Interesting Facts About Wasps

Most people fear them, but wasps are actually fascinating and have an interesting social order.

  • Unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly and an ordinary wasp sting (for someone who isn’t allergic) can be treated with deodorant containing aluminum.
  • The sting of a wasp should wear off for most people (again, those who aren’t allergic) within 24 hours.
  • Wasps can travel up to a quarter of a mile to find food to bring back to the colony.
  • Wasps scavenge food for their young larvae and in return, the young produce sweet secretion which is eaten by the adult wasps.
  • Wasps are omnivores and scavengers.
  • Wasps don’t swarm.
  • Wasps don’t create honey.
  • Wasps make their nests in the ground, mud, or create a paper-like substance.
  • Male wasps are called drones. Drones have one purpose, to mate with the queen in the wasp colony.  Once they’ve performed their job, they die shortly after.
  • Wasps are most aggressive between August and October when their food habits change. It is during this time frame that they are known to attack humans.
  • During the latter part of summer, wasp colonies produce males and new queens. These wasps fly away to mate and the queens then find a place to hibernate and overwinter. The cold weather eventually kills the males, workers and foundation queen.
  • Young fertilized queens are the only wasps that survive the winter. They emerge from overwintering in the spring to build new nests. Initially the queen lays up to a dozen eggs and when they hatch into larvae she feeds them until they become workers. The workers then forage for food, feed the new larvae and defend the nest.

If you see a wasp’s nest or think you have wasps around your home, call Triple ‘S’ today for an inspection.  800-457-3785.

 

How to Effectively Remove a Tick

Residents of the Washington, DC, Northern   After all, our region is ripe for Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Erlichiosis – all tick-borne illnesses.

 

So what do you do if you find a tick on you?

1. Relax.  Ticks must be on you for 24-48 hours in order to have a blood meal and transmit disease.  That doesn’t make it any less gross when you find one embedded in your skin, but rest assured that if it crawling, or still small, while on your skin, you have time.

2. Use a pair of clean, fine tipped tweezers and grasp the body of the tick as close to your skin as possible, moving in an upward motion.

3. Clean the area of the bite with rubbing alcohol, soap and water.

4.  Dispose of the tick.  Flush it down the toilet, or put in a bag and put in the trash.  Do not squeeze the body of the tick with your fingers.

The goal is to detach the tick as quickly as possible.  Stay away from myths about suffocating a tick with petroleum jelly, nail polish remover or other solvents.  This could hurt your skin, and also not achieve the goal of successfully removing the tick.

If a rash appears within several days or weeks after you remove the tick, or if you develop a fever or rash, it is best to consult a doctor.

Avoid ticks while outdoors by using a bug repellant with DEET, and if you are participating in outdoor sports such as fishing, hiking,   If you have pets, make sure their flea and tick treatment is up to date as ticks like to not only bite pets, but use them as a means of transportation indoors.  Finally, ensure that ticks will stay out of your home by scheduling a visit from Triple S Services. Let us take care of the perimeter of your home, to keep the ticks out.

What’s Biting You?

It’s summer and that means hours spent outdoors. Unfortunately this can lead to bug bites. Sometimes mosquitoes will have a feast on a host leaving several bites in the same location. But other times, those bites might be from a different pest: a bed bug. Summertime is also a busy season for these tiny, yet ungracious houseguests. Summer vacations increase the chances of exposure to bed bugs, and it is possible that you can unknowingly bring them home from a trip. How can you tell the difference between a mosquito bite and a bed bug bite?

Location

A significant difference between bed bug bites and mosquito bites is the location of the bite. Mosquitoes cannot crawl under clothing but bed bugs can. If you have a bite in a location that was covered, you can rule out mosquitoes. While mosquitoes can bite a host multiple times, the bites are not in an even pattern. Bed bugs tend to bite along the line where your body comes into contact with your mattress. If you find bites in a line, check your mattress for bed bugs and their debris.

Appearance and Reaction

When a mosquito bites its host, it anesthetizes their skin, so they are unaware they are being bitten. However, once the mosquito leaves, the skin’s reaction is instant. A welt will appear immediately with odd borders followed by itching. Bed bugs also anesthetize their host, but their bites are small, red and don’t form a welt. The reaction time for a bed bug bite is typically longer than that of a mosquito – it can take minutes, hours or even days to have a reaction.

Mosquito Bites Bed Bug Bites
Bites are random and isolated Bites are aligned in a row
Bites resolve within days Bites resolve after a long period of time
Mosquitoes can pass diseases such as West Nile, Zika and more when they bite. Bed bugs cannot pass disease when they bite.
The human body reacts immediately to a mosquito bite. It takes longer time to react to a bed bug bite.
Mosquitoes cannot bite through clothing. Bed bugs can crawl under clothing and bite a host.

The best way to avoid a mosquito bite when outdoors is to apply mosquito repellant with DEET in it. There is not a bed bug repellant. If you travel, be sure to check mattresses (under the sheets and around the seams) for evidence of bugs and their debris.

Are You a Mosquito Magnet?

Are you that one person in the crowd who seems to always get mosquito bites when you’re outside? Why is it that they prefer some people over others?

Certain exhaled chemicals, such as carbon dioxide attract mosquitoes, so they tend to “bite” those who output more. If you like to exercise at dusk, you might become a mosquito magnet, since your carbon dioxide output is higher when you exercise. They are also drawn to lactic acid, which is released when you exercise. Estrogen is another chemical mosquitoes find desirable, meaning some women might be a target. Unfortunately, there is no magic trick to outputting less carbon dioxide, lactic acid or estrogen (other than holding your breath) so this is really up to your chemistry and body.

Your wardrobe might play a role as well. While not known for being fashion conscious, mosquitos do tend to seek out colors that contrast with their natural habitat (such as black). So even though black is a tried and true wardrobe staple, you might want to rethink wearing it to your next barbecue.

There isn’t proof that alcohol attracts mosquitoes, however some studies have shown they like to “bite” a person who has recently had a beer. The CDC hasn’t confirmed that specific foods and drinks make you more susceptible to mosquito bites, but anecdotal studies have raised the question.

When a mosquito finds a hospitable host, they search for the hottest part of the body – this would be the place where the blood is closest to the skin. Common target areas are the forehead, neck, elbows and wrists.   Good information to know when considering application of mosquito repellant.

Annoying as mosquitoes are, the science behind what attracts them to their hosts is fascinating. Obviously you don’t want to worry about your outfit, choice of barbecue beverage or exercise regimen this spring and summer, so protect yourself with mosquito repellant, preferably containing 25-30% DEET (concentrations can be higher if you are in a wetland, wooded or area infested with mosquitoes). And the best measure of prevention is to have monthly mosquito abatement visits with Triple S Services. Visit our mosquitoes page for more information.

Ant Societies

Surprisingly, ants and humans have a lot in common. Ants live in highly developed societies in which every ant has a designated role. These assigned roles assure that ant colonies are efficient and thrive. Ants are highly intelligent insects. So how do these miniscule insects that have been on earth for 92 million years – long before humans – survive and thrive in their colonies?

A team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside, reported that ants work together, much like humans, in response to emergency situations. In this particular study, they found that ants are adept at linking their bodies to create chains, or rafts, to float in the case of a flood. Brilliant method to ensure survival.

Another team of scientists from the University of Melbourne Australia learned that ants use their antennae as a method of two-way communication, much like walkie-talkies. And, that through complex chemical reactions, they have adapted how they can communicate who is a friend or foe.

All of this productive work does leave ants exhausted, though. Every ant colony has its fair share of lazy workers. But make no mistake, a brief period of laziness doesn’t mean that ants aren’t productive. Ants are easily trained and even the laziest of workers will eventually tow the line.

It’s humbling to realize that ants, some of which are so small the human eye can easily miss, a species of insect that have already survived a mass extinction, can exist in such an organized manner.

Termites and Sentricon®

Spring and summer are the most active time for termites, although they forage all year long. They are voracious eaters, which in their business means hard workers. 24 hours a day they are working, eating through cellulose, finding new tunnels and digging through the wood structure of your home. With over $5 billion in damages to homes yearly, termites are a big threat to homeowners. Most termite damage is done before you realize it. That’s why it is important to have an inspection if you have any concern about termites in your house. Don’t wait, protect your most valuable asset today and maintain a renewable warranty or protection program.

Triple S Services uses Sentricon, an environmentally friendly system with a 100% success rate of eliminating termites. Sentricon not only kills the queen, but also targets current termites and colonies, and prevents future infestations. It is the only stand-alone system proven to eliminate the entire termite colony. Sentricon has independent research done by 30 universities and independent research organizations, and reported in 70 published scientific articles.

Benefits of Sentricon:

Help protect the environment by going green with Sentricon:

  • Minimal use of active ingredient
  • Active ingredient targeted specifically to termites
  • First termite treatment system to meet rigid EPA human and animal low impact standards
  • Winner of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

Sentricon protection is included in our Bundled Service Plan. Now you can keep your home protected all year long for $89 per month! This plan includes complete pest control, termite and mosquito control a well. Protect your home today, call us at 800-457-3785 or request service online.

 

Triple S Services is celebrating 35 years in business as a family owned and operated business.

The Zika Virus and Mosquitoes – What You Need to Know

There is a mosquito-borne virus making headlines: the Zika virus. Prior to 2015, the Zika virus was predominantly found in Africa, Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands. However, the disease has been found in South and Central America and is wide spread now in Brazil. It’s believed it will spread to the rest of the South American countries and North America with the exception of Chile and Canada as the temperatures warm and mosquitoes become more active.

What is the Zika virus?

Zika is a viral infection. It is spread by mosquitoes that have previously bitten an infected person. According to the CDC, “The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis. Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.” (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/index.html)

Zika is dangerous for pregnant women, as it has been known to cause microcephaly in fetuses.

How Can You Prevent Contracting the Zika Virus?

There is no vaccine for the Zika virus. The best method of avoidance is to prevent mosquito bites.

How Can Triple S Services Help You Avoid Mosquito Bites?

Triple S Services has a mosquito abatement program that is designed to treat your yard and perimeter of your home to create an inhospitable environment for mosquitoes to live and breed. By inspecting your home and yard, we can pinpoint areas that might be ideal breeding grounds and show you ways to prevent mosquitoes from invading your yard. We will also inspect points of entry to your home and spray the perimeter to keep mosquitoes away.

Mosquito Abatement Program Features

  • Seven service visits, 30 days apart, usually April – October
  • Treatment of immediate perimeter of the home…shrubs, low trees, mulch and flower beds
  • Inspect gutters and yard within 50 feet of your home
  • Empty standing water containers
  • Fine vapor, directed mist with minimal drift
  • Tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home

It is important to remember steps to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Be aware of peak hours for mosquito activity (dawn and dusk) and use extra protection during those hours
  • Avoid the use of perfumes and scented lotions.
  • Wear loose fitting, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks to cover your body.
  • Use a repellent containing DEET or picaridin, following label directions. For children, use repellents with no more than 10 percent DEET.
  • Keep windows, doors and screens closed to prevent mosquitoes from entering you home.
  • Use of citronella or carbon dioxide mosquito traps for a larger area can be effective deterrents for mosquitoes.
  • Maintain your lawn, and remove tall weeds and brush where mosquitoes like to rest.

Mosquito abatement treatments typically begin in April and end in October. However, it is important to remember the above steps if you are traveling to an area where Zika cases have been reported. For more information on the Zika virus and where it has been reported, visit www.cdc.gov. Another resource with helpful information is www.pestworld.com, created by the Virginia Pest Management Association and the National Pest Management Association.

Triple S Service would like to be your partner in combating the Zika virus in our region. Call us early to schedule your Mosquito Abatement program.

Health Hazards Posed by Mice

When you have a mice infestation, it is not only disruptive to your daily life, but can also pose health hazards. Mice eat 15-20 times a day, and with that amount of food intake, comes a lot of waste. Mice droppings and urine contain bacteria that can be harmful if inhaled or touched.

Another health risk associated with mice infestations is an allergic reaction to the fur and waste. According to a 2004 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, 82 % of homes (from a sample of 831 homes) in the US were reported to have mouse allergens. These allergens were found in dust in the homes.

The bottom line is that mice in your home can equal health issues that should be taken seriously.

If you find droppings in your home, the best method of cleaning is to spray with water, to ensure no airborne particles are released into the air. If possible, wear a mask when cleaning. Urine is a more difficult mess to clean, since it usually is undetected and dries before you see it.

In their search for food, mice are active in the kitchen. If you think you have a mice infestation, keep fruits and vegetables off of counters and keep dried food items in airtight containers.

Since mice rarely venture out alone, if you see one, chances are you have an infestation somewhere in your home. Home remedies and traps only work on the mice you see, but in order to fully rid your home of an infestation, the best method is to schedule an inspection to find the source of entry and methods to rid the mice you have and prevent more from coming inside. Call Triple S Services at 800-457-3785.

Triple ‘S’ Pest Services is celebrating it’s 35th year in 2016 as a family owned and operated business.

Canine Use for Pest Detection and Elimination

Canines are becoming widely used for pest detection and elimination, specifically for rats, mice and bed bugs.

Why canines?

Their keen sense of smell, over 10,000 times more sensitive than that of humans, makes them a useful tool for detecting rodents and bed bugs. To provide an example of their acute sense of smell: if a person walks into a bakery, he or she smells all of the wonderful different baked goods that have been made, whereas a dog can smell the type of flour that has been used as well as other specific ingredients. Their discerning nose is what makes them so good at sniffing out pests.

Canine Training

Working dogs are the best breeds for pest detection and elimination. The breeds of canines used for pest detection typically include Hounds and Beagles, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers and Aussies. However, not all dogs within these breeds are a good fit, just like there can be dogs in other breeds that are excellent for the job. It depends on the individual dog and their desire to “hunt.”

The dogs used are no different than dogs trained to sniff for drugs or cadavers. In the case of bed bugs, the dogs are trained with a careful process of learned behavior: eight-foot long wooden boards with capped PVC pipes are used with pieces of dog food on the end. The dogs are trained to smell the pipe and get to the food. They then learn a pattern. Live bed bugs are then added inside the pipe and the dogs are trained to smell live bed bugs. From there, the hunting habit is formed. The dog food is removed, and dogs are able to smell for the bed bugs.   From there, viles with bed bugs are hidden in other places, and when dogs smell it, we know they are trained.

In the case of a home or office with inhabitants that have allergies, dogs with short coats can be used. Also grooming is important—the dogs receive frequent baths as necessary.

Bed bugs:

It has been reported that canines have a 97% accuracy rate of detecting live bed bugs by scent compared to the 30% rate humans do by sight. Since bed bugs have five cycles in their lives, the easiest ones to see with the human eye are adults. Dogs are able to sniff them out at the various life cycle stages. Once detected, we then use our heat remediation or other elimination tools.

Rodents:

Dogs are useful for finding rats and they are also useful in eliminating them. The dogs can detect rat burrows, but also, kill a live rat quickly by snapping their neck. Mice aren’t as easily killed using dogs, but dogs are useful in finding mice burrows, which helps us then know where to treat for mice.

The use of canines is just one useful tool that we employ in our pest control services. To find out more information on how we can use canines to find rodents or bed bugs in your home or office, call us today at 800-457-3785.

 

 

Rodents: Rats and Mice

Cold weather sends rodents, particularly mice and rats, indoors — not to escape the cold, but to find food. Rodents have a fur coat to keep them warm, but when their outdoor food source starts to dwindle, they seek food in other places, such a home or other indoor dwelling. In the mid-Atlantic region, the most common types of mice are deer mice and the most common types of rats are the Norway brown rat and the black roof rat.

Rats

The Norway brown rat grows to approximately 1 pound and the black roof rat tops out at 12 ounces. They can enter a space as small as the size of a quarter. They both live near water sources: water drains, ponds streams and places where there is a lot of runoff water. They need food, water and shelter to survive and homes in neighborhoods. Rats are prolific procreators, so if there is one near your home, you can be sure there are more you don’t see.

Mice

Mice build nests and like to do so in warm dark places, such as insulation or other soft materials. They will gnaw and chew their way to food and it is possible to spot them scurrying around during the day. Mouse droppings are often mistaken for cockroach droppings. Here you can see the difference between rat, mice and cockroach droppings. If you see droppings or hear chewing or scurrying, chances are you have an infestation.

rodent_droppings

(Photo courtesy of http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/fasulo/vector/chapter_08.htm)

 

Similarities Between Mice and Rats

Rats and mice may look alike to you. Their physical features are similar, but their behaviors are not. Rats’ heads are larger and their ears are smaller, whereas mice have large ears and eyes for their smaller heads. And while their species are similar, rats will kill and eat mice. Mice will also eat other dead mice (but will not kill their own for food) and even sometimes will self-cannibalize, eating their own tails if they are truly starving. Mice prefer grains, seeds, fruit and seeds as a diet, and rats will eat practically anything, including non-food items such as plastic and rocks. Mice fear rats, and if they smell them they will leave. Both rats and mice carry diseases that can be harmful to human health and their feces spread the diseases.

Prevention

The best way to prevent rodents in your home or commercial property is to seal up points of entry. Places of entry around the home such as pipes entries, HVAC units, and doorways are common. If you can see daylight, seal it up. Mice can get into a space a small as a dime and rats can enter a space the size of a quarter. Keep your food in sealed containers and up off of the floor. Inspect your garage for bird or grass seed or any food.

Triple S can inspect for entry points and seal them. Our experienced technicians know where to look and can show you what to look for in the future. We look for rub marks, places that the oil from the fur of rodents have rubbed against baseboards or points of entry. In some cases we will use a black light to find traces of rodent urine.   Mass trapping is the most effective way to eliminate rodents from your property and to learn the full extent of the infestation. While there are products you can use such as baits and traps, Triple S cautions property owners since rodents do carry very dangerous diseases. Also, dealing with the toxic chemicals in rodent bait can pose health risks to children and pets.

Some sanitation rules include:

Dampening rodent droppings before picking them up to prevent fungal spores from becoming airborne.

  • Wearing a mask when you clean rodent droppings.
  • Disposing of any food around where you’ve found evidence of a rodent.
  • Sanitizing the area where dropping have been found.

Two of the more recognizable diseases carried by rodents include the Bubonic Plague and hantavirus. Both can be deadly if not caught and treated properly.

Rodents can pose serious risks if they are in your property. If you find evidence of a rodent infestation call Triple S Service to schedule your inspection right away. 800-457-3785.