Keep the Warmth In and the Pests Out

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As you crank up the heater this winter, you could be inviting some unwanted guests into your cozy home. These pests could take advantage of your heat and cause more serious problems in your house. Follow these quick tips from BugMaster to prevent these pests from invading your home this winter.

 

House Mice
House mice are the most commonly-encountered rodents and can cause serious damage by chewing drywall and wires. They can also contaminate food and spread diseases!

Quick tip: Check dark, quiet areas (like attics or basements) for house mice. Keep these areas clear of clutter that house mice use as their cozy homes.

 

Norway Rats
Norway rats are notorious for gnawing through anything and everything, even lead pipes, to find food and water. Like their house mice friends, Norway rats nuzzle into piles of debris in quiet basements and attics.

Quick tip: Inspect the exterior of your home for openings as small as a quarter. Norway rats can invade your home through even this small of an opening.

 

Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are tiny insects that survive by eating the blood of humans and animals. You can find bedbugs in clothing, luggage, airplanes, sofas, and of course, beds.

Quick tip: There are not many effective DIY methods to remove bedbugs. But, to prevent them, be sure to inspect beds and furniture for signs of these pests, including live or dead bugs and drops of dried blood.

 

Spiders
With the possibility of over 350 species of spiders in any one region of the country, there’s a high chance that some spiders will find their way into your home. Most spiders are harmless to humans, but they are a nuisance if one surprises you in the kitchen or bathroom!

Quick tip: Cut tree limbs and shrubbery so that they are not hanging over or close to your house. This will reduce the chances of spiders finding a way inside.

 

Firewood Pests
Along with the warmth of a wood-burning fireplace comes the possibility of ants and termites that nestle in firewood and can cause extensive damage to your home.

Quick tip: Do not store firewood inside. Rather, keep it outside and away from your home. When you bring in the firewood, burn it immediately in order to reduce the risk of pests crawling into other areas of your home.

 

Overwintering Pests
Ladybugs, beetles, stink bugs, and box elders like to enter your home in the beginning of winter and settle down for the chilly season. They are mostly harmless, but they are still a nuisance.

Quick tip: Seal door and window cracks completely to prevent these pests from hibernating in your home. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of them.

 

If you have some unwanted guests that you can’t kick out with these quick tips, call BugMaster to help you show them the door! During these chilly months, you’ll want to keep the warmth inside the house and the pests outside — where they belong.

For more information or questions about our services and products, visit bugmaster.com or call our Mobile, AL location at 251-666-4402 or our Daphne location at 251-626-6667.

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Resources:
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The Great Toy Drive and BugMaster Spread Christmas Cheer

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‘Tis the season for gift-giving, and here at BugMaster we love to ensure that all children have a merry and bright Christmas! For the fifth year, we are partnering with WKRG News 5 to help sponsor The Great Toy Drive. What better way to put smiles on kids’ faces other than giving them toys for Christmas?

The toys collected by The Great Toy Drive are distributed through the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots to families as well as other charitable organizations throughout the Gulf Coast. The toys are carefully placed in the hands of those truly in need.

There’s a way for everyone to spread the Christmas spirit this year. Organizations, schools, businesses, families, and individuals can participate by bringing new, unwrapped toys to both BugMaster locations, WKRG, or any of the other drop-off locations. The final date to drop off toys to the BugMaster locations is Thursday, December 17. The BugMaster drop-off locations are:

Mobile
619 Azalea Rd
Mobile, AL 36609
251.666.4402

Daphne
2520 US Hwy 98
Daphne, AL 36526
251.928.5131

Participating in The Great Toy Drive is a fun family or team project with great benefits for the Gulf Coast’s less-fortunate children. Join BugMaster and the WKRG News 5 Toy Team to spread some happy smiles this holiday season. To see The Great Toy Drive in action at the Wind Creek drop-off location and to learn more about the difference you can make, check out the Wind Creek Toy Cam here.

 

For more information, call 251.666.4402 or visit BugMaster.com

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Decking the Halls of The Child Advocacy Center

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Each year, the BugMaster team looks forward to Christmastime because of our tradition of helping the Child Advocacy Center of Mobile (the CAC) decorate for the holidays. A few weeks ago, the team went to the CAC and strung lights, … Continue reading

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Buggin’ Around the Christmas Tree

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By: Austin Key, CPCO, VP of BugMaster

The stockings are hung and the fireplace is roaring — all that’s left is the tree. Having a real Christmas tree in your house this holiday season comes with a few thousand gifts under it: bugs. If you take a close look at your beautiful Douglas Fir or Scotch Pine, you can find almost 25,000 bugs living within its branches. Take something out of nature, and nature comes with it.

One or more of the following bugs may find its way into your home and make your tree their new holiday dwelling:

Adelgids — Often mistaken for spiders, these Cinara aphids are harmless and do not produce webs. However, their frequent “flocking” can cause concern. Adelgids resemble a dusting of snow on your tree branches, but don’t confuse them for a little wintery decoration.

Bark Beetles — Burrowed into the trunk of your Christmas tree, these beetles create tiny holes and a small amount of sawdust. However, they are not a danger to your furniture or the structure of your house, as these wood materials are too dry for them to survive.

Predatory & Bird Mites — Relatives of chiggers, these pests are either tiny and unnoticeable or bigger and red in color. Mites usually go unnoticed and are not a threat to adults or animals.

Praying Mantids — Remove tan, nut-sized egg clusters from your tree before taking it inside because mantid egg cases can hatch when introduced to the warmth of your home. If this happens, you’ll have hundreds of tiny mantids wandering in search of your cookies for Santa Claus.

Barklice — These small, winged, soft-bodied insects are colored gray or brown and feed on fungus, mold, pollen, and dead insects. However, barklice usually die in an indoor setting.

Scale Insects — You may have seen these tiny, slowly-moving red insects in or around your tree. After feeding, scale insects excrete small amounts of clear, sticky liquid known as honeydew that can be cleaned with soap and water.

Spiders — Spiders on your Christmas tree are not dangerous to people or pets. However, if they wander off into your home, they may weave small webs on walls, ceilings, or furniture, but they will usually die quickly.

Don’t want these pests in your home and drinking your family’s eggnog? Here’s how to prevent inviting these holiday “party-crashers” into your home:

  • Before bringing your tree inside, check for insects that may be hiding in its branches. Look at the trunk as well as the underside of branches and needles.
  • Physically shake the tree vigorously to loosen any pests of insects. Mechanical tree shakers, available at some retail lots, are also useful in removing some insects from the trees.
  • Remove any bird nests from your tree’s branches.
  •  DO NOT spray aerosol pesticides on your Christmas tree. These are flammable chemicals and will create a dangerous fire hazard, especially if your tree stands next to your fireplace.

“‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” If you have a real Christmas tree, this may not be true! We too love the smell of a real tree, but we should all take precautions to avoid welcoming unwanted holiday guests into our cozy homes this year. For a more hygienic, happier, and healthier holiday season, simply vacuum away any dead insects you find. Or, save yourself a ton of hassle and get a fake tree.

For more information or questions about our services and products, visit bugmaster.com or call our Mobile, AL location at 251-666-4402 or our Daphne location at 251-626-6667.

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Resources:
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Termite Control: Sentricon versus Hex Pro

BugMaster CPCO, Austin Key, explains the difference between Sentricon Termite Elimination Bait System and Hex Pro Termite System. Key describes their Sentricon installation at The Child Advocacy Center located in Mobile, Alabama.

 

Video Transcription:

Today we’re here at The Child Advocacy Center of Mobile and we’re installing The Sentricon Termite System with Always Active technology. We’re replacing their existing termite protection system by Dow products called Hex-Pro. Hex-Pro worked in the manner where you had a monitoring stations strategically placed around the structure. BugMaster had to come back with some monitoring sticks in there; remove the monitoring sticks and take the termites and put in the bait foods. The Sentricon Always Active is taking those steps out of it. Now we can install the system, and you’ve got an active termite bait solution in the ground and working to protect your home from day one. BugMaster will come back on an annual basis to do your annual termite inspections and will monitor the existing Sentricon system as well. Today we’re placing 59 stations around this structure.

For more information or questions about our pest control services and products, please visit bugmaster.com or call our Mobile, AL location at 251-666-4402 or our Daphne location at 251-626-6667.

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Routine Termite Inspection & Sentricon System Monitoring

BugMaster CPCO,  Austin Key, describes a routine residential home termite inspection and Sentricon Termite Elimination Baiting System monitoring. Located in Mobile, Alabama.


VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION:

Today, we’re at this residence to do the annual termite inspection. To do that, we’ll perform checking underneath the house, checking the perimeter, as well as the inside (of the house). We do this for two reasons: One, to make sure there’s no potential problems or any active infestations found on the property itself; also, if there are any problems, we can catch it in enough time to minimize the damage, hopefully, to prevent any ongoing issues.

We’ll also be doing the annual Sentricon System termite inspection at this time, where we’ll be checking the baiting system that was previously placed around the house as well. To do that, we’ll be using a specific locator tool to locate the stations that are underneath the grass that has grown up since the last time we were here.

We’ve just completed the annual inspection of the house. We also finished the annual inspection of the Sentricon Termite Elimination and Baiting System. Of the 26 stations, we did locate in one of the stations, live, active Eastern termites. There was not enough consumption of the bait to have to have it replaced. We’ll come back after two weeks and relook and monitor it to see additional bait consumption, and where we are on that issue. If it’s to the point where we need to replace it, we will; if not, if there’s no other termites found on it, there’ll be a colony elimination. So it’d be a success story, and we’ll go back to the scheduled and regular BugMaster and Sentricon termite monitoring mode.

For more information or questions about our pest control services and products, please visit bugmaster.com or call our Mobile, AL location at 251-666-4402 or our Daphne location at 251-626-6667.

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Eliminating A Formosan Termites Threat From The Backyard

Video Transcription by Austin Key ~ BugMaster VP, CPCO

What we are looking at is the flooring to an unused structure in a customer’s backyard. The customer had a crate and as he picked the crate up from the flooring, he broke the termite’s shelter tubes that the termites were crawling in. What you are seeing now is the termites going back and forth along a pheromone trail. Typically, they would be in a shelter tube, but since that tube is no longer there, they are free crawling. Since termites are blind, they follow the scent that each one of the workers and soldiers lie down. That is why they are casting in a line back and forth, going in and out of the galleries in the wood they have eaten and done the damage.

In this specific situation, we did not have access to get underneath the structure. Instead, we used a Borate treatment on the wood surface. Then we completed Sentricon (Termite Baiting and Elimination System) installation around the perimeter of the structure. Thankfully, the structure was far enough away from the home so there was no threat. But because there are colonies in the area, we installed the Sentricon Baiting Stations as a preventative measure to help alleviate some of the pressure that you would have around the structure itself. The end result would be to protect the home a little better.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, the best recommendation would be to call BugMaster or any certified Sentricon specialist. For more details, visit bugmaster.com.

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