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March 30, 2024Author: AO Editor

Warm Weather Pests: More Than Just a Nuisance

As Spring starts to (finally) show its face here in Western NY, the fresh air and sunshine have likely inspired you to tackle cleaning projects that you’ve put off all winter. What’s at the top of our list? Pest-proofing for the warmer months ahead, of course! As mother nature wakes up from a long winter’s nap, so do many critters and insects. And while you may think these pests are simply bothersome, warm weather invaders like ants and termites can pose serious threats to people and property if left untreated. Below are some common warm weather pests that we see here in NY and how you can keep them at bay: Ants Among the most common pest infestations in the warm months are ants. These insects, though small, can cause major damage to property if left alone; particularly carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are typically interested in wood that has been damaged by water, so it’s important to address water leaks and damaged wood in the home as soon as it’s discovered. Additionally, ants are attracted to sweet foods, so ensuring your kitchen remains free of crumbs and keeping foods properly sealed and stored will go a long way in preventing these unwanted guests from making an appearance. Termites While termites are active year round, they’re especially prevalent during April and May, otherwise known as “swarming season.” Prevention is paramount when it comes to termites, as they can quickly destroy flooring, wooden beams, furniture, electrical wiring and more once they’ve gained entry to your home. Termites are attracted to moisture, so maintaining efficient drainage around the perimeter of your home is good practice, including gutters and downspouts. Additionally, wood-to-ground contact creates a greater opportunity for termites to enter, providing food, moisture, and direct access to your home. For example, wood siding, door and window frames should be at least 6 inches off the ground. Also, refrain from storing firewood against your home, as it creates a similar inviting environment for termites.   Cluster Flies These pesky insects, sometimes referred to as “attic flies,” usually appear on warm, sunny days in early spring. They can enter the home through very small openings, and infestations can lead to unhealthy living conditions and damage to furniture and other property. The best way to prevent a cluster fly issue is to seal up any cracks you spot around your home using sealants like caulk or weatherstripping, especially near doors, windows and vents. Cluster flies are also drawn to garbage and clutter, so keeping your home free of both can further prevent an infestation. Additionally, fly screens are available for doors and windows, which are designed to keep the smallest of insects out.   Spiders Another top offender on our list of warm weather invaders is the spider. Aside from leaving behind droppings and webbing, spiders can cause structural damage, and certain species can even pose health risks when their venom is introduced into the environment (i.e. the black widow). The good news is that there are preventative measures that you can take, much like we’ve already discussed above, to keep these eight-legged friends outside. Sealing around windows and doors regularly is a best practice, as well as replacing any window screens with holes or tears. You may also want to keep outdoor light usage to a minimum, or switch to yellow sodium vapor lights to deter other pests that spiders like to feed on. Finally, as always, a clean, clutter-free home keeps infestations at bay, minimizing attractions and hiding places for pests. While the greatest form of pest control is prevention, it’s not always possible to keep infestations at bay; that’s when it’s time to call in the professionals. At Excelsior Pest Group, we have extensive experience treating and mitigating these common warm weather infestations. Our service specialists receive continual training under the New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation, and we proudly employ Integrated Pest Management certified methods. Learn more about how we can help you keep your home or business pest free this spring (and year round!)
March 13, 2024Author: AO Editor

Is there a mouse in the house?

Though mice and rat infestations are fairly common, they can be surprisingly hard to detect. Oftentimes, by the time you become aware of an infestation, things have already escalated. In fact, you may never even detect an infestation if it isn’t severe. Now that we’ve heightened your rodent-related stress, we have some good news. If you’re privy to the signs of a mouse or rat infestation, you can nip it in the bud before it becomes disastrous. Resolving a rodent infestation has everything to do with time. Catching a mouse or rat infestation in its early stages can prevent it from becoming a more difficult-to-control problem that can cause damage to property and pose health risks. There are several telltale signs that an unwanted rodent guest has made itself comfortable in your home or business. Droppings The first (and perhaps most obvious) is droppings. They resemble dark seeds, and fresh droppings are often shiny in appearance. These are most commonly found around food packages, in drawers or cupboards, and under the sink. Why under the sink? Because the pipes leading to and from the sink can leave small gaps in the wall, and our rodent friends can squeeze through holes as small as ¼”.  Nesting Materials Spotting nesting materials is another indication that something could be awry. Materials like shredded paper, fabric or dried plant matter in unexpected places, such as corners of rooms or inside cabinets, are signs that there may be a small visitor trying to settle into its new home. Both rats and mice are attracted to dark, enclosed, quiet spaces, so their nests are typically in low traffic areas. Holes in the Wall Another seemingly obvious signal of an infestation is the presence of holes that look like they’ve been chewed in your walls or flooring. However, these holes aren’t as obvious as cartoons like Tom and Jerry led you to believe (cue the perfectly arched mouse hole along the base molding). They’re fairly small in size: gnawed mice holes are small and can be around the size of a dime, whereas rat holes are slightly larger, closer to the size of a quarter. Areas that are vulnerable to entry include damaged walls or panels, cracks in the foundation, and gaps between building materials. Keep in mind that these holes can be at any height, as mice and rats are skilled vertical climbers. Stale Odor Mice and rats have a distinctive odor that can become more pronounced as their population increases. This smell is often described as stale or musty and comes from a combination of their urine, feces, and pheromones. Detecting this type of odor specifically in enclosed or hidden areas like cabinets, behind furniture, or in the attic, may mean you have an issue on your hands. Plan of Attack So what’s the best way to avoid a rodent infestation? It’s prudent to perform a thorough cleaning and inspection under your sinks and in your drawers and cupboards on a regular basis to verify that things are looking as they should. Ensuring that food is properly stored and food packages are tightly sealed is also good practice. It also never hurts to frequently perform a quick scan of the walls and flooring of your home to confirm there are no gaps or holes that could be a point of entry. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. If at any point you encounter an indication that a mouse or rat has made its way inside your home, it’s time to call in the professionals. The team at Excelsior Pest Group has extensive experience and training in the removal of rodent infestations. Our certified technicians are equipped with cutting-edge technologies and environmentally friendly practices to eliminate the issue and let you get back to peaceful, pest-free living.