Termites, They’re Trickier Than you Think!

termites

If you haven’t experienced termite damage first-hand, you might not realize just how detrimental they can become. In a single location, these little guys can (literally) eat away at your home, spreading into larger distances as they’re colony grows. And they grow fast! Over time, this can lead to structure damage, boards that need to be replaced, and an endless amount of headaches. After all, checking and repairing termite damage can be tedious work.

What can be even more unnerving about these buggars, however, is that they work underground and hidden in areas such as wall voids. Meaning, more often than not, folks don’t even know when they’ve hit. That is, until the damage is noticeable, and therefore, fairly extreme. Unlike above-ground pests (mice, ants, etc.), they can actually attack your home for months before being detected. That means they can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage at a time, The same goes for out building, garages, or anything else that provides a feasty cellulose meal.

However, this is also why it’s better to avoid such damage in the first place. With proper inspections and a plan to keep termites away, you can gain peace of mind.  

Steps Toward Termite Prevention

If you haven’t already had an inspection (or one that’s current), it’s time to schedule one for your home. Call Knox at 877-Knox Pest to schedule a no-obligation inspection.

Knox is here to examine and help configure a plan – whether you have no damage, are starting to see initial signs of termites, or have a catastrophe on your hands. The first step is evaluating your home and initiating the control methods needed for protection.

If you already have termite activity, we’ll help create a custom plan to address the concern as quickly as possible. Or, if your home is still pest-free, we can create a preventative plan that will help keep it that way round-the-clock.

It’s always a good time to check for termites. (Especially after last summer’s hot bed for termite activity.) However, if you’ve heard about nearby outbreaks or instances at a neighbor’s, etc., it’s especially important to take action.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Home

1)   Control moisture: Termites need moisture to survive, and will seek it out. Fixing or adjusting leaky gutters, dripping spots, roof leaks, sprinklers that are improperly aimed, poor drainage or ventilation, etc. can help in controlling termites in your home.

2)   Wood-to-ground contact: Removing contact between the ground and wood from your home (including wood stacked around the foundation) can keep termites from setting up within your home.

3)   Call a licensed professional: We can help get your home under a termite protection plan that will include proper inspection and treatment.

About 600,000 homes are hit by termites every single year, don’t let your house be another unfortunate stat.

Get in touch with Knox today to schedule your custom termite inspection and to learn more about treatment options.

 

Bed Bugs and Travel: How to spot the dangers

Bed bug or bedbug infestation concept as a magnification close up of  parasitic insect pests on a pillow and under the sheets as a hygiene symbol and metaphor for inspection and danger of bloodsucking parasites living inside a mattress.

Up until the last few years, bed bugs, which are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of people and animals, were considered to be a problem of the past. Recently, infestations have become an issue again, and the chances of taking them home with you after staying in a hotel or motel have increased significantly.

At Knox Pest Control, we know how frustrating infestations can be, so we’ve created this list to help ensure that you don’t end up with these pests in your house.

Check Online
Before booking a room, check online to see if the hotel or motel you want to stay in might have an infestation. Online reviews will often contain this information, and there are websites that allow you to put in the name and location of a hotel or motel and find out if they have an infestation.

Keep in mind that this information can be posted by anyone, so an online report of an infestation may or may not mean that there really is one. Additionally, most hotels and motels will respond quickly when an infestation has been reported, so problems are often eliminated quickly.

However, if you see that a particular chain or location has multiple reports of problems, it may be best to consider staying somewhere else.

Keep Your Luggage Safe
Once you arrive at your destination, your first step is probably to put your luggage down. When you do so, don’t just put it on the floor. The best place to store your luggage until you’re sure that there’s not a bed bug problem in your room is the tub in the bathroom.

The tub is hard for these pests to crawl up, and they would normally have no reason to anyway since it is far away from the bed. On the off-chance that these pests are in the bathroom, they’ll be easy to spot on a tile floor.

Inspect Your Room
Before you settle in, you should inspect your room for bugs. They are the same shape and about the same size as apple seeds, and they tend to be reddish in color. Along with the bugs themselves, you can check for the exoskeletons they leave behind after molting and their droppings, which are little reddish dots.

When you check your room, you should focus on the bed, including the folds and crevices of the mattress and linens, and the area around it. It may be a good idea to use a flashlight since it will allow you to see in dark spaces, and many hotel rooms have dim lighting.

You should pull back the covers and check the areas around the edges of the bed and bedding. It’s also a good idea to look behind the headboard and on the floor beside the bed. Generally speaking, bed bugs stay within 15 feet of the bed, so you can normally focus your inspection on this area.

Do Your Laundry Immediately
When you get home, the first thing that you should do is to wash clothes in hot water. Once clothing is clean, you should put it in the dryer for at least 30 minutes. These bugs are not able to live in temperatures above 122 degrees Fahrenheit, so running clothing through your dryer on its highest setting should kill them.

Before storing your luggage, you should inspect it to make sure that no bugs came home with you. Be sure that you check in all the storage compartments and folds in your luggage that bugs could potentially hide in.

Call In Professionals
Even if you’re on high alert, bed bug infestations can still occur. All it takes is one female bug to get past your defenses, and you can end up with an infestation in your home.

Our experienced staff can help to identify infestations and address the issue.

If you believe you have a bed bug infestation, call Knox Pest Control today.

Identify Attic Infiltrators to Keep Your Home Safe

House mouse (Mus musculus)

Pitter patter. Thump. Squeak. They’re the noises that every homeowner dreads hearing — the indicators that a pest has infiltrated the attic. You didn’t consent to share your home with a rodent! Plus, if left unchecked, many unwanted guests can cause expensive damage or pose health risks. Hiring a professional to trap and remove attic pests is a must. The experts at Knox can help rid your home of these freeloading animals.

Sound and smell are two of the most reliable cues when determining if an animal has gotten into your house, and they can actually indicate which type of pest is present. If you notice an unidentified noise coming from your house, you’ll want to act quickly. Of course, your house may make plenty of sounds on its own thanks to pipes, floorboards, and settling. To help you identify potentially destructive animal invaders, here’s a convenient guide.

Squirrels

You’ll want to keep these bushy-tailed critters in the trees and out of your home. You’re likely to hear them moving around in the early morning and early evening. Squirrels make a fast scamper sound in the attic. They’ll leave lots of droppings behind, which are cause for sanitary concerns. Squirrels need only small holes to enter the home, so you’ll want to seal and secure any openings to the attic once a professional has trapped and removed the animal(s).

Snakes

These reptiles can be creepy enough in the wild. If snakes get inside your house, it’s a whole different story! It’s not often that these non-venomous make their way to your attic. If they do, it’s likely because they’ve followed the scent of rodents in your attic. The best way to get rid of the snakes is to remove away their prey. It can be difficult to hear snakes, but you may notice a slithering noise. Using snake traps and sealing entrances to your home is the best course of action.

Opossums

You may be accustomed to seeing these critters when going for a walk at night. Their opposable thumbs actually make opossums great climbers. Most typically, an opossum that has infiltrated your home is a mother looking to give birth. That means more unwanted guests on the way. You’ll likely be able to smell the large droppings that these animals leave behind. Their steps sound slow and heavy — making them difficult to discern at times. You may also hear a scratching noise if they fall in between the walls. You’ll want to contact a professional right away to remove these animals because if they die inside the home, they will produce a terrible odor.

Bats

Bats are big fans of attics and chimneys. As nocturnal creatures, you’ll notice their activity at night. They’ll leave the home to hunt, especially in the early evening. While inside your attic, you may not hear much from a small group of bats. However, these animals tend to cluster in colonies. A big group of bats will make all kinds of noise. You’ll hear flying, crawling, and squeaking all through the night if bats have infiltrated your home. The odor of their droppings will become noticeable as the colony increases in number. The bacteria in these droppings can cause health concerns if left unchecked. It’s important to contact a professional who can help remove these pests with one-way exclusion devices.

Rats

These rodents are active year-round, and they’ve made themselves one of the most common critters to infiltrate attics. Rats breed in high numbers, so a small problem can turn into a big one pretty quickly. You’ll notice light scurrying and a pitter patter noise at night. They leave behind droppings, creating a potential health hazard. Of course, rats don’t need a large opening to enter the home. So taking extra care to seal your property after removing the critters is a must.

Racoons

You’ve probably been the victim of raccoons ransacking your garbage bins before. It’s no surprise that these critters would look for a way to your home as well. Their ability to climb gives them access to any potential openings in your roof or attic. If raccoons have infiltrated your home, you’ll likely hear loud, heavy walking and thumping. They come and go to scavenge for food at night, creating noticeable noises. Just like opossums, raccoons often enter the home to give birth to their young, so you’ll want to be sure to remove any babies as well. Once you’re rid of these critters, you’ll want to seal all entry points thoroughly — even bolting down potential holes with steel, as raccoons can worth their way through many lighter materials.

Beyond simply not wanting to share your home with live animals, pest removal is important for sanitary reasons. As droppings — full of disease-causing pathogens — amass over time, you and your family could be at risk. Animals that die in the attic can also spread disease and cause terrible odors. There’s also the possibility that critters that invade your home can cause damage by chewing on wires and ducts.

Contacting a pest-removal professional is the best course of action if you believe an animal has invited itself in. Visit our wildlife services page to contact one of our experts and learn about all of the services Knox provides.

Winter Is Coming: Watch For These Six Critters

critter

Winter is on it’s way, and with it comes critters seeking warmth inside your home. The cold inspires all types of critters to take up residence, including: mice, rats, raccoons, cockroaches, and spiders. However, you can stay one step ahead of these unwelcome winter visitors by knowing the signs, being proactive, and taking precautions.

Mice

Common house mice can fit in a hole the size of a dime. They like warm, dark places like basements, attic rooms, and storage areas – especially if there is any clutter. If you needed more reason to get organized, try imagining a nest of mice in those old Christmas boxes — yikes! In addition, keep firewood at least 20 feet away from the house, as mice often use the dry wood as a nest.

These critters can also chew through drywall and electrical wires. The best way to prevent them is to organize clutter and caulk holes in walls and pipes. If you think there are already mice in your home, check for gnaw marks, droppings, and damaged food as evidence.

Rats

The Norway Rat is often another unwelcome winter critter. Like mice they gnaw their way inside, however their teeth are stronger and can chew through things like plastic or old lead pipes.
Caulk any holes. Rats can fit through a hole about the size of a quarter. They nest like mice do, in clutter and piles of firewood. Evidence that they are in your home include gnaw marks, droppings, damaged food and grease marks from their oily fur.

Cockroaches

No one likes roaches, but like any critter, they come into your home seeking food and warmth. The American cockroach and the German cockroach are the most common and can usually be found invading structures throughout the Southeast. The larger American roach usually gains access to homes and businesses from the outdoors while the smaller German roach has the ability to “hitchhike” from one location to another. Call Knox to protect your home or office from these pesky invaders.

Spiders

These pests like to make webs anywhere and everywhere they aren’t being disturbed. Check old shoes and clothes for cobwebs before putting them on, as they might hold sneaky insects. Also check old boxes and corners of any crawl space. Know how to recognize the brown recluse spider, as their bites can be dangerous. They can be identified by the violin shape on the back of the thorax.

Raccoons

The classic winter critter. The biggest deterrent for these critters is denying their access to food such as animal-proof trash can lids or keeping trash cans in a locked shed. Other prevention tactics include covering up any access points — check your roof for loose shingles, broken vent covers, and busted windows. If a raccoon does become trapped in your attic or basement, be sure to proceed with caution as they can be a common carrier of rabies.

Squirrels

The sound of scampering coming from the attic is usually an indicator that one if not a family of squirrels might be inside your home. But like the critters before, finding possible points of entry and covering them up is the best prevention tactic. It also helps to cut back branches that hang over the house.

Critters are a pain.

But being proactive often will keep unwelcome holiday house guests from taking up residence. And if they do manage to get inside, Knox Pest Control is only a phone call away.

Sources:
http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/the-keys-to-winter-pest-proofing/
http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/winter-pests-101/
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/american-cockroaches
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/squirrels/tips/squirrels-in-attics.html
http://knoxpest.com/services/spiders/
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/raccoons/tips/raccoon_eviction_exclusion.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

bedbugs

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects of the Cimicidae family. This term usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood; all insects in this family live by feeding exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals.

The bugs themselves are reddish-brown, flattened, oval and wingless, and have microscopic hairs that give them a banded appearance like the picture above. They are small and easily mistaken for other bugs, so it’s important to know what you are looking for. Adults grow to 4–5 mm in length and 1.5–3 mm wide (about the size and color of an apple seed) and newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in color, and become browner as they molt and grow.

Of course, as the name implies, they like to live in box springs and mattresses.

Where Are They Coming From?

Hotels. Clean homes. Dirty homes. Other countries, other states, bed bugs are practically everywhere. These pests are small enough to stow away in your suitcase and on your clothes. According to a survey in 2011 called Bugs Without Borders, 1 in 5 Americans will experience an “infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.”

How It Affects You

Bed bugs are nocturnal, so there is a strong chance you won’t actually see them – you will simply wake up one morning to itchy red bites. The bugs feed on human blood in the night and hide come daylight, so you can’t exactly spray and squash the bugs to make them go away. Oftentimes the only evidence they are in your home are the bites on your skin and the fecal matter in your linens.

But What Can You Do?

There are no guarantees, but being proactive can go a long way.

To check your hotel for bedbugs:

• Check the mattress seams and box springs for shed bed bug skins, small black stains like grains of pepper, or the bugs themselves.
• Examine inside the cushions of any furniture, around the electrical sockets, and behind the wall décor like picture frames.
• Place your suitcase on a tile bathroom floor if possible, as bedbugs are less likely to hide there.

For more prevention tactics, check out this video from PestWorld.org –

And if you need the help of a professional, give Knox a call at 1.877.KNOXPEST today and schedule an appointment.

Sources: http://knoxpest.com/services/bed-bugs/

https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/introduction-bed-bugs

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/press-releases/2011-bugs-without-borders-survey-new-data-shows-bed-bug-pandemic-is-growing/

The Zika Virus Part 2: How To Protect Your Home

zika mosquito graphic Protecting your home is always of upmost importance to us at Knox. Here are a few ways you can keep mosquitoes, the carriers of the Zika virus, away from your home.

Avoid Standing Water

Mosquitos like to lay their eggs in stagnant water, like buckets left outside and full of rainwater, animal food bowls, flower pots, vases, etc. After it rains, look around outside your home and empty out anything with standing water to help prevent mosquito eggs.

Protect Yourself From Bites

The mosquitos carrying the virus like to bite during the daytime, so if you know you will be in an area that may have mosquitos take bite preventative measures. Wear long sleeves and pants if possible, and use insect repellent on exposed skin. Treat your clothes with the repellent before putting them on, even down to your boots and socks.

Keep Doors Closed

Keeping the front porch door open while talking to the neighbors gives mosquitoes a point of entry to your home. Use screens on doors and windows you want to leave open, or avoid having doors open for extended periods of time.

But these are all just basic preventative measures. If you really want to protect your family, don’t just play defense.

Play Offense

Take the fight to your backyard by getting your home and property professionally treated.

Head to our website to schedule a service today.

The Zika Virus Blog Series Part 1: What To Know

mosquito-1301764_640

We are getting a lot of calls lately about protection from the Zika virus. It’s that time of year where you need to know how to protect your family and let Knox help rid your home of mosquitoes for the rest of the summer and through our warm fall season.

Here is the information about Zika, from our mosquito pest professionals, that you need to know.

We’ve all heard of the Zika virus from scanning the news, but how much do you really know? And what should you be worried about? First, a little background.

History

The virus got its name from the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1948, where a team of researchers were researching yellow fever with monkeys and mosquitoes. Over the next 30 years, 24 Zika studies were conducted and documented, each of which explored the various symptoms and methods of transmission. It wasn’t until June 2015 that Zika began to appear in Brazil, and a few months later that babies were being born with Zika-related birth defects.

But how did the virus travel from Africa to South America? Scientists say it was flying first-class. The increasing availability for global travel means previously isolated diseases can spread, even if only one person on the plane is infected.

Symptoms

A rash, a fever, joint pain and puffy eyes may sound like a simple case of the flu, but these are all symptoms of the Zika virus. Few people who contract Zika need hospitalization and most people infected need only to rest, stay hydrated, and maybe take acetaminophen for the fever. The problem arises, however, when a pregnant woman is infected by the virus. The fetus of an infected woman can contract Zika and be born with birth defects called microcephaly, which causes smaller than average heads and underdeveloped brains. In addition, infants with Zika may have eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth.

How It Spreads

Initially, the Zika virus spreads through the bite of a particular mosquito, the Aedes species. There are populations of these mosquitoes in the southeast and southwest United States, but none are reported to be carrying Zika at this time. However, the virus can also be spread from mother to child and from partner to partner during sexual relations. Mosquitoes become carriers of the virus when they bite someone infected, therefore, if the number of infected people in the United States increases, the chance mosquitoes will pick up the virus increases. Right now, there have been 41 cases in Georgia and 9 in Alabama.

Global Concerns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued travel warnings for countries affected by the virus. This includes Brazil, and more importantly, it includes Rio, where the Summer Olympics are to be held. Many athletes, reporters, and fans will not be going to this summer’s games, which kick off August 5th of this year, because of Zika. The fear is that the virus will spread globally because of the concentration of international people in one highly affected area.

Zika Is A Very Real Danger

And not only is it very real but it will continue to spread in the United States, especially the warm and humid southern states where mosquitoes are already prevalent. Florida already has 307 cases. But what can you do about it? How can you do your part to protect your home against the Zika virus? Stay tuned for a follow-up blog on what to do and how Knox can help you keep your family safe.

NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL A SALE IS MADE from Columbus and the Valley

2016_CVM_logo1

 

This is a sales success story — one I can’t wait to tell. It needs be told because the sales transaction is at the epicenter of what keeps our world on its axis. That spark, sizzling on dry tinder, catches up and a nice little fire just happens right in front of your face. The sales guy knows exactly what to say. He’s sharp. He’s got kind eyes and gets a meaningful conversation underway without delay. His time is valuable and he acknowledges that ours is, too.

This was a perfectly executed three-minute cold call. During my career I’ve made so many of those kinds of calls and they are mighty difficult — unless you’re Rod Spain. Rod is an account executive at Knox Pest Control, a new Columbus and the Valley advertiser.

Rod had just a few moments to get me and I’m not an easy get. Ask Jill or anyone else at 214 10th Street. I apparently have a sold case of Resting Bitch Face. That, and a sharp dismissal of a different, much less well-executed cold call have been witnessed by most of my office mates. Sometimes it is abrupt, but I figure that’s better than dancing around when the thing isn’t going to go anywhere anyway.

Then came Rod.

He said just the right things. I’ll admit I provided moist, dark soil on which a seed could land, but he was smart to recognize a glimmer of need in my eyes. In an instant, he was back in my office, sitting in a chair opposite my desk and my chair. In short order, he determined that I am related by marriage to my brother-in-law, Marshall Myers, and I felt like we made a professional connection. He has a great gift and the cool thing is that gift springs from his goodness. I like to be around people who have a light that comes from somewhere down deep. Those people are rare.

We have commercial real estate in downtown Columbus and it is my responsibility to keep it running by handling leases, rent payments and arranging for repairs and maintenance on buildings and landscapes. Termite inspections and treatments are part of that, and Rod Spain sells termite services for a local company. Not only did I get a fair price for the services that would be rendered, we were able to do business with a locally-owned company and we got to meet Rod Spain.

Once we signed the agreement, Rod gave us a clear outline of his timeline for the services they’d provide. He communicated with me often and Knox showed up on time and got it done. I left that sales experience with a sense that good business was done and I got a bonus by an inspiring salesman.

We’re in the middle of a financial transaction that involves a piece of property we own in Phenix City and we need a termite letter on that property as a part of the transaction. Guess who I called? Yep.

Rod doesn’t handle Phenix City accounts, so he passed me off to the right guy. The right guy didn’t call me, and several days later I reached back out to Rod, because I know him to be laser focused on my experience as a customer of Knox Pest Control. “I will make sure this gets done,” he said. I reminded him of my extremely short deadline and he came by our office today with the results of his inspection, less than 24 hours after he made his commitment to get the job done.

Turns out we have a small issue that needs attention and Rod has made another promise to get it done within our time constraints. Rod, I hope you get the chance to read this. Your commitment to excellence in your chosen profession and the stellar representation of your employer have secured my future loyalty to Knox Pest Control.

Nothing happens until a sale is made.

By Mike Venable.

Article written on https://columbusandthevalley.com/nothing-happens-until-a-sale-is-made/. All permissions grants to use content.