When it comes to pest control in Southern Louisiana, there may be a number of different critters and insects you are looking get rid of. One of the most disturbing flying pests found active throughout the state, especially during the summer months, are wasps. Though wasps do provide benefits to the ecosystem they habit, for humans they pose risks of stinging, which is not only painful but can also lead to dangerous allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock. If a wasp nest is not in a location that greatly disturbs human activity, it is best to avoid it and tolerate it as best as possible. If there are many human-wasp interactions, however, it may be time to look into professional wasp control. Before you enlist an extermination team, learn more about the habitats, dispositions, and food sources of these stinging insects with the following wasp facts.
Difference Between Wasps and Bees
When identifying insect species for pest control, it is important to make sure you are dealing with wasps rather than environmentally essential honeybees. One of the main differences between wasps and bees is why the former is considered a pest, and that is the wasp’s temperament. Wasps are known to be much more aggressive than bees.
In terms of physical traits, wasps have longer, more slender bodies with narrow waists. Additionally, while both bees and wasps drink nectar, wasps are unable to turn that nectar into honey. Similarly, most wasp species do not pollinate, although there are a few species known to contribute successfully to plant pollination.
Types of Wasps
It may surprise you to learn that both hornets and yellow jackets are actually types of wasps. All are typically much more aggressive than bees and are a target for rapid pest control. Hornets live in large, highly organized colonies. Their main physical distinctions are their size, which is typically much bigger than other wasps, and their coloring, which is usually black and white or reddish-brown. Yellow jackets are noted for their bright yellow and black markings. Unlike other types of wasps, however, yellow jackets often build their nests low in trees and bushes along wooded regions. They are often highly aggressive and may sting repeatedly.
The ultimate goal of wasp control is to eliminate the nest. This should only be done, however, if it is causing a persistent problem for humans in the vicinity, as tampering with the nest is in itself a risky action. Wasps are highly defensive and protective of their nests and will usually swarm to defend it.
They tend to build these colony structures in locations that are not easily visible to humans, which can lead to surprise encounters, aggressive wasps, and painful stings. Most wasps build their nests out of paper-like material or mud in such places as under the branches of trees, attic rafters, window and door frames, under deck or porch floors, house eaves, porch ceilings, and under railings. When wasps begin to die off during cooler weather, their nests are deserted and are usually not reused by subsequent generations.
Within a nest, colonies may contain between 1,500 and 15,000 wasps, depending on the species, all populated by a single reproductive female. Pest control seeks to eliminate the nest, effectively destroying the colony. Each colony typically includes three kinds of wasps: the queen, the female workers, and the male drones. The queen lives for approximately one year and will hibernate in the winter to emerge in the spring, usually around May. The female workers live for about three weeks, while the male drones may live slightly longer than their female counterparts, and their main purpose is reproduction.
Wasp Food Sources
Like bees, wasps are drawn to sweet food sources, such as nectar, honey, sugar, and fruit. In fact, they have been known to occasionally steal large quantities of honey from beehives. Because of their diet, wasps tend to build their nests near picnic sites, outdoor patios, or any places with open garbage cans. Initial stages of pest control can include changing human habits to keep an area cleaner and free of wasp food sources. In addition to sweets, however, some species of wasps also feed on other insects, both living and dead. This means they can keep your garden free of other pests and are actually beneficial to the growth of flowers and other plants.
Indoor infestations are serious occasions for professional pest control. Luckily, wasps do not usually come into homes purposefully, except for a queen looking for a roost to hibernate through the winter. If a nest has been built near a window, door, or exposed crack, then wasps may begin to fly in and out of your home looking for food. Sometimes, however, wasps may build their nest inside an exterior wall, with access via a small hole or crack. When homeowners see wasps flying in and out of this crack, they tend to seal it up, often inadvertently trapping wasps inside the house. They may then begin to chew through the wallboard and infest your home.
Wasp stings are one of the biggest threats of infestations and one of the prime reasons to call in professionals for pest control. Unlike bees, wasps do not die when they sting you, nor do their stingers stay in your skin, but their poison can be potent. Wasps also inject a chemical with their sting that makes you more easily detectable to other wasps, which is why it is especially important to avoid wasp nests and their swarms.
Quick treatments for wasp stings include washing the wound with warm soapy water, reducing any swelling with ice, applying an antiseptic, and taking painkiller or antihistamine to reduce soreness or itchiness. If you are stung and start showing signs of a serious allergic reaction, it is imperative to see a doctor immediately.
With this collection of wasp facts, you can be better prepared to recognize a potential infestation. Pest control is an essential mitigation strategy for keeping your home or office space a healthy living environment for humans and other non-pest species. While wasps provide some benefits to nearby gardens, if their aggression becomes intolerable, be sure to contact your local exterminator for effective wasp control.
As the name suggests, powderpost beetles can reduce wood to a fine powder given enough time. These bugs are more than just a nuisance and can cause serious damage to your property and belongings. Learning more about these insects can help you determine when to contact Baton Rouge pest control professionals to avoid further wood damage.
What Are Powderpost Beetles?
There are 70 species of woodboring insects known as powderpost beetles. These pests target deciduous trees, and depending on the species, they can attack hardwood and softwood varieties. Most species of powderpost beetle share a few characteristics. In their adult form, the beetles don’t usually cause much damage to the wood. It’s when an adult lays its eggs on exposed wood that the larvae can cause problems.
The larvae create tunnels and galleries in the lumber as they take in nutrients and grow. As they feed, they leave behind frass, also known as wood powder. The frass may be compacted together, sticky or left loose and powdery. Depending on the species, the larvae can spend months or even years inside before emerging. It’s only when they tunnel out as adults that you realize you have an infestation and need a pest control service.
True Powderpost Beetles
The adults of this species are very small, less than a one-fourth of an inch. Their coloring is a reddish-brown, and they appear slightly flattened. This species prefers wood with a high moisture content. Lumber with a moisture content of less than 6 percent can help discourage true powderpost beetles from feeding on the material. These insects feed on the starch, sugar and protein of hardwood and sapwood tree species. Oak, hickory, cherry and walnut flooring, as well as antique furniture, can be frequent targets of true powderpost beetles.
The name of these beetles is attributed to the ticking or tapping sound they create to attract mates. The larvae of deathwatch beetles, while quite soft, are still able to consume both hardwood and softwood. The frass of these beetles is compacted into pellets in the various tunnels and galleries inside the wood. Adults range in size from one-fourth to three-eighth of an inch long. Get in touch with Baton Rouge pest control professionals if you believe the repeated tapping sounds coming from the rafters are deathwatch beetles.
False Powderpost Beetles
False powderpost beetles are reddish brown to black in coloring. Unlike other species, the adults drill into the wood to lay eggs, leaving behind a hole larger than one-eighth of an inch in diameter. After the larvae mature into adults and emerge, the exit holes do not contain the powdery frass, but the galleries and tunnels inside the wood do. The frass tends to stick together and is compacted.
Round-Headed Borers or Longhorn Beetles
These beetles tend to infest dead or dying trees, though a few species attack living trees. A frequent cause of indoor infestation occurs when firewood is brought in from the outside. The adults range in size from one-half to three inches long, and the larvae can be one-half to four inches in length. Most species can be characterized by their long antennae while just a few species have short antennae. Some of the species also mimic the coloring of wasps, ants and bees; however, most of the species have coloring that matches their environment. Contacting a Baton Rouge pest control service can help you identify the species of round-headed borer or longhorn you are dealing with.
Assessing Active Infestations and Inactive Infestations
Knowing whether your lumber is actively infested is an important step in addressing your wood damage. Sometimes, an infestation can die out without your intervention. Chances are you are dealing with an active infestation if the color of the frass resembles fresh cut wood. If the exit holes look weathered and match the rest of the wood, it’s more likely that the infestation is an old one. If your wood is in an area with some air movement, the very presence of any wood tailings can be a sign of a recent infestation. Conversely, if your wood is in an area that has not been disturbed recently, a layer of film or dust over the frass can indicate a dead infestation. One way to check if you have an active infestation is to remove the frass and recheck the area in a few days. If there are new piles, you could have an active infestation. It’s important to remember that most active emergences occur through the months of April to July.
Determining whether you have an active or inactive infestation can be a difficult assessment to make on your own. Pest control professionals can assess the wood damage to see if the larvae are still present.
Prevention and Treatment Strategies
Preventing powderpost beetle infestations before they begin can save you trouble down the road. If you have yet to make a lumber purchase, inspect it for signs of infestation. The following are tips that can help discourage infestation if you’ve already bought the lumber:
Finding the bored-out holes and wood damage from powderpost beetles can be a distressing experience. Given enough time, these pests can cause a considerable amount damage to your home and property. However, by following a few preventative maintenance tips, you can lessen the chances of wood damage from a powderpost beetle infestations. If, however, you’re facing an infestation beyond your expertise, contact a pest control company today.
It is termite season in Baton Rouge. While termites are active all year, they become very active right around Mother's Day. (Sorry Mom!) It is the right mix of temperature and humidity for termites to leave their home and seek out a new place to move. We call it swarming.
Termite swarming can be as simple as seeing a few termites flying around a light post. Other times it can be down right frightening like walking into a room of your home buzzing with flying termites. If this is you, don't freak out just yet. Termite swarmers to not necessarily mean you have a termite problem in your place. Get a Baton Rouge based pest control company to do a thorough termite inspection on your home.
How to Look for Signs of Termites
Wings - Look for loose wings lying near sources of light. Termite swarmers are drawn to light sources at night. Once they can to these locations, they can drop their wings and look for both a food (wood) and water source.
Flying Termites - Obvious, but these can be confused with flying ants. Capture a few in a container so you can show them to your pest control company representative.
Wall Pin Holes - Small pin sized hole in your wall may be termites. Look for frass and dirt at the hole or on the ground beneath it. Termite construct tunnels, but need to get rid of what they don't want in the tunnels.
Mud Tunnels - Check around the foundation of your home. A hardened mud tunnel going from the ground to your home along the foundation is sure sign of termite activity. It could be an old tunnel, so your pest control technician will check for damages to your home.
Weak Spots - Termites eat away cellulose in wood. This can lead to weakened areas and creaking in flooring and cabinets.
Bubbling Paint - Raised areas in paint can be a sign of termite activity. This can be from termite disposing of frass from beneath the paint. Instead of the frass falling to the ground, it stores behind the paint instead.
Termites are very prominent in south Louisiana. If you think you may have termites, contact Bug Ninja Pest Control today for a free termite inspection. You can also get your home under termite contract to prevent termite damage in the first place.
You may sometimes see armadillos on the roadside after a fatal encounter with an automobile. You may also see evidence of their presence in your yard or garden. Pest control strategies needs to include methods to manage these invaders. Understanding the animal and its habits can make critter control more effective, reducing or preventing the damage armadillos can cause to your property.
The nine-banded armadillo moved north out of Mexico in the late 1800s and was introduced into Florida by way of specimens that escaped from private zoos and traveling circuses. Its range has continued to expand northward but may be curtailed by climate. Armadillos have made a well established home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Armadillos have sharp claws that help them dig their dens. They prefer moist soil close to where they feed, often near creeks and other bodies of water. They have few natural predators in the United States, can live 12 to 15 years and reproduce quickly. Armadillos are nocturnal, usually coming out around dusk to dig for grubs and insects.
A single armadillo may have as many as 12 burrows in its territory. Individual burrows can measure up to eight inches wide, seven feet deep and as much as 25 feet long. Burrows have even been found to extend under the foundation of homes.
Pest control for armadillos often becomes necessary when they invade gardens and ornamental beds in their hunt for food or shelter. Telltale signs of their presence include uprooted but uneaten plants, holes in your yard and sometimes even damage to sidewalks or driveways caused by their burrowing activity. You may also see footprints or hear scraping sounds beneath structures.
Critter Control Strategies
Take a multifaceted approach to protecting your property from damage by armadillos to give you the best chance of success. Implementing these ideas can build a defense that achieves your objective.
1. Remove as many armadillo-tempting features as possible from your yard. Effective pest control involves making your property unattractive to armadillos. Characteristics that armadillos find enticing can include overgrown areas and wood piles that offer protection. Also trim shrubbery away from your house, and block entrances to areas under your house, porch or deck.
While the preferred diet of nine-banded armadillos consists of insects and grubs, they will occasionally eat some types of produce. If fallen fruit from plants or trees is left on the ground, it can provide a nice supplement to the armadillo diet. Clearing food sources and reducing opportunities to find shelter can be the first step in your campaign.
2. Determine the strategies to use. The effectiveness of different approaches is an important factor in deciding what to do next. Your particular situation and preferences also play a role in making this decision.
3. Maintain your armadillo-free yard. Once your armadillo infestation is under control, you’ll want to make sure you don’t erode the progress you’ve made. These ideas can reduce the effects of these animals' damage and help you make their return unlikely:
Armadillos may be funny critters to watch, but they can be trouble for a yard or garden. Their burrowing as well as their eating habits makes pest control an important component of maintaining your property and preserving its value. If you need pest control service in Baton Rouge, contact us today.
How Pests Can Bug Your Property Management Business
Though most pests are small, they can have a huge impact on your property management business. Unfortunately, that impact may be mostly negative. Bedbugs, mites, mice, rats, cockroaches…these are all words that can make current and potential residents run for the hills. If you want to keep your business lucrative and your clients happy, you need to invest in property management pest control. If you aren't entirely convinced that you need such services, consider the consequences of not investing in apartment pest control.
1. Pests Cause Extensive Property Damage
Termites, rat and mice are the biggest culprits of property damage, but they’re not the only ones. Pests can live inside walls, chewing up foundation, drywall, insulation and electrical wiring and compromising the overall integrity of your building. If you want to keep your building up to code and in safe condition for residents, you need to get rid of the wall dwellers. Baton Rouge pest control experts can help identify the critters causing the problems, locate nests and hiding places and exterminate the pests before they cause additional damage. By investing in the right services, you may save yourself thousands of dollars in property damage repair costs in a given year.
2. Pest Bring Down Property Value
Some property managers don’t bother with pest control efforts because their client plans on selling in the near future. This is a huge mistake. If inspectors discover pests living on or within the property, they may either reduce the value of the property or require the property owner to remediate the issue before listing. The longer remediation is put off, the worse, and therefore costlier, the damage can become. Help maintain the value of the property you are tasked to manage and invest in property management pest control services.
3. Pests Are Unhealthy
Many pests, including rats, mice and bedbugs, can severely compromise the health of your tenants and their pets. Rats carry dangerous diseases that can be spread via food or even rat bites. Bedbugs can cause unsightly sores and infections, and cockroaches and flies can contaminate food and surfaces with diseases transported from other locales. Failing to implement pest control is not only careless, but it can be a liability issue if a tenant becomes sick or injured because of your negligence. Negate any liability issues and invest in apartment pest control on behalf of your client.
4. The Presence of Pests Can Harm Your Reputation
You may think that you are saving money by negating property management pest control services, but the truth is that you are doing more financial harm than good. Once word gets out that pests are on your property and that you have not taken any measures to eradicate the issue, tenants typically begin to move out and units can remain empty. Nobody wants to live in a complex or home that has pest problems and is maintained by an uncaring landlord. Preserve your reputation with tenants and your community by investing in Baton Rouge pest control services as soon as an issue is brought to your attention.
5. Pest Complaints Put You in Reactive Mode
When it comes to maintaining any business, proactive is better than reactive. Once you are reduced to only reacting to problems, you become unable to move your business forward. This is not good for you or your client. Avoid falling into catch-up mode and pre-emptively invest in property management pest control services. The services you hire can work to keep your property pest free while you focus on more important business matters such as finding residents and keeping units full.
6. Pest Problems Are Almost Never Minor
Have you ever heard the saying that for every rat you see, there are 10 more behind the walls? Such a saying is true with most pests. Creatures like rats, termites, cockroaches and bedbugs often only make their presence known when there is nowhere left to hide. If a tenant saw a rat, you can count on there being dozens more living in the very infrastructure of your building. The best way to stop a pest infestation is to ensure that it never gets to the “infestation” phase. Apartment pest control services can look out for potential issues such as nests, eggs and hatchlings and eliminate them before they become full-blown infestations.
7. A Pest Infestation Is Costlier Than Pest Control
Too many property owners consider pest control an expense when in actuality, they should view it as an investment. Most property management pest control companies offer their services on a quarterly basis. They do this to keep seasonal pests at bay and to prevent infestations by eliminating problem areas. The total cost of annual preventative pest control services should be relatively low, even for full apartment complexes.
Reactive pest control services and maintenance, however, is much more expensive. Not only will you have to enlist the help of exterminators and extermination equipment, but also, once pests are present, you may need to hire a building inspector to inspect for major structural damage, and contractors to repair said damage. Most exterminators require several visits to kill an entire pest population, which could increase your total remediation costs.
In addition to having to pay for the damage itself, you may find yourself saddled with regulatory fines for failing to maintain a habitable structure. If any of your tenants or employees contracted an illness or disease because of the problem, you may be forced to deal with a liability lawsuit, which could end up in more fees and costs.
While property management pest control may not be at the top of your list of priorities, especially if you don’t yet have a pest problem, it should be. Invading bugs and critters are not only annoying to deal with, but they can be detrimental to both your profit and tenants’ health. Don’t risk tenants’ health, your buildings’ structures or your bottom line, and invest in apartment pest control services today. A Baton Rouge pest control company can help prevent infestations, eradicate existing ones before they become too costly and preserve the overall integrity of your building.
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.
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.
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.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.