Everything You Need To Know About Lawn Aeration

What is aeration?

Aeration is a lawn maintenance practice that removes soil plugs or slices the turf and opens passageways through thatch and into the soil. This promotes a healthy exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and helps your lawn to breathe. The passageways also give water and fertilizer a pathway to your lawn’s root zone where roots can absorb them more efficiently. Aeration encourages root growth by reducing thatch buildup and soil compaction.

 

How do I know if my lawn needs aerating?

If your yard has not been aerated within the last year, it needs aerating.

 

What would happen if I never aerated my lawn?

Eventually, you would have a weak and sick looking lawn that is susceptible to weeds and disease and is harder to maintain. But aeration is just one practice used to ensure a healthy lawn. Proper watering, fertilization, mowing, and pest control are also important maintenance practices.

 

When should I aerate and how often?

At a minimum, you should aerate your lawn at least once a year. Fall works the best for most grass types. Heavily used lawns, or those growing on heavy clay or subsoil, may need aerating more frequently.

 

Can I water my lawn and fertilize after aerating?

Yes, you can. The newly made aeration holes or slices give both water and fertilizer direct access to the roots, and watering can help to break down the aeration cores.

 

Can I overseed after aerating?

Yes, but for better germination, put the seed down while the holes or slices are still open and before the cores start to break down. Do not use a fertilizer combined with weed control when overseeding, as it will hinder germination. A starter fertilizer is best.

 

How long will it take for the cores in my yard to disappear?

The cores will break down naturally and disappear into the lawn over time, depending on weather conditions. As the cores disintegrate, the soil microbes they contain will help break down thatch, so don’t rake them off. Watering and mowing also help to break down the cores sooner.

 

Can I aerate a newly laid sod or seeded lawn?

No, you should wait at least six months before aerating new sod and hold off aerating newly seeded lawns until the seedlings reach maturity.

 

Can aerating damage underground utilities lines, pipes, or wiring?

Most underground utility lines are buried deep enough that aeration tines will not strike them. Other buried items such as sprinkler systems could be impacted. If you are concerned, call to have underground utilities marked. Use flags to mark irrigation heads and other hidden objects to avoid damaging them and/or the aerator.

 

Should I continue to aerate after my lawn improves?

Yes, you should aerate your lawn at least once a year, or more if necessary, as well as perform all other important maintenance practices (watering, fertilizer, pest control, etc.) to maintain turf health and vigor.

 

We do lawn care

Did you know that Amco Ranger does lawn care in addition to pest control? We give these services the same professional attention to detail as our pest control services and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Give us a call today to ensure a lush-looking lawn in the spring.

Also learn about lawn dethatching.

How To Prevent Termites From Attacking My Home

Termites are among the most destructive insects for homeowners. Each year, homeowners deal with millions of dollars of damage caused by termites. While dealing with a current infestation is, of course, possible, it’s better to have never had to deal with it in the first place. 

When Amco Ranger removes a current infestation, we also make several recommendations concerning what you can do now that it’s gone to prevent a future one. Below, we’ll talk about some of the preventative remedies that you can take to avoid major termite damage

Understanding Termites

The termite brain may not be very sophisticated by our standards, but their society is very well ordered. They have a reproductive caste, a warrior caste, and, of course, a worker caste. The workers work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Clearly, they haven’t invented the union yet. On the other hand, termites don’t require sleep and the majority of their work involves eating. 

Worker termites provide the colony with all of the food it will need. Their very import job is mostly eating and feeding the rest of the colony. While one termite may not be able to make a significant dent in your property value, several thousand will be given enough time. 

Preventing Termite Infestations Prior To Building A Home

There are several technologies that can be used for dealing with termites.

  • Basaltic termite barriers – Newer homes can be built with Basaltic Termite Barriers (BTBs). In other words, the planning stages for dealing with termites begin before the home is even built. BTBs are made of rock particles packed densely enough that it creates an insurmountable barrier for termites. 
  • Termite mesh – This is a stainless-steel screen with holes that are too small for termites to pass through. Additionally, they cannot chew their way through either. These are placed in concrete to prevent termites from entering through small cracks that could arise over the course of time. 
  • Pressure-treated wood – Pressure-treated wood is termite-resistant. Note that we didn’t say it was termite-proof. The wood should still be kept a few feet off the ground to prevent termite access.

Preventing Infestations For Already-Built Homes

Of course, not everyone is so forward-thinking in their home-building approach. Most folks simply own properties that were built prior to these innovations. Nonetheless, there are ways to prevent termite infestations even when the house was not built with these anti-termite measures. These include:

  • Reduce soil-to-wood contact – When possible, reducing soil-to-wood contact is a top first step to any proactive plan to reduce the threat of termites. This not only includes your house itself, but also any mulch, paper, or cardboard that might be around your house. You want at least a four-inch barrier between any mulch and your home. Having a concrete foundation with siding at least six inches off the soil is also a good idea.
  • Beware your landscaping – You’ll want to consider keeping plants at least a few feet away from your foundation. If you’re landscaping is near your home, you can use pine needles as opposed to mulch. If you can’t find pine needles, you can use pea gravel or just about anything else that isn’t organic.
  • Beware your storm drains – You’ll want your storm drains to empty a few feet away from your foundation.
  • Eliminate excess moisture – Termites feed on moisture and are attracted to it. Leaky pipes, faucets, drains and anything else needs to be managed to prevent a future infestation.
  • Sprinkler systems – You want to avoid any pooling water around your foundation. Some folks go out of their way to reroute their storm drains and forget about their sprinkler system. 

It’s Swarming Season!

The first winter thaw is when termites really go into action. They like to hit the ground running and make a breakneck attempt to find food and set up new colonies. One of the things that they are attracted to is floodlights. Yes, I know they look pretty, but they’re a serious risk. You want to either term them off in the early spring or relocate them entirely. There are bug-resistant lights that you can purchase if you’re totally committed to your floodlights. 

Talk To Amco Ranger To Stem Off A Serious Termite Infestation Today

If you’re seeing signs of wood damage or flying termites around your home, it’s time to consider a professional pest control expert. Amco Ranger not only provides top-quality extermination services, but we will also recommend ways to keep the termites off your property once their gone. Talk to us today to set up a free inspection.

Everything You Need To Know About Ants

Ants are one of the most common household pests in Missouri. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them any less annoying when they enter your home. Once ants have found their way in, homeowners attempt a variety of different methods to get rid of them. In order to truly eradicate ants, you must first understand their social structure and how they live. Below are some common questions and answers about these pesky insects. Understanding them can help you eradicate ants from your home once and for all. 

How Many Queen Ants Are In A Colony?

Some ants have more than one queen in their colonies. These are known as polygene colonies. More commonly, ant colonies are monogyne, meaning they have only one queen ant. 

Colonies will typically have more than one queen ant when the colony is new. This allows the ants to produce more offspring. Once a colony is developed though, the worker ants will typically kill additional queens until only one remain. Sometimes, they may kill the only queen as well, which eventually eliminates the entire colony. 

What Do Ants Eat?

Ants have a very diverse diet. While ants are omnivores, some species of ants prefer one type of food over others. Some ants eat animals, often other species of ants. Certain ants prefer protein such as meat and will look for it in small animals. Usually, when this is the case, ants will feed on dead or decaying animals. Dairying ants will keep a farm of aphids, tiny insects that destroy gardens. The ants will protect these farms from other animals and will milk the aphids for honeydew, a sweet substance aphids produce. 

Whatever the source of food is for a particular colony, worker ants will forage for it. As they do, they’ll leave a trail of pheromones for other ants to follow, so the food is easily found in the future. 

How Much Can An Ant Lift?

It’s been said that ants can lift up to twice their body weight. However, it’s much more than that. In fact, ants can carry up to 50 times their body weight. This is due to the fact that ants are so small. Their muscles are thicker, which means they can produce more force pound-for-pound. 

Do Ants Have Wings?

Certain ants develop wings, also called alates, in their reproductive stage. The wings allow the ants to fly, and they mate while in flight. Although these ants swarm in certain areas during this nuptial flight, they pose no harm to humans. After mating, the male will die. The females, now fertilized, will continue to fly, looking for a suitable place to nest. After finding an appropriate colony site, the female will settle there and shed her wings. As the queen begins to build the colony, she will use the wings, and the muscles she used to move them, as a food source until worker ants can start bringing her food.

Do Ants Bite Or Sting?

All ants have the ability to bite. Most will only do so when they feel threatened. After biting in defense, an ant will also sometimes spray a chemical onto the bite site to inflict further pain. Fire ants, on the other hand, bite only to get a grip. Once attached to the threat, these ants then use their stinger to inject venom into the threat or prey. 

A few species of ants that sting include:

  • Red imported fire ants
  • Acrobat ants
  • Harvester ants

Ants that bite include:

  • Field ants
  • Crazy ants
  • Carpenter ants

These are some of the most common ants in Missouri that bite or sting.

How Do Ants Communicate?

Ant colonies are extremely large, sometimes consisting of millions of worker ants. Of course, ants can’t speak and so, many wonder how the ants communicate with one another. They have a number of ways of doing so.

  • Scent: An ant’s antennas are a big part of their communication. These antennae allow ants to smell the pheromones left behind by other ants in their colony. These pheromones are specialized, with each communicating something different to the other ants. One pheromone cocktail may lead the way to a food source, while another may indicate a predator nearby. 
  • Touch: Ants often communicate simply by moving their bodies, or by touching their antennae to another ant’s antennae. In doing so, one ant can tell another what type of food is at the end of the trail. Sometimes, ants will even give other ants a sample of the food they are carrying so the other workers can better identify it. 
  • Sounds: Ants make sounds by rubbing their legs on a part of their body similar to a washboard. This sound is often too low for humans to hear, but other ants certainly can. Ants often communicate in this manner if they have become trapped, as pheromones will not help other ants find them if a tunnel or chamber has collapsed. 

Ants are much more complex than humans often give them credit for. The varying ways in which they communicate with each other is just one example of this. 

Do You Have Ants? Call A Missouri Pest Control Company

Ant colonies are very large, which makes them difficult to get rid of if they’ve found a way into or around your home. If you have an ant problem, you need a St. Charles pest control company that can help. At Amco Ranger, we can easily eliminate ants from your home, and any other pests you may have, too. Call us today at (636) 441-2847 to schedule your free inspection and learn more about how we can help. 

How To Treat Mosquito Bites

No matter how carefully you apply insect repellent, you’ll probably experience an itchy bite or two this summer. When a red, itchy bump appears on your skin, you want relief as quickly as possible.

When bitten, the first step is to wash the affected area with soap and water. After that, everyone seems to have a different method for relieving the pain and itch. Which method you choose may depend on whether you are home or in the middle of the woods with limited resources.

Antihistamine Cream

The best way to treat a mosquito bite is to use an over the counter antihistamine cream. It will reduce swelling, relieve pain, and allow itchy, blood-clotting, mosquito saliva to exit the wound.

Ice

Ice helps in two ways. Like taking an antihistamine, ice reduces swelling and has the added benefit of numbing the nerves sending “itchy” signals to the brain.

Heat

Holding a hot compress or running hot water over the affected area will overload the nerves in the same way ice does and also opens the pores to allow the itch-causing toxins easier to escape. Best used in conjunction with an antihistamine or other treatment that will reduce swelling.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a natural and effective antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and disinfectant that can soothe the itch and sting of bites. Simply squeeze the gel from the plant and apply it directly to the bite.

Toothpaste

A dab of toothpaste on the bite will act as an astringent, drawing itchy venom from the wound as it dries. Menthol in the toothpaste will also provide a “cooling” sensation that will occupy the nerves in the same way ice does, relieving discomfort.

Deodorant

Aluminum chloride in bar deodorant will draw moisture and toxins from the bite.

Baking soda

When mixed with a little water and applied as a paste, this household alkaline can help neutralize the pH balance in the bite, providing itch relief.

Aspirin

Not only can your go-to headache medication relieve pain when ingested, but when dissolved in water and turned into a paste, it can calm bites when applied topically.

Wet tea bag

The tannins in a moist black or green tea bag act as an astringent and quickly soothe the itch.

Lemon juice & vinegar

Lemon juice or vinegar can also be soothing, but only if you haven’t scratched the surface skin off the bite and made it bleed. Applying these acidic compounds to broken skin will sting, which can be worse than the itching.

Honey

A natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, honey is a quick pain reliever when applied directly to the bite.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains potent antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may calm the itch. Simply mix a couple spoonfuls of oatmeal and water into a small cup to create a paste and then apply directly to the bite.

Yogurt

Because yogurt is made with proteins that coat and soothe the skin, the creamy snack makes for a great inflammation reducer.

Fresh basil

Rubbed on the affected area, natural camphor increases blood flow around the bite and breaks down itchy anti-clotting agents in mosquito saliva.

Garlic

A natural antibiotic, fresh garlic rubbed on a mosquito bite is said to knock out the bacteria causing itchiness. Evidence is inconclusive, but some swear by this method.

Complications that can arise from mosquito bites

There are many great ways to treat mosquito bites and overcome their discomfort. However, if symptoms worsen over time or include fever or swelling, this might be an allergic reaction. If this occurs, you should contact a doctor immediately.

For most bite victims, the most likely complication of a mosquito bite is a secondary bacterial infection caused by scratching with dirty fingernails. This is especially true for children, who tend to have heightened skin reactions to mosquito bites, and who are also more likely than adults to have filthy nails.

We can help

If you are tired of dealing with the aftermath of mosquitoes in your yard, give Amco Ranger a call to get a free quote for professional, ongoing defense. Treatments are tailored to your property and are applied by certified, trained technicians. Take back your yard! Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Louis, and surrounding communities.

Find out why mosquitoes are drawn to some people vs. others.

Protect Your Pets From Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes might not seem to be a big problem for furry animals like dogs and cats, but your pets can still get bitten in areas with only thin hair coverage, such as the nose, ears, and belly. Dogs and cats experience the same itching and irritation around mosquito bites as humans, however, a more serious concern is the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, especially heartworm.

Heartworm is a parasite that causes life-threatening heart and lung infection in dogs and sometimes cats. It is carried from one animal to another via mosquitoes and is relatively common in the United States. Protecting your dog or cat from mosquito bites is the best way to reduce the risk of heartworm infection.

Symptoms of mosquito bites

  • Constant scratching
  • Rubbing ears or nose against a rough surface
  • Red welts similar to mosquito bites in humans
  • Systemic illness from mosquito-borne parasite infection
  • Coughing
  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Lack of appetite or weight loss
  • Vomiting (cats)

Types of animal-related infection carried by mosquitoes

  • Heartworm
  • West Nile Virus
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Diagnosis

Mosquito bites can be diagnosed based on signs of itching and irritation as well as the presence of mosquitoes. Bites that carry infection are undetectable from those that don’t, so heartworm is only found through regular testing, or when symptoms of illness are already present.

A small blood sample can be used to detect the presence of heartworm-related proteins. It takes six months for an animal to test positive for infection, so it’s recommended that dogs be tested at least once annually after they are seven months old.

Cats, on the other hand, are not typical hosts for heartworm. In cats, few worms reach the adult stage. Although, the larvae can cause fatal or sudden illness, so it’s important to get your cat tested regularly.

If your dog or cat tests positive for heartworm, chest X-rays or further tests may be ordered to evaluate the extent of the infection.

Treatment

Insect repellent is often used to reduce mosquito bites in humans, but it can be unsafe for dogs and cats. Any spray designed for humans, especially those containing DEET, may be toxic and should be avoided. Choose a repellant that is tested specifically on your pet, preferably with the advice of a veterinarian.

If your dog or cat is suffering from severe discomfort related to mosquito bites, your veterinarian could prescribe or recommend a treatment to reduce the itching. Otherwise, no treatment is necessary.

Dogs that test positive for mosquito-borne heartworm infection are usually treated with an arsenic-containing medication given in small doses over the course of several months. This medication is not safe to use in cats. No treatment is currently available for cats diagnosed with heartworm infection. However, monthly preventive medication can be given to both dogs and cats and is usually effective at eliminating the risk of infection.

Recovery

Individual mosquito bites will heal in dogs and cats, but continued exposure increases the risk of infection. Taking steps to make your house and yard as mosquito-free as possible in the summer months can reduce the chance that pets will be bitten. Since no mosquito elimination is foolproof, the best way to manage heartworm infection is with medication and regular testing. It’s important to be consistent and give each dose at the same time each month since missed or late doses can impact the effectiveness of the treatment. Pets should be tested before beginning a treatment plan and after any lapse in medication.

Prevention

Both humans and pets will benefit from reducing the mosquito population around your home. In order to do so, avoid leaving stagnant water around your house and garden as this represents a great environment for mosquitoes to breed. Even if your dog spends most of the time indoors, mosquitoes can enter the household via open windows or doors, so consider using window and door screens or pet-friendly mosquito repellents to reduce the presence of mosquitoes in the environment.

Protect your dog with year-round heartworm prevention. A complete heartworm plan includes use of preventive medication and regular testing. Discuss the best options for your dog with your veterinarian. Prevention is the best medicine. Although heartworm disease cannot be directly transmitted from one animal to another, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito for a dog to get heartworms.

We Can Help

If you are having issues with mosquitoes, give Amco Ranger a call to get a free quote for professional, ongoing defense in your yard. Treatments are tailored to your property and are applied by certified, trained technicians. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Louis, and surrounding communities.

Learn more about mosquitoes.

What, Do, and How: Everything to Know About Termites

What to Know About Termites

Most homeowners don’t want to think about termites. It’s understandable, considering these pests can take down a structure in a very short period of time. Not only can they destroy a home, but many of the things within it, too. It’s important that as a homeowner however, you do understand how these pests live, and what they do. Knowing the answers to some common questions makes it much easier to fight against them, and maybe even keep them from invading in the first place. It’s for this reason that we’ve created this guide that tells you everything you wanted to know, or didn’t, about termites. 

What do termites look like?

There are more than 40 different species of termites in the United States. Each species has distinct characteristics, but most of them look similar to each other. Termites are very small, about the size of an ant. They measure between one-quarter inch to one-half inch in length. They have soft bodies and straight antennae, unlike ants that have bent antennae. Worker termites are typically paler in color while swarming termites appear darker. 

What do baby termites look like?

Baby termites do not have a transition phase from larvae to adult, as some other pests do. Instead, they hatch from eggs looking like a very small termite. Young termites are usually white in color.

What do termites eat?

Termites eat cellulose, the most abundant organic compound found in nature. It is the main component of plants and is even found in many everyday objects. Termites seek out this cellulose in plants, cotton fibers, paper products, and wood.  

What causes termites?

There are a few elements that attract termites to a home. These include:

  • Moisture, such as standing water or leaky pipes
  • Wood that comes into contact with a home, such as stacked firewood
  • Openings in a home’s foundation, walls, or roof
  • Geography, as some areas are more prone to infestations

What color are termites?

Young termites are pale in color, typically white or off-white. Adult subterranean termite swarmers are solid black, while adult drywood swarmers are solid red.

Are termites attracted to light?

Termites are nocturnal. As such, they are attracted to light at night including porch lamps, motion lights, and light coming from the interior of the home. When swarming, termites are attracted to utility lights as well. 

Can you hear termites?

There are three main sounds homeowners may hear if they have a termite infestation. The first is a dry rattle. When termites sense danger, they bang their heads against the walls of their tunnels to warn other termites. This causes a rattling sound. Termites also make a papery rustling sound as they move about the tunnels working. Lastly, homeowners may also hear a hollow sound when they tap the wood of their home. These are the voids left in the wood after termites eat their way through it. 

Where do termites come from?

Termites come from the ground, where they build large colonies. Colonies are typically built in areas that have large trees or old, rotted wood. Termites can fly away from the colony and will fly about 50 feet at a time. Once they have found a suitable location to start a new colony, they will land and start to create one. 

What Do Termites Do? Do termites fly?

Subterranean termites do fly during the swarming season when they look for a mate and start a new colony. These termites don’t fly well though, and after settling on the ground, soon lose their wings.

Do termites bite?

Termites can bite invading insects such as ants or termites of a different species. They can also chew through wood, causing extensive damage to homes. Termites, however, are not known to bite humans.

Does mulch attract termites?

Years ago there was a theory that chain stores were spreading termites through bags of mulch. This was proven to be untrue. However, there are certain things about mulch that termites like. It’s not the wood in mulch that attracts termites, but the moisture. Mulch can attract termites because it’s a good place for them to form their colony, or support an existing one. 

Do termites bite humans?

Termites are not known to bite humans.

Does homeowners’ insurance cover termites?

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cost American homeowners approximately $5 billion annually. Unfortunately, homeowners’ insurance does not usually cover the cost of termite damage. Infestations can often be prevented through regular home maintenance, which is the homeowner’s responsibility. However, certain damage the termites cause, such as a fire caused by wiring they chewed through, is covered by homeowners’ insurance. 

The How’s of Termite. How can you tell if you have termites?

Termite infestations have some common characteristics. If you think you have termites, look for these signs. 

  • Clicking sounds in the walls, which is the termites banging their heads against a tunnel
  • Wings that have been shed on windowsills or doorways
  • The presence of white ants around the home, which homeowners often mistake termites for
  • Hollow sound in wood around the home
  • Doors and windows that are suddenly tight-fitting and hard to open
  • Tunnels in wood or wood around the home
  • Termite droppings, otherwise known as frass, which are small black marks or a dark powdery substance

How long do termites live?

The queen of a colony can live up to ten years. Typically, worker termites only live for one to two years. 

What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Termites? Call a Missouri Pest Control Service

One of the most common questions homeowners have is how to get rid of termites when an infestation has started. The only way to do it is to call a pest control service in Missouri. At Amco Ranger, we know how frustrating termites are, but we also know you don’t have to let them destroy your home. Call us today at (636) 441-2847 or fill out our online form. After inspecting your home for termites, we’ll use our knowledge and skill to get rid of the pests, and prevent them from coming back in the future. 

Bed Bugs: How and Why are They in My Home?

Bed bugs are a nuisance, and notoriously difficult to get rid of. They also spread quickly and easily, leaving just about anyone susceptible to finding the critters in their home. Understanding these pests and how they live can help prevent them from getting into your home, and help you deal with an infestation should one occur.

How do You get Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are skilled hitchhikers. They are often transported by humans through belongings such as suitcases. They are also transported in purses, backpacks, and other items with soft surfaces. When bed bugs are disturbed, they will move to other areas. This can cause other areas, such as storage that contains clothing, more difficult to spot and treat. Bed bugs can also travel between different units in apartment buildings and hotels. 

What Causes Bed Bugs?

While bed bugs can find their way to just about anywhere, there are some factors that will put you more at risk for finding them in your home. These common causes of bed bugs are:

  • International travel
  • Changes to pest control management practices
  • Resistance to pesticide

How do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs?

It’s easiest to treat bed bugs if you can catch them early. Some common signs and symptoms that will alert you to a bed bug problem are:

  • Red, itchy bites
  • Uncomfortable nights, as that is when bed bugs feed
  • Blood stains that look like small rust spots on the bed
  • Oval brown exoskeletons left behind as bed bugs molt
  • Strong, unpleasant, musty odor

How to Prevent Bed Bugs?

Of course, the best method for dealing with bed bugs is to prevent them from entering your home at all. Some good ways to do that include:

  • Cover power outlets. Bed bugs hide in these to avoid extermination and can use them to travel to other areas of a home or building. 
  • Store clothing in vacuum-sealed bags. This is particularly important when traveling, as bed bugs are easily transported from hotels to clothing in suitcases. Doing this at home can also prevent a bed bug infestation.
  • Call a pest control service. When an infestation has already begun, a pest control service is the most effective way to eliminate it. However, these services can also take preventative measures to help protect your home.
  • Declutter. Clutter provides a good hiding spot for bed bugs. Remove all clutter from your home, particularly if it’s pushed up against walls. 
  • Cover your mattress and box spring. This is one of the best ways to prevent a bed bug infestation. 
  • Inspect used items. Bed bugs easily travel in clothing, furniture, and other items that people often purchase used. Before bringing anything into your home from someone else’s, inspect it thoroughly to ensure it does not house bed bugs.
  • Use your own blankets. When moving, movers often include blankets to help protect furniture. These blankets have been on several other pieces of furniture that could have contained bed bugs. Use your own blankets instead. 
  • Caulk. Cracks on the interior and exterior of a home allow bed bugs to travel relatively freely. Repair these cracks by caulking them, and seal bed bugs out.

How do Bed Bugs Spread?

Bed bugs live in soft, often upholstered areas such as bedding, couches, and clothing. Mature bed bugs and their eggs are often found in new and used furniture and clothing. Bed bugs can crawl and so, they can easily spread from one room of a home to another. They are also very adept at finding their way in between multiple units of a housing complex. Bed bugs are most commonly spread from boxes, suitcases, and other items that are taken from one place of accommodation or residence to another. 

How can You Detect Bed Bugs?

The first signs of bed bugs are either red, itchy bite marks on the body, or the rusty blood stains they leave behind on beds and other furniture. 

What Attracts Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are attracted to warm-blooded creatures. They need these hosts, which include humans, pets, and rodents, to feed from. Your breathing attracts bed bugs from the carbon dioxide you exhale. Your body temperature attracts bed bugs because you are generally the warmest thing in a room. According to this 2013 report, if you’re alive, you attract bed bugs.

A Missouri Pest Control Service can Help You Control Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are certainly no fun to deal with, and your home could easily become infested with them. To prevent bed bugs from entering your home, or to get rid of them if they already have, you need the help of an experienced pest control service in Missouri. At Amco Ranger, we have the tools and the knowledge necessary to eliminate bed bugs from your home once for good. Call us today at (636) 441-2847 to learn more about how we can protect your home. 

 

How To Prevent Mosquito Bites

It’s backyard barbecue season, and you’re not the only one planning a feast. The mosquitoes are out and ready to chow down. Preventing mosquito bites should be a priority, because they can carry deadly diseases, like the West Nile or Zika viruses.

Here are some ways that you can avoid these pesky pests.

Blow them away with a breeze

Almost anybreeze – anything above 1 MPH – makes it difficult for mosquitoes to fly. If you can pick a breezy spot for your summer outing, that can help prevent mosquito bites. Plug-in fans are also a great deterrent. Keep the flow of air directed at the lower half of your body; mosquitoes tend to fly very close to the ground to avoid wind, so directing the fan’s force downward will block their approach.

Avoid peak mosquito hours

Just like you, mosquitoes crave a meal during certain times of day, and it’s often around dusk and dawn. That’s because the wind typically dissipates as the sun rises and sets, which brings mosquitoes out to feed. If you can try to stay inside during these times when the weather is warm, you’ll be able to prevent some mosquito bites.

Rub on some DEET before you head outdoors

DEET has a bad reputation, but adverse reactions to it are rare and typically happen when used incorrectly. When used as directed, it’s extremely effective, since it blocks a mosquito’s CO2 receptors.

The best way to use DEET is not to spray it on your body and clothes like perfume. Instead, squirt a little onto your hands and rub it onto your ankles, elbows, wrists, forehead, and all the other places where your skin is thin and where mosquitoes love to feed.

Use other mosquito repellents if you’re not into DEET

There are other options that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for use in repelling mosquitoes, including Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), and 2-undecanone. If you’re at the store and you’re not sure if a repellent has these ingredients, your safest bet is to look for the Environmental Protection Agency approval on the product’s label. Then you will know it’s effective and safe.

Try to stay cool

This can be easier said than done in the summer, but mosquitoes are drawn to pheromones released in your sweat. This can vary from person to person. Some people attract mosquitoes regardless of what they drink, eat, or wear.

Wear tightly woven, light-colored clothes

Mosquitoes can’t penetrate clothing that has a very tight weave. While cotton and linen typically aren’t great armor against mosquito bites, many synthetic fibers – particularly high-tech athletic apparel – tend to be woven tightly enough to keep bugs out. Any garment that offers sun protection will also have a tight enough weave to prevent mosquito bites, especially when you opt for long sleeves and pants.

Mosquitoes also use their vision to search for food sources during the daylight hours. Since they fly very close to the ground, they tend to find targets by looking for things that contrast with the horizon. Dark colors stand out, and light colors are less attractive to them.

Avoid scented products

Any scented perfume, lotion, or soap could potentially attract mosquitoes. If you want to reduce your attractiveness to mosquitoes, avoid scented products in general.

Give your heart a breather

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary thing mosquitoes search for to identify food sources. When your heart rate is elevated, your body produces more CO2. From exercise to drinking alcohol to eating spicy foods, anything that cranks up your metabolic rate will increase your CO2 production and make you irresistible to mosquitoes. If you’re outdoors and know your heart rate will be spiking, make sure you wear protective clothing and apply a repellent to keep bites at bay.

Get rid of standing water

Mosquitoes can easily breed in small containers of water like a birdbath or water sitting around your plants. Do your best to clear out any standing water to lower the odds that you’ll have lots of mosquitoes in your yard.

Adding mosquito-repelling plants to your property

This shouldn’t be your only mosquito-combating strategy, but certain plants may help discourage mosquitoes from hovering near your house. Mosquito-repelling plants include citronella, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, and basil.

While these plants may lower the number of mosquitoes around your place, even planted in large quantities, the potency of these plants would not be enough to keep mosquitoes out of your yard entirely. The same goes for citronella candles and oils. They do repel insects, but they only work if the scent or smoke gets between you and the mosquito.

Spray your yard

If you live in an area where the mosquitoes are unbearable, it might be worth hiring a professional to come and treat your yard with insecticide. This treatment will do a good job of ensuring that mosquitoes won’t come anywhere near your property.

We Can Help

If you are having issues with mosquitoes, give Amco Ranger a call to get a free quote for professional, ongoing defense in your yard. Treatments are tailored to your property and are applied by certified, trained technicians. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Louis, and surrounding communities.

Is it Worth it to Pay for Regular Termite Protection?

Homeowners will do just about anything to protect their homes. They invest in burglar alarms, smoke alarms, and a number of other items specifically to protect their home. When it comes to regular termite protection however, many homeowners wonder if it’s worth it. So, is it? The answer will largely depend on where you live, and the structure of your home. For those in Missouri, it’s always a good idea to contact a Missouri exterminator that can determine if a regular termite protection plan is right for you.

Why Missouri Homeowners Should have Termite Protection

If you live in Missouri and own a home, you have likely asked yourself at some point, “Is it worth it to pay for termite protection?” The answer is nearly always a resounding, “Yes!”

Termites are active all across Missouri. According to the Termite Infestation Probability Zone Map (TIP Zones), Missouri is a TIP Zone #2. This means that termites are moderate to heavy throughout the state. This means there is great potential for termite damage to a home, and that homeowners in Missouri need as much protection as possible.

Termites typically swarm on warm days after it rains, but swarms can also occur during the winter in heated buildings. Different types of termites swarm at different times of the year. The only months that aren’t considered swarming season are January and February. As such, Missouri homeowners need to protect themselves all year round.

In Missouri, it is definitely worthwhile to pay for regular termite protection. Termites are widespread and very active throughout the state and so, protecting your home is of the utmost importance.

Routine Pest Control Services

In addition to simply protecting your home, you’ll reap many more benefits when you choose a routine pest control service.

Pests bring with them all types of diseases. Mosquitos, fleas, ants, bed bugs, and rodents all carry diseases. It’s possible for you or your family members to become sick from a bite, or from coming into contact with the animal’s waste. Termites are not known to carry diseases harmful to humans, but they can exacerbate symptoms of asthma, and worsen allergies. A pest control expert can ensure this doesn’t happen.

Pests don’t only destroy your home. They can also destroy anything you have in your home. Rodents can chew through wires and termites can make a building inhabitable in a short amount of time. Rodents will find their way into your food source, as will ants and other pests. An exterminator can prevent and correct these problems so you can enjoy your home, and the things in it, once again.

One of the biggest benefits of routine pest control services is that you’ll have year-long protection and never have to deal with pests in your home. A pest control service will stop problems before they start, so you never unknowingly stumble across a pest, or the damage they cause.

Regular Termite Treatments

Regular termite treatments are especially beneficial in Missouri. First, a technician will inspect your property, looking for signs of existing termite colonies. If any are spotted, they will determine where the termites are feeding and ensure termites have access to bait in these areas. These stations contain scientifically proven termite bait that will destroy the entire colony. Every service, the bait stations are inspected, monitored, and maintained.

The unique distinction between these bait traps and chemical treatments is that the bait stations will not break down over time. As long as the colony has been eliminated and you are receiving regular termite treatments, you will never have to deal with the pests again.

Homeowners also find bait traps less disruptive to their lives. There are no large tank trucks filled with a chemical solution on their property, and the ground and water around their home is not contaminated. Also, because the baits are set into the soil around the home, there is no need to drill into the foundation or floors.

Contact a Pest Control Expert in Missouri Today

Is it worth it to pay for regular termite protection? The answer for homeowners in Missouri is always an emphatic, “Yes!” If you are living with termites or any other pest, or want to protect your home from future infestations, call the experienced Missouri pest control experts today. At Amco Ranger, we use only the highest-quality products to ensure pests are eliminated, while the people in your home remain protected. Call us at (636) 441-2847 to get rid of pests today, and live a pest-free lifestyle tomorrow.

Why Mosquitoes Prefer to Bite Certain People More Than Others

If you are wondering what attracts mosquitoes to you and not other people this summer, you may be surprised to learn that mosquitoes actually know which people they like best. Only female mosquitoes draw blood because they need the protein to produce eggs. When making a targeting decision, a female mosquitoes’ choice is not random.

Studies have shown that mosquitoes remember the taste and smell of human blood and often choose individuals whose blood tastes “sweeter” to them. The following are common factors that have been identified to make a person more attractive to these pests.

Body odor
Bacterial colonies combined with sweat generate that sweet human scent we call body odor. Without the bacteria, our sweat would be odorless; with the bacteria, our sweat is one of the more attractive scents for mosquitoes. There are measures you can take like washing regularly to reduce body odor. However, be careful of fragrant scents that can also draw mosquitoes.

Secretions
About 80% of people secrete compounds known as saccharides and antigens through their skin. Secretors are magnets for mosquitoes. Your classification as a secretor is determined by your biology, and there isn’t anything you can do to put yourself in the non-secretor category.

Blood type
Depending on the type of blood you have, you secrete different scents. Studies have shown that mosquitoes are most attracted to Type O blood and least attracted to Type-A.

Lactic acid
Lactic acid is emitted through your skin when you are active or eating certain foods. Mosquitoes are more attracted to people with a greater build-up of lactic acid on their skin.

Body temperature
The higher your body temperature is, the faster the mosquitoes will find you. Once they get within a few yards, they can sense the heat and will easily find you.

Dark Clothing
Mosquitoes are most attracted to dark colors. They use their vision to locate targets from a distance, and people wearing dark clothing are easier to see.

Perfume and Scented Lotions
Fragrances are known to attract mosquitoes. Floral scents are especially attractive.

Drinking Alcohol
Drinking alcohol makes your skin give off a chemical that attracts mosquitoes. Alcohol also increases body temperature, which is another huge mosquito attractor.

Pregnant Woman
Pregnant women attract twice as many mosquitoes as a non-pregnant woman. This is because a pregnant woman exhales more carbon dioxide than other people, in addition to running higher body temperatures and having more blood circulating through their bodies than the average person.

We Can Help

If you are having issues with mosquitoes, give Amco Ranger a call to get a free quote for professional, ongoing defense in your yard. Treatments are tailored to your property and are applied by certified, trained technicians. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Louis, and surrounding communities.