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They’re not as harmless as they look

Pigeons spend much of their time in search of food. They often land on bridges, utility lines and roofs. While these birds don't intend to hurt anyone, they harm people in several significant ways. Here are six reasons why you should avoid them, and a few pigeon control measures you can take to deter them from your property.

1. Bird dung is more than a nuisance. It can corrode metal, kill grass and release an unpleasant odor. If numerous pigeons gather in a small area, their droppings may create a safety hazard by causing walkways to become slippery.

2. Nesting materials and droppings have the potential to damage buildings. They could block a drainage pipe, downspout, vent or chimney. This can result in water leaks or increase the likelihood of a fire.

3. Bird excrement often transmits bacteria and viruses. This usually happens after dried feces turn into airborne dust....

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To pack rats, everything is a "collector's item."

Arizonans often use the term "pack rat" to describe people who collect too many belongings. Until they invade your home, it's easy to forget that pack rats are also highly-destructive animals. These large nocturnal rodents feature big ears, furry tails and multicolored hair. They like to collect things in their nests. Such items range from wine corks to jewelry.

Harmful Behavior

When pack rats infest your home or other buildings on your property, they can inflict considerable damage. These creatures may destroy bedding and furniture in an effort to acquire nesting materials. They frequently transmit parasites and diseases. Rats can cause problems outside of the home as well. For instance, they might kill trees by gnawing on the bark. These animals are also known to chew through automotive wiring.

Infestation Clues

If you see a live rat indoors, it's likely that a major infestation...

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Battling bugs isn't easy in Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. Pest control options seem as varied as our insect populations here in the high desert. Do you arm yourself with natural solutions, organic pest control or something more conventional? Which approach is the most cost-effective? What do you need to know to clear up the confusion?

Three Pest Control Options, One Goal

When customers ask about nontoxic pest control, we explain that natural, organic and conventional techniques solve the same problem. Applied correctly, they eliminate insects, and integrated pest management incorporates the best of all three. What kind of return do you get from your bug-busting investment in these different pest control options?

1. Natural Pest Control

This type of pest management inspires real DIY insect-control creativity. Natural bug spray ingredients range from crushed garlic to witch hazel, so they're easily affordable. However, they aren't effective against big...

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How These Wiggly Insects Take up Residence in Your Home

Silverfish live in homes on nearly every continent, and your home is no exception. These shiny, six-legged insects are notorious for hanging around kitchens, sinks and basements, and when you turn on the lights, they wriggle away almost quicker than the eye can follow. Here are some insights that might make silverfish treatment easier.

Why Do Silverfish Creep Around Bathrooms so Often?

Silverfish are noted for their fishlike appearances and movement patterns. Such characteristics are fitting considering that these insects can’t get enough of high-humidity areas like your bathroom.

Silverfish don’t just like moisture, however. They need it to survive. Staff from the University of Arkansas Arthropod Museum estimate that these insects require environments with 75 to 97 percent relative humidity and temperatures between 72ºF and 81ºF to reproduce,...

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Avoid these risky rodent control errors!

Roof rats invade numerous buildings in Nevada and Arizona. Norway rats occasionally do the same, but they remain rare in this part of the country. Both species can cause serious problems. They spread diseases, contaminate food, destroy insulation and spark fires by chewing on electrical wiring. If you encounter an infestation, be sure to avoid these common mistakes.

1. Keep Toxic Traps Out of Reach

Some people put toxic baits or dangerous traps in places that children can reach. Curious pets might also have access to these areas. A rodent trap or rat poison may inflict serious harm if it isn't handled carefully.

2. Avoid Touching Rat Traps and Bait

Many individuals mistakenly pick up baits or traps with bare hands. This makes them less effective because some rodents smell the human scent on these units. Rats often avoid traps that humans touch. Additionally, you could expose...

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If your home is infested with cockroaches, make sure that you're not inadvertently inviting these pests into your home.

Unless you live with a hungry iguana, a cockroach is probably one of the last things you ever want to see in your home. These resilient pests are always looking for a new home, and once they've established themselves in your home, they're like a bad guest who refuses to leave. They'll eat all your food, trample over every surface, and they'll never clean up after themselves. Roach killer is a temporary solution, but until you deal with the root cause of your roach invasion, you can expect to share your home with cockroaches.

What Attracts Roaches to Your Home?

As persistent and infuriating as a cockroach invasion can be, the root causes of every infestation are the same. Roaches want the same things as every other animal: food, water and shelter. If your home provides an abundant supply of all three, no amount of roach killer will keep...

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No one wants pests in their next meal; preventive pest control can help you stop bugs and other critters from taking over your pantry.

Your kitchen is a warm and comforting place for your family to gather and share a delicious meal, not a place for pests to invade and reside. Unfortunately, pantry pests are tenacious and will try their best to join your family in the kitchen. Protecting your kitchen from these unsightly critters begins with some smart preventive pest control habits, including cleaning up spills just after they happen.

Clean Messes in Your Kitchen Immediately

Spills on kitchen countertops are often forgotten when the rush of daily life gets in the way. However, these sticky messes are a prime target for hungry pests. Making a habit of cleaning up spills right after they happen is a good way to prevent a pest infestation. Keep a kitchen towel handy, and remind your...

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The Bark Scorpion: An Arachnid with a Nasty Sting

There are so many great things about living in Arizona, but the possibility of running into a bark scorpion isn’t one of them. Scorpions are perhaps one of the only critters that might outrank spiders on the creepy scale. Most folks want to avoid them at all costs, which isn’t too hard if you’re familiar with their tendencies.

The Most Venomous Scorpion in America

It’s true: the bark scorpion has a nasty sting. The venom is injected using a stinger at the tip of its tail. It’s toxic to the neurological system, which makes the idea of a sting pretty threatening, but scorpion-related deaths are actually very rare. According to data from Arizona State University, no one in the state has died from a scorpion sting in over 40 years. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to avoid them.

The Bark Scorpion’s Home

Scorpions can survive without much water, but they still prefer to hang around moist areas to hunt insects. They are great climbers, which...

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Be Prepared for Angry Bees in Arizona

Concerns about bee attacks have grown ever since a group of 18 farmworkers were swarmed in mid-May while tending to melon fields in Somerton, Arizona. While using the bees in a professional capacity to help pollinate the fruit, a tractor backed into the hive. After doling out hundreds of stings, the group sent five farmers to the hospital with one woman critically ill.

Several similar attacks have surfaced this summer in southwestern Arizona. A young hiker died after being stung by more than 1,000 bees in Mesa, an elderly Phoenix man suffered respiratory distress after encountering a nest in his yard and thousands stormed a Scottsdale condo attacking the family and animals inside.

An aggressive swarm can appear without warning and typically triggers a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) can be vicious in defending their territory and will often attack even if they are not provoked. This relatively new strain first appeared in the U.S. in 1990 in nearby Texas. Since then,...

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The mosquito is probably the most universally hated insect in the world, so anything that we believe will kill it is sure to win favor. One such creature is a long-legged, winged insect with a bumbling flight path and a wispy, delicate frame. It's called a crane fly, but many people refer to it as a mosquito eater. The nickname comes from the long-held belief that it preys on mosquitoes. Unfortunately, that's simply not true.

The Crane Fly Revealed

You can stop hailing crane flies as heroes. They belong to the same order of insects as mosquitoes, but they don’t kill their cousins. In fact, they're anatomically incapable of killing them. They're also unable to harm humans or animals because they can't sting or bite. Crane flies typically arrive in spring. When they come indoors, you may see their slender silhouettes bouncing lightly off walls and ceilings. You thought they were looking for mosquitoes. They were actually just worshiping your light bulbs. Because their anatomy is so delicate, they often leave legs or wings behind as they clumsily...

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