bug control

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!

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

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.

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!

Cicadas Emerging in the Area Soon

Cicadas — an etymological marvel. As pest management specialists, there’s nothing we appreciate more. There are several hundred species of cicadas throughout the world, and they have a peculiar life span. They spend most of it underground, emerging on regular cycles of 13 or 17 years — and this year, the swarmageddon is upon us once again.

This year’s swarm is known as Magicicada Brood II, or simply Brood II. Its last emergence was in 1996.

Cicadas emerge when the daytime soil temperature at 8 inches deep rises to 65 degrees, and they spend the next several weeks mating and laying eggs, only to die off and leave their funky-smelling carcasses everywhere.

Cicadas are totally harmless. They don’t bite, they are edible (a delicacy, according to some) and their only vice (apart from their horror-movie appearance) is that the females slice open tree trunks to lay their eggs in, which can damage young trees. For pest management of young trees, simply cover them with mosquito netting until the swarm has passed.

They have no natural defense mechanisms, and instead have evolved what’s called a “satiation defense” — basically, they reproduce by the millions in the hopes that enough of them will survive their predators (birds, squirrels, snakes, raccoons, etc.) to ensure the next generation.

If you’re planning any outdoor events before the end of June, be aware that cicadas will likely join the party. But by Independence day, they’ll all be dormant again for another 17 years.