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Seattle Pest Control and Home Services: September 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What Not To Do When You Have Fleas

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Whether you have pets or not, you will probably experience a flea infestation in your home at some point.  You have probably tried a lot of things to get rid of them and maybe some of them worked for awhile and maybe some of them made things worse.  Let's take a moment to talk about things you should NOT do when encountering fleas in your home.

1)  Don't Set Off Flea Bombs
Probably the most counterproductive thing that you can do is start setting off flea bombs.  Unfortunately, this is the first thing that many people try in their do-it-yourself exterminating.  It seems like it should work, right?  You fog the whole house and get every nook and cranny, killing every flea in the process.  Only, it doesn't actually work.  A flea bomb is just a repellent with almost zero residual.  This makes it the equivalent of spraying mosquito repellent on your body while in the woods.  It doesn't actually kill the fleas, but just pushes them deeper into your furniture, baseboards, etc.  This can give the appearance that it "worked for awhile", but don't fool yourself.  It doesn't work!

2)  Don't Go Cheap On Flea Medication For Your Pets
When it comes to flea medication for your dogs and cats, you really get what you pay for.  You can run over to the dollar store and get flea medication, but don't expect it to kill any fleas.  Instead, spend the extra bucks and get some Frontline or Advantage flea medicine.  It will work great and will stop the pets from continuing to bring in more and more fleas.

3)  Don't Forget To Check The Crawl Space
It seems like a weird thing to suggest when you are dealing with fleas, but in realty the fleas may not be coming from your pets at all.  You could have other animals living under your home that are causing the problem.  For example, raccoons are absolutely loaded with fleas and home owners may not even realize that they have one under their house!  Also, rodents carry fleas as well.  If you don't take care of the source of your flea problem, you will have little success in controlling them.

Things That Are Worth Trying
If you are really stuck on doing the do-it-yourself route, you can try a few things.  If you want to get a product, your best bet is to try some of the powders that you put on your carpet.  They are not super effective, but are better than any other alternatives available to you.  You can also try vacuuming as often as you can stand.  Vacuuming will pick up flea eggs around the house and allow you to dispose of them outside before they hatch.  Lastly, throwing your linens in the dryer on high heat for about 30 minutes can be effective in killing a lot of fleas.  Go ahead and give these things a shot and if they aren't working for you, be sure to give us a call and we can help you.

Friday, September 6, 2013

What's A Vapor Barrier And Why You Need One?

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If you happened to look outside your window today, you probably noticed that the rain has returned to us.  We are used to this in the Seattle area, but it was nice to have it gone for a little while at least.  Of course you don't really need me to tell you that we live in a wet area of the country, but what you may need to hear is how all this moisture affects your home.  Water is the enemy of your home.  In fact, your entire home was built and designed to repel water.  You can look up and see the slope of your roof, gutters and siding and see how rain water is moved off of the house, what you don't see is how your water deals with water below your home.

What Is A Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier is simply a plastic sheathing that rests on top of the soil underneath your home.  Its purpose is to stop the wet, damp soil from releasing water vapors that rise up and infect the wood underbelly of your home.  By limiting the amount of moisture that can rise into the subfloor, it also cuts down on mold and fungus from forming.

Do I Already Have One?
Probably.  If your home is a newer home, then you should have a vapor barrier that is installed to code.  However, older homes sometimes do not have one and even if they do have one, it may not be up to code.  Currently, the code is to have black (not clear) plastic that is at least 6 mil.

How Do I Get One?
There are a few different ways to go about this.  First (and I recommend this) you can call and have Healthy Homes install one for you.  But, if you are the do-it-yourself type, you can probably roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.  If you do elect to go this route, you should by almost twice as much plastic as you think you will need.  For example, if you have a 1000 square foot home, you should by about 1500 square feet of 6 mil black plastic.  There is nothing scientific to installing it, but you do want to be sure to overlap your seams by 6-12 inches.  It gets tricky around the pier posts, but just cut slits and overlap the plastic. 

If this sounds like too much work (and it really is tough, dirty work) you can give us a call.  It might not cost you as much as you might think to have one installed for you and it can save you money later on by avoiding water damage to your crawl space.