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Seattle Pest Control and Home Services: May 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are Pest Control Treatments Safe?

I get asked a lot of questions when I answer the phone for my Seattle pest control company.  Sometimes those questions can be random, like a couple weeks ago when I was asked if I could come and get rid of someone's llama!?  But, one question that is always the same is when people ask if the products that we use are safe.  It is a great question to ask.  You want to get rid of your pests, but you want to make sure that the smaller members of your family stay safe, right?  We all want that, so let me go over why doing pest control at your home doesn't need to worry you. 

First of all, if you are at home, take a look at the walls around you.  You should see that your walls are covered in chemicals!  That's right, your walls are covered in paint, which is a mixture of chemicals.  We all need to realize that there are chemicals all around us and that anything can be toxic if you have enough exposure to it. 

Many people believe that pesticides are especially toxic because they are obviously designed to kill something.  I think that would be true in some cases.  A lot of the pesticides that were used in the past were just plain nasty stuff, but the majority of products today really are advanced.  For example, one of the products that we use for ants will only activate if ingested by an exoskeleton species, meaning it is harmless to humans or pets (unless you have pet bugs).  There is a lot of science behind the pest control industry nowadays and it is designed to keep you safe.

Green pest control has been the trend recently and for good reason.  Many of the products most commonly used today are derived from plants.  These products (in my opinion) are just as safe as newer non-green products, but it is always nice to go the eco-friendly approach whenever possible.  This, by the way, is our method of choice, but we do sometimes rely on other products as well.

No matter what approach a pest control company goes for, it is important that the treatment is done correctly to keep you safe.  We always recommend that you go with a licensed pest control professional that you can trust.  As long as the person that you hire to do your pest control is responsible, you are not putting anyone in your family at risk.

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.  I will be posting my next blog that talks specifically about pet safety when using rodenticides in about a week since that would take a little more time.  Until then, please let me know if I can help you with anything.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas?

Puget Sound pest control, flea treatment
Nobody likes fleas.  Your dog hates them, your cat hates them and you are not so fond of them either.  They are tiny little blood sucking parasites that really serve no purpose in life other than to annoy us.  So, how do you get rid of them?  I am glad that you asked!

First, it is important to know what not to do. 

Do not use bug bombs:  Admit it, you've used them before haven't you?  It seems like they should work, right?  Shooting toxic chemicals all over the place seems like a logical place to start to kill them off, but it is a waste of time, money and the clean air inside of your home.  Bug bombs just do not really work.  The chemicals contained in them have basically no residual and mostly consist of repellents.  What they can actually do is cause the fleas to move deeper into cracks, crevices, wall voids, etc.  This may afford you some momentary relief, but does not address the problem.  Plus, it is just plain nasty stuff that gets all over your home. 

Do not wait too long to address them:  If your pets have not been treated with flea medication, go get them treated.  You sort of have to do this.  If you do not, it is going to be really hard to get it under control later.  Do not go cheap on the flea medication.  I would recommend using Advantage or Frontline.  Fleas greatly prefer feeding on your pet than on you, so don't let them get away with it.  Treat the pets first!

Here are the things that you should do:

Get a pest control treatment:  Well, of course I am going to recommend this, but in all honesty, I have never seen a store bought product that works very well.  I have been to very few homes to treat for fleas without seeing several cans of various flea control products including bug bombs, carpet dust, aerosol cans, etc.  I bet the combined cost of what people spend by trying to avoid calling the professionals is more expensive than what it would cost to just get the home treated in the first place.  We provide Seattle pest control for fleas starting at $88.00 for example

Vacuum often:  Vacuuming does a couple of things for you.  Number one, it picks up their eggs.  Unlike some other pests that have eggs that adhere to something, flea eggs just roll right off the backs of your pets and can show up anywhere.  Vacuum often and empty the bag or container outside.  Number two, vacuuming causes the eggs that are missed to hatch quicker because of the mechanical vibrations.  If you have recently had a pest control treatment, you want those eggs to hatch quickly while the spray is fresh.

Know that fleas don't just come from pets:  A lot of people get fleas and do not have pets.  If you are experiencing this, there could be something going on in your crawl space or attic.  We have often found rodents or other wildlife (particularly raccoons) in these areas of homes that are having trouble with fleas.  These animals are usually covered in fleas and can bring the problem to you without you even knowing about it. 

Fleas can be tricky to get rid of on your own.  If you want some assistance or just need someone to get advice from, I would be happy to help.  Please contact me or post a comment below.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Green Pest Control Really Means

green pest control, seattle wa
What does it mean to be green?  Being green is suddenly the popular thing to do in business.  Many companies have jumped on this band wagon simply as a marketing campaign and especially in the pest control industry.

First of all, it is not a bad thing when companies try to be green (even if there motives are not the best).  It is important for all businesses to be conscious of their impact on the environment.  But, since being "green" is such a broad statement, I thought it would be helpful to narrow down what it means when a pest control company claims to be eco-friendly.

There are some companies that say they are Green and even have the word "Green" in their name, but do absolutely nothing to back it up.  They use the same products as pest control companies that are not green at all.  On the other end of the spectrum, you have companies that use only natural and/ or organic products like mint seed oil, cedar chips, etc.  Although these methods sound nice and clean, they are more costly and hardly work at all.

At Healthy Homes Pest Control, we stand somewhere in the middle.  We believe in being eco-friendly and customer safety is always our highest priority.  We have established a way of doing pest control that is safe, effective and mostly green.  Many of our products that are used the most are organophosphates (which are products that are derived from plants).  For example, the product we use most often comes from a chrysanthemum and we also use some natural products like Diatomaceous Earth. 

However, there are times where we need to lean on other approaches that are not considered "green".   In the past several years, there have been huge advances in the science behind pesticide formulations.  The last generation of pesticides were just plain toxic, but the newer generation is smarter and more targeted in their approach.  I personally believe that many of the non-green options are safer than the green options.  For me, again, safety is the bottom line and trumps being "green" in my book.

The products that we use are only part of why we are green.  It is also a way of doing business and living life.  We created are business model with this in mind and do our best to lessen our impact on the environment in our day to day operations.  This includes our treatment methods as well.  We use an approach called integrated pest management, which basically means that we tailor a  specific treatment plan to each individual home.  We are not out there just "spraying", but applying the appropriate amount of product to eliminate the pest issue.

So, if you are looking for something 100% natural and green, that may not be us.  There are plenty of companies out there that can help you with that.  However, if you are looking for an eco-friendly, safe pest control company, that is what we are.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How To Avoid Bringing Bed Bug Home From A Hotel

What is the first thing you do when you step into your hotel room?  Turn on the TV, start unpacking, maybe get right to stealing those little soaps?  Last night I stayed in a place that was not exactly the Ritz and the first thing that I did was to start looking for bed bugs.  There is no sense in making myself comfortable if I find the creepy little blood suckers.  So, let me tell you what I did and what you can do avoid bringing any home with you.

bed bug, seattle bed bug, pest control seattle
First of all, hotels are notorious for having bed bugs.  It really isn't their fault.  With so many people coming and going, it is bound to happen and it doesn't matter if it is a nice hotel or like the flea bag place I stayed last night.  They can be anywhere and you should always check before getting settled.  Here are some things you need to know:

1- What they look like:  You really can't find them if you don't know what you are looking for, can you?  You are looking for something about the size and shape of a watermelon seed (pictured to the right).  They are round and flat and can be anywhere from a amber color to red color depending on when they last fed.  They also shed their skins and leave feces behind, so be on the lookout for all of that.

2- Where to look:  Bed bugs will usually nest within about 5 feet of their host (that means you!), so look around the bed.  If that is not quite the powerful insight you were looking for when you opened this blog, let me explain further.  They are typically going to try and find a tight place that they can squeeze their flat bodies into.  Check the seams of the mattress carefully and inspect the baseboard.  Sometimes, you can find them by just lifting the mattress and there they are.  I have even seem them nesting in an alarm clock next to the bed.  Wherever they are, they are almost always in a tight spot, so keep that in mind.

3-  Tell-tale signs:  When a bed bug bites, it will leave behind a little drop of blood.  Although, hopefully your sheets were changed from the last guest, you can sometimes find tiny blood stains on the bed spread.  Also, if you take the fitted sheet off and notice a bed bug encasement (basically a linen zipped up bag that goes over the mattress that bed bugs cannot get out of) that is a clue that they have at least had them in the past. 

4-  What to do if you don't find them:  I didn't bother putting in here what to do if you do find them because I would assume you would get a different room or a different hotel all together.  But, if you don't find them, I still would not assume that you are in the clear.  Bed bugs can be tough to find and you should not take any chances.  The way that people bring bed bugs home is when they hitchhike on your suitcase or other belongings.  So, don't leave your bags on the bed or right next to the bed.  You should put them on something high like a table or dresser.  If you want to be really safe, you can put your bags in the bathtub.

If you follow these steps, you are going to have a good chance of coming home pest free.  If you are unlucky enough to not come home pest free, I would suggest you call Healthy Homes Pest Control in Seattle, Washington.  We will help solve your problem or at the very least, give you some advice.  I hope that this has been helpful to you.