Most homeowners realize the best way to deter unwanted pests is to clean thoroughly and remove trash. But one often overlooked prevention measure is controlling moisture in and around your home.
Even in a dry climate, moisture can cause big problems in a short amount of time when it comes to inviting pests to take up residence in and around your property.
A relatively small amount of water or a leaking pipe provides sufficient water to attract bugs and rodents. It’s worthwhile to perform regular checks for moisture issues in and around the home, as well as other buildings on the property such as sheds and barns.
Spring is an optimal time of year to check. The weather is changing and spring showers provide more than enough moisture.
Here is a short checklist of items to check on your property:
Check plumbing lines under home for even small leaks
Insure exterior faucets seal tightly and do not drip
Tall grassy areas can hide pools of water that might otherwise be visible. Walk the perimeter of your property.
Downspouts and gutters can hold unwanted water if they are not regularly cleaned out.
Look for places standing water can collect – lawn ornaments, bird baths, old tires, decaying woods and even pool covers.
Check the ventilation for your attics and crawl spaces. These ventiations will help keep the area dry and have fresh air circulating.
Despite having a well maintained home, unwanted pests can still be a problem. If you notice any evidence of pests in or around your home, we recommend the issue to be looked at quickly before a larger issue arises.
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The Asian giant hornet has generated a lot of fear in the U.S. in recent weeks since it was spotted in North America. It is the largest wasp in the world, up to 2 inches long, with a sting that has been described as hurting like a hot nail punched through the skin. There are also concerns about its effect on honey bees, since they attack honey bee nests and rapidly kill entire colonies.
The good news is that the Asian giant hornet has only been spotted in Washington state, and there have been less than 10 confirmed sightings. These hornets are only aggressive when their nests are disturbed, and their nests are usually found in wooded areas.
There are several species of Texas native hornets that are often mistook for the Asian giant hornet, such as the cicada killer wasp, which can grow as large as 1.5 inches. Cicada killers are solitary and rarely sting.
So there’s no need to fear Asian giant hornet in South Texas, now or likely ever. If you have problems with other hornets or pests, schedule a home inspection with one of our licensed professionals at Hitman Pest Control today!
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If you’ve got pets, then you’ve probably encountered fleas in your home. The parasitic pests may start off by hopping a ride on your dog or cat, but they’re perfectly content to settle for human blood, too. And they’ll go after any warm body within reach.
First, keep your house cleaned and vacuumed regularly. If you find an adult flea, chances are it has already laid hundreds of eggs. This can remove existing flea populations and prevent egg laying.
Keep your yard groomed. Fleas feed on rodents and other small animals that find refuge and even food sources in overgrown bush. If the rodents are there, the fleas will be too. This may be hard for some pet owners to hear, but keeping them on a leash even in your own backyard can help avoid fleas.
Speaking of rodents, if you have a rodent problem, you may very well have a flea problem as well.
Bathe and groom your pets often, especially in summer. Flea treatments, as prescribed by your veterinarian, can help.
Possums (or opossums) are a common sight in the evenings in south Texas. Although they prefer to live in wooded areas near streams or swamps, they will often den in attics and garages, or under mobile homes.
Problems can arise from their messy nests, and their tendency to tear insulation, wiring and ductwork. Their lifestyle makes them likely carriers of disease, fleas and ticks.
Possum problems can be avoided by removing sources of food and shelter from your property. Trash should be stored in sealed containers, and any pet food dishes should be brought in at night. Also, check for other sources of food or shelter, like fallen fruit from trees or piles of logs or brush.
To prevent home infestation, regularly inspect your home and other buildings for holes, cracks, broken access covers, etc. Tree branches hanging near the home should also be trimmed.
If you suspect a possum infestation in your home, schedule a home inspection with one of our licensed professionals at Hitman Pest Control today!
Termites are a problem that you never see coming. By the time you’ve found them the damage is often extensive. Especially as the weather warms up, termites can become a serious problem.
One potential problem can come from swarming termites. The good news is that the swarming termites that fly around in spring and summer do not bite, sting or even eat wood. Swarming termites’ job is to find a new home, to build a new colony.
The bad news is that the presence of these swarmers means that a colony is nearby, either already in your home or nearby, ready to expand into your area.
Don’t let your home become their base of operations this year. Schedule a home inspection with one of our licensed professionals at Hitman Pest Control today!
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An insect that you should look out for in and around your home this spring are carpenter ants. Similar to termites, carpenter ants can damage the wood in your walls, ceilings and foundation as they make paths throughout the structure.
The carpenter ants that we mostly deal with around our area are the red and black colored species.
One of the signs of infestation is swarming, which often occurs around this time of year. During swarming, some of the ants make a one-time flight and then die soon after. If you see large winged ants in or around your home, you likely have a colony nearby.
Most home ant infestations indicate the presence of a moisture problem, either plumbing or weather related. Problem areas often include areas around doors, windows, chimney flashing and so forth.
The good news is that we have very effective bait that has proven very effective. The local ants love it, sometimes carrying it back to the nest before we’re done.
Do you suspect the presence of these or similar pests? Schedule a home inspection with one of our licensed professionals at Hitman Pest Control today!
By following a few easy steps, you can create a hostile environment for bugs and other pests, reducing bugs & infestations, avoiding damage to your property and saving money in the long run.
Seal cracks, gaps & openings: Check walls, doors, windows and foundation for cracks and gaps. Check weather stripping on doors and windows, and repair holes in screens. Use sealing materials like caulk to close off any entry points.
Maintain a clean kitchen: Pests are enticed by food sources, so regularly wiping down the kitchen and ensuring all food is stored in sealed containers is crucial to avoid drawing pests’ attention to the home.
Give your pets a dining space: Give your pet a dining area on a rubber mat. This makes spilled food easier to spot and clean up. If you’re having an ant problem with pet food left on the floor, put the food bowl into a larger bowl with water in it — the ants can’t cross the moat to get to the food.
Store firewood properly: Woodpiles can be an attractive home to many pests and should therefore be stored at least 20 feet away from the home and thoroughly examined before bringing indoors.
Be mindful of the home’s exterior: Remove any nearby debris or leaves that could serve as shelter for pests or create a source of standing water for pests to quench their thirst.
Partner with a pest control professional: Regular pest control maintenance can help you avoid costly long-term problems and damage to your property from bugs and pests.
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Unseasonably warm and wet conditions across the country have prompted experts to offer warnings for the season ahead for many areas, including San Antonio.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) today released its bi-annual Vector Sectors™ list of the top 10 U.S. cities with the greatest risk for increased pest pressure. San Antonio was among those ten cities, and the report says in part:
San Antonio: After an unseasonably warm fall and start to winter, above-average precipitation for the remainder of the season could lead to a spike in peridomestic cockroach activity.
I told you in earlier issues that the temperatures would be rising and along with that, termite and ant swarms would be starting. Like clockwork, the little devils have been on the radar for about a month now, with ever-increasing numbers of calls pertaining to either suspected termite or carpenter ant infestations occurring.
In the San Antonio, Bulverde, Spring Branch, Canyon Lake areas, we are “blessed” with multiple species of Wood Destroying Insects. The most common are; Carpenter Ants, Eastern Subterranean Termites, Formosan Subterranean Termites, Dry Wood Termites, Powder-post Beetles and on occasion, Carpenter Bees.
Many times customers will think they have termites when in fact the problem is an ant colony in the wall producing debris called “frass” which usually consist of wall material and insulation along with particles of dead ants and other trash. Carpenter ants are probably the most commonly occurring wood destroying insect that we deal with on a regular basis. In fact, I have said,”There are two types of homes out here in the Hill Country, one that has carpenter ants and one that is going to get them!” One good thing though is that the damage they produce is usually minimal and they are usually easy to control. The best way to prevent them is to not let trees or bushes touch your home and prevent water damage from either rain or plumbing leaks. Also keeping your gutters and roof clean from the leaf debris that builds up and holds moisture providing a suitable habitat.
When termites are involved, usually it is the native or Eastern Subterranean Termite that is the culprit. Unfortunately they are not usually discovered until they have been at work for some time, with substantial damages being done to the structure of the home. Subterranean means that the colony is in the ground and the termites in the house need to be in contact with the soil, that is why you will find dirt in the areas they are located. Eastern Subterranean is the most common species that we find here with a broad range of activity.
An invasive species, Formosan Subterranean Termite is a formidable foe, with staggering statistics. As of 2015, the distribution of Formosan subterranean termite in the United States includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. A single colony of Formosan subterranean termite may contain several million (versus several hundred thousand termites for native subterranean termite species) that forage up to 300 ft in soil. With increased colony sizes and larger foraging areas, one colony can threaten multiple structures. Along with structures being at risk, this species will attack healthy living trees resulting in hollowing out and weakening of major limbs resulting in possible property damage.
Dry Wood Termites are not that common in our area however they are around and are most commonly found in imported furniture or exotic woodwork They are usually found in the humid coastal subtropical regions. They usually infest attic spaces or exterior wood members exposed to them when they swarm in early spring or summer. With no need for contact with the soil, they are one of the most difficult to discover and eradicate.
Powder-post beetles are divided into four families: Lyctidae, Bostrichidae, Anobiidae, and Cerambycidae. The adults do little damage, it’s the larvae that does the major part of the damage. They have a complete metamorphosis life cycle: adults, eggs, larvae, pupa. They infest hardwoods and produce a fine powdery dust as they tunnel through the wood. They do digest cellulose and wood fibers.
Carpenter bees don’t eat wood but do feed on plant pollen and nectar; however they do excavate dry, unpainted and weathered wooden objects such as windowsills, doors, roof eaves, decks, railings, fences and wooden lawn furniture. They prefer pine, fir, cyprus, oak and redwood, especially if the wood is not covered with bark, is unpainted or unfinished. Large carpenter bees will sometimes bore into painted wood, especially if the paint covering is old and weathered. They are usually only noticed around April or May when the brood leaves the open cells.
With all of these and most other pests, the old saying rings true; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Proper upkeep of your home looking for wood rot or water damage goes a long way. If building a new home, a pre-construction termite preventative treatment is wise and much less expensive than a post-construction termite curative treatment having to be done after the damage is done. Having a regular pest control service being performed with a trained professional going around your home also helps to catch things before they become big problems.
Hitman Pest Control is locally owned & operated in the Spring Branch / Canyon Lake & San Antonio areas.
Michael Holt operates the Comal County office. Tom Powers operates the Bexar County office.
We have over 32 years experience, and are licensed in: General Pest, Termite, and Lawn & Ornamental categories.
Free Recalls on all regular scheduled services, even scorpions!
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Spring has sprung and the bugs have just begun! I know it’s pretty corny but it ‘s true. After the non-existent winter that we had this year in South Central Texas and the more than average rainfall (not complaining), 2016 is promising to be a busy year in the pest control business.
There’s a lot of talk about Zika virus being transmitted by mosquitoes, despite the fact that not one case in the U.S. at the time of this writing has been confirmed by mosquito transmission, but rather by human contact with infected individuals. The phones are starting to ring with inquiries about the solutions that pest control companies have to offer to alleviate fears and lessen the risk from these bothersome pests.
The first thing your can do to lower the problem in your backyard is to survey your property for standing water and over-watering of landscapes. Anything that can collect water is capable of providing a habitat for mosquito larvae to survive and mature into the adults that cause all the problems. Remember a single bottle cap holds enough rain water to support dozens of larvae to maturity.
Running water in ponds and fountains is usually not a problem, but the standing water in bird baths and other ‘yard art’ along with the catch pans under potted plants and clogged rain gutters serve as prime breeding sites. So be diligent and look for anything that can collect water around your home. Going out after a storm and looking for standing water is a great way to discover what you need to change.
Now that you have done all this, you still have to deal with the pesky little devils, because no matter what you do somewhere, somehow, they are a ever present problem for some areas. Some metropolitan entities are providing night-time fogging treatments to help with vector control and public health benefits. Also in known standing water areas, larvacides are being deployed to help eliminate the larvae before reaching maturity. Unfortunately, in rural areas this is usually not the case, with too much area to cover.
So now that the weather is getting nice and we are wanting to enjoy our backyards with all the amenities that make it enjoyable and as soon as the sun starts to set out come the blood suckers! What are you going to do? Pass out the repellents to all your guests with the toxicity they contain? How about light the tiki torches with citronella oil or light the mosquito coils to repel them and deal with the smell and smoke they produce? And I love this one, put 5 gallon buckets with dry ice in them at the back fence to draw them away from the gathering.
As you can see all of these do nothing to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. They only act by repelling or diverting an already present nuisance and possible threat. It has been shown time after time that the only tried and true way of keeping mosquitoes at bay is to consistently apply a pesticide at pre determined times on a regular basis during the swarming season. Here in San Antonio, Bulverde, Spring Branch and the surrounding areas that usually means March though November with some years December.
I know you are thinking: regular spraying of pesticides on a consistent basis, that’s crazy! No I am saying, using safe, proven and regulated products in minute amounts applied in precise locations and times least likely to coincide with the presence of people, pets, or food. There are even totally botanical chemical options available. This is accomplished with the installation of a fully automatic mosquito misting system tailored to your needs and landscapes. All units come with a remote control for on demand use. With the ability to monitor and have full control over your system via your smart phone or computer with internet connection anywhere in the world.
Hitman Pest Control has been a authorized mosquito system installer and servicing these systems for over 11 years. These systems have been around for some time and have evolved into quite effective tools to combat mosquitoes and other pests that have plagued us for an eternity. They have come a long way from the re-purposed analog water sprinkler timers and cooling misting nozzles that were utilized in the early versions that had minimal success.
Consistent mist concentrations every time: In the past, the diluted insecticide separates in the tank and consequently produces a varying concentration from mist cycle to mist cycle. And, in a hot stagnant drum, bacteria growth can compromise the insecticide and clog the filter. Every mosquito spray system and backyard insect control system installed by Hitman Pest Control has the ability to agitate the contents to ensure a consistent blend of active ingredients in every mosquito mist.
Leak Detection: Early on, systems would continue to operate when lines were cut either by lawn maintenance personal or animal damage or other leaks and empty the drum before it was
noticed. Now the systems detect the leak and shut down and if equipped, send you and us a notice via the iMistAway app that something is wrong saving the spilled chemical.
Optional wind sensors: The controller is programmed to check the wind speed before each scheduled mosquito mist cycle. It will check the wind every minute for five minutes, and if the wind is above a predetermined speed, the unit will go into hibernation until the next regularly scheduled cycle.
Multiple Zones: A single mosquito misting unit can power a practical maximum of around 60-70 nozzles. Placed every 12 feet, that translates into around 800 feet of protected perimeter. While that is sufficient for most homes, there are properties that demand many more mosquito misting nozzles. A zone kit effectively doubles the number of nozzles that a single unit can drive. Without it, a large installation would require multiple units.
These are just a few of the qualities and upgrades that the systems installed and maintained by Hitman Pest Control have to offer. Contact us to have one of our trained professionals give you a free estimate.