Tips for Taming Fall and Winter Pests

Fall and winter bring temperatures that, while keeping many insects at bay, bring larger mammalian rodents like squirrels and rats out of the cold looking for warmer climes.  They are happy to set up a new residence inside your home or other properties.  According to BusinessInsider.com:

 

“’Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter,’ says Missy Henriksen, an NPMA spokesperson. ‘But with many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests.’

 

These little punks are not coming to sing you carols.

 

Rodents carry all sorts of nasty diseases, like Salmonella and Hantavirus and can chew straight through wallboards and electrical wiring.

 

If you don't want to blow your holiday savings on bug busters, check out the NPMA's tips on simple, affordable ways to keep your home pest-free this winter:

 

·        Store items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than cardboard boxes.
 
·        Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
 
·        Install screens over chimney vents and openings.
 
·        Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
 
·        Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
 
·        Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
 
·        Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
 
·        Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks.

 

If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional” like Homestead Pest Management of West TN.

 

 

HPM is here to help you evaluate the extent of your pest issues, rid your West TN home and property of any infestations, and maintain a pest-free environment with ongoing routine and scheduled service.  Contact us today for more information about all our pest control services in West TN!

Banish Moldy Oldies in your Home this Fall with HPM

Crawling insectoid pests are not the only things that you need to protect your home from - mold and mildew from excess moisture in, under, or around your home can be a costly problem that can cause damage to your home and bring illness to your family.

According to Energy.gov:

"Properly controlling moisture in your home will improve the effectiveness of your air sealing and insulation efforts, and these efforts in turn will help control moisture. The best strategies for controlling moisture in your home depend on your climate and how your home is constructed. Proper ventilation should also be part of a moisture control strategy.

Before you decide on a moisture control strategy, it helps to understand that moisture or water vapor moves in and out of a home in three ways:

  • With air currents
  • By diffusion through materials
  • By heat transfer.

Of these three, air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower pressure areas by the easiest path available -- generally through any available hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents happens quickly, and carefully and permanently air sealing any unintended paths for air movement in and out of the house is a very effective moisture control strategy.

The other two driving forces -- diffusion through materials and heat transfer -- are much slower processes. Most common building materials slow moisture diffusion to a large degree, although they never stop it completely. Insulation also helps reduce heat transfer or flow.

The laws of physics govern how moist air reacts in various temperature conditions. The temperature and moisture concentration at which water vapor begins to condense is called the "dew point." Relative humidity (RH) refers to the amount of moisture contained in a quantity of air compared to the maximum amount of moisture the air could hold at the same temperature. The ability of air to hold water vapor increases as it warms and decreases as it cools. Once air has reached its dew point, the moisture that the air can no longer hold condenses on the first cold surface it encounters. If this surface is within an exterior wall cavity, the result is wet insulation and framing.

In addition to air movement, you also can control temperature and moisture content. Insulation reduces heat transfer or flow, so it also moderates the effect of temperature across the building envelope cavity. In most U.S. climates, properly installed vapor diffusion retarders can be used to reduce the amount of moisture transfer. Except in deliberately ventilated spaces such as attics, insulation and vapor diffusion retarders work together to reduce the opportunity for condensation in a house's ceilings, walls, and floors."

Homestead Pest Management of West TN has always offered vents, drains and plastic barriers as options for moisture prevention underneath your house to keep mold or fungus from developing. Contact Homestead Pest Management today to have a free underneath home inspection and get informed about all the moisture protection options applicable to your home. We are your West TN pest control experts, and we are here to help with all your pest control needs!

The Bugs of Fall

Fall is upon us, and the unique challenges it presents with regards to pest control in West TN are upon us, too.  Homestead Pest Management is here, too, to help meet those challenges head on!

Lorene Bartos, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator, has this to say about dealing with the bugs of fall.

"Fall is here. Now is the time to look around the home and do fall maintenance. By doing this you will help with the problem of the little insect creatures finding their way into the home.

"All animals struggle to survive in winter, so during the fall insects and arthropods will crawl in the cracks and crevices of homes to keep living. If a house is not sealed well, insects have a lot of space available to hibernate in during the winter.

"The best prevention method is to seal all cracks and crevices around the home with materials such as caulk and expandable foam. Door sweeps are used to create a weatherproof seal at the bottom of a door, but they also work well to keep pests from crawling inside.

"The effectiveness of chemical sprays is limited because today’s products aren’t long lasting. Some crawling pests, such as millipedes and spiders, aren’t greatly affected by sprays. Some pests, such as flies, ladybird beetles or boxelder bugs, fly and avoid perimeter sprays.

"Some common insects that enter homes include ground-dwelling insects and arthropods, such as spiders, crickets and sometimes millipedes. Other insects can enter higher up. These include boxelder bugs, Asian lady beetles and cluster flies. Flies can come into a house through cracks in siding or windows in upper or attic areas.

"Sticky traps or glue boards are a great way to passively catch spiders or crickets. The glue boards are completely non-toxic. Spiders and crickets tend to go toward dark areas, so place the glue boards in dark corners.

"The problem with other insects, such as the boxelder bug, is once they are inside a wall, nothing can be done about them. Boxelder bugs, flies and Asian lady beetles warm up inside of walls during this time, and when the weather becomes cooler they will venture out of walls into a home. Once these pests are in the walls, there aren’t many good options because walls can’t be treated.

"Another insect that can be a problem in the fall is the fruit fly. They can come inside when people bring ripe tomatoes and other garden produce into the kitchen. If the produce is ripe, it may have fruit fly maggots in it. Over time, an infestation may begin in a kitchen. Fruit flies are small, honey colored and have red or orange eyes.

"First make sure to get rid of the source of the flies. Get rid of any overripe fruits or vegetables or put them in a refrigerator. Make sure to check onions and potatoes — they are often overlooked. Once the source is eliminated, get rid of the remaining fruit flies by making a yeast trap. This yeast trap, made from yeast, warm water and sugar, creates carbon dioxide, which attracts fruit flies. It is simple to make and costs hardly anything. Find directions for making this fruit fly trap at: http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest

"The bottom line to prevent fall-invading insects is to take the time to seal all cracks and crevices. It will save a lot of energy and prevent insects from entering a home. If done diligently, it will save a lot of problems."

Homestead Pest Management of West TN can help you assess the current state of your home and property, and can assist you by developing a comprehensive plan of attack for ridding your home of unwanted pests and then maintaining its protection going forward. Contact us today for information about our services and to schedule  a home assessment!