Pest Gazette

PestGazette Winter 2017

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Storing Firewood

Now that we are in the throes of winter, the allure of a roaring fireplace is hard to ignore. But the wood you bring in for your cozy fire can also bring unwanted hitchhikers. A variety of insects, arachnids, and other arthropods like to live in, on, and around stacked firewood. Some harmless (though undesired) insects include pillbugs, sowbugs, daddy-longlegs, spiders, earwigs, and springtails. The most problematic invaders are the carpenter ants and wood-boring beetles because these can damage your home.

There are several ways you can help reduce the likelihood of importing pest problems. If you have your own firewood supply outdoors, it’s best to stack it away from your house to discourage any of these creatures from wandering the short distance indoors for heat and shelter. Before bringing in firewood, make sure there are not bird or other animal nests on or near it. These nests can harbor mites, ticks, and fleas. Keeping your firewood tightly wrapped and covered can help reduce the number of critters inside it. Before you bring wood indoors, brush off any soil or debris first and use firewood very soon after you bring it indoors. The shorter the amount of time it is sitting inside, the less likely any pests will start moving off of it and into the recesses of your home.

It’s also important to remember that it is never advisable to transport firewood great distances or move it across state lines. The spread of invasive insects is rapidly expanding and is greatly aided by the movement of firewood. By taking these steps, you will be much less likely to introduce a pest problem into your home this winter.

Rodents 101

A common misconception is that pest problems tend to go away when temperatures start to drop. In reality, cooler temperatures drive pests such as rats and mice indoors seeking food and shelter to survive the winter. Once inside, these seasonal invaders have everything they need to start breeding inside your home. Rodents are dangerous pests capable of spreading dozens of diseases. When foraging, rats and mice contaminate surfaces with their droppings and urine that can spread bacteria, contaminate foods, and cause allergic reactions. Rodent bites are also a serious concern, with around 50,000 people bitten by rodents each year. These bites are most common among infants and the elderly, and can spread disease or lead to secondary infection. Overwintering rodents can also cause extensive damage to your home. Gnawing damage to electrical wires can posing a dangerous fire hazard, while chewed water lines can cause leaks or even flooding. Rats and mice also cause considerable damage to insulation through tunneling, by tearing it apart for nesting materials or due to contamination from feces. When rats and mice frequent an area, they often leave behind clues such as droppings, urine, and gnawing damage. Other, more subtle signs can include tracks or runways, rub marks, burrows, and even sounds. These clues can be used to identify where rodents are feeding or nesting. Addressing these conditions at the first signs of rodent activity is important to the success of any rodent management program. Contact us at the first signs of rodent activity so that we can resolve your rodent problems quickly and safely. Preventing rats and mice from entering your home is also critical to avoiding an infestation. However, rodent-proofing your home is no easy task. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as a dime, while rats can fit a hole about the size of a quarter. Trying to locate every possible entry point can be time consuming and challenging. Even if access points are located, permanently sealing them to prevent future pest entry can be no easy task. Rats and mice are capable of chewing through many common construction materials including wood, rubber and even concrete! Selecting the wrong material to close an opening can be just as ineffective as failing to seal it in the first place. We are equipped with the latest in rodent-resistant materials to correct any entry point that rats and mice may use to invade your home. Call us for a professional inspection today. 585-381-0395

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