What Are the Most Common Winter Pests in Tucson?

winter pests

Due to the warm temperatures throughout the year, Arizona homes and businesses may be bothered by pests during any season. Winter pests like termites, cockroaches, and bed bugs can be particularly problematic. No matter which pests you’ve encountered, you can count on a pest control expert to take care of them for you.

 

Termites

Termites thrive in hot weather. Because of this, the slightly cooler temperatures of the wintertime in Tucson encourage termites to look for new, warmer homes—like yours. Consider calling a pest control company to inquire about preventive methods of dealing with termites. A proactive approach is best, since termites can cause extensive damage that’s expensive to repair. If you do see signs of termite activity, get a pest control technician out to your home right away. Some common signs of termite activity include:

  • Flying termites or discarded wings.
  • Hollow-sounding timber or drywall.
  • Mud tubes on the house’s exterior.

 

Cockroaches

Three types of cockroaches commonly infest Arizona homes and businesses—they are the American, German, and Brown Banded cockroaches. During the winter months, roaches look for warmer places to live, including residential structures. Cockroaches are generally nocturnal, although you may sometimes see them during the day. If you see one roach in your home, you should assume that you have an infestation.

 

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can be a major problem during the winter because people often travel for the holidays. If you’ll be staying in a hotel when you visit your relatives, take precautions to ensure that you don’t bring these little hitchhikers back home with you. You should examine every hotel room thoroughly before you settle in. If you notice any signs of bed bugs, you can request a new room or try a different hotel. Follow these steps to check for these pests:

  • Upon entering the room, place your luggage in the bathroom.
  • Remove the blankets and sheets from the bed.
  • Check the mattress and box springs for visible bugs or their dark, rust-colored leavings.
  • Upon arriving back home, place all clothing in your clothes dryer for 30 minutes, just in case.

For all of your pest management needs, you can rely on the licensed technicians at Essential Pest Control. We treat homes and businesses year-round throughout Southern Arizona, including in Tucson, Marana, and Green Valley. Give us a call today at (520) 908-6251 to request an appointment.

Are Bees Dangerous to Humans?

Bees are good pollinators, making them an essential component of ecosystems around the world. Each time a bee visits a flower to collect nectar, pollen sticks to the bee. This causes the bee pollinate other plants, allowing them to develop fruit and reproduce. As much as humans depend on bees for pollination, few people enjoy living in close proximity to a beehive. In Arizona, where Africanized bees—sometimes called killer bees—are common, homeowners and business owners should always take extra precautions around bees, and have beehives removed by professionals.

 

Aggressiveness of Bees

Bees vary in aggressiveness. If you see a solitary bee out collecting nectar, it will generally leave you alone. If you disturb it or try to capture it, it may sting you. Keep in mind that once you’ve been stung, you’re likely to get stung again. A worker bee has a barbed stinger that sticks in the skin. As long as it remains in your skin, the stinger will continue to release venom and pheromones, which let other bees know that you’re a potential threat. This is why you may get stung repeatedly.

 

Queen bees aren’t typically seen outside of a hive unless they’re swarming to form a new colony. Since queen bees have normal stingers that lack barbs, they can sting you repeatedly without losing the stinger. Swarming bees will go the extra mile to protect their queen, so it’s best to stay away from them.

 

Africanized bees tend to swarm more often than other types of honey bees, and are also more defensive of their hives. These characteristics are what make Africanized bees so dangerous. If they perceive a threat, they will generally deploy a greater number of bees to defend the hive or queen, resulting in a large number of stings, which can be fatal to humans and pets.

 

Stings of Bees

Getting stung by a bee can cause moderate to severe pain, depending on the individual person’s pain threshold. The longer a stinger is left in the skin, the more it will hurt. It’s often thought that the best way to remove a stinger is to scrape it off the skin. However, getting the stinger out of the skin as quickly as possible is more important than the way in which you remove it. Even if you aren’t allergic to bee stings, you may still experience a painful local reaction. Follow these steps:

  • Apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling.
  • Use an oral or topical antihistamine medication.
  • Elevate the body part, if possible, to further reduce swelling.

 

Allergies to Bees

For people with allergies to bee stings, bees can be even more dangerous. Note that allergies can develop later in life—even if a person hasn’t previously had an allergic reaction to a bee sting, it’s possible to have one later on. People with diagnosed allergies should carry an epinephrine autoinjector with them, and use it quickly in the event of a bee sting.

Have you spotted a beehive near your home in Southern Arizona? Call Essential Pest Control at (520) 908-6251, and we’ll send licensed technicians out to your property to handle the problem. Our pest control company proudly serves Tucson, Oro Valley, and the surrounding areas.

How to Tell If You Have Wasps in Your Yard

Wasps often evoke a sense of anxiety in homeowners because they have a reputation for being aggressive stingers. If you notice any signs that wasps have infested your home or yard, it’s time to call a pest control technician. Professional treatment is especially important if someone in your family has an allergy to stings. Note that someone with an allergy to bee stings might also experience a reaction to a wasp sting.

 

How to Identify Wasps

If you know what to look for, it’s easy to tell the difference between a wasp and a bee. Bees tend to have thick abdomens, while wasps have a thin waistline. Wasps also have far less body hair than bees. Yellow jackets, paper wasps, and hornets are the most common types of wasps that homeowners in the U.S. encounter. Here’s a quick look at their identifying features:

  • Yellow jackets have black and yellow striped bodies with black antennae. They build nests made of a papery material.
  • Paper wasps are typically brownish, but they can range in color from red to yellow. They have longer legs than yellow jackets.
  • Hornets are the largest of the three common types of wasps. They are typically brown with orange markings.

 

Where to Find Wasp Nests

If you have an allergy to stings, don’t attempt to find the nest yourself—leave this job to the professionals. Otherwise, you can generally look for the nest by observing the flight of wasps in your yard. Determine where they seem to be flying to and from. Check these areas for a nest, which will look grayish and papery. Wasps often build their nests under the eaves of buildings, in the recessed areas of garage doors and entry doorways, and in natural cavities, such as tree stumps.

Essential Pest Control can remove all sorts of flying and non-flying insects from your home and yard. Our technicians will work with you to develop an effective interventional and preventive treatment plan to keep your home pest-free. Call (520) 908-6251 to request our pest management services in Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, or beyond.

Checking for Pests Before You Buy a Home

tucson pest control

Are you about to buy a house? Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to make sure that your new home isn’t full of pests. By finding out if a house is infested with termites, cockroaches, or other destructive creatures in advance, you can negotiate with the sellers to have professional pest control services performed before you complete the purchase. Here are some tips to follow if you want to look for pests before purchasing a home:

Check the dark places.

Most of the time, pests don’t scurry around in plain sight—though it might be easier for you if they did! Most pests prefer to hide in dark places such as cabinets, storage rooms, and the backs of closets, so be sure to check all of those places for any signs of nesting materials or pest droppings. Be sure to also look at the baseboards for any small holes that pests could fit into. The more thorough you are in your search, the safer you’ll feel about buying the house.

Look at the foundation.

The foundation isn’t just what supports the home—it’s also where termites are most likely to thrive. Termites can cause expensive damage to a property, so it’s important to identify their presence before you decide to buy a house. Take a look outside and check for termite tubes, which are small, distinctive-looking mud tubes that the pests build for protection. Look closely at anything made out of wood inside the house to check for signs of termite damage.

Keep an eye out for bed bugs.

Bed bugs are one of the most dreaded pests in the world, and for good reason—once they move in, it’s hard to get them to leave! Check furniture closely for reddish stains and tiny black specks, which are clear indicators that there are bed bugs present.

If you’re in need of a reliable pest control service in Southern Arizona, it’s time to contact the experts at Essential Pest Control. We have been providing Tucson, Marana, Green Valley, and other local communities with bed bug control, termite control, and other important services for more than three decades. We can even perform a thorough pest inspection on a home you are getting ready to buy. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, call (520) 908-6251 today.

Avoiding Bed Bugs While You’re Traveling

tucson pest control

If there’s one thing every traveler dreads, it’s bed bugs. These pests may be small, but they’re frustratingly difficult to get rid of once you have them in your home. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to pick up these unwanted travelers when you’re on the road. Here are some tips that will help you avoid inadvertently bringing bed bugs home with you.

Know what to look for.

While everybody knows that bed bugs should be avoided, not everybody knows what they look like or what evidence they leave behind. Telltale signs of the pests include brown-red stains, droppings that are black and dot-sized, and yellowish discarded shells. The bed bugs themselves are about the size and shape of an apple seed, but you often won’t see the actual bugs, as they are nocturnal and avoid light.

Always inspect hotel beds.

If you’re staying in a hotel, motel, or hostel, always check the bed for signs of bed bugs before sitting on it or placing your travel bags or clothing on it. Be sure that you inspect the mattress, the headboard, the sheets, the covers, and the pillows. If you see anything suspicious, don’t risk it! Instead, tell the staff of the hotel that you want a different room.

Keep your luggage safe.

Even if you don’t come into contact with bed bugs yourself, the pests can hitch a lift on your luggage. Never put down your suitcases until you’re sure you are in a bug-free zone. Here’s a tip: Bed bugs are less likely to be found in the bathroom, so keep your bags there while you do a quick room inspection.

For the past 35 years, Essential Pest Control has been providing dependable pest control services to residents of Southern Arizona. If you are in need of bed bug removal in Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, or another nearby areas, it’s time to get in touch with our pest control experts. You can reach us today by calling (520) 908-6251.

Signs that Pack Rats Have Moved into Your Yard

At first blush, you might consider pack rats to be a cute animals. But after it’s inflicted costly damage on your property and possessions, you’ll probably think twice about this initial assessment. Pack rats are incredibly destructive rodents, and they’re tricky to get rid of on your own. Call a pest management company if you notice any of the following signs of a pack rat infestation.

Vehicle Damage

Some of the most costly damage that pack rats inflict is done on vehicles. Cars are enticing nesting areas for pack rats because they offer shelter from predators. Many drivers in Arizona have spent thousands of dollars to repair vehicles ruined by pack rats. The nocturnal animals can move in under the hood and chew through wires. In addition to the damaged wiring, you might notice attempts to build a nest. Pack rats will use brush along with anything else they can get their paws on to construct their nests.

Landscape Damage

All rodents like to chew, and pack rats are no exception. A pack rat colony can chew up your landscaping, using plants and other landscaping features as food or nesting material. Pack rats are attracted to leaves, fruits, nuts, bark, cactus, and small bulbs. If you notice damage to your landscaping, look for the presence of small fecal pellets in the area. If you see any, you probably have pack rats.

Attic Damage

Although pack rats like to nest in protected areas outdoors, they may decide to move from your yard to your attic. You may hear scurrying sounds from the attic late at night. If you go up to the attic, you may see or smell the nest.

Essential Pest Control responds quickly to all service requests within the Tucson and Oro Valley communities. Pack rats are just one of the many pests our professionals can handle. Call us today at (520) 908-6251 to discuss how we can help keep your home pest-free.

Why You Should Let a Professional Handle Your Pest Problem

When you moved into your home, you probably didn’t expect to share it with uninvited guests. But pests will move in anywhere they can find food, water, and shelter, and they aren’t shy about extending their visit indefinitely. When you see pests, it’s best to have professionals deal with the infestation. Here’s a look at a few reasons why:

Different pests require different control methods.

The correct way to eliminate rat infestations is vastly different from the one used for spiders. Likewise, getting rid of bees isn’t the same as treating a home for termites. Different pests require different approaches. When you hire a professional to handle your pest problem, you can rest easy knowing that he or she can accurately identify the pest and develop an effective solution.

Contact with pests can compromise your health.

Another reason to skip a DIY approach to pest management is that coming into contact with pests and their droppings can compromise your health. Pests spread all sorts of diseases and can cause adverse reactions. You might even be allergic to some of them, such as bees or cockroaches. Pest control experts have the right equipment and training to prevent the spread of diseases while they handle your pest problem.

Pest experts can identify the source of the problem.

If you notice an ant crawling along your table, squishing it won’t solve your ant problem, as there will be hundreds more. Pest experts are trained to investigate the source of the infestation, along with eliminating the infestation itself. A professional can advise you on exclusion methods, property modifications, and lifestyle changes that can keep your home safe from future infestations.

The team at Essential Pest Control has expertise in identifying and eliminating all sorts of pests that bother Arizona homes and businesses. Call us at (520) 908-6251 to request an estimate for your property. We’re based in Tucson, but have a broad service area throughout the Green Valley, Vail, and Oro Valley regions.

Exploring the History of Bed Bug Infestations Across America

Bed bugs have plagued human civilizations for millennia. Fossilized bed bugs have been found at ancient Egyptian sites, and these tiny critters made appearances in ancient Greek plays by the famed writer Aristophanes. But here in America, these pests have a much shorter history. Historians believe that infestations have colonial origins, in part because Native American languages lack a word for bed bugs. It’s thought that bed bugs hitched rides across the Atlantic on ships carrying explorers and colonists. In modern times, bed bugs are making an unwelcome resurgence.

Bed Bugs in Early America

Just like diseases, pests like bed bugs rely on humans’ transportation networks to find new areas to infest. In early America, bed bugs began thriving after the development of the railroad. Travelers would often stay in hotels close to train stations. There, travelers would unintentionally acquire these pests, and go on to transport them to other cities. The infestations didn’t pass unnoticed. At the time, people tried to get rid of the pests by starting peat fires to smoke them out and sterilizing their furniture with boiling water. In the 1920s, cyanide fumigation became a popular—but dangerous—method of dealing with bed bugs.

Bed Bugs During the 1940s

The death toll from World War II wasn’t only due to warfare. Many soldiers and civilians died from diseases like malaria, typhus, and plague. In order to control the spread of diseases, the Allies used a very powerful pesticide called DDT, which was later widely used to deal with bed bugs in America. DDT was incredibly effective at curbing infestations of bed bugs and other unwelcome critters. However, it also proved dangerous for humans, wildlife, and the environment. During the 1970s, DDT was banned in the United States.

Bed Bugs in Modern America

Since the 1990s, bed bugs have been making a comeback in America. Their resurgence is due in large part to the banning of DDT. However, it’s also due to a major uptick in international travel. Today, bed bugs are often found in hotels, where they can infest the luggage of travelers, who then bring the pests back home with them.

If bed bugs have hitched a ride into your home, you need professional help to eradicate the infestation. Call Essential Pest Control at (520) 908-6251. Our highly trained team proudly serves the Tucson area and beyond.

Common Pest Control Mistakes People Make!

pest-control-mistakesLet’s face it—nobody wants to have to deal with pests on their property. No matter what type of unwanted intruder you’re dealing with, it’s safe to say you would have much rather avoided the problem in the first place. Many of us, however, don’t always take the necessary steps to protect our homes from pest infestations. These are some of the most common mistakes people make:

Keeping an Untidy Yard

Is there standing water anywhere in your yard? If so, it could be attracting pests—none of which, after all, can live without water. You should also watch out for trash, which can provide pests with a source of food and a reason to keep coming back to your property. Keeping your yard as neat as possible will minimize its attractiveness to pests.

Piling Firewood Near the House

If you have a fireplace, it’s only natural that you want to keep firewood on hand—but don’t let it sit in piles close to your house. Piles of wood are a haven for all sorts of pests, from mice to termites. To discourage pests from taking shelter near your home, find a place elsewhere in your yard to keep your firewood.

Having a Messy House

If your house is filled with clutter, it will give pests a place to hide—and hence a reason to get into and stay in your home. Leaving crumbs on the floor, ignoring spills, forgetting to take out the trash, and leaving a sink full of dirty dishes can also attract unwanted pests into your house. Keeping a clean home will help to prevent your health—and your family’s health—from being compromised by the presence of pests.

Using Store-Bought Pest Bait

Many people, upon learning that they have pests, decide to try to get rid of them on their own. The problem with store-bought pesticides and baits is they aren’t always effective—and they can also be hazardous for children and pets. To be on the safe side, it’s always best to have an experienced professional eliminate any pests from your home.

When you’re looking for professional pest control in Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, or elsewhere in Southern Arizona, it’s time to get in touch with Essential Pest Control can schedule a free consultation at your home or business on our website or by phone at (520) 908-6251.

What You Need to Know about Africanized Bees in Tucson

Back in the 1990s, the impending arrival of Africanized bees—known colloquially as “killer bees”—in the United States sparked something of a minor panic. To this day, some people will react to every bee sighting by wondering if they’ve just seen a “killer bee.” If you live in Tucson, Arizona, do you have to worry about Africanized bees? The answer is yes, you do—but you can protect yourself by learning as much as possible about these infamous creatures.

What are Africanized bees?

Africanized bees are not a natural species, but an artificial hybrid created in the 1950s by a biologist who was trying to develop a more productive honeybee. Unfortunately, the bees ended up escaping, and they slowly spread throughout the Americas. As the new bees cross-bred with other bees, they soon became the dominant species in one region after another. In the Southwest, most of the honeybees you encounter are likely to be Africanized.

Why are Africanized bees dangerous?

Contrary to popular myth, Africanized bees don’t have more venom than other types of bees. However, they are much more likely to attack than other bees if they perceive a threat. They are highly aggressive, and they will descend on intruders in much greater numbers than other honeybees. Hundreds of people have died in recent decades after being attacked by Africanized bees.

When are Africanized bees most visible?

Bee season in Tucson lasts from March to October, which is when you’re most likely to encounter the pests.

What should I do if I encounter Africanized bees?

If you see a bee, don’t go near it—and if you see a beehive, stay away. A single hive can contain tens of thousands of bees, and an attack can be fatal. If you’re stung by a bee and have a bad reaction, call 911. If you have bees on your property, seek out professional bee removal immediately.

For the safe, professional, and reliable pest control services you need in Tucson, Marana, and the surrounding areas, you can always depend on the experts at Essential Pest Control. To schedule your free consultation, contact us today through our website or by calling (520) 886-3029.