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Protect your family by turning up the heat on pesky bed bugs.

Bed bugs: nobody wants them, but they're so small, it can be nearly impossible to get rid of them. Meanwhile, you and your family continue to suffer from bug bites in addition to the heebie jeebies that just the mention of these tiny critters can inspire. If you have this pest problem in your home or place of business, you may have looked into bed bug treatment and wonder if heat remediation is right for your bed bug problem.

Why Bed Bugs?

It doesn't matter to these tiny creatures whether they live in cleanliness or squalor, so having bed bugs is no reflection on your housekeeping. Their only source of nutrition is blood, human or animal. They hitchhike with people as they travel from place to place, perhaps stowed away in the fold of a suitcase or between the pages of your day planner. They can survive at length without a meal, according to the...

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Don't Let Bugs or Rodents Scare Away Home Buyers

If you're in the real estate business or selling your own home, you need every advantage. Get an edge in one of the easiest ways possible: partnering with an experienced pest control service. While staging experts, professional cleaners and other providers offer valuable services, warding off creepy crawlers is one function that should never be overlooked.

Hidden Problems in the Home

Real estate may be all about location, but if potential buyers catch even a fleeting glimpse of a rodent or insect, the sale is most likely lost. Whether you're the resident or agent, you may not be aware of an infestation. From termites to ants, many pests leave behind few or no clues to their existence. The last thing you want is for a buyer or inspector to find evidence of a problem before you do.

Pest Infestation Signs

Pest prevention and control experts can find out if there's an issue before the first showing. Whether...

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Get tough on garden pests and weeds!

Desert climates can be especially inhospitable to non-native plants. Those shrubs, trees and flowering foliage that are better suited to more forgiving climates can become stressed by regional temperature extremes. Without proactive pest control, your carefully nurtured landscape may be in peril. If insects have made your treasured flora their new home, you can take measures to permanently remove them without harming your plants. Additionally, you can eradicate weeds without damaging your landscape. Burns has specialized in this service for over 20 years.

Pest Prevention

Given the time and the determination, both in ample quantities, you can discourage a pest invasion before it gets underway. Prior to planting, start with compost-rich soil that is free of weeds. Clear away garden waste and grass clippings regularly, so they don't become insect or rodent harborage areas. Once your plants are in the ground, watch for any that become sickly, and move them out before pests move in.

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Learn to coexist with the swarms and hives near you.

Before taking any action against bees, wasps or other social insects, you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Identifying the species in question is always the first step. To get started, talk to a Burns Pest Elimination expert today.

When you see beehives or roving swarms, it’s understandable that your first instinct might be to call a bee exterminator. Bees can be pretty scary, and many people have trouble differentiating between honeybees and stinging wasps. In most cases, however, it's better to favor preservation instead of killing bee hives.

Bee hives play vital roles in keeping the environment livable, and when treated with respect, most aren’t a threat. Here are some tips on eco-conscious bee hive removal. Also, when Bees are in a non-threating location we can inquire into the option of performing a Bee Relocation...

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Follow these mosquito prevention tips to avoid being The Meal at your next picnic!

A mosquito infestation can completely ruin the time that you plan to spend outdoors. One or two mosquitoes is no cause for panic, but large numbers of them can leave you wildly slapping at the air and running for cover.

It may seem like the irritating insects magically appear, but a mosquito infestation usually has a preventable root cause. In most cases, standing water is the culprit, because this is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Even small pockets of water can become a perfect breeding ground for the insects. In just a few days, hundreds or even thousands of mosquitoes can emerge from their watery cribs to turn your yard into their personal playground complete with a free buffet.

Mosquitoes Aren’t Just Annoying

Mosquito bites are extremely itchy, and if you’re spending time outdoors, you’re likely to be targeted multiple times. A compulsion to scratch every inch of...

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Despite their angry looks, the Arizona Paper Wasp might not be so bad after all…

Is it possible for a pest to be a nuisance and also beneficial at the same time? When it comes to the paper wasp, the answer is a definite ‘Yes’. Think of paper wasps like in-laws. It's okay to see them every now and then, but if they keep popping up every day, they start to wear out their welcome. Arizona is home to many different wasps, from the hornet to the yellow jacket. Though seeing one in the vicinity is usually nothing to worry about, a large wasp infestation can lead to numerous problems for people and pets if not managed carefully.

Types of Arizona Paper Wasps

Paper wasps build small and sometimes elaborate paper nests. Some look like small honeycombs while others look like oversized, tear-shaped pinatas. The most common paper wasps in Arizona are the:

  • Yellow paper wasp
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Big Myths About Ticks That You've Got to Stop Believing

No one likes ticks, which is why so many folks opt for flea and tick treatment services. Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners aren't getting all the help they need with these dangerous pests because they buy into common myths about ticks. Doing so can put you, your family and your pets at risk of contracting serious illnesses including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Here are six of the biggest tick myths that can undermine your safety.

1. You'll Always Feel a Tick Bite

Most people believe that you'll feel a tick bite as soon as it happens. Unfortunately, this isn't true. Tick bites are often painless. You might not realize that you've been bitten by a tick until you see the tick under your skin long after the initial bite.

2. A Single Tick Bite Can Cause Immediate Sickness

While it's true that tick bites can spread disease, a single bite usually isn't...

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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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With so many students and education professionals coming back from vacation, the back-to-school season is prime time for bed bugs in the classroom. Get the rundown on what schools can do to stop a growing infestation in its tracks.

Returning from summer vacations full of adventures to far-off destinations, students and staff might be bringing more to school than new pens and textbooks. Known for being world-class travelers that thrive in hot weather, bed bugs feel just as comfortable in backpacks as they do in suitcases. Just one infestation back at home can spell disaster for a school that lacks proper preparation and pest control. The good news is that finding one or two live bed bugs at school doesn’t necessarily signify a full-blown infestation. Spread out and empty at night, schools aren’t ideal environments for nocturnal bed bugs that prefer to nest in cozy upholstery. That doesn’t mean a serious infestation can’t happen, but it does give staff time to respond effectively without sending students home or creating panic with sudden school closures. With professional...

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When it comes to pest-related panic attacks, Arizona scorpions are probably one of the state's top causes. Knowing how to recognize the most threatening species won't make scorpions seem any less creepy, but it could help you avoid the health consequences associated with a dangerous sting. Although more than 50 species call Arizona home, here are a few that you're more likely to encounter.

Common Arizona Scorpions

• The Arizona bark scorpion or Centruroides sculpturatus is the only species in the United States that's considered deadly. You can recognize it by its long, slender hands and tail. It's usually grey, tan, yellow or light orange in color, but species found at higher elevations may also feature stripes. Most bark scorpions are about two or three inches long, and they're rarely solitary. If you see one bark scorpion, there are probably more nearby. The dangerous sting of the bark scorpion causes local redness, muscle spasms, tremors, random movements, anxiety, blurred vision, seizures, agitation, sweating and severe pain at the site of the...

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Avoid stinging insects to enjoy healthier, happier days outside

Getting stung by a bee or a wasp takes all the fun out of your outdoor time. If your yard is being overrun by common stinging pests, it’s time to take action to reclaim your space.

Identify the Problem

Bees and wasps have distinctive characteristics that set them apart. Although you never want to get too close to any of these insects, these basics can help you distinguish them at a glance:

• Bumble bees are large, fuzzy and often carry pollen on their back legs.

• Honey bees are smaller and sport black abdominal bands.

• Carpenter bees are completely black with shiny abdomens.

• Paper wasps have thin waists and long, thin bodies.

All of these insects have the potential to sting, but honey bees are of particular concern in Arizona due to the possibility of Africanized varieties.

Know Your Reaction

Being mindful can prevent most unpleasant encounters, but sometimes you can get caught off-guard. If you’re not allergic...

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Pest Control in Phoenix and Tucson: Carpenter Bees

With all of the talk about honeybees dying off, you might be wondering if carpenter bees are in trouble as well. Carpenter bees are a large species of bee that’s known for nesting in the soft wood of trees, plants or man-made structures. Due to their larger size, many people are afraid of them, but they rarely sting when unprovoked. But unlike honey bees, they are not considered to be endangered.

Recognizing Carpenter Bees

To make their nests, carpenter bees dig into soft wood and create chambers where they can breed. This usually doesn’t cause that much damage at first, but if you ignore the problem too long, the bees could continue to hollow out the wood. This will weaken the overall structure over a long enough period.

You may have carpenter bees if:

• You see a large amount of carpenter bees hanging around a certain area of your home, such as a windowsill, a deck, the shingles on your roof or any other wooden structure.

• You notice small piles of sawdust...

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Safety basics you need to know to avoid a venomous snake bite (images below!)

From scorpions to killer bees, common household pests in Arizona aren’t your run-of-the-mill rodents. As if having exotic next-door neighbors wasn’t interesting enough, our sunny state is also home to a wide variety of snakes, among them poisonous species that send scores of unfortunate locals to emergency care each year. In Maricopa County alone, Banner Hospital treats about 50 snake bites a year, the most in the Southwest.

While the vast majority of snake bites aren’t life-threatening when treatment is swift, being aware of the most common venomous species found in our area can help you avoid a painful and pricey trip to the emergency room.

Diamondback Rattlesnake

This desert dweller can be identified by the distinctive white-lined diamond pattern found on its back and its raccoon-like black and white striped tail. If you encounter one in the wild, keep your distance. Highly defensive by nature, diamondbacks are quick to strike when they feel...

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Find out why heat remediation is your best bet for keeping bed bugs at bay

Unlike rodents and roaches, bed bugs aren’t known carriers of human disease, but they’re still some of the most hated pests on the planet – and for good reason. While not technically harmful to your health in the long run, bed bug bites can cause a good amount of temporary redness, itching and inflammation. Plus, after they fade, it’s not uncommon to find yourself dealing with lasting emotional trauma that makes you fearful to sleep in your own bed or travel to hotels.

Don’t let bed bugs win. If you suspect that you have an infestation, calling in the professionals is the best solution. Like most pests, bed bugs multiply fast, and if you put off treatment or opt for do-it-yourself solutions that end up being ineffective, you can find yourself with an even more extensive – and expensive – problem that needs immediate attention.

Making Bed Bugs Feel the Heat with Professional Thermal Remediation

When it comes to removing bed bugs in the safest, quickest and most effective...

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How They Get on Your Unwanted Guest List

They’re not on your contacts list, and they aren’t a part of your social media circle. How can termites just show up at your house without being asked? You may be sending open invitations without realizing it. Here are five surefire ways to extend unintended RSVPs to termites in Phoenix and Tucson.

1. Set a Tasty Table – There’s nothing like a nice layer of mulch to help your garden through a hot Arizona summer. It’s full of nutrients, and it holds moisture. It’s also a gourmet delight for termites that burrow into as little as 1 inch of the stuff. If you layer it close to your foundation or wood porch, you’re ringing a pest dinner bell.

2. Extend the Buffet – Old tree stumps add rugged accents to the landscape, but they’re a favorite entree with nesting termites. Is your old fence an attractive menu item? If it’s not pressure-treated wood or vinyl, it’s part of the backyard bug buffet. Take a look around the property. Where you see wood, termites see tasty appetizers.

3. Open the Bar – Termites naturally...

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Separating friend from foe in the world of bees

You hear a lot in the news about the diminishing bee population, and many people are taking action to help bring these insects back to yards and gardens. Having bees around is essential for keeping the food supply healthy and preserving natural flora, but did you know that not all bees are beneficial?

The Good Guys

Several types of bees in the Phoenix and Tucson area spend their time focused on one thing: keeping their colonies healthy. You usually see honeybees or bumblebees buzzing around flowers as they feed and collect pollen and nectar to bring back to the hive. In most cases, these bees aren’t a threat and will only sting when provoked. Honeybees gather into swarms when establishing a new colony, but this normal behavior is nothing to be afraid of as long as you leave them alone.

The Not-So-Good Guys

Carpenter bees have an annoying habit of burrowing that isn’t a direct concern when it comes to personal safety but can cause damage to unprotected wood structures. If you have an unfinished...

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The beautiful flowers and warm sunshine announce the start of spring. It means that you can finally go outdoors and enjoy everything that nature has to offer. Unfortunately, it also means the return of a frustrating enemy. Mosquitoes will soon be filling the air with threats of itchy bites and a number of diseases. One of these diseases is St. Louis encephalitis. Twenty cases were confirmed in 2015 in Maricopa County, including one fatality that resulted from the disease. Despite its rarity, people who do contract St. Louis encephalitis can become seriously ill.

How Does St. Louis Encephalitis Spread?

When mosquitoes feed on birds that carry the virus, they become carriers. Within a few days, they can transmit the virus by biting humans, horses, birds and other animals. Not all mosquito species are capable of sharing the illness....

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Avoiding Rodents: Tips for Pest Control in Phoenix and Tucson

It’s not difficult to understand why mice find human homes so inviting. Not only do these temperature-controlled spaces provide warmth and protection against dangerous predators, but they’re also filled with plenty of food, bedding and space for the mouse to enjoy. You can trap and remove mice from your home, but this will be an ongoing process if you don’t figure out how to stop them from coming in to begin with.

1. Keep Your Home Clean

It sounds simple enough. You likely already make an effort to clean your home regularly, but unless you complete the right tasks, it might not make that much of a difference.

• Trash bins should be kept as far away from the house as possible. Many people keep them against the side of the building. This can attract mice. Keeping your garbage bins further from the home will lead mice away.

• Keep all dry foods, such as rice, seeds or beans, in airtight containers. This will provide the additional benefit of protecting your food from...

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Dealing with the Pests: Five Solutions to Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites threaten homes in every part of the country thanks to their ability to adapt to a variety of climates. Every year, they cause more damage to American structures than fire and bad weather combined. The problem is particularly bad in Phoenix and Tucson, where the warm weather keeps termites happy.

It’s not always easy to identify subterranean termites. Two of the warning signs are seeing swarms of the insects and finding small mud tubes near the foundation of the home. You also should be on the lookout for broken wings, which are usually present after a swarm.

1. Be Mindful During the Construction Process

This tip is only relevant for those who are in the process of building or doing an addition on their home, but it’s important enough that it’s worth mentioning. During the construction process, be sure to avoid burying scrap wood anywhere near the structure. If there are tree roots, remove them completely before pouring the foundation, even if they don’t get in...

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Identifying Termites: Three Signs to Look For

Attempting to inspect your home for pests is a good idea, but it’s important to know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you could end up making a mistake and identifying one type of pest as another. This is especially true when it comes to ultra-damaging pests like termites. Many people see termites and mistake them for winged ants, for example.

1. Mud Tunnels

If you see small mud tunnels that are about the size of a pencil, it’s time to call the professionals. Subterranean termites will make these tubes to connect their nests to the wood of your home. However, they might be placed in a location where you can’t see them, such as under the outside stucco on the wall, or beneath the patio.

2. Damage to the Wood

When termites eat a piece of wood, it will make a hollow sound when tapped upon. This is one way to check if you suspect they’re in a certain area. If you poke at the surface of the wood with...

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You’re proud of your beautiful lawn, but stubborn, destructive Arizona weeds are a constant threat to its health. They arrive quietly, sneaking their way in between cracks, blades of grass and new flowers. If you don’t act quickly, they can turn your lawn into a disaster. It’s important to know your enemy. Here are the most common weeds you can expect to see in your Phoenix or Tucson garden.

Barnyard Grass

Barnyard grass is a colorful summer annual weed. Its spikelets can grow up to two inches tall, but its flowering stalks may reach four feet in height if left unattended. The green or purple-colored weed spreads by seed, and a single plant can produce up to 40,000 grains. Early management of barnyard grass is essential.

Arizona Annual and Perennial Bluegrass

No, it has nothing to do with a music festival. Perennial bluegrass prefers moist conditions and thrives between March and September. Look for bluish-green leaves that are about four inches long and green, bushy stems. Annual...

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Mice can pop up in the strangest of places

While droppings in the pantry are a sure giveaway that mice have moved into your house, don’t be so quick to think that the kitchen is the main culprit. It may be the room they like to frequent most, but when it comes to rest and relaxation, mice prefer to settle in quieter spaces like the three secret hideaways below.

1. Storage Boxes

Warm, small and full of cozy crevices, storage boxes make ideal nests for smaller rodents. Plus, since most storage containers are opened only a few times a year—if at all—they help keep skittish mice out of sight and out of trouble.

2. Upholstery

It’s a scary thought, but if your home is host to a colony of mice, your comfortable old couch might be doubling as a rodent hotel.

3. Piles

Whether they’re made up of clothes, wood, rocks or something else, piles left out in the open are attractive to mice in search of easy shelter.

Why Mice Are Bad News

Just because mice are cuter than rats doesn’t mean they aren’t as dangerous. Like all rodents,...

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If you stay up to date on the news, chances are you’ve heard of the Zika virus by now. The virus, which could potentially infect up to four million people by the end of the year, has been declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). While it has only recently made headlines in the western world, it was actually discovered back in 1947 in Uganda. It didn’t begin spreading until last spring, when a serious outbreak was discovered in Brazil. Now it has reached the United States, and experts believe it will continue to spread in the coming months.

The Dangers for Unborn Babies: All About the Zika Virus

The Zika virus is related to yellow fever, dengue and West Nile. It’s most commonly spread by mosquitoes but can also be transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids. Symptoms are typically mild and include fever, body pain, headache and rashes.

However, when pregnant women become infected, there is a chance of terrible birth defects. Zika virus has been linked to...

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Avoid Unwanted Pests by Familiarizing Yourself with Videos

Are you an expert on common household pests? Hopefully, living a mostly pest-free life, you haven’t had a reason to educate yourself on the nature of your least-favorite critters. That said, even if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid experiencing any major infestation issues in the past, it’s still beneficial to have a basic awareness.

The Benefits of Familiarizing: Avoid Some Common Mistakes

You might think that you don’t need to know about pests. You keep a clean home and have never had a pest problem in the past, so why would you worry? While taking care of your home is certainly very important, sometimes infestation issues can’t be avoided. Failing to recognize the signs of these issues could result in a number of problems.

• You could mistake one type of pest for another, which might result in shrugging off a serious problem as a less-than-serious nuisance.

• You could fail to notice the signs at all, only realizing there is a problem when a significant amount of damage has...

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Bed Bugs in Phoenix and Tucscon: What You Need to Know About Arizona’s New Law

If you’re a landlord or a renter in the Phoenix or Tucson area, you’ll benefit from Arizona’s law about bed bugs. These nasty little creatures are becoming a growing problem all across America, which will hopefully prompt other states to follow Arizona’s lead in making laws to help protect people.

Why Bed Bugs are Such Serious Business

Bed bugs can cause a lot of discomfort. They feed on human blood, leaving itchy, sometimes-painful welts all over their victims. They are considered a nightmare for landlords, because once they infect a unit or building, it can be difficult to get rid of them. They aren’t usually visible to the naked eye, making them hard to detect.

If you suspect there might be bed bugs in a building you own or rent, it’s important to know that Arizona law has specific steps you must follow. Landlords must take these laws very seriously, or else they will risk being in...

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How birds might be turning your yard into a potential health hazard

Many people take pleasure in making their yards havens for birds by adding feeders, birdbaths and flowers. However, the very same birds that look so beautiful may be harboring unseen dangers. Birds can be carriers for pathogens and parasites that may infect other birds or spread to humans.

Salmonella

This common bacterial disease doesn’t just show up in food. Birds can come down with the infection, which generates intestinal symptoms and can kill infected birds within a few days. Salmonella spreads when sick birds share feeders with healthy ones, and you can contract it if you don’t wash your hands after touching a contaminated surface.

Avian Pox

This viral disease can’t infect humans, but it can be passed around bird populations that share common feeding areas or are bitten by insects carrying the pathogen. The virus causes lesions and sores on the areas of birds’ bodies that aren’t protected by feathers. Although birds usually recover from avian pox, severe cases may be...

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Don’t let bad pest control practices leave you dealing with pesky bed bugs

Not all pest control companies are created equal. Some that claim to be experts in bed bug elimination are really scam artists looking for ways to increase their income at the expense of unsuspecting homeowners. If you’re in need of reliable bed bug control, ask these questions to avoid getting ripped off.

Are All Technicians Licensed?

The term “licensed” sounds legitimate, but some pest control companies only have one truly licensed technician on hand. They’ll send this person out to perform initial inspections but have an unlicensed employee handle the extermination. Ask to see the licenses of every pest control specialist that comes to your house. Verify that their credentials are genuine before allowing them to do any work, and make sure that the products they’re using are safe.

Do Free Inspections Have a Catch?

If someone shows up at your door claiming to be from a local pest control company and offering a free inspection, your best bet is to send them away. This...

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5 Surprising Reasons to Call in Pest Control Professionals

We all know that a pest control company can help when you’re overwhelmed by termites, rodents or even scorpions. Getting rid of these troublesome pests is reason enough to call in a professional, but extermination or relocation isn’t all you’ll get. Here are five surprising reasons that hiring a pest control company is a great idea.

Comprehensive Pest Management Planning

True pest control experts don’t come into your home and start applying chemicals or setting up traps right away. Instead, they plan to ensure that they can eliminate the current infestation and help prevent future infestations. Technicians are trained to carefully inspect your property, identify infestations and determine the reasons that pests are flocking to your home.

Tax Deductions for Rental Properties

If you’re a landlord, you may be able to deduct some of the costs of pest control when you file your taxes. Of course, pest control services also go a long way towards protecting the structural integrity and...

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Get a Handle on Termites in Phoenix and Tucson with Proper Pest Control

A termite infestation can completely destroy a home, making these little winged monsters a big enemy. A true infestation requires professional treatments, such as baits, liquid insecticides and fumigation. However, there are many things homeowners can do to help prevent an infestation from occurring, including:

  • Keeping firewood and kindling in a separate storage area away from the walls of your home.
  • Avoiding the use of wooden garden mulch, at least in the areas right next to the house.
  • Doing regular inspections and maintenance to ensure that all gutters, attics and crawl spaces are free of debris that might be attractive to termites.

Be Watchful: The Scary Signs that a Termite Infestation Has Already Begun

Even if you’ve been diligent about stopping termites, you still might end up with an infestation. Keeping an eye out for the signs can help you put a stop to the problem before it gets out of control.

1. Mud Tubes

If you see little...

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Identifying and Understanding Common Arizona Rats

Rats can make cute and cuddly friends when you pick them up at the pet store, but it’s another story when rodents show up at your house uninvited. Wild rats can damage your home, wreak havoc on your garden and even pose health threats to your family. The warm climate in Arizona means that most homeowners are likely to encounter these troublesome pests at some point in time, but you don’t have to worry. Knowing how to identify common rats is key to protecting your property.

A Crash Course in Rat Identification

Dozens of species of rats are found around the world. While most are hardy creatures that can live in challenging conditions, rats naturally prefer warmer climates. This means that the deserts of Arizona are home to a handful of species. While you might see the occasional pack rat or kangaroo rat in the desert, these critters tend to stay away from human dwellings. Two other types of rats found in the state are far more likely to visit your home.

One of the most common is the roof rat, which...

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Ants are simply amazing. They march in single file lines across distances that would seem like miles to humans just to enjoy the fruits of your labor. How on Earth can they find the leftovers on your kitchen counter from across the yard and organize a parade to get to them? If you think they must have some sort of brilliant secret communication system that they’re using to plan their obnoxious invasions, you’re right.

Ants, Chemicals and Important Discussions

They may not use speech or symbols like humans do, but ants have several ways to spread the word about dining opportunities, predator threats and more. They can touch other ants’ bodies, vibrate, and react to smells to get their points across. Researchers have recently discovered that ants can even communicate through sound, but their most impressive skills rely on a different mechanism. For many years, scientists have known that ants use chemicals called pheromones to recognize and communicate with other ants. Pheromones are produced in and released from various parts of an ant’s body. Other ants detect the...

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Discouraging house crickets from making themselves at home

House crickets are considered good pets in some countries, but for most people, these relatives of grasshoppers and locusts are just plain annoying. They may be less than an inch long and sport an unassuming gray or brown color, but they’re far from welcome guests in homes around Phoenix and Tucson.

A House Full of Crickets

Crickets can get inside when homes are being built and the structure is still mostly open. They might also hitch a ride on anything brought in from outdoors. If you keep reptilian pets, live house crickets may be their food of choice, and the insects don’t always stay put. However, when these pests wind up in the house, they’re likely to take up residence under the floorboards and start to chirp the moment the temperature rises. The hotter it gets, the louder they chirp as the males try to attract mates.

House crickets can also be destructive. They’ll eat paper, fabric and many different types of food. Clothes, carpeting and curtains may be left with holes or rough...

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Humans aren’t the only creatures that insects target. In fact, a few bugs pose serious health threats to your canine and feline family members. Knowing which bugs to worry about and how to protect your pets against them can ensure long, healthy lives for your favorite furry friends. The information below will help you understand why protecting your pets from insects is so important.

Fur-Invading Fleas

Fleas are tiny, flat insects that live in an animal’s fur and feed on its blood. Fleas and their bites can cause intense itching and skin irritation. Pets who are allergic to fleas suffer even more; they may lose their fur or develop extensive rashes and skin infections. As if the incessant itching and blood loss isn’t bad enough, fleas also carry the larvae of tapeworms. When a flea is ingested through grooming, the tapeworm larvae enter the digestive track and attach to the small intestine. While they’re not usually serious, tapeworms can cause itching and discomfort.

Pesky...

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Know What Squirrels Can Do to Your Home

Do a Google image search for “squirrel damage to homes” and you’ll find an array of nasty problems before your eyes. Doing damage ranging from mild to severe, a squirrel infestation is nothing to joke about. Yes, squirrels are cute. You love watching them leap through trees and dash across power lines, but there are a lot of reasons you shouldn’t love the idea of them moving into your home or yard.

The Damage Squirrels Do

Like most rodents, squirrels are equipped with sturdy teeth that remain sharp as long as they’re gnawing on something. Unfortunately, squirrels living in urban settings often find themselves chewing on homes, power cables and landscaping features. Some of their favorite targets include outside furniture made from wood. If they get into your attic or basement, they’re also likely to chew on walls, rafters and insulation. They’ll even chew on attic vents and wood siding and shutters. Once inside, they may gnaw on power cords as well.

Unfortunately, the outside of your home isn’t safe from...

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Get Smart About Tick-Borne Illness

Arachnids related to mites and spiders, ticks are troublesome pests that can be found in almost every area of the world. Some 25 species of ticks call Arizona home, and at least a few of these carry diseases harmful to humans and pets. Knowing what tick-borne diseases are found in our local area is the first step towards keeping your family and pets safe.

Lyme Disease and Other Nasty Tick Troubles

Lyme disease is one of the most well-known tick-borne illnesses in the U.S. Transmitted by blacklegged ticks. It causes headache, fever, fatigue and a rash. The disease can almost always be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. Left untreated, however, infection can spread to other areas of the body and cause serious health complications. The only verifiable cases in Arizona have been found in the Mojave Desert, so be careful while hiking in that area. Ticks can travel, so don’t ignore the symptoms of Lyme disease just...

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Keep nuisance birds off your lawn with natural pest control methods

Planting new grass in bare areas or overseeding existing turf are both viable methods for ensuring a lush lawn in the coming season. Unfortunately, the seeds you rely on to produce a green oasis look just like a buffet to hungry birds. Try these natural bird control methods to keep your grass safe without harming wildlife.

Close Down the Bird Feeders

If you usually feed birds in your yard, stop doing so for several months before putting down grass seed. This sends a signal that your yard is no longer an easy source of food. Once the bird population starts to thin out, you’ll know that they’ve gone elsewhere and that it’s safe to proceed with your lawn care plans.

Prevent Perching

Placing harmless spikes made of polycarbonate or stainless steel on awnings, roof edges and walls makes it impossible for birds to congregate there and wait for your backyard “restaurant” to open. Bird slopes made of PVC turn inviting ledges into slippery areas that are more trouble than it’s worth...

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Funny, Scary and Just Plain Weird Ant Facts

Ants are a ubiquitous part of the Phoenix and Tucson pest population, infamous for raiding sugar bowls and excavating healthy lawns. Lowly ants don’t get – or deserve – much respect. This list of facts won’t change your disdain for the pesky insects, but you may grow to appreciate their fascinating traits.

They Don’t Work That Hard

Ants scurry back and forth at breakneck speed like the most industrious bugs on the planet. Yet they also enjoy plenty of downtime. A single ant averages more than 250 catnaps a day, and some hibernating species hit the sack for 16 weeks. Did you know that they round up neighboring colonies for slave labor? You have to wonder how these insects maintain such hard-working reputations.

Harvesters Are Very Venomous

This ant species is common in Arizona, and it packs a very potent punch. One bite delivers as much pain as a dozen honey bees. To their credit, the ants use their...

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In 2006, beekeepers collectively hit the panic button. Seemingly normal, healthy honey bees began leaving their hives for no apparent reason. Experts believed that about one-third of the American honey bee population was affected by the mysterious and alarming problem, which was dubbed colony collapse disorder. Fortunately, things have taken a positive turn.

Why Should I Care About Bees?

Without honey bees, we wouldn’t have their delicious honey, but that would only be the beginning. Bees pollinate about one in every three commercial crops. If they all disappeared, we could say goodbye to apples, broccoli, carrots, avocados, almonds and a number of other healthy foods. Our flower bouquets would be never be the same either.

What Happened to Our Bees?

Scientists still aren’t exactly sure what caused the excessive die-off of honey bees that began almost a decade ago. Most believe that a combination of factors determined the fate of our valuable honey producers and pollinators....

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Arizona’s Top Five Arachnid Home Invaders

Their hunting habits and weaving ways play an important role in Arizona’s ecosystem. Our pest problems here in Phoenix and Tucson would be out of control without hungry arachnids. Still, it’s hard to appreciate these five common spiders when they crawl, jump and spin their way through your home.

Indoor Campers

Those fuzzy little balls in the corners where walls meet ceilings are actually tiny tents. Sac spiders crawl all around your home at night, and they tuck away into freshly spun sleeping bags when the sun comes up. Their fuzzy homes are a housekeeping annoyance because even when you clean them up, they weave fresh hideaways each morning. They’re also the only spider known to have caused a recall of 50,000 automobiles.

Leaping Athletes

Jumping spiders spring into action and startle unsuspecting homeowners, but they aren’t pouncing into attack mode. The athletic arachnids have evolved with a peculiar...

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Summer is when you enjoy the great outdoors, soak up the sun and float in the pool. Unfortunately, while you’re out having a blast, roaches may be sneaking into your home to throw their own summer parties inside your pantry or under your sink. If it seems like you get more unwanted visits from roaches when it’s warm, it’s not all in your head. They love summer activities too. While you’re enjoying the outdoors, they’re taking advantage of your comfy, climate-controlled residence and its store of roach-friendly goodies like food crumbs, pet food, leaky pipes and paper products.

Why Do Cockroaches Love Warm Weather?

For roaches, summer is the season of love. They breed in the warmer months, and higher temperatures help their offspring thrive. When it’s hot, their metabolism increases and they develop faster. Despite their excessive numbers in summer, roaches aren’t sun-worshipers. In fact, they like it dark. While many species primarily live outdoors and hide during the day, they’ll happily venture out to find food and water at night. Roaches are more likely to roam on...

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Pest control tips to keep your home safe all season

Scorpions can be a problem as they look for sources of food and shelter during hot Arizona summers. Full-grown scorpions are around two inches long and are identifiable by their slim bodies and curved, segmented tails. Not all of these arachnids are poisonous, but the yellowish bark scorpion found in the Southwest can pose a danger if you encounter one in the house. Keep your home pest-free this summer with these scorpion control tips.

Eliminate Scorpion “Hangouts”

During scorching hot weather, scorpions look for cool, protected places to stay out of the sun. Wood piles, compost heaps, long grass and the undersides of shrubs are all perfect places for scorpions to hunker down. Clean up piles of debris and minimize shady areas to make your yard less appealing to these pests.

Stay Dry

Another thing that scorpions look for is water. Make sure that they don’t find it by getting rid of puddles outside the house and wiping up indoor spills immediately. Look for leaks or places where condensation...

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5 Insects that Make Interesting Pets

Instead of shrieking and sprinting away, these five creepy, crawly creatures make interesting pets that provide hours of fascinating fun. Even though you can easily find these common insects outside, avoid bringing in backyard bugs as pets. Instead, drop by your local pet store in Arizona to find the best pest to turn into a pet.

Ants

Rising to fame in the 1950s, ant farms continue to charm children as they watch the busy insects work together to build tunnels and carry food on their backs. Clear, flat frames provide a glimpse into the social lives of these underground creatures. Ants love leftover fruits and vegetables, and they only need a drop of water to stay happy and healthy.

Scorpions

Despite their fierce claws and stinging tails, scorpions are elegant, interesting insects that love to burrow. These nocturnal creatures can provide years of companionship since they live for a decade with...

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The masters of B-rated horror flicks figured it out back in the 1950s. Most people are uneasy around spiders, but audiences are terrified by hairy arachnids. A star was born in those scary movies about giant insects, and tarantulas still make regular appearances here in Phoenix and Tucson. They haven’t changed their style in 20 million years, so you have to ask. What’s up with Arizona’s hairy spiders?

They Aren’t What You Think

Your neighborhood biologist doesn’t consider the tarantula as a true spider because it doesn’t capture its prey with sticky webs. It shares this odd trait with only a few mygalomorphic cousins like trapdoor and purseweb spiders. The tarantula uses its weaving talent to create a silky cover over its burrow, and the name of the game is patience. The spider lurks in its cavern until an unsuspecting bug walks across the silk and rings the dinner bell. Whether a prospective meal is a beetle, lizard or mouse, the chase is on, and the ferocious tarantula usually wins.

The Singles Scene Gets Crowded

Have pity on a male tarantula looking for...

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Positive Samples Have Doubled Since Last Year

Record rainfalls and heat waves in early summer created the perfect conditions for West Nile Virus (WNV) to thrive in Arizona this year. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has collected 71 positive samples of mosquitoes carrying the virus, which is double the amount found last year.

The Arizona Republic reports that there have been 17 human infections and two deaths between June 21 and July 17. Last year’s epidemic was among the worst since the virus was first discovered in Arizona in 2003 with 93 infections and 12 deaths. The majority of cases have occurred in Maricopa County.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

Culex mosquitoes, commonly found throughout Phoenix and Tucson, are the main carriers of WNV. The population skyrockets when heavy rains fall between May and October. Humans and horses are most susceptible to infected bites although birds and livestock can...

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How Well Do You Really Know Wasps?

A Hymenoptera by any other name spells trouble with nests under the eaves and stingers on the wing. Your fear of their flying is justified, but don’t lump the three most common wasps around Phoenix and Tucson in the same scary category. These are amazing creatures, and each one has its own unique lifestyle.

Yellow Jackets Hate Company

Even if you threaten their home by accident, you’ll stir up a nest of swarming yellow jackets determined to protect their turf. Left alone, these insects aren’t aggressive, but they react quickly to anyone crashing into wasp territory. Their brilliant yellow aposematic coloring gives fair warning to intruders, but their ground nesting habits make them dangerous to kids and pets. Arizona pest control specialists often deal with colonies inside walls and attics that contain thousands of buzzing bugs. These wasps really hate company, so don’t try to move them out on your own.

Tarantula Hawks Are Terrifying

Any bug that...

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There’s no shortage of cockroaches in Arizona. In fact, there are several species common to the area. All roaches are cringe-worthy and send many people running for their brooms, but when you see a roach in your home, it’s helpful to know exactly what to expect and how to deal with the problem. The most common roaches found in Phoenix and Tucson are German cockroaches and American cockroaches. Here’s a comparison of the two species, so you’ll know your enemy’s name.

The American Cockroach

The American cockroach is sometimes called a water bug or a palmetto bug. You’ll usually see them outside in moist environments like sewers, drains and trash cans. Reaching up to two inches in length, they’re the largest and arguably the most intimidating of domestic roaches. They’re reddish brown to dark brown in color and possess the ability to suddenly take flight. The infamous water bug is a lifelong source of horror to most people who are even a little squeamish. Like other roaches, it carries bacteria and other contaminants, which can be spread easily into the home environment....

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4 Destructive Powers of Pests on the Wing

You don’t look at a flock flying overhead and picture property damage on the wing. Those warblers in the backyard sound sweet without a hint of harm to home or business. Our Arizona birds don’t intentionally hatch disastrous plots, but their lifestyle can cause an astonishing level of damage. Here are four destructive ways that birds wreak havoc on houses and commercial buildings.

1. Rain Ruin on Gutters – Bird droppings in the gutter are more than just a flyover problem. The accumulation encourages slime and mold growth that make cleanup an unhealthy chore. The buildup acts as an organic magnet for leaves and natural debris, but the clogging potential doesn’t stop there. Birds can roost in gutters and block water flow to downspouts. Soggy nests add a heavy weight that strains gutter seams and loosens hangers.

2. Eat Holes in Roofs – Woodpeckers aren’t the only flying Phoenix and Tucson pests that use our area’s buildings as foraging fields. Roofs present perfect buffets for hungry birds pecking away at insects...

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While you’re happily dusting off the grill and cleaning the pool, tiny bugs may be planning to devour your home. Termites swarm in Arizona from July through September. If your home is targeted, your repair bills could cause a few fireworks to go off inside your head. Termites can attack wood structures in your home any time of the year, but they like to creep up on you in summer when you’re busy enjoying life and not paying attention.

Why Do Termites Swarm in Summer?

No, they’re not migrating to September’s Arizona Insect Festival. The highly destructive and common desert subterranean termites swarm in the summer months on warm, mildly windy days. Because they need water to survive, you’ll often see them after a rainfall. Although they’re less common in Arizona, you may also encounter drywood termites during the warmer months. Your best defense is to keep your eyes open for signs of termite presence and damage.

Signs of Termite Damage You Don’t Want to Overlook

  • One obvious sign of a termite problem...
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You open your garbage can and shriek with disgust. A thick layer of white, wiggling insects covers your rotting trash. Did your leftover rice come to life? Did aliens invade the kitchen? Should you call an exorcist? Where on earth did these disgusting things come from? Relax. They’re just maggots.

Think of Them as Cute Little Baby Flies

They didn’t crawl into your can, so you can stop boarding up the doors. The source of your maggots was that pesky housefly you’ve been chasing around for three days. When flies lay their eggs in rotting food or other organic material, the squiggly, white maggots are the charming larvae that emerge. You won’t meet many people who don’t automatically wrinkle their noses at the thought of maggots. They’re a common cause of spontaneous retching, and they’re often employed as extras in horror films. Here are a few more maggot facts that may entertain, appall and horrify you.

Grosser and Gross Maggot Facts

  • Maggots are gainfully employed as bait by the fishing industry.
  • They also help forensic scientists date corpses....
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Many people feel empathy for insects. They may refuse to kill or harm them. Some gentle souls even capture them humanely and take them outside to live happily in their natural habitat. It isn’t just an emotional act. They do so because insects help the ecosystem; they’re an important part of keeping the planet running smoothly. However, mosquitoes don’t often seem to be on the receiving end of such generosity. Most people will smack them dead without blinking an eye. Doesn’t the poor mosquito deserve some credit for its role in the great circle of life? Actually, no.

Mosquitoes: We Just Don’t Need You

Scientists have found that while wiping out a specific species of mosquito might leave a predator without food or a plant without a pollinator, other organisms would quickly compensate for the deficiency, and life would continue as before. In fact, for mammals, it would probably be a lot better. Not every researcher agrees that eradicating mosquitoes from the planet would be a wise decision, but it’s difficult for most people who work in medical science to imagine how it...

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The arachnid cousins of spiders can easily be recognized by their lobster-like bodies and their curved, stinger-tipped tails. In reality, most scorpion species aren’t a health threat. However, venom injected by those that are attacks the nervous system and causes paralysis, convulsions and cardiac arrest within hours. Some arachnophobes might argue that just seeing a scorpion can cause the same symptoms within seconds. The feared and maligned scorpion is no newcomer to the planet. The creepy little guy has been scaring the wits out of life on earth for millions of years.

Evolution of Scorpions: Imagine Them Bigger

Evidence suggests that scorpions were originally marine animals, with earth-bound species appearing about 340 million years ago. Like early cellular phones, the first land-walking scorpions were alarmingly large. Intact scorpion fossils three feet in length have been documented, but that’s nothing. German scientists recently found something even more bloodcurdling. They unearthed an 18-inch fossilized claw of an ancient sea scorpion in a quarry; this would...

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If you live in Arizona, you’ve probably met a scorpion or two. If you’re like most people, your reaction to this cringe-worthy creature falls somewhere between startled unease and full-blown hysteria. Thirty-six scorpion species live in Arizona, and all of them can sting, but only one poses any real medical threat. The bark scorpion is a creepy, aggressive critter, and its sting is one you’ll never forget.

Identifying the Bark Scorpion

Because they’re one of the most dangerous scorpion species in the world, it’s a good idea to know how to identify bark scorpions. They’re typically between one-half inch and three inches long, and their color varies from light tan or brown to orange. At high elevations, they may also have stripes. You can distinguish them from other scorpions by their long, slender tails and hands. Unlike most scorpions, bark scorpions often live in large communities or packs. Their favored habitats include wood piles, rock crevices, palm trees and other dark, cool places. Unfortunately, they’re also commonly found indoors. They like to climb, so you...

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Finding a beehive on your property isn’t a pleasant experience. If you’ve ever been stung by a bee, you might be tempted to think of them as bad guys. You may even desire a permanent form of revenge. If you’re tempted to murder your assailant with a noxious spray, you should reconsider. Killing bees with poison can do serious damage to the entire ecosystem, and unlike your sting, the planet doesn’t heal easily.

When Bees Die, We All Get Stung

Besides making honey, bees pollinate countless numbers of food crops around the world. In fact, experts estimate that one-third of all the food humans consume relies on pollination by bees. Without our buzzy friends, modern agriculture would be in serious trouble. Even our flowers would suffer; 90% of them depend on pollination to survive. Since 1999, scientists have noted an alarming decline in bee populations due to a mysterious problem called colony collapse disorder. Although the cause isn’t completely understood, the widespread use of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals is a top suspect. Many of the pesticides used...

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5 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About Termites

The mention of termites strikes fear into the heart of every homeowner. The productive little bugs are responsible for billions of dollars in property damage every year just in the U.S. However, there’s more to termites than you think. Here are five strange and interesting facts about termites your home inspector probably didn’t share.

They Make Great Snacks

Termites are a delicacy in some parts. In Singapore, termite queens are eaten as a treat. Macu Indians use termites for food when their crops perform poorly. In other parts of the world, they’re served live or preserved in rice wine or other alcohol.

Amazonian Cultures Take Them Very Seriously

In one culture, people believe that finding a termite colony under your house means you’ll soon die. You must eliminate the bugs quickly, or abandon your home to survive. Another Amazon culture uses a soup made from boiled termites to treat whooping cough. Some also believe that burning a...

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Bed Bugs often hitch a ride home with you when you stay in infested hotels. Learn how to spot them to prevent a nasty homecoming gift.

Waking up to a bed bug infestation is every homeowner’s nightmare, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to become a reality. Unlike other pests, bed bugs don’t migrate from the outdoors, which means you never have to worry about them sneaking through the small gaps and cracks around your home. In fact, most infestations start far away from the bedroom – sometimes across continents and oceans. If you want to avoid ever becoming a feast for bed bugs, perfecting pest-proof travel is the key.

What’s the Connection Between Travel and Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers, catching rides on clothing, luggage and furniture. Since hotel rooms have such a high turnover of guests from all over the world, they act as safe harbors for bed bugs that arrive via their last owner’s suitcase. What makes bed bugs especially problematic in the travel industry is lack of oversight. Because they stay in hiding during the day, bed...

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How to Keep Winged Wildlife on the Other Side of the Window

Outdoor spaces just aren’t the same without colorful, chirping birds that flutter and dance before our eyes. Unfortunately, birds have a troublesome habit of getting into indoor spaces that aren’t made for wild animals. The problem is especially acute during the cool season. If you’re dealing with bird problems in the home, you need to know what causes indoor bird infestations and what you can do about them.

Why Do Birds Come Inside?

Birds come inside for many different reasons. In some cases, indoor spaces mimic birds’ natural habitats or provide suitable, sheltered locations for the construction of nests or perches.

In other cases, carnivorous birds follow small animals like mice inside. With a steady supply of prey, they find it easier to remain inside than brave the uncertain outside world.

Even birds that don’t hunt indoor pests may be drawn to easily accessible food sources, including grains and seeds, inside the...

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It Pays to Get Expert Advice

Identifying the presence of termites should be a top priority for home buyers. The enormous appetites of these tiny insects cause more than $5 billion annually in damage to property and can destroy the structural integrity of a house. Since the problem is often prevented with regular maintenance, homeowner insurance policies rarely cover the cost of treatments or repairs.

Whether the exterior of a house is made of wood, brick or concrete, the wooden framing and flooring are still susceptible. Even new homes can have problems if modern pre-treatments are not used, such as building the foundation with termite-resistant wood, adding barriers under the foundation or treating the soil prior to pouring slabs.

While a general home inspection might identify a termite problem, few reports are likely to tell buyers if the issue is old or new or the solution requires a simple treatment plan or a substantial repair. A pest control expert can provide these answers as well as...

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Rats and mice might be cute in the movies, but in real life, they present a serious threat to your home and health. Contaminated food, unsanitary droppings, chewed wiring and the risk of rodent-borne diseases make rodents some of the most unwelcome house guests in the world. The sneaky little fellows must know how we humans feel about them; they’ve become adept at hiding from us. Fortunately, they do leave calling cards. Your first clue might be the unpleasant, musty smell of rodent urine. You may also see rodent droppings or chewed food containers, or you might hear scratching and squeaking in the walls at night. When the clues are undeniable, it’s time to launch a full investigation.

If You Smell a Rat, Go Find Him

Get your eyes, nose and flashlight ready. Start your search with key areas where rodents love to hide such as the following.

  • Raised foundations
  • Backs of closets, cupboards and cabinets, especially in the kitchen
  • Empty drawers and...
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Seasonal tips to stop weed problems before they start

The coming spring in Phoenix and Tucson brings about the dream of a thriving garden and lawn. However, your plants aren’t the only thing that enjoys the warmth. When the weather is nice, weeds take every opportunity to stake their claim. Nip the invasion in the bud before it strikes with these weed controlmethods.

Cover Them Up

Mulching between rows in the garden or around newly planted trees, shrubs and flowers deprives weeds of the light they need to grow. It also keeps the soil moist and encourages populations of beneficial weed-eating insects. Planting cover crops such as barley, buckwheat and subterranean clover “crowds out” weeds before they can grow.

Practice Selective Watering

Using a drip irrigation system with soaker hoses to target only the plants that you want to grow can reduce weed germination as much as 70%. The increased efficiency reduces water waste while still allowing plants to thrive.

Attack With...

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The problems with pests taking up winter residence in your home

Winter is prime time for rodent problems. Once temperatures start dropping, no home is immune from a potential infestation.

Cold Weather, Warm Homes

Just like people, rodents such as rats and mice don’t want to be cold. They’ll seek out the best places for shelter that include safe areas to nest and easy access to food. Unfortunately, the walls, attic and crawl spaces of your home are all prime rodent residences. Once pests have found a place to stay, they’re not likely to leave without intervention.

Problems with Winter Pests

Mice and rats can do serious damage while spending the winter in your home. Rodents are known for chewing, and they will chew literally everything they can get their teeth on, leaving behind holes that need to be fixed. This includes wood or sheetrock walls, pipes, insulation and even bricks. The resulting damage can be costly to repair and may even lower your property value if it’s extensive enough. Damage to wiring inside the walls or even in appliances...

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The things you’re doing to attract unwanted pests

Have you ever wondered why termites love wood? It’s because they eat the cellulose, so to them, anything wooden is like a buffet just waiting to be enjoyed. Unfortunately, the source of that buffet could be the structure of your house if you’re making these pest control mistakes.

Wood Pile Woes

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to stack firewood next to the house. After all, it’s convenient to not have to walk far when you need an armload of wood. Shrubs and climbing plants are also popular adornments as they add beauty to the landscape. However, both of these practices put wood in direct contact with your house, a big mistake if you’re trying to keep termites away. Eliminating all wood-to-ground contact discourages these pests. Moving the wood pile and planting your favorite bushes somewhere else is a small price to pay to protect your home as a whole.

Water Worries

Standing water or any other constant source...

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The hidden risks behind those little white specks

Birds can add a pleasing aesthetic element to a property, but too many of the wrong species congregating in one place may be a recipe for disaster. It’s estimated that birds can carry over 60 diseases, many of which can be transmitted to people through exposure to droppings. These five pathogens are just a few of the infectious agents that may be spread by common “nuisance” birds such as pigeons and starlings.

Histoplasmosis

Caused by a fungus that grows on dried bird droppings, histoplasmosis manifests mainly as a lung infection but can spread to other organ systems. With complications ranging from flulike symptoms to heart valve infections, this potentially fatal disease is nothing to mess with. People with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to histoplasmosis.

Psittacosis

Bacteria in dry bird droppings can cause the flu- and pneumonia-like respiratory symptoms of psittacosis. Neurological problems including headache are common in many cases along with a skin rash called...

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It’s happened to all of us. You feel a sudden pinch or sting, and you look down to find that you’ve become the latest victim of a hit-and-run bug bite. Since some bites can be serious, not knowing what attacked you is frightening. Here are tips for recognizing and handling four of the most common and worrisome bites or stings.

Bee Stings

Bee stings can be quite painful, but they’re only dangerous to people who are allergic to bee venom. Most people simply develop a small red bump and a local reaction that may include redness, swelling, itching and pain. If a person with a known bee allergy is stung, it’s important to get emergency medical treatment immediately since a single bee sting can quickly cause anaphylactic shock. Signs of an allergic reaction include hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing, swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and low blood pressure.

Spider Bites

Although most...

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They don’t just chew on seeds and acorns

When squirrels remain outdoors, they’re cute and usually harmless. You may enjoy watching them devour nuts or chase each other across the lawn. They benefit the environment by inadvertently planting trees from time to time. Unfortunately, these digging, gnawing and climbing abilities also make the squirrel a rather destructive creature. If it enters your house, a single rodent has the potential to inflict considerable damage.

Indoors

Squirrels infest many Arizona homes during the winter. They often take up residence in walls or attics. Like mice and rats, these furry invaders enjoy gnawing on electrical wires. This behavior could trigger a blaze that heavily damages the house and puts lives at risk. Dry nesting materials may supply the flames with extra fuel. Sadly, squirrels cause thousands of serious fires each year.

Rodents also gnaw on phone, Internet and cable TV wires. When this happens, you might lose service and need to schedule costly repairs. Squirrels often use their sharp teeth to tear apart...

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Keeping your lawn beautiful all winter long

The warm winters around Phoenix and Tucson call for special lawn care to keep seasonal grasses looking their best and deter the growth of weeds.

Know Your Grass

In Arizona, most lawns have warm-season grasses. These require different treatment than the cool-season varieties more often found in Northern areas that see a lot of snow over the winter.

Keep it Fed

Part of the difference between warm- and cool-season grasses is the timing of fertilization. Feed your lawn in the fall with a fertilizer designed for your grass type to give it a healthy start when spring rolls around.

Remember to Water

Grass in areas where a lot of snow falls automatically get watered when it melts. In warmer climates, lawns need to be helped along a bit with regular wintertime watering to prevent grass from withering.

Aerate

Compacted soil discourages growth of deep roots, allowing thatch to take over and setting the stage for a choked, weed-ridden lawn. An aerator will remove some of the soil and...

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Find out why some birds are bad news and what to do when they invade

Beautiful garden birds make outdoor spaces come to life with color and sound, but not every winged visitor is a sign of good luck. Pigeons, starlings, crows and other common nuisance birds can quickly turn your picture-perfect yard into a living nightmare. While a single straggler isn’t a cause for panic, watch out if your new avian tenants are moving in by the flock. As harmless as they may look, nuisance birds can spell big trouble, eventually causing serious issues that run the gamut from health risks to property damage.

If you’re dealing with an invasion of nuisance birds right now, try to resist the urge to take matters into your own hands. Most of our native feathered friends are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. To avoid getting on the wrong side of the law, it’s always a smart idea to get professional help....

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Solving Rodent Problems Can Cause a Whole Lot of Others

Few things are more disturbing than finding a live mouse, rat or other rodent inside your home, garage or outbuildings. Even if they’re just poking around in your lawn or garden, rodents are still unwelcome intruders into your little slice of heaven. Unfortunately, taking matters into your own hands and attempting a DIY rodent control fix might backfire. Avoid these DIY rodent control mistakes—and don’t be afraid to call in the experts for more help.

Putting Traps in the Middle of the Room

Although it seems logical to put mouse and rat traps in a highly visible location like the center of a room, that might actually be the worst place to locate them. This is due to the fact that rats and mice tend to stick close to walls and corners, using them to escape detection by house pets and humans. Placing traps close to walls and behind furniture is a better strategy.

Overloading the Trap

Overloading a trap can actually cause the device to malfunction, allowing critters to get at the bait...

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If you’re like the typical homeowner, you want your home to be warm and welcoming to your family and friends. However, Arizona cockroaches are probably not on your preferred guest list. Most people associate roach infestations with dirty, unkempt houses, but neglected counter-tops and unwashed dishes aren’t the only things that make a home appealing to prowling roaches. Listed below are five conditions that can make your home look like an amusement park to one of the world’s least favorite insects.

1. Moisture

Roaches prefer dark, moist environments. Any source of water or moisture can be a potential lure, including leaky pipes under a sink, damp basements, leaky air conditioner units, roof leaks, standing water and even piles of wet leaves outside your home. Generally, anything that can contribute to mold growth will also attract roaches, so manage any household moisture problems promptly.

2. Strong Odors

Roaches will eat almost anything, but they love sweets most. The...

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Protect Your Home Throughout the Cool Season

In our beautiful part of the world, summer is a time to hunker down and rediscover the joys of air conditioning. Meanwhile, the rains of late summer serve as the starting gun for termites keen on causing damage to our homes’ walls and structural supports. Unfortunately, termites can remain active through our mild winters. If you’re not prepared for their annual assault, you could find yourself in dire straits.

When Are Termites Most Active?

In Arizona, subterranean and drywood termites tend to be most active between August and February. However, the exact active period depends on the location, subspecies and colony. Generally speaking, the cooler, moister weather of the monsoon season awakens termites from their summer slumber and encourages them to swarm, mate and expand existing colonies or form new ones.

Unfortunately, this activity can continue into winter. Although swarming is normally complete by the time the coolest part of the year...

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Five Conversation Starters Guaranteed to Stun

The next time a party starts to lose its buzz, turn the topic to some of our stranger Phoenix and Tucson pests. If you want to shake up the gang with a few shocking bug facts, these five candidates are guaranteed to put an unusual zing into any conversation.

1. Some Scorpions Run in Packs!

Most of these scary arthropods are loners unless they’re starting a family, but Arizona bark scorpions prefer the gang lifestyle. They don’t flash their colors, so it’s hard to spot them in the desert sand, but these 3-inch devils rank high among the world’s most venomous scorpions. How tough are they? Arizona barks can survive being frozen for weeks!

2. Hercules Beetles Are Huge!

The longest, heaviest beetles in the country live in Arizona and commonly grow big enough to fill the palm of your hand. Their hard, shiny bodies resemble Egyptian scarabs complete with massive horns protruding from their heads. Just like...

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Learn More About How to Make Your Lawn the Best It Can Be

No one likes a brown, weed-covered lawn. Unfortunately, Arizona’s hot climate poses a whole raft of challenges for homeowners who wish to keep their properties looking great all year long. If you’re not careful, you could fall into some common lawn care traps that exacerbate the risks for your precious grass. Learn how to avoid these mistakes and keep weeds from taking over your yard.

1. Applying Fertilizer Out of Season

Applying fertilizer at the wrong time of year can dramatically affect the health of your yard’s grasses and create an opening for hardy weeds to take over. In Arizona, it’s best to fertilize grasses during the rainier months of late summer and fall. It’s counterproductive to do so during the hot, bone-dry spring and summer months. Over-applying fertilizer during these times can “burn” and kill grasses, creating an opportunity for drought-loving weeds to encroach.

2. Mowing Too Short

Mowing your grass too...

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While winter temperatures in Phoenix and Tucson likely won’t reach critical lows, plenty of outdoor pests will still be making a pilgrimage indoors to escape the season’s chilly mornings and high winds. In contrast to the warmer summer months when bees and garden insects rule the roost, the winter months see an influx of rodents, squirrels and other larger animals that scurry inside when the weather heads south. Here’s how you can send them a clear message that your home isn’t open for business:

Close Down All Points of Entry

Like burglars, rodents look for the easiest ways to break into your home. Cracks around the foundation, window gaps and sewage lines are some of the most common culprits, but mice and rats won’t hesitate to dig into any hole as long as they can squeeze into it – something that usually isn’t a problem for their tiny and flexible frames. While it’s tough to cover your entire house, sealing off as many potential points of entry as possible can help drive rodents on the go to another hiding place. When you’re ready to get started, get sealing tips...

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The Facts about These Phoenix and Tucson Area Pests

Termites are often categorized together as “home-damaging pests,” but the differences between native and introduced species may impact the amount of damage they can do to your home within a certain time frame.

What Do the Terms Native and Introduced Mean?

Any species that is native to a specific area occurs there naturally. In other words, there was no incident in the past that involved transporting native subterranean termites from a different geographic location into Arizona. Introduced subterranean termites weren’t originally in this area, but instead were transplanted from a different region. Typically speaking, introduced species are much more damaging to the local ecosystem, and this makes sense when you consider that they weren’t intended to live in this specific environment.

What is the Impact of Native and Introduced Subterranean Termites on Arizona?

Grass feeding native subterranean termites are found throughout the state, and they’re extremely common nationwide. Although the...

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The Facts About Phoenix and Tucson Area Infestations

Approximately 20% of U.S. households have experienced a bed bug infestation, and this highlights the importance of remaining alert and taking quick action if any of these pests do find their way into your home. Keep in mind that bed bugs are not limited to certain geographic or socioeconomic areas. Instead, they can take up residence in any house, regardless of its age or cleanliness. There are a number of ways that bed bugs could become introduced to your property, including picking them up while traveling or via used furniture. Either way, it’s imperative to have a firm understanding of the type of bed bug treatments that actually work versus those that are simply a waste of time and money.

Do Natural Remedies Work?

It’s normal for people to be curious about natural remedies for pest problems due to often erroneous concerns about the type of chemicals that’ll be used in their home. The reality is that research strongly indicates that...

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When Cooler Temperatures Roll In, So Do Pesky Rodents

No matter the size of your home, finding rats or mice hiding out is never fun. After all, these pesky critters can cause a wealth of comfort and health problems. Winter can be a particularly tough time for homeowners who are dealing with rodent infestations as furry pests are seeking out a warm place to spend the winter. Combating a winter-time rodent infestation means both understanding why rodents come in during the winter months and what you can do about it.

Why do Rodents Head Inside in the Winter?

Like humans, rodents are warm-blooded mammals that must control their environment in order to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Unlike some critters, rodents simply can’t survive outdoors when temperatures drop. In the wild, these rodents often head into caves or dig burrows in the ground in order to stay warm.

Rats and mice who can access human homes during the winter generally opt to head inside, especially if they can find...

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Taking action today can help you stop termites from munching on your home tomorrow

Thanks to their propensity for secretly dining on floors and walls until very little stable structure is left behind, termites may just be the most destructive pest in Arizona. The most common species—called subterranean termites—first settle in underground colonies, slowly making their way into the home above through moist mud tubes. By the time you start spotting signs of termites inside, chances are it will be too late to stop serious damage, which is why prevention is so important. Here’s what you can do to keep termites at bay all year long:

1. Learn as much as you can. Knowing how termites look and behave can help you spot an infestation early. For a definitive guide on everything termite, head to this page from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

2. Fix all cracks in your home’s foundation. Since the foundation...

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The Importance of Timely Pest Control

Mosquitoes typically peak in the Phoenix and Tucson area between May and October of each year, but the recent occurrence of extremely heavy rainthroughout the region has caused more of these pests to hatch than usual. As a result, there’s been a surge of mosquitoes in the area, so it’s important to take steps to protect your family until it finally gets cold enough for this batch to die off.

Are Mosquitoes Truly Dangerous?

Many people erroneously believe that the only danger that mosquitoes present is the risk of developing itchiness in the afflicted areas. Although this is the most common side effect of a mosquito bite, it’s necessary to remember that these bloodsucking pests can transmit diseases. In fact, the Chikungunya virus was diagnosed in eight Arizona residents this year, and it’s possible for this virus to lead to...

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How to Slow Down Determined Invaders

They move so fast that it’s hard to believe their sprint across your kitchen floor only clocks in at 3 miles per hour. If they were your size, roaches would storm through the house at a scary 210 miles per hour. How can a harried homeowner slow down these pesky speed demons? Get to know their habits, pull up their welcome mats, and employ a few strategic deterrents.

Understand Roach Routines

Those cockroaches zipping along the counter tend to follow predictable patterns. Roaches rev their engines at night, and the ones outside are attracted to your porch and pathway lights. Like all pests, they crave the convenient bounty of food and water sources inside your house. Cockroaches feel at home in damp places, so they easily travel through bath and kitchen drains. Our Arizona heat keeps crawl spaces nice and warm for these determined insects, and they prefer parking in high places like kitchen cabinets, storage shelves and attic crawl spaces.

Set Up Roadblocks

Your first line of defense against invading...

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Know When to Be Vigilant and Prepared

According to the University of Arizona, termites are the “number one urban pest”in our fair state. These voracious pests can chew through the wood that supports our homes, destroying our walls and foundation. Although they’re a constant presence in infested homes, new infestations tend not to occur all year long. If you’re worried about the presence of termites in your home, you’ll want to know when you run the highest risk of hosting a new infestation.

Does Arizona Have a “Termite Season?”

The termites that do the most damage in our neck of the woods tend to be active and mobile for about eight months out of the year. This period basically coincides with the cool and wet seasons. Within this active season, termite colonies practice breeding behavior known as “swarming.” New colonies are most likely to form during this time.

Depending on...

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Protect Yourself from Tick-related Illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there are currently 14 tick-borne diseases that people living in the U.S. need to be aware of. Fortunately, most of these diseases are not found nationwide, but Arizona residents should still be wary of ticks and the potential diseases they carry.

Which Diseases should I be Concerned About?

By now, everyone should be familiar with the term Lyme disease thanks to an aggressive public health campaign that has helped share information about this illness. However, there are other tick-borne diseases that haven’t received a lot of media attention. Tick-borne relapsing fever has been identified in patients in Arizona, and it’s a bacterial infection that will cause headaches, joint aches, fevers, nausea and muscle aches to occur in multiple episodes.

How Can I Protect Myself From Ticks?

There are several ways that you can protect yourself and your family from the danger of ticks. One...

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To Fight Your Enemy, You Must Know Your Enemy

As the old saying goes, you need to “know your enemy” to fight it effectively. Nowhere is this more true than in the age-old fight against termites. These subterranean pests infest thousands of structures across Arizona and cause millions of dollars in damage each year. In fact, they’re routinely cited as the state’s top urban pest. Fortunately, termites aren’t difficult to understand: They have a well-defined life cycle that provides clues as to when and where they’ll be active.

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Say goodbye to that creepy crawly feeling with helpful tips for bed bug elimination

Do you find yourself covered in itchy red bumps when you wake up in the morning? You might be dealing with bed bugs. Before you panic, try these methods for banishing the creepy-crawlies from the bedroom and the rest of the house.

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When Wings in the Sky Cause Trouble Below

Their morning songs add special sweetness to an Arizona sunrise, and it’s inspiring to see their V-shaped formations migrating through the skies. They’re even fun to play with when they’re angry on your smart phone. Birds are wonderful creatures, but they lose their feathered charm when they outnumber the leaves on the trees.

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Citronella torches, candles and oil lamps are smelly old standbys for keeping mosquitoes away, but bugs aren’t the only ones who don’t care for their overbearing, lemony fragrance. Although mosquitoes aren’t as prevalent in Arizona as they are in more humid parts of the country, Tucson and Phoenix residents may still do battle with them in the summer months. The pesky, blood-sucking creatures can leave you with relentlessly itchy bites, but more importantly, they can spread diseases like West Nile virus. If your neighbors think you’re performing strange rituals on your patio at night, or your bug candle collection is becoming a fire hazard, try these other effective ways to keep biting pests out of your personal space.

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When spiders and their webs are making your porch look like a Halloween haunted house, it’s time to take action

In the warm Arizona climate, spiders are a fact of life, and that’s not such a bad thing. While they might give us humans the creeps, our eight-legged friends are responsible for keeping the local insect population under control—a very important job for both people and the natural environment. Save for rare poisonous species that should be evicted off your property right away, keeping a few non-aggressive spiders around is a good thing, and it doesn’t have to mean giving up your outdoor space to spider webs. With smart pest control tricks, you can keep your porch clean and clear without harming beneficial spiders or your family with toxic insecticides.

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Finding termites before they find you

With densely forested mountains, deep canyons and arid expanses of desert, Arizona is a biologically diverse state. In each part of our beautiful region, you’re apt to encounter termites in one form or another. However, not all of these critters are created equal. To ensure that your home is protected from truly voracious termite colonies, it’s important to be able to identify the major types of endemic termites here.

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Take charge and fight back with professional ant control

Ants are annoying pests to have around, but fire ants are downright dangerous. The Southern, the imported and the red imported varieties all pack a nasty one-two punch of painful bites and stings that can cause serious reactions in people who are allergic. Their stings feel like a burn and leave behind a red bump that may turn into a blister, and they’ll bite animals just as readily as people. Fire ants are also omnivorous, meaning they eat other insects such as crickets in addition to plant materials.

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What’s eating away at your home’s structural supports?

You might be surprised to learn that there are several common termite species in our part of the country. Like other types of creatures, these small bugs have managed to find a way to eke out a living in Arizona’s harsh, unforgiving environment. Termites are especially common in areas with ready sources of wood, including mountain slopes and urban areas. Among Arizona’s termites, however, one variety stands out in particular: the subterranean termite.

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Avoiding the little-known risks of “do it yourself” pest control methods

When you see common Phoenix area pests such as ants and roaches around your home, it can be tempting to want to eliminate them yourself as quickly as possible. Scorpions, earwigs, rodents and termites may also show up in or around your home, but trying to get rid of them with standard “do it yourself” methods can wind up causing more harm than the pests themselves.

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Get them out, and don’t forget to say “hurrah”

While ants are far from the most dangerous pests that might infest your home, they’re still a nuisance, one you’re better off without. If ants are moving into your kitchen, streaming under doors and swarming in cabinets, you’ll need to take steps to get them out. Here’s how to seal your house against ant invasions and eliminate those that have already made it in.

Remember, deterrence is the key to keeping pests of any sort out of your home. If the house doesn’t look like a prime ant destination, then ants will steer clear. Start by sealing off the tiny gaps ants can use as entryways, using caulk to fill spaces around your doors and windows along with any cracks in the walls. In addition to keeping out ants and other pests, closing off those gaps will improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Of course, there are some entrances that you just can’t seal, but there are still ways to make them undesirable. Try spreading salt under doors and windows; it tends...

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How can you control bed bugs without going nuts?

These critters have terrorized humans for thousands of years, and our increasingly urban lifestyle is creating new opportunities for them to spread and thrive. Although they’re not found in every home, bed bugs are a big problem in central and southern Arizona. If you discover an infestation in your place of residence, it’s important to act quickly and decisively to mitigate it.

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Don’t get bitten!

One of the best things about summer is the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. One of the worst things about summer is dealing with the biting pests that are often found outdoors. We’re talking about mosquitoes, of course, and they can turn any barbecue or block party into a disaster in a hurry. In order to make the most of your outdoor time, you need to take proactive steps to get the mosquito population under control.

First, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to limit opportunities for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquito eggs need to be laid in standing water, and since that’s not always easy to come by in Arizona, they’ll swarm to whatever puddles they can find. Here are some ways to eliminate those breeding pools:

• If you have a swimming pool, keep it clean and chlorinated, even when you’re not using it.

• Clear your property of anything that could collect water, such as discarded bottles and cans.

• Keep your gutters clean and free of...

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Virtually every homeowner shares his or her house with some number of unwanted guests. We’re not talking about the human variety here; we’re talking about spiders. These eight-legged creatures can find all manner of ways to sneak into your home, and if you want them out, you’ll need to be proactive about eliminating their entrances.

The truth is that spiders can squeeze through even the smallest gaps to get into your house. Tokeep them out, you’ll need to get all of your windows screened with 16-18 mesh, and check to make sure each screen fits snugly in the window itself. Remember that a screen with holes is as good as no screen at all, so check each one periodically to make sure it’s still in good repair.

Next, you’ll need to use caulk to fill in any large gaps around your closed doors and windows. As far as spiders are concerned, those holes might as well be superhighways. It’s also best to apply...

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Birds represent a stunningly diverse, ever-entertaining piece of our natural environment. It can be soothing and engaging to watch birds play at a feeder or roost in our neighborhoods. At the same time, many species of birds, including pigeons, have been recognized as pests that can cause serious damage to our homes and properties. There’s no shame in wanting to control and remove these unwanted intruders.

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A Gentle Approach to Pest Prevention

There’s nothing quite like realizing that your home is infested with termites. The prospect of working tirelessly to reverse the infestation is enough to overwhelm even the most levelheaded homeowner. You might have trouble figuring out where to start.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent and even delay a termite infestation. A few of these are gentler than the approach required for elimination.

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When most people see a small creature with an exoskeleton and too many legs, their immediate reaction is to squish it. After all, bugs are pests, and pests have no place in the home, right? The truth, however, is a little more complicated. Some of the little creatures in your home might actually be doing more good than harm, fighting against the very pests you’re trying to control.

We’re talking about house spiders, mostly. Even though your first reaction to seeing one skittering across your floor might be “nope,” take a moment to consider before reaching for a blunt implement. Spiders may actually help keep your home clear of pests and more.

Phoenix and Tucson homeowners may not want to share their homes with spiders, but these eight-legged bugs might be the lesser of two evils. Remember, spiders eat bugs, including nasty pests like cockroaches, earwigs, flies, mosquitoes and moths. They’re nature’s own pest control system. Leave a few spiders to their work and you’ll find you’re living in a notably less pest-infested home.

Better yet, by eating those...

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Nuclear war isn’t an effective roach control method

There’s little doubt that cockroaches are tough. This fast-moving insect has remained in existence for at least 300 million years. However, we sometimes hear claims that seem a little far-fetched. Could this bug really endure a hurricane, volcanic eruption or nuclear war? We decided to conduct some research and find the truth.

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Frankenstein insects created by man

Africanized bees wouldn’t exist in the western hemisphere without a lot of help from mankind. In the 1950s, scientists in Brazil who were attempting to breed African bees with docile European honeybees allowed some subjects to escape quarantine. The so-called “killer bees” have spread steadily northward ever since, and their range now includes much of the southwestern and southeastern U.S.

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Don’t let caterpillars eat your lunch!

Arizona’s voracious tomato bugs (hornworms) can easily ruin your vegetable garden or crops. These large, brightly colored pests usually destroy plants by devouring their leaves. They prevent people from harvesting tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes and peppers, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Fortunately, you can use several effective methods to stop this hungry caterpillar from pillaging your crops.

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Well, sort of. Butterflies don’t have toes per se, but they also don’t have mouths or tongues. Rather, a butterfly will land on different plants and use special organs in its feet to sense dissolved sugars. This sort of “taste” is a very effective way to find food sources such as fermenting fruit.

While butterflies don’t have actual tongues, you may be familiar with a tongue-like appendage called a proboscis. Once a butterfly finds a likely food source, the proboscis unfurls and the insect sips up the meal, not unlike a human drinking through a straw. Incidentally, this means butterflies have to stay on an all-liquid diet, as their mouthparts can’t accommodate solid food. Anyone who’s ever suffered through a broken jaw can sympathize.

Speaking of the proboscis, adult butterflies don’t start out with theirs fully formed. Upon emerging from its chrysalis, each butterfly must work its two mouthparts together into a single, functioning proboscis using palpi adjacent to each part. If you happen to see a newly emerged butterfly, you might see it repeatedly curl and uncurl...

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If you’re afraid of snakes, you’re not alone. Their fan club is pretty small. With their eerie, slithering movements, beady eyes, intimidating hisses and dry, scaly skin, they don’t exactly inspire warm, fuzzy feelings. If that isn’t enough to scare you, consider that many are venomous and can seriously hurt or even kill you. When you live in Arizona, running into dangerous snakes is always an unpleasant possibility. While many native snakes are harmless, it pays to know which ones are actually worth the embarrassment of having a full-blown freak-out in a public place. Here are a few of the most common venomous Arizona snakes.

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Approximately 56 different species of scorpions call Arizona home. It’s said that knowledge can help overcome fear, but that’s not necessarily true when it comes to Arizona scorpions. Their stingers alone are enough to make these arachnids frightful, but the more you learn, the scarier they can get. Here are four frightening facts about Arizona scorpions.

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That’s a lot of little workers

Do you know how big an ant really is? You know they’re not very big, but it might shock you to learn just how light they really are. In fact, ants weigh so little that it takes more than 1.5 million average-sized critters to make a full pound. If that sounds like an overwhelming number, you’d probably also be interested to learn that the total weight of all ants in the world is significantly more than the total weight of all humans.

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Heavy rains bring out dangerous toads in hoards

Monsoon season in the Tucson and Phoenix areas means an influx of water, flickering lights and messy roads. Of course, the heavy rains of the season also bring many toads and frogs out into the open. Eager to gorge on the bugs available during monsoons, these amphibians cause serious problems for some home and business owners. While you might have thought that toads and frogs were just a nuisance, it’s important to remember that they can also be dangerous to your kids and pets.

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Fascinating facts about these destructive pests

Termites eat 24/7, and this makes them a nightmare for Arizona homeowners. In fact, industry experts have indicated that these pests cause an astounding amount of property damage each year that totals approximately $5 billion. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that discovering a termite infestation causes homeowners to envision their bank account being quickly drained. Fortunately, you can take control of the problem by contacting a pest control company right away. Additionally, it can be interesting to learn about some of the most unusual facts about these invasive pests. For example, every termite has to eat another termite’s feces in order to assist their digestive tract with the process of breaking down wood.

Here are five more unusual facts about termites…

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Some bugs would be hard to live without

With so many annoying and creepy pests to avoid, it’s easy to forget about insects that help humans. Beneficial bugs pollinate edible plants and kill or eat various pests. Every day, they help protect our homes, gardens and farmland. You can find at least seven beneficial insects in Maricopa County.

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Detection dogs find bed bug infestations that humans just can’t see

Bed bugs have become a major problem for hospitals, hotels, urgent cares, church’s and apartments across the nation. Often carried home by travelers, these bothersome pests bite and the stress can cause mental & emotional issues. If you think that you might have a problem with bed bugs in your home, it’s important to work with a professional who can properly identify an infestation and help you eliminate bed bugs.

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Pest Control Systems: In-Wall versus Classic Spray

If you’re dealing with a pest infestation in your home, your objective is likely to get rid of the problem as soon as possible. Whether it’s ants, cockroaches, silverfish or something else, a pest issue can lower your quality of life. You need effective treatment that won’t cause a huge hassle.

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Recent Investigations Reveal More Details Concerning Zika

Considering the severity of complications that may result from infection, it’s no wonder the quickly-spreading Zika virus has made so many headlines recently.

In the spring of 2015, the presence of Zika dramatically increased in Brazil. Simultaneously, the country experienced a sizable increase in cases of microcephaly, a condition that causes abnormal brain development in unborn babies. NPR reports that the CDC is investigating in Brazil. The CDC will conduct in-depth studies to determine whether there is in fact causation between the rise in microcephaly and the rise in Zika.

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