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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.

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!

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.”

 

 

Spring into Warmer Weather Pest-Free

Warmer weather will be here before you know it, and with the arrival of spring comes the arrival of all those insects and pests that seem to disappear in the winter like ants, bees, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Termites also become more active as the weather warms up. The best time to prepare and prevent these pests from doing any damage is now. Being proactive about treating your home is always the most effective route to take.

Our Bundled Services Plan provides maximum protection (and saves you almost $500 annually!) for your home covering:

  • Six visits per year covering 26 insects and common household pests
  • Bi-annual termite prevention visits
  • Seven mosquito abatement inspections and ­treatments, April – October
  • Peace of mind knowing you are ­protecting your home and family from ­damage, ­disease and unwanted pests.

In addition to Triple S Pest Services providing regular service for your home, there are a few things you can do as well to minimize insects and pests.

  1. Sweep and vacuum frequently – Get rid of debris and crumbs that serve as a food source for pests.
  2. Take the trash out regularly – If the trashcan is full, make sure you don’t leave it sitting for a few days. What’s your trash is a bug’s feast.
  3. Seal the food in your pantry – Don’t leave that cereal box open and make sure containers are fully sealed. Leaving food open welcomes pantry pests and ants.
  4. Get rid of stagnant water outside – Check around your yard for water that’s not draining or kid’s toys or pots filled with water. This standing water attracts mosquitoes to your backyard.
  5. Plant lavender – We may love the smell of lavender, but mosquitoes hate it. Plant some lavender in your yard or put some out around your home. The plant will act as natural repellant.

We hope these tips have been helpful! Call us today at (703) 368-8000 to set up a free inspection and discuss which one of our many service plans works best for you!

Eliminating Overwintering Pests

Temperatures may be dropping minimizing the pests you see outside, but you could see more pests inside your home. That’s because as it gets cold outside certain pests will “overwinter” or “survive the winter”. To put it in simple terms think about the snowbirds that travel to Florida each winter to escape the cold. Pests try to do the same, but their “Florida” is your home.

What are some common overwintering pests you may see? We commonly hear about spiders, ants, box elder bugs, ladybugs, cockroaches, crickets, stink bugs, and mosquitos.

If you’re looking to evict these pests, we have a few pointers to help.

  1. Make sure your doors and windows are sealed properly to eliminate the entry points for the pests.
  2. Minimize your lighting outside and turn off unnecessary lights inside as many overwintering pests are attracted to light.
  3. Install a damper if you have a chimney. After a fire, the chimney is an easy way for pests to get in. Adding a damper at the top of your chimney can help greatly with blocking pests from entering.
  4. Keep your house squeaky clean. Your mess can be an overwintering pest’s feast and provide them with the food supply they are looking for.

If overwintering pests are becoming a bother in your home, give us a call today. Our technicians can inspect your home for these types of overwintering pests and determine the proper treatment. Stumped about what kind of pest you’re seeing? We have staff entomologists, aka “the bug doctors”, to correctly identify how to treat the pest you’re seeing appropriately.

Our Story: 37 Years in Business and Counting

In January of 1981, spearheaded by Clem Sfreddo along with his two brothers, Phil and Joe, Triple ‘S’ Pest Control was founded here in Manassas. These brothers decided to take a risk, and now 37 years later that risk has paid off and Triple ‘S’ has grown to become one of the Top 100 Pest Management companies in the U.S.

Family owned and operated since inception, the Triple ‘S’ philosophy is really quite simple – quality service at an affordable price that guards human and environmental health.

Initially, the business focused on residential pest control only, but that focus shifted in 1985 when Triple ‘S’ began to also service commercial accounts, mostly apartment and condominium buildings. As expertise in the concepts and practices of Integrated Pest Management (“IPM”) developed and expanded beginning in 1989, the business began to service health care, food service and other commercial industry clients.

In 2000, family, friends, and employees were shaken up and deeply saddened when one of the founders, Clem, passed away. His sons Tony and Phil wanted the Triple ‘S’ legacy to live on and embody all the great things Clem believed in. Both sons had been with the company for about a decade at the time when they officially took the family business over and they still run it together today.

“My father always used to tell me we are not given or guaranteed customers. People don’t care what you know until they know you care,” said Tony. “Talk with your customers, but listen to them even more.”  This mindset continues to permeate how Tony and Phil run the business today.

Triple ‘S’ may be a small business, but it’s a mighty business making a difference in the local community. Call today at 703-368-8000 or 800-457-3785 to experience top-notch customer service and pest control.

Happy Anniversary Triple ‘S’!

5 Tips to Prevent Mice This Winter

Cooler weather is here, which leaves some pests and rodents seeking shelter and warmth. This time of year, we receive multiple calls about mice making unwanted visits in people’s homes. We’re sure mice in your home aren’t on your holiday wish list, so we’ve pulled together five tips to help keep them away.

  • Keep your doors closed: This sounds simple and intuitive, but it’s easy to forget to close the garage door or leave the door open if you accidentally burn something in the kitchen. Make a conscious effort with your roommates or family to keep the doors closed as much as possible.
  • Seal the cracks in your home: Make sure doors and windows are sealed tight and cracks in the drywall or foundation are repaired. Mice can fit through an opening about the size of a dime, so even the smallest cracks and crevices can invite them in.
  • Don’t invite them to enjoy your leftovers: If you have leftovers or dirty dishes in the sink, don’t leave them sitting out for long periods of time or mice are more likely to be drawn into your home for a bedtime snack.
  • Keep storage away from the perimeter of your home: It may seem easier to keep the firewood right next to your back door, but that makes a nice home for a mouse and easier for them to move into your home. We recommend keeping stockpiles at least 20 yards away from your house if possible.
  • Use peppermint oil: Mice can’t stand the smell of peppermint. Put a couple of drops of peppermint oil on a cloth or paper towel and leave it near where mice may try to enter your home or at the bottom of the trash can. This is a natural and safe way to repel them.

If you still experience signs of mice in your home, give us a call to come out and inspect your home to determine the best method to eliminate them.