How Did Bed Bugs Get Here in the First Place?

Native Americans didn’t have to deal with bed bugs. Like so many other noxious problems, colonists brought the annoying little critters with them when they sailed to America. It’s unknown when the first bed bug bit, but humans have been sharing beds with Comex Lectularius (the common bed bug) for centuries.

With no effective means of control back then, the prolific insects spread wherever humans gathered, becoming part of the pattern of daily life. The phrase, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” hearkens back to colonial days and represented more wishful thinking than reality. In those days bed bugs were everywhere and it was the rare bed that didn’t house a crop of the ravenous buggers. As people spread across the world, so did bed bugs. Sailors, missionaries and colonists took them along to the far corners of the world where they settled in to stay.

Hardy little devils, bed bugs can survive equally well in both cold and hot climates and can live for up to a year without feeding. An adult female can lay up to 12 eggs a day and lives for 12 to 18 months — that’s a lot of little mouths to feed! One bed bug in your bed multiplies exponentially until you have a serious infestation. Eggs hatch in 6 to 17 days with nymphs becoming mature adults in 21 to 120 days, depending on food supply. New adults lay more eggs, more nymphs hatch, everyone is hungry, and you become the blue plate special! You get the picture, no sleep, just itchy nightmares.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be playing host to bed bugs, call Stern Environmental Group. We are the bed bug experts and will get rid of your bed bugs — guaranteed! Click the post title for more information on the pesky bugs and our eradication services. Visit our website to learn about our full range of pest control and pest management services. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.

Are Chipmunks Tearing Up Your Yard?

My aunt may be losing the battle, but she’s determined to win the war! Her nemesis? The cute, furry little chipmunks that make my niece and nephew laugh.

The little critters shinny up the narrow metal pole that holds her bird feeders and help themselves to the choicest seeds. They scamper along the tree limbs to munch from the feeder hanging from the crab apple tree. They scurry back and forth across the patio and up onto the picnic table driving her crazy. They’ve dug so many holes in her garden that in some places the soil looks like swiss cheese! But the last straw came when they ate every last one of the petunias she had just planted around the patio!

My aunt isn’t the only one having trouble with chipmunks this summer. The exploding chipmunk population is the result of a dry spring, said biologist Gary Ludwig of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. “When it’s wet and rainy, they really feel the effects,” he said. “Their underground burrows, where they give
birth, will often collapse, causing many to die. But when it’s dry, like it has been this year, then you take away those conditions.”

If left unchecked, the cute little buggers are both prolific and destructive. Chipmunks typically live up to three years. Females can have two to three litters a year, producing two to five young each time. It doesn’t take long for the tiny rodents to become a real problem. Chipmunks cost one homeowner thousands of dollars when they chewed through the electrical system for his hot tub, then undermined his patio with their tunnels, forcing him to rebrick the entire patio.

If they can find a way into your house (they can squeeze through amazingly small spaces), chipmunks sometimes will move in. One homeowner returned from a two-week vacation to find her kitchen overrun with the critters. They made themselves at home and were feasting on hamster food!

But it is their tunneling that is so destructive and presents a serious problem for homeowners. Chipmunks live in a warren of tunnels and rooms they dig underground. They like to dig in the loose soils under patios, porches, stairs, retention walls and foundations. In large numbers they can perforate the soil with their tunnels, undermining the structures.

If your yard is overrun with chipmunks, call the wildlife removal professionals at Stern Environmental Group. We’ll take care of your problem so you don’t have to worry. Click on the post title to visit our website and learn more about our wildlife control services. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.

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.

Serving Up News on Bugs that Bug You!