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Make These Changes to Protect Your Children From Mosquitoes

youth-640094_1920With the summer season looming, it’s wise to begin thinking about the preparations you should be making for the oncoming surge of mosquitoes. Annoying to all and treacherous with the disease they can spread, mosquitoes can be even more dangerous to children. Apex Pest Control, Tampa pest control leaders, is here to help with five simple tips to help you safeguard your little ones over the long hot summer.

Cover Up

Good for adults and children alike, it’s one of the simplest and oddly effective ways to avoid mosquito bites. Something as easy as long sleeves and pants can ward off a good portion of bites. This is tough in the sweltering heat of the summer, obviously, but there are some remarkable lightweight materials that have come available over the years.

Know the Time of Day and Season

More of a tip for the new Floridian, but it’s critical to understand how much worse the mosquito problem is in our wet summer season as compared to the dry winter and spring. Being outside in the early mornings or (especially) around dusk requires that you take steps to protect your kids. Certain areas, and anything near freshwater, will attract extra mosquito attention.

Use Repellent

Repellents do work, although they are not an all-encompassing solution. A lot of this comes down to trial and error; some brands just work better for certain people. Beyond spray repellents, citronella candles are very effective, as is the shrubby plant the wax is derived from. It’s not a bad idea to plant a few around your outdoor areas (they thrive year round locally).

Don’t Use Repellent on Children Under Two Months

As a word of caution, never use spray repellents on children under two months. Their skin is just too sensitive to the array of mosquito repelling chemicals involved. Keeping infants inside during high-mosquito hours is your best approach, and, if you must get them outside, move quickly and cover them fully with clothing.

Clean Out Standing Water

You can help the mosquito problem around your home greatly by simply clearing out standing water in any space you can. Mosquitoes can reproduce in remarkably small portions of water, so be vigilant. This won’t solve the issue, of course, but it helps.

Take steps such as these this summer and see a world of difference in your interactions with these loathsome Florida pests. And beyond these easy tips, it’s always a good idea to contact professionals in the world of Tampa pest control, like those at Apex. With our decades of experience, we have some unique solutions. Call us today at (866) 675-4070.

Identifying the Difference Between Termites and Flying Ants

ant-22889_1920Mosquitoes are certainly a ubiquitous symbol of Florida, but for the local homeowner, there is no doubt that the most feared are termites. From Tampa to Melbourne, the beaches to the big cities, our termite populations thrive in the state’s semi-tropical and humid environment. Our environment, through its combination of constant heat and moisture, can weaken many types of wood oftentimes leading to termite problems. Having Tampa termite control professionals such as Apex, with decades of experience on our side, will go a long way to securing your home and business.

To even start understanding the termite problem, and how you can combat it, you should be able to identify both the bug and the problems they can cause. We have four common types in the Tampa area:

  • Eastern Subterranean termites
  • Powderpost termites
  • Dampwood Termites
  • Formosan termites

There are other sub-varieties, but these four (and especially the eastern subterranean) are the main instigators in the majority of home damage situations we see. Beyond identifying types of termite, it’s even more critical to tell the difference between the dangerous wood eaters listed above and harmless flying ants.

The two actually look remarkably similar, and termites do not, in fact, initially arrive at a colony by crawling, they fly in the early stages of their lives. Differences in flying ants and, say, dampwood termites are easy for the professional to see, but we figured we’d give you a few tips to begin with.

  • Ants Do Not Cause Structural Damage: It’s best to never let it get to this point, but if the wood you keep seeing those winged creatures fly in and out of begins to sag or crack, there’s a pretty good chance you are looking at a termite colony.
  • Appearance: Differences are a bit more difficult to tell because they are indeed so similar. But the main points of emphasis are a termite’s wider, more-uniform body and its unbent antennae. The arms and legs of flying ants are also bent, and they have notably different sized sets of wings (termite wing sets are basically identical).
  • Life Cycles: Flying ants only live for a few months. A well-established termite colony can thrive for decades, and an individual insect itself can live for years. Point being, if the pest in question seems to be a permanent fixture to a structure, it’s probably a form of termite.
  • Wood: Flying ants eat a lot of things. Termites eat wood.

 

Taken together, these are just some tips when questioning some buzzing swarms around your Florida fence posts. For a truly thorough treatment in Tampa termite control, however, never hesitant to contact the professionals at Apex. We offer free, no-obligation inspections and quotes and can be contacted anytime at (866) 675-4070.

Prepping Your Outdoor Space for the Return of Mosquitoes

pavilion-1031379_1920One of the best parts of a Florida winter is not just the blue skies and perfect temperatures, but the lack of mosquitoes. It can be easy sometimes, over these peaceful winter months, to forget how difficult it is to be able to read a book outdoors during the evenings in July. Mosquitoes require preparation before outdoor activities can be safely tried, and the Tampa pest control professionals at Apex can help in many aspects of this groundwork.

However, there is plenty you can do as an individual homeowner as well. Mosquitoes are a fact of life in Central Florida; one that can be better managed with knowledge. To prepare your backyard for the oncoming summer months, keep these tips in mind.

Stagnant Water

Stagnant water is the ultimate issue with mosquitoes, and with our summer wet season, it’s one that never ends. After every rainfall, it’s important to clear out any pockets of standing water. This even goes for outdoor cushions which can pool up water within fabric in larger amounts than is usually recognized.

It’s important to remember that the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, easily reproduce by the thousands in a piece of standing water can fit into a bottle cap.

Unused Tires

Eliminate any unused tires from your yard or the surrounding area. Old tires are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos because they can become filled with stagnant water. Additionally, they can also hold leaves which serve as a nutritious snack. It’s actually only females that suck blood; Plant matter is often a source of nutrients for mosquitos. Lastly, the durable rubber of a tire can be used to protect mosquito eggs. Eliminating unused tires can eliminate many mosquito-related issues.

Pets

Nature has an abundance of animals that make it their mission in life to consume mosquitoes, so why not have a few more around your home? Here’s a quick list of natural predators to mosquitoes that can quite easily be kept around a moderate sized piece of property:

 

  • Frogs: You could let a few loose.
  • Chickens and ducks: Yes, this indeed true, and although not practical for everyone, good for rural areas.
  • Fish: Having something like a coy pond can help a mosquito issue quite a bit.

Patio Tips

Finally, general maintenance of your patio area, usually the closest area to your home, is critical. What you put forward can help thwart mosquitoes, even if in many cases these ideas won’t eliminate them.

  • Citronella candles and plants: Both are great for mosquito protection. The citronella plant itself has a long history in Florida as a mosquito defender and are easy to grow and maintain (especially in the summer).
  • Bug spray: Tried and true, it’s effective and necessary. Always be certain to apply mosquito spray before venturing out in the early mornings or evenings of summer.
  • Screens: Without them, there probably would not be as many people living in the Sunshine State as there are. Spring is a good time to check all of your screens for holes and tears.

Add to all of this the help Tampa pest control experts, such as those at Apex, can provide, and you’ll be ahead of the game this summer on the mosquito front. Contact us today to learn how we can help you prepare.

 

Why You Should Consider an Inspection This Spring

special3April is National Pest Management Month, and this spring, there’s a lot you can do as an individual homeowner to better secure your home from pests. From simple preventative measures to DIY pest control, there are some ways to put yourself ahead of the game in terms of pest management. But, there are many reasons why help from professionals, particularly Tampa pest control experts with decades of experience, may be the best route to take. We could fill a book with the reasons, but here are five often cited causes of bringing in a professional inspection during this important month.

  • Professionals are professionals: Although some pest management issues can seem to be solved on the surface, there can be layers to the damage and troubles insects can cause. Professionals understand this and can guarantee you the most thorough job when inspecting and securing your house. They are professionals for a reason, and the proactive approach they can take (not to mention the years of experience) will help to avoid future issues that the novice will rarely think of.
  • Chemicals: This is always a major reason to call in the experts; the use of chemicals and treatments to deal with pest control should only be done by those with high-level management knowledge. This is not only a personal safety concern, but important for the natural environment around your home. Professional pest management uses chemicals rarely and wisely.
  • Cost effectiveness: DIY pest control is a long-term versus short term proposition in terms of cost effectiveness. By treating problems yourself, you may be saving right now, but the issues you miss will cost you more down the road when a problem (like termites) is more ingrained. Damage can also accumulate quickly if not treated effectively the first time.
  • Piece of mind: It’s a simple reason to get a professional pest inspection this month, but a worthy one. You’re busy, you’re overworked, you have to take the kids to their soccer practice… Why add pest control to your list of responsibilities? Take this Sunday off and relax. When your home is cared for by pest control professionals, the piece of mind that comes with this knowledge is virtually priceless.
  • Schedule: If you go the DIY approach, you’ll have the set up a pest management schedule and maintain your home on your own time. Or, simply put in a call to professional pest experts and let them do the jobs that need to be done without ever having to worry about it. Good pest management is scheduled around you.

These are but a few reasons to consider getting a Tampa pest control inspection during April. As we head into the bug-filled summer months, there’s never really a better time to do it. At Apex, we offer no-obligation quotes and inspections, and we always get back to you within 24 hours. Give us a call today at 866-675-4070, and see what we can do for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Termites

queen of termite it's very rare

queen of termite it’s very rare

Termites are one of the most feared Florida pests, but also a creature with many mythologies and urban legends attached to it. To understand how to combat termites, it’s critical to know their habits, feeding capabilities, and risk areas. In short, it’s good to have a FAQ area for guidance regarding general termite behavior. The experts in Tampa termite control, Apex, compiled just that. Below we’ll cover some of the most common questions regarding termites.

What does a termite look like?

Termites come in a variety of species, and each will have its own look. These include the Eastern Subterranean, Dampwood, Formosan, and Powderpost. But essentially, what a termite will look like depends on where it is in its lifecycle. Clear and honey colored, about the size of a large ant, worker and soldier termites have a prodigious head with a claw. They can also be seen, generally on first contact, with wings, as they are flying pests before settling down in a location to nest. Any sign of termites in these stages (worker, soldier, or reproductive) is cause for concern.

How do they behave in your house?

It’s important first to put this in context; termites cause five billion dollars worth of damage each year. They are dangerous not only to your bank account when within your home, but to the very structural integrity of your home.

Termites in nature have one goal: to consume wood. This process in the wild makes them valuable contributors to the ecosystem, as they breakdown fallen trees and decaying wood. But, they carry this same behavior into the walls of your home, creating the potential for disaster. Termites establish colonies and can go about their business in relative anonymity. Often, the true extent of the damage is unknown until it’s too late.

How can I tell if I have a problem?

First of all, you’ll be able to see the termites. There will seem to be wood damage to your home, and/or you see vulnerable areas that have been compromised by water damage. Hollow wood is another obvious sign. You may see mud tubes, which basically are a unique roadway for termites, particularly subterranean. If you see these around you home, you almost certainly have an issue.

What can be done for prevention?

Keep an eye out for vulnerable areas of your home, and secure access points to the inner walls as well as you can. But, most importantly, get preventive work by pest control professionals.

Tampa termite control is best practiced by experts such as those at Apex. We can conduct a thorough inspection of your home, and help with any FAQs you may have. Contact us today at 866-675-4070.

How to Identify What’s Eating Your Lawn

background-1866870_1920(1)Like small children and antique cars, Florida lawns require constant attention. With our plentiful fresh water, vibrant sub-tropical climates, and growing human population, it is a true cornucopia of pests and diseases that can damage the green expanse in front of your home. And the damage can happen fast, especially in the blazing summer months. Tampa pest control experts can certainly help with remedying any situation, but the first step is identification of the problem.

Step one in this process is to understand what type of grass you have. Odds are, if you are in the Central Florida area, this will be the ultra-common St. Augustine variety. Tough and growing in tropical climates around the world, St. Augustine grass can nevertheless have some pretty powerful adversaries. Other grass types somewhat common to Florida homes and business are Zoysia, Bermuda, Centipede, and Buffalo, all with certain positive and negatives. No matter what type of grass you have, if you are living in Florida, it is almost relentless under attack. The below three culprits of lawn damage and destruction are widespread and often difficult to remove without the help of professionals.

  • Chinch bugs: Chinch bugs have only one very fortunate upside: they are remarkably easy to identify. The downside to that upside, identification is usually possible because of lawn damage. Chinch bugs leave very unique circular patches of dead lawn in their wake, and an abundance of these circles spells trouble. Chinch bugs themselves are nearly invisible, making eradication tricky for the novice. But if caught early in their lawn damaging process, most sod will recover just fine.
  • Sod webworms: Sod webworms are not, in fact, a worm, but a type of moth. In the larvae stage, which is likely to occur on your lawn, they feast and grow almost exclusively on grass and grass roots. Hence, sod webworms. They appear in Florida primarily in the summer and can be very difficult to treat. These creatures are similar to caterpillars and move through your lawn quickly, making early identification extra critical.
  • Mole crickets: Mole crickets are rarely found in St. Augustine grass, but are known to be active in Bermuda and Zoysia varieties. They feed on the root structure of your grass, making recovery rare for that patch of turf. Mole crickets themselves are very difficult to remove once established and in the adult phase of their lives, so most treatment plans (by top-class professionals) focus on removing eggs and future generations.

This is only three of the many, many threats to your lawn. We didn’t even have time here to go over some of the common lawn diseases and fungi that may affect you. But, in all cases, the proper response to lawn problems is good management with effective and knowledgeable professionals such as the Tampa pest control leaders at Apex. We provide both ongoing treatments for your lawn, as well as emergency work when a serious problem is identified. For more information, contact us today at (866) 675-4070.

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4 Kinds of Bugs You Want in Your Garden

tomatoes-1581204_1920Sometimes, the best way to handle Tampa pest removal issues is to simply allow nature to take its course and handle the problem for you. This won’t always be the case of course; some pests are so intractable, and their enemies in the natural world so few, that you need experienced professionals on your side. It is important to know which creatures you have on your side and the advantages that they present.

A list such as the below could include a long line of helpful critters, from bats (one brown bat can eat 1000 mosquitoes per hour when feeding) to the ubiquitous Tampa-area green and brown anole lizards, which devour a wide array of insects on a daily basis as they sun themselves around your home. When it comes to gardening, however, the below four truly stand out because of their natural benefits.

  • Praying Mantis: These unique looking creatures are kings of the garden and insect predators who can do a world of good. They will devour just about any type of insect that enters their domain. The mantis is not commonly found in Florida, but adapts well to our environment; you can actually purchase them online as eggs and wait for your garden-protecting army to grow.
  • Honeybees: A honeybee’s goal is to pollinate, and it should be our job as gardeners to let them. By allowing honeybees to accomplish their natural task, we are rewarded with a bounty of flowers and pollinated plants.
  • Ladybugs: Ladybugs are actually a type of beetle, a very useful type of beetle for the green thumb. These creatures spend their entire lives eating soft-shelled insect as well as (crucially) their eggs. Having a garden well stocked with ladybugs is a neat way to have it protected from undesirable mites and aphids.
  • Green Lacewing: These are less well known to the general public, but no less useful. Green lacewings are a relentless consumer and predator of insects. The aptly-named winged creatures are particularly fond of aphids, that can devastate small Florida gardens, and have been known to eat 60 in a single hour.

Attracting these types of helpful creatures to your garden can be done both subtly and with bold techniques (such as seeding). Much of this can be done by a little research on your end, but for more help with your Tampa-area garden, contact the specialists on Tampa pest removal at Apex. We offer a free, no-obligation inspection and can set up a natural plan of defense for your growing crops. Call us anytime at (866) 675-4070.

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4 Misconceptions About Pest Control

fly-1913170_1920Modern pest control is vital as refrigerators and washing machines, especially in an insect-heavy place such as Central Florida. That doesn’t stop some misconceptions and urban legends about this necessary part of structural upkeep from spreading and, in some cases, sticking. Tampa pest control, when done correctly, will lead to a healthier home and an overall better living environment. The costs and inconvenience of pest control when done correctly are so minimal, that over-looking this valuable service seems like an absurd decision for any homeowner.

Many people rationalize a lack of pest control based on rumors and hearsay. Below are four common ones we hear about all too often.

  • Few pests, no problem: It’s often said in Florida that you just have to learn to deal with a certain amount of pests and creatures, the thinking being that only a hive or a nest is really something to be concerned about. The truth is pests are masters at blending into their environment; where you see one cockroach, odds are there are many more somewhere around. Roaches common to the area can lay eight capsules over the course of the year that contain between 30-48 eggs. Those two roaches can become many very quickly.
  • Handling it yourself: Florida pests are complicated. From the hidden attack of a powder post termite to the notoriously intractable nature of bed bugs, it’s often best to let professionals take a look at things. You can be confident your current problem is taken care of, and be prepared for future events. Maybe save that DIY spirit for a different hobby.
  • Clean house=no pests: A clean house is, no doubt, step one. Without one, you will be dealing with pests in Central Florida. But, even a clean one is no guarantee. Attics and roofs are lightly disturbed areas that evolve quickly any time of year, and the pest threats are diverse here.
  • All pest companies are the same: Thirty years of providing top quality pest services in Florida has given us more data and practical insight into solving your pest issues than even some colleges. In every walk of life, from supermarkets to newspapers, we all know that the product and experience may look similar, but the differences abound, particularly in quality. Go with the best, and do it with confidence.

These are but a few of the many myths of Tampa pest control that have spread over the years. At Apex, we would like the chance to disprove all of them for you and your family. For more information, contact us at (866) 675-4070. We offer a free, no-obligation quote and visit to your business, and we will always get back to you within 24 hours.

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Pollen Isn’t the Only Allergen Bothering You

allergy-1738191_1920The sneezing, wheezing, coughing, red eyes, and itchy skin are everywhere this time of year. From your office to your home and any place in between, allergy season in Florida really takes off from February thru April. The Tampa area has a particularly intense pollen season, as our climate is a bountiful one for a very wide range of plants and weeds. When things bloom locally, they bloom. When people talk about the allergies that get to them now and year-round, there is one source they might not be thinking of: cockroaches. Tampa pest control experts have long understood the risk, but the public is slowly but surely beginning to see the issue.

If you tell someone your allergies are acting up due to cockroaches, you may get some wide-eyed looks in response. But share some of these facts to change a few minds:

That can certainly mean your home. Cockroaches create allergens in humans in a variety of ways, none of them pleasant. Their shredded body parts and feces can act in very much the same invisible way that pollen does to cloud and irritate our allergy centers. Also, in large numbers, cockroaches moving throughout your home (particularly in attics or in undisturbed areas) can continuously kick up dust and mites that create an allergic response.

The bodily response they generate is rather similar to that of any other pollen or plant based allergic reaction. It can include:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Skin rashes
  • Infections of sinus centers such as the ear and nose canals
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose and irritated throats

Because all of these general symptoms are so very common to hay fever or our traditional sense of an allergy attack, we almost never make the connection with cockroaches. But indeed, they can be the culprits. An allergist can give you a simple skin test to see if roaches or insects are indeed the cause of your allergy woes.

Even if you don’t seek to take this step, keeping roaches out of your house for both the allergic potential as well as a wide range of other inflictions they can incur, is a wise idea. Notoriously difficult to rid yourself of, especially in Florida, cockroaches are often best left to Tampa pest control experts. Family owned and locally based for over 30 years, we have the solutions to your roach issues. Contact us today anytime at (866) 675-4070 for more information.

6 Spring Cleaning Tips to Prevent Pests

cleaning-268126_1920Spring is the time to fling open the windows and prop open the doors in many places, but in the Tampa area, this reality is slightly skewed. Yes, spring is often the open-air season for your home, but most of winter generally is. What spring really is for us locally is two-fold: one of the more popular seasons for a wide range of pests and a time to secure your home from the inside out before the long air-conditioned months of summer truly take effect. Having Tampa pest control professionals to help in this process can be important, but there are plenty of things you can do yourself.

While a Florida “spring” is a whole different animal from nearly any other place in the country, it can also be said that our spring just occurs a little earlier. Eighty-degree weekends are certainly not uncommon as early as February, and they offer the perfect time to do a bit of spring cleaning. Below are six friendly tips that you can incorporate to keep pests on the outside looking in.

 

  • Check for cracks: As we seal up for the upcoming summer months in Tampa, we must also make sure our windows, doors, walls, and pipes are secure. A ripped screen is an open invite for pests and a huge problem year round in Florida. Leaky interior and exterior pipes are often a main attractant for insects.

 

  • Check the trash: Keep all bins as far away from your home as physically possible, and, above all, check to make sure they are sealed as fully as they can be.

 

  • Take away the trash: This extends to everything from loose food you may have inside your house (which attracts pests in the open window months of spring) to simply making sure there are no random pieces around the edges of your home. Without abundant food and water, pests are not particularly interested in your property.

 

  • Pets & Fleas: Fleas commonly become a problem starting in spring; it’s also a time when your pets can spend a lot of time outdoors. Simple checks and (if need be) some sprays and solutions can solve a flea issue rather quickly.

 

  • Clutter Trouble: Another thing that can help with everything from fleas to termites to mosquitoes is a spring cleaning of outdoor clutter. Anything that can act as shelter for pests over the upcoming heat of the summer needs to be cleared out and moved away.

 

  • Break out the citronella: After the short relief of winter, mosquitoes come back early and often in Tampa (if they leave at all). It’s a good time to break out your mosquito gear: citronella candles, sprays, and common sense.

For more information on what you can do to secure your house this spring, contact the Tampa pest control experts at Apex today: (866) 675-4070. We offer free, no-obligation inspections and will return your call within 24 hours.

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