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Top 10 Most Damaging Pests in Your Home

In Florida, there are many pests that could damage your home. Tampa pest control experts recommend watching out for these 10 damaging pests.

 

Termites: Termites feed on wood and can cause significant deterioration of homes. Infestations can remain undetected for years, even in exposed wood. They feed on the hidden surfaces of the wood, while the outer surface is usually unaffected.

 

Powderpost Beetles: The powderpost beetle has larvae that feed on beams, subflooring, and other wood. The damage isn’t usually noticeable until the wood disintegrates.

 

Carpenter Ants: While most ants won’t destroy your home’s wood, carpenter ants are an exception. These ants don’t eat it, but they hollow out solid wood to make their nests and galleries.

 

Rats and Mice: Wild animals can be just as damaging as insects. Rats and mice chew anything they can sink their teeth into and can cause significant damage. They also contaminate your home with their urine and feces.

 

Squirrels: Like rats and mice, squirrels can cause damage to homes. They often move into attics for warmth and safety and may chew through weak parts of a home’s exterior to gain entry. Once inside, they can chew on wood, insulation, wiring, and more.

 

Honey Bees: Honey bees are important insects, but these pollinators can cause a lot of trouble indoors. When treated with insecticides, their unattended honey can leak out of the nest and deteriorate the surrounding structure. The hive can also attract scavengers, like rodents.

 

Indoor Ants: Many types of ants can be found living inside Florida homes. Pharaoh ants, white-footed ants, Argentine ants, and ghost ants are just some of the ant species you could encounter indoors. These pests feed on human foods and can contaminate your pantry goods.

 

Fire Ants: These aggressive ants can sting or bite if you get too close. While you probably already know that they can make using your backyard less enjoyable, you may not know that they can also hurt your home. If they get inside transformer boxes or air conditioners, they can ruin them and cause power outages.

 

German Cockroaches: German cockroaches can spread bacteria, parasitic worms, and other human pathogens. They can contaminate your food or food surfaces and make you sick. These pests can also be an allergy trigger.

 

Bed Bugs: Bed bugs won’t damage your home’s structure, but they can definitely hinder a good night’s sleep by attacking while you sleep. It’s never enjoyable to wake up with nasty bites every morning. Bed bugs can also cause soiling of your sheets or furniture, sometimes causing these items to deteriorate to the point of needing to be replaced.

 

If you’re worried about these pests, call the Tampa pest control specialists at Apex.

Widow Spiders in Florida

Most of Florida’s spiders aren’t dangerous to people, but female widow spiders are one of the exceptions. There are four types of widow spiders found in Florida: three are native, and one is introduced. Apex, the Orlando pest control company, has prepared a helpful guide about these spiders.

Southern Black Widow

Southern black widow spiders are shiny and jet black. Their bodies are round and 8 to 13 millimeters long (about the size of a pea). On the undersides of their abdomens, they have a reddish hourglass marking.

These spiders take shelter in a variety of undisturbed places, such as wood piles, crawl spaces, or dark garage corners. While they aren’t aggressive, they may bite people who disturb their hiding places. Their venom is neurotoxic, and people who are bitten can experience symptoms like pain, nausea, muscle cramps, and raised blood pressure within one to three hours. An antivenom is available, so if you’re bitten, see a doctor right away for treatment.

Northern Black Widow

Northern black widows look very similar to their southern relatives. However, their markings set them apart; Northern widows have incomplete or split hourglass markings on their undersides. They can also have red dots or white stripes on their abdomens.These spiders like to hide in the same sheltered locations as southern black widows, and their bites have similar effects on people.

Red Widow

These spiders have round, black abdomens, red heads, and red legs. On their abdomens, they have one or two small red marks instead of the hourglass marking seen on other widow spiders. The neurotoxic venom can cause sustained muscle spasms.

Fortunately, these spiders have a limited range in Florida. They’re found in the pine scrub habitats in the central and southeastern parts of the state. If you’re hiking or camping in one of these areas, steer clear of palmetto shrubs. Red widows often hide in unopened palmetto shrubs, and they’re hard to spot.

Brown Widow

These introduced spiders may be native to Africa or South America, but they’ve been found in Florida for decades. Their bodies are tan and brown and their legs are banded. On the undersides of their abdomens, they have an orange hourglass marking.

Brown widows tend to build their webs in open containers like mailboxes or buckets. They can also be found living underneath outdoor furniture and may bite if they’re disturbed, but their bites are minor compared to bites from black widow spiders. The two main symptoms are redness and pain at the site of the bite.

These four species of widow spiders can be harmful to people, so you don’t want them in your home. If you need help controlling spiders, call the Orlando pest control experts at Apex.

Mosquito Magnet? Find Out Why

Do you feel like you always get more mosquito bites than everyone else? It’s not in your imagination – some people really are more attractive to mosquitoes than others, as Tampa pest control experts know. Here are a few reasons why mosquitoes may be drawn to you.  

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is the main way mosquitoes find their targets. While everyone produces carbon dioxide, some produce more than others due to their metabolic rates. For example, people who are physically exerting themselves will release more.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women are magnets for mosquitoes. Researchers think this is because they release more carbon dioxide. Pregnant women also tend to have warmer abdomens which may draw mosquitoes.

Beer

Studies have shown that those who drink even one beer are more attractive to mosquitoes than those who haven’t had any. Since drinking alcohol can raise your metabolic rate, increased carbon dioxide production may be why beer drinkers are popular with mosquitoes.

Skin Bacteria

Everyone’s skin is home to bacteria, though the number and type of bacteria varies from one person to another. These bacterial differences can make some people more appealing to mosquitoes than others. One study found that people with more foot bacteria, but lower bacterial diversity, attract more mosquitoes.

Clothing Choices

Mosquitoes tend to fly close to the ground to avoid being blown off course by wind. From that height, dark colors stand out against the horizon, while lighter colors blend in. People who wear dark clothing are easier to see, so they attract more mosquitoes.

Sweat

Mosquitoes aren’t just drawn to carbon dioxide; they can also sense the compounds in sweat, like lactic acid and ammonia. If you tend to sweat more than others, or if you exercise outdoors, you may find yourself popular with mosquitoes.

Blood Type

There are four human blood types, A, B, AB, and O. About 80 percent of the US population secretes chemicals related to their blood type, and mosquitoes can sense these chemicals on the skin. Studies have indicated that mosquitoes are drawn to people with type O blood.

While some of these factors are within your control, others aren’t. However, no matter how much mosquitoes love you, you can still take steps to keep them away. For help controlling mosquitoes on your property, call Apex, the Tampa pest control company.

Why Squirrels Love to Call Your Attic ‘Home’

Squirrels are common in urban areas, and one of their favorite spots is inside your cozy attic. These fluffy-tailed rodents often make their homes in attics because they’re quiet, warm, and safe from predators. Why do squirrels live in attics? The Orlando pest removal experts at Apex have the answers.

Why Squirrels Live in Attics

In wooded areas, squirrels prefer to live in trees. Sometimes they build leaf nests among the tree branches, and other times they live in tree cavity dens. In urban areas, trees can be in short supply, and that means squirrels need to adapt. To stay dry, safe, and warm, they move into people’s attics, where they can build cozy nests, raise their young, and hide from predators.

Dangers Associated with Squirrels

Squirrels can be cute when they’re outdoors, but they’re an annoyance when they decide to move indoors. Worse, their presence can be dangerous. Like other rodents, squirrels chew constantly and can damage vents, wires, insulation, roof timbers, and other structures.

Wild animals can spread diseases to people, and squirrels are no exception. Contact with squirrels or their urine can spread leptospirosis. This disease can cause a range of symptoms in people; some are lucky and don’t have any symptoms, while others have a flu-like illness or more serious symptoms, like meningitis or liver failure.

Getting Rid of Squirrels in the Attic

Squirrels can enter attics through gaps like open vents, uncapped chimneys, and damaged soffit. Seal any holes to prevent this. However, if you currently have squirrels in your attic, make sure to leave one hole open so they’re able to leave.

The squirrels may eventually leave on their own, but you can quicken the process by making your attic a less appealing place to live. Loud music, flashing lights, or ammonia-soaked rags can encourage them to go live somewhere else. Once they leave, the last opening to the attic can be sealed.

Another option is to hire a pest management professional to remove the squirrels for you. Once done, potential entry points to the attic can be sealed.Squirrels belong outdoors, not in attics. If you discover a family of squirrels living in your attic, call the Orlando pest removal specialists at Apex.

Protect Your Home from Pests This Spring

Spring is here, which means that pest problems are just around the corner. Pests that were less active over the winter months will soon be back to cause trouble for Florida homeowners. Apex, the Orlando pest control company, has tips for homeowners who want to protect their homes this spring.

Repair Rotted Wood

Spring brings rain, and all that rain can encourage rotting wood. Wood-eating insects, like termites and carpenter ants, are drawn to the rotted areas. Wild animals may use these weakened spots to gain easy access to your home, whereas rodents like mice and rats – or larger animals like raccoons – could move inside. To keep them out, inspect your home for rotted wood and repair any damage you discover.

Repair Screens

With warmer weather on the way, you may be excited to leave your windows open. If your window screens are torn or missing, you could let in all kinds of pests instead of just fresh air. Inspect your window screens and make any necessary repairs, and make sure to take a look at any screened doors as well.

Fill in Puddles

When it rains, you may notice puddles form on some parts of your property. This is a concern because these puddles could attract various pests. Water that accumulates near your home’s foundation could attract termites and any standing water could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. To avoid these problems, fill puddles with crushed rock or soil.

Inspect Your Gutters

When gutters become clogged with leaves and other debris, they easily attract pests. Trapped water can become stagnant, which appeals to mosquitoes, and when water overflows and collects near your exterior walls, it can attract termites. Inspect your gutters, and if necessary, clean them. Ensure they direct water away from your home.

Invest in Prevention

Your home is vulnerable to pests during the spring months, but don’t wait until they show up to get help. Investing in preventative pest services is easier and less expensive than trying to get rid of an existing pest infestation. Before spring arrives, have a pest control professional inspect and treat your property.

Spring has sprung! It’s time for homeowners to prepare for spring pest problems. For help keeping your home safe from pests, call Apex, the Orlando pest control experts.

6 Common Habits That Attract Pests

Prevention is a more often than not a key component of pest control. Preventing pest problems is easier than dealing with existing infestations. To reduce the risk of pest problems, homeowners should break these six common bad habits:

  1. Not Trimming Trees

When trees aren’t trimmed, their branches can touch the roofs or siding of homes. This is a concern because pests like rodents and ants can use these branches to gain access to the house. To deter pests, trim your trees so that branches are at least three feet from your house.

  1. Spreading Mulch Incorrectly

Properly spreading mulch is harder than it seems, and many people make mistakes. One mistake is piling mulch up beside the side of your home, which can attract termites. Make sure to leave a buffer zone at least a foot wide between your mulch and your home. When you spread the mulch, make sure it grades away from your house, not towards it. This ensures water flows away from your house.

  1. Leaving Gaps In Crawl Spaces

If you don’t venture into your crawl space often, you may not notice problems that could let pests come inside. Damaged foundation vent screens or missing crawl space access doors are some common problems.

  1. Not Cleaning Out Gutters

When gutters get clogged with debris, water can overflow and run down your siding. The resulting water damage can attract pests. Standing water in clogged gutters can give mosquitoes a place to breed, too. Gutters should be cleaned regularly to avoid these problems. Generally, this should take place two to four times a year.

  1. Not Monitoring Downspouts

When was the last time you checked your downspouts? If it’s been a while, you’re not alone, but this is a bad habit. If your downspouts aren’t connected properly, water could be draining towards your home, rather than away from it. Next time it rains, head outside and see how your downspouts are performing. If the water isn’t running away from your home, repairs will be required.

  1. Storing Firewood Beside the House

Storing your wood pile right beside your house is convenient, but it can attract pests. Wood-destroying pests like carpenter ants and termite are drawn to wood piles. Other types of pests, like rodents, could take shelter in the wood piles too. If the wood is right beside your house, it’s easy for the pests to invade your home. Instead, store your firewood at least 20 feet away from your house.

By breaking these common bad habits, you can make your home less attractive to pests. For more help preventing pest problems, call the Orlando pest control professionals at Apex.

Raccoons & Humans

Raccoons are one of the most common urban animals in Florida, and they’re often seen around homes. While these furry animals may seem cute and harmless, that’s unfortunately not the case. Like any wild animal, raccoons can pose dangers to people and pets. When raccoons become troublesome, pest removal services are required.

Raccoons Spread Diseases

Contact with raccoons is potentially dangerous because of the diseases they can spread. In Florida, raccoons are one of the main wildlife sources of rabies, a disease that’s nearly 100 percent fatal. Rabid raccoons can become aggressive and attack for no apparent reason. Since the rabies virus is spread through infected saliva, bites are a serious concern.

Rabies isn’t the only disease that can be spread by raccoons. They can also spread a type of roundworm that’s dangerous to people. The roundworm is spread through raccoon feces. When people ingest something contaminated with raccoon feces, they can become very sick.

Raccoons Cause Property Damage

Even healthy raccoons can be a nuisance. Since raccoons will eat pretty much anything, they have an annoying habit of raiding people’s garbage cans and leaving garbage scattered on the ground. They’ll also break into sheds or garages to access food or shelter.

Raccoons Attack Pets

Raccoons may come in contact with pets, and sometimes, that doesn’t end well. Raccoons may fight with cats. If no other food is available, raccoons can even prey on small cats.

When raccoons are healthy, they don’t usually attack dogs. However, dogs can chase raccoons, and raccoons may fight back to defend themselves. Both animals can become injured in this situation.

Rabid raccoons may attack pets for no apparent reason. To protect your pets, keep your cats indoors all the time. When your dogs go outside, keep them on a leash.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons

Easy access to food can draw raccoons to your property. Avoid leaving any food outside, including pet food. Take steps to raccoon-proof your garbage. Storing your garbage cans in a padlocked shed is a good strategy. Bungee cords can also be used to keep garbage cans securely closed.

Raccoons are widespread, and they can become a nuisance. For help with your raccoon troubles, give the Orlando pest removal experts at Apex a call.

Prep Your Lawn for Easter Egg Hunts

Easter is almost here, and that means families across Florida will be getting outside to enjoy Easter egg hunts. Pests like spiders, ants, and wasps are also outdoors and may get in the way of the holiday fun. Everyone wants a pest-free Easter egg hunt, so take time to prep your lawn before the event. Apex, the Tampa lawn care company, has some tips to help you get ready.

Inspect Your Yard First

Before you start hiding any eggs, inspect your yard for signs of pest problems. In Florida, fire ants are a major concern, so check your lawn for the tell-tale mounds these dangerous ants build. Check for spider webs and wasp nests as well. If you notice any pest problems, have a pest control specialist treat your yard.

Be Careful with the Eggs

As you’re hiding the eggs, take care not to damage them. When real eggs get cracked, they can attract scavengers like raccoons or opossums, and plastic eggs could provide a cozy hiding place for insects if they’re not completely sealed.

Provide a Trash Can

Easter egg hunts can be messy;  broken eggs, dropped candy, and dirty plates can accumulate in your yard and attract pests. That’s why it’s important to provide a trash can. When a trash can is easily accessible, your guests will be encouraged to clean up after themselves. Make sure to quickly pick up and discard any trash that your guests left behind.

Check Out Hiding Spots

The out-of-sight places you may want to hide eggs in are places that pests may want to hide in too. Before you hide an egg, examine the area to make sure no pests are lurking nearby. If you see a spider web, an ant hill, or any other signs of pest activity, choose another hiding place for the egg.

Count the Eggs

Your children and their friends may not find all the eggs you hid in the yard. If these eggs are left in their hiding places, they could attract pests. To keep this from happening, count the eggs beforehand, number them, and write down a list of all the hiding places. After the hunt, count the eggs to make sure they’ve all been found.

 

With some preparation, you can enjoy a pest-free Easter egg hunt. If you need help getting your lawn ready for the holiday fun, call Apex, the Tampa lawn care company.

Are There Pesticides in Drinking Water?

Pests are a big problem in Florida. Thanks to the warm weather, pests such as spiders, ants, and roaches can thrive. Residents may turn to many pest control methods, including pesticides, to control these bugs. While pesticides kill bugs, these chemicals can sometimes get into drinking water and harm human health.

Where Drinking Water Comes From

In the United States, drinking water comes from two main sources: surface water and groundwater. Surface water includes lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Groundwater is found in underground areas known as aquifers.

In urban areas such as Orlando, surface and groundwater are sent to water treatment plants. After being treated, the water travels through the municipal pipes to get to homes and businesses.

In rural areas, people may get their water from wells drilled into aquifers. Usually, this well water isn’t treated.

How Pesticides Get into Water

There are a few ways pesticides can get into the water supply. If pesticides are sprayed on plants, the chemicals can be washed into surface water sources when it rains. That’s why you shouldn’t spray pesticides on your lawn when rain is forecast. Spills can also allow pesticides to contaminate water, so always use caution when handling pesticides. If you’re not confident using them safely, get help from the professionals at Apex.

Improper disposal of pesticides is another way water can be contaminated. Sometimes, people will illegally dump pesticides down the drain to dispose of them. To protect the water supply, pesticides should always be taken to a hazardous waste disposal site.

Testing Water Safety

Public water supplies are routinely tested for many contaminants, including pesticides. Information about these tests is available from your local water utility.

Users of private wells are responsible for their own water testing. To check for pesticide contamination, well users should have their water tested by a certified laboratory. Contact your local county health department for more information about these tests.

Pesticides are an important asset in the fight against unwanted pests, but they don’t belong in the water supply. If you use pesticides for Orlando pest control, take precautions to keep those chemicals out of the water.

Squirrels in Florida

The squirrel family includes chipmunks, tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and other small rodents. Many members of the squirrel family are found in Florida. Since squirrels are well-adapted to urban environments, Floridians may encounter them frequently. When squirrels are encountered indoors, locals turn to the experts at Apex.

Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels are found in wooded areas throughout mainland Florida. They have loose folds of skin on both sides of their body, and this wing-like skin lets them glide as far as 50 feet. Since these squirrels are nocturnal, you may not see them very often. At night, they forage in trees for food such as acorns, insects, and bird eggs. They breed in the winter and again in the summer.

Eastern Gray Squirrels

Eastern gray squirrels are found statewide in both woodland and urban areas. They have grayish-brown fur and bushy tails. These squirrels are active during the day, and they can be seen feeding on the ground. Bark, seeds, and acorns are some of their favorite foods, and they’ll hoard anything they don’t eat for later. Like flying squirrels, eastern gray squirrels breed twice a year. They prefer to live in tree hollows but can also make themselves comfortable in attics.

Fox Squirrels

Fox squirrels are about twice as large as gray squirrels and can weigh about 1 kg (2.2 lb). Their coloring can vary significantly, from creamy tan to black. They’re active during the day and can be seen foraging for food in the mid-morning. Acorns, pine seeds, and insects are some of the foods they enjoy. Fox squirrels may live in tree cavities or build large nests out of leaves.

Chipmunks

Chipmunks are considered a Species of Special Concern in Florida, which means they could become a threatened species soon. Currently, they’re found in the panhandle. Their fur is reddish-brown, and they have alternating white and dark stripes on their backs. As ground-dwelling squirrels, they live in burrows underneath trees or rocks. They can be seen foraging for food in the day.

Many types of squirrels are found in Florida. When squirrels are outside, they can be fascinating to watch. When they decide to move indoors, they’re a troublesome pest. If you find squirrels living in your attic, call Apex, your trusted Tampa pest removal company.


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