Springtime Pests and Allergies
The first quarter of 2015 is coming to a quick close, which means one thing: allergies and pest season is near. We are often asked related to allergies and pesticides.
Here’s the breakdown.
Q: What is an allergy?
A: (Webster’s Dictionary) Allergy, noun: a damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially pollen, fur, a particular food, dust, to which it has become hypersensitive. Symptoms include: red eyes, itchiness, runny nose, eczema, hives, or an asthma attack.
Q: Which pesticides cause allergies?
A: According to the Medical University of South Carolina, people may be exposed to pesticides used in agriculture, applications for pest control at home or work, roadside right-of-ways for weed control, and applications of pesticides for public health vector control programs. Most pesticides are tested for allergenic possibilities prior to marketing. Scientists have identified the following list of common pesticides that can be hypersensitive to different individuals: allidochlor, anilazine, antu, barban, benomyl, captafol, captan, dazomet, dichloropropane, dichloropropene, lindane, maneb, nitrofen, propachlor, pyrethrum/pyrethroids, rotenone, thiram, zineb.
Q: What happens during an allergic reaction?
A: From what we know about allergies, a person is exposed to an allergen by one of three ways: inhaling it, swallowing it, or through skin contact. According to WebMD, the body starts to produce an antibody called IgE to bind to the allergen. From there the antibodies attach to a mast cell. The allergens bind to the IgE, which is part of the mast cell. From that point the mast cells release a variety of chemicals in the blood. Histamine, the main chemical causes most of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Q: What are the most common indoor allergens?
A: There are several indoor allergies that can trigger allergies. Cockroaches, mold, animal dander, dust mites, and cigarette smoke, are among the most common indoor allergens. Cockroaches’ cast-off skins and airborne roach residue can trigger an allergic response.
Q: How do I avoid allergies?
A: If you believe you have a pesticide allergy, you should discuss this with your Pest Professional. Allergic reactions vary from individual-to-individual. Most allergic reactions can be avoided by using antihistamines.
And if it isn’t allergies getting the best of you, you can count on an emergence of new critters unearthing themselves from their winter hiding places. New Mexico has been coined as a paradise for inhabits that enjoy warm, dry summers and cool, mild winters. Albuquerque sits at the center of the “high desert” with a combination of foothills, valleys, mesas, mountains, rivers, canyons, and arroyos.
El Paso and West Texas have a similar climate which attracts desert-type insects such as centipedes, cockroaches, scorpions, ants, and other pests because of its moderate temperatures and mild climate.
If you believe your home or business is at risk, here are a few tips that may help you eliminate the problem.
- If you encounter a centipede or similar type of insect, kill them on sight
- Keep bug-spray or insecticide on hand
- Make sure debris is removed from your yard
- Seal cracks around doors and windows
- Keep your home dry (basements, closets, or damp areas can be popular hangouts for centipedes, scorpions, and ants)
- Wipe down surfaces and keep food in air-tight containers (ants prey on counter goodies)
- Call a professional
As temperatures change and the seasons begin to transition from winter to spring, we want to be there to help you before home invaders begin to make your residence their home, too. At Pest Defense Solutions, our professional staff is eager to help you protect your home or business from unwanted insects or pests. Contact our office today for more information.
Mice and rodents enjoy the warmth of your home or office during the winter.
The holidays are here and 2015 is just around the corner. That means mice and other rodents are likely going to be enjoying the warmth of your home or office, too.
Mice and other rodent infestations are more prevalent during the winter months as they search for food and shelter in warm locations such as pantries, garages, outbuildings, closets, etc. Unfortunately, they quickly reproduce, and homeowners should address the problem immediately once signs (or sounds) of mice are found. Mice are resourceful pests, and enter homes through the smallest openings or cracks. They can easily fit through spaces as small as a nickel. More than 21 million American homes experience a rodent infestation every winter.
Mice are among the most mischievous on Santa’s Naughty List because of the damage they cause. Of particular concern, mice or other small rodents may cause an electrical fire by gnawing through electrical wires. They also carry bacteria such as salmonella, and can contaminate food, kitchen surfaces and equipment. In New Mexico and parts of West Texas in particular, the risk of Hantavirus from mice droppings is a concern.
Preventing and eliminating rodent infestations doesn’t have to be a major undertaking, and can be as easy as install door sweeps on exterior doors and repairing damaged windows screens.
The Pest Management Association recommends taking the following steps to prevent mice:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
- Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
- If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.
Pest Control Services can help you address mice and other rodent issues. For more information about our services, please click here, or fill out a contact request form.
Fall Pest Preparation
The arrival of fall means more than brisk mornings and changing leaves. Now, that December is here, it also means pests will begin to seek out their winter shelters. The perfect winter home for many pests is often YOUR home. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends fall pest-proofing methods to deter rodents, spiders and cockroaches from setting up residence in your house.
In addition to the nuisance, NPMA also warns of the health risks associated with these pests in homes. NPMA representative Missy Henriksen says, “The real concern is that rodents and other smaller pests can pose serious health threats by contaminating food and transmitting bacteria.”
For the detailed story along with pest-proofing tips, please visit NPMA’s Business Wire. For more about Pest Defense Albuquerque’ services, please click here or fill out our contact request form.
Jingle Bells, Cockroaches Smell, Keep that Hantavirus away
Hunters should remember that opening winter camps or cabins that have gone unused since last hunting season may expose them to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). It is good to take some simple precautions to protect against exposure to this serious lung disease.
Hantavirus is spread by exposure to rodent droppings, urine and nesting materials. Deer mice, which are found in New Mexico, are known to carry the disease. According to David Wolfgang, an extension veterinarian and field studies director in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, it is important to take precautions, particularly when opening or cleaning a hunting camp or cabin since you may come in contact with rodent droppings and dust contaminated with the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following steps for preventing spread of the disease:
- Exclude rodents from cabins and camps by blocking holes and filling cracks.
- Wash all dishes and utensils with hot soapy water, and store food in rodent-proof containers.
- Make sure bedding, pillows and sleeping bags are clean, and launder them prior to use if they might have been contaminated by rodents.
- Air out buildings for at least 30 minutes before you start cleaning, and wear rubber gloves. Spray all materials or surfaces, wetting thoroughly, where droppings and urine are suspected with a general purpose disinfectant. For large areas, use a 10 percent household laundry bleach solution (1-1/2 cups of bleach per gallon of water). Pick up the wet material with a damp towel, or gently sweep it into a dust pan. Following this, mop or wipe the area with disinfectant
Pest Control Services can help you address mice and other rodent issues. For more information about our services, please click here, or fill out a contact request form.
Spiders, ants, bats, and other creepy crawlers may be more acceptable during October because of Halloween décor invading your doorstep, but homeowners should be on the lookout for these real-life pests this fall.
Here are a few prevention tips related to the most common Halloween real-life pests that may be lurking in the shadows of your home.
Ants are tiny insects that invade many homes and businesses throughout the year, especially in the desert climate. Ants are social insects that evolved from wasp-like creatures after the rise of flowering plants between 110-130 million years ago. There are more than 22,000 species of ants roaming every landmass of the Earth.
- Inspect your home for cracks, voids, weep-holes, or other areas ants can gain access. Seal these areas upon inspection.
- Make sure windows and doors are closed tightly
- Check brushes and shrubs to avoid contact with your house
- Don’t stack firewood, bricks, or other materials next to your house where ants can nest
- Flood unwanted colonies with club soda or white vinegar
- Use bait to deter ants from food sources
- Kill off the ant trail
- Squish the soldiers
- Keep your home clean
- Call a professional
According to the University of New Mexico, two venomous spiders reside in New Mexico, the black widow and the brown spider. The black widow has a large round midsection. Female black widows are identified with a red spot on her abdomen. Black widow bites are venomous. The symptoms of a black widow bite include muscle spasms all over the body and can be deadly if not treated within a timely manner.
- Dust and vacuum crevices and furniture
- Wear gloves when working around the perimeter of your home
- Shake shoes and clothing before wearing
- Call a professional to spray pesticide on a regular basis
- Call the New Mexico Poison Center for treatment advice: 1-800-222-1222
House mice are the most common rodents found in nooks, cracks, basements, attics, and floorboards of your home. House mice enjoy commercial establishments, open fields, farms, and desert climate where temperatures are moderate. Cold weather forces house mice from fields to shelter, in search of food and warmth. House mice originated from Asia and arrived in North America via European settlers. House mice are the most troublesome rodents in the United States and commonly found in the desert climate of Albuquerque.
- Seal cracks, doors, tiny holes
- Set traps
- Keep your home, garage, and other outbuildings clean
- Put trash cans as far as you can from food sources
- Adopt a house cat
At Pest Defense Albuquerque, we’re used to dealing with different types of ghoulish goblins. We’re happy to help you rid your home or office of these annoyances so you can have a happy, safe Halloween!
Click here to schedule service.
As fall quickly approaches, it’s time to think about which pests will unearth themselves during the cooler temperatures. The most common bug that superfluously rears its’ ugly head in the fall is the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). The name “stink bug” refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax. These critters have a “shield” shape with patches of a coppery color.
Stink bugs are problematic in areas of farm fields, community gardens, and for homeowners. Unfortunately, stink bugs have a penchant for sheltered locations such as business offices, sheds, garages, outbuildings, and other structures that protect them from the harsh winter months. Oftentimes, as the leaves begin to turn colors, you will see campers, boats, and other recreational vehicles become invaded.
According to Dr. Michael J. Raupp from the University of Maryland, the colder temperatures bring the movement and development of the stink bug to a standstill. Stink bugs seek refuges to stay protected from dangerous predators and the bitter cold of winter. For residents and business owners in the Albuquerque or El Paso areas dealing with this pest problem, there are several remedies that may help eliminate your stink bug problem.
- Kill stink bugs on the spot. Yes, it is a messy job, but the smell actually warns other stink bugs to run for their lives.
- Flush them down the toilet.
- Vaccuum bugs and empty the bag afterward.
- Secure all points of entry.
- Rub window and door screens with dryer sheets. The pungency of the sheets creates a barrier of odor against stink bugs.
If the above techniques do not work, contact our office for an appointment. Our team can provide an inital service to treat all areas conducive to the stink bug problem.
We are commonly approached with questions related to allergies and pesticides; therefore we decided to compile this blog to provide additional information related to the topic.
What is an allergy?
a damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially pollen, fur, a particular food, dust, to which it has become hypersensitive. Symptoms include: red eyes, itchiness, runny nose, eczema, hives, or an asthma attack.
Which pesticides cause allergies?
According to the Medical University of South Carolina, people may be exposed to pesticides used in agriculture, applications for pest control at home or work, roadside right-of-ways for weed control, and applications of pesticides for public health vector control programs.
Most pesticides are tested for allergenic possibilities prior to marketing. Scientists have identified the following list of common pesticides that can be hypersensitive to different individuals: allidochlor, anilazine, antu, barban, benomyl, captafol, captan, dazomet, dichloropropane, dichloropropene, lindane, maneb, nitrofen, propachlor, pyrethrum/pyrethroids, rotenone, thiram, zineb.
What happens during an allergic reaction?
From what we know about allergies, a person is exposed to an allergen by one of three ways: inhaling it, swallowing it, or through skin contact. According to WebMD, the body starts to produce an antibody called IgE to bind to the allergen. From there the antibodies attach to a mast cell. The allergens bind to the IgE, which is part of the mast cell. From that point the mast cells release a variety of chemicals in the blood. Histamine, the main chemical causes most of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
What are the most common indoor allergens?
There are several indoor allergies that can trigger allergies. Cockroaches, mold, animal dander, dust mites, and cigarette smoke, are among the most common indoor allergies. Cockroaches’ cast-off skins and airborne roach residue can trigger an allergic response.
How do I avoid allergies?
If you believe you have a pesticide allergy, you should discuss this with your Pest Professional. Allergic reactions vary from individual-to-individual. Most allergic reactions can be avoided by using antihistamines.
Do you have a pesticide question? Leave it in the comments!
Albuquerque Grasshopper Invasion: Protect Your Yard, Garden, and Landscaping
If you live in Albuquerque, you’re probably highly annoyed with the apocalyptic invasion of grasshoppers. Many have been spotted hopping, jumping, flying and sometimes crawling their way into your yard, driveway, or office landscaping.
In fact, according to the National Weather Service, the population density of grasshoppers is so intense in Albuerquerque these infesters are showing up on the weather radar. Yes, that would be the correct, the weather radar. Check out this video from ABC News with the recent story: Grasshopper Swarms So Dense They Show Up on Radar.
Many are blaming this recent invasion on weather conditions and the New Mexico drought as the underlying reason for the overcrowding of grasshoppers.
According to experts, overspraying insecticides isn’t going to be the immediate solution. There are a few quick tricks you can try, but there is no “secret remedy” to battle the grasshoppers. However, our professional service professionals help battle the grasshoppers and protect your garden plants!
Five Quick Tricks
- Dust your plants and grass with flour (Creates flavorless chewing gum for grasshoppers.)
- Plant marigolds, daises, mint, and dill (These attract insects that feed on grasshoppers, such as spiders and beetles.)
- Hire a small army of neighborhood kids to catch as many grasshoppers as possible. (Perfect fishing bait.)
- Go to a farm and borrow a chicken. (Chicken’s feed on grasshoppers)
- Call us for advice (Our friendly staff is always willing to help you determine the best approach to insect elimination).
Contact our office for an appointment. We’re currently accepting new clients and happy to help others learn how to fend off those nasty grasshoppers.
Pest Control Benefits: The Good, The Bad, and the Scary
Pest control in Albuquerque is a very challenging and significant undertaking in the United States and especially in our operating states of New Mexico and West Texas. Pest control encompasses a protection from harmful insects and rodents.
Oftentimes, the term “pest control” is used loosely to define the eradication of ants, spiders, scorpions, and termites. The removal of these pests is a small part of the bigger picture, which is pest management helps save lives and protects the public from the risks involved with pests, such as disease and infestation.
Pest Control Facts
Don’t believe us? Here are some facts to support this point:
- Without pest management practices, pests could destroy more than 50 percent of crops/domestic gardens. (Source: HTP Inc.)
- According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, more than two million Americans are allergic to stinging insects, while 500,000 enter hospital emergency rooms every year suffering from insect stings and between 40-150 people die a year as a result of these stings.
- Pests transmit deadly diseases to humans including: malaria, plague, Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus.
- Termites cost Americans an average of $5 billion in damage repair/year.
In addition, pest control is important when it comes to having the best protection from pests. Not all insects/rodents are bad, but they can foster unsanitary conditions of infestation. Furthermore, we’ve decided to debunk some of the common “Pest Control Myths” that we frequently encounter on the job.
Pest Control Myths Debunked
Mice Love Cheese. Although this may be true to some extent, mice also love grains, fruits, and seeds. Chocolate may be more attractive to mice than cheese, as they prefer foods that are high in carbs. However, we must make it clear that they aren’t
particular when it comes to their diet. Mice will consume any food source available to them. Please be aware of this when setting traps and cleaning cabinets.
Clean Houses Are Pest Free. Even if your house is spotless and squeaky clean, it will still attract pests of all shapes and sizes depending on the location of your home. Pests do not have a radar or map of homes that dictate which house they target. They simply want a warm shelter with food and water sources and possibly a place to breed. (Scary, but true.)
You Can Eliminate Pest Problems Yourself. Yes, to some degree this is true. There are a plethora of Do-It-Yourself tutorials found across the Internet. However, if you want it done right; quickly and efficiently so you don’t have to re-spray, trap, or spend copious amounts of time and money on the problem, you should probably give us a call. Shameless plug? You bet. But it’s because Pest Defense Solutions Professionals are similar to a doctors. We diagnose and recommend solutions on the spot. Saving you time, money, frustration, and even more important, your life and the lives of those loved ones around you. We know what we’re doing and how to help you with any pest problems you may be combating. Click here to schedule service.
Ants love baking products and moisture. Check out this video explaining different ways to avoid ant infestation in your kitchen!
Earwigs, nocturnal insects with forcep pincers and membranous wings, are found throughout the Americas, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They are among some of the smaller insect orders with approximately 2,000 species in 12 families.
Earwigs are almost always found in home gardens because they gravitate toward moist crevices during the day and feed on plants, insects, and dead and living organisms at night. Outdoor temperatures, which include dry, hot, or cold conditions, are not ideal for earwigs because they are moisture-loving insects.
Earwigs are commonly blamed for damaging foliage, flowers and crops. Earwigs have been known to cause substantial damage to seeding plants, soft fruit and sweet corn. The damage caused by earwigs is most noticeable from missing all or parts of leaves or stems. Not all earwigs are bad, but when their damage becomes excessive is when it creates havoc for gardeners. The garden plants earwigs are most attracted to are herbs, corn tassels, dahlias, marigolds, roses, and zinnias.
Getting Rid of Earwigs
A starting point for eliminating earwigs is clearing the mulch from the area where they are congregating and letting the soil dry out. Trapping is a common method of eliminating earwigs. Burying a low-sided can sunk into the ground and filled with vegetable and fish oil can make a common earwig trap. These types of traps can be placed throughout the yard or hidden under shrubbery and ground cover plantings.
Captured earwigs can be dumped or dropped into a plastic bag and crushed. These procedures should be continued until you are no longer catching earwigs.
Earwigs found inside your home can be swept or vacuumed. Seal cracks and entry points to avoid infestation and remove materials away from the perimeter of your home. Drain sprouts and clean rain gutter to minimize moisture and prevent invasions.