A rodent is a type of mammal characterized by large incisors on the upper and lower jaws. In California and in the field of pest control, most people will think of a mouse or rat when asked to identify a rodent. Rodents can be a pernicious and pervasive pest because they are relatively large, reproduce quickly, target food supplies, and carry many diseases that affect people. A rodent is characterized by its teeth, and people should be wary of being bitten. Many rats and mice carry potent diseases such as rat-bite fever, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and Lassa fever. Any and all bites need to receive professional medical attention immediately, and a dead rodent must be handled with gloves. In Escondido, the most common rodents are the Norway rat, the roof rat, and the common house and deer mouse.
The Norway and roof rats are two introduced rodent species that reproduce quickly and spread disease. Their teeth are extremely strong, and some rats can even bite through piping and construction materials in search of food. These rats range in color from brown to black to gray, and they have long scaly tails which form roughly half of their body. Each rodent is between 12-20in. long and nocturnal, meaning they will wander around at night to find food. Rats are a rodent filled with disease, partially from their bite and partially from the fleas which come with them. Rats will hunt for food in groups and have been observed returning to the same food source until it runs out. They are voracious eaters and will feast on most of the same foods that humans do. If a property owner sees a rat, they should not approach it and certainly should not handle it without protective gloves.
The second most common rodent in California is the mouse, specifically the house and deer mouse. These mice are much smaller than rats and typically measure between 6-8in. long, including their tails. They have large ears, small beady eyes, and fur which ranges between brown, white, and gray. Mice reproduce even faster than rats and have between 24-72 pups each year. Mice are also nocturnal and will search for food at night, although they typically eat at sundown and sunup. Like rats, mice are a rodent which carry many diseases and should not be handled without gloves. If a property owner sees one, they should avoid touching it and should call a pest control company. Mice primarily eat cereal grains, but will eat other foods if they find them. Home and business owners should be wary of open packages if they think they have a rodent infestation.
Rodent infestations are dangerous because rodents reproduce quickly and carry diseases that can harm and even kill humans. Their feces and teeth are unclean and dangerous, and property owners should avoid contact with rodents if possible. Home and business owners who suspect they have a rodent infestation should call a pest control professional immediately to discuss treatment options and receive a full inspection of the property.
A termite treatment is chemical or procedure used to prevent or eliminate termites. Termites are a common pest in the United States and California, and cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to buildings each year. Once someone realizes or suspects they have termites, they should call a pest control professional immediately for an inspection and potential treatment. There are several types of termite treatment available to help home and business owners combat the wood-eating menace before and after the termites find a property.
The first type of treatment is a preventative one. Many buildings now have pre-construction treatments or are built with wood that has been chemically treated to be toxic to termites. A pre-construction treatment could be an underground barrier placed throughout the landscape that doesn’t let pests through. If a property was not treated during construction, the owner can call a pest controller and have the technicians spray a preventative treatment around the edges of the landscape or near any buildings. These chemical treatments need to be reapplied on a regular basis, but can help home and business owners avoid costly repairs down the line.
If someone does have a termite problem, they need to call a professional for a combative treatment. Most pest control professionals will perform two types of termite treatment: a spot treatment or a partial one. A spot treatment is used to control the termite population only in the location of the colony, and it usually involves the use of strong pesticides or poisoned bait made out of cardboard, paper, or wood. A partial treatment is when a pest controller treats a certain section of the property. Usually, this means the exterminator treats the central location of the termite colony as well as the neighboring region to remove any termites which could have escaped or are lurking nearby. They may use pesticides call termiticides, or they can use baits.
Fumigation is the final form of termite treatment. Fumigation is an intensive process that can only be done by a professional. Pest controllers with surround the affected structure with a special tent designed to prevent the chemicals from leaking into the air. Since many pesticides are toxic, this is an essential health measure. The most common pesticide used for residences is sulfuryl fluoride, which travels through the house as a gas. The gas seeps into every section of the home, including the wood where the colony is hiding. Pest professionals can measure out the exact amount of gas needed to kill the termite colony based on its size. Fumigation can take anywhere from 12-72 hours, at which point the tent is removed. A pest controller will wait for six hours and will test the structure’s air quality before allowing people back in.
These termite treatments vary in cost, but all are effective at preventing or fighting termites. Home and business owners should take steps to protect themselves in advance but, if this is not possible, they should know they have options. Many of these termite treatments require a professional, so people should be sure to contact a licensed company so they know the termites are managed effectively.
When a home or business owner begins to see tunnels in the wood around their property or on their buildings, it can be a bad sign. If a person sees tunnels, notices new structural weaknesses in their buildings, or starts to see bugs around wooden structures, it’s time to schedule a termite inspection. A termite inspection is carried out by a pest control professional, who helps determine whether or not a property has a new infestation. Almost all of the states from the United States have termites, with only Alaska being excluded from the menace. Termites cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage each year to commercial and residential properties and can mean a huge investment for a home or business. A termite inspection can either help clear a person’s mind, or it will be the first step to remove an infestation before it worsens.
Professionals will check multiple aspects of a home or business during a termite inspection. One of the first indications of an infestation is the presence of termite swarmers, or a winged variant of termites which emerge during certain times to form their own colonies. People don’t typically see workers or soldiers, so the swarmers are a huge clue that there is a major colony lurking in the wood. Another common sign is wood damage. Because termites like to eat the inside of wood, most home and business owners will not see the damage. A trained professional, however, can usually tap the wood and identify a hollow sound which indicates that the pests have been developing a colony out of site.
There are two other major clues during a termite inspection. The first is the presence of mud tubes. Termites create mud tubes out of dirt and wood shavings to protect themselves when they need to travel from one location to another. There are three different types of tubes: a working tube, and exploratory tube, and a drop tube. The working tube is used by worker termites to protect them while they gather resources. The exploratory tube was developed by termites who went looking for new resources, while a drop tube lets termites move materials. During a termite inspection, a pest controller can find these tubes to help them determine where a colony is located and how developed it has become.
The second clue during a termite inspection is the presence of mud around construction joints or on the surface of wooden structures. Sometimes, termites are vigorous in their activities and can thoroughly destroy the interior of a wooden beam or plank. When this happens, their tunnels can collapse. To protect their colony, worker termites will use mud to repair the damage, so they can continue to live in a home or business. During an inspection, a professional will be able to tell if the mud on a building is just a regular splatter, or if it was placed there deliberately by a termite colony.
Termites remain one of the most dangerous pests for a property owner to encounter. Thankfully, they leave some obvious indications of their presence if a person knows where to look. Home and business owners might be able to detect some of these signs, but a professional pest controller can perform a thorough termite inspection to determine if the property has a problem. To prevent thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to a structure, it’s best to have an inspection done immediately, so termites can be handled efficiently for everyone’s safety.
Bedbug bites are one of the first indications of a bedbug infestation on a property. Bedbugs are small insects which rely on the blood of humans and animals to survive. They are parasitic and thus need to eat from creatures, which they often do at night. The reason many people call them bedbugs is because a bedbug will usually find animals at night and have been known to lurk around beds because it is easy to feed on people when they are sleeping. Each bedbug is 5-7mm long and about 2-3mm wide. They can hide and fit into small places easily, and thus can be found in unusual locations like the space between a mattress and a box spring or behind the panel of an electrical outlet.
Bedbug bites are small, red, itchy bumps that appear in groups or lines. This unusual structure develops because a bedbug will stop feeding when it’s disturbed and will move over to a new location. This means that when a person rolls over in their sleep, they might actually be causing a bedbug to bite them more frequently. Some people compare them to mosquito or flea bites, which look similar but have some different characteristics. Mosquito bites tend to be a little larger and will not appear in groups. They also will only be in spots that are unclothed, while bedbugs target easy areas on people like the back, stomach, arms, and legs. Flea bites are smaller, more frequent, and typically appear on a person’s feet and lower legs rather than the upper body.
When a person has bedbug bites, they might be tempted to scratch. However, people should avoid this temptation. Although bedbugs do not transmit disease, excessive scratching of bedbug bites can cause skin infections. Some people might also suffer an allergic reaction to the bites. In this case, the affected individual can apply an antiseptic cream and take an antihistamine to treat the lingering itchiness or swelling. People who suffer from an allergic reaction should contact a medical professional immediately for treatment. Symptoms of a drastic allergic reaction include the throat swelling shut, the development of a nasty rash, and extreme itching.
If bedbug bites start appearing, residential and commercial property owners should contact a pest control company to deal with the infestation. There are many treatments available on the market, but the most effective ones are heat treatment and the use of special pesticides which can poison and eliminate bedbugs in an efficient manner. Although there are some DIY methods, they are not as effective as professional pest control and can have nasty side effects if used in an inappropriate manner. To prevent future bedbug bites, call someone who can eliminate the entire population so customers and residents can return to their normal schedules.
Termites are a common problem in the United States. The majority of California is actually a part of Termite Infestation Probability Zones 1 and 2, meaning the chances of suffering an infestation are moderate to severe. Scientists have developed several methods of termite control to eliminate the pests from home and businesses, but many people don’t know how to use them properly. The first step in termite control is to identify what type of termites are plaguing a property through a thorough termite inspection. In California, the main types of termites encountered are the subterranean, drywood, and dampwood varieties.
Subterranean termites developed their name because they build their homes underground and will leave dirt near the entrances of their tunnels from crawling out in search of food. They eat wood with the grain and can commonly be found around properties. Drywood termites were named because they eat extremely dry materials with little to no excess moisture. They can often be found in the attics or upper levels of structures, and they absorb most of the liquid from their fecal matter, which results in dry pellets that are easy to identify. Finally, the least common termites are the dampwood termites. These pests like moist wood and like to invade places that have suffered water damage. They eat against the grain of the wood and are easy to identify in groups because they are one breed which lacks workers.
Once the type of termite has been identified, home and business owners can determine the proper method of termite control. There are no safe DIY termite control methods. People should contact an experienced exterminator who has handled termites before because many termite treatments require knowledge about a building’s structure. Amateurs might not be able to tell when termites have drastically weakened a structure, and termites can hide in a variety of places. A professional pest control company will usually use two types of termite control: liquid pesticides and baits.
Liquid pesticides are a form of pest control which can be applied to soil around properties. Some of the products in this category will kill termites who come into contact with them, while others will repel termites by creating a barrier that can’t be crossed. Bait termite control measures consist of edible products which are desirable to termites, including paper and cardboard. These are used in a similar manner to other baits. They contain a substance toxic to termites that will slowly kill them off because termites will pick up the food and try to share it with the colony. In most cases, home and business owners will need to use both types of termite control to handle a population fully due to the sheer size of termite colonies. It’s recommended that property owners not try to handle a termite infestation on their own. Calling a professional pest control company means that the termite control can be managed without unnecessary risks.
Many home and business owners might find a pest lurking around their property and try to determine what it is. In quite a few cases, the pest will be a bed bug, one of the most common nuisances in the United States and around the world. A bed bug is a small insect that is usually 5-7mm long and 2-3mm wide. Image 1 is a picture of a bed bug that shows some of their more defining characteristics, including their flat, oval-shaped body and muddy brown color. Unlike some other pests which are called bugs, a bed bug is a true insect with three separate sections that form its body: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen.
Image 2 is a picture which demonstrates just how little the typical bed bug is. The picture shows a bed bug standing on a dime, the smallest commonly circulated coin in the United States. Despite their size, bed bugs can be a real problem for property owners. They often live in groups and are parasitic, feeding on the blood of humans and animals. Their bites are red, swollen bumps that can be extremely irritating and itchy. When a bed bug goes to feed, it will often choose to eat from people who are sleeping nearby. People can find their bites in groups or straight lines, which are caused by a bed bug being disturbed during the feeding process. If someone moves and disturbs it, a bed bug will scurry over and bite someone in a new spot.
Bed bug bites do not transmit diseases. People will need to worry about the irritation and can apply an antiseptic cream to soothe any itchiness or lingering problems caused by the bite. In some cases, it’s possible for someone to suffer an allergic reaction to the bite. If this is the case, people can take antihistamines to deal with the swelling. If the reaction is severe, they should contact a medical professional immediately to receive treatment.
People who find a pest which matches these pictures should look into eradication methods immediately. Bed bugs don’t carry diseases, but they can be annoying and prevent people from sleeping at night. A bed bug doesn’t invade a property because it’s dirty, but is actually a common threat as people are able to travel more and can accidentally pick up the eggs anywhere they go. A professional pest controller can identify where bed bugs are living and create a comprehensive treatment plan to fully eliminate the pests before they get out of hand.
Rat poison is a form of rodenticide designed to kill rats. Many rat poisons are designed to be effective after a rat has ingested several doses or a few hours after a rat eats some of the toxin. Rats, like other rodents, lack the ability to vomit substances which make them sick and thus have a form of bait shyness. Instead of eating a large amount of a new food, many rats will instead eat a little and then wait to see if it makes them sick. Other rats will notice this behavior and will also wait to eat some of the food. If the rat who ingested the material dies, then the others won’t touch it. Many makers of rat poison keep this in mind and thus create certain toxins designed to be slow-acting yet effective.
Rat poison falls into two different groups: those that use anticoagulants and those which use non-anticoagulants. Anticoagulants are products which stop the blood from clotting, which causes internal bleeding and eventually death. Some examples of common anticoagulants include warfarin and bromadiolone. Non-anticoagulants do not affect the blood and actually cause different effects. For example, some will disrupt a rat’s nervous system, while others increase the amount of calcium in the blood, which causes organ failure. Both types of poisons are effective and can be bought from hardware and general stores. Because rat poison comes in different varieties, people will need to wait between 12 hours to 4-5 days for them to be effective.
People interested in purchasing rat poison should know that it comes in multiple forms such as bars, pellets, chunks, and blocks that are wrapped separately for freshness. Home and business owners should never use a rat poison if they don’t fully understand how to handle one because the substances are highly toxic to other animals, including humans and pets. Most rat poisons should be placed in areas that only rats will be likely to reach and should be monitored carefully to ensure other animals don’t encounter them. Although they sound simple, all forms of rat poison are dangerous for an amateur to handle on their own. To prevent an accident, it is recommended to contact a pest control professional to identify an infestation hiding place and demonstrate how rat poison can be handled in a safe manner.
Many home and business owners can find hundreds of articles discussing Do It Yourself (DIY) pest control methods and might struggle to determine what is reliable and what is not. It can also be difficult to determine whether or not products will work, and many people fail to control larger infestations with Do It Yourself methods. In addition, Do It Yourself procedures carry huge risks like accidental poisoning, mismanaging chemicals, and damaging property. This doesn’t mean that these methods don’t have advantages, but people should be aware of the hazards of doing it themselves. Below are some tips on how home and business owners can still manage pests without suffering from as many drawbacks that come with DIY pest control.
Rodents are a type of pest which consists of small mammals known for their large incisors. When people think of rodents, they might consider rats and mice, but many other common pests and animals are also classified as rodents. Squirrels, beavers, chipmunks and gerbils are different types of rodents and can be considered nuisance animals, although not as often as mice and rats. Because their defining characteristic is their teeth, home and business owners should be wary of being bitten by rodents. Both mice and rats are known for spreading disease through their bites, including ailments like rat-bite fever, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and Lassa fever. Bites should be treated immediately, and amateur pest controllers should avoid handling live specimens. Even if a rodent is dead, people should wear gloves or avoid as much physical contact as possible.
Rodents often plague properties out of a desire to find food. They’re attracted by the main resources of life, and will choose homes which provide adequate shelter, food, and water. Because of these standards, homes and businesses with open food containers, standing water, crevices in the walls, and food messes will attract many different rodents. In California, the most common rodents are rats and mice, which have been known to chew through food containers and even parts of buildings to reach sustenance. The most common first sign of a rodent infestation is the presence of droppings, although chewed food packaging and rustling from the walls are other indications.
Rats are a commonly found rodent with a bad reputation. They are known for their bite and range between 12-20 in. long with scaly tails and hair that ranges in color from black to brown to gray. Many rat breeds will hunt for food in groups and will return to the same food source until it has been depleted. Their feces spread disease, and rats are known to be carriers of fleas and other pests that can also cause illnesses. Rats should not be handled by amateurs or people without gloves, especially if they are alive. They have strong jaws and can bite through packaging and weak structures to locate sustenance. Some breeds in California can even chew through pipes. Unlike mice, rats will eat almost anything edible they find and are not picky, although they are nocturnal.
People in California tend to encounter house mice or deer mice. Both are rodents which range in size from 6-8 in. long and can produce between 24-72 pups a year. Mice infestations escalate quickly because of their reproductive capacity, and they often find their way into homes and businesses in search of cereal grains and other edibles. Mice are characterized by their dark eyes and rounded ears. They are smaller than rats and less likely to bite, but can also spread disease through their feces or by contaminating food and water. Like rats, they are nocturnal and do not usually come out when people are awake. If someone sees a mouse during the day or when surrounded by people, this is a major sign that there is a large problem lurking around the corner.
Rodent infestations can be troublesome and turn severe quickly. The best solution is to call a professional that can locate all of the rodents quickly and eradicate their nests. Trained pest controllers can also handle rodenticides safely and efficiently and can find the best traps to use based on the specifications of a property. Rodents can be dangerous, carry disease, and even bring other pests into a home or business. It’s best to eliminate them as quickly as possible to prevent disease and protect the people on a property.
Pesticides are chemical products used to kill bugs or other organisms which can harm people, plants, and animals. Various pesticides fall into different categories and are usually designed to target a specific living problem, such as algae, bed bugs, or ants. Home and business owners usually have easy access to pesticides and can buy them at many general and hardware stores. However, people should do research before picking one which is right for them, and should know they cannot buy the strong products used by professional pest control companies. In the United States, the most common pesticides are plant protection products, insecticide, and rodenticide.
Plant protection products account for 80% of the pesticides used in the United States. Farmers and corporations spray these products on or near their crops to prevent a wide range of problems, including creatures who would steal food, plants which could take vital soil nutrients, and bugs who could destroy entire crops. This type of pesticide is bound by strict regulations by the EPA and continues to undergo scientific testing to limit toxicity and prevent mass poisoning of humans and animals who eat the crops. Most home and business owners have no use for these pesticides unless they have substantial crops. Instead, people are more likely to encounter general insecticides during their regular schedules.
An insecticide is a pesticide specifically designed to kill insects and other pests that people call bugs. Home and business owners use insecticides to combat invaders like ants, bed bugs, stinging insects, cockroaches, and many others. These products can be bought by the general population and come in three types: natural insecticides, inorganic insecticides, and organic insecticides. They are also classified by whether they have long term or short term efficiency. Scientists derived natural insecticides from other organic products like nicotine or neem. Inorganic pesticides tend to be made from metals like copper, while organic insecticides are actually organic chemical compounds. Home and business users commonly use this type of pesticide and have for millennia. People should be careful when purchasing this type of pesticide because many of them have residual environmental effects and are also toxic for humans and animals who ingest the product or come into contact with it.
The final significant pesticide category is that of the rodenticides. Rodenticides are pesticides designed to combat rodents like mice, rats, squirrels, and gophers. Many rodenticides are specially made to avoid rodents’ poison shyness. Many rodents will sample a food first and then wait to see if it makes them sick. If one rodent becomes sick after eating it, the others will avoid it. To get around this problem, rodenticides often will not kill their target pest until the rodent has ingested multiple doses. Like many other pesticides, rodenticides are toxic to humans and animals and have residual effects. Any animal which ingests a poisoned rodent is liable to become poisoned themselves.
Overall, pesticides are a useful tool of pest management and control. Home and business owners have many options at their disposal and can trust that each one has been approved by the EPA. People should be careful to read the instructions carefully and obey the warnings on the products. If someone does not feel comfortable working with pesticides on their own, professional pest control companies are great resources who can handle the products safely and effectively.
Jose D. has been providing pest control solutions to North County San Diego residents since 2000!