Identifying, Treating, and Preventing Bed Bug Infestations

Identifying, Treating, and Preventing Bed Bug InfestationsBed bug infestations are an increasing problem across North America. If you fear you have an infestation or have been exposed to one, you are not alone, and there are solutions. It’s important to first identify if you indeed have bed bugs, or possibly another type of parasite such as fleas. Once you confirm you have bed bugs, you might wonder how you were exposed or if they are a health risk, but most importantly, you need to know what steps you should take to get rid of them, and how you can prevent their return. With help and the proper information, you can identify and eliminate bed bugs from your home or work environment.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Although individual reactions can vary, bed bug bites often appear as raised, inflamed bumps on exposed areas of skin such as the arms, legs, or upper body. The welts may be initially confused for mosquito bites or a rash, but bed bugs bites are often found in clusters or trails created by the insect moving between feeding intervals. Other signs of infestation include blood spotting on bedding or the bed frame and mattress — small, rusty spots caused by feeding — and shed skins from molting. Bed bugs themselves usually stay hidden during the day, but adults are small, flat, flightless insects about the size of an apple seed. They are dark brown or reddish-brown in color, and may be mistaken as ticks or immature cockroaches.

How do bed bugs travel, and where do bed bugs come from?

Adult bed bugs can travel on clothing, but they most often stow away in luggage, backpacks, bedding, or used furniture. As their name suggests, bed bugs are often found in and around beds because they prefer to stay close to a food source, but they can also squeeze into crevices in dressers, along the edges of baseboards and carpets, even behind electrical outlets, and they may be found anywhere where frequent visitor turnover is common. Hotel rooms are not the only places bed bugs may transfer hosts — theaters, buses, and grocery stores may be sources of an infestation.

What are the health risks of bed bugs in my home or workplace?

Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, but an infestation can cause other negative effects like anxiety, sleeplessness, and chronic itching. Some individuals have had allergic reactions to bed bug bites, and scratching at bites can lead to secondary infections. The risk of infection is especially dangerous to individuals with compromised immune systems. While bed bugs have been associated with cluttered or unsanitary conditions, they can thrive anywhere. Bed bugs are drawn to body heat and carbon dioxide, not dirt, and are not necessarily a sign of an unclean environment.

What can I do if I think I’ve been exposed to bed bugs?

Wash and dry your clothes on the highest heat setting as soon as you arrive home, if not before. Find a flat, non-carpeted surface where you can unpack luggage while inspecting for signs of bed bugs, and transfer your items into sealed plastic bags. Steam clean or vacuum freeze luggage if possible, and purchase a bed bug-proof mattress cover. To prevent bed bug infestations, try to store work, school, or travel items separately, and don’t store luggage under your bed. When away from home, keep your clothing and personal items inside your luggage instead of moving them into drawers or closets, and keep your bags on a luggage rack away from the walls, never open on your bed. At home, reduce clutter that bed bugs can use to hide in, and vacuum carpets regularly.

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

If you suspect you have bed bugs, contact a pest management professional right away. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of, in part because — until recently — infestations haven’t been common in the United States since World War II, and many people never learned preventative measures or how to recognize signs of infestation. Bed bugs are also hardy insects and resistant to many common pesticides. Bed bug eggs in particular are very resilient, and an infestation will persist unless all life stages have been eliminated. While working with a pest management professional, restrict contact with the area you suspect to be the source of infestation until all bed bug treatments have been completed. Attempts to treat the area yourself may result in bed bugs spreading to other areas of the home. With cooperation and careful, proper treatment, it is possible to remove bed bugs from your home or workplace.

How Can I Protect My Family from SFTS and Other Tick Borne Illnesses?

east asian tick exterminationTicks spread a number of serious illnesses. In the news there have been reports of SFTS, which is spread by the East Asian Tick that was recently introduce to United States. Currently, this tick is only found in the New Jersey area, and it is not in the Arlington area. However, the tick is expected to spread throughout the United States since it is extremely invasive. The experts are predicting a record tick season in Virginia, which increases your chances of contracting an illness from a tick. There are things that you can do to protect your family from SFTS and other tick-borne illnesses.

Protect Your Yard

One of the best ways to protect your family is to have a tick treatment applied to your yard. This will kill the ticks that are there and also creates a barrier around your yard that will stop ticks from wandering in. Getting rid of any leaf litter in your yard also helps, as does keeping your lawn short.

Dress Appropriately

When you go into areas that are prone to ticks, it is important to dress appropriately. You can do this by wearing long sleeves and long pants. When you tuck your shirt in and your pants into your socks, you give the ticks fewer places that they can come into contact with your skin. Once you leave an area that has ticks, you should check your clothing, because you may be able to brush off any ticks that are on your clothing before they have the chance to attach.

Wear Insect Repellent

Insect repellent is very good at stopping ticks from biting you. DEET is the most effective treatment for ticks. It comes in a number of different strengths. Once your child is two months old, it is safe to use insect repellent up to 25% DEET. If you are older, you can use 40% or higher if you know you will be spending an extended period of time in area with ticks. Be sure to reapply according the package directions.

Check for Ticks

It is important to regularly check for ticks. You should check under your arms, between your legs and behind your knees for ticks. You should also check around your hairline and in your ears. The sooner you find and remove a tick the better. This is because the ticks spread the disease when the regurgitate. If you find a tick, remove it with a pair of tweezers by pulling straight back. Never using gasoline, rubbing alcohol or Vaseline because this will cause the tick to regurgitate into your skin and it will increase the chances of you getting sick.  

How Likely Am I to be Bitten by the East Asian Tick in Manassas?

east asian tick extermination
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There have recent reports about the East Asian tick in the news. This tick has just been identified as establishing itself in the United States. This tick species is considered extremely invasive and it is hard to eradicate. At this time the East Asian tick has only been found in New Jersey, so it is unlikely that you will be bitten by this tick in Manassas. However, it will likely spread and it is something that you should be aware of in the upcoming years.

Can Ticks Make Me Sick?

The East Asian tick is a known carrier of the SFTS virus which has not been found in the United States. This virus causes people to become quite ill. Since it is a virus there is not a known treatment, instead doctors will try to manage the symptoms and help you recover. There is a mortality rate of about twelve percent. There are other tick-borne illnesses in the United states including STARI, Rocky Mount spotted fever and Lyme disease. However, these can be treated with antibiotics and cured if caught early enough.

What Areas Are Prone to Ticks?

Experts have predicted a very active 2018 tick season. This means that you should be aware of any areas that may have ticks. They tend to like areas with leaf litter, areas with tall grass or bushes or the woods. You may be more likely to pick up a tick when camping or hunting, but they can be found in your backyard or at your city park too.

How Do I Check for Ticks?

It is important to check for ticks on a regular basis. You should check your clothing as soon as you leave a tick prone area. You may be able to brush the ticks off and avoid bringing them home for you. Once you arrive home, you should change your clothes and check behind your knees, under your arms and between your legs. They also like to attach themselves around your hairline or in your ears.

What Do I Do If I Find a Tick?

You should only remove the tick with tweezers by pulling straight back. Do not twist the tick to make it come loose, because it can leave its head embedded in your skin which can cause an infection. Once the tick is detached, you should dispose of it properly. You should not crush it with your hands because this increase the chances of you contracting an illness. If you start to develop signs of a tick-borne illness which usually includes a fever, you should seek medical attention and tell your doctor you were bitten by a tick. Another recommendation is to have a tick exterminator remove ticks from around your yard.

How to Get Rid Of Fleas in Your Clothes

https://www.flickr.com/photos/magnus_d/5192866091 More and more people today are keeping pets for comfort and companionship. However, pets also cause people to have to face many problems. One of the most annoying issues that most people have to deal with is fleas. Fleas can appear in every corner of the house such as in carpets, in beds, on your cats and dogs and on your clothes. Today, we will focus on treating fleas on your clothes.

Detect Problems

To eradicate fleas in your clothes in the most effective way, it is advised that you should find and detect the original cause of the flea infestation. First, you should check your pets as a flea infestation usually originates with them. If the cause of fleas in your clothes is your pets, you will need to give your pets some treatments to get rid of their fleas. This could be bathing them in flea shampoo and applying flea collars. After detecting and treating the fleas on your pets, if any, you should remove them from the area for a while before implementing the next steps. This is because fleas can jump over a long distance, thus if you do not remove your pets, they may jump straight back onto your pets, making all your hard work for nothing. Then, check your wardrobe, your carpets and rugs to find the things that have fleas on. You can now take steps to eradicate them.

Steps for Removal

https://www.maxpixel.net/Laundry-Housework-Washing-Machine-Tumble-Drier-2668472   If you find out that the fleas are in your clothes, the following steps would enable you to eradicate them effectively. Firstly, make sure you put all infested clothing into a sturdy plastic bag and seal it up. This step will prevent you from spreading fleas while you are transporting your clothes to the washing machine or laundry facility. You can now use a vacuum cleaner to eradicate any fleas’ eggs that are left. You should vacuum your carpets, floors, bed, and wardrobe thoroughly. Steam cleaning these things would be even more effective, as fleas will not survive the high temperatures. Wash all your clothes at the highest temperature your washing machine can reach. Once they’re dry, iron them thoroughly to kill any remaining flea eggs. Once all this has been done, use some natural flea control products to prevent the fleas coming back again. This may be cedar wood blocks in your wardrobe or sprinkling it with essential oil such as lavender or tea tree oil. Finally, keep your clothes in a dry place as this can prevent a re-infestation. Fleas like to live and breed in dark, humid places. It’s important to make sure that your house is always kept in a clean, tidy and sanitary condition.

Prevention

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a wise old saying. It is necessary to take some preventative steps after removing existing fleas on your pets and in your home. Here are a few tips to help you.

Vacuuming daily

It is important to vacuum your entire house daily. Because one female flea can lay up to fifty eggs a day, vacuuming daily is the best prevention method to protect your pets and your home.

Wash and launder regularly

 Do not leave your dirty clothes for more than three days before washing them. This will prevent fleas maturing and laying eggs on your clothes. Fleas prefer humid, dark and dirty places, which sounds just like a laundry basket! Thus, always do your laundry regularly

Use natural flea products

All the above-mentioned methods can help protect you from fleas. However, you should take the additional step of using natural flea products. This is one of the most effective prevention and treatment methods for fleas. One suggestion is cedar oil products, which can be sprayed onto your pets or around the yard and house. Another is to plant rosemary or lavender plants in pots around the outside of the house. I hope that all the above steps can help you confront the problem of fleas in your clothes. You can find more flea treatments on this website.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Bed Bugs

bed bug controlBed bugs are a growing problem throughout the United States. Since they were eradicated in the United States for nearly fifty years, many people are not sure on how to treat them and how to avoid getting them. With the increase in travel both in the country and internationally, bed bugs are spreading throughout the country. Here are five questions people ask about bed bugs.

Where Can I Catch Bed Bugs?

Many people will bring bed bugs home with them after a trip. Bed bugs will camp in a hotel room and crawl into your luggage while you are sleeping. Do not put your luggage on the floor of the hotel or on furniture. You can also bring them home from the gym, from school or anywhere where you may put your bag down and they can crawl into it. They have invaded schools and public buildings in some areas.

Do Bed Bugs Make People Sick?

While bed bugs do bite you and drink your blood, they do not transmit diseases to people. They can carry some diseases, but there are no known cases of them spreading an illness to a person. Some people can have an allergic reaction to the bed bugs. The bites can be extremely itchy.

How Do You Treat Bed Bugs?

There are a few different ways to treat bed bugs. However, bed bugs are resistant to some treatments. They also need to have the treatment applied directly on them. This can make treating bed bugs on your own tricky because they will hide in very small cracks that you may not see. You will need to wash your sheets in hot water and seal your mattress in a mattress cover designed for bed bugs.

Can I Get Rid of Bed Bugs on My Own?

While you may try to treat bed bugs on your own, it is more effective to hire a bed bug professional that has been trained in where to look for bed bugs and the best way to treat for them. They can usually treat them in just one treatment. This can give you peace of mind and the protection from these pests. The professionals have access to more effective pest control products that are safer for your family.

How Do I Find Bed Bugs?

You may notice small bites in rows as one of the signs of bed bugs. You may also see bloodstains on your sheets. You can look for the bed bugs on your mattress and box springs. They will hide in your headboard, nearby furniture and cracks in your baseboards. They are very small and can fit in areas where you do not think that they could feet.

5 Dangers of Wildlife on Your Property

Dangers of Wildlife on Your Property
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Wildlife is a common occurrence in rural areas, and it is even common to see some wildlife in cities. You may be dealing with raccoons, moles, squirrels, deer and even foxes. While wildlife is common and an important part of nature, it is not necessarily a good idea to have a lot of wildlife on your property. There are dangers that wildlife can carry, and you may need to have some of the wildlife trapped and removed from your property or set up fences to keep it out of your home. Here are five dangers of wildlife on your property.

Danger to Your Pets

Wildlife can be a danger to your pets. If the wildlife has contracted rabies and is behaving erratically, it may be more likely to attack your pets. Some wildlife like coyotes may prove dangerous to your small dogs or cats. Raccoons will also defend their territory and may pose a threat to your animals that approach them. You will need to take your pet to the vet if they are bitten by animal.

Chance of Being Bitten

Some types of wildlife may be dangerous for your children as well. Raccoons are aggressive if your children accidentally stumble on a nest. Woodchucks have a powerful bite and strong teeth and can do serious damage to your home. Poisonous snakes also pose a problem for your children and will need to be addressed if they are on your property.

Exposure to Feces

Some of the animal feces can contain parasites that they can seriously impact your family if they even just accidentally step in it or disturb it. Raccoons have a parasite that will burrow into different areas of your body and leave a cyst that can cause issues years later. The best way to protect your family from these areas is to keep the animals away from your family.

Damage to Your Property

Wildlife can damage your property. If they get into your crawlspace or your attic, they can pull apart your insulation, chew through wiring and wreak havoc on your HVAC system. They can also chew through your fence, tip over trash cans and they can ruin your vegetable garden. Even birds and bats can damage your home if they live in your attic.

Risk of Contracting an Illness

Wildlife can spread a number of different illnesses. They can also carry fleas which can also spread a number of diseases. There is also the chance of it spreading illnesses like rabies. Watching out for more aggressive animals can help you prevent from contracting an illness.

Why Does My Home Smell Musty?

moisture controlThe air in your home can directly affect your and your family’s health. There are a number of different reasons why your home may have a musty smell. The first step that you need to do is to identify why your home is smelling musty and then you can take the steps to address it.    

Address Things That Are Causing the Smell

Your home may smell musty because it is holding onto old cooking odors or there may be issues with having a pet. If this is the case, you will need to address the issues by addressing the smells. Cleaning your home thoroughly can help. Be sure to wash your dishes right away and to wipe down the counters and stove food. Taking out the trash can help. If you have issues due to having pets in your home, you can address this in a few different ways. You may need to bathe your pet more often and be sure to wash any bedding they sleep in on a regular basis. You may want to have the carpets cleaned more regularly. If you are a smoker, you may be facing issues with this smell. Make sure your home can air out, and try to smoke next to an open window. Cleaning your furniture and your drapes can also help with this.

Look for Other Issues

  If you have a strong mildew or mold smell in your home, you will need to look for what may be causing this smell. You should begin by looking in your crawlspace or basement for issues. Check to see if there is moisture in this area. You should look for signs of mold growth on the wood or insulation. If the area is damp, you need to address this because it can lead to mold growing and the air in your crawlspace does affect the overall air quality of your home. This may need to be addressed by a professional that can encapsulate or seal off your crawlspace. This will address any mold issues and help with your heating and cooling bills too.    

Find Trouble Spots

You may find that there is one room in your home where the smell is stronger than others.  If you have an issue with a bathroom that is always smelly, you may need to have the plumbing checked to make sure that the pipes are vented properly and that there isn’t anything trapped or any clogs. You should make sure that the ventilation system in your bathroom works properly as well as that there is no mold in the bathrooms. This should help overall.      

Why Is My Home So Humid?

humidity control
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Living in a humid home can be frustrating. It allows mold to grow on your walls. It can cause issues with your comfort level and make your heating or air conditioning systems to work harder. There are a few areas that you need to consider and possible solutions to address your home if it is humid.

Use Your Ventilation Fans

Turning on the fans in your bathroom and over your stove can help remove the humid air from your home. This will protect those rooms from possible mold growth. It is a simple solution for areas that are often temporarily humid from hot water running.

Examine Your Crawlspace

Your crawlspace may be contributing to your home’s humidity, especially if water is draining into it after a storm and it does not have a place to go. It is important to address this by encapsulating your crawlspace to prevent other complications like mold growth or wood rot. If you hate going into your crawlspace because it is also humid and hot, it is a sign that you need to address this.

Address Your Basement

If you have a basement instead of a crawlspace, it may also be an issue. You will need to make sure that the area is completely sealed off. The outside of your basement needs to be waterproofed. You will need to repair any cracks in your foundation. You may need to install a French drain or a sump pump to help with drainage during a bad rainstorm.

Consider a Dehumidifier

Another option to help with humidity is install a dehumidifier. This machine will take the moisture out of the air of your home. You may consider installing one that will help with your entire house. You may also consider putting one in your crawlspace if that is an area that seems to always be humid even after you have encapsulated your crawlspace.

Wrap Your Pipes

Wrapping your pipes can stop the air from condensing on colder pipes or air conditioning vents. This can make a big different in how much moisture collects in these areas which can also help prevent mold from growing in your home, as well as prevent wood rot. Wrapping your water heater can also help, and it can also help to lower your electric bill.

Run Your Air Conditioner

If you live in a naturally humid area, there may be days in the spring and fall where you do not need to run your HVAC system, but if you keep it on, it will work to draw the humidity out of the air. If you just have it cycle a few times during the day it should make a different in your home’s overall humidity level.

5 Things That Attract Termites to Your Home and Property

termite control
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If you are concerned about termites, you may be wondering what you can do to protect your home from the invasion of termites. Termites serve an important part in the ecosystem. They help to break trees and wood back into soil. Even though termites are necessary, that does not mean that you want them attacking your home or being active on your property. Here are five thing that attract termites to your property.

Old Decaying Trees

Termites like to feed on old, dead wood. If you have decaying trees on your property, even in the back corners, you are inviting termites to come to your property by offering them up a meal. It is important to clear out old decaying trees. You should also address trees that may not be well and in the process of dying because some types of termites will feed on sick trees as well. Be sure to remove any limbs or falling trees.

Mulch

Wood mulch may be a good thing to help keep the moisture around your flower beds. It can also help your yard look nicer, but wood mulch can attract termites to your property. You should never use it in the beds that directly touch your home, but you may also want to consider other materials in your flower beds including a rubber mulch or a cedar mulch. There are a number of different materials you can use.

Wooden Structures Including Your Deck

The outbuildings, deck and fencing around your yard can all attract termites to your yard. The solution is to build these structures out of wood that is specially treated to not attract termites. Treated wood can last up to forty years, but you will need to check on it periodically. If you have structures that are not built of treated wood you will need to replace them.

Moist Wood in Your Crawlspace or Basement

Termites like wood that is wet or moist. If your crawlspace is hot or humid and if you dread going in them because of the way it feels or smells, it is likely that it would naturally attract termites as the floor joists and subfloor are weakened from the moisture. The best way to address this issue is to encapsulate the crawlspace and make sure that it is sealed completely from the elements.

Firewood

Firewood naturally attracts termites. While you may want to have firewood on your property to help you save money on your heating bill, there are steps you can take to protect your home from termites, and your firewood. Be sure to store it away from your home, not against it. You should store it on a concrete slab, and you should keep it covered to prevent termites.

How to Help Your Property Recover from Termites

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Many homeowners feel panic when they first suspect that they may have termites. Then a feeling of dread may settle in once that is confirmed after an inspection. A termite infestation affects your ability to your sell your home, and it can reduce your property value until the repairs are completed. Here are the steps you need to take to help your property completely recover from a termite infestation.

Treat Your Home for Termites

The first step is treat the infestation and get rid of the termites. The sooner you have the termites treated, the less damage that they can do to your property. While many people try to treat for insect infestations themselves, when it comes to termites, it is best to use a professional. They can correctly apply the treatments and make sure that the termites do not return. The treatments usually come with a warranty, which protects you against future termite infestations.

Make the Repairs

While you may want to delay making the repairs because of the cost to do so, it is important to make the repairs right away. The repairs may have made your home structurally unsound. You will need to make these repairs to keep your family safe from the damage. While you may not have significant structural damage to your home, you should still make the repairs. The damaged wood will give easy access to other insects and animals that may try to come into your home. It is important to make those repairs correctly and right away. While you may be tempted to make the repairs yourself, there are proper ways to make those repairs to keep your home safe, and having a professional may be the best option.

Prevent Future Infestations

Take the time to examine your home for signs of weakness. Be sure that the roof is in good repair and that any vents are covered with grates that will keep termites out. Check your crawlspace to see if it can be improved by keeping it dry and sealed off. You can also check your property to see if there is any wood around the property that may attract the termites.

Set Up a Continued Monitoring System

It is important to have a continued monitoring system for termites. This can be done around your property. You should continue to have regular inspections and treatments done in the future to prevent termites from being an issue again.