Take the Bite out of Pesky Mosquitoes

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Mosquitoes are breeding by the billions, and they are more than a minor outdoor nuisance. These blood-suckers can spread diseases such as West Nile virus, encephalitis, dengue fever and malaria. In the United States, West Nile virus is of most concern, which is why most municipalities monitor and sample mosquitoes and treat known mosquito breeding areas.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. documented 1,021 cases of West Nile Virus in 2010, of which 57 resulted in death.
Because of the ease with which mosquitoes can breed and spread disease, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners to be vigilant about mosquito prevention, especially as excessive rain and flooding experienced by much of the country in recent weeks provides perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Many people may not be aware that mosquito season does not end when summer does, but actually lasts through October. The NPMA recommends the following preventive measures to safeguard you against mosquitoes:
* Prevent mosquito nesting and breeding sites by eliminating standing water and other sources of moisture in and around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, baby pools, sandboxes, children’s toys and other objects that can collect water. Mosquitoes need only about 1/2 inch of water to breed. To keep birdbath and pond water fresh, homeowners should add a fountain or drip system.
* Keep windows and doors properly screened. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
* Clean clogged gutters, and periodically check them to ensure water is flowing freely.
* Ensure there is no standing water pooling under decks.
* Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
* If you must spend time outdoors during peak mosquito times, avoid wearing shorts or short-sleeved apparel, dark colors, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes. Instead, wear long pants and sleeves, and be sure to use an insect repellant containing DEET.
* If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or local mosquito abatement district that may be able to treat your back yard, specifically trees and shrubs where mosquitoes hide during the day.
For more information, visit www.pestworld.org.

Don’t Let Pests Chew Away Your Holidays

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – For those who look forward to dusting off their Christmas decorations and unpacking strand after strand of twinkling lights, discovering a nest of mice or other creatures can be alarming.
“Rodents, spiders and other pests can find their way into homes and nest in boxes of holiday decorations that have been stored in attics, basements and garages since last season,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
Holiday decorations that sit in boxes, undisturbed for long periods of time in the attic, basement or closet, provide the perfect hiding spots for pests. The usual culprits are beetles, mice, spiders and weevils. Mice will make nests out of cozy stockings, spiders will spin webs into your wreaths and weevils will burrow into your potpourri.
In order to keep your decorations free of pests and prevent nasty surprises this December, NPMA recommends these prevention tips:
* Avoid storing decorations in cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes can barely keep out dust, let alone hungry pests. Instead, keep wrapping paper and ornaments in large plastic totes and containers. The containers should have tightly sealed lids to keep the contents dry and secure.
* Keep cloth or wool items in sealed plastic bags. All stockings, tree skirts and other cloth decorations should be washed and sealed in plastic bags. Damp or dirty table linens can be a pest haven and also harbor germs and bacteria. Plastic bags will help keep items fresh and safe from insects.
* Inspect decorations each year for mold or damage. Not all decorations are meant to last forever, and some should be thrown out after one season. Remember to go through your collection and check for moldy or damaged articles. Since mold and moisture can attract more pests, it’s best to discard those items.
If you’re faced with a real infestation, consult a pest management professional to figure out the best course of action. To find more preventive tips or locate a pest expert in your area, go to www.pestworld.org.

Pests Moving In? Evict Unwanted Winter Tenants

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Are you hearing a quartet of scampering and scratching during these long winter nights? Are you noticing droppings in your basement or cupboards or holes in boxes of cereal or pasta? If so, you might have a winter pest problem.
Winter pests aren’t just unpleasant. They pose severe risks to your health and property. Mice, for example, can chew through walls, electrical wires and baseboards, not to mention produce 12 babies every three weeks. Rodent droppings can trigger allergies and spread disease — causing headaches, fever, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Although most common, mice and rats aren’t the only pest threat this winter. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) estimates that a whopping 21 million rodents retreat indoors each winter. In addition to rodents, squirrels, carpenter ants, spiders, and cockroaches prefer to spend cold winter months indoors with us.
The pest experts at the NPMA suggest the following preventive tips for avoiding pest infestations during cold weather.
* Inspect firewood before bringing it inside, as several ant and cockroach species prefer to nest in firewood. Firewood piles should also be positioned on a raised platform away from the house. Arranging piles into neat stacks of wood makes pest infestations more noticeable.
* Clean kitchens thoroughly. Some homeowners wipe down countertops after every meal, but only vacuum the floor once every few weeks. Crumbs and leftover messes will attract ants, mice and rats — especially if left on the floor for days on end. Don’t leave dirty dishes spilling over the sink either. Standing water attracts ants and cockroaches, too.
* Don’t store birdseed or dog food in bags. Some pest professionals advise against feeding birds altogether because it will inevitably attract rodent activity. However, if you do have a bird house, make sure it’s at least 20 feet away from your home. Also, be sure to store your birdseed or pet food in sealed storage containers, not bags. This is especially important if you’re keeping the dry food inside your home.
For more preventive tips, or to find a pest professional near you, visit www.pestworld.org.

Bed Bugs: Tips to Stem The Invasion

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – According to a recent survey, one out of every five Americans knows someone who has dealt with a bed bug infestation or has experienced one themselves.
The survey, which was conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), revealed that Americans are concerned about picking up bed bugs in different locations: hotels (80 percent); public transportation (52 percent), their own homes (36 percent); workplaces and other’s homes (32 percent).
Still, many people are misinformed. For example, 29 percent of respondents believed that bed bugs were more common in low-income households. Bed bugs do not discriminate on income, and they can be found in both unclean and sanitary conditions. Nearly half of the respondents thought that bed bugs transmit disease to their human victims. They do not, but their bites can cause itchy, red welts.
The good news? As Americans have become more aware of bed bugs, they’ve taken steps to reduce their risk of an infestation.
“Our survey shows that people are taking the bed bug resurgence seriously and are modifying their daily routines to avoid infestations,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA.
The NPMA offers the following tips for people hoping to keep bed bugs out of their homes:
* Check your hotel room for bed bugs before unpacking. Check behind the headboard and carefully inspect sofas and chairs, as well as the mattress and box spring. Do not place your suitcase on the bed. If you see bed bugs, change rooms or establishments immediately.
* When you return home, inspect your suitcase before bringing it inside. Vacuum your suitcase inside and out, and wash all of your clothes in hot water, whether you wore them or not.
* If you suspect that you have bed bugs, contact a licensed pest professional. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to remove, but a professional can perform an inspection and recommend a comprehensive treatment plan.
For more information about bed bugs, visit NPMA’ s Bed Bug Hub at www.pestworld.org/bed-bugs.

Pest-Proof Your Home Against Summertime Critters

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – In the heat of summer, unwanted pests are making their way into cooler homes, and they are more than just a nuisance. Pests pose risks to people’s health and property, so it is important for homeowners to take steps to prevent infestations. There are many ways in which homeowners can “pest-proof” their homes as part of their summer-maintenance routine. Taking preventive measures early in the season is the best approach to keeping pests at bay.
“As the warmer weather brings back numerous pests, early summer is the perfect time for homeowners to thoroughly inspect their homes as part of seasonal maintenance,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
Various insects such as ants, flies, termites and cockroaches are frequent summer home intruders, as are those of the stinging variety such as mosquitoes, wasps, bees and yellowjackets.
The NPMA recommends a number of methods to keep household pests outside, where they belong.
* Seal cracks and small openings in the home’s foundation, around windows and doors.
* Repair ripped window screens.
* Cut tree branches and plants so that they do not reach too close to the house.
* Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water, including bird baths and in clogged gutters.
* Inspect the outside of a home for nests built by stinging insects — typically found in the eaves under roofs.
* Keep kitchen counters clean, and store food like sugary cereals in sealed containers.
* Empty garbage containers frequently and seal indoor containers.
* Make sure pets’ food and dishes are not left out for long periods of time.
Clearing away all things that attract critters is one of the best ways to pest-proof a house because it denies pests the means of thriving in and around your home.
If you find any signs of an infestation after a thorough inspection of your home, you should call a pest professional who can help identify and treat the problem.
For more information, visit www.pestworld.org.

The Risk of Roaches: How to Keep Your Home Allergen Free

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – For 23 million Americans — including 7 million children — spring showers bring more than rejuvenation. They bring sniffles, sneezes and wheezing that could only mean allergy season is around the corner. But before you run for cover indoors this spring, take heed: One of the most dangerous allergens may be crawling inside your home.
Cockroaches spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria, six types of parasitic worms and seven kinds of human pathogens. And although this gross factor alone is huge, the biggest health threat comes from the skin and fecal droppings the critters leave behind.
“Cockroach allergens accumulate as a result of droppings and shed skins, which can trigger asthma attacks in adults and children,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
The increased risk of an asthma attack is most pronounced in children. Recent medical studies have targeted cockroach allergens as the trigger for numerous allergic reactions and as the main cause of missed school days.
If you do see a cockroach scuttling across your floor, Henriksen advises to watch for a larger problem. “Unfortunately, if you see one cockroach, there are sure to be many more. Proper control and removal is needed to prevent the build-up of cockroach allergens and the spread of bacteria.”
Cockroaches are most active when temperatures reach 70 degrees or above and thrive in warm, dark and moist places.
NPMA offers these helpful tips for keeping cockroaches out of your home this spring:
Vacuum. Early and often is best for reducing harmful cockroach allergens.
Keep a spotless kitchen. To prevent infestations, keep all your food and garbage in sealed containers and dispose of regularly. Clean behind and under appliances regularly, as these are favorite hiding spots for cockroaches.
Ventilate. Air out basements and crawl spaces to prevent moisture.
Seal the entrances. Close off cracks and holes around utility pipes that provide easy access to your home.
Act quickly. If you find evidence of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the problem. To find one in your area, visit www.pestworld.org.

Tips to Protect Yourself Against Mosquitos and West Nile Disease

Although national consumer confidence has risen in recent months, the recession is still significantly affecting homeowners. While foreclosure figures underscore the current economic conditions, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that vacated homes are prone to mosquito infestations, especially in or around foreclosed properties with clogged gutters and neglected pools.

Carried by mosquitoes, the West Nile Virus can cause deadly inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the brain (meningitis) in humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. saw 1,358 cases of West Nile Virus in humans in 2008, resulting in 44 deaths.

Safeguard Yourself Against Mosquitoes, West Nile Virus

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Although national consumer confidence has risen in recent months, the recession is still significantly affecting homeowners. While foreclosure figures underscore the current economic conditions, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners to remain vigilant of an ancillary issue stemming from continued increases in vacated homes — potential mosquito infestations, especially in or around foreclosed properties with clogged gutters and neglected pools.

Carried by mosquitoes, the West Nile Virus can cause deadly inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the brain (meningitis) in humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. saw 1,358 cases of West Nile Virus in humans in 2008, resulting in 44 deaths.

Although no specific therapy or vaccine exist for the West Nile Virus, the NPMA recommends the following preventive measures:

– Avoid mosquito nesting and breeding sites. Try to eliminate standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, barrels and other objects that can collect water.

– Keep windows and doors properly screened to keep mosquitoes outside.

– Be alert when outdoors during dawn, dusk and early evening hours, when mosquito-biting activity can peak. Also, avoid areas near water where mosquitoes gather, especially during peak activity.

– Avoid wearing bright colors, open-toe shoes and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes.

– Plan ahead for spending time outdoors. Wear mosquito repellent with DEET as well as appropriate apparel such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts.

To learn more about mosquito-control options or to find a pest-control professional in your area, visit www.pestworld.org.

Bed Bugs: Avoiding Unwanted Vacation Souvenirs

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As the season turns and vacation travel picks up, people should take care not to bring home unwanted souvenirs, like bed bugs.

Most of us know the phrase “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” but doing so is more easily said than done. “Bed bugs are elusive, nocturnal pests that thrive on blood,” says Greg Baumann, senior scientist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). “Vigilance is critical, especially as we know that a five-star resort can be as susceptible to bed bugs as a hostel.”

While they do not transmit disease, their saliva does contain an anesthetic-like substance that numbs the skin — until human victims wake up to itchy, red welts. Most welts can be treated at home, but people experiencing allergic reactions might have to seek out medical treatment.

As more people travel for vacations, bed bugs become a larger problem. Accomplished hitchhikers, bed bugs move from beds to suitcases, from room to room and into new homes. Dogs and cats can also help spread bed bugs. Once bed bugs infest a new area, they become difficult to remove and can only be remediated or treated through the services of a pest control professional. Homeowners cannot control the problem on their own.

There are steps travelers can take to avoid bed bug infestation. The NPMA offers these tips for travelers hoping to enjoy their vacations without bringing home unwanted souvenirs:

– At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms or establishments immediately.

– Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs. If you spot pests, change rooms or go to another hotel.

– After traveling, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house.Vacuum them thoroughly and wash all of your clothes in hot water before unpacking.

For more information on bed bugs, visit www.pestworld.org.