pest management

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

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!

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!

How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling

Bed bugs are no fun to have and are very hard to get rid of. If you are planning to travel this holiday season you will want to prepare yourself well to help prevent bringing any bed bugs back to your home. Trying to prevent bed bugs while traveling can be very hard nowadays. There are certain pesticides that are being banned and the increase in ease of travel has caused bed bugs to come back and allowed them to grow in number and locations. Don’t let bed bugs follow you home with the help of these tips.

Tips To Help Keep You Free of Bed Bugs

  • Check online at www.bedbugregistry.com to help make sure your travel location has not experienced a recent outbreak of bed bugs.
  • Pack a flashlight: A flashlight can be used to search the room you’re staying in.
  • Check areas that bed bugs can be using as hiding areas: Bed, headboard, the nightstand, behind mirrors, pictures, in crevices of furniture, and around electrical outlets.
  • Before packing your clothes put them inside plastic bags.
  • Try to only bring clothes that can be washed at high temperatures: If you do bring bed bugs home washing your clothes at really high temperatures helps kill any bed bugs present.
  • Leave your luggage on a luggage stand. Do not leave your suitcase open when you are not using it.
  • Keep an eye out for the signs of bed bugs: Brown or reddish spots on bed linens or mattresses, a sweet or musty odor when there is a large infestation, shed bed bug skins, and little red bite marks on your skin upon waking.
  • When you get home check all your belongings: If you find bed bugs wash all your clothes at very high temperatures and treat your suitcase.
  • If you find bed bugs, or think you may have them, call a professional pest control company.

If you are planning on traveling and don’t want to get bed bugs, follow these tips. If you do bring home bed bugs, call Triple S Pest Control today. The experts at Triple S will be able to help determine if you have indeed brought home bed bugs from your trip, and will be able to help you get rid of them. Triple S will also be able to help by giving you tips to help prevent the return of bed bugs and how you can keep from spreading them to others.

Bed Bugs Do's & Don'ts

Bed bugs are everybody’s worst nightmare. Once you have them, they are very tough to get rid of, and it can cost a lot to contain the problem. Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood. Bed bugs can also be spread to other places if you are not careful, which makes them harder to get rid of.

So if you think you may have bed bugs, here are a few do’s and don’ts for dealing with them

Don’t change sleeping spots and don’t go stay with others

Bed bugs will travel with you to new places and spread. Leaving your home is not an option either because bed bugs will become dormant until you return in which case they will start biting again. So staying in your home and continuing to sleep in the same bed as normal is the best way to get rid of the bedbugs during treatment.

Save any bed bugs you find

If you find any bugs pick them up with clear tape then tape them to an index card. Pest control people will be able to identify them for you and you may also want to show them to your landlord.

Rule out other possible conditions

Make sure to try and rule out other possible conditions such as folliculitis, scabies, and bites from other insects. Going to a doctor may not always help because they can not tell for certain if you have bed bug bites.

Don’t think that you are the only one being bitten

Not everyone reacts to bed bug bites because bed bug bites are an allergic reaction. Reactions can range from not showing up at all to being quite severe.

Don’t start throwing out your furniture

Most mattresses can be treated by pest control. You can then ask the pest control officer if they think you should get rid of your old furniture and they can help you do it safely. If you throw out an infested mattress or sofa someone else could pick it up and then they will have bedbugs.

Don’t start buying a lot of chemicals to treat the problem yourself

If you don’t know exactly what you are doing, using chemicals can cause the bugs to disperse making it harder for PCOs to treat them and get rid of them properly. Using pesticides can also spread the bed bugs around your home.

Don’t use a bug bomb or fogger

Using these will cause the bugs to spread ,making your problem even more of a problem than before.

If you still have questions or concerns about bed bugs call the professionals at Triple S pest control today at 703-348-9561 to see how they can help you get rid of those pesky bed bugs.

How to Enjoy the Summer – Without the Bugs

There’s something about summer: running around in flip-flops, hitting the beach, getting outside without layers and layers of gear. Summer is great!

But why does there have to be so many bugs?

Well, the trouble is that bugs like the heat, even more than we do. They’re cold-blooded, which means they gain heat from their environment. The more heat, the more active bugs are, the faster larvae grow, and the more they like to eat. That makes pest control in Virginia a challenge.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid their notice:

  • Lay off the perfume and scented lotion. You no doubt smell lovely, but you smell just as delicious to bugs. That’s because many scents mimic natural smells, including citrus, flowers and sugar, all things that bugs like.

  • Use unscented bug spray with DEET. Bloodsuckers like mosquitoes and ticks love your natural scent, so that’s why the spray is necessary. It doesn’t keep them from flying near you, however. You just stop smelling like something to bite.

  • Clean up. Often, bug problems are exacerbated by the physical conditions of the environment. So make sure that your yard doesn’t harbor the environments they favor: standing water, tall grass, and poor drainage are all common culprits.

If you are still having problems with bugs and you want to get rid them or other pests, call the pest management specialists at Triple S: (703)-348-9561

 

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.

 

Out, Mouse! Simple Tips To Get Rid of Mice

It starts with rustling in the attic and walls. You try to convince yourself you’re imagining it. Soon you start smelling the musty odor and you pretend it’s simply dust. But when you find droppings, there’s no mistaking it: You’ve got mice.

Mice are nightmare houseguests. They carry disease, destroy insulation and foodstuff with their nesting and foraging, gnaw on wires to start fires and leave nasty smelling droppings everywhere they go. If you’ve got mice, you’ve got a big problem that’s only going to get bigger. They can give birth to half a dozen young every three weeks. They can multiply out of control in a hurry. That’s why it’s important to act quickly when you realize you have an infestation.

Traps are the only reliable way for a homeowner to get rid of mice. Poison simply doesn’t work as well — aside from the difficulty of keeping it from kids and pets, unlike ants, mice don’t share their food. And you don’t want a poisoned mouse to crawl off and die in a wall somewhere.

Here are some tips for trapping mice:

  • Set up traps where you see a lot of activity (you can tell by the density of the droppings) or near a “mouse run” (usually dark smear along the bottoms of walls caused by oily mouse bodies running alongside it). If you’re worried about kids and pets disturbing the traps, put them inside a pvc pipe or a coffee can.
  • Check traps frequently, and dispose of the dead mice wearing gloves.
  • Continue placing traps until two or three days pass without killing any mice.
  • Clean up the droppings and urine daily with bleach so that you will know whether there are any fresh ones. Use a mask to avoid breathing in any pathogens.

Proactively seek out where rodents are gaining entry to your house. Seal openings around pipes and exhausts with foaming insulation or caulk. Seal windows and doors with weatherstripping. Place wire mesh over and openings you suspect they may be entering through.

If you have mice and want the problem dealt with quickly and effectively, call the pest management specialists at Triple S: (877)415-8724