What to Do When Rover Brings Home Fleas

It’s flea season. A walk in the woods, a frolic in the park with other dogs, even a snooze in your backyard can expose Rover to fleas. And since the little blood suckers aren’t too particular about who they’re eating, fleas on Rover can mean fleas on you, on your kids and in your house. (See our June 12 post).

What can you do to help control a flea infestation? Take some advice from the experts at the National Pest Management Association:

  • Clean and vacuum your home frequently to remove existing flea populations and prevent the laying of eggs.
  • Be sure to keep your lawn well groomed as this can thwart rodents (including squirrels), who are often flea carriers, from finding hiding spots and food sources so close to your home. Applying an insecticide to your lawn once a month can help; just make sure to keep your pets indoors during and after applications until it’s safe (check product directions).
  • Fleas tend to travel with mammals on the move, including rodents. If you have a rodent problem in your home, fleas may be soon to follow. Call a pest professional to rid your home of both.
  • To protect your pets, keep them on a leash when outdoors. Be sure to bathe and groom your pets regularly using a flea shampoo.
  • Have your pets visit a veterinarian annually and use flea treatments according to directions.

If fleas are biting you, give the pest control experts at Stern Environmental Group a call. We can get rid of the fleas and any rodents that might be harboring them. Visit our website to learn about our insect and wildlife control services. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.

Don’t Let Summer Fleas Bug You

Our dog Frisky loved summer. She’d spend hours lying in the yard under the Alder tree, playing between snoozes with the passel of kids that always seemed to be hanging around. But her favorite sport was chasing squirrels.

She’d hunker down behind the lilacs with one eye open, surveying the yard. Lulled into a false sense of security by her inactivity, the wily critters would creep down the Oak tree, pause, then head for the smorgasbord in my garden. Without warning, Frisky would bolt from behind the shrubs in full charge, a fuzzy white blur streaking across the yard. Leaping in huge bounds, the squirrels would run for their lives and scamper back up the tree. There they’d sit, high on a branch, raining scolding chatter down upon our faithful watchdog.

Frisky never caught a squirrel (fortunately), but she came close a couple of times. What she did catch were fleas. From the squirrels!

I didn’t even know that was possible until our vet assured me that it had been a particularly bad summer for fleas and that it was not unusual for dogs to catch them from squirrels. My bad luck because Frisky had the run of the house and slept with my daughter which meant (you guessed it) we had fleas in the house and on the kids!

“Although, fleas are often associated with household pets, these pests can certainly affect human beings,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. “Frequently, flea bites are itchy, unsightly and may cause allergic reactions in humans. With the recent increase in flea calls to pest control companies, it is important to protect your family from these potential health risks.”

Getting rid of fleas in a home filled with three kids, multiple dogs and cats and all the accumulated stuff that goes with them was an aggravating challenge. We must have cornered the market on flea shampoo and calamine lotion that summer.

Now, of course, we’re lucky to have flea collars and monthly drops to help prevent our pets from getting fleas and bringing them indoors. If you haven’t started treatments yet, I urge you do so without delay. Flea season is here and this summer promises to produce another bumper crop.

The problem with getting rid of fleas is that, like many insects, flea baths will only kill active adults. Treatments must be repeated at regular intervals to kill hatching eggs. If you miss a single flea, you’ll find them multiplying throughout your house all over again. If this happens to you, give the pest control experts at Stern Environmental Group a call.

“If you suspect a flea infestation in your home, be proactive in treating the problem and contact a licensed pest professional to rid your home of fleas and to prevent future infestations,” advises Mannes.

If you’ve been invaded by fleas, visit the Stern Environmental Group website for information on our expert pest control and pest management services. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.

Stay tuned! Next time we’ll talk about home measures you can take to combat a flea invasion.

Don’t Let Bed Bugs Spoil Your Vacation

School is out and families are piling the kids and the suitcases into their SUVs and hitting the highways. It’s vacation time! You’ve packed the sunscreen and the bug spray. You’re prepared to cope with a few picnic ants and evening mosquitoes. Unfortunately no amount of bug spray will protect you from bed bugs. The annoying little insects are a real vacation killer.

Bed bugs have cropped up in all 50 states. They’ve been found in little mom and pop hotels and big fancy national chains. If last night’s guest had bed bugs, you can bet they didn’t all leave when he packed his suitcase. They’re still there, waiting to chomp on the next person who rents the room. And unless someone complains about being bitten, the hotel’s management may not even know they have a problem.

If you want to guarantee yourself and your family a pleasant night’s sleep and enjoyable vacation, take these simple precautions before you bring your suitcases into your hotel room:

  • Look for tiny reddish or black streaks on sheets and blankets.
  • When you check in the sheets on the bed will have been freshly laundered, so strip them off and look for telltale colored smears on the mattress pad and at the side edges of the mattress along the seams.
  • Bed bugs don’t just live in beds. They may be in the carpet, under the wall paper, behind the baseboards, in any tiny crack or crevice. Pull the bed away from the wall and look for smears behind the headboard.
  • Pull drawers completely out of the nightstand and dressers and shine a flashlight inside to look for evidence of the critters or the tiny bugs themselves scurrying away from the light.

If you find anything suspicious, ask for a new room in a different part of the hotel. Avoid rooms to either side of the first room or on the floor directly above or below. Bed bugs spread easily through wall voids, duct work and electrical and plumbing conduits so rooms next to or above and below an infected room will be the first to be infected as they spread. Make sure you check the new room for signs of bed bugs. Or just take your business to a different hotel.

If you take a few simple precautions, bed bugs won’t ruin your vacation. If you do happen to encounter the critters and bring them home with you, call Stern Environmental Group immediately. We are the bed bug experts and will eradicate the pesky intruders from your home — guaranteed.

If you are a business owner and a guest complains of bed bugs (or being eaten alive while he slept), call us today. Bed bugs will drive away the vacation season business you rely on. Our bed bug experts can inspect your facility and make sure that you are bed bug free — peace of mind for you and your guests.

To find out more about bed bugs and the full range of services offered by Stern Environmental Group, click the post title. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.

Bed Bugs Are Pest #1

“Bed bugs are pest No. 1 in the Western world right now,” declared pest control expert Brett Johnson on Canadian television. Like their American counterparts, Canadian pest control companies are fighting bed bugs in apartments, hotels, homes, day care centers, even movie theaters!

“I was getting 12 to 20 bits a night. Yeah. Go to sleep with that thought. You just don’t sleep,” said Vancouver apartment dweller Melody Seiling. Her mattress is smeared with bloody spots where the tiny, blood-sucking insects have been crushed when she tosses and turns at night trying to sleep. “A day doesn’t go by where we don’t hear from somebody who has a bug infestation in their apartment,” said Chris Anderson of Vancouver’s Tenants Rights Action Coalition.

Increased incidents of bed bug infestations are a worldwide phenomenon, though perhaps more noticeable in western countries like the US and Canada where powerful pesticides all but wiped out the little buggers in the years following World War II. The ancient scourge has continuously plagued many European, Middle Eastern and Asian countries for centuries. Increased international travel and the discontinuation of power pesticides like DDT are blamed for the return of the obnoxious pests.

Bed bugs are tenacious buggers, easily spread and extremely difficult to eradicate. If bed bugs invade your home or business, call the bed bug specialists at Stern Environmental Group today. Our knowledgeable bed bug experts will get rid of them — guaranteed! Click the post title to find out more about bed bugs and our eradication program. Visit our website to learn about Stern’s full range of pest control and pest management services for both residential and commercial customers. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.

How to Tell If You Have Carpenter Ants

Summer is ant season and it’s not unusual to see the occasional stray wanderer crawling about inside your home. But if you start to see large ants creeping around, especially at night, you might want to have a professional check it out. You could have carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants can damage the structure of your home. They don’t eat wood; they tunnel into the wood, hollowing it out to create galleries and nests, which weaken the structure. Carpenter ants are larger than other ants — 1/4 to 1/2 inch long — with an extra node between the abdomen and thorax. (Get out your magnifying glass and look for an extra bump between the middle and rear segments.) While often black, they can be brown, red or reddish brown and have a circle of hair on the tips of their rear ends.

Don’t get ants and termites confused. Though they have similarly shaped bodies, termites are off-white in color and have thicker waists than ants. They have straight, not bent, antennae and may have four wings all the same length. If you think you have termites, call Stern immediately. Termites do millions of dollars in damage every year and can cause serious damage to your home.

To help protect your home from carpenter ants and termites:

  • Keep wood, earth and debris away from siding. Don’t allow deep piles of mulch to build up against posts, stairs or siding.
  • Seal all cracks, holes and other possible entrances into your home, including wire and pipe pass-throughs.
  • Don’t store firewood close to your house.
  • Prune back tree branches so they don’t touch your house.
  • Keep moisture away from the foundation as both pests prefer soft, rotted wood.
  • Remove standing water from around your house as ants and termites need water to live.

Ants and termites are difficult pests to control. Nests must be found and destroyed to effectively remove the problem. If you think you have carpenter ants or termites, call the pest control experts at Stern Environmental Group immediately before these voracious pests damage your home. Visit our website for more information on these nasty pests; just click the post title. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.

Serving Up News on Bugs that Bug You!