Why are rodents such a problem in Florida?
Florida's climate is perfect for rats and other rodents and allows them year-round access to food, shelter, and protection. Their short gestation period allows a single female rat to give birth to up to 24 pups a year. The babies can reproduce within three months, and over a year, a colony can reach over a thousand individual rodents.
Are rodents dangerous?
Yes. Rats and other rodents carry 36 different diseases, some of them fatal. Rats also have fleas that can be transferred to pets or humans. As rodents move around your home, they leave behind urine, feces, and hairs, all of which can carry viruses and bacteria. Rats are also powerful biters and have been known to cut through lead pipes. Their sharp incisors apply a biting pressure of up to 7,000 PSI, and they can bite up to six times a second.
How do I know how bad my rodent infestation is?
The rule of thumb is if you see one rat at night, there are more than 50 rats close by nesting. If you see one rat in the daytime, you have hundreds in the area. If you have a rat sighting in or around your home, call us today before the problem gets out of hand.
What are the signs of a rat or rodent infestation?
Rodents are dirty animals, and they leave a dirty, oily substance when they rub up against openings or a pipe. These are what we call "skid marks." They are very noticeable if you know how to spot them. You may also begin to see gnaw marks around openings (molding or siding). Frequently you will find bite marks on fruit or other foodstuffs. Since rodents cannot control their bowel movements, they are constantly leaving droppings wherever they go.
Droppings are one of the first signs that homeowners have a problem. Rodent droppings appear very much like squirrel droppings in size and shape. Rodent droppings will be more crinkled than squirrel droppings which are smooth. Fresh droppings are dark in color and soft. After three days, they harden and lose the dark color. Rodent droppings are used to find runways (where they are traveling from and to). Knowing their travel routes allows us to trap them properly.
Once rodents establish runways, they tend to stick to them when possible. Indoor runways will be free of cobwebs, debris, and dust because they are used frequently. And they will no doubt have droppings along the path.
Rodents often make quite a racket in attics, and the squeals of their young can also be heard. A typical sound is gnawing since they will spend ten percent of their day grinding on objects to keep their teeth sharp. Dogs and or cats can unexplainably get excited when rodents are moving around in walls or ceiling voids. Most activity occurs between midnight and four AM. Rats are attracted to areas where they sense other rodents have been. An attic, once infested, will continue to attract future rats until thorough decontamination of the insulation has been made and all entry points have been sealed.
How do I prevent a rat and rodent infestation in my yard?
There are several preventative measures you can take to reduce and prevent rat infestations. In the yard, keep your grass and shrubs trimmed and tidy. Rats love to hide and travel in overgrown vegetation. Do not stack things against the walls of the house or under the house in a crawl space. Rats will seek these areas out to nest. Keep woodpiles away from the home. Keep garbage cans tightly covered. If you compost or garden, create a secure location so that you are not providing rats with a free lunch. Pickup loose fruit on the ground or other food sources from off the ground. A bird feeder will increase rodent interest in your property.
How do I keep rats out of my garage?
Garages are popular areas for rodents to live and nest. To keep rats out of your garage, you need to ensure that the garage door shuts appropriately with no gaps. Rats can compress their bodies and can squeeze into tiny openings. Your service door should be in good condition with no gaps or holes that would allow rats to enter.
How do rats get into roofs?
Rats are excellent climbers and routinely seek out the safety and shelter of attics. Once a rat has access to your attic, it can easily travel anywhere in your home. Common entry points for rats are holes in the soffits and facia. Roof vents that do not have a wire mesh are an open invitation for rodents to enter your home. Power lines frequently provide a runway to your roof. You can't do anything about the powerlines, but taking precautions and making repairs can keep them from gaining entry.
Are there differences in pest control?
"Traditional Pest Control" is generally a person spraying the interior baseboards of the home with a pesticide and has been the go-to method of pest control for years. What many homeowners do not realize is that these harmful pesticides build up over the years.
The US Department of Environment Protection (EPA) has concluded that chemical pesticides in a home contaminate the home. The pesticides sprayed along the baseboards of the structure's interior migrate to the furniture, clothing, and even one's bed.
"Safe Pest Control" is simply putting pest control products in places that the consumer will not come in contact with them, including inwall placement (behind light switches) and under sinks (on the plumbing fixtures back close to the wall). In kitchen cabinets, it is generally placed in the cabinet hinge itself.
"Organic Pest Control" is the use of organic products instead of chemical pesticides. Organic includes "boric acid," a safe, natural product that causes the insect's exoskeleton to erode and dehydrates the insect.
Boric Acid is used with sugar water or ground-up corn as bait. The insect that eats the bait doesn't die, so it notifies others of its species of the food source. Soon the whole colony is feasting on the bait and thereby eliminated.
Diatomaceous earth is another organic product used in insect control. It is made from ground-up seashells and comes in the form of a powder. It is placed in areas the insects travel. Insects crossing over it suffer tears in their body (exoskeleton), causing the insect to dehydrate.
There are many safe, natural products used in pest control. Everything from common fly swatters to rat snap traps, none of which use chemical pesticides.
Homeowners should be concerned about any chemicals introduced into their homes. Care and thought can prevent a lot of unnecessary contaminate from entering your children's and pet's bodies. We use both safe and organic pest control products and procedures to keep your home safe.
There are situations where we need to use chemical pesticides. Generally, German roach infestations, bed bugs, fleas, or ticks are the most common. However, the chemical pesticide is preferable to the
infestation. However, once the infestation is contained, we can generally go back to the safe and organic procedure unless the infestation is reintroduced.
What are drywood termites, and how do they damage my home?
There are two types of termites. Subterranean termites and drywood termites. Both have many different varieties. The main difference between the two is subterranean termites live below the ground. Drywood Termites don't need the safety of the ground. Just like a fly, they move around from location to location. They can do as much less damage to a structure as a subterranean termite, but it takes them much longer to do it. They can be challenging to control because they do not need contact with the ground.
When you see a house "tented," it is being treated for drywood termites. Houses are not tented for subterranean termites. They are treated in the ground around the perimeter of the structure. Tenting a home is a big undertaking. There is a lot of prep work that the Homeowners are required to perform first. Also, the adjoining brushes may be harmed or killed in the process. Tented homes are to be vacated generally for three days. Numerous cases of people being injured or killed occur every year from tenting. Tenting leaves no residual protection. Once the tent is removed, termites are free to return. Tenting only kills the termites that are there. It leaves all the damage to the wood, making it much more susceptible to a new drywood termite infestation. Remember, they can fly right back in.
We offer a better "no tent" option that permanently treats the wood so the termite cannot eat the wood. This process also kills any termite living in the wood. It is odorless, colorless, and organic and is used in eyewash and swimming pools. You do not have to leave your home while we make the application. To apply it, we put a needle size hole on the interior of your wall between each stud. We then inject the hole under high pressure with the product and then seal the hole. It is much safer, permanent, and cheaper than tenting.
What are subterranean termites?
In Florida, there are 77 colonies of Subterranean Termites are in one acre of land. That's over 19 colonies in a standard residential size lot 80 X 120 lot. An eastern subterranean termite colony will eat a foot of wood every 119 days. A Formosan subterranean termite colony will eat a foot of wood every 19 days. The average home that has termites has them in more than one location.
We use a generic of Termidor to treat subterranean termites? Treatment is generally done by trenching the soil next to the house and spraying in the termiticide. We then cover the trench with dirt. We also drill all concrete slabs that abut the foundation. Spray termiticide in the holes and refill with hydraulic concrete cement. For mobile homes, slit homes, or homes with crawl spaces, we must treat around each pier.
Subterranean termite applications are only good for a limited time. Generally, newer products can last up to 12 years. Older products were good for only five or six years. But there are other ways to reduce or eliminate the value of subterranean termite treatment. Excessive moisture from a flood should be removed from a property as soon as possible. Planting shrubs or trees near the foundation disturbs the soil and hence the barrier that protects the house.
How do I stop termite swarms?
It will generally take a termite colony from three to five years to have a swarm, so if they swarmed inside the home, they have been there three to five years. Termite swarms generally only last 48 hours, once a year. Many people feel once the swarm stops, the termites have gone. But that is not the case. Only about 10% of the termite colony swarms annually, leaving the remainder to emerge next year. We can help remove and prevent reoccurring termite swarms safely and organically.
How do I get my home certified for a termite inspection?
The Florida Department of Agriculture recommends that every structure have a termite inspection annually. A treatment certificate (Notice of Inspection or Treatment) for termites must be placed when a termite inspection occurs initially on a sales lead or on an annual renewal. The best place to place a Notice of Inspection or Treatment is generally in the customer's breaker box, but could be placed on the hot water heater or even inside the kitchen cabinets.
A "Termite Certificate" tells us
- The date the property was inspected
- If termite activity was or was not found
- If treatment was made, what chemical was used
We provide certification on all of our termite inspections and treatments.