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Have you noticed that we have a lot of pests in our area? Have you gone outside to put your trash in the receptacle and noticed hundreds of ants crawling around? Do you occasionally see a big nasty centipede on your wall or on your foot while you're taking a shower? Have you ever opened something and found a wolf spider sitting in it? Nuisance pests in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. are plentiful and they often appear unexpectedly. But nuisance pests aren't all we have to battle against. There are many pests that can make us seriously ill and/or do damage to our belongings and our homes.
Why Pests Are Always a Concern in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.
While it may startle you when you see a centipede as you flick the bathroom light on to brush your teeth, those centipedes are the least of your problems. A cockroach could have been sitting on your toothbrush last night while you slept, which could expose you to serious harmful microorganisms and parasites. Though you might not like seeing ants crawling around everywhere, carpenter ants could be chewing galleries in your home, which could cost you an arm and a leg. Even worse, you could have subterranean termites in your home.
In this reference document, we cover many serious pest threats we have in our service area and discuss strategies you can employ to protect your health and property. No home in Maryland, Virginia and D.C should be without a home pest control plan. We encourage you to get your protection in place today. If you need assistance or you would like to discuss professional service options, we're here to help. American Pest is an industry-leading pest control provider with board-certified entomologists and industry experts on staff. We leverage our pest control experience and knowledge of insect diets, habits and habitats to provide effective, eco-friendly pest control at the lowest price point possible for this level of service. That is our commitment to you.
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What You Can Do to Prevent Pests Right Now
Spring Pest Control
It's starting to warm up outside and living creatures are becoming active again. This can make them a threat to your health and property. Here are some tips to help you reduce the threats.
- Most wasps die off in winter with only the queens making it to spring. So this is an important time to make sure that nests don't develop on your home or in your yard. While one queen isn't much of a threat, the thousands of drones she'll produce can be. If you see wasps entering and exiting a gap on your home or a hole in your yard, reach out to us for assistance.
- Tiny red bugs and other spring pests can be a nuisance. You can reduce them by keeping your foundation perimeter free of organic debris, reducing weeds and unwanted vegetation, and by reducing conditions that promote moisture. Keep in mind that while clover mites are harmless, many pests that are drawn to moisture are not.
- Spring is when termite swarmers take to the air and new colonies are produced. This is a vital time to look into termite control and to decide which is best for you, liquid termiticide treatments or termite bait stations.
- If you plan to travel for spring break, be sure to check out our pest control tips for spring break travel. It could prevent you from contracting a disease from a mosquito or tick and keep you from bringing bed bugs home with you.
Summer Pest Control
The warm months are the perfect time of year to get an infestation. Some key pests to watch out for are mosquitoes, ants and fleas. It is crucial that you take steps to prevent summer pets because they can threaten your health and property. Here are some tips that should help.
- Mosquitoes are moisture pests. They require high humidity to survive and they lay their eggs in stagnant water and on damp ground. Address any conditions that allow pools of water, containers or water, or dampness near your home.
- Most ants are a nuisance but carpenter ants can be a serious threat. Fortunately, carpenter ants can be detected in a few helpful ways. Learn to recognize the frass (sawdust) they push out of their kickout holes and how to tell the difference between flying ants and termites swarmers.
- Fleas aren't only a treat to your pets; they can make everyone in your home sick. Before fleas get in and you have to research how to control fleas in your home, you can have an impact on flea populations around your home by controlling wildlife that carry fleas into your yard. Keep your trash in sealed receptacles. Put fencing around food sources (gardens, fruit trees, etc.), and place bird feeders at least 20 feet from your exterior walls. This is to keep mice from being drawn in close to your foundation perimeter by seeds on the ground.
Fall Pest Control
Summer is behind us and winter is ahead. Now is the time to start thinking about fall pests that may try to get into your home. The big pests on our list are stink bugs, spiders, ticks and bed bugs. If you're curious why stink bugs love your home or why bed bugs are such a big fall pest, follow the hyperlinks. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from these four pests.
- Stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, box elder bugs, rodents and other pests that get into your home through gaps, cracks and holes can be deterred by sealing these entry points.
- In fall, food options can bring spiders near to your home and give them entry. Rake leaves up to prevent harborage for bugs and to prevent attracting spiders that could find their way into your home through unsealed entry points.
- Ticks can enter your home on mice and rats. This can present a danger to everyone in your home. Sealing entry points can help but it is also important to remove objects that are near your exterior walls. This will reduce attractive hiding spots and harborage for rodents.
- Bed bugs are hitchhiking bugs that will bypass your exterior protection when they are carried into your home. The key to preventing bed bugs is to recognize the signs of bed bugs when you or your kids are staying somewhere outside of your home. It can alert you to the danger and help you prevent an infestation.
Winter Pest Control
It's cold outside. Have you noticed? Well, you can be sure rodents have noticed. Rodents are one of the top 5 winter pest problems we deal with in our area. The colder it gets, the greater your chances of having squirrels and chipmunks break into your home. While these animals don't prefer to live with you, they will if your home provides a haven from the cold. When mice and rats get in, they're likely to stay with your permanently as these two types of rodents love living with humans. Here are a few ways to protect your home from rodent invasions this winter.
- If your foundation perimeter isn't covered with snow, take a walk around your home and do an inspection for gaps, cracks and holes. Look closely around pipes, windows and doors. If you find entry points, seal them. A caulking gun is a great tool for a quick fix.
- Check your foundation perimeter for objects that would provide a hiding place or harborage for rodents. Examples of this would be, stacked firewood, construction materials, an appliance that is being temporarily stored behind your home, large plastic storage containers, etc. Rodents burrow under these objects or hide inside them.
- For added protection, learn how to tell if you have mice or rats and reach out to us when these rodents get in.
Common Pest Threats Found in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.
No one likes having bugs and critters in their home. But pests can be more than a nuisance. They can present a threat to your health and property. Here are some of the worst pests we battle in our area.
We often get asked: "How much damage can termites really do?" This is a tricky question because there are many factors involved in determining subterranean termite threats. What we can tell you with certainty is that a subterranean termite infestation has the potential to completely wipe out your savings. In the United States, these termites cost property owners billions of dollars annually. And the worst part is, you can go years without realizing you have these wood-destroying pests in your home.
One of the most misunderstood pests we deal with are bed bugs. This has a lot to do with them not being a threat in the United States before the turn of the century, due to a pest control product called DDT, which has been banned by the U.S. government. Many Americans don't know what bed bugs look like, unless they've had them—a situation which is increasing at a startling rate. Hopefully, you'll take the time to learn how to identify these bugs and the warning signs they leave before an infestation takes root in your home.
These irritating insects are more than just an irritation. They have the ability to spread serious illnesses. While the U.S. has been somewhat sheltered from malaria, which claims the lives of nearly a million people in the world every year, we are not safe from mosquito-borne viruses. West Nile virus is now endemic to the states and there are many viruses, such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya, yellow fever, Zika virus, and more, that have outbreaks in the U.S. every year. All of these viruses can lead to death or serious medical threats. It is important that you learn everything you can about mosquito threats in our service area.
According to the CDC, cases of Lyme disease have doubled in the last two decades, and Lyme is not the only disease spread by ticks—not by a long shot. If you have ticks in your yard, you should take the time to read the Top 10 Things You Should Know About Ticks and our Complete Guide to Ticks. These articles will help you put the tick threat into perspective and give you tips and strategies to mitigate the threat.
Do you know that there can be as many as 100 seed ticks on a single mouse or rat? Of all the rodents that can get into your home, mice and rats are the biggest threat because they explore every floor of your home and spread parasites around. But any rodent that gets into your home can do damage to the wood or destroy your belongings by chewing holes. On tops of this, rodents make horrible houseguests. They leave feces and urine everywhere they go. It is best to keep them out by learning how to rodent-proof your property.
Ants are the number-one pest we get calls for. They have a way of making themselves a serious nuisance. But some ants aren't just a nuisance. They can spread harmful bacteria, which can lead to illness. And some ants can damage your home. Of all the problems a summer ant infestation can bring, property damage caused by carpenter ants is the worst. Over time, the weakening of timbers in your home can lead to extensive, and sometimes unrepairable, damage.
Nuisance Pests of Summer
The list of nuisance pests that can drive you crazy, creep you out, or make a stink inside your home is quite long. Some noticeable pests that top the list are occasional invaders like stink bugs, Asian lady beetles and box elder bugs. We could also give you a long list of nuisance pests that can also present a threat, such as the dangers of a spider infestation, a fly problem, or an invasion of silverfish. Always keep in mind that nuisance pests aren't always just a nuisance.
Is My Home At-Risk for Pests?
Every home is at risk for a pest infestation. That's just how it is. But there are ways to reduce your chances of getting an infestation in your home. Knowledge is the key.
- Learn the signs of a bed bug infestation in your home or when you stay somewhere overnight. If you detect bed bugs while you're away from home, you may be able to keep those bugs from coming home with you.
- Be aware that, just because you don't see pests doesn't mean that you don't have pests inside your home. You could have hidden guests in your walls. Take time to learn the common signs of a termite infestation.
- There are conditions in your yard that could make you more susceptible to an infestation. Take a look at the 3 Signs You are Inviting Termites in Your House, Where Carpenter Ants are Most Likely to Strike and How do Rodents Get In? These will give you helpful tips to make your home less of a target.
All summer long, you can reduce the threat of mosquitoes-borne diseases by getting rid of common mosquito-breeding sites in your yard. Most of the mosquitoes that bite you in your yard are born in your yard. Preventing mosquito reproduction can have a big impact on the number of mosquitoes on your property.
- During the fall months, pest infestations ramp up, especially infestations of mice, rats, squirrels and other rodents. If you know how mice, rats, squirrels and chipmunks break into your home in the winter, you'll have a better chance of keeping them out.
The more you understand about why pests come into your yard and how they get into your home, the better your pest control will be. For even greater protection, consider professional year-round pest control for your Maryland, Virginia or D.C. home and contact us here at American Pest. There is no replacing routine pest control inspections by a highly trained professional or the application of appropriate pest treatments all year long. With American Pest, you'll get the protection you need to reduce nuisance pests, deter pest-borne diseases, safeguard your belongings and prevent your equity from being destroyed by wood-damaging pests. There are a number of benefits associated with year-round pest protection. This is an essential service that no home should be without.
General Pest Prevention for Homeowners in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.
This is a big topic and it is hard to put it in only a few words because there are many ways pests can get into your home. They can come in through your exterior walls. They can be carried in by your pets or rodents. And some of them can be carried in by you and other people who visit. Here are some rules of thumb to help you manage the threat of pests
- Sealing exterior walls and foundations. Doing a detailed inspection of your exterior and sealing gaps, cracks and holes isn't just a great idea in the fall to prevent winter spider infestations before they happen, it can also help you keep a wide range of pests out of your home all year long, and it is one of the 5 easy steps to avoid ants. A caulking gun, some wire mesh and a cement repair kit are great tools for accomplishing this task.
- Dampness. Many bugs are attracted to moisture. One bug that is a particular threat is the tick. Address clogged gutters, leaky spigots and other factors that can lead to dampness in your landscaping. This will help to reduce tick populations. And learn what to do if you see ticks in your home.
- Stagnant water. When trying to prevent mosquito bites, not all mosquito prevention is created equal. Rather than putting out citronella candles or some other deterrent, consider removing the conditions that allow stagnant water resources for mosquitoes to breed in.
- Clutter. Keeping your landscaping neat and open, along with removing any unnecessary clutter, can reduce wildlife activity, especially that of curious rodents. While fall is the time to start thinking about rodent prevention, any time of year is a good time to make your perimeter less inviting to these home invaders.
- Detection. When it comes to bed bugs, stored product pests, and other insects that can be carried into your home, detection is key. Learn how to do a bed bug check any time you're away from home and what signs to look for when purchasing items from the grocery store.
The Importance of Professional Pest Protection
With any DIY project, there are risks. Simple projects are definitely worth the risk. If you find a how-to on fixing a damaged window or door screen, it's worth giving that a try but following a step-by-step guide to putting new ceramic tile on your kitchen floor may end up costing you more money than just hiring a trained professional. Pest control works a lot like this. When you attempt to DIY yourself, there can be many pitfalls. You could spend a lot of time and money and get no results. You could make the problem worse. Or you could achieve some results and think your problem is solved, only to find out later that those silent pests completely destroyed your home. It's just not worth it. Here are a few examples of how DIY can fall short.
- Subterranean termites are sneaky. They're so sneaky, they were found in our nation's White House only yards from the Oval Office. If they can stay hidden from the watchful eyes of White House staff, think how easy they can hide from you. So when you make the decision which to use, liquid vs bait, and install the product around your home, you're not likely to know if all of your money and effort actually worked. That could come back to haunt you.
- When bed bugs strike, you may decide to try some of the many suggestions on the internet, only to find out that you can't get rid of bed bugs easily. These leave you with weeks of little sleep, lost energy from treatments and lost money paid for ineffective products.
- Ticks can come into your home on your dog or your cat. You know this. So you may attempt to apply tick control products on your pet to solve your problem. But ticks can come into your home on mice, rats and even humans. Tick control is incomplete if you don't have your foundation perimeter treated.
- When DIY rodent control fails, you may not know it. Rodents are usually very quiet. So you shouldn't try to treat rodent infestations alone or you could end up with ongoing damage to your property and health problems in your family members.
- There are many reasons why DIY ant control often fails. One that happens quite often is when people attempt to spray ants with insecticide. This doesn't stop an ant infestation. In fact, it can make it worse by causing a colony to split and create more than one colony. Our unique approach to ant control works to prevent budding and strikes at the heart of colonies.
Common Questions About Professional Pest Control
Do you wonder what exactly a pest professional does or how professional services work? You're not alone. We get lots of questions, such as how our prices are determined, whether or not the products we use are safe for kids and pets, and what processes we use to deal with difficult pests such as bed bugs. These are good questions to start with.
- Price: The price of professional pest control depends on many factors. How many pests you bundle together in your service, whether or not you'll be investing in year-round service or one-time pest control, and how big your yard is are some of the many factors we'll consider. Also, some treatments cost a little more because they require more overhead. This is something to consider when choosing between a heat treatment or a conventional insecticide treatment for bed bug elimination or choosing an eco-friendly, termite bait solution of liquid treatments. While investing in the Sentricon® System with Always Active™ will put you on the higher end of the average cost of termite treatments, it more than pays for itself in easy detection and around-the-clock protection.
- Safety: Finding a pest control solution can sometimes be complicated, and when pest control products are needed, it is best to have a professional select them and apply them. Over-the-counter pesticides can be toxic, especially when too much is used or when they are applied in the wrong places. We use EPA-approved, least toxic pest products only when absolutely necessary and we apply them according to strict safety guidelines. Your children and your pets will not be harmed from the treatments we apply. It is also important to point out that the products we use work to solve pest problems, not put a BandAid on them, like using mosquito foggers and fly paper.
- Process: Every pest is different. It would be impossible to cover all of the methods and products we employ. But you can expect that, with each pest, we'll spend the extra money and time to put in place the right tools to solve the problem. A good example of this is our investment in K-9 Detection. Dogs are the most effective way to detect bed bugs. So we made the big investment to add them to our team.
Hopefully, we've answered some of your questions. If you have more, perhaps you'll find answers on our frequently asked questions page. We also have a frequently asked questions page for bed bugs if you're curious about that specific pest.
How American Pest Protects Homes from Bugs, Rodents and Other Invaders
At American Pest, our highly trained pest professionals use modern Integrated Pest Management, state-of-the-art equipment and the latest field-tested strategies to control pests. Some of the pests we deal with most are ants, bed bugs, mosquitoes, rodents, ticks and termites. You can find helpful information on each of those pests by following the hyperlinks. If you're curious about how we do home pest control, or you want to learn about the packages we offer, you can check out our residential pest control page. For insight into how we apply the most advanced pest control methods and products to ensure effective commercial pest control, check out our commercial pest control page. These resources are available to help you make the best decisions possible for your pest control needs.
We understand that one size doesn't fit all. Your American Pest Professional will work with you to select services that will best fit your specific needs and budget. If you have questions, we're here to answer them.
Why Call American Pest for Complete Pest Protection
Pest control isn't just a nice thing to have, it is essential service that protects your health and property from pest threats. Don't trust this protection to just anyone. American Pest has the distinction of being one of the oldest, premier, family-owned pest providers in the Washington DC area, and the services we provide in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia are second to none. We employ board-certified entomologists, pest industry experts and over 100 highly trained pest professionals. We find the best of the best by implementing rigorous hiring standards combined with world-class training.
Our commitment to excellence and eco-friendly solutions has allowed our team to earn QualityPro and GreenPro certification through the National Pest Management Association. These are "good housekeeping seals of approval" for pest control. They are awarded to pest providers who show an excellence in business operations, employee testing and training, consumer protection, and environmental stewardship. With American Pest, you'll always get the highest level of service and protection. When it comes to safeguarding your equity, protecting your belongings and preventing pest-borne illnesses, we've got you covered. Step on over to our home pest control page or check out our commercial pest control page for more details about the services we provide. If you need help, you can click the little ready dialog box at the right corner of this page and speak with an expert. We're here to help.
Our hard-working team has earned the QualityPro seal of excellence from the National Pest Management Association. This seal is your assurance that our team has been tested and has surpassed guidelines for business operations, training, environmental stewardship, and consumer relations.
We are highly rated on Angie's List, Best Pick Reports, and other review sites.
We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.