Do Ticks Survive the Winter?

An American dog tick found in Albuquerque NM

Although the winter in El Paso comes with its own unique bunch of pest problems, some of the creatures we deal with in the summer can brave the weather to cause even more trouble. Some fair-weather critters deal with the winter by scrambling to set up shop inside our insulated structures; others brave the elements and hope for the best. Ticks fall into the latter category, and they happen to be more successful than most people realize. Although they thrive in the summer, ticks have the means and resilience to have successful winters in many cases. Read on to learn about how they do it and what you can do to avoid them with our tick control experts at Pest Defense Solutions.

When is Tick Season in El Paso?

When we imagine tick season, many of us think of finding ticks on our dogs or our own legs after spending time outside in the summer. Tall grass and humid heat is a recipe for tick problems. However, if the humidity remains consistent and they can find a source of warmth, ticks will survive through the winter.

Harsh cold and a lack of potential hosts will do significant damage to a tick population, but these pests have a few survival strategies that can help them deal with the tougher months of the year. These are their responses to a frigid winter:

  1. If ticks can find an oblivious host animal, they will latch onto them for a source of heat and nutrients that will last through the winter
  2. When they are unable to find a host, ticks can hide in leaf litter for warmth and protection
  3. Soft-shell ticks burrow underground during the winter to survive

How to Avoid Winter Ticks this Year

When temperatures drop below 45° consistently and the ground is wet or icy, take activity sees a significant decline. That said, even though tick problems are less likely to arise, these resilient pests can still cause problems for your family and your pets if you aren’t careful. We recommend you take our winter tick prevention advice to steer clear of these bugs:

  • Get rid of yard waste regularly. Ticks are often found hiding in leaf piles, so it’s best to get rid of them quickly.
  • Consistently check your pets. Dogs are some of ticks’ top targets, so be sure to check them for ticks whenever you get home from a walk, even in the winter, and especially if you walked through grass.
  • Set up a service with professional tick exterminators. Experienced pros can conduct a barrier treatment to prevent tick activity across your entire property.

How Can Tick Exterminators Help Me?

Even though they have been labeled as a traditional summer pest, it’s clear that ticks can cause problems for people and pets all year round. If you want to protect your family from ticks in El Paso this winter, your best bet is to team up with your local tick exterminators. At Pest Defense Solutions, we train our tick control team to conduct environmentally-friendly, safe, and effective barrier treatments, as well as assess properties for vulnerabilities that could lead to further tick infestations. We can protect you from ticks in every season. Contact us today to get started with a free quote!

Overwatering Your Lawn Can Attract Mosquitos

Mosquito hangs on stem

If you want a healthy lawn, it’s crucial to water the right amount. Too little watering and you’ll have yellow patches of dead grass. Too much watering can cause lawn diseases and attract mosquitoes, which would make it even harder to enjoy your lawn. Read on to find out how proper yard maintenance can help your lawn look better and keep mosquitoes at bay.

Mosquitoes Love Moisture

Do you know what your lawn and mosquitoes both love? Moisture. mosquitoes require abundant moisture to survive and reproduce, so a lawn where water is pooling can easily become a hotspot for these pests. An oversaturated lawn can also cause a thick layer of thatch to form, protecting mosquitoes and other insects from sunlight, predators, and even some pesticides. If you adequately maintain and irrigate your lawn, you’ll enjoy the time spent in your yard more. It will look better and you’ll reduce the risk of mosquitoes disturbing your outside time.

Signs That You’re Watering too Much

Overwatering your lawn can cause more problems than just mosquitoes. Too much water stunts root growth and makes your grass more susceptible to harmful diseases. 

Look for these signs that you’re watering too much:

Sinking in Soil 

A quick, easy way to see if your lawn is too damp is to perform what’s called “a step test”. Soil that’s overwatered will have a squishy or spongey consistency when you step on it. You can check the dampness of your soil by stepping on the lawn in multiple spots (wait a while if you just watered). If your lawn feels spongy in multiple different places, you’re probably overwatering.

Weeds & Fungus 

The amount you water your lawn can aid the growth of fungus and weeds, which may attract insects. In a well-watered yard, patches of mushrooms and weeds will be rare. If you do notice weeds sprouting in your yard, you’ll probably want to reduce your watering. The same goes for mushrooms since some species of mushrooms can be hazardous to pets and children.

Runoff 

Sometimes soil can be so saturated that it can’t absorb any more water. This creates runoff that strips the lawn of important nutrients and carries them to the sidewalk, drain, or street. This is common during heavy rains. It’s important to notice when this happens as your grass will be more susceptible to disease, insect invaders, fungi, and weeds.

How Can You Prevent Mosquitoes?

The first step for preventing mosquitoes is to water your lawn appropriately. Watering every day is probably unnecessary, even if you live in a hot, dry climate. The ideal amount of water your lawn should get each week is 1 – 1.5 inches. Experts recommend watering your lawn three days a week for 30 minutes each time to give your grass the appropriate amount of water.

Expert Mosquito Exterminators in Albuquerque NM

Even if you have mosquitoes even though your yard is immaculately maintained, we can help. The highly trained exterminators at Pest Defense Solutions have been helping people in the Albuquerque NM area eliminate mosquitoes for nearly 15 years. Contact us today for a free quote!

Natural Ways You Can Repel Bees and Wasps

Three bees on a yellow flower

Now that summer is here, many of us in the Albuquerque area will be spending more time outside. However, wasps and bees are also active in summer. Crossing paths with them can result in annoyance, stings and even serious allergic reactions. So, how can you keep bees and wasps from ruining your fun in the sun this summer naturally? Read on to find out.

Plants That Attract Bees & Wasps

Since bees and wasps are pollinators, naturally they’re attracted to plants. Here are plants that bees and/or wasps are especially fond of:

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Honeysuckle
  • Lantana
  • Lilacs
  • Perennial Yarrow
  • Poppies
  • Pale Purple Coneflower
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Wisteria
  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Sedum
  • Snapdragon
  • Sunflowers

If you have any of these plants close to your home, consider moving them further away. Especially if they’re close to a patio or other heavily used outdoor space.

Plants That Repel Bees & Wasps

There are also several plants that repel bees and wasps, usually because they have a strong smell that bees and wasps dislike. These plants include:

  • Basil
  • Citronella
  • Geraniums
  • Marigolds
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Wormwood

If you’re looking to keep bees and wasps away and don’t mind the smell, consider adding some of these plants near the outdoor spaces of your home, such as a porch or patio.

Bees, Wasps and Food

Stinging insects, especially wasps, are also attracted to food. This can be a challenge because whether it’s barbecues, picnics or kids with ice cream, eating food outside is a part of summer. There are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of stinging insects interfering with your barbecue or picnic: 

  • If you’re eating or drinking outside, remember to promptly put away food and drinks. 
  • When you put food in your trash can, make sure it’s securely closed. 
  • Keep sugary drinks closed or covered to keep bees and wasps out.

However, as is the case with plants, there are some food items that bees and wasps don’t like, including: 

  • Bay Leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Sliced Cucumber
  • Vinegar

If you keep one or more of these close to you while you’re enjoying the outdoors, it could help keep bees and wasps away. For example, you could place cinnamon sticks or a glass of vinegar on a patio table. Or bring some sliced cucumber on a plate if you’re eating a meal outside.

 

How to Make an All-Natural Bug Repellent

Another way to keep stinging insects away naturally is to make an essential oil-based pest repellent spray. Wasps and bees are repelled by the smell of the essential oils below:

  • Citronella oil
  • Clove oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Geranium oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil

Simply combine two drops of essential oil per ounce of water to make a natural alternative to store bought insect repellent. 

 

Best Bee & Wasp Removal in Albuquerque NM 

If you have a serious infestation, these techniques may not be enough. You may need to hire a local pest control professional to get rid of the bees or wasps on your property. Pest Defense Solutions has been providing pest control services to the Albuquerque NM area since 2008. Contact us today to learn more and get a free quote!

Getting Rid of Ants in Your Bathroom

Ants in a bathroom in Albuquerque NM - Pest Defense Solutions

Many different kinds of ants are alive and thriving around Albuquerque NM. You can count on them to start attacking your home from every angle after a new rain or a dramatic temperature swing, jarred by new conditions and in search of food, water, and shelter.

When ants infest your home, they will likely find everything that they need to survive. But why is this, and what can you do about it? Read on to learn from the ant removal and extermination experts at Pest Defense Solutions!

Why Are Ants Taking Over My Bathroom?

Ants can find all of the moisture and water that they need to hydrate themselves in your bathroom, as well as shelter in cabinets and walls. Pooling water on your floor, in your sink, or in your shower can afford ants an easily accessible water source close to their hiding place. Carpenter ants are notorious for infesting bathrooms because of the likelihood of finding water-damaged wood to tunnel through to get there. However, all kinds of ants find bathrooms to be suitable temporary shelters. They usually get inside our bathrooms in these ways:

  • Gaps around windows and doors
  • Holes near plumbing fixtures
  • Cracks in your walls and foundation
  • Ventilation system openings

The ants in your bathroom also could have come from another room in your house, so it’s important that you try to figure out where their trail is rooted.

Getting Rid of Bathroom Ants

Finding out where your ant trail is coming from is the most important part of ant control. This is because you will not be able to stop the flow of ants without eliminating the colony they’re coming from. The tricky part about figuring this out is that ants often travel through tiny cracks coming from walls and other inaccessible areas. This makes ant prevention a crucial measure. We recommend working to prevent ants in these ways:

  1. Closing all of your windows and doors, making sure they’re sealed
  2. Replacing wood that has been water damaged
  3. Moving mulch further away from your siding and keeping plants away from your home’s exterior
  4. Sealing cracks on the outside of your home with a silicone-based caulk
  5. Making sure your bathroom is well-ventilated

Best Ant Control in Albuquerque NM

If you’re already mid-infestation and need help getting rid of your ants, it’s time to call up your local pest control company. Our ant extermination team at Pest Defense Solutions is intimately familiar with the habits of all ant species living around Albuquerque NM. We can inspect your property to develop a plan that will have your bathroom and home free of ants in no time. Reach out today to learn more about our services and receive a free estimate!

Protecting Yourself from Ticks & Lyme Disease

A tick found in Albuquerque NM - Pest Defense Solutions

There’s not much more unsettling than the experience of finding a tick trying to lodge itself into your skin. What’s even more frightening about ticks, though, is that some of them have the ability to spread the bacterium that causes Lyme disease to humans. As is the case with all disease-spreading pests, it’s important to learn about the ways that they work so you can keep your distance from them and protect those around you from the potential consequences of their bites. Read on to learn more about Lyme disease and ticks in Albuquerque NM with Pest Defense Solutions!

Learn About Lyme Disease

Deer ticks, also called blacklegged ticks, are the ticks responsible for spreading Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Humans most often contract Lyme disease when they receive a bite from a nymph, an earlier stage in the tick’s life cycle that is tiny enough to go easily unnoticed. Tick bites don’t usually hurt because the tick injects an anesthetic fluid into the bite mark to block the pain.

Lyme disease’s initial symptoms are headache, tiredness, rashes, fever, and pain in the joints and muscles. If the condition goes untreated, though, Lyme disease can lead to arthritis and nerve damage. If you’re experiencing any of the initial symptoms and think they could be related to a recent tick bite, contact your doctor immediately.

Preventing Tick Bites

To protect yourself, your family, and your pets from Lyme disease, you have to do everything you can to avoid ticks. These pests love to hide in shaded, humid, densely vegetated areas, waiting for small animals to pass by. Here are some things to keep in mind to avoid ticks in Albuquerque NM:

  • When hiking, stay on the trail and keep any pets from wandering off
  • Wear pants and long socks when you plan to spend extended time outdoors
  • Perform a tick check on yourself and your pets when you come back inside
  • If you do find a tick lodging itself into the skin, don’t use your fingers to remove it. Use a pair of tweezers and pinch the tick as close as possible to the skin, pulling away gently.

Tick Control in Albuquerque NM

If you’re regularly finding ticks on your kids or your pets after letting them play outside for a while, you likely have a tick problem on your property. Let the tick control experts at Pest Defense Solutions handle it! Our team of expert exterminators can assess your yard to find all possible tick hot spots and hiding places. Based on our findings, we can plan and perform a unique barrier treatment, using professional products and a personalized strategy to keep your yard tick-free. Contact us today to learn more and receive a free quote!

Our Top 10 Spider Facts

Finding spiders in Albuquerque NM - Pest Defense Solutions

One thing about spiders is that, generally, the more you learn about them as a whole, the less you fear them! Here at Pest Defense Solutions, our team of spider exterminators share an intricate knowledge of the many species of spiders found around Albuquerque NM and beyond. We believe that passing on what we know to our customers will help them conquer their fear and learn how to get rid of spiders on their own if they need to. Read on to learn more about spiders!

10 Spider Facts You Should Know

  1. Most spiders aren’t dangerous: Every spider is venomous, but a very small number of spider species are equipped with enough venom to seriously injure a human.
  2. Spiders live everywhere: And we don’t just mean all over the world. Research suggests that, at any point, you’re probably less than 10 feet away from the nearest spider!
  3. There are thousands of different kinds: Spider experts have documented over 35,000 different species of spiders around the world and suspect that many more will show themselves in time.
  4. Spiders are gift-givers: During the mating process, some spider species’ males will capture insects and wrap them up in silk to give to a potential mate. Females spiders beware, though, because males have been known to package up leaves, dirt, or other random findings as a mock gift.
  5. Spiders can dance: Some male spiders will incorporate a dance routine into their courtship. This often involves back-and-forth scuttling paired with desperate arm-waving.
  6. Females eat their mates: Sometimes before they have even copulated! In the species that display this activity, the motive and timing varies across the board, but many mothers-to-be save the body of their mate to provide their offspring with nourishment.
  7. Spider silk is multi-purposed: While we often think of spider silk as the means to a web, some spiders also use their silk to build nests, tunnels, transportation lines, or even as a tool to float through the air with.
  8. It’s stronger than steel: Steel cut to the same dimensions as a spider web is actually 5 times weaker than spider silk!
  9. It’s a liquid: Spider silk sits as a liquid in the spider’s spinning gland before turning solid upon contact with outside air. This makes its strength all the more fascinating and impressive!
  10. Spider muscles can’t extend: They can only retract. This means that to push their legs back out again, spiders pump a special fluid through them; this fluid is also what allows for many spiders to jump so far and high.

Need Spider Exterminators in Albuquerque NM?

While there is a lot to love about spiders, we do understand that having a spider infestation can leave you uncomfortable in your own home. On top of this, there are a few spider species that you need to watch out for around Albuquerque, such as the brown recluse and the black widow. If you need spider extermination services for your property, reach out to our spider control team at Pest Defense Solutions today for a free quote!

6 Tips to Prevent Pests in Your Patio

Tips to stay pest-free in your Albuquerque NM backyard - Pest Defense Solutions

Whether you’ve had mosquitoes in your gutters or ants all over your barbeque, you know that pest problems can develop in a flash in your backyard. When the sun comes out for spring again, we all look to get out doors more often, but pests can quickly ruin your time spent outside. This is why it’s so important to learn how to make your property less attractive to pests in the first place. At Pest Defense Solutions, we know that pest problems riddle Albuquerque homes all year long. With our commitment to ensuring our customers are pest-free both inside and outside their homes, we’re sharing our top tips to prevent pests in your patio.

Pests to Lookout For in Your Outdoor Living Space

If you have an outdoor living space, you can be sure pests are going to explore it! Many pests are a nuisance to deal with, but a few can be more dangerous for you and your family. The pests you’ll see in your yard are mosquitoes, stinging insects (bees, wasps, and hornets), ants, spiders, ticks, fleas, and flies. Ticks and mosquitoes are especially concerning for their ability to transmit dangerous diseases to humans. Because these pests in particular are quite difficult to get rid of without a barrier treatment, it’s important to consult a professional exterminator if you are seeing either of these parasitic pests daily.

Tips to Prevent Pests in Backyard Patios

Pests are always a nuisance, but as we know, they can be dangerous, too. Mosquitoes, ticks, and stinging insects are three of the most common pest problems in backyards in spring. To help pest-proof your property from these bugs and more, you can do the following:

  • Trim your lawn and shrubs. Overgrown vegetation provides mosquitoes and ticks with shelter.
  • Search for ant hills and wasp nests. Even the tiniest nest can contain thousands of stinging insects.
  • Examine wood structures. Termites and carpenter bees will damage wooden decks or porches.
  • Cover or pour out standing water. Mosquitoes only need a half inch of standing water to breed.
  • Use an insect repellent. Insect repellent containing DEET will help repel mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Clean your patio or space regularly. Crumbs or spilled liquids will attract ants and other insects.

How to Get Rid of Pests in Your Backyard

Whether you have spotted a nest forming on your deck, an ant hill near your garden, or mosquitoes swarming your yard, it’s best to contact your local exterminator for help getting rid of them. At Pest Defense Solutions, we are dedicated to providing you with pest-free outdoor living. Contact us today to learn more and get a free quote!

Getting Rid of Flying Termites

Flying termites found in Albuquerque NM - Pest Defense Solutions

Have you been seeing winged termites flying around your home recently? As we approach the warmer seasons in Albuquerque NM, termites will start swarming again to find new places to live and wood to feed on. Termites are the most destructive pests in the United States, causing an estimated $5 billion in damage every year! It’s no secret that a termite sighting is bad news. So, how can you get rid of the flying termites you’re seeing? Read on to learn from our termite control team at Pest Defense Solutions!

Do I Have Flying Termites?

Winged termites go by a few different names; they’re called swarmers, alates, and reproductives depending on who you ask. Their purpose is to grow and spread their colony to new locations and find new food sources. Some people confuse them for flying ants, so it’s important to know the differences in order to take action when you have termites. Here’s how you can tell apart flying ants vs flying termites:

  1. Termites are lighter in color than ants in most cases
  2. Ants have slender figures with pinched waists, while termites have a more broad appearance
  3. Termites have two pairs of equal-sized wings, but ants’ forewings are larger than their hind wings

If you have flying termites around your home, it could either mean that swarmers are looking to settle on your property, or you have a preexisting termites infestation that’s reaching the point at which it needs to spread. Neither is good news, but the latter is frightening.

How to Get Rid of Flying Termites in Albuquerque NM

If you are seeing swarmers in or around your home, you can take these measures to prevent them from taking up residence:

  • Make sure your drainage systems are leading water away from your home and foundation
  • Fix any leaky pipes to prevent wood from becoming water-damaged
  • Store your firewood away from your home and off of the ground
  • Move mulch away from your home’s foundation

These steps will make it less likely for termites to want to break into your home because of their limited access to damaged wood. However, if you’re seeing swarmers on your property, you should check around your home for termite damage. The presence of termites with wings could indicate a quite serious termite infestation.

Professional Termite Removal with Pest Defense Solutions

If you do find termite damage in your home along with swarmers, call your local pest control company right away. Our termite control team at Pest Defense Solutions has dealt with all sizes of termite infestations in Albuquerque and have the skills and experience to get rid of termites in your home. We will also identify vulnerabilities that could have caused the infestation to help you keep termites out for good. Contact us today for a free quote!

10 Key German Cockroach Facts to Know

German cockroaches in Santa Fe NM - Pest Defense Solutions

Many property owners in Albuquerque NM are well-accustomed to cockroach infestations. In our area, if you’re dealing with roaches indoors, there’s a very good chance they are German cockroaches. This species causes the most problems for homes, multi-family units, restaurants, food processing facilities, and indoor spaces. In addition to simply having an unsettling presence, German cockroaches have a rapid reproductive cycle and are capable of carrying dangerous pathogens. To learn more about German cockroaches and what you can do to stop them read on. Our cockroach exterminators at Pest Defense Solutions have laid out some facts and prevention tips that you have to know!

10 German Cockroach Facts

German cockroaches may look somewhat similar to their American and brown-banded counterparts, but they’re quite different. Here are our top 10 facts to know about German cockroaches:

  1. German cockroaches are best identified by their pronotum (protective plate behind the head), which has two longitudinal dark stripes.
  2. These roaches are most commonly found in residential and commercial kitchens or bathrooms.
  3. German cockroaches typically prefer areas of high temperatures and high humidity.
  4. German cockroaches only live indoors. While rare, they can live outside in warm weather.
  5. German cockroaches have an extremely quick rate of reproduction. This means they can spread throughout a building quickly.
  6. The ootheca (egg case) of the German cockroach contains between 35–40 eggs which take one month to hatch.
  7. German cockroaches can carry or transmit diseases and pathogens that can endanger humans.
  8. German cockroach infestations can cause severe asthmatic reactions in some people.
  9. They are able to climb on smooth surfaces because they have a sticky pad on their feet.
  10. German cockroaches prefer to spend their lives hidden in dark areas. They are known to hide inside walls, behind cabinets, inside appliances, and other rarely accessed areas.

How to Prevent a German Cockroach Infestation

As with all roaches, keeping German cockroaches out of your property requires regular maintenance and preventative efforts on your end. By keeping a clean, tidy property, you are effectively lessening the risk of an infestation. Roaches love filth and are attracted to clutter, as it can provide them with hiding places. Take these steps regularly to prevent a German cockroach infestation:

  • Take out your trash often and use sealable lids on your bins. 
  • Inspect the outside of your home for cracks leading in and the inside of your home for leaks.
  • Wipe up spills and sweep up crumbs promptly after they are spilled.
  • Store food in airtight containers and wash dishes as soon as you’re done eating.

Effective & Long-Lasting German Cockroach Control

Roaches prefer to stay hidden, so seeing them out during the day is a sign of a large infestation. As soon as you notice a single roach in your Santa Fe NM property, it’s time to call your local pest control company. Our roach exterminators at Pest Defense Solutions have years of experience providing residents and businesses alike with full-service German cockroach extermination. You can trust we will work to keep roaches out of your property all year long. Reach out today for a free quote!

What Happens to Bees in the Winter?

Honey bees in Albuquerque NM - Pest Defense Solutions

Many of us get through the winter by thinking about spring being on the way. With warming temperatures, new growth all around, and longer days, there are so many reasons to look forward to spring. However, springtime is riddled with insects here in Albuquerque NM. We often think of bees when we think about spring insects—they return to pollinate and thrive during the warmer months, then disappear again when it gets cold. So, where do bees go in the winter? The Pest Defense Solutions technicians have the answers!

Do Bees Hibernate During the Winter?

You’ve surely noticed that the number of bees around your home decreases significantly from the fall to the winter. After all, bees’ principal role in our ecosystem is to pollinate flowering plants, so what do bees do in the winter if they have nothing to pollinate? It actually depends on the species of bee—here are the ways that three common bees in Albuquerque NM handle the cold:

  • Carpenter bees: These solitary bees return to the nests that they emerged from in the spring to take shelter and attempt to survive the cold.
  • Honey bees: All of the male drone bees will die off when it gets too cold, but the female worker bees will stay together in the hive, surrounding the queen and vibrating for warmth.
  • Bumblebees: The sad truth is that almost every single bumblebee dies when winter rolls around. However, the queen will save herself, burrowing in the dirt or finding a premade shelter, like an empty bird’s nest, hollow log, or compost pile. She emerges again in the spring to repopulate.

How to Prepare for Bees Before Spring

Some people like having bees around their home, but when you let bees nest near your house, you always put yourself at risk of being stung. Additionally, if you let their numbers grow in your yard, they might end up constructing a new nest inside your walls or under your eaves. Take these steps in the winter to prevent bee problems from developing in the spring:

  1. Trim your plants and mow your lawn often to prevent nesting in overgrowth
  2. Fill animal burrows in your yard that could create nesting sites for bees
  3. Repair any cracks in your foundation, walls, or roofing to keep bees out
  4. Consider gardening further away from your home than usual
  5. Cover your trash and recycling cans outside with lids that seal

Need Help Bee-Proofing Your Home this Winter?

If you’ve dealt with bee problems year after year in your home in Albuquerque, it’s time to have your local pest control company take a look. At Pest Defense Solutions, we offer both preventative inspections that identify vulnerabilities around your home as well as safe, humane, and non-toxic bee nest removal strategies. Contact us today to learn more about our bee control services and receive a free quote!