How to Spot a Silverfish Infestation

Silverfish 300x215 How to Spot a Silverfish InfestationUnfortunately, silverfish are among the most common pests that North Carolina homeowners deal with. While spotting one here and there from time to time may not be an obvious cause for concern, even just one silverfish sighting could mean that there are dozens or hundreds more lurking in other areas of the house. Because silverfish thrive in warm and humid areas, they are most common during the warm months of spring and summer and are often found in basements and bathrooms.

Dangers of Silverfish

Unfortunately, silverfish can cause a great deal of damage within the home if they are not taken care of promptly. Often times, signs of a silverfish infestation are quite obvious. Homeowners may find holes in a room’s wallpaper or in clothes that show up suddenly and inexplicably. Sometimes, these holes are surrounded by a yellow stain. Silverfish feed on these materials and others that contain cellulose, starch, and sugar. Therefore, it is not uncommon for homeowners to also find holes in carpet, books, and photographs.

Other even more obvious signs of an infestation can be as seemingly harmless as finding a few silverfish in the home on the same day. Most often, the pests are discovered in laundry rooms, showers, bath tubs, and on shelves.

Steps to Take

Lowering thermostat temperatures during the summer can make the home a less suitable place for silverfish to live and may discourage more from infesting the residence. However, this may not take care of the silverfish that have already set up shop within the home.

In general, it is best to hire a pest control expert that specializes in silverfish control and eradication. This will help to ensure that the problem is taken care of properly and in a timely manner. Specifically, homeowners looking for assistance with silverfish control can always turn to the professionals here at Clegg’s. We know what it takes to handle a silverfish infestation at any home. Furthermore, we offer pest control services for bed bugs and termites as well.

No homeowner should have to live with an insect infestation of any kind. Turn to the dedicated experts at Clegg’s today to handle pests such as silverfish and prevent one’s property from incurring any more damage as a result.

For silverfish infestations, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lepisma_saccharina_1a.JPG

May 2014 News: Mosquitoes Carry Diseases

In the May edition of the Clegg’s newsletter: Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes, The Truth About Snakes, and Bed Bugs: Affecting Homes and Businesses Worldwide.

Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes

mosquito cdc small May 2014 News: Mosquitoes Carry DiseasesAs the weather warms up in the Carolinas, it sometimes seems that mosquitoes are everywhere. Most people consider mosquitoes bothersome, but they can be dangerous. Mosquitoes can carry and transmit a number of diseases to humans and animals, including West Nile virus, malaria, several forms of encephalitis, and other diseases that are less common in the United States, like dengue fever and chikungunya. Some of these diseases may cause serious complications or be deadly. Dogs and cats may also be at risk, as mosquitoes transmit heartworms.

Your best bet is to take steps to avoid mosquito bites. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. This is especially important if you’ll be outside between dusk and dawn since this is when the mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus are most active. Note that some of the natural repellants need frequent re-application and do not offer the same amount of protection as DEET.
  2. Wear pants and long sleeves, especially if you’ll be working or playing in wooded areas.
  3. Remove sources of standing water on your property. Mosquitoes require standing water to lay and hatch eggs, though specific environments may differ by species. On average, mosquito eggs hatch in around 10 days, so if you have areas of standing water in your yard, you should dump them out frequently.
  4. Make sure windows and doors you plan to leave open have screens.
  5. Talk to your vet about heartworm prevention drugs for your dogs and cats.
  6. Get more information from your pest care professional on mosquito prevention and treatment programs.

Learn more about the dangers of mosquitoes.

The Truth About Snakes

Blue and Snake 222x300 May 2014 News: Mosquitoes Carry DiseasesMany people we talk to are terrified of snakes. While there are some species of venomous snakes in North Carolina we need to watch for, in reality most snakes are harmless. In fact, snakes can be beneficial in helping keep the rodent and insect populations under control.

According to the NC Cooperative Extension, there are approximately 37 types of snakes found in North Carolina. Of these, only six are venomous. (Visit the Cooperative Extension website for some great photos of all North Carolina snakes.) The most common snakes we come across are non-venomous snakes like Black Racers, rat snakes and garter snakes. These snakes may come close to your house looking for rodents and insects. We often find snake skins that have been shed in crawl spaces where the snakes are finding (and eating) mice and rats! If you have firewood piled near the house, the snakes may hunt for food or seek shelter in the wood piles, so use caution when removing wood in warmer weather.

Read more…

Bed Bugs: Affecting Homes and Businesses Worldwide

Adult Female Bed Bug1 May 2014 News: Mosquitoes Carry Diseases

Adult female bed bug (enlarged).

Bed bugs usually travel from place to place by hitching a ride with humans. Since we tend to be rather mobile, bed bugs can easily find their way to your home or business. Certain types of businesses are more likely to encounter bed bug infestations, but everyone is potentially at risk. We have treated hotels/motels, multi-family housing (apartments and condos), nursing homes, university dorms, public schools, military bases, firehouses (and rescue trucks), and hospitals, among others.

If you manage a business, you’ll want to read our latest article on steps you should take if you suspect a bed bug infestation. Questions? Call a Clegg’s pest professional today!

 

 

 

Why Are So Many People Afraid of Spiders?

Do you have arachnophobia? By some estimates, up to 50% of people are afraid of spiders. Why, you may ask? No one knows for sure! There has been a lot of research done and there is speculation it might be a leftover survival instinct from mankind’s early days. Others believe it may be more of a cultural or learned fear. Maybe all the scary movies with spiders (think of the scene in the Harry Potter series where the spiders, large and small, terrify Ron Weasley) feed the fear, or maybe it started when your brother dropped that spider on your shoulder when you were two. If you are afraid of spiders, the reason doesn’t much matter!

Brown recluse spiders 300x244 Why Are So Many People Afraid of Spiders?Scientists say there are around 40,000 different types of spiders in the world, and they’ve existed for more than 300 million years. While all spiders can bite, most of those bites cause no problems for humans. There are only two spiders in North Carolina you need to avoid. These are the black widow, easily identified by the red hourglass shape on its back; and the brown recluse (shown left). Of the two, the bite of a brown recluse is likely to cause more damage to humans. These spiders prefer dark areas, so if you encounter them inside your house it may be in your garage, attic or storage area. Learn how to identify a brown recluse and what to do if you find one in your house.

Common Spiders in North Carolina

Salticidae sm permission from author 051614 Why Are So Many People Afraid of Spiders?Most spiders live outdoors and feed off of insects. Some build sticky webs so they can trap their prey, while others hunt. They do not eat the insects immediately, but instead grind and liquefy their food with digestive enzymes before ingesting it. Spiders are beneficial to the landscape as they keep the insect population down. Some of the most common spiders you’ll find include the Black and Yellow Garden Spider, most commonly seen during the summer in large webs; the Wolf Spider, usually gray, black and brown with a noticeable stripe down its back; spider on baseboard 300x204 Why Are So Many People Afraid of Spiders?the Grass Spider (shown left crawling along a baseboard); Crab Spiders, small, colorful spiders that live in flowers and prey on small insects; and Jumping Spiders (shown above, right), that stalk their prey. Harvestmen, sometimes referred to as “Daddy Longlegs,” are also common to the area. These insects are not spiders at all, but are Opiliones. They also hunt and eat other insects. For a great resource and more photos of area spiders, visit the NC State University website.

The more you know about spiders, the less afraid you’ll be. If you see spiders in your yard or garden, just leave them alone. If you do find one or more black widows or brown recluses in your house, you may want to call a pest management professional.

Common Pests That Will Attack Your Bulbs

APhid 300x300 Common Pests That Will Attack Your BulbsAny gardener who has spent time growing flowers knows that bulbs are especially vulnerable to attack from pests. While some bugs actually benefit your garden in a variety of ways, there are a whole host of other insects, mites and invertebrates that particularly enjoy munching on your growing bulbs. It’s very difficult to totally eliminate these pests, but the best way to begin addressing the problem is to understand what you’re up against. With that in mind, here are a few of the most common pests that may be eyeing your bulbs for their next snack.

Aphids

Aphids are one of the most common pest infestations, and they can be a serious problem if they are allowed to get out of control. Most common in early spring, these small, soft-bodied little critters are pear-shaped and may appear various shades of green, yellow or even black. In addition to causing physical damage to plantings, they can also transmit viruses that can infect and kill your plants.

Slugs and Snails

These small, slimy little pests are easier to spot than some other pests, but they can still cause damage. They’re most active at night, and they like to hide out in cool, dark places and under piles of plant debris. They generally feed on decaying vegetation, but growing populations can also cause damage to live plants. Cleaning your garden regularly and occasionally inspecting it at night with a flashlight can help to minimize the threat. You can simply pick the slugs off or use traps to cut down on the slug population.

Mites

There are a few varieties of mites, but bulb mites are unsurprisingly known for damaging bulbs. More closely related to spiders than to any insects, bulb mites live in the soil and are nearly translucent white in color. They most often feed on bulbs that have already been damaged or weakened in some way, so it’s best to discard damaged bulbs before planting if you suspect mites may be an issue.

Thrips

Thrips are extremely small and slender, but they can do a lot of damage. They’re most easily identified by their two pairs of wings, which are fringed with long, delicate hairs. They often live inside the bulbs of plants, and it can be hard to detect them until it’s too late and the bulb has already been permanently damaged. You can help to prevent a problem by soaking bulbs in 120 degree water for at least an hour before planting, which should kill off any thrips inside.

For pest control services, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Acyrthosiphon_pisum_(pea_aphid)-PLoS.jpg

Dehumidification and Termites

800px Termite damage 300x225 Dehumidification and TermitesTermites live in large colonies with several statuses or castes. There are king and queen, soldier, and worker termites. At a size of about ¼ inch, all termites are small except for the royalty which are several times as large as the workers and soldiers and easily distinguished.

They like dead plant material to eat and are attracted to damp areas with decaying material. These horribly destructive little bugs live in nests built into dead wood or tunnel into the ground and live in colonies which are similar to ant hills. Any news of termites in the vicinity is bad news, unless precautions have been taken to protect structures from this harmful pest.

No structure with wood or any cellulose debris such as fiber backing on carpet, cardboard or the paper covering on sheet-rock is safe from termites. Subterranean termites, the ones that are good at making tunnels and tubes are famous for building their tubes made of their excrement mud over structures they don’t like to eat such as a masonry walls in order to get to the good stuff like roof trusses.

Damage estimates from termites are as high as 5 billion dollars per year in the US. Termite damage is suffered in every state except Alaska. Even the White House and the Statue of Liberty have been victimized by termites.

In states like North Carolina that experience large amounts of moisture and humidity, subterranean termites are the most common. The damp crawl spaces under homes and in basement areas are the most widespread trouble spots. To prevent infestation, action must be taken to keep a home from becoming a termite magnet.

Pest control professionals recommend dehumidification of moist areas which involve vapor barriers and dehumidifiers that are designed for this type of task. The vapor barriers prevent moisture from rising from the earth under the house and causing dampness to the structure. Dehumidifiers are machines designed to remove moisture from the air. The powerful dehumidifier machines used by professionals remove moisture from the air quickly, allowing damp areas to dry before decay sets in.

Any home that is without effective vapor barriers could easily be infested by termites. For complete termite protection, regularly scheduled inspections performed by pest control experts are the best way to prevent termite damage.

In addition to controlling any moisture related issues, you also need to have a liquid or bait termite prevention service performed at your home that must be inspected and maintained on a scheduled basis.

For termite treatment and eradication, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Termite_damage.JPG

Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes

As the weather warms up in the Carolinas, it sometimes seems that mosquitoes are everywhere. Most people consider mosquitoes bothersome, but they can be dangerous. Mosquitoes can carry and transmit a number of diseases to humans and animals, including West Nile virus, malaria, several forms of encephalitis, and other diseases that are less common in the United States, like dengue fever and chikungunya. Some of these diseases may cause serious complications or be deadly. Dogs and cats may also be at risk, as mosquitoes transmit heartworms.

mosquito cdc small Diseases Caused by MosquitoesBy some estimates, there are more than 2,500 different types of mosquitoes around the world, with around 150 of them found in the U.S. Male mosquitoes feed on the nectar of plants, while females feed on the blood of mammals, birds and reptiles. Male mosquitoes live an average of seven days, while females live around 30 days. Only a small number of species cause most of the problems we see with diseases and even fewer are carrying these transmittable diseases. It’s still good to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Here are some tips to help you avoid mosquito bites:

  1. Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. This is especially important if you’ll be outside between dusk and dawn since this is when the mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus are most active. Note that some of the natural repellants need frequent re-application and do not offer the same amount of protection as DEET.
  2. Wear pants and long sleeves, especially if you’ll be working or playing in wooded areas.
  3. Remove sources of standing water on your property. Mosquitoes require standing water to lay and hatch eggs, though specific environments may differ by species. On average, mosquito eggs hatch in around 10 days, so if you have areas of standing water in your yard, you should dump them out frequently.
  4. Make sure windows and doors you plan to leave open have screens.
  5. Talk to your vet about heartworm prevention drugs for your dogs and cats.
  6. Get more information from your pest care professional on mosquito prevention and treatment programs.

Another word of warning: if you will be traveling internationally, do some research ahead of time about the risks of mosquito-borne illness in the areas you will be visiting, and take precautions while you are there. If you become ill or show any unusual symptoms after you’ve returned home, call your doctor and make certain he or she knows you have been out of the U.S.

If you would like to learn more about keeping the mosquito population in check around your home, please speak with your Clegg’s technician or give us a call today.

 

 

Residents Are Free of Infestations – Customer Testimonial

One of our customers who receives a scheduled visit for her apartment complex sent us a wonderful letter of appreciation.

As a property manager it is incredibly important to have consistent inspections and services to provide your tenants with the best living conditions possible. Nothing makes a resident want to split faster than a kitchen full of cockroaches.

Below are Aimee’s kind words:

I would personally like to send a special thank you to our weekly service provider, Rae Horrell. He is always so polite and professional, even when dealing with situations that aren’t the most pleasing. He can always be counted on to do a thorough job and we appreciate him letting us know whenever there may be a problem in a particular apartment. Without him, we may never know that a resident may have an infestation or living in less than desirable conditions. I felt it was important to send this letter of appreciation because of Rae going above and beyond for us here at The Creek.

Aimee D, Community Manager, The Creek at Forest Hills Apartments

We always love to hear from our customers and especially love to hear when they are truly satisfied with our services.

For more information on regularly scheduled services, contact us online or call us at 888-672-5344.

Bed Bugs: Affecting Homes & Businesses Worldwide

bed bugs on chair 300x200 Bed Bugs: Affecting Homes & Businesses Worldwide

Bed bugs on a chair

Bed bugs usually travel from place to place by hitching a ride with humans. Since we tend to be rather mobile, bed bugs can easily find their way to your home or business. Certain types of businesses are more likely to encounter bed bug infestations, but everyone is potentially at risk. We have treated hotels/motels, multi-family housing (apartments and condos), nursing homes, university dorms, public schools, military bases, firehouses (and rescue trucks), and hospitals, among others.

If you think about situations such as these, you can see how easily bed bugs can move from place to place:

  • A home health care worker treats an individual whose house is infested and returns home without recognizing that he or she is carrying bed bugs. Now the nurse’s car and house are at risk of infestation.
  • Rescue workers pick up a person who has collapsed at home without noticing the person’s clothing carries bed bugs. The rescue vehicle, fire station and individual medic’s homes are now at potential risk.
  • A couple whose house is infested attends church, not realizing that bed bugs have hitched onto her purse and his dress shoes. The bugs may drop off and look for another warm host, continuing the cycle.
bed bugs in shoes 300x200 Bed Bugs: Affecting Homes & Businesses Worldwide

Bed bugs in a shoe

There have been many cases reported in the news around the globe, from a hotel so badly infested in India that the owners decided to just shut it down, to reports of ongoing challenges with ambulances in Hawaii. There was even a case a few years ago where two international flights were grounded until the planes could be treated for bed bugs.

While there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit any diseases and their bites are not venomous (though some people may have allergic reactions), these bugs have quickly become a worldwide problem once again. Bed bugs were essentially eradicated back in the mid-twentieth century with the use of strong insecticides. Unfortunately, these chemicals were found to cause environmental issues and were banned. Bed bugs have made a steady comeback, spreading quickly in part because our society is so mobile. People who use many of the reduced-strength over-the-counter products to treat bed bugs themselves are, in many cases, worsening the problem when the bugs build up resistance to the chemicals.

So if you own or manage a business, what should you do?

It is virtually impossible to prevent bed bugs from entering your establishment. The best thing you can do is train your employees on what to look for as an indicator of a potential bed bug problem and teach them the steps they should take if they find an issue with bed bugs or other types of pests. As soon as you find any indication of an infestation, contact a pest professional. They will send either trained inspectors and/or bed bug dogs (K-9 inspectors!) to confirm and treat the problem. Delaying will only make it more difficult to get rid of the bed bugs.

Commercial Bed Bug Training

If you have a business that is at increased risk of exposure to bed bugs, Clegg’s offers periodic  bed bug classes to train your employees on how to deal with these determined pests. The session covers identifying bed bugs as well as action steps to take if the bugs are discovered. If you would like to learn more, please contact us via email or call 1-888-672-5344.

To learn more about bed bugs, read our recent articles:

Bed Bugs FAQ (includes information on how to identify an infestation)

Avoiding Bed Bugs While Traveling (great for businesses with employees who travel frequently)

Bed Bug Heat Treatments (the most efficient way to get rid of these pests)

If you suspect you may have a bed bug problem, contact Clegg’s today to schedule an appointment to have your premises checked. Waiting will only allow an existing bed bug infestation to get worse and cause the problem to spread. If you have questions about bed bugs, feel free to give us a call at 1-888-MR-CLEGG.

 

5 Steps to Take When Your Attic Has Been Invaded by Squirrels

Squirrel 300x231 5 Steps to Take When Your Attic Has Been Invaded by SquirrelsSquirrels may be an adorable source of entertainment when they’re darting through a yard or leaping from tree to tree, but they can be devilish little critters once inside your home. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a difficult ordeal. If squirrels have set up shop in your attic, follow these five simple steps to get them out of the house and back where they belong.

Set a Trap

A live trap is a simple, effective means for removing a nuisance squirrel. They can be purchased at many home and garden stores, and they offer the added benefit of causing no harm to the squirrel. Simply set the trap as directed, wait until the little critter finds its way inside, and then promptly remove it and release it outside. Note, however, that this method may not be an effective choice if your attic is home to more than one squirrel.

Lure Them Out

If your attic is host to multiple squirrels, it may be best to let them come out on their own. To do this, first ensure that there is a clear, easily accessible way for the squirrels to exit your attic, and then block off any other entrance or exit points. Purchase some squirrel food and use it to bait the pests away from the attic. Alternatively, you can make your own bait with corn, sunflower seeds and peanuts.

Call a Professional

It seems obvious, but sometimes the best choice is to call the experts. Pest control experts are well-trained and well-equipped to handle any pest, including squirrels, and they offer the quickest and easiest way to rid yourself of your squirrel problem. This may also be the best choice if you happen to find a nest with baby squirrels in your attic.

Seal the Attic

Once your guests have been evicted, be sure to closely inspect the attic area for any holes or other potential entrance points. The most common entry point for squirrels is a chimney. Consider installing an animal guard, which is a stainless steel mesh fitting that covers the chimney opening without preventing smoke from exiting as normal. It’ll keep the pests out, and it won’t have to be removed when you use your fireplace.

Prevent It from Happening Again!

An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure. While there are several options to remove squirrels from your home, your best bet is to prevent them from invading in the first place. Squirrels are proficient leapers, so trimming any branches that overhang your roof can help to restrict access. Another option is to install motion-activated sprinklers around the perimeter of your home. This will scare away any curious critters while also keeping your lawn nice and healthy.

For squirrels and other nuisance wildlife, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eastern_Grey_Squirrel_in_St_James%27s_Park,_London_-_Nov_2006_edit.jpg

The Truth About Snakes

Photo of black snake

Many people we talk to are terrified of snakes. While there are some species of venomous snakes in North Carolina we need to watch for, in reality most snakes are harmless. In fact, snakes can be beneficial in helping keep the rodent and insect populations under control.

According to the NC Cooperative Extension, there are approximately 37 types of snakes found in North Carolina. Of these, only six are venomous. The Copperhead is found throughout the state. This snake is normally 2-4’ long and normally lives in wooded areas or near water. The Cottonmouth, so named for the white near its mouth, is usually found near water in the eastern part of the state and in South Carolina. Cottonmouths grow up to 6’ long and are highly venomous. The Pygmy Rattlesnake is elusive, preferring to hide under rocks and downed trees. This small rattler grows up to 2’ in length and can be found in southeastern NC. The Timber (or Canebrake) Rattlesnake can be found in most areas of the state, though it lives primarily in undeveloped areas. It can also reach 6’ in length. The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is rather rare, though some can be found in the very southeastern section of North Carolina. These snakes can grow to more than 7’ in length and prefer to live in pine flatwoods or areas bordered by forests. The Eastern Coral Snake prefers sandy soil and can be found in the very southeastern sections of the state. It has red and black stripes and a black head, and is often confused with the non-venomous Scarlet King Snake (red head). Visit the Cooperative Extension website for some great photos of all North Carolina snakes.

The most common snakes we come across are non-venomous snakes like Black Racers, rat snakes and garter snakes. These snakes may come close to your house looking for rodents and insects. We often find snake skins that have been shed in crawl spaces where the snakes are finding (and eating) mice and rats! If you have firewood piled near the house, the snakes may hunt for food or seek shelter in the wood piles, so use caution when removing wood in warmer weather.

Most snakes – even venomous snakes – are not terribly aggressive. The best thing you can do to protect yourself against snake bites is to be aware of your surroundings and not provoke any snake you see. Many people are bitten when they try to kill or handle a snake. If you see a snake, just let it be. All snakes can bite and most can break the skin. Non-venomous snakes tend to have smaller teeth and are less likely to break the skin. If you are bitten by a snake you know is non-venomous and it breaks the skin, wash the area with soap and water. If you have any type of allergic reaction, see a doctor immediately. If you are not certain if the snake was venomous, you should head to the emergency room just to be safe. [Note: some people still believe you should cut open a venomous bite and “suck out” the poison. This does not help and is not safe!]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 5,000-6,000 people in the U.S. are bitten by venomous snakes, and approximately 5 people die from those bites. To put that in perspective, according to the Department of Transportation, almost 30,000 people died in 2011 in car crashes. If you work or play outdoors, be aware of your surroundings. If you come across a snake, do not try to pick it up or kill it. Simply back away and allow it to go on its way.

If you are worried about snakes around your house, give us a call and we can investigate!