You do a lot to keep your home in order. It takes time, effort and attention to detail, and the last thing you want is a pest problem to upend all your hard work. Finding a rodent—or worse yet, multiple rodents—in your living space is enough to turn a good day bad, and worst of all, it’s rarely an issue that can be resolved overnight. Single rodent sightings usually mean more are waiting in the wings, and an infestation of rats or mice demands swift action. Keep these New Orleans rodent control tips in mind should you find yourself in this unsavory situation.
While some may choose to keep them as pets, it goes without saying that most would prefer to not see rodents running free throughout their homes. There are plenty of good reasons to feel an aversion, as even a single rat or mouse can cause serious property damage. They’re also potential carriers of dangerous diseases, including several that are known to occur commonly in the United States:
These diseases don’t occur simply from direct person-to-animal contact, either. Mice and rats each can transmit different types of bacteria directly through bites, but more commonly, transmission takes place via exposure to rodents’ urine, saliva or their droppings. Such circumstances may come about in a number of different ways, such as:
Bear in mind that these troublesome critters can also become a source of serious property destruction. Mice and other small animals are often equipped with mighty incisors that’re perfect for chewing through building materials, which is especially problematic should they come across electrical wiring. Compromised wires can spark fires with little or no warning, heightening the need for a quick resolution to an infestation.
Whether you have yet to spot animal invaders or you’ve recently rid your home of them, a good prevention strategy is essential to maintaining order. Keeping pests out is always preferable to removal after the fact, so consider these recommendations for better peace of mind:
Even the best-laid plans often come to naught, which means it can become necessary to remove rats or mice that’ve already gained access to your home. There are several options available to you, depending on how personally involved you want to get:
Choosing the Right Solution
Ultimately, the best choice for your home will come down to a variety of factors. You’ll need to consider not just your own personal ability to deal with the infestation, but risks to other family members in the home as well. Households with young children or small pets should be careful with traps or poisons, which might present dangers to people or animals other than the intended targets.
If you live in a rural area where consistent prevention of mice and rats is more difficult to achieve, a steady removal method may be necessary. When all else fails, consider a professional New Orleans rodent control provider for confidence, relief and, most importantly, a rodent-free household.
Topping every other city in the survey, 41 percent of New Orleans households reported seeing cockroaches within the house, according to a Bloomberg compilation of 2015 American Housing Survey data. Roaches and other common pests are frequently found in warm, humid climates. If pesky cockroaches are present, there are most likely additional types of pests residing in dark crevasses throughout the home. New Orleans pest control takes ongoing commitment and dedication to keep buildings free from these unwanted inhabitants.
Pest-proofing a structure is often one of the best ways to keep bugs out of the home. It can be easier to keep them outside compared to getting them to move back outdoors once they have taken up residence in your home. Below are seven helpful tips for pest-proofing any structure. The equipment referred to is typically available at local hardware or home improvement stores.
1. Repair Door and Window Screens
Repairing door and window screen tears or gaps is one of the first steps to take when making New Orleans pest control efforts. These holes can allow entry of mosquitoes, flies, gnats or other insects into the home. Even after eliminating any openings, some insects may be small enough to fit through standard mesh window screens. Denying entrance to these tiny bugs may mean that windows must be kept closed during certain times of the year.
2. Apply Caulk to Cracks
Cracks can form around doors, fascia boards, windows, or other surfaces on the outside of the home. A high-quality acrylic latex or silicone caulk can plug those holes to keep insects out. Latex-based caulks clean up easily with water. Caulked surfaces can be painted to match the surrounding area. For those with less experience, caulks that are clear after drying can be easier to use because mistakes will not show as well.
Before sealing a crack, clear it of any peeling substances. For a clean look, apply the caulk bead to the surface and smooth it with a damp rag or moistened finger. A good caulking gun can make all the difference when tackling New Orleans pest control projects. Look for these handy features:
3. Install Door Sweeps
Door sweeps or thresholds installed at the base of all exterior, sliding glass and garage doors can block accessible entrances for many pests. Lie on the floor and check for light visible under each door. Pay particular attention to the corners, where there is more likely to be a gap. Openings as small as 1/16 inch or less can permit insects and spiders to access the structure’s interior. In addition to insects, mice can enter through a hole the size of a pencil’s diameter, and it only takes a one-half inch gap to give access to a rat.
New Orleans pest control often starts with blocking these common openings. Caulk applied along the outside bottom edges and sides of exterior doors can obstruct ants and other small insects. Foam weather-stripping applied to the bottom track of a sliding glass door can seal this popular entrance point. Garage doors can be fitted with a rubber bottom seal to eliminate space between the door and the driveway floor.
4. Seal Utility Openings
Pipes and wires often enter a home’s foundation and sidings through utility openings. When left unsealed, these can become beacons for bugs to enter the building. Examine openings for outdoor faucets, clothes dryer vents, gas meters, receptacles and wiring that come into the building. Plug holes with cement, caulk, expandable urethane foam, copper mesh, steel wool, or any other suitable sealant. As the seasons change, check these entry points at least a couple of times per year to ensure that the closures remain intact.
5. Place Wire Mesh Over Vents
A thorough New Orleans pest control strategy often includes installing wire mesh or hardware cloth throughout the attic, crawl spaces, roof and vents. Because of the material’s razor-sharp texture, use gloves when cutting and installing the coverings. In addition to bugs, the mesh can also successfully keep birds, squirrels, bats, and rodents from living in rarely used attic areas.
6. Apply Barrier Treatments
An exterior insecticide perimeter barrier can be established to keep pests even further away from the structure. Long-lasting liquid formulations are available to spread around strategic areas of the home or other structures. Many lawn and garden shops stock different types of insecticides, some of which may be specially formulated to combat New Orleans pest control issues.
Apply the insecticide around exterior doors, crawl space entrances, garage door openings, vents and utility openings throughout the foundation and underneath the home’s siding. Use a hose-end or compressed-air sprayer to dispense the insecticide. Homeowners may also want to treat a perimeter band around the building, ranging from two to six feet in width.
7. Evaluate Lighting
While outdoor lighting is often used for safety reasons, it can also attract more pests towards the building, particularly when entrances are illuminated. Certain spectrums of outdoor lights, such as those with wavelengths less than 550 nanometers, can increase pest attraction. When lighting an area with pest-attracting lights, take other New Orleans pest control measures to secure the area.
Controlling the entrance of unwanted pests into your home is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. It has been a sanitation and health issue for centuries, considering that as far back as the 1400s, fleas carried on the back of rats transmitted the bubonic plague. More recently, bugs and other types of vermin have been found to trigger asthma and allergies, in addition to creating an unclean environment that contains saliva, feces, body parts and partially eaten food. Stronger strains of pests are proliferating as well, including biting bed bugs, invasive ant species and brown marmorated stink bugs.
Taking steps once can help you win the battle today, but ongoing work is needed to win the war against unwanted insect houseguests. New Orleans pest control experts can provide a plan to remove pests from inside the home and keep them outdoors where they belong.
Facilities management requires many responsibilities, one of which is maintaining a safe working environment. A common threat commercial properties face is infestations. This is not only bothersome but also unhealthy. Top-notch pest control services detect, prevent and remove any unwanted critters from the property.
Rodents are the last thing workers want to see in a building. Many people fear them, and for good reason. These rodents spread illnesses such as rat bite fever, Weil’s disease and salmonellosis. Signs of a rat infestation include the following:
It doesn’t take much for rats to survive. They can live on 15 to 60 millimeters of water and 15 to 30 grams of food a day.
Birds, and pigeons in particular, are common pest control problems for commercial properties. They live on rooftops, ledges and surrounding locations. They also prefer nesting in drains and alcoves, increasing the chance of experiencing blockages in these areas. This is an added nuisance when it comes to facilities management.
There’s a public health factor as well. Aside from creating building-related complications, birds pose a hazard to human beings. Harmful microorganisms are present in their nests, feathers and fecal matter. Their droppings can lead to ailments such as cryptococcosis, psittacosis or avian influenza.
Cockroaches hide in places where there is warmth, shelter, moisture and food. Common infestations occur in or around boiler rooms, storerooms, toilets and kitchens. This is especially true if the premises suffer from poor sanitation.
These bugs feed off dead or decaying matter. Because of this, they can spread a number of maladies:
For the well-being of building occupants, keep all food products protected and stored. This must be an integral part of facilities management.
4. House Flies
House flies are known to gravitate toward filth and feces. Tons of flies around a business is not a good look. Their presence has a negative impact your client’s reputation and bottom line. Controlling these insects requires exceptional sanitation and food hygiene practices.
Additionally, they are a health risk. Flies carry disease-causing organisms. If they enter a food source that’s left open, this can result in contamination, so anyone who consumes these products faces potential illnesses.
Mice are rodents like rats. They leave grease marks, footprints, urine pillar and droppings. They also make scratching sounds and squeaking noises. Additionally, it doesn’t take much for them to survive. These pesky creatures nibble on roughly 0.15 grams of food a day.
Mice have poor eyesight, so they maneuver by relying on their keen sense of touch, hearing and smell. Controlling these pests requires that facilities management pay attention to cafes, canteens and kitchens. These are the primary spots where the rodents congregate.
Do you have a client located in an area with a high density of mosquitoes? If so, it’s crucial that you have solutions in place. These insects carry deadly diseases and spread them to humans. These conditions include malaria, chikungunya and dengue fever.
It's recommended that facilities management staff take notice of standing water. Pools and puddles are breeding spots for mosquito larvae. It only takes six to 10 days for a mosquito egg to grow into an adult. Addressing the water problem helps protect employees.
7. Bed bugs
In recent years, bed bugs have made major headlines. There has been a significant increase in their infestation around the globe. In a 2015 Bugs Without Borders survey, 99.6 percent of U.S. pest control professionals stated they have treated bed bugs.
These bugs survive off the blood of a host, causing itchy insect bites. They often show up on commercial properties where people sleep. They are most commonly found on the following types of properties:
The tiny bugs are 4 to 5 millimeters in length. They are distinguished by a reddish brown color with a flat or long body structure. The nymphs are smaller and lighter in color. Because of their size, it’s easy for these insects to gain entrance onto the premises. Entry points include antique furniture, external contractors, laundry services, luggage and clothing.
Fleas are often associated with cats, dogs and other domestic pets. However, if the building you’re managing has birds, mice or rats, chances are fleas are on the property. The parasites often attach themselves to these other pests.
Those working in facilities management may have a hard time spotting these minuscule insects. This is often the case for buildings with rough surfaces. Fleas blend into these environments due to their physical characteristics, especially their tiny size. The flea itself has a reddish-brown hue and measures roughly 2 millimeters in length. Their eggs have a long, oval structure and measure about 0.5 millimeters.
Flea bites aren’t painful, but the side effects can range from mild to severe. At the least, the person bitten can expect to experience itchiness, a rash or eczema. Bites can also result in more serious ailments:
Generally, ants don’t pose an obvious health threat. With that said, they are a troublesome for any facilities management company. They can also hurt a business’s reputation if they become an obvious nuisance.
Ants thrive on water and food waste. Ant prevention requires that you maintain a sanitized and hygienic environment. They are often sighted on the following property types:
Overlooking ants is easy. There are size variations among the species. On average, they are 1.5 to 6 millimeters long. When clustered together, their nests are often mistaken for soil or dirt. Additionally, certain species prefer nesting in quiet areas such as walls. This helps them go unnoticed.
10. Stored-Product Insects
There are a group of insects that prefer rummaging inside stored food items, posing a contamination threat. SPIs are often found in fruits, nuts and flour. They include moths, weevils, beetles and some mites. In the case of mites in particular, it’s difficult to see them. Like ticks, they are microscopic in size.
Facilities management plays a pivotal role in keeping commercial properties pest-free. You can prevent many infestations with proper hygienic and sanitation practices. For more support, hire a reputable pest control supplier. This can be the best long-term solution for controlling the worst pest problems.
Finding creepy crawlies in your home or business can be a major problem. Whether you simply hate sharing your space with so many insects or you don't want to deal with the effects of the bugs, turning to a Baton Rouge pest control team early in your infestation problem can help speed up your recovery. Carpet beetles can wreak havoc on a home and take a while to get rid of. Read through this beginner's guide to learn how to identify the bugs, locate their nest and find the right carpet beetle treatment.
How Can You Tell Carpet Beetles Are in Your Home?
Before you can figure out how to get rid of a pest, you need to know what it is. Most adult carpet beetles, which are about the same size as the head of a needle, have a similar look and coloring.
Some varieties may have yellow or white markings on their backs, too. Typically, an infestation includes both adult and larvae forms of the bug. A carpet beetle larva has hair-like protrusions from one or both ends and brown bands running across the back.
As you look around your home, you may notice fecal pellets and shed skins. These are common signs of infestation. It may be helpful to call in a Baton Rouge pest control specialist when you first notice these.
Another distinguishing feature of the beetle is its movement patterns. These bugs move slowly across floors or carpeted surfaces. If you touch one, it may roll over.
Where Are Infestations Concentrated?
Carpet beetles can spread across your entire home or office, but typically these pests are drawn to certain areas::
The bugs are typically drawn to fabrics, but they also love dark, secluded locations. A pest control company may be able to help you locate the main group of carpet beetles.
How Can You Get Rid of These Pests?
The exact carpet beetle treatment you use may vary based on the severity of your infestation. You can get great advice on treatment options from a reputable Baton Rouge pest control company. The following steps may help:
Getting rid of carpet beetles can take a long time. If you don't have the time or equipment to properly clean and protect your house, you can turn to a Baton Rouge pest control company that specializes in carpet beetle treatment.
Any effort at rodent control in New Orleans must consider how to deal with one of the most common rodents in the area, the Norway rat. Successful rodent control depends on knowing where and how your target lives and breeds. Use this information on the Norway rat’s habits and preferences to help you determine if they’re living around you and what to do if they are
The Norway rat probably came to the North American continent around 1775 on ships arriving from Europe. They’re tremendously adaptable and are prolific breeders, capable of producing as many as 12 litters of up to 22 offspring per year. It’s not surprising that they quickly spread to the 48 contiguous states, even though they usually only live one year in the wild. They are often called by names that describe their color (brown or gray) or where they live (house, barn, sewer or wharf).
Because of southern Louisiana’s unique environment, New Orleans pest control companies see a lot of Norway rats. These rodents like to live around people. They find a nourishing diet from stored food as well as garbage and safe places to hide in buildings and other shelters. Urban and suburban residential areas offer garages, basements, water features such as docks and even sewers. Rural habitats include barns, kennels and grain storage facilities, where rats particularly like corn, oats and wheat. If they have a choice, rats will opt for fresh food items.
Their nests are usually in burrows on low ground or underground. Norway rats can enter structures by jumping, climbing or swimming to burrow inside walls or under foundations. You’ll also find them living around ponds, along stream banks and in garbage dumps.
Signs of Infestation
Before beginning any rodent extermination attempt, you have to know what you’re dealing with. It’s important to inspect areas around home foundations, along baseboards, and behind and under stored materials for indications of animal activity. These are some common signs that you’re dealing with Norway rats:
Getting an accurate count of the rats you’re dealing with is impossible, but the evidence you find can help New Orleans pest control companies estimate how severe the problem is:
Ways To Deal With Norway Rats
Rats are smart. They memorize the features of their surroundings and are suspicious of any changes they encounter. If they eat a food that makes them ill, it can teach them to avoid that food for some time into the future. New Orleans pest control companies have to outsmart the Norway rat to be successful and often use several methods to eradicate them.
Norway rats are not protected by state or federal law, so the use of traps, with or without bait, is often the first choice. Trapping allows for the removal of trapped animals and can be relatively inexpensive. Unset traps can be placed in areas where rats travel so that they become accustomed to them before setting the trap to spring. It’s also possible to enlarge the trigger area to increase the chance of early success.
Anticoagulant poisons are often used in today's New Orleans pest control efforts. Because they’re slow-acting, the rats don’t associate any ill feeling with the food they consumed. Offering untainted bait food for several days before applying the toxic substance can increase the chances it will be accepted. When used properly by professionals, rodenticides seldom present dangers to humans, pets or livestock.
Rodent control efforts can be difficult because of the age of many structures and catastrophic weather damage. Norway and other species of rats find shelter in buildings where they gnaw and burrow through walls, ceilings, doors and floors. While Norway rats are not known to be associated with plague, they can spread diseases such as salmonellosis (food poisoning) to humans as well as livestock, and present the danger of rat-bite fever.
If you’ve had to go through eradicating Norway rats, preventing their return is likely high on your list of priorities. Take these steps to thwart them:
For all of these reasons, effective rodent control is important for health and safety. By understanding the basics of Norway rats and rat infestations, you can better assist New Orleans pest control professionals in eradicating these critters from your property.
Rats are a familiar pest to many in the United States. Understanding rats’ behavior is key to utilizing proper rodent control, and this includes knowing what kinds of rats you’re dealing with. One of the two species of rats found in the continental U.S., the roof rat is a sleek and agile rodent with its own set of adaptations and preferences apart from its cousin, the Norway rat. Knowing the differences helps with identification and thus prevention or removal, whether done by yourself or with professional Baton Rouge pest control service.
What Is a Roof Rat?
The roof rat (Rattus rattus), also called the black rat or ship rat, was introduced to North America and elsewhere in the world via trading ships. In the United States, it lives along the West Coast and in the southeastern states, unlike the Norway rat’s nationwide range, preferring the warmer climates. Roof rats typically have a mix of brown and black fur with a uniform gray, white or black underside, as well as a slim and slender build compared to the larger Norway rats. They possess the same keen senses of smell, taste, hearing and touch as other rats, as well as an adept sense of balance. Combined with their sleek build, this makes them very capable of climbing and walking across utility lines, tree branches and other narrow pathways to find food and evade predators.
Roof Rat Behavior
True to their name, roof rats like to nest above the ground, settling in trees or atop vine-covered fences and walls. Their natural agility lends itself well to this, as they have little trouble scaling such surfaces. They may be found along streams and riverbeds, within parks that have natural or artificial ponds, or in groves and farmlands - and, of course, within homes and warehouses, entering from the roof and nesting within the upper floors when available while Norway rats prefer the ground floor or basement. Utility lines and trees close to a building’s rooftop are common entry points.
Roof rats are omnivorous and will feed on nearly anything if necessary, but they often have a preference for fruits, nuts and seeds. In homes or on farms, they can develop a taste for livestock feed or dry pet food. The search for food begins early in the evening and may take roof rats as far as 300 feet from the nest to find something to eat. They have no problems gathering heaps of food to eat safely. Roof rats tend to stick to familiar travel routes and feeding locations once identified as safe, so they are not likely to wander into traps laid out traditionally. This is compounded by roof rats’ noted neophobia, or fear and aversion to new objects in their environment, which is stronger in this species than in Norway rats. This means they tend to avoid bait stations and traps, and if sufficiently disturbed, they will change their routes and feeding spots entirely, a behavior that complicates pest control efforts.
Damage and Dangers of Roof Rats
A nest of hungry, omnivorous roof rats presents an obvious concern for homes, food processing and storage facilities, and farms alike. Frequently, roof rats in residential buildings will tear up insulation and electrical wiring as they build nests, particularly in the attic. Wiring damage may also occur in the kitchen when rats hide under the refrigerator or freezer. Gardens and outdoor landscaping may suffer from the foraging of roof rats as they feed on fruits, vegetables, nuts and ornamental plants.
Agricultural orchards are especially endangered by roof rats, which are already inclined to climb trees for food and shelter. They can eat away the pulp from oranges and leave empty rinds hanging and will gladly feast on avocados and nuts as well. Norway rats are more partial to rice and other crops than roof rats, which will prefer the tree crops if present. Roof rats also climb and feed on maturing sugarcane stalks, often leaving them vulnerable to other pests.
Like other rat species, roof rats are carriers for a number of diseases that can be transmitted to humans or domestic animals, as well as potentially carrying parasites. This especially mandates swift rodent control to prevent the spread of such diseases.
Identifying and Controlling Roof Rat Infestations
The specific damage done to outdoor vegetation can help distinguish between a roof or Norway rat infestation. Ruined tree crops are a sure sign of roof rats, in particular. Rat signs, such as tracks, urine and droppings, are not as readily visible with roof rats since they primarily live and travel in overhead and utility spaces rather than along the floor, except when obtaining food.
Visibly confirming the presence of rats naturally works to identify an infestation. Setting a trap to collect rats can help, with the aforementioned caveats regarding roof rats’ aversion to traps. The location of nesting and food caches also helps confirm and distinguish rats, with these found in attics or upper floors mainly for roof rats. Nighttime searches are ideal as rats will be more active at this time and can be heard scurrying about.
To rodent-proof your building against roof rats, the key is to minimize roof level access. When possible, eliminate vines and overhanging tree branches that could permit rats to reach the roof. Given their climbing abilities, this will not completely keep them out alone, and sealing openings greater than 1/2 inch in diameter further ensures exclusion. Use steel wool, concrete mortar or other hard substances that the rats can’t easily chew through.
Proper sanitation can discourage roof rats from moving in; proper disposal of garbage and sealing of food containers makes feeding difficult. Prune outdoor vegetation such as dense shrubbery and vines that roof rats can use to hide or travel.
Baton Rouge pest control services can use rodenticides in bait to control roof rat populations, though they have some resistance to common anticoagulants compared to Norway rats. Trapping is another option, whether using kill traps or live traps, though the tendency to spread disease means releasing trapped rats can cause other problems. Other rodent control methods are of questionable use; fumigants have little effect since roof rats rarely burrow, and deterrent devices using noise or lights are only initially effective until the rats acclimate to them.
There are plenty of things to love about fall in New Orleans. However, while autumn in the city can bring fun times and pleasant weather, it also brings a new group of bugs and pests to worry about. Where moist conditions in the spring and summer create ideal environments for roaches and mosquitoes, the dryer weather in the fall is ideal for spiders, rodents and other insects that like to create nest-like homes in attics and other typically dark spaces. Worst of all, these pests have had the entire summer to breed and build their population before emerging in the fall. Their high numbers mean homeowners must be aggressive when it comes to fall pest and rodent control. What types of pests should you be on the look out for come fall in the city? Here are a few of the worst offenders.
It’s a well-known fact that rodents are some of the city’s most despised residents. In fact, one 2016 report ranked New Orleans top in the nation for rat and general pest infestations. The common house mouse is a main offender, taking up residence in the walls and basements of New Orleans homes in the fall and winter. As the weather cools down, these critters like to sneak into buildings through cracks in the foundation, window gaps and the like. They need no more than a quarter inch of space to get into your home in some cases. Once inside, they can quickly wreak havoc as they chew and shred up everything from paper to furniture to wiring. They can gnaw holes into walls and in extreme cases can even weaken a home’s infrastructure. Take the first steps toward rodent control by:
While those steps can provide a good start, mice can be notoriously difficult to get rid of both because of their rapid reproduction and how tricky they can be to catch. This and the dangers associated with their waste makes it a good idea for homeowners to leave rodent control to New Orleans pest control experts.
Fall is a prime mating season for spiders, which means they are more likely than ever to come out of hiding and cross your path. Southern Louisiana is home to more than 16 different types of spider, including the black widow and brown recluse spiders with bites that can be fatal to humans. That makes a spider problem more than a creepy inconvenience and as important as rodent control.
Spiders typically prey on small insects. When those pests come into your home seeking warmth and food in the fall, spiders have a tendency to follow them. Some of their favorite homes include attics, crawlspaces and basements. Because spiders aren’t much interested in human food, wiping down counters, disposing of trash and other typical pest prevention efforts aren’t likely to work. Instead, focus on:
Because of the unique threats some species of spiders can present, consider asking about experience with spider extermination when choosing a New Orleans pest control expert for general critter and rodent control.
At less than an inch long, the common clothes moth might not seem like a major threat. But it can cause a lot of damage to personal property, as countless New Orleans homeowners discover each year. These cream-colored menaces like to feed on just about any fabric item, especially wool and cashmere. The insects aren’t necessarily more plentiful in the fall, but they are more likely to be noticed around then, as homeowners pull cardigans and other thicker clothing out of storage boxes. When you notice tiny, unexplainable holes in your favorite shirt or fall pants, these moths are a likely culprit. The fall, when you’re likely packing up summer clothes, is a great time to address these pests. You can fight back by:
Like rodent control, moth control can help you avoid damage to your personal property.
Termites are a known problem in New Orleans, particularly in the French Quarter. What many people don’t realize is that termites cause trouble year-round, even when you can’t see them. These wood-chewers don’t hibernate. Instead, they prefer to dwell in a warm area that’s roughly 75 degrees. As the temperatures cool down outside and warm up inside, more and more of these creatures are likely to show up in your home, where they can destroy its infrastructure with shocking speed. Unfortunately, the city doesn’t provide any funding or help with termite eradication in private homes. That leaves it up to you, the homeowner, to take steps to keep them out of your house. Take action by:
Termites present one of the most destructive and challenging pest menaces in the city. It’s a good idea when you are investing in rodent control or other pest prevention to ask your specialist about their specific experience with these creatures.
The fall months can bring a welcome respite from some of the heat and humidity of a New Orleans summer. But the change of seasons may also bring new types of pest headache. When fair-weather pests are ruining your autumn, consider calling a pest management expert to provide the rodent control and general extermination to help you reclaim the season.
Most people don’t give a second thought to pests. For the most part, when they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind. A new event seeks to change that. The first-ever World Pest Day was started on June 6, 2017 to get people thinking differently about bugs and vermin. The CPCA (China), NPMA (USA), FAOPMA (Australia) and CEPA (Europe) wanted to shed light on the importance of protecting homes, families, food, lives and businesses from various insects and rodents. These creatures are more than just a nuisance, and while you may not want to celebrate the day with cake and ice cream, you should care more about the reasons driving World Pest Day.
The Rodent Scourge
Fairy tales and animated films suggest that rats and mice are adorable, magical creatures. While carefully controlled, domesticated rodents can be safe, the uncontrolled variety can cause considerable damage to crops, infrastructure and human health. Some species have adapted so well to coexisting with humans and their environments that they’re thriving.
These animals can multiply exponentially if left unchecked, and like all living creatures, they require food. In the wild, away from human civilization, this isn’t as big of an issue, but coexisting with humans has driven them to seek out food supplies that humans also eat. These pests can quickly contaminate and damage food and water sources. The scale of the problem can be as small as an individual home to as large as entire regions. The intrusion of rodents into human food and water supplies poses a serious risk to health.
Rats and mice also have a habit of gnawing anything and everything. This causes damage to various infrastructures, but one of the more susceptible victims of rodent malice is electronic equipment. It’s estimated that these pests set back work productivity by eight days a year based on the destruction they wreck.
While contaminated food and damaged infrastructure is unpleasant enough, one of the most dangerous aspects of rodent populations can be the diseases they carry. It’s estimated that rodents can claim responsibility for more deaths than all wars in the past 1,000 years. These pests can carry the following diseases:
Minimizing your individual risk of rats and mice can be facilitated by cleaning up trash, sealing up cracks in your home’s foundation, closing garbage bins, ensuring proper food storage and refraining from feeding birds large amounts of seed.
The Growing Threat of Mosquitoes
There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes; however, three species are primarily responsible for most of the diseases humans contract from them. Approximately 1 million people die each year because of mosquitoes. The bite itself is inconsequential, but the diseases these pests transfer are deadly. Almost half the human population is at risk of malaria, and 300–600 million people are infected each year. Mosquitos are also responsible for the following diseases:
Because of their reliance on water for breeding, eliminating or disrupting standing water sources is important to keep mosquito populations in check. Pesticides can also be used to eliminate the bugs. Unfortunately, scientists warn that climate change may exacerbate the current mosquito problem. Mosquito prevention is key to minimizing these pests. The following are steps the average person can take:
The Encroaching Cockroaches
Another bug that that World Pest Day is trying to shed light on is the cockroach. These bugs are estimated to be 280 million years old and have around 4,000 different species. If you happen to see one, chances are there are many others just out of sight. Cockroaches are incredibly hardy and can live in harsh environments. They tend to be attracted to warm, moist areas, so sewers, pipes, and garbage make ideal living situations. They can live for a month without food or even a head for that matter.
These bugs aren’t picky when it comes to food and eat just about anything, from other cockroaches to garbage to animal feces. Because of these unhygienic feeding habits, these pests spread several foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and cholera. The body parts, saliva and feces of cockroaches can also trigger allergies and cause asthma attacks.
Preventing cockroaches requires a multi-pronged approach. One of the most important things you can do is keep your living space clean and dry. This is especially important if you suspect you have a cockroach infestation because cleaning helps to remove their food sources and waste produced by the bugs themselves. Another step is to seal cracks in your walls and foundations to prevent them from gaining access inside. While your home is undergoing these repairs, it’s also a good time to fix water leaks, because these insects are attracted to damp places. If you find yourself with a cockroach infestation or a problem with any of the other pests, calling a professional exterminator can help you get a clean slate in your fight against these bugs and vermin.
The Goals of World Pest Day
For many people, these pests are mostly invisible, but that doesn’t change the fact that they can cause irreparable damages to the lives of people around the world. These infestations can drive up food prices, disrupt economies and kill millions. World Pest Day seeks to raise awareness of these issues. There are several things you can do to help address the problems caused by these pests:
For billions of people around the globe, pests and bugs are more than just an uncomfortable collection of creatures. They wreck serious havoc on lives and wellbeing. By being aware of these problems and supporting World Pest Day on June 6, you can have an impact on improving the quality of life for many people.
Pest control may include tackling infestations of a wide variety of crawling critters. Some of the most damaging pests in Louisiana, however, are carpenter ants, whose presence can range from annoying to structurally condemning. If this wood-destroying insect decides to establish its colony in the walls of your home, it is essential to address the problem as soon as possible.
Identifying Carpenter Ants
One of the first steps of preventing or eliminating carpenter ants is to correctly identify them. Pest control is only possible when the pest and its habits are known. Carpenter ants are the most common variety of ants found in the Baton Rouge area, and they are also the largest ant species in North America. Thus, if you can see ants crawling your home or yard, they are probably carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants come in different colors, depending on the colony. Many are black, but some are red, orange, or brown. They are noted for the small hairs around the abdomen, and for their large jaws, which aid them in chewing away wooden structures. Because they make their nests in damp and rotted wood, they are likely to be seen along the branches of trees and bushes, in tree stumps, around piles of firewood, around wooden door or window frames, along fences, near baseboards, and in the joints in walls with interior plumbing. As nocturnal insects, the ants are not as active during the day. Keep an eye out for crawlers during the evenings and mornings when you first turn on the lights.
Signs You Might Have a Carpenter Ant Nest
When dealing with pest control of carpenter ants, there are a few signs to look for if you suspect a nest in your home. These include the following:
If you live in a particularly moist area or are otherwise susceptible to the wrath of carpenter ants, you can prevent infestations with some effective Baton Rouge pest control tips, such as:
Carpenter Ant Bait
When you know you have a colony of carpenter ants in your house, pest control strategies recommend using bait to get rid of them. Bait is used as food for worker ants, who are attracted to a sugary compound laced with a chemical poison. The workers carry the bait back to the colony where other ants feed on it and die. The most effective way to distribute bait is to set it along the paths that the ants usually use for finding food. When using store-bought bait, be sure to select one that is water-resistant and targeted especially for carpenter ants. Otherwise, it might accidentally get washed away or eaten by some other critter, and your ant colony will never receive the sugary toxin.
Carpenter Ant Pesticide
Instead of bait, you may prefer to use pesticides. This can prevent ants from colonies that have inhabited your yard from entering your house. If you feel confident in your Baton Rouge pest control techniques, you may also consider using a foam, dust, or aerosol insecticide to attack an indoor nest at its source. To do this, be sure that you have properly and correctly identified the nest location and drill a few small holes in the wall at least two feet from where you see the ants entering the wall. Spray the insecticide around the holes as well as any other opening the ants are using. This should effectively wipe out the entire colony.
For those families that have children or pets at home and may prefer a less chemically toxic solution to carpenter ant extermination, there are some easy DIY methods you can also use. For natural Baton Rouge pest control, use boric acid, an affordable, natural, and relatively safe-for-humans poison, and combine it with 10 parts sugar water. Add this solution to any food you chose and set it out appropriately as bait. Boric acid can also be used as a pesticide by spraying it in or near the nest, or along the paths the ants travel. Diatomaceous earth is another natural product that is effective in pest control. DE is a sedimentary rock that insects cannot ingest, and dusting it over the nest kills off your carpenter ants.
When dealing with particularly large or aggressive infestations, consider calling a professional exterminator to get rid of the ants with strategic Baton Rouge pest control. The carpenter ant, as a wood-destroying insect, is one of the biggest threats to the stability of home. When you spot the signs, take action immediately.
A rolled newspaper, a flyswatter or even the palm of your hand can all be weapons in your battle for fly control. These tiny creatures are often a harmless nuisance, but there may come a time to consider a pest control service. Sometimes fly season just doesn’t seem to end.
When people think about flies, the first thing to come to mind is often the common house fly; however, there are many more species. Flies are classified as part of the order Diptera, which is estimated to have a million species, but only 125,000 have been described. The following are species you may encounter:
The Anatomy of a Fly
Flies are characterized by having a single pair of wings used for flight, while the hindwings have evolved into sensory organs. These sensory organs facilitate their ability to maneuver. If you’ve ever wondered why fly control can be so difficult, this added maneuverability is part of the reason. Flies have mobile heads and compound eyes that allow them to see information from a variety of angles. Depending on the species, flies can have a mouthpiece designed to pierce and suck in nutrients or to lap and suck in nutrients. These insects also have an ability to cling to smooth surfaces and walk up walls due to the claws and pads on their feet.
Because of the diversity of fly species, some have developed hardy adaptations to their environment. Shore fly larvae and a few Chironomidae can live in hot springs, crude oil, sulfur springs, glaciers, saline springs and septic tanks. The larvae of the Megaselia scalaris can incorporate shoe polish and paint into their diet.
A Bug’s Life Cycle
The life cycle of a fly consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The common house fly provides a typical example. House flies lay eggs that resemble grains of white rice. These eggs are often laid in dark, damp places. Compost, garbage and feces are popular sites for fly eggs. Up to 150 eggs can be laid in a single batch, with five or six batches laid over a period of a few days.
The eggs hatch within a day and become larva, also known as maggots, that feed on their environment for three to five days. When the maggots are ready to pupate, they find a dark place to form a protective shell, similar to a butterfly’s cocoon. The pupae grow wings and legs and emerge after three to six days as fully-grown house flies.
It only takes another two to three days for female flies to be ready for reproduction, thus starting the cycle anew. Moreover, adult house flies can live for two to four weeks, depending on conditions. This rapid life cycle can make fly control a difficult process.
The Ecological Importance of Flies
While flies can be both a nuisance and a danger, they also play an important role in the ecological community as predator, prey and parasite. Many animals rely on flies as a source of food, while at the same time, flies consume various organic matter. Some of these insects play an important role in helping to decompose matter in either their adult or larva stage.
In addition to aiding decomposition, flies play an integral role in the pollination of flowers. It’s estimated that 71 families in the order Diptera regularly visit flowers, and over 550 species of flower are routinely visited by flies. Depending on the local ecology, flies may be the only insect that facilitates a plant’s pollination, or they may share the role with another insect such as bees. Some flies go to flowers to feed on the nectar while others prefer pollen. A few types visit flowers to lay eggs or to seek shelter from the weather. Some flowering plants exercise fly control by tricking the insects into visiting their flowers by emitting scents that mimic decaying flesh.
The Risks Posed by Flies
Flies can pose serious dangers to the health and wellbeing of humans and livestock. Because many flies land on and feed on decomposing flesh, feces and other bacteria-laden garbage, they can quickly spread bacteria and disease. A common method of fly feeding involves vomiting and defecating on almost everything they land on, which further aides in the spread of disease.
One way to prevent the spread of sickness is to dispose of food that flies have landed on. A fly infestation could potentially facilitate the transfer of any of the following diseases:
Other flies such as the mosquito prefer a more direct approach by biting their victims. Mosquitoes are responsible for the deaths of 1 million people each year due to the diseases these insects can spread. The lack of fly control is a serious concern in all parts of the world though areas with large amounts of standing water can be more severely affected.
In the United States, one of the most serious diseases carried by mosquitoes is the West Nile virus. Since 1999, the United States has reported 44,000 cases. About half of those reported cases resulted in an infection of the spinal cord and brain, and 1,900 people died. West Nile can cause body aches, headache, rash, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea and joint pain. If you suspect you may have contracted an illness by a mosquito or other fly, contact your physician.
Prevention and Eradication Strategies
With so many different species of fly to contend with, fly control can be a difficult challenge. There are a few steps you can take to minimize your risk of infestations:
If these steps aren’t enough to address your fly problems, it may be time to call a Baton Rouge pest control service to professionally address the issue. Your hand or newspaper may end the annoyance of an individual fly, but professional services have the experience and equipment to deal with more comprehensive fly control issues.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.