Protecting Your Pets 🐾

Often times when speaking with new customers, one of their main concerns are how the services may effect their pets. The APC team is made up of pet lovers, so we know that fur-babies are members of the family. Meet a few of our crew:

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Marissa’s pug-chihuahua mix, Mike
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Kasie’s golden doodle, Lucy, with her son
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Mike’s cat, Foxy
James’ Dawg fan, Sassy

Ok, enough pet pictures. (For now 😆) Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:  pests that can be a menace to your four-legged friends. 

Fleas
The dreaded flea…every pet’s worst enemy. The first sign of a flea infestation is usually your pet scratching more than normal. The first place to look is at the base of the tail or behind the ears. Fleas tend to congregate in these areas because it is where the blood is closest to the skin. If you suspect a flea infestation, the best course of action is to talk to your vet about treatment and preventative medication and contact a pest professional to eradicate the issue.
In order to understand the flea treatment, it’s important to know the basics of the flea life cycle. Female fleas lay eggs on the host, then the eggs drop off into carpet or upholstery. Vibrations from walking or vacuuming will stimulate the eggs and cause them to hatch, which is why we always ask our customers to vacuum before a flea treatment. This also explains why you may see a resurgence of adult fleas about 2 weeks after your first treatment. This is when the eggs that were hiding in the carpet hatch and seek out a host. Typically, the most successful plan includes two treatments but as always, this depends on the inspection and severity of the infestation.

Ticks
These pests are a nuisance to people and pets. Ticks are usually introduced to yards and outdoor areas by other wildlife like rats or deer. Vet-prescribed medications can reduce the likelihood of your pet getting a tick bite. Yard treatments can help reduce the tick populations. These can be especially helpful if you have pets that frequent wooded areas of your yard. For people, the best protective measure is to use a protective spray and wear long sleeves and pants when walking outdoors. You should always check yourself for ticks after visiting wooded areas. Ticks can transmit some pretty scary diseases like Lyme Disease and Alpha-gal syndrome (which causes an allergy to red meat) so taking extra measures to avoid them is the best bet to ensure yours and your pets’ safety.

Mosquitoes
These flying pests are known for the diseases they can transmit to humans: West Nile, Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, and more. Many may not realize, however, that mosquitoes are also the carriers of heart worm disease. Heart worms can cause devastating health problems for dogs and can be very costly to treat. The first step in protecting yourself and your pets is reducing the mosquito population in your yard. You can do this by eliminating all standing water sources and scheduling a regular mosquito service with a pest professional. When choosing your pest company, be sure to ask about their licensing and registration as well as their training requirements. In addition to these preventative steps, dogs should be on regular heart worm preventative medication.

Ok, one more cute puppy picture for good measure. 🥰

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Lisa’s pup, Polly, hiding in the garden

Our team loves their pets (and yours!). Whether it’s participating in National Bring Your Dog to Work Day, volunteering with local shelters and humane societies, bringing along treats for our customers’ fur-babies, or sinply being there for each other when anyone loses a beloved family pet, we’re dedicated to keeping mans’ best friend safe and sound. Call or text us any time for pest identification or to schedule a free inspection.

A Friend to Pollinators

We’re celebrating National Pollinator Week by sharing information about  how our communities can support pollinator health. One way that you can be a friend to pollinators and spruce up your landscape is by planting a pollinator garden! Gardeners.com shared this bee-friendly setup which will attract honey bees and other species: bee pollinator garden

Here are some tips for crafting your very own pollinator-friendly garden:

  • Choose a sunny location
  • Obviously, you’ll need to use plants that provide pollen and nectar sources.
  • Choosing plants that bloom early or late in the season will provide a resource for local bees at a time when their choices for pollination will be more limited.
  • Look for plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance. The less you will need to disturb the garden, the better.
  • Use a broad mixture of bee-friendly plants for your garden instead of focusing on one or two varieties.
  • Consult your local nursery when you’re ready to purchase your seeds. This is a great opportunity to #shoplocal and support your community businesses who have a wealth of knowledge to share on the best plants for your garden.
  • After planting, you can register your garden with Million Pollinator Gardens to be added to their national registry of pollinator friendly gardens.

Sources:
https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/pollinator-garden-design-for-bees/9144.html

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https://savvygardening.com/best-bee-plants-for-pollinator-garden/

Introducing: The Hives at High Shoals

American Pest Control has long been concerned with pollinator health and doing our part to preserve the pollinator population. We’ve been offering green solutions since before “going green” was a thing. As pest management professionals, we take our role in protecting public health by reducing populations of insects that carry infectious or deadly diseases very seriously. We also understand, however, that there are insects which are vital to our world’s ecosystems and it’s our duty to help protect those populations. This year, in honor of Pollinator Partnership’s National Pollinator Week, we are proud to introduce The Hives at High Shoals!

Caleb Bales caring for the bees

What is The Hives at High Shoals? It is a small apiary located at The Farm at High Shoals and maintained by American Pest Control in order to learn more about pollinators and educate our communities about their importance. We created this project in order to do our part in giving back to the environment by protecting pollinator populations.

Why are pollinators so important? Almost all of the flowering plants on earth need pollinators in order to thrive. When we apply products for treatments outside, we never apply them to flowering plants so that we do not disrupt the pollinators food source. The significance of this goes far beyond just flowers, though. More than 180,000 plant species and over 1,200 crops need pollination as well. According to Pollinator Partnership, “that means that 1 out of every 3 bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators.” In terms of how this impacts our economy, we’re talking about billions of dollars globally.

The first drop of honey from the Hives at High Shoals

Why are people so worried about bee populations? You have probably heard in recent news that pollinator populations are in decline. While the scientific community still has much to learn about bee populations and the specific causes for this decline, some include disease, use of certain agricultural/crop pesticides, other parasitic insects and lack of resources due to urbanization.

As we care for our bees and learn more about their habits and biology, we will continue to share what we learn with you. In the future, our hope is to expand this project to share information with schools and other community groups as well. We hope you’ll all follow along as we share more information this week in celebration of National Pollinator Week.

 

Sources:
https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week

Bed Bug Awareness Week 2020: Hotel Room Hotspots

In our last post, you learned the truth about some of the most common bed bug myths. So now the question is: how can you avoid a bed bug infestation? One of the most common ways that people encounter bed bugs is through travel. Read on to learn some quick tips to protect yourself during hotel room stays.

  1. When you first get to your hotel room, leave your luggage and personal items in the bathroom until you have done an inspection. This is the least likely place for bed bugs to hide, so it reduces the chance of a bug finding its way into your things before you’ve had a chance to check out the room.
  2. We would recommend using a flashlight while inspecting. (Most cell phones are now equipped with a light you could use.) This will help you get a better look at targeted areas.
  3. Bed bugs are most likely to be found on…you guessed it: the bed. They typically will gather around the seams of the mattress so you can start by checking those areas around the bed, focusing on the corners. Another red flag would be brown or black spots on the sheets or mattress caused by the bugs’ fecal matter.
  4. Now for the less obvious hideouts, check behind framed photos, headboards, and nightstands. While these aren’t the bugs’ number one destination, they could certainly be found in these areas. We would recommend checking these locations out before making yourself at home in the hotel room.
  5. After you get home, inspect your suitcase and its contents before bringing it inside. Wash and dry anything that was in your luggage and vacuum the suitcase as an added precaution.

If you do see any sign of infestation after a trip, schedule a free inspection with one of our experts. If an infestation is caught early on it will be easier to eradicate and control.

Bedbug Awareness Week 2020: Busting Bedbug Myths

Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite! Raise your hand if you thought bed bugs were a mythical creature that only existed in bedtime stories…🙋‍♀️ Unfortunately, they’re as real as it gets in the pest world. These gross little hitchhikers bring with them not only physical harm, but also mental distress for many of their victims. Bed bugs are one of the most speculated and misunderstood insects, so let’s take a look at some of the more common bed bug myths.

#1. Bedbugs are microscopic. 

Nope. We don’t know where this myth came from, but it is far from the truth. While bed bugs nymphs can be small enough to hide in the head of a screw, adult bed bugs are closer to 1/4 inch long. In this photo you can tell that while they are small, they’re definitely big enough to see with the naked eye.

#2. If you see a bedbug, immediately throw away your mattress. 

This is a really common response to seeing a bed bug, and we get it! The thought of something infesting your bed and feeding on you while you sleep is tough to stomach so our natural instinct is to get rid of it ASAP. What needs to be considered, though, is that bed bugs are great hitchhikers. So if you take their primary habitat and drag it through your home to ditch it outside, chances are, you’re spreading the infestation in the process. The same goes for switching beds. If you move from one bed to another bed or couch, the bugs are likely coming along for the ride on your bedding. Your best bet is to leave furniture where it is and call a professional for help. With a bedbug treatment, you should also invest in a mattress cover to protect your mattress. Smaller things like clothing or bedding can be bagged up and transported to a washing machine with less threat of spreading the bugs.

#3. Bed bugs only infest dirty homes. 

Bed bugs are most often associated with uncleanliness, but they don’t actually care whether your home is clean or dirty. They’re found more frequently in areas where there a lot of people or for them, meals. How clean or dirty the home is doesn’t impact the likelihood of an infestation at all. With that being said, clutter can affect the process of inspecting and eradicating an infestation.

4. Bed bugs only bite at night. 

Bed bugs instinctively prefer to feed during the night.  Their main goal, however, is to feed on the host so they will adapt to that person’s sleeping schedule. If the host sleeps during the day, that’s when the bed bugs will most likely be found biting. The other reason they may feed at an uncommon time is if they have gone a while without a blood meal. They can go weeks or even months without feeding, but when they have access to a host after that type of stretch, they’ll likely feed as soon as possible no matter what time of day.

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5. Bedbugs transmit diseases. 

Other insects that feed on blood, like mosquitoes or ticks, are known for their potential to transmit serious diseases to humans and animals. Bedbugs, while they do harbor pathogens, have not been found to transmit any human diseases. They do have several other harmful effects on people who are unlucky enough to experience an infestation, like anxiety, sleeplessness, or even infections.

Check out our next post to learn more about protecting your home from a bed bug infestation during summer travel.

Sources:
https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/bed-bugs/bed-bugs/