Monday, April 25, 2011

General Household Insects

As a NJ Exterminator this time of year begins a rather hectic season with lots of phone calls from homeowners about general household pests, such as flies, mosquitos, ants, silverfish, and centipedes. How can a homeowner prevent pest infestations from occurring in the first place? Some homeowners simply call their local nj exterminator for a preventative annual spraying hoping that gesture alone will aid in the prevention of pest infestations. General pest control preventative treatments are very helpful, and there are some things that you, the homeowner, can do in conjunction to your preventative pest control service to stretch your dollar and really ward off pests from becoming a nuisance in the first place.

Today, we're going to concentrate on the elimination of breeding grounds for pest control, as well as the elimination of entry points into your home.  By following these simple steps, your exterminator treatments will be a lot more effective for you.

Standing Water
Standing water on the property is a breeding ground for a multitude of pests, most notably mosquitoes. If you want to keep mosquitoes to a minimum then the absolute best way to do this is to eliminate any standing water from your property. Things to look for are bird baths, swimming pools, depressions in the lawn's landscape, and clogged gutters & leaders, which all contribute to stagnant water that provides a breeding ground for insects. Take some time to inspect around your home and your property. Clean out any fountains or bird baths from stagnant water, don't neglect your swimming pool and get it opened on time for the season so that the filter continually cleans the water. Look over your lawn for uprooted trees or soil depressions and fill them in so that rain water does not collect and sit. Clean and check your gutters for any clogs and wet leaves. Not only will these steps help prevent pest infestations, but they are generally good home maintenance tips that will keep your home free from water intrusion and water damage, too.

Lawn Debris
Now is the time to begin getting the gardens and lawns looking nice for your summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings! Not only will cleaning up lawn debris improve the aesthetics of your home, it's curb appeal, and overall property value; it will also help reduce the incidence of pest infestations. Wet leaves also provide a breeding ground for pests so clean them up before pests become a problem in your home. Also, trim back any trees or leaves that are situated against your your home. These minor efforts will help you ward off ants, silverfish, and centipedes, to name a few.

Caulk holes
Sometimes pests breed outside and then find their way into your home. It's always a good habit to regularly caulk any small holes to prevent pests from entering your home. Did you know that a mouse can fit through a hole as small as the size of the tip of your finger? Just think of how many ants can march through that very same hole. Check along the foundation, window and door frames, and along any seams in your home structure.  This is a cheap and easy way to help prevent bugs from getting inside your home and is a great preventative pest control tactic.

Window Screens
Now that the weather is getting warmer, it's refreshing to finally open up a window and let the fresh air inside your home. Before doing so, you will want to be sure your screens are in tact to prevent unwanted pests from invading your home. Screening may be purchased very inexpensively from your local home improvement store. Repair and or replace any screens that have rips or holes before opening the windows. Obviously the smaller the screen mesh, the more effective it will be in aiding your home pest control. Finer screen meshes will prevent the smallest of pests from entering your home and can also help in the prevention of pollen and outdoor allergens from entering, too, an added bonus for allergy-sufferers.

Here is a useful YouTube video that will show you step-by-step the simple process of replacing a window screen.

These simple procedures are helpful pest control tips throughout the year, best handled in the spring while pests are still in their larvae stage. A little bit of effort will pay off big time by saving you the hassle and costs of dealing with pest infestations before they have the opportunity to occur in many cases.

-Steve Spinelli

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bed Bug Video

I like to watch You Tube. Depending on my mood I can watch fascinating videos of any subject, and most recently I found myself watching videos about bed bugs. As a bed bug exterminator I was curious to observe people's bed bug do-it-yourself remedies, some of which offered some decent suggestions of how to rid your home of bed bugs, and others were simply laughable. Since YouTube video content is all user uploaded we have to remember to take some of the information we find with a grain of salt. My goal was to find a video that was accurate and informative, and I did stumble upon a short documentary-style video uploaded by Discovery Networks. Being a fan of The Discovery Channel it caught my interest. They uploaded a video named, "Bed Bugs on the Rise" that I would like to share with you below.

This video is very useful to you for several reasons. It discusses some basic information about bed bugs, and you can actually see what bed bugs look like in action as they crawl around on the Entomologist's hand. (Warning: watching this video may cause you to feel itchy!) Discovery Networks does a great job explaining why the bed bug population is increasing and where bed bugs come from. You will learn about bed bug bites, what bed bug bites look like, and the video offers some good points for preventing bed bugs and bed bug infestations, too. So sit back, enjoy, and watch and learn some key information about bed bugs in a short two and a half minute video.

-Steve Spinelli
AKA "Bed Bug Exterminator"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What do bed bugs look like?

As a licensed NJ Exterminator, I answer this question countless times every day on service calls.  With the onslaught of media centered around bed bugs, an exterminator may as well change their title to “bed bug exterminator.”  Personally, about 90% of our NJ exterminator service calls are all in the name of… BED BUGS.  Recent research shows that bed bugs in NJ rank number three out of the 50 states in the USA.

So you want to see pictures of bed bugs because you are searching for an answer to the question that everyone seems to be asking these days:  “What do bed bugs look like?”

Knowing that I would be starting this blog, I have recently taken some pictures of bed bugs, as well as what signs to look for that indicate a bed bug infestation, so that you can see a clear example of bed bugs to use as a reference point if you want to look for bed bugs or signs of bed bug activity in your home or building.

Bed bugs and bed bug fecal matter on a box spring

A bed bug in the center, and the larger bed bug to the left is pregnant and will drop eggs shortly.  If you compare the size of these two bed bugs to the staple in the photograph, this will give you a good frame of reference to understand the size of a bed bug.  Black markings indicate bed bug excrement along the underside of a box spring along the seaming.

Picture of a bed bug
What do bed bugs look like? This is a standard example of a bed bug on the underside of a box spring and is a close up of the image above for a better view.

Bed bug excrement on mattress seam
"How do I know if I have bed bugs?"
In looking at the above picture of a mattress seam, you will see the dark markings that are hallmark of a bed bug infestation in your mattress or bedding.  Let's take a closer look at these signs of bed bug infestations:

Bed bug casings and excrement on underside of box spring
See how the edge of this box spring looks like someone took a sharpie pen and marked it up? The black markings that look like ink are bed bug feces.  Orange-brown matter are the expelled bed bug casings (ie. bed bug skin)  Bed bugs shed their skins with each growth phase.

Bed bug casings and excrement on box spring
Black ink looking markings indicate bed bug fecal matter along the edge of the underside of this boxspring.  Lighter brown matter are the shed bed bug casings.  (ie. bed bug skins)

Bed bug cluster on the underside of a sofa cushion
 Some more bed bug pictures.  Note that bed bugs tend to cluster together.  Each cluster typically contains about 6 to 12 bugs.  Also, bed bugs do not only infest beds and may be found on the bottom of a sofa cushion as well as almost all other furnishings.

Bed bug cluster on the underside of a sofa cushion
Close up view of the above bed bug cluster found on the bottom of a sofa cushion.  What do bed bugs look like?  The above bed bug picture provides an excellent example.

Bed bug signs of an infestation
In multiple dwellings, like apartments, hotels, condos, and townhouses, a bed bug infestation may easily move from one unit to the next.  See the small hole next to this electrical outlet and note that it is roughly the same size as one of the small plug holes.  A hole this size creates ample room for bed bugs to travel from unit to unit.

Stay tuned for more bed bug pictures from your NJ Bed Bug Exterminator.

-Steve Spinelli
AKA "Bed Bug Exterminator"