Pest Control Tips for Homeowners and Consumers – BUGCO Podcast #3
In this episode of the BUGCO Pest Control Podcast, John Onofrey and Chris Millward talk about homeowner pest control tips to help you prevent pest problems. BUGCO Pest Control will help you with professional pest control service, but we also want to share tips to avoid pest infestations. Call us at 210-340-2847 for more information.
This podcast was recorded by the BUGCO Houston team before the purchase of BUGCO San Antonio in January 2018. The same pest control tips apply to San Antonio.
Transcription of Homeowner Pest Control Tips
John: Well hello and welcome to the latest edition of the BUGCO podcast. This is John Onofrey and I’m the phone with Chris Millward of BUGCO also. Chris, how’s it going buddy?
Chris: It’s going pretty good. It’s a little hot outside.
John: Oh man, so the summertime in Houston Texas, always a fun time for us. Just make sure you bring plenty of shirts with you to change throughout the day, right?
Chris: And water.
John: And lots of water. Chris, we were toying with the idea of trying to put together a homeowner pest control tips list that consumers can benefit from of the types of things that they can do on their own to control pests and … you and I had several ideas we thought, “Hey, let’s put this on a podcast. Let’s get it out there to the people. Maybe they can find a couple., one or two items that might be of use to their particular application.” Without any further ado, I’m just going to turn it over to you. What was the first one that comes off of the top of your head?
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Eliminate Standing Water & Clean Gutters
Chris: Eliminating standing water in or around the house is probably a huge one, especially with the mosquito population we have out here.
Chris: It also will help reduce rodent activity, because rodents really need water, and it will also reduce tree roaches and other pests. So overall, reducing or eliminating standing water period is going to be great for you.
John: Exactly. So, mosquitoes breed in the water and of course it’s not good for your foundation to have water close to your house anyway. Something along the lines with water are your gutters. I think we talked about gutters. And cleaning those out. Why don’t you talk a little bit about that?
Chris: Let’s go back to the water around the house, too, if you have water standing by the house, there’s mosquito rodents, also increases termites, your chance of getting termites. That’s something not to forget about. But back to the gutters, yeah. The gutters build up debris. What’s that hold? That holds standing water, so you also have more rodents possibly getting up there. I have actually find termite colonies starting on roofs before and even ant mounds starting on roofs and gutters before because the gutters are never cleaned.
Chris: That’d be another crucial thing to do, keeping the gutters clean.
John: So many times when the gutters get full and they overflow, they actually … they might overflow towards the front of the gutter, that’s not a big deal, but they can overflow towards underneath the shingles, under the roof covering.
Chris: Yeah, and that would cause some wood rot and some structural issues too. That’s just a big no no all the way around. Keep your gutters clean.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Seal Cracks Around Windows and Doors
John: Opportunity for those termites to move in around the gutters at the roof line. That’s a good tip. So, the other one we were talking about, in line with that was seal up the windows and door entry ways around the house. Why don’t you speak to that?
Chris: Yeah, this isn’t really scientific but imagine that bugs have thermal sensors and they can sense temperature variations so when you have little cracks or gaps around windows or doors, it’s putting out that cool air, so they think it’s a moisture source, which attracts them to it. What follows is insects usually spiders, lizards and other things. You’ll have numerous pests now coming through this entry point. It’s just like you and I, if we’re out in the middle of the heat in Houston, we want to go somewhere cool and the bugs can find it and they always do.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Check Weep Holes
John: Right. That might explain why we find an occasional lizard inside our houses. They come in the gaps that are around the doors and they may be chasing insects into your house too. I found a few lizards in the house too and the wife is not real happy to see them and she wants them out of the house immediately. So, as long as we’re talking about structures, one of the things we do at BUGCO Pest Control to keep insects from penetrating that building envelope is to stuff weep holes. The brick weep holes and the stone weep holes that are at the bottom course around your house if it’s a brick veneer or stone veneer home. These weep holes are absolutely necessarily, you don’t want to block them up, because they do weep moisture from behind the veneer, and get that out of your building envelop but the problem with it is bugs will enter into these entry points. Even rodents will come in through these entry points. And snakes.
Chris: And snakes.
John: So, we do that as a service, but customers can do this theirselves. I think there’s a couple of important things to remember. Chris why don’t you touch on that when they’re trying to do their own weep hole stuff.
Chris: Yeah, you’re going to want to use a stainless steel mesh or like a Brillo pad type thing and really make sure it doesn’t rust, otherwise you’re going to have rust stains coming out.
John: It will just rust out, then it will be ineffective, you think you’ve done something and its’ not really good at all. So we use a copper mesh at BUGCO and that’s not going to deteriorate and that does the job, but there is stainless steel mesh that won’t rust out either. You can find that probably at your local hardware store.
Chris: It takes a little bit more work too to cut it and make it fit properly, but yeah absolutely.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips – Don’t Leave Pet Food Out
John: Right. Okay, so are the other things we were talking about, I think with … homes is just general sanitation. Not leaving your pet food outside, or even indoors. So many times we see pet food that’s just left indoors for the dogs to kind of graze or the cats graze. The problem with that is the ants are coming to graze too.
Chris: Not only ants, it will attract rodents, possums, raccoons, even rats. Now you’re introducing fleas to the yard which means the puppy’s getting fleas, which means you’re getting fleas in the house. That turns into another nightmare, which is easily preventable by just not keeping food outside or in accessible areas.
John: So many customers we see, they have open food containers outside and they have pest problems. You’re exactly right, you bring in these feral animals, they have the fleas and then the fleas get transferred to your pets. Suddenly you have multiple problems.
Chris: I’ve even seen it with ticks. Stray animals bringing ticks in. You do not want ticks in your house, believe me. It happens usually from people that feed the stray animals.
John: Yep, so speaking of food. Either people food or dog food. This is a major attractant to all kinds of pests. How do we suggest that customers take care of their food stuff, Chris?
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Cover Your Trash
Chris: Obviously, you want to use a sealed trash bag and make sure you put it in a sealed container and make sure the lids on it. A lot of people like to put the trash bag just siting in the garage. Believe me, animals can smell it, and they will find a way in, or they put it in the trash can on the side of the house, but there’s no lid on it. So now, the animals know every night there’s a food source there. I’m pretty sure they know when the garbage truck even comes, so they know when to come by. That’s a big thing. They go for an easy food source. Kind of like how they tell you not to feed the bears at the park. Same thing.
John: Food is food to a rat, right? Trash is not food to us, but it’s food to a rat. And food in your pantry is food to them too. Good advice. Get the plastic containers, don’t have any open boxes, open chip bags or cereal boxes, what have you, in your pantry and seal up your trash outside.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Use Yellow Light Bulbs Outside
You had a suggestion about outdoor light bulbs. Why don’t you explain that one?
Chris: Yeah. Bugs only see in a certain color spectrum. So like flies and stuff, you notice you have your patio light on, it’s a white light, nice and bright so it helps illuminate your house, well that actually attracts the flies to you. So, a better thing to do is switch to a dark yellow light bulb where it kind of dims your patio a little bit, but it will be less attractive to these flies. Or, if you do want to light up your backyard, place the light away from the house, not right on the house so the flies will actually go that way. What’s the biggest predator of lies is spiders, so this way you’re actually attracting the spiders away from your house too. So it’s really good overall.
John: Good point. So many times we see spiderwebs all around the lights at our customers and there’s a good reason for that. That’s where all the food and the small flying insects are and they get trapped by the spiders and … suddenly everybody is feasting away there. So … one thing we didn’t touch on here that …
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Move Soil and Mulch Away from the Foundation
In relation to homes again and structures was high soil and high mulch. This is a big mistake that a lot of people make when they do their landscaping. The mulch gets piled up over the weep holes, it gets piled up over the top of the slab and a lot of these older homes, the drainage is bad, but there’s high soil. So this is a condition that can be worked on. Sometimes it’s very hard to correct and you might need a treatment, but pulling that mulch back and keeping your high soil down is a good way to avoid termites and other insects from getting into your home, wouldn’t you agree?
Chris: Oh, absolutely. There’s two things. It’s usually not the homeowners fault. They hire somebody to do it, landscaper, they don’t know anything about structures and weep holes, they don’t know anything about termites. So they just pile it right up against the house and make it look pretty and I will tell you, let’s say 70-80% of the time, where we find subterranean termites on a home is because the mulch is stacked up over the weep holes or there’s no gap from the weep hole on the foundation. It’s just like, “Hey, come on on guys.” And you don’t even know you have them until they do damage.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Don’t Allow Trees to Touch Your Structure
John: So … very good. The other thing that goes along with structures here that we didn’t touch on yet, very important would be trees and foliage touching your structure, with regards to rodents, wood destroying insects, just insects in general. That’s a problem and that should be taken care of by people. And it’s easily taken care of.
John: Alright. What else you got in your bag of tricks?
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Use Box Fans to Reduce Flying Insect Problems
Chris: I know what I like to do, I mean … I like to sit outside on my back patio and man you can not stop flying insects from coming at you out in Houston. Little tricks you can do is put up some box fans or some kind of fan so it disturbs the air current so the bugs cannot really fly towards you and the wind kind of pushes them away, so you can actually enjoy your back patio a lot better just by having a fan blowing on you.
John: I know you like to have cookouts and friends over for beers and stuff outside. So you … have these things in mind when you’re having your barbecues and such. You told me about something about dry ice. I don’t know that that’s proven, I mean it makes sense to me. Why don’t you explain that one.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Use Dry Ice to Lure Mosquitoes Away
Chris: I got a good old hillbilly friend, he swears by it. He’ll get dry ice and put it in a cooler with the cooler lid open and he’ll place it away from where we’re all sitting. And supposedly the carbon dioxide comes off the dry ice and the mosquitoes are actually attracted to carbon dioxide, so they’ll start going away from us to go towards that source. I’ve experienced it, it actually seemed to work, but I haven’t really done my research on it. It’s one of those wive’s tales that I think might actually have some science or truth to it because it’s been successful. Kind of like the blue roof idea that you had.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Paint Outdoor Porch Ceilings Sky Blue
John: Well, it sounds possible to me. It’s like that … paint your outdoor porch ceilings sky blue to confuse wasps and … presumably that will cut down on the mud daubers and the wasps that … and even the spiders that would venture up into those areas.
Homeowner Pest Control Tips — Install a Mosquito Misting System
Hey Chris, one last thing I want to mention and that is … we talked about this too, was that of all of our customers that we service at BUGCO Pest Control, the ones that have the least amount of problems, the people that we rarely have to go back and do a re-treatment on, are our customers that have mosquito misting systems. I know I have a mosquito misting system at my house. And I just noticed that the bug population is almost nonexistent. Why don’t you speak to that for a moment?
Chris: It makes perfect sense why that is. It’s a system with nozzles that go around the structure of the home, the fence line and it’s set on an automated timer that goes off when bugs are usually the most active. So we have … honestly, I love those customers. We only see them every three months. It really does greatly reduce problems with the mosquitoes in the Houston area. I guess it’s because it’s always applying chemical. It has a great feature too with the wireless remote so if you want to go outside, you hit it, it will blast everything for 30 seconds then you can walk out and enjoy your back patio in the middle of the day. But yeah, that’s true. We definitely have … per customer, the ones with misting systems by far … by far, hardly have any problems with insects.
John: Well, in our business in the bug business, no news is usually good news. If an automatic system can help keep away those bugs, then more power to it. That’s really … probably going to be the topic of our next podcast I think because we can dedicate a whole podcast to mosquito misting systems, and their effectiveness and how they operate. I think we’ll do that, but in the meantime, I hope that anyone that would listen to this podcast can make use of one or two of these little tips that we’ve given out here. And … that kind of wraps it up for today, but join us next time when Chris and John talk about mosquito misting systems. Hey, Chris, thanks again for joining me today. And I’ll check you later.
Chris: Yes, sir. Have a good day.
John: You too. Bye, bye.
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