A pest problem can occur in any kind of home.
Insect populations can fluctuate due too many reasons including seasonality, precipitation, and even construction in the area of your home. The life cycles of insects are different and vast, and they all generally co-inhabit the same space. A little disturbance such as abnormal temperatures and clearing land can both combine to a major change in the movement and activity of many insect populations for an affected area. What happens is that these insect populations will move and re-establish themselves elsewhere; many times upon an entire neighborhood area. You will suddenly see an entire small ecosystem of bugs appears in your area, and you haven’t encountered in such numbers before.
If you are suddenly seeing cockroaches, silverfish, spiders, beetles, and etc. in your home, chances are your neighbors are as well. The problem is most people aren’t going to advertise the fact that they are having a pest problem. It has an unsaid connotation that your home is unclean. You may openly complain about your spouse to your neighbors, but you aren’t going to talk about the silverfish in the bathroom.
A lot of time this sense of “shame” associated with having pests in the home also makes a person wait on getting a treatment done for the house. Sometimes not even bother seeking treatment at all. Pests aren’t going to wait for you to pick up a phone, they will continue reproducing in greater numbers. This is especially true of many insect populations when introduced into a new area without competition for space and greater access to the resources areas of human development provide, these bug populations will explode as they increase almost exponentially to a point unhindered before hitting their stride. Trust me, if a stray cockroach is going to bug you, you don’t want to see that explosive growth peak.
Believe it or not when your neighbors get around to getting treatment to their houses done on a service call, it makes it worse for those who haven’t.
Remember when I had spoken earlier about when a disturbance moves insect populations to settle into new areas. When these insect populations settle into your neighborhood and began reproducing, you generally start getting service calls for treatment of homes in that area. Then all those homes that get their houses treated first become micro-disturbances in a newly settled area. Those insects will then be pushed and move to houses that haven’t had a recent treatment or that are not protected at all. If that’s you, then be prepared. If you are late to the game, you are going to have a longer time and a harder problem getting rid of those pests for your home even after treatment. Insect populations cycle in waves, and this cycle timing changes depending on the species you are dealing with.
A good pest control company knows the treatment protocol based on an insect-to-insect basis. Still even they will tell you that it will take a couple weeks as the product they use eliminates the first generation, and then the offspring. Different stages of an insect’s life cycle require different treatment measures. Your best bet is to be proactive, be that first neighbor in your neighborhood to get treated when insects settle into it.
Pests are not always inherently pests. Insects have both beneficial and unbeneficial aspects to them. Certain species actually eat other unwanted pest species, while others can decimate crops or invade your home to biblical levels. As is with everything in life, there are two sides to a coin and exceptions to a rule.
That said, most insects found inside a home or business are inherently seen as pests. They can damage properly, harm the residents, and even hurt resale value. These are all considerations taken into account when dealing with an invasive insect species inside a dwelling, but inherently at the end of the day… bugs just bug people.
Pro’s & Con’s
Now you are probably thinking “Why would an insect blog talk pro’s/con’s of insects… aren’t they all bad?”. As with all species on this planet, insects play a vital role in many aspects to the health of entire ecosystems. We live, and benefit off of such ecosystems. So inherently to some degree we are dependent of insects. Some ecosystem’s would entirely collapse without insect populations. Now that doesn’t mean you need to go all “Save the insects” for the creepy crawlies in your home. It is just important to understand the importance of insects. The better you understand something, the better you are equipped in managing it appropriately.
Mismanagement of treatment of pests inside a home or even for a large area can have disastrous and often unseen consequences. Depending on the species of insect, misusing or mistreating in a residence for pests can actually have the opposite effect for the particular nuisance species of bug in question. If you don’t understand the biology of the pest, life cycles, and characteristics then you may actually cause the household or residence to experience more of a problem then they originally had.
Even on a larger scale there are examples of how it is best to understand insects and their importance, as well as utilizing safe and informed practices in pest control. For example in the early 1950’s widespread use of powerful DDT agents sprayed haphazardly over large townships and cities without any control or thought led to many ecological disruptions and health hazards for an entire generation. We have learned since then to use safe pest control agents, and have also taken notes from natural chemicals used in nature to combat unwanted pests. To think that a chemical agent used back then could decimate populations of entire species of birds would have been unthinkable back then, but now we know better. America almost lost the Bald Eagle, a symbol for this country and a symbol for freedom due to uncareful regulation of pest control agents.
Thankfully in the United States we have learned from past mistakes. Today laws, regulations, and safety standards are implemented on National and by State level to ensure that pest control companies are utilizing safe and responsible treatment protocols for your home or business. The best companies often taking a personal initiative to educating themselves, and their customers so pest can be safely eliminated from the home.
Household pests don’t normally make a point of properly introducing themselves before moving in. Like most problematic and unwanted houseguests; Stepmothers notwithstanding; the more they make their intrusive presence known, the more they bug you. [Pun absolutely intended]
The real issue here is those pests which make a habit of having their presence remain unknown. Realistically most insects go out of their way to stay out of the way. In a world where everything is bigger than you and out to eat you, that seems like the logical course of action. This line of reasoning remains true inside your home as much as in the outside world. Many a critter in a home will go out of the way to stay out of sight. Many insects avoid light, sense vibrations to alert them, and remain active at night to avoid such encounters. These factors help ensure that it’s the pests that you don’t see which cause the biggest issues for homeowners.
Termites, fire ants, and a plethora of venomous bugs are all cases of common household pest species that you’d probably wish you had known were present earlier, rather than any unpleasant encounters later. Termites cause home damage, fire ants can harm small pets, and venomous bugs can be a threat to yourself as well as children.
Be proactive anytime you have the unhappy encounter of coming across a problematic pest inside your home. Once you know there is a problem, then you can treat that problem. The steps of identification, assessment, and proper treatment are a homeowner’s best tools. These steps are also a pest control technician‘s mantra.
I know many of you, myself included, do not have the time to deal with or even properly treat for many household pests. You have to be on top of it, buy dangerous chemicals, and then find the time after what I assume was a hectic workday to then actually treat the home. It’s honestly a bit of a hassle and generally more expensive to do on your own then if you hire a professional. The nice thing about professional pest control services is that even if you’re calling for an initial pest problem, the continued services become preventative treatments ensuring any future home invasions. It’s guaranteed, safe, and effective. That over-the-counter bug bomb in comparison to that? Maybe not so much.
Don’t hide from your pest problem. Seek it out! If you don’t I can almost guarantee there’s a few creepy crawlies winning at a game you may not be playing, but are definitely losing at.
Fleas transmit Bubonic Plague, you avoid Yosemite National Park. It’s a bit of a one sided relationship.
Fleas are a parasitic species that pierce the skin of warm blooded hosts, and use blood as a requirement to reproduce for their life cycle. They are flightless, amazing jumpers, and you are not likely to see them due to their minute size (<4mm long). Fleas are also exceptionally hardy and are not crushed easily. The biggest sign of this pest is the telltale itch and bite. Much like a mosquito bite, flea bites generally have one bite made in the center. The reaction from the body is also similar with a raised irritated bump at the site of the bite.
Many flea species can live for up to 3 months, and one female depending on the species can produce upwards of 5000 eggs in her lifetime. There is a reason that fleas produce an aversion in almost every media representation. Historically fleas are hard to treat for because of how their populations can explosively grow/spread in a home, in a neighborhood, and in a city. The best basis for this aversion besides the general annoyance of having fleas is that of disease. Fleas of rodents species such as the oriental rat can carry the bacterium yersinia pestis, aka the Plague.
Many children are taught about the European Black Death in primary school; otherwise known as the Bubonic Plague. Of a span of less than 10 years in the 14th century, upwards of 200 million people died in a European outbreak of the disease. This estimate does not include other outbreaks around the same time both in China and the Middle East, which were both in the millions as well. 200 million people. That number is around the entire population of the United States in 1960’s alone, and only about 100 million less than the country’s current population. The crazy thing being that most of modern antibiotics which can be used to successfully treat plague victims, are a recent occurrence as of the 1970’s and onwards.
You might wonder how the Europeans almost 670 years ago in the middle ages combatted such a scourge, especially after losing upwards of 60% of their entire population.
In the 14th century modern antibiotics did not exist. A combination of self-quarantine, reduction of travel, and the disease killing a critical portion of both rat and human populations are all theories as to why the disease declined. This outbreak could have been subdued through pest control. The best course of action would have been extermination and removal of rats whose population had grown to large proportions in the crowded and unsanitary congested cities of 14th century Europe. Once rats are taken out of the equation, the fleas that carry the bacteria which cause the plague are also removed.
Now the bubonic plague is an outbreak of the past, however cases are reported in the U.S. on a yearly basis. The fleas that carry the plague bacterium still exist and are present in nature. The main reason you no longer see such cases in cities is due to pest control of rodents and modern sanitation practices. So the cases that do occur are generally outdoors. For instance, recently you may have heard of the little girl that contracted the bubonic plague in Yosemite last year. She had encountered a dead chipmunk, was bitten by the fleas still on it, and contracted the plague. Squirrels and chipmunks are actually rodents. Most of modern cases these days for the plague follow around these lines, people encountering wild animals that should best be left alone.
Fleas are a great lesson in the worth and importance of modern pest control practices. You wouldn’t think controlling rodents could save the world, but a bite from a flea could prove you wrong.
Now I know what you are saying to yourself “Why don’t I just buy some bug spray at my local store?”
Many over the counter products are heavily diluted and the effectiveness of it depends on how long it has been sitting on that shelf (probably a while).
I am all for DIY projects, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen unopened bottles of pest spray products sitting around unused. On top of that most people don’t have the time to be as consistent with the treatment sprays as they should be. This usually makes such self-treatment of a home completely ineffective and all it does at best is push the insects into different parts of your home where you weren’t seeing them before. So basically chasing your tail over a week’s time from room to room as they continue to breed and reproduce.
To top it all off you just spent a lot of money on bug spray that probably could have just covered your first home treatment by someone whose livelihood is dependent on your home being pest free. I don’t know about you but I’d rather pay for the peace of mind that a professional service gives you, plus any pest control company worth it’s salt has a satisfaction guarantee. In fact if that isn’t advertised then it’s a red flag. You are going to experience sudden population booms in your home over the course of a year in between regularly scheduled treatments. This happens during Spring and Summer, the birds and the bees as they say. It’s natural.
A good company will understand that and fit you into a schedule and come out between your regular service times to nip those guys in the bud before it becomes a problem and the life cycle of the pest in your home can even get a footing. What’s in the best interest for you as a client is generally the best interest for a pest control company. So a company without a service guarantee is somewhat shady in my opinion because that’s says to me they understand that these things happen and they won’t bother coming out. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?