Keep Pests Out of Your Home this Winter

<b>Keep Pests Out of Your Home this Winter</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Pests are most commonly associated with summer weather, but cold temperatures drive rodents and insects indoors and into homes. Even innocent-looking items, like firewood, wreaths, holiday decor or recently delivered parcels, can contain damaging pests.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a 75-year-old non-profit organization that works to protect public health, food and property from destructive pests, offers these tips to keep unwanted creatures from your home:

– Check your pantry. Insects, such as the Indian meal moth consume flour, cereal, nuts, spices, candies and chocolate. To prevent contamination, store food in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers, and discard food that has passed its expiration date. Pay special attention to pet food and keep your kitchen clean to avoid attracting pests.

– Keep pests out. Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a nickel and reproduce quickly, so an infestation can quickly become a big problem. The NPMA estimates that 21 million pests, including mice as well as insects, invade homes every winter. Once indoors, mice can chew through wires and spread disease like Hantavirus and Salmonella. Signs of an infestation include scampering sounds in walls and ceilings, droppings and damaged or partially eaten food. To prevent pests from entering your home, seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, screen vents and openings to chimneys and replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows.

– Consider your firewood. Yes, firewood keeps you warm, but cut-up wood also provides an ideal home for pests, especially spiders. Keep firewood piles at least five inches off the ground and 20 feet away from your home. Before carrying any firewood inside, inspect the logs for pests.

– Ask a local pest professional. If you suspect an infestation in your home, contact a local pest professional to help you properly identify, treat and remediate the problem. They can also work with you to find entry points into your home and offer advice on other pest prevention methods.

To learn more about pest prevention or to find a professional near you, visit www.pestworld.org.

Bed Bugs: Avoiding Unwanted Vacation Souvenirs

<b>Bed Bugs: Avoiding Unwanted Vacation Souvenirs</b>“></td>
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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.

Prevent Pets from Bringing Fleas and Ticks Home

<b>Prevent Pets from Bringing Fleas and Ticks Home</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Spring is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. Invigorated by warmer weather, many of us make our way outdoors to soak up the new found sun. But despite the cheerfulness outside, spring can often bring unwanted critters indoors -; by hitching a ride on our pets.

Before people take their pets for hikes or nature walks this spring, they should consider precautions to protect their pets – and themselves – from fleas and ticks.

A flea or tick infestation is no fun for the whole family. Flea saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and transfer tapeworms – a dangerous internal parasite. Worse, fleas reproduce quickly and can infest whole homes, requiring professional extermination. Perhaps more harmful than fleas, brown dog ticks and Lyme-disease-carrying deer ticks typically enter homes through pets as well. Once in the home, they can begin laying up to 5,000 eggs at a time.

There is no need for pet owners to lock their dogs and cats inside all spring and summer. In fact, the National Pest Management Association, a 75-year-old non-profit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property through proper pest management and homeowner education, offers these tips to Americans hoping to protect their pets and their homes from fleas and ticks:

– Avoid tick habitats such as low-growing, brushy vegetation along the edge of the woods or a trail.

– Check your pet thoroughly after you have been in potentially tick-infested areas. Finding and removing all ticks helps prevent disease.

– Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt, especially after being outside. Look for excessive scratching and licking.

– Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals, as fleas can jump from host to host.

– Talk with a veterinarian about prevention and treatment options available to kill fleas and flea eggs.

– Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.

– Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently. Empty vacuum bags and throw the contents away in an outside receptacle.

– If you suspect a flea or tick infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately to treat the pest problem.

For more information and tips, visit www.pestworld.org.