Brrrr! Winter Weather’s Effects on BUGS and other PESTS…

So, you thought that this cold weather would knock out all the Florida critters we deal with? Well think again! In Florida, WE BREED BUGS! And just because we are having a spot of “frigidness” (is that a word?) here and there, for the most part it’s never long enough to really knock out any of the bugs like it may up north. Just think about it…last night we were supposed to reach freezing temperatures and in the next two days we’ll be back in the 80’s!! The bugs and critters (as well as the lawn, plants & flowers) are CONFUSED–and I hope this information helps you NOT BE.

When winter weather arrives, some pests go into hibernation while others enter homes seeking warmth and food sources. We want to encourages homeowners to take several precautions against common winter pests like mice, rats, raccoons, cockroaches and spiders. Here are some “Prevent-a-Tips” to prevent an infestation now, and over the next few months.

the bug stops here logoIf you have already been invaded by any of these OR others, you can count on us at PEST CONTROL GENERAL STORE to help you eliminate the problems SAFELY and effectively. Ask us how, then Do-It-Youself!! We are Professional Pest Management Specialists…not sales clerks! The products we sell and the advice that we offer far surpasses discount chain stores. There is no comparison. You’ll find us in Holiday, Florida at:  2636 US Highway 19, or online at www.pestcontrolgeneral.com as well as on Facebook! Oh…and be on the lookout for our NEW e-Commerce Website coming soon!! We will now be able to ship our products and provide our expert advice all across the nation!

House Mice
The house mouse is the most commonly encountered rodent in the United States. House mice usually nest in dark, secluded areas like attics and storage buildings and garages. This rodent can cause serious property damage by chewing through drywall and also wires that can then spark an electrical fire. House mice are also known to contaminate food and spread diseases, including Salmonella and tapeworms.

Prevent-a-Tips:

Mice can fit through an opening as small as a dime. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home with caulk and steel wool.

Keep areas clear and store boxes off of the floor because mice like to hide in clutter.

Regularly inspect the home for signs of mice, such as droppings, gnaw marks and damaged food.

Norway RatsNorway Rats
Norway rats often nest in piles of debris and other undisturbed materials. They are known to gnaw through almost anything – including plastic or lead pipes – to obtain food or water. They can cause extensive damage to your property. Norway rats are also a vector of many diseases like jaundice, rat-bite fever and cowpox virus.

Prevent-a-Tips:

Norway rats can fit through an opening as small as ½ inch (or the size of a quarter).

Inspect the outside of the home for any gaps or crack and fill them with silicone caulk.

Eliminate sources of moisture in crawl spaces and basements.

Regularly inspect inside the home for signs of an infestation, including greasy rub marks caused by the rat’s oily fur.

German Roach InfestationGerman Cockroaches
The German cockroach is the most common species of cockroach found throughout the world! German cockroaches prefer to live in small areas close to food and moisture, so human homes make the perfect habitat. This type of cockroach often hitchhikes indoors via grocery bags, boxes and secondhand appliances, and is commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. German cockroaches can contaminate food sources and spread bacteria and human pathogens. Moreover, cockroach allergens are know to trigger allergies and exacerbate asthma symptoms, especially in children.

Prevent-A-Tips:

Keep counters and floors clean and free of crumbs.

Vacuum frequently and dispose of garbage regularly.

Pay attention to kitchens and bathrooms, especially under appliances and sinks.

Be aware of bringing in second-hand items! Thoroughly inspect furniture, appliances, even clothes, books and nick-nacks for they can introduce an infestation to your home!!!

Brown Recluse SpiderBlack Widow and Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders prefer to spin webs in undisturbed places, such as closets, attics, crawl spaces and garages. Like other types of spiders, the brown recluse is frequently found inside cardboard boxes, along window moldings and in seldom-used clothing and shoes. These spiders can bite and inject venom if disturbed, making them dangerous to humans.

Prevent-A-Tips:

Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the home and cut back limbs overhanging the roof. This will help reduce the chance of spiders finding a way inside.

Store clothing and shoes inside plastic containers. Pay special attention to shoes, baseball mitts and gloves that aren’t used as frequently as other items, as spiders like to hide inside them.

If you suspect you have a spider bite, seek prompt medical attention.

mean racoon imageRaccoons
Raccoons are commonly found all throughout Florida (and the country.) This type of wild animal occasionally enters homes through attics or chimneys in search of a denning site. Raccoons are a major host of rabies in the United States.

Prevent-a-Tips:

Store trashcans and recycling bins in sealed areas such as a locked shed or outhouse. If trashcans are kept outdoors, use animal-proof lids.

Inspect the outside of your home for access points, such as broken vent covers.

Repair any loose siding or shingles.

Install a mesh cover or cap over chimneys and other exposed openings to prevent entry.

Keep tree branches trimmed back from the house.

I hope you find these Prevent-a-Tips helpful. If we can be of any service to you in helping eliminate these or any other pests, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (727) 942-3551. Or, better yet, visit us in our store, or online!

Have a SAFE Spray,

The Florida Bug Expert Mona Giordano, CPO

The Florida Bug Expert
Mona Giordano, CPO

Mona Giordano, Certified Pest Control Operator

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“You Dirty RAT!!!”

And I’m not kidding. Rats are nasty little creatures. They carry germs, parasites (fleas, ticks, mites) and if that wasn’t nasty enough they cause diseases….remember the plague? Another consideration is the economic impact of having rats living within your home or business–they pee and poop over everything, they chew and make nests and damage and destroy your property and belongings and then there’s the stench, oh the undeniable stench of a rodent population!

The cold hard reality is that RATS ARE RUNNING RAMPANT IN FLORIDA RIGHT NOW! Abandoned houses, businesses, lots and warehouses have become untended and overgrown (and sometimes inhabited by transients that temporarily live there and leave food, beverages and other garbage behind) . The economy has caused many to vacate their once lovely and maintained homes and all of these things combined have caused a surge in rodent populations across Florida. Even high income neighborhoods that are well maintained are having rat problems, especially if they back up to a body of water, whether it be a canal, lake or retention pond.

To have a professional exterminator come and take care of this problem for you is a very expensive proposition. They, just like you, would have to come out and inspect, put out traps, come back out and reset traps (remove dead carcases, too), come back out…etc. And hopefully you get a qualified and properly trained technician that won’t just throw some bait packets in the attic and outdoors and play the odds that a rat won’t die inside the wall voids where you can’t get to them and die!! Oh the horrible stench of a dying rat that you can’t get to without tearing the wall apart. FYI most professional rodent control is priced starting at about $200 (for trapping and/or baiting and upwards to $600 or more if they are doing “exclusion” (sealing up all potential entry points with copper mesh and /or foam) .

SO…WHAT IS A HOMEOWNER TO DO?? 

I’m soo glad you asked. Here’s the deal. When you are dealing with a rat problem we ALWAYS recommend that you start by trying to TRAP them. There are several options available to you to choose from:

STEP ONE

Traditional Wood Victor M-2 or M-9 snap traps or the easy to set trap, SNAPE

Hava-A-Heart Mechanical Traps (more humane, trap and release elsewhere)

Catchmaster Giant Rat Boards (that you make into a tent to trap them on ALL sides)

Flat Glue Board Traps (Masterline Professional) *they may chew off limbs or tail to escape

The reason this is so important is that if you start by using a bait, then there is a great chance that they will die behind a wall void or up in the attic where you cannot get to them. You then have to hire someone to come and get the smelly, nasty, gross thing out OR deal with the stench until the body fully decomposes! This can take two weeks or more. The other problem is, any parasites that were living on this once warm blooded, but now dead rat, are going to be looking for new warm blood to feast on–that could be YOU or your family!! YUCK!

STEP TWO:

Once the rat population is under control, it is now advisable to follow up on a couple of things so this does not become a problem again. An ounce of prevention and all that…

Find and seal all entry points with “STUFF-IT” copper mesh

Put out Bell T1 Rat Bait Stations in a variety of locations (inside and outside)

OR Keep HAVE-A-HEART Traps in place outdoors to head ’em off at the pass

Keep potential breeding grounds free from litter and organic debris (leaves, overgrown grass/weeds, wood piles, etc.)

Keep fallen or rotten fruit (especially citrus) continually picked up and disposed of

So there you have it. Everything you always wanted to know about the SAFE, proper and cost effective way to eliminate and control those “Dirty little Rats!”

Now, it’s very important to understand something. YOU MUST READ AND FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURERS LABEL DIRECTIONS at all times. The old “if a little is good, a lot is better” is NOT the case when you are dealing with pesticides or rodenticides!! (or pool chemicals, or paint chemicals, or cleaning chemicals….) SAFETY FIRST ALWAYS.

Well, I hope this helps you rid your home, business and storage areas of those nasty disease-carrying, home-wrecking RODENTS!l
If you are not able to find these products locally, give us a call. WE CAN HELP! Visit us at www.floridabugexpert.com.

Until tomorrow, be blessed and…know that You are “armed and dangerous now (at least to rat populations, that is!)

Mona Giordano (The Bug Lady)