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Do Mouse “Repellents” Work?

Do Mouse Repellents Work?

There is a large product selection and a wide range of advice out there that will claim to help you get rid of mice. However, it’s best to keep a skeptical view of these things, because, while they may not be harmful, they may not be that effective either. The suite of repellent products and solutions currently available are presented as an alternative to poisons and traps, and their main selling point is that they are safer and more humane. In this article, we’re going to go over some of these mouse repellents and their effectiveness.

The effectiveness of mouse repellents

When we say mouse repellents, we think of a variety of items and products, from moth balls, to peppermint, cayenne pepper, tabasco pepper, ultrasound machines and even cats! Although some of these deterrents may even be somewhat effective, it’s important to keep mice infestations in perspective. A female mouse can give birth to more than 60 mice every year, and the mice take a handful of weeks to reach sexual maturity. With that knowledge, how much time are you willing to spend on solutions that are “somewhat” effective? Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly recommended mouse repellents.

Mothballs

Naphthalene is a solid white substance with a strong smell that is found in mothballs, and when it is ingested in large quantities, it can lead to a condition where blood cells can longer carry oxygen. Naturally, you can draw the conclusion that naphthalene is a good mouse repellent, and some homeowners will place mothballs near a mouse nest in order to force the pests to leave the building.

Mothballs have a very small amount of naphthalene in them however, which is enough to deter insects, but not enough to deter mice. In fact, you would need the same amount of naphthalene to kill a mouse, as you would need to kill a human.

Even if mothballs are unpleasant to mice and you place them near their nest entrance, they will either walk over the mothballs or create a new entrance.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is another popular home repellent, but does it actually work? It is a pleasantly smelling substance, and it’s nice to have around your home, but, unfortunately, it does not do a lot against mice.

This substance is considered to be a repellent, because in high concentrations, peppermint can be very strong, and it can drive rodents away. However, rodents are used to living in sewers and garbage, so a little peppermint will not phase them. Peppermint will also evaporate and float upwards, which has a lesser effect on rodents, because they are close to the ground.

Ultrasonic repellents

You may come across ultrasonic repellent devices on the market, and they may sound like a good idea. After all, ultrasounds work on dogs right? For rodents however, this is not the case, at least no in the way that we’d wish. Ultrasounds may keep them away for a while, but in the long run, the rodents will adapt, especially if they really like your home. Not only that, but ultrasounds strong enough to actually be very effective against rodents would also be effective against you and your pets.

For small infestations, it’s best to stick to trapping and baiting in order to deal with mice. If you have a persistent infestation and you can’t get rid of it no matter how hard you try, contact us for a free inspection.

Pest Control Advice When Purchasing Your New Home

Some things are more thrilling than buying a home, and to ascertain that the process goes well, some measures must be observed. Apart from the decorative updates that you may want to make to your new home, it is crucial to also account for any issues that might not be visible to your eyes. One such problem is a termite invasion. That is why a pest inspection is necessary.

Take the Right Pest Prevention Before Purchasing a New Home

Termites are silent destroyers of property because of their ability to chew through wood undetected avidly. They cause over $5 billion in property damage per year. Homeowners’ insurance does not cover these damages. Before purchasing a new home, you should always request a termite inspection from a pest control professional to avoid expensive repairs after the transaction is completed.

A standard home inspection only assesses the physical structure of your prospective home. On the other hand, a termite inspection focuses on identifying the indicative signs of termite damage. It also asses the conditions that attract termite infestations, such as moisture, crevices, and cracks. After the inspection, your pest control professional will provide a detailed pest control report and recommend a course of action.

When visiting your prospective home, you should check the following signs that could indicate a termite invasion:

  • Wings on windowsills or near the doors indicating termite swarmers have gone into the house.
  • Small heaps of droppings that look like sawdust close to a termite nest
  • Blistering or darkening of wooden structures
  • Softwood in the house that sound muffled when hit
  • Mud tubes on the exterior of the house

These signs show an active infestation of termites. You must also be conscious of the situations that can attract termites to your prospective home. When visiting the property, here are some things that you should look out for and how to alleviate their effects if you move forward to purchasing the home.

Branches

Tree leaves and branches that come into contact with the home’s exterior or roof can give a pathway for termites to access the house. It would help if you pruned any shrubbery or branches to ensure nothing is touching your home.

Mulch

Mulch is often used against the foundation of a house and can function as a source of moisture and food for termites. So, it would help if you reduced the utilization of wood mulch and put it at least 15 inches from your home’s foundation. Assess the present mulch for any signs of termite infestation, especially underneath.

Stumps

While it might appear simpler to abandon a tree stub in your back yard, decaying wood can attract termites. These termites can ultimately end up in your home. So, call a professional service to remove any wood lying on your property.

Gutters

Termites love moisture, and congested gutters can make your home vulnerable to termites. You should divert rainwater away from the foundation and install splash blocks to prevent attracting termites

Firewood

Many homeowners stack firewood against their house for effortless access. However, that can attract termites towards the home and offer an entry point. You should keep firewood and timber at least 20 feet away from your house and on elevated platforms at least 5 inches from the ground.

Conclusion

Termites are very destructive in nature. Therefore, you should take the necessary steps to identify and prevent infestation. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it is essential to acquire a new home pest inspection. We recommend hiring a licensed pest control specialist to identify and treat termite invasion before it becomes a severe and expensive problem.

What Homeowners Need To Know About Formosan Termite Swarms

All termite species produce swarmers that take flight from existing termite colonies in order to establish new colonies. Termite swarmers are more accurately referred to as “alates,” and their sole purpose is to sustain the species. Alates do not bite, sting or eat wood, but alates of drywood termite colonies initiate infestations in cracks and crevices on the surface of wood. After a male alate and female alate mate, their nymphal offspring proceed to excavate wood, at which point the male and female alates move into the excavated cavity where they serve as queen and king of a new drywood termite colony. Subterranean termite alates do not initiate new colonies within structural wood; instead, a male and female search for a proper nesting site within soil before mating. Once a proper nesting site is found, the male and female alates mate, and the first workers to emerge are tasked with excavating soil to create the subterranean nest. Within a short time, workers build a “royal chamber” where the new queen and king reside.

While Formosan termites are subterranean, just like native subterranean termites, Formosan alates are somewhat different from native subterranean termite alates. For example, alates from native subterranean termite colonies do not generally gravitate toward lights during the nighttime hours, but Formosan alates are notorious for swarming in massive numbers around street lights, porch lights, and even indoor lights. Also, unlike drywood termite alates, which initiate colonies in wood, subterranean termite alates, almost always initiate new colonies within soil only. This is because subterranean termite alates require high moisture levels in soil in order to survive. In exceptionally rare cases, native subterranean termite alates initiate colonies in excessively damp wood. Formosan alates initiate colonies in damp wood frequently, and since these colonies are initiated well above the ground surface, they are known as “aerial colonies.” Workers in Formosan aerial colonies construct nests out of a material called “carton,” and these carton nests are typically located in moist indoor areas, such as in wall or floor voids in bathrooms. Aerial Formosan colonies are also frequently found beneath shingles on roof-tops, especially on flat roof-tops that gather copious amounts of rainwater. While native subterranean termite infestations are almost always started by workers from the ground soil, damaged structural wood is generally limited to crawl spaces and wood around fundations. But Formosan subterranean termite damage can occur anywhere on a home, provided that alates initiate an aerial infestation.

Have you ever witnessed a Formosan subterranean termite swarm near street lights?

How To Stop The Spread Of Cockroaches In Large Buildings

The German cockroach is one of the most “iconic” pests in the US. This cockroach, which originated from Asia, is known to spread dangerous diseases and trigger allergies and asthma reactions. Difficult to eradicate when it infests a single home, the German cockroach becomes a much larger problem when it infests a building with multiple residences, such as an apartment building.

Integrated Pest Management

When a large apartment building is infested, integrated pest management or IPM methods need to be applied, and in order to do this, the pest control specialist must understand how these insects congregate inside and between buildings. For starters, once roaches enter an apartment building, they will usually disperse within, but not traverse to a different building. They also tend to nest in kitchen areas, and if pesticides are applied in one apartment, but not in another, the roaches will simply move their nests to locations that do not have pesticides in them.

Infestation patterns in large apartment buildings

Roaches have an infestation pattern where they nest in apartments that share at least one wall. So if you have an infestation in an apartment building, odds are that so do some of your neighbors. This makes pest control a much more intensive process and it gives it a much larger scope. Think of this infestation pattern as radiating from a central point, where you have a heavy infestation in a number of core apartments, and as the distance grows from these apartments, the intensity of the infestation is lowered.

As such, in order to properly implement IPM for a large apartment building, pest control methods have to target all the apartments that have been infected. On top of that, measures should be set in place in order to prevent large scale infestations from recurring. These measures can take the form of programs that help spread instructions on how to keep the apartment clean, how to store food and how to keep clutter to a minimum in order to avoid infestations.

How effective is IPM long term?

Large apartment buildings are hard to keep pest free because of frequent resident turnover and the tolerance that some residents may have for cockroaches. Reinfestation is likely to occur. However, the frequency and intensity of infestations can be minimized using IPM and implementing regular building-wide pest control measures. For a smaller apartment building, the frequency of reinfestation can be even lower. If you are a building administrator and you have a cockroach problem, contact us today and we can help you set up a plan that will get the infestation under control.

How To Tell If A Crevice Or Crack In Concrete Slabs Or Mortar Foundations Make A Home Vulnerable To Subterranean Termite Attack

Subterranean, drywood and dampwood termite species can be found throughout the United States, and many are known pests of structural wood within homes, while a few others mainly infest wooden furniture and finished wood items. Termites are easily the most economically significant pests of homes and buildings in the world, and they are particularly destructive in the US where they inflict well over five billion dollars in structural damage annually. It could be argued that Louisiana sees more devastation from termite pest activity than any other city in the country, and possibly the entire world.

The unusually high rate of termite infestations in Louisiana is largely due to the invasive presence of the uniquely destructive Formosan subterranean termite species. This species is only problematic in the Gulf Coast states, and they damage wood at a relatively rapid rate due to the enormous size of their mature colonies, which contain around ten million individual termites, far more than the 50,000 to one million individuals within mature native subterranean termite colonies. Subterranean termites dwell below the ground where workers are able to infest the structural wood at the base of timber-framed homes by traveling through extremely narrow cracks and crevices in concrete slabs and foundation walls.

Subterranean termite workers cannot access structural wood within slab-on-ground homes, as long as concrete slabs and brick and mortar foundations are completely free of cracks and crevices. Unfortunately, cracks quickly begin to take form on concrete slabs and foundations shortly after homes have been built. Also, slab-on-ground homes are particularly vulnerable to subterranean termite attacks because workers can easily travel through narrow expansion joints where slab edges meet the bottom of exterior walls. The narrowest concrete crack that subterranean termite workers have been documented as penetrating measured only 1.3 mm in width, and another researcher claims he witnessed a worker travel through a concrete crack as narrow as .8 mm in width, but this claim cannot be verified. A recent study carried out by American researchers found that most workers from all subterranean termite species can squeeze through cracks as narrow as .93 mm in width, but many were able to fit through .76 mm wide cracks. The study’s authors concluded that any crack in concrete slabs or exterior foundation walls as wide as .396 mm, or 1/16 of an inch in width leaves the above home vulnerable to subterranean termite attack. Caulking cracks in slabs and exterior foundation walls will prevent workers from invading interior structural wood.

Have you inspected your home for cracks in concrete slabs and/or foundations that could be exploited by subterranean termite workers to access interior structural wood components?

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J&J Exterminating, Inc.