Customer Login Locations
Home
Safe Trusted
Pest Solutions
Home

Tips from an Exterminator: Preparing for Cold Weather

wood mouseIn cold weather, some types of pests take shelter inside homes. These overwintering pests include ladybugs, stink bugs, and mice. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these pests from coming indoors. Our team of experts has some tips for keeping overwintering pests outdoors where they belong.

Block Access Points

Pests can fit through tiny holes to enter your home. A mouse can fit through a nickel-sized hole, while a rat can fit through a hole the size of a half dollar. Of course, insects such ladybugs can fit through even smaller openings. To keep pests outside this winter, block access points they could use to get inside.

Outside your home, gaps or holes can be found around windows, around doors, or around utility entry points. Inside your home, you could find holes around cabinets, near floor corners, or around the pipes. Carefully inspect your home and seal up any entry holes you can find.

Be Careful of What You Leave Out

Pests can be attracted to clutter or food. To avoid attracting overwintering pests such as mice, be careful about what you leave out.

Clean and organize your home to reduce the amount of clutter you have. Clutter provides a safe place for pests of all kinds to hide and breed. Don’t forget to clean out attics, closets, or other out-of-the-way places.

Store food in secure glass or plastic containers to make it less accessible to pests. Clean up spills quickly and avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight. By leaving out less food, you can make your home less attractive to hungry pests.

Pick Your Battles

It’s important to remember that not all pests are harmful to you or your home. Some pests are just annoying or creepy looking. Ladybugs fall into this category. While you may not like them in your home, they’re not going to cause much trouble.

Instead, focus on the pests that can cause more serious problems. Mice can contaminate your food, spread diseases, and damage your home, so it’s worth the time and effort to keep them away.

This winter, take steps to keep pests from moving into your home. For help pest-proofing your home, or help controlling an existing pest problem, you can always turn to the Orlando pest removal experts at Apex.

What We Look for During Termite Inspections

guys working with a flashlightDo you worry about termite damage? If so, your fears aren’t unfounded. Every year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage. Termite infestations can remain undetected until there is significant damage. Regular termite inspections can help detect problems at an earlier stage before too much damage has been done. During an inspection, here’s what the team at Apex looks for.

Winged Termites

Established termite colonies produce winged reproductive termites called alates. These termites fly off to make their own nests in the spring. If winged termites are found in and around your home, there’s probably a termite colony somewhere nearby.

Mud Tubes

To travel safely between their underground colonies and their food sources, termites build mud tubes. These tubes are usually about the diameter of a pencil. They can be seen on foundation walls, floor joists, and other parts of a home’s structure. Breaking open the tubes and checking for termites can help determine if the infestation is active.

Hollow Wood

When termites feed, they eat wood from the inside out. This means the damage may not be immediately apparent. To find hidden termite damage, pest control professionals knock or tap on wood around homes. Termite-damaged wood will sound hollow since part of the wood has been eaten away.

Features That Can Harbor Termites

During a termite inspection, pest control professionals don’t just look for signs that termites are already present. They also look for property features that could harbor termites. After these features are identified, they can be removed or modified to lower your risk of termite problems.

Deadwood, firewood, and wood mulch are just some of the features a pest control professional may point out during an inspection. Fallen tree limbs and other deadwood should be discarded, while firewood should be stored off the ground and at least 20 feet away from the house. Wood mulch can be used, but shouldn’t be piled up beside your home’s foundation.

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted termite removal companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more!

5 Ways to Avoid Pesky Winter Pests

rodentPests aren’t just a problem in the warmer months. During the winter, all sorts of pesky invaders may want to move into your home. To keep your home pest-free this winter, try these five tips from the experts at Apex.

  1. Seal Holes to Keep Rodents Out

In the past year, 37 percent of American homeowners have seen a rodent inside their home. This is a big problem because rodents spread diseases and contaminate food. They can also trigger symptoms of allergies or asthma. These pesky pests need to stay outdoors this winter.

To keep rodents outside, seal holes they could use to gain entry to your home. A dime-sized hole is big enough for a mouse to fit through, so be thorough. The areas where pipes or utilities enter your home are prime locations to find rodent-sized openings.

  1. Clean Up Your Clutter

The clutter in your garage or spare room isn’t just an eyesore. It can also provide a place for rodents and other pests to hide. To keep pests away, try to keep your storage areas organized. Boxes should be stored on shelves, not on the floor.

  1. Fix Plumbing Problems

Moisture sites can attract unwanted visitors such as cockroaches. Leaking pipes, leaking faucets, or clogged drains can create this moisture. Inspect your home for plumbing problems, and fix any issues you find. Pay extra attention to areas that are vulnerable to infestations, like your kitchen and bathrooms.  

  1. Keep Doors and Windows in Good Repair

All kinds of pests can enter your home through damaged windows or doors. If any of your window screens are torn, repair or replace them. This can help keep out pests like rodents, cockroaches, and spiders. If your door sweeps are damaged, replace them. The sweeps help keep ants and other crawling pests from slipping underneath your doors.

  1. Ensure Indoor Spaces Are Well-Ventilated

Plumbing problems aren’t the only source of indoor moisture. Poor ventilation can also play a role. If parts of your home are poorly ventilated, bugs like termites or cockroaches could move in. Consider installing ventilation fans or dehumidifiers, as necessary.

With these five strategies, you can reduce your chances of encountering pests this winter. Of course, if pests decide to move in, the Orlando pest control experts at Apex will be happy to help.

How to Prevent Houseflies

flyDo you hate houseflies? These flying pests aren’t very popular, and for good reason. It’s annoying to see them buzzing around indoors. Worse, they can reproduce quickly, and large populations can develop inside homes. If that wasn’t bad enough, these pests can also spread more than 100 different pathogens. Apex, the pest professionals, want to help homeowners control houseflies. Here are some tips for getting rid of flies in your home.

Trap and Kill Flies

If you have a lot of flies inside your house, you can trap and kill them. An easy strategy is to hang strips of fly paper in areas with heavy fly activity. Fly paper is covered in an adhesive. When flies land on the paper, they get stuck and die.

Light traps are another option. Some of these traps lure flies into an inverted cone, while others kill them with electricity. These traps work best when the lights in the room are off.

Use Insecticides

Insecticides are another way to control houseflies. Some products can be sprayed directly on the flies. Other products are residual and can be sprayed on areas where flies congregate, like walls. If you choose to use insecticides, carefully read the product labels and follow the directions carefully.

Try Natural Fly Repellents

If you don’t like using insecticides, you could try some natural fly repellents. Some types of essential oils may help keeps flies away. In one study, high concentrations of lemongrass, peppermint, and lavender essential oils killed houseflies. Low concentrations may be able to repel these annoying pests. Try putting a few drops of essential oil in a diffuser to deter flies.

Some types of herbs can be used to repel flies, too. Basil, rosemary, and bay leaf are some examples. Try growing these fly-repelling herbs in your kitchen to keep flies away.

Clean Your Home Regularly

To get rid of flies—and prevent them from coming back—focus on keeping your home clean. Good sanitation is a key part of fly control. Make sure your garbage can has a tight-fitting lid to keep flies out. Clean the can regularly to get rid of garbage residue. This helps eliminate the flies’ breeding areas.

Keep Flies Outdoors

To prevent more flies from coming inside, eliminate their entry points. If your window screens are torn or missing, then fix or replace them. Keep your doors closed or install screen doors.

Houseflies are a major nuisance, but with these tips, homeowners can prevent them from causing problems. If you need help with fly control, call the Tampa pest control professionals at Apex.

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted Tampa pest control companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more!

4 Ways to Limit the Spread of Fire Ants

fire antsFire ants are a major nuisance in Florida. These invasive insects damage crops and wildlife and cause painful stings. They’re extending their range in the United States, and they must be controlled. Fortunately, there are many options available for fire ant control. Here are four of these options, explained by the experts at Apex.

  1. Biological Control

Red imported fire ants are native to South America. The populations of these ants are much lower in their native habitat than they are in the United States. This is probably because the ants have natural enemies in South America that help control their numbers. These enemies aren’t found in the United States.  

To try to control fire ants, researchers have imported natural enemies of fire ants, like parasitic flies from South America. The flies have been successful in areas where they’ve been introduced. Since it requires special knowledge to handle these flies, they’re not commercially available.

  1. Home Remedies

There are many home remedies that people claim will kill fire ants. Some remedies, like applying club soda, instant grits, or molasses to ant mounds, don’t work. Tests have shown they’re ineffective, so don’t bother trying any of these remedies.

One remedy that’s more effective is pouring boiling water on the mounds. When about three gallons of boiling water is used, the method is about 60 percent effective. Unfortunately, this method will kill surrounding vegetation. It’s also very dangerous since you could burn yourself or get stung by angry ants (or both).

  1. Organic Products

If you’re interested in organic control of fire ants, there are a few products available. Some of these products contain d-limonene, an extract from citrus oil. This ingredient is toxic to fire ants.

Spinosad baits are another organic option. They contain a chemical complex that’s produced by a soil microbe, Saccharopolyspora spinose.

  1. Chemical Control

Insecticides can also be used to kill fire ants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the use of insecticides for fire ant control. To check if a product is approved for fire ant control, read the label. Avoid using unapproved products.

Read the first aid instructions on the product label before you start the application. Carefully follow the label directions to ensure you’re using the product safely. If you’re unsure, leave the insecticide use for professionals.

To stop fire ants from spreading, widespread management is needed. If you have fire ants on your property, these four methods can be used to keep them under control. When in doubt, call the Orlando pest removal experts at Apex.

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted Orlando pest removal companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more!

Yellow Ant Makes First Colony in U.S. – Ft. Lauderdale

yellow antsDid you know there are more than 50 non-native ant species in Florida? Red imported fire ants, crazy ants, ghost ants, and other common species are all invasive. Florida’s wet, moist climate is perfect for global subtropical and tropical species, so invasive species can thrive. Now, a new species has made its way to the Sunshine State: the little yellow ant.

Origins of Little Yellow Ants

Little yellow ants are native to Madagascar, an island nation off the coast of East Africa. At some point in the past decade, they hitched a ride to the Caribbean. Now, they’ve made their way to Florida. A colony of little yellow ants was found infesting a home in the Fort Lauderdale area. They’ve also been seen outdoors in Fort Lauderdale. The full extent of the ant’s range in Florida is unknown.

Potential Threats for Floridians

While little yellow ants don’t bite, their presence could cause serious problems in the state. They live in connected colonies, known as supercolonies. These supercolonies can have thousands of egg-laying queens and millions of individuals.

Each ant is less than 2 millimeters (0.08 inches) long. Since they’re so tiny, whole colonies can fit in potted plants, plant debris, and other small areas. The colonies can go undetected until the population density of ants becomes very high.

For Floridians, these new ants will be more of a nuisance than other species. The ants live outdoors and form massive foraging trails. They can swarm anywhere that might have food, like your kitchen. They could be even worse for Florida’s farmers. These ants don’t harm crops like citrus directly, but they protect bugs that do.

Controlling Yellow Ants

These invasive ants will be difficult to manage. While ant baits can work, they may only affect one branch of a colony and have a limited impact on the overall population. In homes, this means infestations can keep recurring. Professional control will be needed to manage these difficult-to-control ants.

Little yellow ants have made their way to Fort Lauderdale, and they may eventually arrive in Tampa if they’re not already here. If you’re concerned about these ants, rest assured that the Tampa pest removal experts at Apex are there to help.

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted Tampa pest removal companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more!

6 Pests That Are Destroying Your Lawn

antMany homeowners take pride in their lawns. After spending many hours mowing, watering, and fertilizing your grass, the last thing you want to deal with is insect damage. Lawn pests can leave parts of the lawn looking damaged, or worse, kill the grass completely. The experts at Apex recommend watching out for these six lawn-destroying pests.

  1. Ants

Ants can cause significant damage to grass. They create vast networks of tunnels, which weakens the soil and cause root damage to grass. Some ant species will farm other lawn pests like aphids to maintain a source of honeydew. Ants’ hill building leaves unsightly mounds on your lawn, and if you get too close, you could be bitten or stung.

  1. Aphids

Aphids are common plant pests in Florida. They feed on a variety of plant types by piercing the plant parts and sucking out fluids. Large populations of aphids can turn leaves yellow. These pests can even weaken small trees.

  1. Armyworms

Armyworms are the larval stage of a moth. They’re common in the fall, and they’ll eat many types of lawn grasses. While they rarely kill lawns, it’s possible for them to eat grass down to the dirt. Due to the potential for serious damage, it’s important to control these pests.

  1. Chiggers

Chiggers are actually the larvae of mites. While they don’t eat your grass like other types of lawn pests, they can still ruin your enjoyment of the lawn. These pests are hard to see, and they can attach to you and suck fluids out of your skin. The bites can be very itchy, and some people have allergic reactions. Frequently mowing your lawn can help keep these bugs at bay.

  1. Cutworms

These small caterpillars dig a burrow in the ground. At night, they come out to feed on blades of grass and shoots. Since lawn caterpillars often feed in the same location, the damage is confined to certain areas. The damage can look like a depressed spot in the grass or a circular spot of dead grass.

  1. Grubs

Grubs are the larval stage of scarab beetles. At night, they feed on grass roots. This damages the grass and, over time, it gets yellow and dies. Patches of dead grass can appear on the lawn if grubs are present. To check for the presence of grubs, gently tug on your grass. Infested grass is easy to pull up due to root damage.

Lawn pests can do a lot of damage to your grass. To keep your lawn looking and feeling its best, turn to the Tampa lawn care experts at Apex.

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted Tampa lawn care companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more!

How Cold Weather Can Affect Florida Plants

green leavesFlorida enjoys warmer winters than most other states, but the weather still gets cold enough to damage plants. Subtropical and tropical plants are both at risk during the winter. Our expert team has some information for Florida’s gardeners this winter.

Plants at Risk This Winter

Chinese evergreens, dieffenbachia, and weeping figs don’t do well in cold weather. At temperatures below 40 degrees, the leaves can shrivel and turn yellow. Banana trees can also be harmed by the cold weather.

How Cold Weather Harms Plants

During cold weather, some plants can get dried out. In mild cases, the margins or tips of the leaves become brown. In severe cases, the leaves become entirely brown.

Root systems sometimes freeze too. This typically happens to plants in containers, not plants in the landscape. The injuries to root systems often aren’t noticeable until the weather warms up.   

How to Protect Your Plants

When you see cold temperatures in the forecast, take steps to protect your plants. Container-grown plants can be moved to warmer locations. If you have any valuable small plants in the garden, they can be dug up and brought inside in containers. Plants that can’t be brought inside can be covered with frost blankets or cloths.

During cold weather, keep the soil wet, but be careful not to overwater. Plants still need water when it’s cold out. Avoid using your sprinklers in below-zero temperatures since this can cause severe damage to plants.

Cold damage can take weeks to show, so hold off on pruning your plants. Once you see the extent of the damage, you can prune damaged areas.

During the winter, continue to mow your lawn regularly. Mowing the lawn removes new growth and helps control weeds. Avoid fertilizing your lawn until late February or March.

To continue gardening during the cold weather, consider planting hardy trees, shrubs, and groundcovers. You can also replace your warm season vegetables with cold season alternatives.

Florida’s winters can damage subtropical and tropical plants and even lawns. By taking some simple precautions, you can keep your plants healthy until the spring. If you need help caring for your lawn this winter, the Orlando lawn care experts at Apex are just a phone call away.

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted Orlando lawn care companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more!

Pest-Free House Plant Tips and Tricks

cactusEvery gardener knows that outdoor plants can be affected by pests, but surprisingly, indoor plants aren’t always safe either. Indoor plants can be infested with fungus gnats, scale, whiteflies, and many other types of bugs. Try the tips below to keep your houseplants pest-free!

Inspect New Plants

Before you purchase new plants for your home, inspect them carefully for signs of pest issues. If you bring infested plants home, the bugs could spread to your other houseplants. Check the undersides of the leaves, the stems, and even in the soil for signs of bugs.

Sometimes, plants that look pest-free actually aren’t. They could have pest eggs on them or very young pests that are hard to detect. When you bring new plants home, it’s a good idea to quarantine them for a month or so. That helps protect the rest of your plants.

De-Bug Indoor Plants

Occasionally, take your indoor plants outside and debug them. This can be done by spraying the plants with room-temperature water. The force of the water will help wash away insects before they get a chance to infest your plants.

Use Insecticidal Soap

Despite your best efforts, pests could infest your indoor plants. When this happens, you don’t need to discard your plants; you can control the pests. Before you try any control methods, make sure you identify the specific pest you’re dealing with. Many plant diseases and insect problems can be confused with each other, and the methods that work for one problem may not work for another.

Insecticidal soap products can be used to control various types of bugs. These products are available at garden centers. Some plants can be damaged by insecticidal soaps, so always test a few leaves before applying the products to the entire plant.

Use a Plant-Sitter

Have you ever come back from a trip, only to discover that bugs infested your plants while you were gone? To keep this from happening again, ask a friend to check on your plants while you’re away. If any pest problems develop, they can be treated before you return.

Stay on Top of Routine Pest Control

You don’t need to wait until you have a pest problem to think about pest control. Preventative treatments around your home can help keep away the bugs that could infest your plants.

Many types of bugs want to live in your indoor plants, but you can take precautions to keep them away. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to call the pros!

 

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted Orlando pest removal companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more about Orlando pest removal!

Who’s Eating Your Cereal: Pantry Pest Control

bowl of cerealNo one likes to open a box of cereal and discover that bugs have already started eating it. There are many types of pests that can infest pantries and feast on your stored food. They’re usually not noticed until they become abundant, at which point, you may need help from a pest professional.

Common Pantry Pests

Weevils are a type of small beetle that can be found living in flour, cereal, and similar foods. They can also infest dog food, bird feed, dried fruits, and even chocolate. Saw-toothed grain beetles feed on cereals, pasta, flour, and meal. Other types of beetles are occasional pests in pantries. These include cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles. Both types are interested in herbs, spices, and other dried plant materials.

Various types of moths, like flour moths, can infest your food, too. These moths like to feed on flour and other milled products and can be very destructive.

How Insects Get into the Pantry

Sometimes, insects can enter your home from outdoors and then start eating your stored foods. Most of the time, pests are brought inside through infested food products. These products can become infested with pests at any point in the supply chain, such as in factories, warehouses, delivery trucks, or stores. The longer a food product is stored in the same location, like a grocery store, the higher the chance that bugs will find it.

Tips for Controlling Pantry Pests

To avoid bringing pantry pests into your home, inspect food products in the grocery store before you buy them. Even slight signs of damage to the packaging could be a sign that bugs are present. Before you bring any bags or boxes into your house, check them for bugs.

It’s also a good idea to store your pantry items in plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids. These secure containers can prevent pantry pests from getting to your food. They can also help contain an infestation. If you purchase something that turns out to be infested, the bugs will be trapped within the jar.

If you discover an infestation in your pantry, get rid of all the infested foods. This should reduce the number of pests quickly. Vacuum and wash your cupboards and pantry shelves to ensure no spilled food or bugs are left behind. Avoid using insecticides to control pantry pests since they can contaminate your foods and cupboards.

The food in your pantry belongs to you, not to creepy bugs. If you find beetles or moths infesting your food, take steps to get them under control. When in doubt, call the experts at Apex for help.

 

Apex Pest Control is one of the most trusted Orlando pest control companies in the state. We’re proud of the work we do to help keep the homes, landscape, and businesses in our community free from harmful plants, insects, and animals, while also striving to maintain a balance with the ecosystem as a whole. Check out our blog or contact us today to learn more!

Service beyond
the expected.

The technician was very professional, neat and on time. He inspected my house and found a trail of ants….NO MORE ANTS!! Thank you Apex.
Richard B, Orlando