Common Pest Control Questions Our Techs Are Asked
Our pest control technicians hear some great questions from customers. From termites to roaches to spiders, people want to understand the pests that get into their homes and know what to do about them. We want to share some of these common pest control questions and hope you find the answers helpful.
Why should I use a pest control company when I could do it myself?
In some cases homeowners can successfully treat pest problems, however it is important to note that many over-the-counter products are not always as strong or effective as professional products. This can lead to the insects building up resistance to the products and making the problem worse. We have also seen instances where homeowners have not followed the label directions and ended up creating dangerous conditions in their homes by applying home-remedy pesticides incorrectly.Some pesticides are intended for outdoor use only. If “outdoor use only” products are applied indoors it can be dangerous for the health of the occupants. Pest control professionals have knowledge of the insect’s behavior patterns, allowing them to find and treat the pest problem more effectively. Finally, certain types of infestations (bed bugs and termites are good examples) are very difficult to treat and are best handled by a professional.
Are the products you use dangerous to my family?
It is important to know that no pesticide is 100% safe, simply because all pesticides are designed to eliminate insects. Clegg’s however, uses the most current methods and products for the safest pest management possible. Pesticides applied by our technicians are targeted where the insects hide, reducing the risks to your family. Your family’s safety is our first priority.
How are these pests getting into my house?
Practically speaking, homes cannot be 100% airtight. Pests come in through cracks and crevices, or doors and windows. Understanding each type of insect and its normal behavior pattern can help determine how it is coming into your home. As an example, the most commontype of termites in North Carolina are subterranean termites. These insects can invade your home at or below ground level through cracks in the foundation, pipes entering the home, high moisture areas, or untreated wood that is touching the soil. If your home has not had a preventive termite treatment, your chances for having termites are high. Subterranean termites are cryptic in nature. You may not even know they are there until significant damage has occurred. On the other hand, fleas and ticks are more likely to come in through the front door by hitching a ride on you, rodents,or Fido.
Is it better to use termite bait stations (like Sentricon) vs. do periodic treatments?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both treatment methods. Most builders in North Carolina use a liquid termiticide to treat the foundation area of all new homes (a preventative termite treatment is required by law). Because the treatment is done before the house is completely built, the termite treatment company is easily able to apply the termiticide to all areas. This treatment lasts around 5 years. When it’s time to retreat the property, some homeowners – especially those with slab construction—are uncomfortable with having holes drilled around the foundation and/or trenches dug outside and inside crawl spaces for the treatment. Some homeowners may have high moisture areas or they may be concerned with the impact of some types of liquid termiticides on the environment. It is important to note that there is a new liquid termiticide that only affects termites- Altriset® (Syngenta). Altriset specifically paralyzes the jaw muscles of termites, and therefore will not harm beneficial insects like honey bees. Altriset is termed a “reduced risk” insecticide by the Environmental Protection Agency, and therefore has no signal word like other EPA pesticides require.
These homeowners may be happier with a termite bait system like the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System®. Bait systems do not require an initial chemical treatment, but instead involve setting bait stations at specified distances around the perimeter of the home. Pieces of wood are left in the stations and monitored for termite activity. If activity is seen, termiticide baits are placed in the stations for the termites to take back to the colony. Termiticide baiting methods are constantly improving. As a result we have access to newer technologies like the Always Active® Sentricon system. The Always Active baiting system has the active ingredient present year round, reducing the need for us to check throughout the year. We come out once a year to check for activity and to replace any bait necessary. Regardless of which termite system you choose, we recommend homeowners have an annual termite inspection to monitor their homes.
How long will a termite treatment last?
Liquid termite treatments typically last for 5 years, though our termite and pest control professionals suggest you have your home inspected annually in order to maintain your warranty. Bait systems are monitored on a quarterly basis, or yearly if you have the Sentricon Always Active system.
Will Clegg’scome back if the bugs do?
Yes. With Clegg’s quarterly pest control service, we will come back out if you experience any bug issues. Note that it sometimes takes up to two weeks for treatments to work (our technician will let you know the expected time frame), but if the problem recurs we’ll be there.
How long does it take the pest treatment to work?
This depends on the type of treatment and type of pest problem. In most cases, insecticides applied directly to the insects work immediately. In other cases (like when using liquid termiticides or insecticidal baits), the insect carries the poison back to the colony without even knowing and control takes days to weeks. Our pest technicians will give you an idea of how long to wait to allow the treatment to work before asking for a callback.
Why can’t I get rid of the spiders?
Spiders can be a challenge in that any pest control treatment must be sprayed on them directly to be effective. Walking through a trail of pesticide will not kill them. On a positive note, most spiders in North Carolina are not poisonous.
What steps can I take to help keep the pests out of my house?
There are a variety of things you can do to make your house less attractive to the pests. Like humans, most pests are looking for water, food and shelter. You have to make it hard for them to get these necessities at your house! We recommend several steps:
- Starting at the foundation level, seal cracks and crevices;
- Make sure your soffit and fascia are secure and any air vents leading into the attic are small enough to prevent bats or other animals from getting in (you may need to line the inside with a breathable mesh;
- In your crawl space (or bathrooms if you have a slab foundation) seal around all water pipes going into the house;
- Trim all bushes and tree branches away from your house;
- Clean your house’s gutters regularly to help prevent ants and roaches;
- Store wood piles away from the house, and pull wood mulch back from the foundation;
- Inside, check for cracks in the caulk around your windows and repair, as needed;
- Keep your kitchen clean and carefully wipe up food spills;
- If you have pets, ask your veterinarian about flea and tick preventatives;
If you see signs of an infestation, treating sooner rather than later will make it easier to get rid of your pest problem.
Do you treat my lawn for insects, too?
Clegg’s standard pest prevention treatment includes treatment of the interior of your home and the perimeter of your home. In some case we will recommend treating the lawn as well if, for example, there are areas where fleas and ticks are found abundantly in your lawn.
How can I avoid bringing bed bugs into my house?
Bed bugs are notorious for hitching rides on luggage, bags, briefcases, purses and clothing. Once in your home, they can quickly begin to infest your living space. If you are traveling, make certain to check the room where you’ll be staying (read our article on how to avoid bed bugs while traveling) for signs of the bugs. In your daily activities, avoid placing your handbag or briefcase on the floor and just be aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to completely avoid these nuisance bugs. The best thing you can do is to contact a pest professional immediately if you see signs (like fecal staining on mattresses, or insect skins) you might have bed bugs in your house.
All of a sudden I am seeing silverfish all over the upstairs. Where did they come from?
Silverfish are crawling insects (silver or light brown in color and up to ¾” long) that prefer warmer environments (70-80 degrees) and humidity. They live quite a while—usually from 2-8 years—and will eat paper (watch those valuable books), paste, flour and grains, and sometimes cloth or dried meats. While some have suggested a dirty house draws silverfish, this is not necessarily true. They prefer dark, damp spaces (basements, bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas) and can survive for long periods of time without food. They are considered nuisances, but do not cause disease. You may have silverfish in your home and not know it. Over the counter traps may attract individual insects but are not very effective in getting rid of an infestation. Professional pest control services are usually required.
Why do the ants keep coming back?
Ants can get into your house through very tiny openings, and it’s sometimes hard to identify exactly how they are getting in. Even if the initial problem is treated and resolved, other ant colonies may find their way into your home looking for moisture or food, especially if outside conditions are extreme (too dry, too wet, etc.).
I just moved and discovered there are Smoky Brown roaches in my new house. How can I get rid of them?
There are several types of roaches common to North Carolina and they have different food and nesting preferences. The Smoky Brown cockroach can fly and may come into your home through the attic, especially when it gets cold. The Smoky Brown requires easy access to water so you may see these roaches in the bathrooms or kitchen area. They will eat many things but seem to prefer decaying vegetation. Limiting access to your home by sealing entry points and removing vegetation close to the house will help keep these pests out. We recommend calling a pest control professional to treat the existing infestation.
Sometimes I see weird bugs. Why?
We call many of these insects “occasional invaders.” Some examples are insects like springtails and earwigs that enter your home during times of high rainfall, or randomly enter through gaps and cracks in your home. The easiest way to reduce their entry is to weather-seal your doors and caulk any cracks or gaps in your home’s exterior. We also recommend treating the perimeter of your home to reduce their population (treating mulched areas and planting beds is essential).
If you have pest control questions or need help identifying an insect, our experts are ready to help. Email your pest questions to us, send a photo to our Certified Entomologist, or post your question/photo on our Facebook page.