How To Implement An Effective Termite Control Strategy In Your Home

There are some words that strike fear into the heart of every homeowner. Structural damage. Black mold. Flooding. And one of the worst of all: termites.

Termites deserve the reputation they’ve received. After all, Americans spend around two billion dollars every year on termite infestations.

The key to great termite control is nipping the problem in the bud as early as possible. If you’re smart, you can start the job before termites start to attack. Here’s how to keep your home damage-free.

Step One: Assess the Problem

As with any issue, you have to know what you’re dealing with before you can fight back.

It’s never too early to get a termite inspection. Termites cause progressive damage. The sooner you catch them, the less expensive your damage will be.

In fact, most homeowners who notice termite infestations themselves don’t reach that point until they have serious damage.

A pest control expert has the specialized equipment and expertise find termite infestations at any stage. However, an inspection is especially urgent if you have the symptoms of an infestation.

Signs of a Termite Infestation

While you won’t always see them or know what they are, termite infestations can have warning signs.

Seeing Termites

While termites spend much of their time in wood or underground, they do come into the open. Put simply, termites look like white ants. There are no white ants so if you think you’ve seen some around, those are termites.

Your ears could pick up another sign of termites. When termites are feasting on wood and they detect a threat, they bang their heads on the wood. This warns their fellow termites.

In some cases, you can hear that banging. It sounds like a like clicking in your walls.

In more severe infestations, you’ll be able to notice the damage to your wood. Termites eat wood from the inside out. If you knock on a piece of wood and it sounds hollow, that’s a clue.

Finally, termites leave droppings behind for you to find. The way you’ll identify them depends on the type of termites you have.

Subterranean termites live underground and travel to your wood to eat. These termites use their droppings to create tunnels. You may find what appear to be mud tunnels near your home.

Another type of termite is the drywood termite, which lives in your wood. These termites push their droppings out of the wood. To humans, the droppings look like black dust near pieces of wood.

Step Two: Get Termite Control Treatments

When you know your enemies, you can destroy them. Now is the time to pursue termite control treatments.

Our termite control experts will use direct products and specialized expertise to access and get rid of your termites.

A word of caution: make sure your pest control team comes back for a reinspection. This is a matter of policy at Natura. It allows us to ensure that our treatment was successful and to retreat areas if necessary.

Step Three: Prevent Future Infestations

When your termites are gone, the job isn’t over. To avoid starting from scratch again, you need to take preventative measures.

Single Out the Entry Points

Termites need a way to get into your home. You can keep them outside by doing a thorough check of your home.

The most common culprits are cracks in a home’s foundation. You could also have gaps around your doors or windows as well as other breaches in your home. Many pest control inspectors will make this part of their initial inspection.

In the case of subterranean termites, they often look for wood that goes from your lawn to your home. Trees, fences, and other wooden items could be to blame.

When you identify these entry points, seal the cracks and get rid of wood bridges to keep termites out.

Keep Your Gutters Clean

Cleaning your gutters has several purposes.

It makes your home look clean and well-maintained. It allows water to drain off your roof and keep excess pressure off the gutters. What most homeowners don’t know is that it lowers their termite risk.

Leaves are common food sources for termites. The leaves attract them to your gutters and from there they find their way into your home.

Rethink Your Landscaping

Plans and shrubs can brighten up any lawn. If you don’t place them well, they can also bring termites into your house.

As we mentioned above, termites love to feed on leaves. That isn’t limited to the leaves in your gutters.

When your landscaping is too close to your home, it becomes termite bait. The rule of thumb is to keep plants at least six inches away from your foundation.

Pest Control Maintenance

All the steps above take away the factors that attract termites to your house. That’s only part of the battle.

You also need to directly block the termites from getting in. The best way to do this is with ongoing barrier treatments.

Our pest control team places a pellet barrier around your home to kill any termites that try to get through. This barrier breaks down over time. For continued protection, we need to reapply it every few months.

The best option is to get onto a regularly scheduled pest control program. You don’t need to remember to book appointments and your home will stay protected.

Keeping Your Home Termite-Free

Termites are small in stature but they can be one of the most expensive problems for a home. They can cause immense structural damage in less time than you think.

The key is treating the problem early, treating it well, and preventing it from happening again. The termite control tips above can keep your home safe and sound for decades to come.

if you’re due for a termite inspection or if you’re seeing signs of an infestation, call our pest control team to schedule a visit.

5 Telltale Signs You Have Rats In Your Home

There are around 7 billion rats in the world, which might explain why they say that you’re never more than six feet away from a rat…

Despite having many natural enemies, rats are sneaky and clever. They’re also highly adaptive and can live almost anywhere, including human homes. But for all their sneakiness, rats aren’t tidy and tend to leave a trail of telltale signs when they move in.

Of course, the faster you spot these signs, the faster you can get rid of your infestation with the help of licensed professional exterminators.

Here are five signs you have rats in your home.

1. Scratching Noises

Scratching noises coming from your walls is one of the first telltale signs that you could have rats somewhere in your home.

Since rats are nocturnal, these noises will be most prevalent at nighttime. They tend to take their opportunities to search for food when the house is quiet so you might hear them more when you’re in bed.

Rats often make their way into our homes through cracks and pipes. This makes attics, garages, and basements are all prime entrance ways. And open food sources, clutter, and warmth all attract mice and rats.

As such, you’re likely to hear your unwanted guests scurrying around messy storage spaces, pet food supplies, or near your pantry.  

2. Droppings

Rat droppings, or ‘pellets’, often resemble grains of rice, but can vary depending on the particular species. In general, rat droppings are around half an inch long, while mice droppings are about half that size.

Fresh droppings are dark brown and soft, and they may stain surfaces if they’re crushed. As rat pellets age, they get brittle and often resemble clumps of dirt.

Rats aren’t fussy about where they deposit their droppings, so you may find them anywhere in your home. They even defecate while they’re on the go, so you may find trails against walls or the edges of furniture.

But, as a rule, rats leave most of their droppings where they spend the most time. These will be wherever they have their nest and wherever they eat. As such, you might also find droppings in your pantry, lower cupboards, and under produce storage racks.

If and when you find droppings, don’t touch them. You should always let your rodent removal team handle rat droppings as they are an active safety hazard. Rat feces can spread diseases such as hantavirus, rat-bite fever, and even bubonic plague.

3. Gnaw Marks

A rat’s teeth never stop growing, so they have to keep gnawing away to ensure their teeth remain sharp and healthy.  In fact, a key difference between rats and mice is that, while mice’s weaker teeth are limited to gnawing through food packets, rats will gnaw on almost anything.

Gnaw marks can be hard to spot at first. But if you head for areas where rats are most likely to live, such as your basement, you’re more likely to see telltale signs of rodent damage.

Look for shredding and rough bite marks close to the ground on cardboard, plastic, bedding, furniture, and insulation. Rats also like to chew through electrical wiring so check behind your appliances for signs of this.

Another obvious thing rats will gnaw at is your food supply. And, as their sharp teeth are no match for your wiring or furniture, imagine the damage they could do to your food packets and containers.

When looking for signs of rats, inspect every item in the pantry and kitchen for holes or signs of gnawing and chewing. In particular, packets and bags of sugar, flour, pasta, rice, pet food, and cookies are all prime targets.

4. Greasy Track Marks

Although rats have advanced smell and hearing, they are colorblind and have poor eyesight. To compensate, they stick to the same routes to move around, often scurrying along pressed against walls and furniture as a way to sense and navigate around their location.

But since they use the same paths time and time again, they often leave behind track marks. Rat fur is covered in dirt, grease, and oil, so when they rub up against walls time and time again, they leave a greasy residue behind.

Look for rat track marks around the edges of your attic, basement, and pantry. You might also see droppings and urine stains along these paths.

5. Nests

Some of the chewing and gnaw marks you might see around your home could also be signs that rats have been collecting nesting material.

Rats build simple nests out of whatever they can lay their paws on. Inside your home, they’ll bite off bits of paper, fabric, and insulation and drag them to secluded corners to make their nests. They sometimes even make their way into walls or through insulation and build their nests there.

Since they’re so basic and disorganized, rat nests will most likely look like a clump of garbage to you. But if there are droppings, dirt marks, or tracks nearby, these are all sure signs that the garbage you’re looking at is actually a nest.

Most rats also tend to follow the same paths back to their nest each time. If you see other signs of a rat infestation, such as greasy marks, you may be able to follow them back to a well-hidden rat nest.

Telltale Signs You Have Rats in Your Home

Of course, as well as these signs that you have rats in your home, there’s an even more obvious sign – you’ve seen one scurrying around the house.

And, since rats live in large groups to protect their young, you can almost guarantee that where there’s one rat, there’s more.

As soon as you spot any of these telltale signs, act fast and contact us to avoid a full-blown infestation.