Spring Bug Survival Guide

We’re finally on the verge of spring. We love it, and so do the bugs. Here is all you need to know to survive another spring and summer, no matter how many of these insects cross your path.



Ticks can be a serious concern for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, especially hiking or camping, specifically because of Lyme disease. These spring bugs latch onto exposed areas of skin (or fur for your pets) and begin sucking blood immediately. The longer it’s attached, the higher your risk for infection.

The best way to avoid ticks is by covering up. If you’re hiking or walking through a heavily wooded area, wear long sleeves and pants, and wear closed-toe shoes. Check your skin regularly throughout your time in the woods, and thoroughly check for ticks when you get home. If you do find any on your skin, promptly, but gently, remove them using tweezers, grabbing close to its mouth and not around its body.



Flies are more annoying than anything else, but some flies, such as horseflies, can actually bite, leaving behind painful welts.

Most flies are inactive at night until sunrise, so it’s only during the day that you typically need to make efforts to prevent them. Cover up! Wear long sleeves, long pants, a hat, and closed-toe shoes. If you do get bit, disinfect the bite with soap and water. You typically won’t need more than an antihistamine or anti-allergy pill.


Bees & Wasps

Bees inject all of their poison at once, lose their stinger, and then die. However, wasps keep their stinger after stinging, meaning they can inject smaller amounts of venom several times. Venom is quite different between the two as well, meaning your reactions can vary depending on which one stings you.

To prevent stinging insects from bothering you, avoid wearing perfume, cologne, or bright colors outdoors. Also, keep the sweet foods and drinks to a minimum, disposing of empty cans and wrappers immediately. If you get stung, wash it with soap and water, then apply a cold pack to the wound to reduce swelling and pain. Consider using an antihistamine or pain reliever, and if you notice increased swelling over the next few days, see a doctor.



We’ve heard a lot about the Zika Virus in the media, but mosquitoes can cause other issues as well (from infections to diseases like West Nile). While these diseases are very uncommon in our area, it’s important to be aware and still remain careful.

 When outdoors, always use a repellent like DEET or natural remedies such as essential oils. You can also use fire, citronella candles, and tiki torches to keep them away. Protect your skin by wearing pants and sleeves, and stay away from stagnant water. If you get bit, hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion will typically relieve itching. Learn more about protecting against mosquitoes.


We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.

Also check out our tips on spring pest control.

Why DIY Pest Control Can be Dangerous

There are many areas in our lives where DIY (Do It Yourself) projects come in handy. DIY home improvement projects and decorating projects can make our lives easier, and they’re often fun. However, pest control is one area where you need to proceed with caution.


Here are several reasons you should be careful when it comes to pest control.


Bugs can be misidentified

If you’ve never had any type of training or education in the pest control world, it can be extremely tough to properly identify an insect. Is it an ant or termite? A cockroach or beetle? What about those strange, alien-looking insects that you’ve never seen before? Treating your home for the wrong kind of insect can cost you time and money.


Your pest problem is unique

There’s no universal, one-size-fits-all pest control solution. Finding tips online or from someone who hasn’t spent time in your home investigating your problem can mean treating it like every other pest problem, and that can also waste time and money.


Products can be used incorrectly

How can you tell if the source of your DIY pest control project is reliable? How can they ensure the products used won’t put your home or your family in danger? It’s also tough to ensure that you don’t make any harmful mistakes during application.


There’s no ongoing care

Most DIY projects are one-time solutions, and they don’t come with a reliable pest control specialist who can follow up and make sure your treatment is working.


It can be stressful

No matter how much you enjoy a good DIY project, a DIY pest control solution can be stressful. You’re likely already stressed if you’re experiencing a pest issue, so why add more stress to the mix? Your best option is to call in a professional you can trust to handle it for you.


We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.


Where Do Bugs Go in the Winter?

We all love the relief from bugs that winter gives us. The mosquitoes stop buzzing, and we no longer need to worry about getting stung or bothered by bees and wasps. But you might still be wondering, where are they?



Ants don’t go very far. They’re great at overwintering outside in our back yards. They put on some fat during the fall in order to survive for weeks without any food (just like bears). They then tunnel far underground to avoid cold temperatures and hope their colony survives until spring.



The main priority of bees is to protect the queen, and that doesn’t change once temperatures drop. Bees form a winter cluster in the center of their hive, where they huddle together and keep each other warm. You won’t see any bees once winter hits.



If you’ve ever tried to kill a cockroach yourself, you know they can withstand nearly anything. So what’s a little cold? Most species can survive all year as long as they have a warm, moist home. However, the cold slows down reproduction rates, so while you’ll still see them around your home, you might not see as many as you would in the summer. If you suspect a roach infestation, especially in the winter, it’s important to call in the pros to find where they’re overwintering.



Although it feels like they suddenly disappear once it gets cold outside, mosquitoes don’t travel south for the winter or fall dead as soon as it gets cold. They overwinter in places like hollow logs to stay warm and survive until the spring. Females are the first to leave hibernation as soon as it warms up in order to begin developing eggs.



You may still see some spiders in the winter, but they definitely slow down and tend to overwinter once it gets cold. Many species overwinter inside homes, in crawl spaces, attics, and other dark, warm spaces. They may be in your home without you even knowing since their activity is reduced in the cold months. Keep an eye out for webs to give you a clue as to where they’re hiding.

Learn how to identify and prevent brown recluse spiders.


In warm climates and inside our homes, termites can survive all winter long. However, if they’re not living inside your home, it depends on the type of termite. Subterranean termites dig deep into your soil below the frost line in order to stay warm in the colder months. Others find shelter in dry wood around your home. If you have a termite problem in the warmer months, don’t expect the winter to kill them off for you; only a quality termite treatment will do the trick.



Some tick species such as the American dog tick and the lone star tick are not active once it gets cold. Others such as the black-legged tick will remain active as long as temperatures stay above freezing. Many of their preferred hosts are hibernating during the winter, so we often don’t notice them until the spring when they have many more options available.


We can help

Even though we don’t notice as many bugs in the winter, pests are always a problem unless treated. Don’t wait until it gets warm again. Give us a call today if you notice any signs of pests in or around your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.


Benefits Of Pest Control Insulation

Pest Control Insulation (PCI) is a unique form of insulation that can prevent and control insect infestations. There are several benefits of using this form of insulation in your home.


Control even the most threatening pest populations

During the manufacturing of PCI, it is infused with the powerful pest control agent sodium polyborate. When an insect comes in contact PCI, the borate particles instantly attach to the insect. Most insects that are household threats self-groom, and they will ultimately ingest the borate particles and die. The particles kill the insects by disrupting their digestive process and causing them to starve.


Designed with safety in mind

PCI provides two sustainable solutions within one product. The insulation is environmentally responsible and features superior thermal and sound-deadening properties. The active ingredients that are used to treat our insulation are safe to humans and pets, and there are no irritating side effects related to the insulation or inhalation of this EPA registered product.


Reduced energy bill

PCI is environmentally responsible and is created from 87.5 percent post-consumer content. The product carries the Energy Star seal and can help any homeowner save on heating and cooling bills. The thermal envelope surrounds your home and seals air leaks to create a more controlled environment within the home. The insulation reduces the amount of heat that transfers through the wall and attic. PCI is denser than traditional insulation, so air does not move through it as easily.


Protects against mold

Mold is a disaster for any homeowner. Fortunately, PCI features materials that help guard homes against the threat of mold and mildew. If left to grow, mold can cause serious health issues, such as nasal stuffiness, coughing or wheezing, throat irritation, eye irritation, and in some cases skin irritation.


Fire resistant

Only the right insulation can keep your family safe from threats of fire. PCI contains a fire retardant that makes homes safer in the event of a fire. Traditional insulation can melt and create a chimney-like effect within the wall. The fire retardant PCI will not hold a flame and forms a charred surface barrier, ultimately limiting the spread of fire.


We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.

Find out why you shouldn’t do your own pest control.


How To Control Moles In Your Yard

Throughout most of the United States, moles are common yard pests. Their hills and tunnels can do significant damage to your lawn, create tripping hazards, and leave grass roots exposed, which can kill the grass.

You’ll know you have a mole problem if you spot visible trenches and dug-up soil in your lawn and garden. Look for the raised ridges that characterize mole-feeding burrows, along with molehills, which look like miniature volcanoes with plugged holes in the center.

Appearance & behavior
The two most common mole varieties – star-nosed and eastern – measure about seven inches long from nose to tail. They have broad, outward-facing pads on their front feet, small and narrow hind feet, and tiny pinholes for eyes. Their ears are not visible.

Moles are voracious, high-metabolism feeders who use their large front paws to tunnel through the ground searching for ants, earthworms, and grubs. Some species consume more than their weight in food daily.

While there are several ways to rid your property of moles, effective mole removal requires knowledge, planning, and patience.

Catch moles individually by hand
This method is challenging, because it takes a great deal of time and patience. It works like this:
• Use the backside of a flat shovel to gently flatten a few visible molehills.
• Ready a second shovel and a small covered container.
• Pick a decent downwind vantage point, hide, and watch.
• As soon as you notice signs that the mole is working to repair one of the damaged hills, rush in with the shovels and block off the tunnels on both sides of the disturbed soil.
• Wearing work gloves, dig by hand into the ground between the two shovels.
• Remove the mole and place it in the covered container.
• Transfer the mole to an area far away and release it.
• Continue to catch moles until all offenders have been removed.

If catching moles by hand seems like too much work, you can purchase a prefabricated, live mole trap. When placed in active main tunnels, such humane-dedicated trapping systems usually reap success within 36 hours.

Another trap option is a harpoon-type trap. Handling them is risky and requires skill, because they are designed to impale or crush the mole and can injure a person rather easily.

To locate an active mole runway, press down on raised ridges of soil. The next day, make note of which ridges have been raised again. Then depress the ridge of soil and set the trap over it. The mole will trigger the trap as it moves through the tunnel.

Control food sources
Trapping should also include a program for removing mole food sources. Reduce yard mole problems by treating your yard for grubs, earthworms, and other invertebrate life forms. Without food, your yard becomes much less attractive to moles.

Certain registered pesticides (that meet government regulations) are another effective mole removal method. Baits registered to control moles can be used in residential and commercial areas. However, they are not to be used in pastures or within 100 feet of water. When using mole bait, be sure to follow instructions carefully for proper application and placement procedures. Baits tend to be most successful when placed in active tunnels. Be sure to keep out of reach of children and pets.

Create a physical barrier around your garden
To prevent moles from burrowing under or climbing into your garden, experts recommend burying metal, mesh, hardware cloth two feet vertically below ground with another six inches showing above ground. Since moles have trouble burrowing through dense soil, arranging stones or claylike soil around a garden to a depth of two feet can also help.

Professional removal
You don’t have to deal with removing pesky moles on your own. No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of moles in your yard in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.

Check out our Mole management program.

Get Rid of Dust Mites in Your Home

We share our homes with millions of microscopic organisms including dust mites.


What are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are a member of the arachnid family and live almost exclusively in human homes. They are invisible to the naked eye – only 0.2 to 0.3 millimeters long with translucent bodies. Although numerous, dust mites are fairly short-lived with the male lifespan being 10-20 days and females living up to 70 days.


Dust mites thrive in warm, humid conditions and set up home in areas that attract the most human traffic such as carpets, rugs, couches, beds, and soft toys. This is because their food source is the dead skin cells we shed every day. Fortunately, dust mites are not parasitic in nature and don’t bite humans. However, their droppings and the body fragments of deceased mites can cause allergic reactions.


How to Get Rid of Dust Mites in Your Home



Keep all sleeping areas in your home clean to prevent a buildup of dead skin, thereby denying dust mites their main food source. Kill dust mites by regularly washing all bedding in very hot water and dry on the hottest setting.


Replace your pillows every two to five years and replace mattresses every 10 years. Dust mites like to live in the deepest parts of your pillows and mattresses. Replacing these items may be expensive, but it is the best method to prevent dust mites from accumulating over time.


Invest in hypoallergenic pillow and mattress covers. These covers offer an additional barrier between you and dust mite allergens. Also, leave your bed unmade. This allows your bedding to air dry, which can significantly reduce the number of dust mites calling your bed home.



Dust mites love warm, humid environments, so reducing the humidity and temperature in your home can lessen their numbers. Use your air conditioner when it gets hot and use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity low.



Feather dusters do not get rid of the dust in your home; they just sweep it into the air. To remove dust, use a damp rag to clean surfaces. By eliminating the food source, you have a greater chance of eliminating the mites.



Mites are not picky about whose dead skin they eat. Groom your pets outside to keep old hair out of your home. Regular baths are recommended, as well as vacuuming pet beds.



Direct sunlight kills dust mites, so allow as much sunlight into your home as possible. Occasionally hang bedding, clothing, rugs, etc. outside in direct sunlight.



Reduce clutter. The fewer things you have collecting dust, the better. Get rid of items you haven’t used in the last year or store them in a plastic tub.


Stuffed toys

Reduce the number of stuffed toys in your home. Stuffed toys provide the perfect safe haven for dust mites as they collect dust easily. If your child cannot part with the toys, freeze them for 24-48 hours every two weeks to kill the dust mites and then wash and dry thoroughly.


We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.

Wrong bug? Check out our bed bug FAQ.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bed Bugs

The most likely way to encounter bed bugs is through travel. They can easily hitch a ride in your luggage back to your home. You can avoid bed bugs in your holiday travels when you are armed with a little knowledge.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small insects that mostly are found in beds, but may also be found in other furniture and draperies. They typically hide during the day and come out at night to feast on human blood.

Why are bed bugs such a big deal?

Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to eliminate. They can live for a year without feeding, they multiply quickly, and they can’t be killed with store-bought bug sprays. 

What do bed bugs look like?

Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, oval, flat, and roughly the size of an apple seed. They have six legs and move quite fast. Bed bug eggs are translucent and smaller than the head of a straight pin.

Are bed bug bites dangerous?

Although the bites are itchy, irritating, and carry a huge ick factor, they are not dangerous. Unlike other blood-sucking insects, such as mosquitoes, bed bugs don’t carry diseases. 

How will I know if I have bed bugs?

The signs of bed bugs are easy to notice – if you wake up with a row or cluster of itchy bites on your skin, then your bed is infested. It’s also possible to spot the insects with the naked eye. Check the seams of your mattress and crevices in your bed frame and headboard using a flashlight.

How can I prevent infestation?

Avoid bringing second-hand furniture, mattresses, or bed sheets into your home. Also, protect yourself during travel. Never place your luggage on the bed. Always inspect the hotel mattress for bed bugs, and inspect your luggage before you return home.

Do bed bugs only live in my bed?

No. Bed bugs can also live in upholstered furniture, behind headboards, baseboards, and even behind pictures on the wall.

If I keep my home clean, will that prevent bed bugs?

No. Bed bugs only care about food and shelter. Even if your house is spotless, they can breed and thrive with the shelter of your bed and your blood for food.

If I have bed bugs, does that mean trouble for my pet too?

Pets are known to carry bed bugs inside people’s homes. However, bed bugs cannot live on pets the way fleas can. They also cannot attach themselves or their eggs on animal fur. 

How can I avoid bed bugs when traveling?

Inspect the hotel bed as soon as you check in. Using a flashlight, examine the mattress, headboard, sheets, and pillows for spots. Look around the bed and around the bedside tables and drawers. If there’s nothing suspicious, you can rest easy.

What do I do, if I suspect I brought home bed bugs?

Open your luggage on the floor, where you would be able to see bed bugs (light colored tiles for example). Don’t unpack on a carpet. Wash your clothes in hot water and put them in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Place your luggage in a sealed trash bag and place it in a freezer set at zero degrees for at least four days. 

What should I never do?

There are many “natural” ways to deal with bed bugs posted online, such as using petroleum jelly or thyme oil. None of them work. Also, don’t spray the bed with insecticide. It’s a health hazard, and it won’t kill the bed bugs anyway, because they are immune to commercial insecticides. In addition, don’t throw out your mattress and get a new one. The new mattress will get infested with bed bugs that were living in the frame, headboard, and other areas.

We can help

The best solution for bed bugs is to hire a pest control company with experience successfully controlling bed bugs. No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of bed bugs in your home or business in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.

Check out our bed bug elimination program here. 

How To Choose The Best Pest Control Company

Pest control takes training and skill. While most people run in the opposite direction of bugs, pest control specialists charge into crawl spaces, basements, and attics in search of unwanted critters. That’s why it’s important to find the right company when you are facing an infestation.


Here are some suggestions to help you choose the best pest control company to eliminate your pest problem.


Being licensed means that they have permission to offer pest control services and that the employees are specially trained. It also means that their products and equipment have been tested and are regularly inspected. These technicians will apply the right techniques for the right job to eliminate pests and keep your family safe.


Not all pest control companies are able to fight off your particular kind of pest. The company website should list of all the services they’re qualified to offer.


This is mandatory. Every infestation is different, which is why a good company knows they need a personalized approach for each customer. If an exterminator is not willing to tell you what exactly will happen, it’s usually a sign of shady business practices.


The employees should be knowledgeable, friendly, and courteous both on the phone and in person. They should also leave your house clean and be respectful of your property.

Customer reviews

You might need to go to another website, like Google reviews or Facebook, to see if people are satisfied with their work.

Satisfaction guarantee

If a company offers a satisfaction guarantee, you can depend on them delivering quality work. Steer away from companies that have not backed up their services with these two words.

We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.

Also find out why DIY pest control can be dangerous for you.

How to Keep Rats Out of the Garage

Rats chew on literally everything, including cardboard boxes, stored holiday decorations, sports equipment, and electrical wires. They also carry a variety of deadly illnesses that can be lethal to your family. If you have a garage filled with junk, there is a good chance you also have rats.

Identifying a rat problem
If you spot a rat, living or dead, you can be sure there are more. Other signs of rats include finding droppings, nests, and belongings that have been chewed. Keeping rats out of your garage depends on making it a place where they wouldn’t want to live in the first place.

Follow these suggestions to keep your garage free from rat infestations.

Do not store food or water
Rats can smell food, no matter how well it’s packaged. Don’t store food in your garage. Rats also need water to survive. Fix leaks right away, and don’t let water pool on the floor.

Keep the garage tidy
Rats love cluttered environments, because it provides them with warm shelter and lots of hiding spots from predators. De-cluttering your garage and keeping it clean make it unattractive to rats.

Eliminate holes
If rats are in your garage, they likely entered through holes in the walls or garage door. Fill holes with steel wool and then caulk around it. Examine the garage regularly and make sure there aren’t any new holes.

Install a rat deterrent
A rat deterrent is an electronic device that uses ultrasonic sound – which the human ear cannot detect – that is annoying to rats. These devices are good at keeping away future infestations, as well as getting rid of the current rats.

Use poison
Rat poison is a successful method of killing, repelling, and keeping future infestations away. However, there is always the problem of having poison out in the open, which can be deadly to your kids and pets.

We can help
No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of rats in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, and surrounding communities.

Also find out where bugs go in the winter.

Differences Between Mice & Rats

Rodents can cause serious damage in your home. They chew on literally everything including electrical wires, ductwork, HVAC units, walls, and foundations. They eat your food and contaminate the area with droppings. They also carry a variety of deadly illnesses such as plague, salmonellosis, trichinosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), and Lyme disease, which can be lethal for you, your family, and your pets.

So if mice and rats do the same types of damage, why does it matter which one has invaded your home? The answer lies in the methods of extermination – a mouse trap is very different from a rat one.


What is the difference between mice and rats?

When it comes to visual characteristics, rats are distinguishably bigger than mice. Generally, a mouse weighs about two ounces, while a rat is about 10 ounces. Besides looking different, mice and rats also have distinct behaviors and habits. Gaining knowledge about these details can help aid your control efforts. Here are the basic difference between mice and rats:



Rats are a bit shy and cautious about new things. If you decide to place traps, first set some that won’t hurt the animal. This way the rat will get used to it, and next time you lay down a functioning one, it won’t be afraid to go near it. Mice, on the other hand, are a bit more curious. They like to play detective. To catch one, you just need to place a trap anywhere you think they might be present.

When you place traps, bear in mind that they have a home range, which is the limited area these rodents inhabit. It is no larger than necessary to acquire food, shelter, and water. If the conditions are good, the range is no bigger than 10 feet. If there is not proper access to the described necessities, the range can expand up to 150 feet. Rats have a wider range than mice.



Rats will eat anything. They are muricide, meaning that they have a predator-like behavior and will hunt on smaller rodents if there are any around. A rather disturbing fact is that they can go on a cannibal diet. Yes, rats consume other rats!

Mice are a bit pickier. If you find one in your box of Oaty-Os, don’t be surprised – they have a soft spot for cereal and plant-based foods.



Mice like to build nests in hidden places near a food source. Rats prefer to dig under buildings, along fences, and under plants and debris.



Both species like to make babies and they make a lot of them. In one year, a female mouse can give birth up to 10 times and each litter can consist of five or six babies – that means about 60 mice a year. Rats can parent 70+ youngsters in a year. Now imagine all those babies making their own family. It’s easy to see how quickly infestations can happen.



Another way to figure out if you have a rat or mice infestation is to listen for specific noises. Any type of scratching, squeaking, hissing, and chattering sounds mean that you are definitely dealing with one of the two. While rats tend to move through sewers, mice can jump, swim, and climb. They can even climb up rough, vertical surfaces and run really fast.

When moving through your home, rodents leave dark, greasy marks from their bodies. You can tell if it is a mouse or rat even by inspecting those. Rub marks left by rats are most commonly seen beneath beams or rafters. Mice don’t usually leave distinctive spots, except if the infestation is big.



One of the best ways to figure out which rodent is in your home is by inspecting the droppings. Before you look for droppings, put on some gloves. Rodent feces can carry harmful bacteria, diseases, and viruses. Typically, you can find the droppings where the animals eat. Check your kitchen and pay particular attention to cabinets where cereal is stored. Another place to look is near their nests. Rodents tend to make houses in old furniture and insulation.

Mice produce more droppings (around 70 to 150 per day), but are smaller in size (3-6 mm). Rats leave fewer poops behind, but they are much bigger (2 cm). You can find mice excrement scattered around their housing, while rats tend to leave their poop in a small bunch.


We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need helping getting rid of mice or rats in your home.

Check out our commercial program against rodents.