How To Detect Mice In Your Home & What To Do About It

This year the presence of mice has increased due to the mild winter we had last year. When the weather is warmer, mice will reproduce at a more rapid rate. Now that temperatures have dropped outside this winter, these mice are looking for warm places to hide. These are some tell-tale signs that you may have a mice problem:

  • Droppings – The droppings are very tiny (about ¼ of an inch) and have pointed ends. If you notice a space on your floors where there appears to be dirt in an unusual space, take a closer look to rule out mice.
  • Holes in your storage boxes or bins – If you notice holes in storage bins or boxes, mice may be near. Mice need materials like paper and other durable materials to build their nests and are likely searching your storage boxes for supplies to do so.
  • Unusual noises at night – Mice are nocturnal. If you’re hearing odd noises or scratching at night in the walls or attic, it could be a sign mice are active in your home.
  • Rubbing or gnaw marks – If you notice oil marks or small teeth marks on your walls or moulding, mice could be creating their own paths in your house.

Wondering what can be done to prevent getting mice in the first place?  Here are a few steps you can take to prevent mice:

  • Seal up possible entry points – A mouse can fit through an opening the size of a dime. Check walls and the exterior of your home for small holes or openings.
  • Check screens and vents – Check screens to doors or vents for the chimney for tears and repair them as soon as possible.
  • Keep areas like your basement and attic dry – Mice love moisture. Keep the humidity levels low in your basement and attic.
  • Dispose of your trash on a regular basis – Food and garbage left in your home for too long can attract mice inside. Make sure you’re taking the trash outside on a daily basis.

If you see some of these signs of mice activity, give Triple ‘S’ Pest Services a call to come inspect your home.

The Weather is Frightful, But a Pest-Free Home is Delightful

Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean overwintering pests and rodents are hibernating. As temperatures drop, it can be harder to find a food source and your home provides that food source they’re searching for. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to prep your home this season to keep pests and rodents out. Check out our checklist below to determine if you’re winter ready!

  1. Find and seal the crevices and openings to your home – It sounds simple, but really look closely to see what openings or cracks you find. Pests and rodents don’t need a large gap to find an entry point into your home. A mouse can fit through an opening about the size of a dime and a rat can fit through an opening about the size of a quarter.
  2. Store hardwood at least 25 feet away from your house – It may be a pain to walk a little further to get hardwood to build a fire, but pests love to live in hardwood piles. Storing the piles closer to your home gives them easier access to get inside.
  3. Tightly seal items in your pantry – Store cereals or snacks in airtight containers. Cardboard boxes and bags with chip clips will not keep the pests away.
  4. Install vent screens over your chimney and shafts – It’s a simple and easy shield for blocking overwintering pests.
  5. Clear the clutter – Your clutter is a pest’s treasure. Organize and clean out storage spaces to avoid an unexpected surprise next time you need something from your storage closet.
  6. Repair leaks – Water accumulation attracts pests and serves as a breeding ground for some overwintering pests. Check your plumbing and repair any leaks you find.

As always, if you see an invader in your home and are not sure how to properly identify it, contact our staff entomologists (the bug doctors!) to help out!

Tips for a Pest-Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of our personal favorite holidays! Who doesn’t love indulging in delicious food and a day spent with loved ones? While it may be one of the best days of the year, your leftover Thanksgiving feast could quickly become a pest or rodent’s heaven. Here are a few simple tips to keep your house pest and rodent-free.

  1. Don’t leave food out overnight – Leaving food out overnight can attract pests and rodents into your home as they search for a feeding source. A mouse can fit into your home through an opening that’s the size of a dime, and a rat can fit through an opening that’s the size of a quarter.
  2. Take your trash out – Even if the trash can isn’t full, if you have left over turkey carvings, uneaten stuffing, or sides, pests and rodents will still be tempted to enter your home. After you’re done eating, put the trash in the bin or dumpster outside.
  3. Clean pots and pans – Clean the pots and pans your feast was cooked in on the same evening. Dirty dishes left out overnight can attract pests like ants and roaches.
  4. Don’t leave the door open – When family fills your home, it can get a little toasty in the house, but be cautious of leaving the door open for extended periods of time especially if you don’t have a screen door. An open door is an open invitation.

We hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare for Thursday. Safe travels and happy eating!

Spiders & What You Need to Know

With the arrival of fall and cooler temperatures, we commonly hear from our customers that they are seeing more spiders around their home. Depending on the type of spider, the presence of them in your home is not always a bad thing. Here are some facts about spiders you might not know.

  1. Spiders can be effective pest control. Spiders feed on common indoor pests like cockroaches, mosquitos, flies, earwigs, and moths. If left alone, spiders may eat most of the indoor pests in your home proving to be effective pest control for you.
  2. Spiders kill other spiders. When spiders come in contact with each other they typically battle it out to see who is the dominant spider. The battle results in the winner eating the loser.
  3. Spiders are vital to a healthy ecosystem. In addition to eating other pests, they pollinate plants and recycle dead plants and animals back onto the Earth. They also serve as a food source for other animals like birds and fish.
  4. There are over 38,000 known species of spiders. While some are harmless, others are not. If you’re unsure about a spider in your home or backyard, trap it and send us a photo. Our team of entomologists can help identify the species that you’re seeing. Contact our entomologists here.
  5. Keep out spiders by eliminating their entry point and food source. Like with many other pests, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of sealing your doors and window tightly. Broken seals allow other pests to get in your home, which leads to spiders following them to get their dinner. Your home is also an attractive place to hang out as it gets colder outside.

Bed Bugs: What You Need to Know & How to Prevent Them

Bed bug activity has increased rapidly in the past five years and has left many people wondering why these pests have made a comeback. Here’s what you need to know about bed bugs and the things you can do to prevent them in your home (hint: it’s not just about cleanliness).

  • Bed bugs travel. Furniture, clothing, and bedding are all items that bed bugs can live and travel in. If you’re getting second-hand furniture or clothing make sure you inspect it before bringing it into your home.
  • Bed bugs are capable of surviving without feeding for up to a year. If you detect signs of bed bug activity it’s important you call to treat your home because they won’t go away on their own.
  • Vacuum frequently.
  • Reduce clutter to reduce the number of places bed bugs can hide.
  • If you’ve been somewhere that you suspect there may have been bed bugs, put your clothes in straight in the dryer at a high temperature. Heat will kill bed bugs, water will not.
  • Mattress encasements make it easy to detect bed bugs by trapping them and making them easier to see.

Call Triple S Pest Control if you need an inspection or are suspicious you have a bed bug bite. 703-368-8000

Protect Yourself from Tick Bites

Ticks are so small and hidden to the human eye that preventing a tick bite may seem next to impossible. However, there are preventative measures you can take to protect yourself and your family if you’re adventuring outside or even playing in the yard.

  • Know Your Surroundings – Ticks can be found in your yard, the woods, or brush piles. Be conscious when you’re outside. After being outside, high heat can kill ticks. Remove your clothing and put it directly in the dryer on high heat to kill loose ticks.
  • Use Permethrin – Products that contain .5% permethrin can help to repel ticks. You can find these products at places like Walmart. Spray the permethrin on clothing, outdoor shoes or camping gear. The permethrin will remain active through several washings.
  • Wear Light Colored Clothing – Light colored clothing makes it much easier to spot ticks on you.
  • Go Long – Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when feasible to minimize the amount of skin that’s exposed.
  • Wear Insect Repellant – Many insect repellants are effective at preventing ticks. A repellant that contains deet is a good option and easy to find.
  • Check Your Furry Friends – We all love to cuddle with our animals, but they can carry ticks in the house after being outside. Give your dog or cat a thorough check for ticks and keep your animals off the couch or bed.

Virginia has a large population of deer ticks, which are notorious for transmitting Lyme disease. Put these suggested practices into place and make sure you soak up all the good that the remainder of summer has to offer!

The 3D’s to Mosquito Protection

As we wrap up National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, we thought we would provide you with a few facts and tips about how to control mosquitoes at your home and how to protect yourself from these blood sucking bugs when you venture outside. According to a study from the Center for Disease Control, disease cases from infected mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas have tripled in the past 13 years, which makes protecting yourself and loved ones even more critical.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, always remember the 3D’s (thanks American Mosquito Control Association!)

  1. Drain – Mosquitoes love water and they need it to breed. Make sure you drain the still water around your home. This task may sound simple, but are there areas you may not be thinking about? Some common places people forget to drain water or eliminate the area containing water include: canoes/boats in a driveway, water collecting on a pool cover, children’s toys, a pet’s water bowl, and leaking faucets. There may be some instances where you can’t eliminate the water source for mosquitoes to breed. If this is the case, we strongly recommend signing up for a mosquito abatement program and help control the presence of mosquitoes.
  2. Dress – Mosquitoes are attracted to dark color clothing more than light color clothing. They can also bite through tight fitting clothes. If you’re going out for a hike in the woods, wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. If it’s possible you can protect yourself even more by wearing long sleeves and pants to minimize the amount of skin exposed.
  3. Defend – Mosquito repellant is so important if you’re going to be outside for an extended amount of time. Four repellants that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency include: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR 3535. Make sure you read the repellant bottle carefully for instructions for application and to understand the ingredients used in each repellant (no allergic reactions wanted!)

We hope you have found these tips helpful. Our team is here to answer any questions you may have or help you determine if a mosquito abatement program is right for you. Give us a call at (703) 929-3782.

5 Ways to Detect Lyme Disease

Earlier this week we shared a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on our Facebook page that found disease cases from ticks, fleas and mosquitoes have tripled in the last 13 years. In this month’s post, we would like to focus on Lyme disease.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Every year 30,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported in the U.S. and this number is likely higher as it can go undiagnosed in many people. This disease is a tricky one to treat as symptoms vary largely from person to person and some may not even experience symptoms at first. Here are a few things you need to know about Lyme disease and how you can detect it early:

  • Symptoms can take 3 to 30 days to appear – You won’t experience symptoms immediately after a tick bite, so it’s important to keep an eye on the site closely and be aware of how your body is feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, follow your gut and see your doctor to be tested for Lyme disease.
  • A majority of cases have been reported in the Northeast region of the U.S. – If you check out this map, you’ll see that a large majority of cases of Lyme disease were reported by residents in the northeast region of the U.S. from Virginia to Maine.
  • 70% to 80% of people experience a rash – Many people will experience a “bulls-eye” rash at the site of the bite. The rash is typically not itchy or painful and can have a bulls-eye look to it as the rash gets larger. Some people have even seen the rash on other areas of their body where they were not bitten.
  • Symptoms vary greatly across cases – People with Lyme disease have experienced symptoms such as headaches, joint pain or swelling, facial palsy, dizziness, shortness of breath, numbness in the hands or feet, and short-term memory loss. These are symptoms of many other medical conditions as well, but it’s important to get tested for Lyme disease if you are experiencing these symptoms to rule it out.
  • Early detection is key – Many patients who are treated for Lyme disease early recover rapidly and completely. The longer Lyme disease goes undetected symptoms may become more severe and treatment may be more complicated.

Although, it is impossible to completely eliminate the presence of ticks outside there are ways to greatly reduce their presence. Contact Triple S Pest Services today at 703-368-8000 to talk about treatment to prevent and reduce the presence of ticks in your yard. For more information on Lyme disease, read this comprehensive brochure from the CDC.

How to Prepare for the Arrival of Mosquitos

The warm spring weather may be slow to arrive this year, but prime mosquito season is on the cusp of beginning. While you may think of mosquitos only being present in the summertime, it actually only takes an outside temperate of 50⁰F for mosquitoes to start lurking around your home and backyard.

Aside from that annoying itch you get from a mosquito bite, that bite can become a real concern if that mosquito is carrying a virus. In Virginia, a common health threat from mosquitoes is the Zika virus. Typical Zika symptoms are a fever, rash, red eyes, joint pain, headaches or muscle pain. While it is typically not a life-threatening virus, it raises big concerns for women who are pregnant since Zika has been linked to birth defects.

However, the point of this post isn’t to scare you, but to help you get prepared, so you can enjoy your summer with a peace of mind. Here are our top 5 tips to conquer mosquito season!

  1. Sign up for a mosquito abatement program – People typically wait until mosquitos are present to sign up for a mosquito abatement program, which is a big mistake. By that point in time, mosquitos have already established their breeding population, and it’s much harder to eradicate the problem. Sign up for our mosquito abatement program today to get ahead of the issue.
  2. Reduce the items in your yard that collect water – Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitos. Reduce the items left out in your yard like a wheelbarrow, buckets, or empty flower pots that collect water when it rains. Otherwise, mosquitos will be treating your backyard like their next big party spot.
  3. Make your own repellant – It’s not ideal (or practical) to have a citronella candle burning inside your home to keep mosquitos away 24/7. A home remedy we would suggest is apple cider vinegar with a little bit of parsley. Leave a small cup of this mixture on a couple of windowsills or tables to help naturally repel mosquitoes away.
  4. Spray deet – If you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, we strongly recommend spraying on a mosquito repellant that contains deet. Deet can help keep the mosquitoes away while allowing you to enjoy your next outdoor adventure.
  5. Repair cracks and leaks – Lastly, check your foundation and walls for cracks and your pipes for leaks. Mosquitos can easily get inside through a small crack or crevice and water from a leak will attract them as well.

If you have additional questions about mosquitos, don’t hesitate to contact one of our pest experts or as we like to call them, “the bug doctors” to find answers.

Triple S Employee Spotlight

We recently sat down with our Termite Service Manager, Mark, to hear about why he enjoys working for Triple S Pest Services and what sets us apart from our competitors. Mark has been with us for 35 years, and a fun fact about him is that he was the second employee ever hired by Triple S Pest Services. His hard work, loyalty and dedication make him an extremely valuable employee and member of the Triple S family. If you’re interested in learning more about working at Triple S Pest Services, check out our current openings and employee benefits.

Q: What has kept you at Triple S over the years?

Triple S is a good company where they treat their employees fairly and stay true to their word. I have been in work environments where management would go back on their word and that’s something that doesn’t happen at Triple S. Before I joined Triple S, I knew Phil and Joe Sfreddo and worked with them in Maryland for years. They taught me everything I knew about inspections. Later on down the road, I met their brother Clem (founder of Triple S) and that was when I was hired at Triple S and I’ve been here ever since.

Q: What do you think is special or unique about working for a local business like Triple S?

At Triple S, I can honestly say they care about their employees. It has been a totally unique experience working for a private company versus a nationally-owned company where policies are set in stone. When you work for a local business, you can talk to the owner and share your experiences and feedback without having to be afraid to talk about it. You have personal relationships with management. I remember years ago when I first started I completed a termite inspection for a real estate agent and I found termites. Another company also completed an inspection and said there was no termite activity, which made the agent question the validity of my inspection report. It was very important to me to maintain my reputation and prove that I did find termite activity. I remember I went back out with Phil and met the real estate agent to show where I found the termites and have Phil verify it. If it were a national company, you wouldn’t see an owner taking time out of their day to come out and help resolve the problem.

Q: What do you think differentiates Triple S from its competitors?

Hands down our customer service. We do our best to make everything right and best serve all of our customers. At Triple S we truly care about our customers and their satisfaction.

Q: What is a business lesson you learned during your time working with our founder Clem?

The most important thing I learned from Clem is that you make sure you always do what you say you are going to do and do not overpromise or tell a customer you’re going to do something that you can’t deliver on. His lesson reigns true in my work today, “Don’t overpromise and always over deliver.”