What’s the Difference Between a Rat and Mouse?

What’s the Difference Between a Rat and Mouse?

2019-07-22

If a rodent were to cross your path, would you be able to tell whether it’s a rat or mouse? While there are some noticeable differences between the two, many of their differences are difficult to notice at first glance, even more so if you’re screaming and running away in fear. However, if you aren’t overcome with shock, there are some characteristics to look out for when identifying a rat or mouse.

Rats Vs. Mice

When it comes to rats in your home, you’re most likely to come across Norway Rats or Roof Rats. As for mice, House Mice and Deer Mice commonly plague homeowners. Trying to figure out which type you have can be tricky, especially when all you have are gnawed items, a nest, or droppings to go off of. After all, mice and rats have a lot in common. For instance, both consume similar types of food, are nocturnal, and stick to the baseboards and bottom of walls when moving. As a result, one needs to pay attention to biological and behavioral differences when distinguishing rats from mice.

Rat Characteristics

No one wants to get up close and personal with a rat. Fortunately, there are some noticeable physical characteristics and attributes that can help you identify a rat. Some tell tale traits include:

  • Coarse fur that’s white, gray, brown or black in color
  • Large, typically 11-19 inches in length
  • A long, hairless tail covered in scales
  • Blunt snout
  • Small, thin ears
  • Droppings that are capsule shaped and usually about 3/4 inches in length

While bigger than mice, rats are much more cautious. In fact, rats are pretty suspicious. Instead of exploring new areas or scurrying across an open space, rats tend to stick to areas they know well. Many times you may hear rats before you ever see one in your home. As a result, it can be very difficult to trap them.

Mouse Characteristics

You may not expect it, but mice are actually braver than rats. This may come as a surprise given their small stature. Because mice tend to be bolder, they are more likely to be caught by traps and bait. If you come across a mouse or end up catching one, here’s what to keep an eye out for:

  • White, brown or gray in color
  • Small, 6-7 inches long (including tail)
  • Thin, hairy tails that are about inches in length
  • Ears tend to be floppy and are large in relation to the size of their heads
  • Sharp, triangular face shape
  • Dropping are shaped like rice and are about 1/8 to 1/4 inches long

Rodent Control

It doesn’t matter whether you have rats or mice as both can spell big problems for home and business owners. Not only do rodents take a toll on your peace of mind, but they can carry harmful diseases as well. Additionally, rodents can reproduce quickly. This means a small problem can escalate into an infestation rapidly. In order to keep your family members, pets, and employees safe, you should call a professional pest control service like Aptive to take care of the problem right away.

Mice and rats require different treatment strategies. Depending on which you have in your home or business makes a big difference when it comes to treating them. An Aptive pest professional will come up with a custom plan to rid your property of rodents, no matter the species. If you are experiencing a pest infestation or problem, call your local Aptive Environmental branch today.

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Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?

Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?

2019-07-29

If you’ve been searching for a DIY way to get rid of mice, then you’ve probably come across using peppermint oil. Because peppermint oil has a potent aroma, mice are believed to find the scent irritating and off-putting due to their keen sense of smell. Though it seems like a straightforward and simple remedy, many variables can affect peppermint oil’s effectiveness when it comes to repelling mice. More often than not, peppermint oil application is based on trial and error. As a result, peppermint oil is not the most reliable way to repel mice.

What is Peppermint Oil?

Extracted from the peppermint plant, peppermint oil is used for many different purposes. Even if you aren’t a purchaser of essential oil, you’ve likely come across peppermint oil in cosmetics, toiletries, and food. In addition to being an ingredient in many consumer goods, peppermint oil has been praised for its health benefits. Given its versatility, peppermint oil is one of the most popular essential oils in the world.

Using Peppermint Oil to Get Rid of Mice

While using peppermint oil for health and beauty is rather straightforward, using it to deal with a rat problem isn’t quite as simple. Mice can call many areas of your house or business home, and there isn’t an exact formula for determining how much peppermint oil to use. Because there is a large margin for error when attempting DIY pest control methods, the result of using peppermint oil to repel mice is usually inconclusive.

When going the peppermint oil route, most people use cotton balls that have been dipped in 100% peppermint oil. They then place these cotton balls around their home. The problem with this is two fold. For one, you need to replace the cotton balls several times per week because the peppermint smell wears off quickly. Secondly, if you’re not replacing the cotton balls and checking them often, there is a chance that the mice will use the cotton balls as nest material once the peppermint scent as faded away. While cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil may provide a temporary fix, it isn’t a permanent solution.

The Best Way to Get Rid of Mice

A better alternative to using peppermint oil is to hire a pest control professional. Our pest control experts can provide you with advice for rodent-proofing your home or business as well as create a customized plan based on your specific needs.

Because mice can fit into small openings and cracks, it is critical to eliminate any possible points of entry. If you discover any cracks in your home’s foundation or crevices in your walls, you should seal these up immediately. You should also make sure any holes around utility pipes or vents are patched and sealed. Lastly, if your doors or windows have any gaps, you should apply weather stripping to make sure mice can slip in.

In addition to home repairs, keeping your home tidy is a good way to prevent mice from entering your home. Because mice are nocturnal, it is always a good idea to clean your kitchen after dinner. You should make sure dirty dishes are washed or placed in the dishwasher and wipe down your kitchen’s surfaces. Additionally, it’s important to make sure any leftover food is put away and placed airtight containers. In addition to cleanliness and good hygiene, a mouse-free and tidy home also calls for reducing clutter both inside and outside your home. Removing piles of leaves and wood from the perimeter of your house and keeping your rooms free of excess stuff and storage will limit the places mice have to hide.

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What do Cockroach Eggs Look Like?

What do Cockroach Eggs Look Like?

2019-08-05

When it comes to cockroach eggs, you really have to know what you are looking for, as well as where to look. While you may think you’re looking for individual eggs, you’re actually not going to find a single egg or a group of individual eggs just lying around. This is because cockroach eggs are contained in an ootheca. An ootheca is a protective casing that a female roach produces to keep eggs safe from predators and the surrounding environment. While oothecae can vary in appearance based on the species, most are small (about 8mm in length) and start out white in color. However, as the ootheca ages, it hardens and turns dark brown or reddish-brown in color.

How Many Eggs does a Cockroach Lay?

A cockroach’s ootheca holds multiple eggs. However, the number of eggs within each ootheca varies by the species of cockroach. Roaches with higher reproductive rates will obviously lay more oothecae, and in turn, more eggs. For example, the German cockroach, which is commonly found in homes across the U.S., reproduces quickly. For example, a female German cockroach can produce over 30,000 offspring within a year. Another common cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach, will create around 20 oothecae throughout her life. Brown-banded cockroach oothecae typically hold between 10 and 20 eggs. Oriental cockroaches, on the other hand, only produce around 8 oothecae. These oothecae hold 15 eggs on average. Lastly, like the Oriental cockroach, the American cockroach produces an ootheca that contains around 15 eggs. During her lifetime, an American cockroach can lay as little at 6 oothecae or as many as 90 oothecae.

In short, while oothecae may look similar across cockroach species, the number of oothecae and count of eggs depends on the species.

Where do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

Cockroaches don’t just lay there eggs anywhere. However, there are some places that cockroaches are more drawn too. While there are some species, such as the type: entry-hyperlink id: 3ru15u6tj241qRzghwdQ5c, that will carry their oothecae until the eggs inside are close to hatching, many cockroaches find secluded and safe areas to leave their oothecae.

In general, kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and attics are popular areas for cockroaches to leave oothecae. Additionally, many cockroaches will leave oothecae in close proximity to a food source. A female cockroach does this so her offspring will be able to find food on their own. As a result, you should pay close attention to pantries, cabinets, crawl spaces, and storage areas. Furthermore, roach eggs can be attached to just about any surface, such as walls, furniture, or other household objects, so most of the time you’ve really got to hunt for them.

Getting Rid of Cockroach Eggs

Getting rid of cockroach eggs involves much more than using a roach bomb. Not only do you need to be able to locate the cockroach eggs, you need to destroy them completely as well. While many people try vacuuming up roach eggs or applying boric acid or pesticides to them, your best bet is to call a pest control service such as Aptive.

Getting rid of roaches requires a lot of perseverance. An Aptive professional will be able to locate and eliminate roach eggs from your home. Furthermore, our trained technicians will go after any baby cockroaches or adult cockroaches you may have in your home. Cockroaches can get out of hand fast. However, by using a trained professional, you will be able to rest easy knowing that a rapid decline in roaches is in your future.

Because the presence of cockroach eggs is a telltale sign of a roach infestation, it is of utmost importance to call a pest control service right away. Cockroaches multiply quickly and you could have an even bigger problem on your hands in a small amount of time. Rather than relying on ineffective DIY pest control methods, let an Aptive pest professional take care of the roach problem for you. Aptive professionals recognize how important it is to feel safe and comfortable in your own home. This is why we create a customized pest control plan, tailored to your specific needs, in order to get you back to feeling secure and relaxed in as little time as possible. If you notice cockroaches in your home, or spot cockroach

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Can Humans Get Fleas?

Can Humans Get Fleas?

2019-08-08

A common concern among pet owners is that their dogs or cats will pick up fleas. It’s not just pets that are at risk; humans can get fleas, too. Fleas will jump onto any animal or person that it can reach to feed on the blood it needs to survive. Instead of being hidden by fur, fleas and flea bites might be hidden by clothing. Fleas can carry diseases, so it’s important to protect yourself from these pests.

People can pick up fleas in the same ways as pets: walking in the woods, doing yard work, or touching infested furniture or clothing. More commonly, people are bitten by fleas that came from their pet. Even if your dog or cat hasn’t shown symptoms of flea bites, the fleas might have already laid eggs in their fur or on your carpets or couches.

Fleas reproduce incredibly quickly. An adult flea can lay as many as 50 eggs a day. These eggs grow to adulthood in only three weeks. Once they’re in, it’s only a matter of time before the fleas multiply and spread to you.

Several different types of fleas bite humans and they all produce similar symptoms: itchiness, redness and bumps are common. However, fleas can also carry dangerous diseases, such as tularemia, whose symptoms include fever, diarrhea, ulcers and weakness.

How to Know if You Have Fleas

Fleas are extremely tiny and it’s difficult to know you have them until you feel the symptoms of a bite. They measure only a few millimeters, with long back legs and no wings. They’re usually brown or red but hide easily in carpeting, clothing or pet fur.

You might be lucky enough to spot them before they bite you. They’ll look like tiny dark spots on a light carpet or specks on your shirt. If you think your pet has them, look for small dark spots that move or tiny white specks (flea eggs) in their fur. A lot of scratching or licking could also signal flea bites on your dog or cat.

How to Get Rid of Human Fleas

If you’ve experienced flea bites, it’s extremely likely that they’ve already begun to spread across clothing and furniture. Controlling a flea infestation is difficult without professional help. If the infestation is small, a variety of home products could help solve the problem.

Bowls of dish soap and water can trap fleas. Normally, they can float on the water’s surface. But the dish soap breaks the surface tension, trapping them in the bowl. Vacuuming frequently is another way to remove fleas from your home. Scrubbing baking soda or salt into the carpet prior to vacuuming can make it more effective.

Diatomaceous earth is an extremely fine powder that can kill fleas when used on carpets and other areas where they might be hiding. In addition, some homeowners try to use flea bombs and foggers to control infestations. However, these store-bought products are not always effective and must be used very carefully to protect pets from their harmful chemicals.

Does Washing Clothes Kill Fleas?

The high heat and amount of water in a washing machine can effectively kill most fleas and flea eggs. You can wash clothing, carpets, towels, bedding and other fabrics that might be infested to kill fleas and stop their reproductive cycle. If you’re washing items with fleas, use the hottest temperature setting on your washer and dryer to be as effective as possible. Unfortunately, a large infestation reproduces and spreads too quickly to be completely controlled by washing, alone.

How to Prevent Fleas in Your Home

Carefully inspecting pets and clothing after you’ve been outside might help you prevent bites but it’s difficult to control them without help. If you’re suffering from a flea infestation or simply want to protect your home from the possibility, call Aptive Environmental today. We have the tools and expertise to control fleas and other pests conveniently. With eco-friendly solutions and our Four Seasons Protection Plan, you can feel comfortable in your home all year.

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What to do for a Scorpion Sting

What to do for a Scorpion Sting

2019-08-12

For most people, scorpion stings are rarely fatal. However, they can certainly be painful. While healthy adults don’t typically need professional medical attention for a scorpion sting, other groups of people can be at risk. Young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems can experience severe signs and symptoms if stung by a scorpion. If a scorpion stings you or a loved one, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention.

Scorpion Sting Symptoms

Around the world, there are a number of scorpions that can produce venom potent enough to be fatal. In the U.S., there is only one species, the bark scorpion, with venom potent enough to cause concern. Most of the time, one will experience localized signs and symptoms when stung by a scorpion. Warmth, pain, tingling, and slight swelling at the site of the sting are all common symptoms of a sting. However, not all of these signs may be present. It is common to experience only one or two of these symptoms.

As noted previously, symptoms may be more severe in certain individuals. If a child or elderly person experiences the following symptoms, you should get them medical attention immediately.

  1. Difficulty breathing
  2. Convulsions
  3. Accelerated heart rate
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Excessive sweating
  6. Drooling
  7. Uncontrollable crying or extreme agitation (in children)

Additionally, it is possible for individuals to experience an allergic reaction from a scorpion sting. Just as with bees and wasps, a scorpion sting can cause anaphylaxis. If an individual has trouble breathing, vomiting, nausea, or breaks out into hives, they could be experiencing anaphylaxis. You should get this person medical attention right away if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

Scorpion Sting Treatment

Treatment for a scorpion sting depends on the severity of the symptoms. If an individual is experiencing an allergic reaction or complications from scorpion venom, his or her treatment will be different from someone experiencing mild, localized symptoms.

For healthy adults, medical attention is likely not necessary. More often than not, you can treat a scorpion sting by using mild soap and water to clean the sting site, applying a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. If the symptoms are severe, you may need to go to the hospital in order to receive proper treatment. There, a doctor will be able to determine whether you are experiencing the effects of venom or are experiencing an allergic reaction. Depending on the diagnosis, an IV with fluids and drugs may be needed for treatment.

If you know that you are allergic to insect bites and stings, carrying an epinephrine injector is always a good idea.

Preventing Scorpion Stings

If you live in an area where scorpions are prevalent, there are some preventative measures you can take in order to reduce the risk of getting stung. They are as follows:

  1. Keep rock and lumber piles to a minimum in your yard
  2. Place firewood away from your house
  3. Mow grass frequently and don’t let yard become overgrown
  4. Trim shrubs and trees back regularly
  5. Apply weather stripping around doors and windows
  6. Repair any torn screens and fill any cracks or crevices with caulk
  7. Always inspect and shake out shoes and outdoor gloves before putting them on
  8. If camping, check your tent and sleeping bags before settling in

If you do find a scorpion in your home, yard, or surrounding environment, never try to pick it up with your hands. Instead, use a pair of tongs or some other tool to move the scorpion away from pets or people.

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Why are Bugs Attracted to Light?

Why are Bugs Attracted to Light?

2019-08-15

There’s a good chance that you’ve heard the saying, “like a moth to a flame,” when someone finds something completely irresistible. For example, Susan was drawn to the sparkling pair of earrings like a moth to a flame, or Steve was drawn to the vintage Lamborghini like a moth to a flame. This saying, which Shakespeare made famous, clearly has roots in nature.

If you’ve ever sat on a patio or taken an evening stroll, you’ve probably noticed different bugs fluttering around floodlights and streetlamps. While it’s easy to simply say that bugs like light, the phenomenon is actually a bit more complex. In fact, scientists have studied this phenomenon for years and have developed a number of theories to explain why certain bugs are drawn to light. Furthermore, we can’t even say that all bugs are attracted to light. A few types of bugs try to steer clear of it entirely.

What Bugs are Attracted to Light?

Think back to all of the times you’ve been outside at night, turned on a light or two, and witnessed bugs fly directly to the source of light. More than likely, you’ve seen a fair share of moths and beetles make their way to that luminous glow. That’s because these insects have positive phototaxis.

Phototaxis is a type of innate behavioral response (in this case, a directional movement) that takes place when an organism moves towards or away from a light source. Insects and pests that are attracted to light, and move towards it, are considered positively phototactic. On the flip side, pests that move away from a light source are considered negatively phototactic.

While there are many different theories explaining why pests, such as moths, flies, beetles, and stink bugs, are attracted to light, one of the most popular theories has to do with navigation. Many scientists believe that insects are drawn to light because they use light as a guide. Before insects evolved and adapted to artificial light sources, they relied on the Sun, Moon, and stars in order to navigate. Many scientists believe that some bugs use transverse orientation for navigational purposes. Transverse orientation involves keeping a distant light source at a fixed angle in order to fly in a straight line. When you introduce man-made artificial light, insects start to confuse that light for natural light sources. This throws of their ability to keep light at a constant angle, which results in insects fluttering into or around artificial light sources.

In addition to navigation, many scientists believe that some bugs are attracted to light because it offers protection from predators and dangers that lurk at night. Meanwhile, another theory suggests that some insects confuse artificial light for flowers. While this may seem pretty bizarre, there are actually some flowers that reflect ultraviolet light. As a result some flying insects may mistake your outdoor lights for a food source.

Negative Phototaxis

Just as some bugs flock to the light, some try to avoid it. It’s pretty intuitive when you think about it. Recall a time when you’ve switched on a light and witnessed pests scurrying away to different hiding places. While you may have simply frightened these pests, there’s a good chance that they are negatively phototactic. Some creatures that are known for their negative phototaxis include cockroaches, earthworms, and a few different types of ants.

Cockroaches, in particular, have a major dislike for both artificial and natural light. As a result, it is very uncommon to see roaches out during the daytime or in bright, light-filled rooms. If you do happen to see roaches out during the day, it’s likely you have a problem on your hands. The roaches that come out during the day have been forced out because their home has become too populated and they are looking for food. In other words, you may have an infestation.

While scientists are still trying to figure out why bugs are attracted to light, there are some ways to limit the amount of bugs flocking to your home’s lighting. Your best bet is to check you lightbulbs. If you are using incandescent, CFL, or halogen bulbs, you are likely attracting bugs. If possible, try to replace any of these bulbs with warm LED bulbs.

If you are tired of pests disrupting your patio time or notice negative phototactic bugs, such as cockroaches, out and about during the day, call your local Aptive Environmental branch today.

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Do Mosquito Repellent Plants Prevent Bugs?

Do Mosquito Repellent Plants Prevent Bugs?

2019-08-19

You don’t have to spray sticky, stinky insect repellent on your skin to stay bite-free while you’re outside. Some plants can act as natural repellents against mosquitoes and other insects, making it much easier to keep these stinging and biting pests away. Learn about what plants are the most effective at repelling bugs and how best to use them around your home.

Plants That Can Repel Mosquitoes

After seeing so many complicated, chemical-based bug repellent products available in stores, it’s a relief to learn that insect-repellent plants use nothing more than their scents to keep bugs away.

Some plants repel insects with an odor that’s particularly unpleasant (to bugs). Others have scents that are strong enough to simply mask more attractive smells. Some plants have compounds in their oils that keep pests away or kill mosquito larvae. Still others can be burned to create a barrier against waspsyellow jackets and other stinging pests.

A combination of the following insect-repellent plants, placed strategically, can reduce the number of bugs (and, hopefully, bug bites!) you encounter around your home.

Plants that help keep mosquitoes and other bugs away include:

  1. Citronella
  2. Catnip
  3. Lavender
  4. Basil
  5. Marigolds
  6. Peppermint
  7. Rosemary

Citronella

You might recognize the name of this plant from the labels of many mosquito-repellent candles, sprays and other products. These products use the plant’s oils in concentrated amounts to deter bugs.

Citronella is fairly easy to grow and, when its leaves are crushed, gives off a strong smell that bugs don’t like. You can also rub the oil on your skin for a more effective mosquito repellent.

Catnip

Catnip is a plant in the mint family that repels mosquitoes with a chemical called nepetalactone. This chemical is a powerful natural mosquito repellent that also works on other bugs. In fact, it’s been shown to be more effective than DEET, the active ingredient in most commercial insect repellents.

Of course, it’s called catnip for a reason: the very chemical that repels bugs is also extremely enticing to cats—yours and, potentially, strays.

Lavender

Essential oils are the lavender plant’s insect-repelling secret. The oils of this plant contain an alcohol called linalool. This compound is a highly effective insect repellent and is used in many products.

Using the oils from a lavender plant on skin or around an outdoor sitting area is one step toward turning away annoying bugs.

Basil

Basil’s strong smell keeps many pests away, including mosquitoes and other bugs. You don’t even have to crush the leaves—the plant is odorous enough on its own.

While the basil plant repels bugs, its essential oils contain compounds that are toxic to mosquito larvae. This makes basil a double-edged sword in your efforts to reduce insect bites outside your home.

As another bonus, it’s a delicious herb and an easy way to add homegrown freshness to your meals.

Marigolds

Marigolds are beautiful flowers that have been shown to repel a number of pests, including mosquitoes. These flowers contain pyrethrum, a compound used in repellents that is toxic to insects. Marigolds are an easy, decorative way to add some protection from bugs to your outdoor areas.

Peppermint

Peppermint is another plant with super-powered essential oils. When rubbed on skin, the oils are powerfully repellent against mosquitoes. They’re also toxic to mosquito larvae.

While peppermint plants are bad news for bugs, they smell great and add a splash of bright green to your outdoor decor.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a delicious herb that doubles as a simple mosquito repellent. It’s a great decorative plant that can add to your decor while making the areas around your home less attractive to bugs.

Burning rosemary is the most effective way to repel mosquitoes—throw a bunch into your next campfire for some relief from those biting bugs. Sage is another strongly aromatic plant that turns insects away when burned.

The Best Way to Use Insect-Repellent Plants

The odors given off by these plants—while often pleasant to people—are unpleasant to insects and work well to keep them away. This means you can enjoy the delicate smells of fresh flowers while your plants silently fight off pests.

Planting these plants in the area in which you spend time outdoors can create a zone that’s unattractive to bugs. However, a more convenient method is potting the plants so you can move them closer to you wherever you’re hanging out. You can place them on your porch or patio, by the pool or around the yard.

Though some plants smell strong enough to repel bugs on their own, others require you to crush their leaves to use the essential oils inside. Always use caution when applying essential oils on skin and ask your doctor before doing this if you have any concerns.

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Common Swimming Pool Bugs

Common Swimming Pool Bugs

2019-08-26

Picture this: It’s a hot summer day. You don’t have anywhere you need to be. You change into your swimsuit, apply some sunscreen, grab an inflatable raft, and head outside to the pool. The water glistens in the sun – it’s your very own outdoor oasis. However, as you approach the pool, you realize you aren’t going to be the only one enjoying the pool today. Some unwanted guests have decided to join you – bugs.

Just like humans, insects are attracted to water when the weather gets hot. After all, what could be a better source of moisture than a backyard swimming pool? When it comes to swimming pool bugs, there are a few usual suspects you’ll typically come across – the water boatman, the backswimmer, and the springtail. Additionally, there’s a good chance you will come across some beetles as well as wasps and dragonflies buzzing around your pool. Any one of these pests can put a damper on your summertime fun.

The Water Boatman

Because water boatmen have been known to feed on mosquito larvae, most people actually consider these to be beneficial insects. Despite their mosquito control efforts, it’s completely understandable to not want them in the swimming pool.

Water boatmen are named for their boat-shaped bodies and oar-like legs. Water boatmen are typically less than 1/2 inch in length and swim in rapid, plucky movements. Water boatmen tend to skim the water’s surface, but when they are underwater, they will use an air bubble in order to breathe. They will surface when the air bubble runs out of oxygen. While water boatmen don’t pose much of a threat and won’t bite you, they can be problematic for pool owners because they attract backswimmers.

The Backswimmer

Where water boatmen go, backswimmers tend to follow. Not only do backswimmers, feed on water boatmen, but they also look a lot like water boatmen. However, unlike water boatmen, backswimmers bite. Furthermore, their bite feels similar to a bee sting. As a result, you definitely don’t want these guys in your pool.

Like water boatmen, backswimmers use oar-like legs to navigate the water. They are also around the same size as water boatmen. To make things even more confusing, backswimmers are able to blend in with their surrounding environment through countershading. For example, if you were to look at a backswimmer from above, they are able to blend in with the bottom of their environment. If you were to look at a backswimmer from below, the coloring on their backs resembles the water or sky.

The Springtail

At about 1/16 of an inch in size, springtails are tiny. Their most distinguishing feature is their tail-like appendage, or furcula, which folds beneath their abdomen. If threatened, a springtail will release their furcula and spring into the air (hence the name).

Unlike water boatmen and backswimmers, springtails aren’t interested in making a habitat out of your pool. Most of the time springtails fall in by accident. Even though they aren’t a threat to humans, springtails can be a nuisance for pool owners. Because individual springtails form masses and clump together, they can cover a large portion of your pool’s surface area. If you have springtails coating the surface of your pool, you’re definitely not going to want to get in it.

How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Pool

Keeping bugs out of the pool can require some trial and error. However, there are some preventative measures you can take to make your swimming pool less attractive to common pool bugs. If you are tired of dealing with bugs in your swimming pool, here are a few steps you can take:

  • Exchange current light bulbs for bulbs less likely to attract insects.
  • Keep your grass mowed and any landscaping under control in order to limit breeding areas.
  • If possible, enclose your pool with a screen.
  • Use a pool cover when the pool is not in use.
  • Eliminate pools of standing water and fix any areas with poor drainage around your pool area.
  • Test chlorine levels regularly in order to kill any bugs that do get in your pool.
  • Hire a professional pest control service.

You should be able to go for an afternoon swim whenever you want. Whether you are dealing with pests in the pool or around your pool area, a professional pest control service can take care of the situation. When it comes to getting rid of outdoor pests, there are usually a lot of environmental factors at play. An Aptive professional will take all of these variables into account and set your home and property up for success.

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How High Can a Flea Jump?

How High Can a Flea Jump?

2019-08-29

When it comes to reaching new heights, it’s hard to find a creature that is as adept at jumping as a flea. Because fleas are such great jumpers, many people think fleas are capable of flight. While fleas don’t have wings, they are able to catapult themselves 40 to 100 times their body length in distance and up to 2 feet in height. To say this is an impressive feat of athleticism would be an understatement. It’s even more impressive when you put it in the context of a human being. For example, if a person with a height of 6 ft. were to be able to jump like a flea, he or she would be capable of reaching a distance of 336 feet. In other words, they’d basically be a superhero.

How do Fleas Jump so Far?

Without wings to help propel them, you may be wondering how fleas are even able to jump so high. Well, it all boils down to a flea’s anatomy and their ability to push themselves off the ground using an exceptional amount of force. In other words, fleas put in a lot of legwork to get to where they want to go.

Like other insects, a flea has three pairs of legs, with the back pair being longer than the other two. A flea’s leg is made up of 4 segments – the coxa, femur, tibia and tarsus. The top portion of the leg, or coxa, attaches the flea’s leg to its body. Below the coxa is the femur, which contains a large portion of muscle and connects the trochanter (the flea’s knee) to the tibia. The tarsus, found below the tibia, can be thought of as a flea’s toes.

While each segment plays an important role in a flea’s ability to jump, fleas rely on an elastomeric protein, resilin, to propel themselves so high and far. Resilin is like an elastic pad of stretchy protein, which extends and contracts when the flea jumps and lands. Resilin’s elasticity allows fleas to exert about 100x more power than if they were using muscle alone. As a result, fleas can catapult themselves off a surface quickly and with a lot of control.

Will Fleas Jump on Humans?

While humans aren’t a flea’s first choice when it comes to food, they will jump on a human if better options aren’t available. More often than not though, a flea is going to look for a furry animal to feed on. An animal’s fur is the perfect place for fleas to lay low while staying well fed. Because of these reasons, our furry friends are prime targets for fleas. However, it is possible for non-pet owners to get fleas in their homes. For instance, if you have a rodent infestation, then a rat or mouse may introduce fleas into your home.

Just as with wild animals or pets, fleas make their way on to humans by jumping. If you have fleas on you, you will more than likely experience small, red bites on your ankles or lower legs. These tiny bites are usually surrounded by a “halo” and are very itchy. You should try to avoid itching your bites and treat them with anti-itch cream. If you experience a large amount of flea bites, you should seek medical attention.

How to Prevent Fleas from Jumping on You?

Instead of relying on flea bombs or a DIY pest control method, your best bet is to call a professional pest control company such as Aptive. Fleas are quite resilient and can multiply quickly. As a result, it’s in your best interest to hire a pest control service before the problem gets out of control.

Aptive pest professionals know the best techniques and treatments to take care of your flea problem. Aptive professionals will provide safe, eco-friendly pest control methods that will rid your home of fleas and be safe for you, your children, and pets. Our pest technicians will also provide you with helpful prevention tips to protect your home from fleas in the future.

When it comes to preventing fleas, the best strategy is vigilance. If you own pets, you should be checking them regularly for fleas. The earlier you catch fleas, the easier it is to control them and get rid of them.

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Does Boric Acid Kill Roaches?

Does Boric Acid Kill Roaches?

2019-09-02

When applied correctly, boric acid is an effective method to kill cockroaches. However, if applied incorrectly or too generously, boric acid can lose its potency. Furthermore, because it is actually a powder, it can create a big mess. If you aren’t comfortable with applying boric acid or believe you are applying it incorrectly, your best bet is to call a professional to deal with the problem for you.

What is Boric Acid?

Despite the name, boric acid isn’t actually an acid. Instead, it’s a powder made from a combination of boron and water. Boron is a compound found naturally in food and the environment. If you’ve ever eaten almonds or raisins, then you have consumed boron. The compound found in boric acid is produced from borax, which is collected from mineral deposits. Boric acid is readily available for purchase and can be bought at your local hardware store or grocery store. The mixture comes in a bottle and is ready to use straight out of the packaging. It doesn’t contain an odor or any harsh chemicals.

What does Boric Acid do to Roaches?

In order for boric acid to work, a cockroach must crawl through the substance. As it walks through the boric acid, the cockroach will get the powder on its legs and body. Then, when a cockroach cleans itself, it will ingest the boric acid. The boric acid will absorb into the cockroach’s body as well. Once inside the body, boric acid will start to affect the roach’s nervous and digestive systems, eventually causing the cockroach to die. Additionally, boric acid can be applied to bait and traps. In this case, the cockroach will take the bait and introduce the food to its nest. Multiple cockroaches will eat the coated bait and will eventually die.

When used properly, boric acid can take out a lot of cockroaches. Because cockroaches aren’t picky when it comes to food, they will often eat dead roaches. If a roach died due to boric acid ingestion, and another cockroach eats it, the boric acid will get into the living roach’s body. This creates a domino effect and is another explanation for why boric acid is so effective when it comes to roach control.

Is Boric Acid Safe?

If used as directed, boric acid is safe. However, it is considered a poison, which means there are risks if you or your pet ingest, touch, or inhale it. First and foremost, it is important to apply boric acid sparingly. If you apply too much it, the roach will see it and avoid it. Furthermore, you want to limit your exposure to it.

In terms of toxicity, boric acid ranges from minor symptoms to serious symptoms. Minor symptoms typically include skin irritation, while serious symptoms include nausea and respiratory distress. Additionally, boric acid can be toxic to your pet if they are exposed to large amounts of it. Because pets are much smaller than humans, boric acid can affect them in more serious ways. You should call your doctor if you believe you’ve been exposed to a dangerous amount of boric acid. If you believe your pet has been exposed, call your veterinarian.

Compared to many cockroach-killing products on the market, boric acid is a relatively safe option. However, you need to make sure you apply it correctly. When you take pest control into your own hands, there’s always a certain level of risk involved. Rather than taking on a roach infestation yourself, you can avoid risks altogether by hiring a pest control company. A pest control company, like Aptive, knows the ins and outs of roach control. In addition to eliminating roaches swiftly and effectively, Aptive prioritizes the safety of each and every one of your family members.

Cockroaches can wreak havoc on your peace of mind and can be difficult to eliminate completely. Because roach control typically requires additional treatment methods, successful roach control requires a thorough plan. Before deciding to kill roaches yourself, call your local Aptive Environmental branch today.