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Taming The Backyard Jungle

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I bet you didn’t know that pre-spring is prime mating season for skunks – one of the most noxious smelling nuisance wildlife residential homeowners can encounter. Skunks, along with a veritable zoo of other animals are rapidly becoming bigger headaches for homeowners across California, Nevada and Arizona.

While observing the curious habits of these animals and appreciating the role they play in our ecosystem is something Mr. Little values, I also know that at times these animals can pose a threat to people and structures.

As urban sprawl continues the habitats of these animals are vanishing and they are becoming more prevalent in urban areas. A coyote in Beverly Hills? A raccoon in downtown San Francisco? Don’t laugh, it happens.

Bats, raccoons and skunks are not just a nuisance but they are frequent carriers of rabies, which is potentially fatal if left untreated. In fact, as many as 40,000 people each year in the United States are exposed to animals that might have rabies, and must receive preventive treatments.

Remember the 2012 outbreak of Hantavirus at Yosemite National Park that claimed the lives of several people? Hantavirus is caused when people breathe in the virus when rodent urine and droppings containing the virus are stirred up into the air. The deer and white-footed mouse are two vectors of this fatal disease.

Squirrels, raccoons and rodents taking up residence in your attic can chew on electrical or computer wiring and are a leading cause behind home fires.

Mr. Little’s List of Commonly Encountered Nuisance Wildlife includes:

  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Deer Mouse
  • Skunks
  • Snakes
  • Scorpions
  • Bats
  • Opossum
  • Coyote
  • Moles and Voles

What can homeowners do if they encounter wildlife in their backyard? The first thing is don’t feed wildlife or leave any pet food out that is attractive to wildlife.  These animals are ‘wildlife’ because they need to be able to live and survive in the wild.  Humans can often do a great deal of unintentional damage thinking they are being helpful.

The second thing is to resist the urge to try and solve the problem yourself. Remember, these are wild animals and in addition to the harmful diseases or venoms they might carry, they could attack you or your family – call a professional.

Nuisance Wildlife Control Tips

  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the foundation and windows.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Keep food in airtight sealed containers and dispose of garbage regularly – use securely fitting lids on garbage cans.
  • Keep tree limbs cut back 6 to 8 feet from the roofline and store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
  • If you encounter a wild animal on your property, do not attempt to remove it on your own.

Do you have questions or concerns about nuisance wildlife? If so, I want to hear them. You can send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.

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Big Ass Spider In Theaters This Friday

It’s time to adjust my trusty top hat and get the tuxedo out of the closet and head to the theater for another movie premiere, but this time where yours truly has a starring role.

Yes, my speaking lines were dropped in editing (I’m sure that has happened to Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks too!) but my pal and Western customer Greg Grunberg is the star.  And, you will see plenty of my likeness throughout Big Ass Spider, an 90 minute comedy/sci-fi thriller where a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and unleashes a rampage on the city of Los Angeles.

The plot thickens when a massive military strike fails and it falls to a team of scientists and one clever Western Exterminator technician to kill the creature before the entire city is destroyed.

The movie stars veteran character actor, Greg Grunberg, as a wise-cracking and fast-thinking Western Exterminator service technician named Alex Mathis whose job is to protect Los Angeles from this killer arachnid that no one can stop. His sidekick is bumbling but very sincere security guard, Jose Ramos, played by Lombardo Boyer whose comedic pratfalls and fear of insects in general and spiders in particular add levity to the film.

Big Ass Spider has been shown at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival, where it earned Official Selection status; Imagine Film Festival in the Netherlands, the U.K.’s Dead by Dawn Film Festival and the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and continues to receive positive reviews from critics.

Online movie review site FEARnet had this to say:
“Call it slight or silly, but don’t call it stupid. The slick and satisfying Big Ass Spider ranks surprisingly high partially because a lot of those moves stink, but mainly because this one does not. If you like giant spider movies, you will definitely dig Big Ass Spider.”

The brainchild of director Mike Mendez and writer Gregory Gieras, Big Ass Spider reminds me of the old King Kong movies where the guerilla climbs the Empire State building in New York City.

In this 21st century horror film our arachnid villain climbs atop and over the famed Los Angeles city hall, snares iPhone picture taking picnic goers with its deadly web maker that shoots like a missile from its legs, and chases the Western Exterminator service vehicle through the Hollywood Hills.

It is the movie’s special effects that I really enjoyed and found fascinating. The Big Ass Spider special effects gurus created a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade sized spider that readily eats unfortunate Los Angelinos and wreaks havoc on Southern California smashing and flipping cars along the way.

While I won’t give away the ending I can tell you that the green and yellow shines brightly and that my trusty mallet once again comes to the aid of Southern California consumers that are faced with unwanted pests – fortunately none the size of Big Ass Spider!

For a quirky evening of fun I absolutely recommend heading to your local theater or ordering through video-on-demand, ordering up some buttered popcorn and taking in Big Ass Spider.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

See you at the movies!

Have a pest free day!

It’s A New School Year For Pests

Back to school usually means going through a checklist of items: Have the class schedule memorized and know where my classes are – check. Remember my locker combination – double check. Don’t forget to pack my lunch – triple check. Make friends with the brainiac in calculus class – quadruple check!

It’s back to school time for thousands of kids in Arizona, California and Nevada, and Mr. Little wants you to study hard, have fun with your friends and enjoy a pest-free school year.

Pests in schools (and I’m not talking about the kid who thinks it is funny to eat worms at recess to gross the girls out!) have been around as long as chalk has been meeting blackboards.

Why are pests attracted to schools? It’s as easy as an open book social studies final – because there are ample sources of food, water and shelter available.

Think of all the places an insect or rodents can set up shop in a school environment. Start with the cafeteria or dining hall where meals can be served around the clock to hungry students.

With all that food being delivered, stored and prepared, there is bound to be crumbs, spills, leftovers and garbage. This presents a delicious buffet for ants, cockroaches, rodents and stored product pests.

When you add in the water for preparing food and cleaning pots and pans, you are two for two when it comes for ideal conditions for pests to live in complete and utter happiness.

And when you factor in the numerous hiding locations such as storage boxes, under or inside kitchen equipment, in garbage cans or even hollow chair legs – then you have hit the trifecta!

The cafeteria is a haven for hungry pests, but beyond the cafeteria are a syllabus of other potential pest hiding locations. Student lockers, desks and gym locker rooms easily become homeroom for pests who feed on left behind food. Boiler or furnace rooms are attractive “study” locations for pests who enjoy the warmth and moisture associated with these locations.

The same goes for delivery docks and storage areas where food and supplies are delivered on a daily basis. Pests can transfer in and out of school buildings – no transcripts required – quite easily if the proper exclusion practices, including making sure window screens are in good repair, doors are kept closed, cracks and crevices filled with caulk, and trash removed on a regular basis, aren’t completed.

Finally, you have to consider the impact students, teachers and staff hasve on pest pressure in a school. They are unknowing “school buses” for pests; bringing them to and from home in backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes and on clothes!

What can you do to prevent pests from “enrolling” this semester in your home? Since entomology was my major in college (I assume you could guess that one?), I have a short homework assignment for the parents of young scholars.  Here are Four ’s 4 Tips for Straight A’s in Pest Management:

  1. Regularly inspect and clean out backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes, and any other packages that come home from school. Pests can easily hitch a ride home in any of these items so keep an eye on them.
  2. Remind budding scholars not to leave food or snacks in backpacks, lockers or desks. An open package of chocolate chip cookies or a spilled soda is extra credit for mice, ants or cockroaches.
  3. Pests such as cockroaches and mice are most comfortable when amongst the clutter of a dorm room or school locker. Eliminating clutter will reduce pest hiding and breeding locations.
  4. Use storage containers or sealed plastic bags to store clothing and dorm room bedding. This will keep bed bugs and other pests from hitching a ride home for the weekend.

Do you have questions about pests in schools or your home (sorry, I don’t do homework requests although I’m happy to answer your pest questions!)? If so, I want to hear from you. You can send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®.”

Have a pest free day and have a great school year.

Avoiding Bed Bugs On While Traveling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the summer travel season in full swing, thousands of adventure seeking families will be hitting the road to escape the heat along San Diego’s beaches, take in the majesty of the Grand Canyon or Yosemite or ride the Matterhorn at Disneyland.

Wherever your summer vacation plans take you don’t forget to pack the sunscreen and snacks for the car, and be on alert for fellow “vacationers” who not only want to jump ahead in line but jump into your luggage – bed bugs!

Like a vacationer in search of the elusive poolside chaise lounge with an umbrella, getting an accurate fix on where bed bugs hide out and making a proper identification can be a challenge.

Bed bugs are adept at hiding in cracks and crevices, and since they’re so small it’s very difficult to see them with the naked eye. For example, did you know that over 80% of bedbug infestations are found in the mattress or box spring?  That means nearly 20% of the time bed bugs aren’t just found in beds.

Did you know there are 220 million olfactory receptors in a canine nose to sniff out bed bugs and virtually anything else under the sun?  Tracking bed bugs by smell through certified canine bed bug inspectors has proven to be the most accurate means of detection and that is why Western Exterminator is glad to have on our team some of the industry’s finest tail-wagging bed bug inspectors!

I checked with Honey, one of our canine inspectors extraordinaire and her handler, Lauren Small, to find out where Honey’s nose has been pointed lately in search of bed bugs.

They shared a list of “Honey’s Top Six Bed Bug Hiding Spots” where these highly mobile and disgusting blood-sucking pests can be found in homes and hotel rooms.  Check out these areas carefully before you lay your head on the pillow:

 

  1. Along the edge ribbing or beneath buttons of mattresses.
  2. Between the mattress and box spring or in the folds of the dust ruffle.
  3. Along the support frame or in the headboard of the bed.
  4. In the upholstery and frames of furniture.
  5. In wall sockets and light switches.
  6. Beneath decorator pillows or behind wall hangings.

Guarding Against Bed Bugs On The Road

Honey also had some specific thoughts on checking out hotel rooms, and how best to guard from bringing those blood-sucking pests home.  Here are her “Six Steps to Protecting Your Luggage from Bed Bugs”:

  1. Pack your clothes in sealable, clear plastic bags.
  2. When you check into your hotel room pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress and box spring for signs of possible a bed bug infestation such as dark fecal spots and dried blood spots.
  3. Do not put your suitcase on the bed or leave it on the floor or chairs – use the luggage rack or the bathtub (no kidding!).
  4. Keep your clothes and shoes in sealed storage bags in your suitcase or drawer. Do the same for dirty laundry.
  5. When you get home, unpack your luggage outdoors or in the garage if possible, and vacuum the inside and outside before entering your home or apartment.
  6. Wash and dry your travel clothing at over 140 degrees Fahrenheit or have your clothing dry cleaned.

It takes a true bed bug specialist like Honey and her colleagues at Western Exterminator to properly identify, design and implement a control program for bed bugs. Following a thorough inspection of your home or facility, we can recommend treatment options that will eliminate bed bugs and give you peace of mind.

 

 

Do you have a question on how to protect your family or hotel guests from bed bugs, or any other questions about pests? If so, send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com and I’ll get back to you right away with the information you are looking for.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day!

 

 

 

Inhospitable Pests In The Hospitality Industry


When you’re talking about the hospitality industry in Arizona, California and Nevada you are talking about a very large and diverse group of facilities.

From the sparkling resorts in Palm Springs and Scottsdale, enormous casino hotels in Las Vegas or hotels in downtown San Francisco, to the cruise ships in Los Angeles Harbor, to the numerous fine dining and fast food restaurants throughout the region that serve thousands of hungry patrons, Western Exterminator protects them from unwanted and potentially dangerous pests.

The hospitality industry – hotels and resorts, cruise ships and trains, conference and banquet centers, plus fast food, casual and fine dining restaurants – is a multi-billion dollar business in the vacation-destination states Western Exterminator services.

Millions of guests eat or stay at these facilities and thousands of employees and vendors make their livelihood working in or selling goods and services to the hospitality industry.

One of the most vital services the hospitality industry requires is one guests don’t often see or hear much about  - effective and reliable pest management services.

The risk that pests such as rodents, flies or bed bugs present to the hospitality industry is significant.

Cockroaches or rodents in a restaurant kitchen or bed bugs in the guest room of a five-star hotel, not only yield negative publicity for the brand but can have serious consequences in terms of fines and regulatory action from local health departments.

Western Exterminator’s Commercial Division specializes in servicing hospitality accounts and has decades of experience preventing and eliminating pests from checking into your hotel or ordering the daily special at your favorite restaurant!

Making Hospitality Venues Inhospitable To Pests

With guests constantly checking in and out of hotels, customers visiting restaurants or cocktail lounges, guests ordering room service, and the staff accepting daily deliveries from vendors, many of these facilities are buzzing with activity around-the-clock. As a result, it makes hospitality accounts prime targets for pests seeking food, water or harborage.

Even for facilities with shorter workdays, because  of their “open” nature hospitality accounts are prime areas susceptible to pest threats and as a result must have an effective preventive pest management plan in place to maintain a pest-free environment.

The professionals at Western Exterminator have put together a list of Five Pest Hot Spots in hospitality accounts:

  1. Loading Docks/Receiving Doors – Hospitality accounts both large and small receive daily deliveries to replenish food stuffs and other supplies. Doors are often left open, especially during the warm summer months, and that provides pests including rodents, flies and birds an easy path into your facility. Make sure door sweeps are installed and there are no gaps under doors where pests can easily gain access.  Whenever possible, keep those doors closed.
  2. Deliveries – Unexpectedly bringing pests in through deliveries is a common problem.  The numerous boxes, bags and containers arriving from various vendors are prime hiding places and effective entry-points for pests to gain access to your facility. Making a careful inspection of all deliveries for signs of pest activity – gnawed boxes, rodent droppings or strange odors (stored product pests can cause flour to have an off odor) – is a recommended first step to keep pests out.
  3. Food Preparation Areas – Hospitality facilities serve thousands of meals each week to guests and staff. Moisture, humidity, oil, grease and food wastes are often found in abundance in these areas. Keeping grease traps clean using bio-remediation products and properly disposing of waste in sealed containers and dumpsters will keep from attracting flies, cockroaches and rodents.
  4. Laundry – The laundry in a hotel or laundry storage area in a restaurant is a beehive (excuse the pun!) of activity with food-soiled aprons, tablecloths, napkins, and in the case of hotels hundreds of pounds of towels and linens being processed on a daily basis. For in-house laundry rooms, the heat generated by washers and dryers attracts pests including cockroaches, silverfish and rodents.  Having a pest management firm in place that understands these critical areas is essential.
  5. Guest Rooms – This is the last place a hospitality manager (or a guest for that matter!)wants to hear about having pests but with guests arriving and departing daily, the chances for a pest “checking-in” are high. Bed bugs are a highly mobile pest that can sneak in through a guest’s luggage or on their clothes. Cockroaches, ants and even mice can be unknowingly transported into the Presidential Suite.  A solid partnership with a professional pest management firm can give you peace of mind that everything that can be done is being done to protect your reputation.

Do you have a question about establishing an effective preventive pest management program in a hospitality account? If so, send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com and I’ll get back to you right away with the information you are looking for, or call us at 800-540-8151.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day!

 

 

 

Checking In With Honey Bed Bugs

Unfortunately, bed bugs are still making their mark across the United States and pest management professionals from Miami to Manhattan Beach are working hard to keep this nasty little pest in check.

After experiencing a frightening re-birth a little over five years ago, some experts thought the bed bug resurgence would flame out quicker than a contestant from The Voice or American Idol. I’m glad we didn’t put much stock into the words of those so-called experts!

Bed bugs continue to plague both commercial and residential facilities in cities big and small. Recently, a New York woman sued a prestigious hotel chain claiming she suffered bed bug bites after staying at a North Carolina hotel last fall.

The lawsuit, which seeks more than $7 million in damages, alleges negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract. The woman claimed she was bitten by bed bugs and that when she pulled back her pillow case, hundreds of the blood-sucking pests emerged. Talk about one potentially expensive bed bug problem!

The pest professionals at Western Exterminator Company, have been busy researching and testing some of the latest bed bug management technology that has recently hit the market. The number of products being marketed to consumers and pest management professionals claiming to effectively eliminate bed bugs would make less dedicated folks see red!

Obviously, some of the products work well and some, shall we say, wouldn’t eliminate a bed bug if it was stuck on the bottom of your shoe while you were jumping rope!

As a result, the Federal Trade Commission has stepped into the fray and looked at truth-in-advertising claims for some bed bug management products. The bottom line is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  My advice, put your trust in a pest management professional who understands the biology of the beast and is committed to helping customers eliminate the problem not sell ineffective gadgets or products.

Western Exterminator’s knowledgeable Technical Division has not only identified the proven bed bug management products that effectively eliminate bed bugs from your home or business but also developed protocols for a comprehensive inspection – the first step to getting the upper hand on bed bugs.

Bed bugs are highly mobile and getting an accurate fix on their location and making a proper identification can be a challenge. This is where a highly trained canine nose comes in handy. Bed bugs have no chance to escape from ‘the nose that knows!’

Bed bugs are adept at hiding in cracks and crevices in any place that offers a safe harborage, not just your bed.  Although often found around mattresses and bed frames in homes, hotels, nursing facilities and dorm rooms, bed bugs are likely to be found in drapes, nightstands, picture frames, electrical outlets, light fixtures, luggage, clothing, shoes, your favorite easy chair, public transportation and even movie theaters, clothing stores and restaurants.

Since they are so small it’s very difficult to see them with the naked eye, tracking them by smell has proven to be the most accurate means of detection. When a certified canine inspector finishes a bed bug inspection you can be assured that if bed bugs are present, you’ll know!

Two visible signs of a possible bed bug infestation include:

  • Blood stains from crushed bugs or by rusty (sometimes dark) spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, walls, and furniture.
  • Fecal spots, egg cases, and shed skins in the vicinity of possible hiding places like mattress or bed frames.

Do you think you might have bed bugs? If so, the team at Western Exterminator can help. You can send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com and I’ll be sure to get back to you right away.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day!

Four Top Pests for The Fourth of July

It’s that time again; time for parades, flags, cookouts and fireworks as we celebrate the Fourth of July and our country’s 237th birthday.

As we gather with family and friends for a backyard cookout, fireworks, a trip to the beach or over the weekend take in the Dodgers vs. Giants  to watch America’s pastime, we should be thankful to be citizens of this great nation and enjoy the freedoms on which it founded.

As you make plans for your holiday celebrations keep in mind there are a group of insect revelers who want to join in on the fun.

Mr. Little and the pest experts at Western Exterminator have identified the Top Four Fourth of July pests that want to join the party:

Flies – house, phorid, blow and bottle, and fruit flies – appear whenever someone yells, “it’s time to eat.” Sanitation is the key to reducing flies, as well as identifying breeding sites. Keep food covered during your picnic and use tight-fitting closures for garbage cans;make sure to empty the trash soon after the party. Cleaning up will help curb flies’ attraction to your property.
Stinging Insects – Yellowjackets love any sugary or high-carb foods that are included on your cookout menu or in your picnic basket. Yellowjackets build their nests in the ground, in shrubs, trees, buildings, garages, attics and sheds so be careful when searching for the extra lawn chairs or dining tent in the garage or running barefoot during the whiffle ball game.
Mosquitoes – Adult mosquitoes are active from dusk to dawn in search of a tasty blood meal and would really like to join you at your Fourth of July fireworks display. Aside from removing any standing water in your backyard, using an over the counter bug spray and wearing long sleeve clothing will help prevent mosquitoes from putting the itch on you.
Ants – Ants have a sweet tooth and will gladly feed on many of the foods we enjoy on the Fourth of July including oil, protein foods, fat, and meat. Keep foods covered and clean up spills and food particles following the picnic to eliminate the temptation for these expert food foragers!

A Final Word on Food Safety

We know pests including flies, ants and rodents are vectors of dangerous food-borne illnesses but you can also help prevent foodborne illnesses before packing the picnic basket or firing up the grill. Remember, you can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness, so keep the following tips in mind:

  • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate — Do not cross-contaminate foods – keep raw meats and fish separate from other foods.
  • Cook — Cook food to the proper temperatures.
  • Chill — Refrigerate leftovers promptly or discard them.

Have a question about Fourth of July pests? If so, send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com and I’ll get back to you right away with the information you are looking for.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day and enjoy your Fourth of July holiday weekend!

 

 

 

Keeping Pests Where They Belong – Outside!

I subscribe to the theory that the best pest is one that doesn’t have the opportunity to invade your living space and be a nuisance or threat to you, your family or your business.

Pests are opportunists and look for ways to leave their outdoor harborages and enter your home in search of food, water and a comfier place to call home. Taking the fight to where pests live on the exterior of your home is the most effective way of maintaining a pest-free environment on the interior of your home.

Keeping pests on the outside looking in is exactly what Western Exterminator’s Service Technicians do each and every day in denying ants, flies, rodents, cockroaches and other pests the what they want most – to get inside.

Pests can gain access to your home in a variety of ways and Western Exterminator’s W.E. Care Service™ employs the latest integrated pest management practices to target pests before they can make their way into your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.

A Top to Bottom Pest Inspection

Just like with your favorite sports team, the key to a winning pest prevention program is a good offense blended with a solid defense.  Our highly-trained Service Technicians start with a thorough inspection of your property and the exterior of your home to identify where pests may be living and if there are any “weak spots” in your home’s pest defense shield.

Here are Seven Tips from the Professionals at Western Exterminator to Keep Pests Out of Your Home:

  1. Remove standing water and excessive moisture that can attract pests including mosquitoes, ants and cockroaches.
  2. Trim overgrown trees and shrubs at least 3 feet from buildings; be careful of using too much mulch near the foundation since it provides the ideal harborage for rodents, ants, cockroaches and termites.
  3. Relocate piles of fire wood or other landscape materials that can serve as the perfect home for ants, rodents and nuisance wildlife.
  4. Pet food dishes and bird feeders can attract a variety of pests and should be taken in when not in use or located high enough off the ground so pests cannot easily access them.
  5. Keep tight fitting lids on trash cans. Unsealed garbage provides rodents, flies and nuisance wildlife a convenient dinner buffet.
  6. Seal all cracks and cervices – even those measuring just 1/8 of an inch wide – in the foundation that provide pests with a “free pass” inside your home to pursue their unpleasant endeavors.
  7. Eliminate openings around door frames and windows, and replace torn screens that give flying insects a clear flight path to your living space.

Pest professionals can easily assess your home’s weak spots when it comes to potential nuisance pest ‘hot spots.’ By addressing these potential weak links and trouble spots—eliminating their food, water and shelter sources—we can prevent a pest infestation from establishing a foothold.

Proven Results With Less Pesticides

Targeted applications using low-impact products on the exterior of your home prevent pests from gaining access to your living area. The key is to concentrate on specific target areas, and applying only the product needed to eliminate the pests.

Western Exterminator uses the most current and proven methods and products available on the market today. Our W.E. Care ™  residential service emphasizes the use of effective plant oils and BioRational pesticides along with other natural materials as our first line of defense.

To meet customer expectations in retaining a pest-free environment in warmer months when pest activity increases, we may (and only if necessary) supplement these treatments with more traditional products. However, these are applied in precise fashion and only in limited amounts on the exterior of your home.

The design and careful delivery of our W.E. Care ™  program has enabled us to reduce our reliance on the most commonly used traditional pesticides in our residential services by nearly 70% since 2000. That’s being responsible and respectful of our customers and the environment.

If you want to keep pests on the outside looking in, let us help you. Please send me an e-mail with the details at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com and I’ll get back to you right away with more information.

Until next time, enjoy the summer and thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.

 

 

 

A Stinging Problem With Scorpions

 

 

 

 

 

As the temperatures regularly start crossing the 100 degree mark in the Valley of the Sun and other parts of Arizona, residents are sure to be cranking up the air conditioning, hitting the pool and keeping a watchful eye out for scorpions.

Scorpions have long been a nuisance and potential health hazard to Arizona residents that have been on the receiving end of a scorpion sting. For the record a scorpion will sting – not bite – you.

Scientists estimate scorpions were among the first animals to adapt to land some 420 million years ago. Fossil records from that time have found evidence of a marine scorpion that was more than 3 feet long – yikes! Talk about a fine “How do you do” if you crossed its path taking an evening walk!

Scorpions are solitary, nocturnal creatures that feed on insects, spiders, or even a small mouse or lizard – quite an interesting pallet if you ask me!

In keeping with their secretive, solitary nature, scorpions don’t aggressively seek out human targets like mosquitoes do. Most stings occur when a person steps on, sits on, rolls over on or otherwise touches or comes in very close to a scorpion.

Four Facts About Scorpions

  1. The venom that causes pain and other symptoms is in the scorpion’s tail, not in its mouth.
  2. There are 30 species of scorpions found in Arizona but only one, the bark scorpion, has venom that can be life-threatening to humans.
  3. Scorpions have a natural fluorescence that is very visible under ultraviolet light. You can use a “black” light, usually available in hardware stores, to find scorpions inside or outside your home.
  4. Scorpions are relatively inactive during the daylight hours. The majority of stings occur at night during the summer.

The Bark Scorpion

As the only scorpion with venom that can lead to a serious health threat, the bark scorpion is approximately a 1 ½ inch long when fully grown. It is light tan in color and has slender tail segments and pincers.

Since it is much smaller than other scorpion species, homeowners can mistakenly describe the adult bark scorpion as a “baby.” But this baby isn’t cute and cuddly!

Bark scorpions burrow and hide from view in daylight and if they gain access to your home, they will gravitate to corners, closets and kitchen cabinets, shoes, toy bins, storage boxes – anywhere that is dark and cool. An agile climber, the bark scorpion can climb up walls or the legs of furniture.

Keeping Scorpions Out

A scorpion’s natural defenses make it hard to eliminate but one of the best ways to keep them safely outdoors and away from you and your family is by sealing up all the possible points of entry in and around your home.

Scorpions, like mice, cockroaches or ants, do not need a whole lot of room to gain access to your living space; an opening the size of the edge of a credit card provides plenty of room for a bark scorpion to enter. To prevent scorpions from getting inside, Western Exterminator’s pest management gurus pass along these 6 Tips for Keeping Scorpions Out of Your Home:

  1. Get out the caulking gun out and seal up any openings around windows, doors and in the foundation.
  2. Make sure doors, especially sliding doors adjacent to patios and pools, close tightly.
  3. Double check that screens in doors and windows are in good repair and not torn.
  4. Inspect packages or boxes that may have been left outside overnight to ensure no unwanted visitors hitch a ride.
  5. To protect infants from possible stings, place the legs of cribs inside glass containers; glass is too slippery for the scorpions to climb.
  6. Wear closed toe shoes while enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking and other outdoor sports, and shake out clothing, bedding or camping gear after use to dislodge scorpions.

If you have a problem with scorpions in or around your home or business, I’d like to hear about it. Please send me an e-mail with the details at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com and I’ll get back to you right away with more information.

Until next time, enjoy the summer and thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.

 

 

 

The Itchy Facts About Mosquitoes

NORTHERN HOUSE MOSQUITO

My curious streak, especially when it comes to pests, inspires me to do a little detective work now and then. My sleuthing of newspapers, magazines (you should see the stack in my office!), talking with colleagues and customers, and scanning websites for new information on what’s happening with pests yields some interesting material.

For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5,387 cases of West Nile virus disease were reported last year to CDC, the highest national total since 2003. In California, there were a total of 451 cases reported and, sadly, 16 deaths, and in Arizona there were 125 reported cases.

In California alone there are more than 50 species of mosquitoes and 60 mosquito and vector control districts responsible for protecting the public from these potentially deadly pests that enjoy taking their blood meal from humans, birds and animals. Friendly sorts I guess? Not!

While a good number of these mosquitoes pose no threat to consumers, there is a nasty contingent of mosquitoes that has less than honorable intentions. Mosquitoes of the Culex, Aedes and Anopheles species are the primary vectors of the West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis and dog heartworm to name a few.

Mosquitoes are light brown with no distinct markings and are drawn to water. Any standing water – bird baths, rain barrels, standing water on pool covers, stagnant ponds or landscape water features, and even a saucer underneath a potted plant – is prime real estate for mosquitoes.

Home and business owners can protect themselves, their families, co-workers and customers from the threat mosquitoes pose in two ways this summer – personal protective measures and cultural measures designed to reduce the number of mosquitoes in and around your living and work environment.

Mr. Little and the pest and public health professionals at Western Exterminator have put together a list of “Eight Great Tips to Keep Mosquitoes Away” that you can follow to safeguard your home or business against mosquitoes. The list includes:

  1. Eliminate standing water in and around your home or office. Even small plant saucers can support a hungry mosquito population.
  2. Clean out roof gutters of debris that can trap and hold water, and empty bird baths on a weekly basis.
  3. Keep water off of pool covers and maintain good water quality.
  4. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants (when practical) if outdoors at dusk.
  5. Place mosquito netting over infant carriers and strollers.
  6. Make sure your window and door screens are in good repair, and fix or replace any with holes or tears.
  7. Use an insect repellant that contains DEET – there are several good brands on the market.
  8. Avoid excessive irrigation of your lawn and plants to avoid excessive moisture build up.

One thing to keep in mind when trying to eliminate mosquitoes from your premises: Adult mosquitoes can fly several miles from where their primary harborage is located. Even if you successfully control mosquito larvae in your backyard, the mosquitoes from “down the street” can still pose a threat. Talk with your neighbors about mosquito control and have everyone keep an “eye to the sky” for possible signs of infestation.

If you have a problem with mosquitoes in and around your home or business, I would like to hear about it. Please send me an e-mail with the details to AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com and I will get back to you right away with more information.

Until next time, enjoy the summer and thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

 

Have a pest free day.