that cleaning up crumbs and spills and keeping food products sealed is essential to a pest-free home. And, your home naturally provides shelter. But, water and moisture are often overlooked attractants for pests into your home. If you think about it those areas of your home that have water sources are probably the same rooms where you see the most pests: a damp basement, kitchens and bathrooms are often the areas that pests are most often seen.

Water or moisture is often the reason that pests are attracted to a home. Some of the following common household problems are often overlooked water or moisture sources and can attract pests into the home and help them to flourish:

  • leaky pipes
  • damp basement
  • poorly draining gutters
  • ground slope around the exterior of the home
  • drip plates for household plants or air conditioners
  • poor ventilation

Now that you understand the important role that water and moisture play in attracting pests to your home you can do your  best to monitor water problems and address them quickly. If you have an area of the home that is always damp and pests are plentiful, installing a quality dehumidifier will help to reduce moisture and therefore, reduce pest problems as well.

The best way for homeowners to identify indoor pest problems and eliminate them quickly is to uncover a problem early. Monitoring your home for an infestation is the key. Our pest products online offer the homeowner a wide array of ways in which you can discreetly monitor your home for pest activity. Glue boards are a simple, green and economical way to uncover pest problems early and correct them. Monitor like the pest professionals do with a reliable line of glue products. Visit us online to learn more about how to monitor your home for pests.

Five Pest Prevention Secrets Every Homeowner Should Know

Vacuum Blog GraphicEvery home has some pests in it. If you experience ants in the kitchen, mice in the attic, silverfish in the bathroom or those big ugly crickets in the basement, you are certainly not alone. Pests are small and can slip through cracks and crevices making their way inside of your home fairly easily. Why is it that some homes have way more pests than others? Some homeowners know the secrets to keeping pests out!

We compiled the following list of secrets that some homeowners use to keep their home free from pests. A pest-free home is a healthy home and you can achieve it after knowing these secrets to pest prevention and what is attracting those pests into your home to begin with:

  1. Moisture. If you missed our last blog, The Secret to Why Pests Love Your Home, then you will want to go back and read it to understand that pests need moisture to survive. It certainly makes that Honey Do list look a little more urgent! Leaky pipes inside and out, clogged gutters,  gutters that drain at the foundation, a leaky roof, moisture around your foundation and a damp basement are all moisture and water problems around the home that will attract pests inside. Homeowners must promptly address water issues around the home to prevent pests.
  2. Vacuum Regularly. Yes, we know, it’s not anyone’s favorite chore! But those crumbs that your children are leaving around the table, the cobwebs in the corners, the food particles that fall behind the stove are all things that build up around the home creating a perfect storm for a pest invasion. Vacuum regularly. Doing so will reduce pest populations by eliminating spider eggs and food sources that attract pests into your home.
  3. Seal off cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home. Pests are small and can fit through the cracks and crevices near windows and door jams, at the foundation, near the roof and soffits, and certainly in the basement! So, grab that caulk gun and inspect your house. Caulk any opening into your home that pests may use to enter.
  4. Keep the landscaping around the exterior of your home well-manicured. Ground cover, overgrown tree branches and shrubs, greenery that touches the exterior of your home and heavy mulch near the foundation are all excellent harborage areas for pests. Pests that live directly outside of your home will look to enter your home through tiny cracks and crevices.
  5. Monitor for pests. One of the best secrets to pest prevention is monitoring what is getting into your home and taking quick action to control it. Strategically placed glue boards, glue trays and traps are some of the most important tools used by pest professionals to control pest populations in their client’s homes and is perhaps the most important pest prevention secret of all.

Put these secrets to pest prevention to work for you in your home or apartment. Taking proactive pest prevention steps helps to ensure you have a healthy and pest-free home. And don’t worry, these “secrets” are safe to share with your friends and family.