Tag Archives: exterminating

Bats: Friend Or Foe? The Myths Vs Facts Of A Misunderstood Species

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An unfortunate reality of pest control is the need to trap and remove nuisance wildlife. Often there is a delicate balance between satisfying the needs of the customer and also protecting the environment and supporting animal welfare. We have found that bats in particular are often misunderstood. We believe that if people understood how bats actually behave and what their impact really is, they might look at their pest situation in a whole new light.

Bat Myth: Bats are a pest that should always be removed and eliminated

Bat Fact: In some situations bats can be beneficial. Since bats feed entirely on insects there are studies showing that bats can reduce the population of mosquitoes and other flying pests. A single bat can consume around 1,000 mosquitoes or other flying critters in a single hour! It is not uncommon for one bat to consume between 6,000 and 8,000 insects per night.

Did You Know: Bats are beginning to be used in agriculture as a natural alternative to pesticides. The concept is simple: the farmer simply creates and maintains a “bat cave” habitat on the premises. In exchange for “room and board” the bats go to work patrolling the fields and plucking out of the air any insect that might potentially threaten the farmer’s crops. This harmonious partnership between farmer and bat is one scenario where the bats are far from pests.

Bat Myth: Bats commonly spread rabies

Bat Fact: While it is true that bats are among the many species of mammal that can become infected with rabies, within the United States they rarely pass this disease on to humans. Although caution and good judgment should always be used, being in the presence of bats under normal circumstances does not mean imminent danger. For one thing, it is not possible for bats to carry rabies without becoming sick themselves. This means that any affected bats are sure to die off and cannot harbor rabies over the course of their natural lifespan. The disease changes the behavior of the bat as it becomes sick, so if a bat is acting abnormally such as flying erratically, being out during the daytime, or lying incapacitated by the roadside this should be seen as a red flag. Many cases of rabies transmission between humans and bats involve a sick bat being picked up off the ground and handled without gloves.

Based on statistics it is extremely unlikely to contract rabies from a bat. Although many people are afraid of bats and use rabies to justify this, the statistical facts tell a different story. According to the U.S. Goverment Department of Natural Resources, more people are killed by lightning strikes and dog attacks than rabid bats. In the past 50 years there have been only 40 documented deaths in the US from rabies transmitted by bats. Other mammals such as raccoon, foxes, and skunks all generally have higher rates of rabies prevalence than bats although they do not usually inspire as much fear.

Big-eared-townsend-fledermaus

Did You Know: Rabies is a disease that affects the nervous system of it’s victims and can be passed through a variety of bodily fluids. After infection there is an incubation period during which it is possible to cure the disease, but by the time symptoms develop it is almost always fatal. Among people that handle bats closely through their work or hobbies (such as caving) extra precautions are taken. Seek immediate medical attention if a bat dropping enters the eye or an open wound, there is a scratch, bite, or any exchange of fluids of any kind between a bat and human even if the bat appears healthy.

Myth: Bats Are Typically Aggressive Towards Humans

Fact: By their nature bats are not generally aggressive towards people. it is extremely rare for a North American bat to attack a human under any normal circumstances. At the 29th Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research, one spokesman was quoted as saying “In our collective experience, bats seldom are aggressive, even when sick”

Did You Know: In the tropical rain forests of South America there is a bat species called the vampire bat. They latch onto their prey and feed off of their blood

Myth: Calling a Pest Control Company Will Only lead To the Destruction Of The Bat Population

Fact: At Arrow Exterminating we strive to safely remove and relocate any bats that are considered pests. We are animal lovers ourselves and never kill or mistreat bats during the course of the job. Bats may be considered a pest if they roost inside a residence or another unwelcome location. Their droppings will begin to accumulate in and around the nesting site, which can give off a musky odor. This is not only unsanitary, but also potentially unsafe. Bat droppings could contain a fungus that is harmful to inhale, especially in unventilated areas. Bats can also be noisy, and their high pitch squealing is especially irritating to dogs because they are more sensitive to sounds in that range. 

Did You Know: Since all bat species in North America feed exclusively on insects, bat droppings (also known as guano) have a powdery, ashy texture because their made up of any bits of insect that bat’s can’t digest.

Bed Bug FAQ

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What are bed bugs and what do they look like?

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed solely on human blood. They are tiny, wingless, rust-colored, and flat in shape. They are roughly 1-7 millimeters in length, which is barely bigger that a comma (comparable in size to Abraham Lincoln’s head on a penny).

Who is at risk for getting bed bugs? Are they related to poor hygiene or living conditions?

Bed bugs can affect anyone regardless of their situation. They have mastered the art of going undetected, and often hitch onto the luggage of travelers. They can survive up to a month without a blood meal while spreading this way. The most luxurious hotels have the same risk of hosting bed bugs as any other. They can infest buses, subways, trains, couches, offices, and movie theaters. Some people may be completely unaware that they are carrying them if they have no bites or have not yet been bitten. Check the national bed bug registry prior to traveling to avoid hotels with reported bed bug issues

Can bed bugs spread disease? What health risk do they pose?

Bed bugs are not known to transmit any disease, and so their presence is considered more of a nuisance than a health hazard. They feed during the night, and the worst they can do is cause itchy bites and loss of sleep. That being said, there is a small minority of people who may experience a severe allergic reaction to their bites. Excessively scratching their bites can also lead to skin infection or scarring.

How can I know for sure whether I have a bed bug infestation? What are the telltale signs?

Identifying bed bugs can be tricky. Since everyone reacts differently, some people may not have noticeable bite marks or the marks may take as long as 14 days to develop. Bite marks may be visible anywhere on the body and are commonly seen on the stomach, face, arms, etc. Since the marks can be confused with the bite of mosquitoes, fleas, or even a rash, it is important to verify that you have an infestation in other ways as well. Although bed bugs can spread all around a room or even a whole apartment, they will be in their highest concentration around the bed itself.

  • Carefully inspect the seams, folds, and creases of any affected mattresses. Check the seams of the sheets and pillow cases as well. Search the nooks and crannies of the headboard. It helps to use a flashlight.
  • Look for tiny rust-colored spots along the creases and folds of the fabric. These spots of blood or excrement are a sure sign of bed bugs. Look for tiny exoskeletons left behind after molting. Although bed bugs are small, they are visible to the naked eye and can sometimes be spotted this way on the mattress.
  • If possible, place double-sided tape around the legs of the bed-frame to trap them as they climb onto the bed.
  • Bed bugs are most active at night, especially around dawn or early morning. When inspecting with a flashlight keep in mind that bed bugs are more likely to be seen out in the open at this time. Since bed bugs are small in size, do not fly, jump, or run and tend to stay in hiding they can be difficult to spot on the move under normal conditions

Once I am sure that I have bed bugs, what can I do to prevent against spreading them?

Bed bugs do not latch onto people for any length of time while biting. Each insect will only bite once during the night and then return to its hiding place. Although they commonly spread into luggage, backpacks, briefcases, and other personal effects they rarely latch onto humans after they bite. Most of the time spreading bed bugs can be avoided by simply wearing newly laundered clothing and being careful to avoid transporting any infested items. Anyone that is transporting bed bugs on their person most likely has a severe infestation

What are the signs of a severe infestation?

Seeing bed bugs during the day and seeing them on the walls or ceiling are sure signs that you have a bad infestation. Consider discreetly alerting your supervisors at work and taking special precautions not to spread the problem. Bed bugs are sensitive to the heat, so anything that can be put in the dryer on high heat will be decontaminated.

What is the best way to treat bed bugs?

If you are not able to determine on your own whether or not you have bed bugs, call a qualified exterminator and schedule an inspection. Sometimes a trained bed bug sniffing dog may be used to detect the bugs but this is not always necessary. Aerosol-based sprays, or “bombs” are not only ineffective against bed bugs but they may actually make the problem worse by spreading them to other rooms. Since aerosol treatments kill on contact, most bed bugs will scatter and flee into other spaces, and seek shelter in any available cracks and crevices. Although the situation may appear better in the short term, enough insects usually survive to repopulate and often crop up in new areas as a result of the “bomb”. Some companies offer services where the temperature is raised throughout the whole house to a level that will kill all the bed bugs. This treatment, although widely available, should not be considered safe due to the numerous examples of house fires caused by this method. Examples of this can be found here and here. Treatment using cold is also risky, and can cause damage to property or personal effects. The safest and most effective methods are labor intensive, and that kind of work is best left to a professional pest control company. At Arrow Exterminating, we employ a variety of modern and effective techniques, such as detecting bed bugs with our trained rat terrier, Polly. Under the guidance of our on-staff Entomologists, a thorough treatment is applied to all affected surfaces using non-hazardous materials. Furniture, floors, walls and ceilings are carefully inspected and treated as needed. Instructions are given for de-lousing clothing and personal items, and if necessary a heat chamber can be provided for certain items. Special mattress covers and pillow cases are provided which makes it unnecessary to treat them directly. Although dealing with bed bugs is never fun, this information is meant to address some common concerns about bed bugs and confront some common myths. All of this information can be used to inspect your own property or hotel room like a pro, and make an informed decision about treatment.

 

Get Rid of Mice in the Home: DIY Tips

Knowing When to Do it Yourself and When to Call an Exterminator

When it comes to dealing with mice in the home, many people are a bit squeamish to tackle the problem on their own. However, there are also many people out there who are DIY enthusiasts and would be willing to tackle the problem themselves. If it is evident that there are a lot of mice present is would be best to call an exterminator, but if one or two mice are seen and it is not a large scale infestation then all that may be needed is a trip to the hardware store and a little know-how. I interviewed several technicians with decades of experience between them to put together a list of some handy tips and tricks from the professionals at Arrow Exterminating.

  • One way to tell how many mice are around is to hone in on areas where you have seen their activity and look for their droppings. They will be small black pellets approximately the size of a grain of rice. If there are a lot of droppings, there are probably multiple mice on the scene
  • Do you have children or pets? If so, this makes taking care of the problem on your own a little more tricky
  • Are the mice entering food or causing property damage? Mice are, by their nature, filthy. Any food that they have contact with should be considered contaminated and discarded. This means that if they enter a box of cereal the whole box should be tossed out. They can also gnaw through electrical wires and insulation, which can cause fires. If you are worried that mice are posing a serious threat you your health or property, it is time to call in an exterminator

Choosing a Pest Control Method

  1. Poison- Also known as rodenticide, poison is widely available as a method for controlling the populations of mice and rats. We do not recommend using poison for several reasons. Although it is the easiest and most straightforward method to administer, it can pose a serious hazard to children and pets. Also, once the mice eat it they do not die instantaneously, which means that they may perish somewhere inaccessible and begin to smell as they decompose. Although the poison is deadly to rodents, it does not have the same effect on insects. The poison has been known to actually attract other pest insects into the home.
  2. Glue Boards- We do not generally recommend glue boards because they are considered inhumane. Although they are effective and may catch several mice at once, the mice are not killed immediately and instead suffer from shock or starvation. Depending on where glue boards are set, they may also pose a hazard to children and pets. Remember, even when on a glue board mice can still bite. Here is a link to an article describing in depth how to remove an animal from a glue trap. This method will work for a mouse, domesticated animal, or anyone that accidentally gets their digits stuck on the trap.
  3. Live Traps- Although they may seem like the most humane option, consider that mice are social animals that live their lives within a small territory. Assuming that the mice survive being captured and left in a trap without water, depositing them into a strange and hostile environment leaves them extremely vulnerable to predators. Keep in mind that instead of liberating the mice, capturing and releasing them may cause more suffering than a snap trap. If mice are released too close to where they were captured there is a good chance they will use their homing instincts to seek out and re enter the property, or simply invade someone else’s home. This is why it is best to go at least a couple of miles away and/or cross a major road or highway before releasing rodents. House mice are not likely to survive in the wilderness away from human habitation. Keep in mind that mice can carry diseases, and care should be taken to only handle them when necessary and always wash your hands after contact with mice. Here is a list compiled by the US Government Center for Disease Control, demonstrating all of the diseases that can be carried by rodents and transmitted to humans. Mice may also grow wise to the live traps and figure out ways to get around them.
  4. Traditional Snap Traps- These are an excellent choice for trapping mice. Although they are lethal, they are also humane and are designed to dispatch the mice as quickly as possible without causing unnecessary pain or injury.

Tips and Tricks From The Experts

A lot of people out there choose another type of trap over the snap trap because they are worried about setting the snap trap. Setting the trap will not cause any serious injury, and when used properly it will not snap onto your hand. Knowing how to set the trap right may lead to more confidence in using this method

  • Some of our technicians use sandpaper, a nail file, or other coarse material to “rough up” the end of the trigger. The extra texture at the end of the trigger gives it more grip. This makes the trap a little less sensitive and easier to set without affecting its ability to trap mice.
  • Always handle the snap trap from the side opposite the bait. If you never touch the side of the trap that is snapped down on, then there is no chance you will get your finger caught in the crossfire.
  • Don’t forget to apply the bait before the trap is set. Our technicians recommend a combination of peanut butter and birdseed.
  • When using viscous bait (such as chocolate and peanut butter), try to avoid spreading it in a big glob across the whole bait station. The yellow rectangular pad where the bait is placed has a hole in the middle of it, and if the bait seeps through the hole it may prevent the pad from compressing when the mouse hits it.
  • The traps are most effective when the mice dont have access to any other food sources in the house besides the bait. Be sure to clean up any stray crumbs or scraps of food, and keep lids on the garbage cans.
  • It may be worthwhile to leave the trap unset the first day and allow the mice to eat the bait off the trap. This will get the mice accustomed to feeding off the trap so that when it is set they will already be used to going for the bait
  • Another similar tactic that is a little quicker is to bait and set the trap, and also leave some bait around the outside of the trap
  • Set the traps near to where you see droppings or mouse activity. Set them against the wall with the triggers facing the wall. Set several traps in the same spot. Mice do not have good vision and instead rely on an acute sense of smell and hearing. Perhaps because of their poor vision, they are known to scurry along the same pathways over and over, usually near the wall.
  • Be prepared that even in a kill trap it is possible for the mouse to become trapped while still alive. In these situations you would need to finish the job yourself. Also, if the traps are not checked frequently, dead mice could produce an offensive odor. If all this proves to be overwhelming, or if the tactics described here are not working for you, it may be time to call an exterminator.