Six Common Garden Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Six Common Garden Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

If you’re like most people who live in areas where mosquitoes are a common pest that frequently make relaxing and recreation in the backyard miserable, you probably already know about methods designed to minimize the populations of this pest. For instance, you are probably aware that avoiding having even small amounts of standing water in your yard reduces mosquito habitat and that burning citronella candles helps keep them at bay. You may not be aware, however, that there are certain plants that repel mosquitoes. Following are six of them.  Citrosa Geranium ​Also known as the mosquito plant, Citrosa gives off a scent that repels mosquitoes but is considered pleasant by humans. This plant thrives in a variety of garden environments and is attractive enough to be featured in containers on outdoor patios or decks. It features fernlike foliage and small, lavender colored flowers that bloom all summer long. The plants can be moved indoors to a sunny location during winter if desired. Eucalyptus Trees These trees reach up to 80 feet in height and give off a pleasant scent that helps keep backyard mosquitoes at bay. They need full sun in order to thrive, and when planted in the right place, they make an excellent backyard shade tree. They are so effective at repelling mosquitoes that you can press the oil from the foliage and use it as a topical mosquito deterrent. Mint By now, you may have guessed that one of the things that mosquito repelling plants have in common is a strong scent. Mint is another pungent plant that helps keep mosquitoes from ruining outdoor festivities during summer. Mint grows profusely in almost any conditions, so in order to avoid allowing it to take over your yard, keep it contained in pots around your outdoor living space. Any type of mint will do, including catmint and apple mint, but use stronger-smelling varieties such as spearmint and peppermint where mosquito populations are fierce.  Lemon Balm  Lemon balm is an excellent all-purpose herb with a strong lemon aroma that lets mosquitoes know they aren’t welcome in your yard. Like mint, it grows in most soils and exposures, but because it’s not invasive, it can be planted right into the ground. Like mint, it can also be used as a culinary herb and to make teas. Gently bruising its leaves on warm summer evenings helps release the scent that drives the mosquitoes away.  Marigolds Marigolds are an old garden standby when it comes to natural mosquito repellent. Be sure to buy the old fashioned kind that are heavily scented instead of their more modern hybrid counterparts. All you have to do to tell the difference is hold them to your nose — even if they haven’t started blooming yet, the foliage will have a rich aroma. You can expect marigolds to bloom from spring until the first hard frost, and because they seed profusely in the fall, you’ll be able to collect enough seed to grow your own marigolds the next spring.  Basil Loaded with essential oils, basil is another herb with culinary uses that does double duty by keeping mosquitoes away. It grows well both in pots and in the garden, so grow lots of it — keep in mind that it dies back after even a mild freeze, so be...

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4 Natural, Non-Toxic Ways To Get Rid Of Bedbugs

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Natural, Non-Toxic Ways To Get Rid Of Bedbugs

No one likes bedbugs, but few people like coating their homes in all manner of poisonous chemicals just to get rid of them. Not only that, but bedbugs have also proven increasingly resistant to a number of chemical treatments. If you want to deal with bedbugs naturally, here are a few non-toxic remedies to consider. Diatomaceous Earth Diatomaceous earth is a popular go-to when it comes to bedbug treatments. Although it looks like ordinary powder, diatomaceous earth actually consists of the fossilized remains of diatoms — small aquatic organisms whose skeletons are made out of silica and other minerals. When it comes to dealing with bedbugs, diatomaceous earth has two important functions: It acts as a desiccant, absorbing the oils, fats and moisture from the cuticles of the bedbug’s exoskeleton. It also acts as an abrasive thanks to its sharp edges. Upon contact, diatomaceous earth cuts through the bedbug’s exoskeleton, leaving it more vulnerable to the powder’s desiccating effect. Keep in mind that there are two types of diatomaceous earth commonly available for retail — food grade and pool grade. You’ll want to use food-grade diatomaceous earth for your home, since using pool grade in indoor spaces can prove dangerous. Not only can diatomaceous earth irritate your eyes and skin, but inhaling large quantities of this substance could cause long-term ailments such as silicosis. Bean Leaves Once thought of as just an Eastern European folk remedy, recent research has not only proven that bean leaves are highly effective at reducing bedbugs infestations, but also how bean leaves work to stop bedbugs in the first place. The secret lies in the thousands of trichomes — microscopic curved hairs — that cover the leaf surface. These trichomes hook into and pierce the feet and legs of the bedbugs that attempt to walk over them. Think of it as a natural version of Velcro, but for bedbugs. To use this remedy, simply take a few cups of bean leaves and scatter them on the floor of the infested room, making sure that the leaves cover every part of the floor. The next day, carefully collect all of the leaves and dispose of them outside of your home, preferably by burning them. Scientists are looking to replicate the natural snagging abilities of bean leaves for use on furniture legs and other places where bedbugs might try to gain a foothold. Sunlight Sunlight is not only the best disinfectant, but it can also be an effective way of driving bedbugs out of bedding and linens. There are a couple of ways you can take advantage of the sun to get rid of bedbugs: Leave your mattress and other upholstery that can’t be vacuumed or washed in hot water outside during a hot summer day. In most cases, direct contact with sunlight will drive the bedbugs away from your exposed bedding to shadier areas along the ground. Place your belongings in a black plastic bag and leave the bag in direct sunlight. On a hot day, temperatures within the bag can exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bedbugs have little hope of surviving such extreme temperatures. Lemongrass Oil Lemongrass oil is yet another natural way of keeping bedbugs at bay. The scent of lemongrass does more than just repel bedbugs — this essential oil also elevates the acidic...

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Repel These Pests Naturally Between Professional Pest Control Treatments

Posted by on Feb 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Repel These Pests Naturally Between Professional Pest Control Treatments

Keeping roaches and other pests out of your home tends to be a continuous task, even when a pest control company treats the place on a regular basis. You’ll likely find that it’s essential to personally do a little leg work throughout the year if you want to keep bugs out of sight between those professional visits – here are a few awesome natural pest control options to consider for three common house bugs that are sure to provide results without any harmful side effects: Common Ants When it’s hot and moist outdoors at any time throughout the year, you are likely to find ants trying to make their way inside the house. You can keep them away by making sure that sweet items like syrup, sugar, jam, and even fruit, are never left on countertops or in cupboards. Keep it all in the fridge, or at the very least transfer the sweet stuff to sealable containers that can’t be penetrated by small pests. Try a few of these options as well: Create a solution of equal parts vinegar and water in a reusable spray bottle and saturate the windowsills, door openings, and countertops to stop ant trails in their tracks. Direct ants back outdoors by smearing some honey on a rock or some concrete in a few places around your home – make sure that the honey is located a few feet away from its border. Rub peppermint oil around any areas where food is kept in your home to disrupt communication scents that the scouts leave behind. You can also spray a mixture of peppermint oil and water around all the entrances of your home to make the space less attractive to ants. For the best results, it’s a good idea to incorporate all of these tactics at the same time as soon as you notice ant trails start to form. Ugly Cockroaches Roaches tend to be the most dreaded pests for homeowners, in part because they are so ugly, but also because they typically leave behind excessive excrement as they travel and scavenge. Any excrement that’s left behind can result in side effects, like bacteria buildup and breathing issues, if someone in your household is exposed. Roaches happen to be pretty hard to kill, which means that your most effective pest control option is keeping them from entering your home in the first place. You can use these techniques to get the job done: Incorporate a thin layer of gravel into your landscape by spreading it directly around the exterior of your home – this will reduce moisture buildup and minimize the attraction of roaches. Leave a bay leaf or two in spaces near entrances to your home where cockroaches may enter to keep them from scavenging the area. Make some homemade non-toxic roach spray that can be used to kill the ones you see. Simply mix a cup of water with a few drops each of peppermint and cypress essential oils in a reusable spray bottle. Shake the concoction well before each use. It is also important to keep cardboard, firewood, and other convenient roach hiding resources away from the immediate vicinity of your home. Bothersome Crickets Crickets can get annoying quickly after infiltrating the home, and if they can’t be caught, sleeping might not come easily for anyone...

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4 Ways To Avoid Picking Up Bed Bugs When You Travel

Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Avoid Picking Up Bed Bugs When You Travel

Bed bugs have become an increasingly huge problem throughout the country; especially in urban areas. With bed bug infestations on the rise, it is prudent to take care of yourself and your home. More importantly, make sure that you don’t pick up bed bugs while you’re traveling. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn about four ways to avoid picking up bed bugs when you travel, when and where you should look for bed bugs, and what to do when you encounter these pesky pests. Pre-Trip There are ways to avoid bed bugs that involve you doing a few things before you even leave the comfort of your own home. When using luggage, remember that plastic, clamp suitcases are much better for keeping out pests than regular kinds. These kinds of cases are also heavy duty, so they’re great for keeping your belongings from breaking during long plain rides, as well. Put all of your perishable belongings in plastic bags and make sure to take them out only when absolutely necessary. Hotel Room Inspection During travel stays, most people tend to stay in hotel rooms. Remember that hotels can be a hotbed of bed bug activity due to the number of people from different walks of life and different parts of the nation (or even world) that stay there. Bed bugs like to hide in nooks and nannies. The first thing you should upon arrival to your hotel room is to undo the covers and linens of the bed and make sure that no bed bugs have made their home in between the tightness of the sheets present on your bed. Look behind the headboard and even between the box springs and mattress. Turn off the light and use a flashlight, if you must, as bed bugs are more active in the dark. Reporting An Outbreak A great way to go about avoiding bed bugs in a hotel is to get as much help as possible. It is impossible to squash an outbreak of your own accord. Just because you were able to kill a few of the bugs does not mean that you were able to get them all. It is imperative to contact the management of the hotel as soon as possible. Let them know about the potential outbreak that has occurred within the confines of your hotel room. Work with management, as this is the best way to resolve the situation and, first things first, make sure that they transfer you to a new room as quickly as possible. Returning Home Just because your trip is over does not mean you can stop fretting about a potential outbreak of bed bugs. It is important to check for bed bugs on return from your trip, as bed bugs can travel on your clothes, suitcase, or any number of pieces of luggage or items that you bring back home from your trip with you. The first thing you should do upon returning, especially if you suspect bed bugs, is to check your suitcase for bedbugs away from your furniture and beds, as well as any clothes. If you do believe that you have brought bed bugs home, put your clothes in plastic bags and then in the freezer for at least 4 days to kill...

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4 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Termite Control

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Termite Control

Termite infestations are a major worry for American homeowners. According to a survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association, 38% of Americans are worried about finding termites inside their home. With fears come misconceptions, and there are a lot of myths being circulated about termite infestations. Here are four myths that you shouldn’t believe about termite infestations. Termites don’t live very long One particularly harmful myth about termite infestations is that termites don’t live for very long. It’s not true that termites die off in the winter and that their colonies will go away by themselves when it gets cold. In fact, the truth is the exact opposite. Workers and soldiers have the shortest lifespans in a termite colony: they only live for one to two years. However, the queen can lay more than 30,000  eggs per day, so the lifespan of the workers and soldiers doesn’t much matter. The most important member of the colony, the queen, can live for as long as 50 years. Since termites can live for so long, you need to be proactive when it comes to getting rid of them. While waiting for winter is a valid approach for some other types of pests, like bees, it is not a good approach for termites. Termites are not a concern up north It’s a common misconception that termites are only a problem in the southern portions of the United States. Unfortunately for Northerners, this is not the truth. The truth is that termites can be found in every single state except for Alaska. The probability of encountering a termite infestation in your home varies based on where in the country you live, but unless you’re in Alaska, the risk is still there. The highest risk is in the southern states (specifically California, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida), but homeowners in the rest of the country are not safe. Homeowners in the Northeast, Midwest, or Southwest have a moderate to heavy risk of a termite infestation. Homeowners in the Pacific Northwest have a slight to moderate chance, while homeowners in the northernmost states, such as North Dakota, have a very slight chance of getting termites. Termites do not affect brick homes Everyone knows that termites eat wood, so it seems like common sense that people who live in brick homes have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even brick homes have wood frames, wood floors, wood furniture, or other sources of delicious wood, so all homeowners need to be worried about termites. While termites don’t eat bricks, they can get through them fairly easily. This is because the bricks on the outside of your house are assembled with mortar, a type of cement. As the mortar ages, it dries out, and when this happens, cracks form. Termites can then squeeze through these tiny cracks in your mortar to reach the wood on the inside of your home. DIY termite control is practical There are many types of household pests that you can get rid of by yourself, but termites are not one of them. Termites make their homes in hard-to-access tunnels deep within the wooden structure of your home, so it is very hard for you to reach them with insecticides. Another obstacle is that there can be as many as 14...

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Moving Truck Fumigation: Tips For Eliminating A Bed Bug Infestation When You Move

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Moving Truck Fumigation: Tips For Eliminating A Bed Bug Infestation When You Move

If you’re getting ready to move and you’re in an area where bed bugs have been a concern, it’s important that you take steps to prevent the bed bugs from moving with you. Although you could spend a month or two undergoing repeated treatments to eliminate the population in the house before you move, you may still want to be sure that you aren’t bringing any residual bed bugs into your new place. One of the best ways to do that is to work with a pest control company to fumigate your moving truck. Here is a look at what you need to know about the moving truck fumigation process. When Should You Do It? Fumigating the moving truck is an effective way to eliminate a bed bug infestation, but you need to do it at the right time. The best thing to do is to rent your moving truck about 2 days before you’re going to move into the new place. That way, you can spend one day loading the truck and then deliver it to a pest control company like Garrie Pest Control to fumigate it. Most pest control companies will need about 24 hours to treat the truck, because that provides sufficient time for the pesticide to do its job before you open the truck to unload it. How Does it Work? When you take your truck to a pest control specialist to fumigate it, they’ll seal the truck’s cargo area completely. Then, they introduce an inorganic gas product that will draw all of the oxygen out of the air in the truck. This will suffocate the bed bugs and their eggs all at once. After treatment, the truck is unsealed and opened. The gas compound breaks down and dissipates safely, leaving no residue of any kind behind on your belongings. What Do You Need to Do? There are a few special steps you’ll have to take to be sure that the treatment is effective. The gas needs to be able to reach every air pocket in the truck. Here are some tips to ensure that your packing works well. Wrap your furniture in plastic sheeting to keep all of the bed bugs contained when you’re moving furniture from the house to the truck. That way, none escape and spread the infestation. Remove the plastic as soon as the furniture is safely on the truck. Leave glass, plastic and metal containers open. This ensures that the gas can reach them, because it cannot penetrate the containers. Don’t leave plants or other oxygen-requiring items in the back of the truck. The gas eliminates the oxygen in the air, which will kill those plants. Make sure your prescription medications and toiletries are secured in plastic storage bags so that the pest control company can look through them. Cover your mattresses and box springs with zippered cases. This will keep the bed bugs contained. Once they’re on the moving truck, unzip the covers so that the gas can permeate the whole thing. Put everything you own in the truck, because bed bugs can tuck into any corner, including in your backpacks, suitcases, pet bedding and electronics. By having everything fumigated, you’ll reduce the risk of spreading the bugs to any other area. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to...

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Chikungunya – A Rising Mosquito-Borne Threat You Should Know About

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Chikungunya – A Rising Mosquito-Borne Threat You Should Know About

Have you heard of chikungunya? If not, you may soon know more about this debilitating disease than you’d care to because it has become a growing threat in the Americas. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this disease, which is similar to painful dengue fever, was originally found in tropical areas of Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. But in 2007, an outbreak in which the disease was locally transmitted was reported in Italy. Since that time, chikungunya transmission has also been reported in France and Croatia. And now the mosquito-borne disease is quickly spreading across the Americas. Frightening Speed The first case of chikungunya transmission in the Americas was reported in late 2013 on the island of St. Martin. Before that point, some cases of this viral illness, which has earned the nickname bone-break disease, had been diagnosed in people who had contracted the disease while in another country, but there had never been a report of transmission till that outbreak. Since that initial report, there have now been a staggering 1.2 million suspected cases throughout the Americas, including in Florida. While there have only been 11 locally transmitted cases in the U.S. so far in the two years since the first chikungunya transmission was reported in the United States, there is fear that the disease could gain a toehold in this country.  Symptoms of Chikungunya Chikungunya translates to “bending over in pain” in the African Makonde language. Its English nickname is bone-break disease for the pain it causes. The following are some of the symptoms of this disease: Severe joint and muscle pain Joint swelling Rash Severe headache and fever While many people recover within three to seven days, the disease can leave other people feeling weak for weeks and, occasionally, even months.  Steps You Can Take Mosquito control will be the most important step to keeping chikungunya at bay. According to WHO, a major risk factor for contracting chikungunya is being close to the breeding site of the mosquitoes that carry this disease. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so step one is to get rid of anything that may be collecting water. In addition, if you are concerned that your property may be a potential mosquito breeding ground, consider hiring a pest control company so that they can: Conduct an inspection of your property for potential breeding sites. Because the pest control companies are experts, they are better able to ferret out probable breeding areas. For example, they may look under your structure to see if you have water in your crawl space or if rainwater has collected in clogged gutters. Apply insecticides to vegetation around your home. Some mosquitoes use the bushes and shrubbery near your home as resting spots. The pest control service may also recommend that you trim some of your vegetation back. Use microbial insecticides. These insecticides, which contain microscopic living creatures, are applied to mosquito breeding sites.  Perform monthly spraying of a killing agent to your property. Some pest control services offer a bait that actually causes mosquitoes to stop feeding on people.  In addition, you should: Wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors whenever possible Apply insect repellent to your exposed skin While bone-break disease has only been transmitted rarely in the United States to this date, there is concern...

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2 Pests That Can Destroy Your Lawn

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Pests That Can Destroy Your Lawn

When most people think of pest control, they imagine eradicating spiders or ants lurking around the kitchen or bedroom. However, pests can cause just as much trouble outside—and they can be even harder to control. Here are two pests that can destroy your lawn, and how a professional exterminator can help: 1: Grubs Lawn health starts at the roots, which is why grubs are so destructive. Grubs, which are actually the larva of adult beetles, feed on the tender roots of your lawn, creating large patches of dead grass. Unlike other pests, when grubs attack, they actually cut the turf free. To check for grubs, look for yellowed, dead grass, and tug on it slightly to see if it separates from the ground. If you can roll up your turf like a piece of carpet, you might have grubs. Before you call your exterminator to report the problem, try to identify the type of grubs that you have. Here are a few key characteristics that might help your pest control professional to prepare for your appointment:  June Beetles: June Beetle grubs are usually between ½ an inch to one inch long whitish in color, with brown heads. June Beetle grubs are the largest grubs most homeowners find around their yards, so they are easy to spot quickly. Black Turfgrass Beetles: Unfortunately, not all grubs are easy to detect. Black Turfgrass Beetle grubs are small, usually around a quarter of an inch long. To spot these grubs, look for small black scarab beetles, usually about 1/5th of an inch long.  Northern Masked Chafers: If you want to find Northern Masked Chafer grubs, you will want to look in late September, when the grubs are the largest. Although Northern Masked Chafers are destructive, healthy turf can tolerate about 20 of the grubs per square foot without sustaining serious injury. When your exterminator arrives, he or she might start by applying a chemical pesticide, such as Dylox or Carbaryl to kill off any live grubs. However, depending on the area the grubs attacked, your exterminator might also ask you to make some changes to keep the pests from coming back. For example, since beetles don’t like to lay eggs on long grass, keeping your lawn at least 2 inches long might fend off future problems. 2: Field Mice You might not worry too much about spotting a mouse outside where it belongs, but those furry little rodents could be creating a network of tunnels underneath your lawn. Field mice, also called voles, are short-tailed, brown rodents that can destroy your grass. These destructive pests munch away on grass blades and roots, leaving behind a grid of soil trails called “runways.” Believe it or not, the destruction doesn’t stop there. Field mice can even eat away tree bark, root vegetables, and even flowers—leaving your yard a mess. Fortunately, your exterminator has several options to protect your yard from these annoying pests. Here are a few methods he or she might use: Soil Protector: Field mice don’t like sharp soil, which is why some exterminators choose to use soil protector to fend off voles. This soil contains large pieces of sharp gravel, so that field mice might choose greener pastures instead of your yard. Mesh Barriers: Since field mice use common entrance and exit...

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