Clear Skies Pest Elimination

Information on some common Pests
ANTS! Ants!

Argentine ants are the most common ant here in the Bay Area though Carpenter Ants and Odorous House Ants are found more rarely as well. In 1915 Argentine ants were discovered and codified in New Orleans and since then they have proliferated all over the south-west. Argentine ants are VERY aggressive to other species of ants but not against other colonies of Argentine Ants - driving out competing species, even Fire Ants in some areas. One theory is that their non-aggressiveness towards other Argentine ants is a natural survival trait; another is that the Gene Pool for Argentine Ants in North America is so small that they can't recognize the difference, essentially making one "super Colony" in all of California and the south-west. Another factor is that the Argentine ant is a "Multi queen" species. In a colony of up to 200,000, there may be as many as 50 queens capable of producing 30-50 eggs each per day under ideal conditions. A typical house lot will support 4-5 colonies perhaps broken into many more "Satellite" Colonies. The combination of all these factors make Argentine ants some of the more difficult to eliminate. Elimination of as many colonies as possible will greatly lengthen the time before they can rebuild enough to become a problem in your home again.

 

RoachesRoaches!

There are well over a hundred species of roaches, but the German cockroach is the most common roach to infest kitchens. German Roaches can be found all over the world, and follow human food production, storage, transportation, wholesale, and retail stores to your home. They can be found in even the cleanest of places, though poor sanitation and neglecting to control them can lead to immense populations. Since roaches are so tied to our food, the places that sell, store, transport, and produce the most food have the greatest concentrations of roaches (Restaurants, Grocery Stores, etc.). In the case of restaurants, it is up to the local management to keep the level of sanitation to standards, and to employ a quality Pest Control company, otherwise they put their patrons health at risk. The same is true for Grocery Stores, but negligence there may also cause infestations in people's home kitchens. Most Grocery Stores budget for pest control as a standard cost of being in business, but some of the smaller "Mom" & "Pop" markets may not be as diligent as they should be. If you are having recurring Roach infestations, and have a relatively clean kitchen, consider where you are shopping. If a change there seems to help, problem solved.
A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine linked a significant increase of asthma in children living in roach infestated environments.

FleasFleas!

Fleas have a very short life cycle. You can generally get rid of them by following the following steps:
1) Put your pet on a prescription flea control, like Frontline, Advantage, Program or Revolution
2) Vacuum your rugs and any furniture your pet sleeps on, daily for at least 2 weeks (and empty the bag into the outside trash!).
This should rid your home of fleas. if you have fleas in your landscape we can help with that!

yellowjacket Wasps!

Umbrella Wasps and Yellow Jackets look similar, but the Umbrella Wasp is docile, while the Yellow Jacket is very aggressive, and creates much larger colonies.

Umbrella Wasps get their name from the look of their nest. It appears as an umbrella pulled inside out and then filled with honeycomb. Nest sizes range from the size of a Dime, to that of a large Tea Saucer later in the season. They usually build under the eves of homes, but can be found under seldom used patio furniture, under car hoods and many other places. These are something the homeowner can take care of themselves with a product readily purchased at the local hardware store. Clear Skies Pest Elimination takes care of these as a courtesy for their regular customers.

"Yellow Jacket" is a name for a few different wasps found all over the United States and there are likely two distinct species lumped together under that name here in the bay area. They sometimes make the classic "Turnip" shaped nest hanging from a tree, or the eve of a house, or they may build an underground nest. They are somewhat aggressive while out foraging - they have no barb at the end of their stinger, so using it does not kill them - but are much more so around their nest. They will defend it even in the dark, and come out in the dozens with little provocation. A Professional should handle any Yellow Jacket nest on your property and it should be done either very early before the sun comes up, or after sunset when all of the wasps are in the nest. Treating during the day is dangerous because less than 1/3 of the colony is home at any given time during the day, so the other 2/3 will be agitated and swarming as they come home to a wrecked nest.

bedbugsBedBugs!

Bed Bug infestations are on the rise, and are proving difficult to eliminate. Bedbugs get their name not from living in your bed, but from the fact that they feed off your body while you are in your bed. They can live anywhere in the bedroom, and sometimes in adjoining rooms also. Bedbugs molt several times in their life, growing a bit larger each time until adulthood. The time between each molting is called an "Instar". The adult Bedbug is about the size of a dried lentil, and some of the early "instars" are barely visible to the naked eye. Bedbugs can survive for several months (perhaps over a year) without a meal, and can detect many of the pesticides used today, so they "wait out" until the residual effect of the pesticides have past.. Virtually ALL over the counter pesticides available to the public are considered "Repellent" and have a residual lifetime of 4-6 weeks at best. .

There are some things to do that will lessen your chances of them invading your home, but OFTEN THE SOURCE IS NEVER LOCATED. Bedbugs can hitch a ride on your luggage from even the best hotels, they can cross-infest furniture in Moving Vans, they can travel from one apartment to another, they can even be brought in on the clothes of a visiting guest. Used furniture is suspect - it may be infested. Also when buying a new mattress ask if the same delivery truck picks up the used ones, if so consider bringing it home yourself instead of having it delivered.

When staying at a Hotel/Motel be sure to inspect behind the headboard and around the night-stands. Look for the insects themselves, cast-off Exoskeletons and black-sooty streaks 1/4"-1" long (Bedbug feces) on the wall near the bed. Use the folding suitcase stand instead of the floor for your luggage, and put it away from other furniture to make it harder for bedbugs to get to it. Upon returning from a trip you may want to stop at the cleaners before going home and put your luggage in a black or dark green garbage bag under the sun for a few hours.

The two keys to eliminating Bedbugs are; Thorough preparation, and Thorough treatment. The latter cannot be achieved without the former. Empty ALL shelves, drawers, cabinets, and closets in the bedroom. Do the same in the living room if people sleep there more often than two nights a year, or if someone slept there in the last couple of months. Bag up all these items and remove from the home if possible. The garage or roof would be a good place. If you cannot remove them, the kitchen, or bath whould be the best place. And of course - strip the beds.

Even with good preparation and a thorough treatment you may still have bedbugs. If the company you chose used repellent pesticides, or if you did it yourself, you should have no bites/sightings for 4-6 weeks. After that any that were able to "wait out" the pesticide will start feeding again. A "Retreat" would be necessary then, and if after 4-6 more weeks they returned you would be out of most company's warrantee (60 Days is standard). If you chose Clear Skies Pest Elimination, or another company using "Non-Repellent" residual pesticides the Bedbugs would not realize the pesticide was there, and the ones hidden deep enough to avoid the initial treatment would continue to come out and feed until they had contacted sufficient pesticide to die. This takes about one week to 10 days. After that time has elapsed, if you experience any Bites/Sightings a "Retreat" would be indicated. It is rare (20-30%, that an infestation of Bedbugs is totally eliminated in one treatment, and especially severe infestations involving multiple units of an apartment building may take several if not every tenant cooperates by thoroughly preparing. Clear Skies Pest Elimination tests new products all the time looking for the "Silver Bullet" pesticide to make it a sure thing first time every time.

 

rat Rats and mice!

Rats- In General rats live in walls, attics or basements. You will hear them exiting in the evenings and entering in the early hours of the morning. If you hear noises at those times it is probably from rats.

Mice- If you have rodents in the living area of your house, it is most likely a mouse problem. A door left open while bringing in groceries, or on a hot evening are most common, but a hole as small as a dime will allow a mouse to enter your home.

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While Poison is legal for rats in California, Trapping is usually a better idea. Rodentcides used today are mostly "Anti-Coagulant" compounds similar to medicines used by people, but at much higher doses for the body weight of rodents. The blood thins ultimately leading to a lack of Oxygen to the brain causing sleep, and finally death. While fairly Humane, poison has another drawback. Where are the bodies? A single Rat dyeing in an inaccessible area such as a wall could cause 10-20 days of a very strong odor, then followed by 2-5 days of flies in great numbers.

The real "Key" to a Rat problem is "Rodent Proofing". At Clear Skies Pest Elimination, we inspect all buildings before Trapping, or Baiting. A list of currently used entry points, as well as other possible entries is created at the time of inspection. Most of the repairs are simple, such as trimming tree branches, replacing vent-screens, and weather-stripping doors. Other than the tree trimming, Clear Skies Pest Elimination can do most Rodent Proofing if you choose not to do so yourself. After Rodent Proofing is done, or at least scheduled for the next few days, Clear Skies Pest Elimination can start a trapping program on a "Job" basis lasting 3-4 weeks without the need for a long term Contract.

gopher Gophers and Moles!

Gophers and moles can destroy a lawn and ruin your landscape. Clear skies will create a program with you to eliminate these ground rodents.

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call Eric at: 415-876-2808 or 650-871-2808

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