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Types of Pests and How to Control Them

Pests are a nuisance and can cause damage to property. They also can transmit disease to humans like hantavirus, leptospirosis, plague, and cat scratch fever through bites.

Bakersfield Pest Control methods include chemical and physical controls. Chemicals include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and growth regulators. Physical controls include traps and netting to kill or capture pests. Monitoring of pests includes scouting and trapping, as well as checking environmental conditions.

Insects are the largest group of animals and there are about a million known species, or types, though scientists are constantly discovering new ones. They are the only members of the phylum Arthropoda to have evolved powered flight, which has allowed them to exploit niches that are impossible for other land-bound groups of invertebrates. Insects are found everywhere on the planet and can adapt to any environment. They are most familiar to us as butterflies, bees, flies, mosquitoes, termites and crickets.

In some cases, insects become pests when they injure or damage crops or cause other harm. They include grasshoppers and locusts that eat crops; gypsy moths that kill trees; termites that destroy wooden buildings; and mosquitoes, lice, fleas, and wasps that bite and carry disease-causing germs. Other insects are useful, such as pollinators for flowering plants or parasites that reduce the populations of harmful insects.

Insects are a key part of many natural ecosystems. Their populations are limited by their native predators, parasitoids, and pathogens. Biological control involves using these natural enemies to reduce the population of potential pests. This can be done by preserving and conserving existing natural enemies; introducing new ones into the environment; or mass rearing and periodic releases of parasitoids or pathogens, either inundatively or in spray formulations. In addition, the use of plant-derived metabolites such as nicotine from tobacco or capsaicin from chili peppers, pyrethrins from chrysanthemums, and azadirachtin from neem can reduce insect damage by acting as repellents.


Rodents (rats and mice) are one of the most common pests found in homes, businesses, and other commercial properties. They carry disease-causing bacteria, create unsanitary conditions, cause structural damage, and pose health risks. Additionally, rodents’ continuous gnawing can weaken the structure of buildings and lead to costly repairs.

Rodents enter structures in search of food, water, and shelter. In order to reduce the risk of an infestation, it is important that food is stored in rodent-proof containers and that spills and crumbs are promptly cleaned up. Regular inspections of the outside and inside of buildings for cracks, gaps, and places where utility lines enter can also reduce the chance of rodents gaining access to your home or business.

Rats and mice are opportunistic feeders and will feed on a variety of materials including meat, fruits, vegetables, grains, and even paper products. In addition, a rodent’s teeth never stop growing and must be constantly trimmed, which is why they chew on anything within reach, including wooden frames and structural beams in your home.

Long-term rodent control programs include sanitation, exclusion and, if necessary, trapping or baiting. Because rodents are naturally suspicious, when setting a trap or bait, it’s best to leave the trap alone for 3 to 5 days in order to allow the rodent to get used to it being there. This will help ensure that the trap is set correctly and that it is triggering when it should be.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny, wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They don’t care whether their environment is clean or dirty, as long as it contains a suitable host. They have no natural predators and their flat bodies allow them to slip into tight, secluded spaces, like behind headboards or in the seams and tufts of mattresses and box springs. Their small size also makes them difficult to detect without a magnifying glass.

While they aren’t considered to be dangerous, their bites can be annoying and itchy. They usually strike during the night, and at their peak time for feeding, which is between midnight and 5 AM. They can mate and lay hundreds of eggs, which are about the size of a poppy seed. Eggs must be fed at least five times before becoming mature adults.

Increased global travel has been cited as one of the primary reasons for the current bed bug resurgence. They’re most likely to find their way into homes from apartments, condos and hotel rooms, but they can also hitch a ride in clothing, luggage, or purses that have come in contact with an infested item. They’re notoriously hard to get rid of and can quickly spread from room to room in a house or apartment complex.

To avoid them, cover up in dark, breathable pajamas and always inspect secondhand furniture for signs of bedbugs before buying or bringing it into a home. It’s also a good idea to encase a new mattress and box spring in protective covers, which are available from some pest control companies and at many retail outlets.


Mosquitoes are a nuisance pest that affect business operations. They are a common problem in wet climates or areas with water features and they become more prevalent each year as temperature and humidity trends lengthen the mosquito season.

The mosquito is a flying insect belonging to the order Diptera, the true flies. Females bite people and animals for blood (they also eat nectar) to produce eggs. They lay their eggs in water or soil that subsequently hatch into larvae. Larvae feed on algae and microorganisms in the water or soil. Once mature, they pupate in a dry container such as a leaf or other debris. Adult mosquitoes die after a hard frost in autumn, but some species can “over-winter” in protected places such as crawlspaces or basements.

In addition to their role as a nuisance pest, mosquitoes are known to transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile virus and Zika fever. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work closely with state and local health departments to monitor the potential for mosquito-borne diseases and respond to disease outbreaks as they occur.

In some instances, resistance to insecticides may be increasing for important mosquito vectors such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito that has become adapted to urban environments and its life cycle is characterized by being closer to human habitation in all steps from larval to adult stages. This has resulted in an increased focus on education to heighten public awareness and a search for novel tools to reduce mosquito populations and the transmission of disease.


Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that attach to the skin and coat of pets, dogs, cats and humans to feed and lay eggs. They can transmit tapeworms and deadly diseases, including the plague, murine typhus, and tungiasis, through their bites. Fleas are also notoriously difficult to eradicate. Adult fleas can jump 13 times their body length, easily entering homes through screened windows and doors or even from outdoors.

Flea eggs hatch into larvae within a few days, where they can grow for several weeks. During this time, larvae are legless and almost colorless. Once mature, larvae spin cocoons, which can survive for up to a year until conditions are right for adult fleas to emerge. Optimum conditions for this life cycle include warm (70-85 degrees F) and humid conditions. This is why flea problems often peak during the spring, summer and fall.

When conditions are right, an adult flea may emerge from a cocoon and immediately start feeding. It will also start breeding — laying up to 200 eggs per day. These eggs are typically deposited on the host animal, but may also fall to the ground or into bedding and carpet fibers.

To help prevent a flea infestation, routinely bathe pets with a flea and tick shampoo. You can also use a flea comb to remove them from your pet’s fur. For indoor control, vacuum frequently and wash your pet’s bedding regularly. Treat outdoor areas where pets spend time with sprays, powders or repellents.

Pest Control

When pests invade, it can be tempting to reach for the bug spray. But before you do, consider nonchemical pest control options.

Rats, mice and other rodents can contaminate food, chew through wires, strip insulation and spread diseases. They also cause structural damage and create unpleasant odors. Contact Pest Control Flower Mound TX now!

The first step in preventing them is to deny them shelter, food and water. For example, repair ripped window and door screens and seal cracks.

Pest Identification

Whether pests are insects, weeds, diseases or microbes, correct identification is the first step in developing an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. A correct identification allows the choice of a control tactic that is least likely to cause damage to people or the environment, while being effective against the pest. This is the basis for all good pest control.

A pest’s appearance may provide a clue to its identity, but some special equipment is needed for accurate field identification. A sweep net, forceps, and a jar of rubbing alcohol are helpful for collecting and killing specimens; a magnifying lens is also useful for identifying the physical characteristics of the pest. An online identifier may also be used to help with the identification process.

In many cases, a pest’s physical appearance changes during different stages in its life cycle. A weed seedling, for example, has a very different appearance than an adult weed. The time of year, food sources and breeding locations also affect the appearance of some species of pests. An identification to the level of species is important because different pests within a family or genera have very different behavior and host plant preferences, natural enemy complexes and damage symptoms.

Ideally, pest identification should be done by an expert, such as a Federal or State agency plant protection specialist, commodity or industry organization, Cooperative Extension agent or a local university entomology, botany or malacology department. Identified pests are then entered into the National Identification Services database and used to support APHIS’s regulatory programs, including quarantine action decisions.

Homeowners can improve their ability to identify pest problems by familiarizing themselves with basic identification techniques, such as studying photographs and learning the features that distinguish one pest from another. They can also learn to recognize the signs of pest presence, such as damage to plants or fruit, discoloration from disease, and other indicators. By observing pests and their activities over a period of time, homeowners can estimate thresholds, which are the levels of pest damage that a homeowner will tolerate. The use of thresholds helps to limit the amount of pesticide that needs to be applied and can help prevent the development of resistance to pesticides.

Pest Prevention

Pests are organisms, such as insects, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, weeds or vertebrates, that damage crops, lawns, trees, shrubs, buildings or homes; pose health concerns for people and pets; displace native plants and disrupt ecosystems. Pests may also contaminate food, water or other resources or interfere with recreational activities.

The best way to control pests is to prevent them from coming into your home or garden in the first place. Regular sanitization of inside areas can help eliminate germs that could attract them, and caulking cracks and crevices can help seal entry points. Yards should be free of clutter that offers rodents, spiders and other pests places to hide or nest; wood piles should be moved away from the house; and tree limbs that touch the roofline should be trimmed.

Scouting is another key element of IPM. This involves regularly searching for, identifying and assessing pests (and the damage they’re doing) – checking under leaves, along foundations, in and around bait stations. It also includes proactively looking for potential problem spots, such as places mosquitoes might lay eggs.

Eradication is rarely the goal in outdoor pest management, since it’s often impossible to achieve. However, in indoor environments such as office buildings, schools, hospitals and food processing and preparation facilities, it’s a more realistic objective.

Chemical pesticides are a common method of pest control. They’re available as aerosol sprays, dusts and baits and work by disrupting a pest’s nervous system, killing it or preventing reproduction. Chemicals are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and are usually safe for humans when used according to label instructions.

Biological pest controls are predators, parasitoids or disease organisms that naturally reduce the population of undesirable organisms. These natural enemies occur in nature and are sometimes introduced into landscapes to enhance existing pest-control methods.

A variety of soil-dwelling nematodes, such as the cockroach-eating nematode Steinernema carpocapsae, can be sprayed on lawns and gardens to kill or inhibit pests. These microscopic worms feed on a wide range of insects that cause garden and lawn damage, including fleas, grubs and ants.

Pest Control Methods

There are many ways to prevent pests from bothering plants, crops, buildings and homes. Many of these methods involve denying pests the food, water, shelter and other elements they need to survive or reproduce. Denying them the basics can cut their numbers enough to stop them from doing any harm.

Regular inspections can detect early signs of a problem. This allows prompt action to minimize damage and prevent it from getting worse. For example, a few wasps flying around in a yard do not warrant control measures; however, finding an entire wasp nest and removing it will stop the problem before it gets out of hand.

Pests can be prevented from gaining entry into a home by using screens on windows, keeping doors and vents tightly closed, and patching cracks or holes in the walls, roof or foundation. Keeping grass and other shrubs trimmed away from the house will help to reduce hiding places for rodents.

Physical pest control methods include traps and bait stations that lure and capture pests without killing them. These are most effective for reducing the numbers of insect and rodent pests, especially when used in combination with other controls.

There are also biological pest control methods that use living organisms to kill pests. These include certain microorganisms, such as the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces a toxin that is deadly to caterpillars when they eat Bt-treated foliage. These methods are useful when applied in combination with other control measures and are less disruptive to the environment than chemical treatments.

Natural forces, such as climate and the presence of natural enemies, affect all organisms and can help or hinder pest control. These forces can cause pest populations to rise and fall, making threshold-based decision-making important in determining whether control is needed at any given time.

In implementing threshold-based decision-making, building and site managers should consider all options that will most effectively manage pests while causing the least disturbance to the site and other organisms. This includes combining cultural, biological and chemical techniques where appropriate. This will result in a sustainable solution that protects people, property and the environment.


Mosquitoes are slender flying insects that breed in water and feed on animals and humans, spreading diseases like malaria. They also play a role at the bottom of the food chain, providing nutritious food for aquatic animals.

Eliminating standing water is a crucial step in mosquito control. The mosquito larvae and pupae live in water until they are adults, so any small pool or puddle near your home is a potential breeding site. Remove clogged gutters, clean out birdbaths regularly, empty and drain fishponds, turn over or drill holes in unused tires that may hold water, and pick up discarded toys and other containers that can harbor mosquito eggs.

Repelling mosquitoes is important, but controlling their breeding and resting areas is even better. Apply repellent containing picaridin or diethyltoulamide to exposed skin and use mosquito coils, lights or no-pest strips that release insecticides formulated to kill mosquitoes around outdoor entertaining spaces. These long-term solutions make the time you spend outdoors safer and more enjoyable. Using combination approaches, including larval control methods for ponds, keeping weed growth at bay and eliminating standing water, helps to keep your yard mosquito-free.


Fleas have an extremely long life cycle, making it difficult to eradicate an infestation. An adult female can produce up to 40 flea eggs a day. Eggs are not sticky and fall from the host to carpets, wood floor planks, pet bedding and the ground where they develop into larvae. The larvae then hatch into adults.

Because of this complex life cycle, thorough cleaning and pest control is critical for controlling a flea infestation. Vacuuming regularly, sweeping floors and using a pet comb with special flea comb attachments will remove many of the eggs and larvae. Thorough washing and drying of your pet’s bedding also is important to kill fleas.

A Terminix professional can recommend an insecticide or oral medication to kill existing adult fleas and prevent them from reproducing, which will greatly reduce the population in your home. For the best results, we recommend beginning your home and yard treatment at the same time as your pet treatments, which disrupts the fleas’ life cycle and provides a more complete solution.