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Do Christmas Lights Attract Bugs?

It’s a question our pest control experts hear every once in a while this time of year. As you’re climbing on to the roof to put up your Christmas lights, you might be thinking, “Will these lights just attract more bugs and pests?”

Today, let’s dive into the answer to this pest control question…

According to SuperBrightLights.com:

You’ve seen it time and time again—hundreds of bugs buzzing around an outdoor light. There’s no question that light sources attract bugs, but what exactly is it about light that draws them in? More importantly, can anything be done to remedy this? Although no amount of spray, citronella, or bug zappers will ever completely eliminate bugs, there are ways to attract less of them. LED lights serve as one way to dramatically reduce bug presence. That’s right, LEDs will reduce the presence of bugs; they will not transform an outdoor area into a bug-free zone.

Before discussing why LED lights can be helpful at attracting less bugs, it’s important to point out some information about bugs. There have been many studies done about the correlation between lighting and bug presence. In a research paper titled Insect Vision: Ultraviolet, Color, and LED Light,Marianne Shockley Cruz and Rebecca Lindner from the University of Georgia’s Department of Entomology write, “Experimental work supports the idea that color perception exists in insects and that they are especially responsive to the shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum and UV light.” Wavelengths are measured in nanometers, and shorter wavelengths of light (less than 550 nanometers) can indicate ultraviolet (UV), blue, or green colors. Cruz and Lindner also cite work that confirms the correlation between UV light from the sun and moon and how certain bugs navigate Earth. Another point to remember about bugs is that certain types, such as mosquitoes, are attracted to heat and have thermal receptors to help them find it. All of this information is helpful for determining why bugs flock to certain light sources.

Because different types of bugs see different wavelengths, it is never guaranteed that an LED light won’t attract them. However, most bugs are attracted to short wavelengths of light and are especially drawn to UV light; they can see it better, and some use it for navigation. Bulbs that emit more short wavelengths of light (cool white/bluish color) will attract more bugs. Lights that emit a majority of longer wavelengths (yellow/orange/red colors) are less visible. Heat can also draw bugs into an area. LED lights produce little to no UV light and a minuscule amount heat, which makes them less attractive to bugs—so long as they emit longer wavelengths of light.

Long story short, your Christmas lights probably won’t attract any more bugs than are already hanging around the streetlights and front porch lights. So go crazy with your Christmas lights!!

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Cold Weather Pests in Arizona

Just because it’s cold out…finally…doesn’t mean you can get lazy with your pest control efforts. This is the time of year when we get calls from surprised and overwhelmed clients…

Clients with family coming into town who had a scorpion invade their bedroom. Clients with friends coming into town for the holidays who saw a mouse scurry across their kitchen floor.

We’re well into the thick of holiday season, and travel season, and keeping the house as clean as you can to impress the inlaws season. All of this means that pest control should also be at the top of your list. Travel season is huge for bed bugs. And holiday season is huge for ants, cockroaches, rats and mice. Oh, and cold winter weather is the best time of year for scorpions to move into the warmth of your home.

Earwigs

One of the most annoying insects that can invade your property and home during the winter months is the earwig. Since they are not capable of withstanding the extremely cold temperatures, they will do their best to harbor in warmer areas such as mulch, patio stones, a deck, or an above-ground pool. The real problem arises when they find a way into your house. One of the common methods earwigs will use to get inside your home is by nesting in plants and soil that you bring in for decoration. They were there to stay warm outside, but now that they are in a warm house they will start moving about again and become a nuisance.

Wasps

Although wasps are one of several species that die off in the freezing weather, they can still be a nuisance in the winter months. When the temperature drops, the wasps desert their paper nests and leave their larvae to die in the cold. Although their fate is almost certain death, during the time from when they leave their nest to when they freeze they are flying around without a home, just waiting to sting innocent bystanders.

Rodents

  • Secure your home. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent mice and rats from using easy entry ways. Pay special attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Don’t build rodent attractions near your home. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground. Keep shrubberies cut back from the house.
  • Make sure your home isn’t rodent-friendly. Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep areas clear, and store boxes off of the floor. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Keep food in rodent-proof containers.
  • If you suspect an infestation, contact a pest professional. Hiring a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the problem is the most effective solution to eliminate rodent infestations.

Scorpions

Scorpions are very resilient insects, and just like a termite, they can survive the freezing weather and bark scorpions hibernate during the winter. While scorpions are creatures, naturally live in solitary, bark scorpions hibernate together in clusters of up to 30 scorpions.

Even though scorpions can survive cold temperatures, they don’t like the cold, so they hide in warm places in the winter. As the temperatures begin to decrease in the fall, scorpions search for warm dark places to hibernate. Many times, this indicates that they will make their way into your home during the winter months in order stay warm. Once they are inside, they will find any warm, dark crevice to hide. Scorpions only need an opening 1/16” wide to intrude into your home so that they can be found in crevices between baseboards and floors, behind furniture, layers of clothes and even in shoes.

You will likely start to notice scorpions’ activities in your home during winter as the days start to get a little bit warmer. It is common to see people requesting for scorpion control when the weather starts to heat up, and one of the widespread misconceptions is that scorpion season is approaching. Indeed, these scorpions found in your house were most likely hibernating in a dark, warm crevice all winter long. Sometimes, they aren’t noticed at all until the outside temperatures start to warm up, and scorpions come out of their hiding place.

Call Magic Pest

Don’t wait to calla the experts at Magic Pest Control. From Gilbert to Tempe and Glendale, we’ll take care of yoru holiday pests so you don’t have to.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs While Traveling

It’s travel season! Whether you’re heading to grandma’s through the woods, or to your mom’s house across the pond, bed bugs are a real threat during the holidays, especially if you’re staying at a hotel.

Don’t head to a hotel for the holidays without reading this…

Bedbugs can easily hide in luggage, clothing, and other personal items, so take a few precautions while traveling to keep them from ruining your trip—or worse—coming home with you!

  • As much as we all love our very own pillows, don’t bring yours with you while traveling. It gives bed bugs a perfect place to hide so they can make their way into your home. Leave your favorite pillow and blanket on your bed at home.
  • Pack some large white sealable plastic garbage bags so you can separate any belongings while on the road if you do notice bugs in a hotel room or someone’s home.
  • Purchase light-colored plastic luggage because bedbugs are less attracted to plastic and the lighter color makes them easier to spot. If only have dark luggage or cloth luggage, you can enclose the luggage in a white plastic garbage bag and seal it.
  • When you check into your hotel room, follow these steps: 1) Do a complete inspection of the room. 2) Don’t put luggage on the bed. 3) Inspect the bed very carefully using a flashlight. 4) Check drawers and closets, also. 5) Never store anything under the bed. 6) Keep your stuff in your luggage, if you’re able to. 7) Inform hotel staff immediately if you find bed bugs.

Check out these great tips for avoiding bed bugs:

  • Before you check out your hotel room’s minibar or oceanfront view, give it a thorough bedbug inspection—and until you’ve done that, stash your luggage in the loo.
  • Here’s how to check for a bedbug infestation: Pull back the linens, and check all the way around and under the mattress and behind the headboard.
  • Next, broaden your bedbug search to the area immediately surrounding the bed: behind picture frames, under the telephone and alarm clock, and even in books, says Johnson.
  • Leaving suitcases and bags on the floor—or on a second spare bed—may be one way to bring home an unwanted souvenir, says Henriksen.
  • With a little Internet research, it’s easy to find out if bedbugs have been reported at your hotel: The Bed Bug Registry, for example, is a free online database of user-submitted reports across North America. Travel sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp may also offer clues in their customer reviews.

And, if you do bring bed bugs home, you’ll want do this:

1. Find the hideouts of the bedbug: Start by finding the hideouts of the bedbugs; dismantle the bed check for any dark spots for dried bed bug excrement on the cracks and edges of wooden frames and also along mattress seams.

To avoid purchasing a new mattress and for easy inspection in future you can use a bed bug proof mattress cover to trap them inside the cover.

(It can take up to 400 days to starve them in the cover)

2. Inspect your upholstery: inspect the sofa sets and the cushions since sofas can be a major hideout especially when people sleep on them.

3. Check the walls and common places of your house: bed bugs will also find the walls, ceiling and cracks in wood moldings a nice place for them to congregate and also lay their eggs. A flashlight can be of great help to check at the dark edges.

4. Treating: There are several methods for treating and even controlling bed bugs in your premises. You can kill bed bugs by washing infested beddings and spreading hot water over the wooden beds and furniture. Hot machine wash is recommended for the clothing and for those valuable such as leather jackets you can use non-toxic bed bug sprays.

Using parathyroid insecticides are also another advisable way for treating and controlling these pests in your home. You will have to spray on the cracks crevices on the walls .You will need to spray the insecticides for several times to make sure that you kill any bed bug that could have escaped the attack and the eggs that could have hatched from the hideouts.

In serious cases like where the clothing and bedding have been infested a lot you may need to dispose those that have highly been infested to avoid recurring infest.

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Thanksgiving Ants

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family, football and maybe a little alcohol. Thanksgiving is not when you want ants invading your home. Unfortunately, ants are the most common unwelcomed guest this time of year.

All that sticky, sweet, sugary food ends up on the floor, left on tables and counters, even on the patio and in the grass. And all that sticky, sweet, Thanksgiving food attracts hordes of hungry ants.

What can you do to keep ants from invading your property and home?

Follow these steps:

Clean: No one actually enjoys cleaning, but if you want to keep pests out of your home, particularly ants and cockroaches, which ultimately lead to spider and scorpions invading your home, you need to keep things clean. No crumbs on the floor, no crumbs on the counter, no dirty dishes in the sink. A clean home means a pest free home…most of the time.

Pantries: We often shut the door of the pantry, or close the door of the cabinet, and thing the food is secure. In reality, that is the biggest mistake most homeowners make in terms of pest control. Food is never safe from ants. If your cereal is not in a container, if your chips and crackers are not sealed properly, ants will sniff those things out and will find them.

Sugar: If you have kids, and you send them outside with a tasty treat in the heat of summer, that tasty treat can very easily end up all over the patio…which will absolutely attract ants and all kinds of pests. Sugar is the ultimate calling for ants, so be sure to keep not only the floors and countertops clean inside, but spray off the patio and keep food and sugar and soda spills off the concrete.

Home Sealing: Ants and other pests can come through cracks in your caulking smaller than you probably realize. Sure, you can DIY seal your home, but it’s best to call in the Magic Pest Control experts and have them seal up every nook and cranny of your home.

Ultimately, you do have control over whether pests are going to find their way into your home…

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Termites Hiding in Plain Sight

Termites aren’t always easy to find. From rotting wood to water stains, strange lines on the garage wall to cracks in the foundation of your home, termites can hide in plain sight.

From Gilbert to Phoenix and Glendale, termites are invading the valley. They are causing millions in damage every year, and your home could be next.

Today, let’s talk about some of the places termites like to hide in plain sight…

Rotting Wood: When the mornings are dewey and moist, and water droplets form out of thin are and attach themselves to your car and grass, it’s easy to see some rotting wood along the trim of your house and think, “That’s perfectly normal. I’ll take care of it later.” Unfortunately, the longer you wait the more termites will invade your home. If you have rotting wood in your home, you have a termite problem…I can pretty much guarantee it.

Paint Chipping: Another tell tale sign of a termite problem is paint chipping along the wood of your home. Either on the wood trim around your roof, doors, and windows or the pain on the inside of your walls, these are all signs of a termite problem. Paint chipping could mean that the wood underneath that paint is moving, Moving would, disturbed wood, is a tell-tale sign of termites.

Hollow Trees: If you have any trees of firewood on your property, you probably have had termites, or you currently have a termite problem. It’s difficult to tell if termites are invading your trees unless you look closely. Any frass on the ground or sawdust could be a sign of termites hiding in plain sight. If you were to cut a branch off of one of your trees and notice termite tubes within the tree itself, you have a termite problem.

Oddly Shaped Designs: I drove past a home the other day with oddly designed lines running up from the patio roof to the bedroom window. Initially, these designs looked like water lines, perhaps left over after some house cleaning or heavy rain. Maybe you’ve noticed these strange lines on your foundation, the inside of your garage or the outside of your home? These strange lines are not water stains or dirt stains, they are termite tubes….termites hiding in plain sight.

If you think you might have a termite problem, call Magic Pest Control immediately.

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Heavy Termite Season Hitting Arizona

We have been seeing an influx of termite infestations here in Arizona. From Gilbert to Phoenix and Glendale, termites have invaded the valley. Part of the problem is that homeowners aren’t being diligent enough to seek out termite symptoms and signs of a termite problem until it’s too late.

Termites will hide within the walls of your home, but there are nearly always signs and symptoms of a termite problem.

Today, let’s talk about some of the termites that might be living in your home right now, and what to do about it…

Subterranean Termites

This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two million members and are also found in moist, secluded areas above ground. They build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive termite species — their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. Over time, they can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner.

Signs of a Termite Problem

Symptom of Termite: Discarded Wings

What To Look For: Wings all of the same size (look like tiny fish scales) shredded near an entry point to your home.

Swarmers are usually winged and as a part of their behavior, they usually discard their wings in places like windowsills, doors or in cobwebs.

Symptom of Termite: Mud Tubes

What To Look For: Mud tubes are usually built by Subterranean termites, which are the most destructive species. As they move out from their colony in search of food, they build mud tubes to provide moisture. These mud tubes are often found near the foundation of the home, so those places should also be checked regularly.

Symptom of Termite: Wood Damage

What To Look For: Termites often eat wood from the inside out thereby making the wood soft. The damage may not be visible on the outside. The wood’s surface might still appear smooth even if termites are causing damage from inside. So if the wood sounds hollow when tapped, it may be because termites are eating the wood from the inside.

Symptom of Termite: Cracked Paint

What To Look For: Swarming drywood termites can enter through very tiny openings. Always try to cover up cracks in the home’s foundation, near roof siding, vents and windows. If your paint is cracking, it means there is moisture build up in it which could be as a result of either water damage or termite problems.

Symptom of Termite: Frass

What To Look For: As Drywood termites infest wood, they leave behind wood-colored droppings called frass. You can prevent this by keeping gutters and crawl spaces free of debris and cellulose materials so that termites don’t use them as sources of food.

Symptom of Termite: Noise

What To Look For: Some species of termites, like the soldier termites, usually make loud noises while eating or while trying to sound alarm to warn others of impending danger. The soldier termites make a banging noise with their heads on the wood to serve as an alarm to alert others. So if you tap on a piece of wood where you suspect termites, and you hear a loud banging sound, then there is termite infestation in your home.

Slow Moving Scorpions…

You may have noticed the weather dipping. It’s beautiful outside now, which can lead many to think that pests like scorpions and termites are done for the season. In fact, the opposite is true.

Scorpions and termites are simply seeking better shelter to keep them warm and fed during the chilly winter months. As they seek out the warm places to spend the winter, they’ll find their way into your home.

Let’s take a flashback to a blog we posted last winter on the topic of scorpions, and other pests, during winter…

When it is mild winter weather, so many pest populations stay active. Although there is a common myth that scorpions die off during the winter time, they don’t, they just hibernate. In fact, since scorpions hate cold weather, they often choose a time to hibernate in homes where they can stay warm throughout the wintertime. Here is what you need to be aware of about scorpion operation in the winter months.

Scorpions are very resilient insects, and just like a termite, they can survive the freezing weather and bark scorpions hibernate during the winter. While scorpions are creatures, naturally live in solitary, bark scorpions hibernate together in clusters of up to 30 scorpions.

Even though scorpions can survive cold temperatures, they don’t like the cold, so they hide in warm places in the winter. As the temperatures begin to decrease in the fall, scorpions search for warm dark places to hibernate. Many times, this indicates that they will make their way into your home during the winter months in order stay warm. Once they are inside, they will find any warm, dark crevice to hide. Scorpions only need an opening 1/16” wide to intrude into your home so that they can be found in crevices between baseboards and floors, behind furniture, layers of clothes and even in shoes.

You will likely start to notice scorpions’ activities in your home during winter as the days start to get a little bit warmer. It is common to see people requesting for scorpion control when the weather starts to heat up, and one of the widespread misconceptions is that scorpion season is approaching. Indeed, these scorpions found in your house were most likely hibernating in a dark, warm crevice all winter long. Sometimes, they aren’t noticed at all until the outside temperatures start to warm up, and scorpions come out of their hiding place.

To tackle scorpions’ scourge, prevention is one of the best processes you can embark upon to ensure winter control of scorpions. You start by making sure that all entry points are blocked off, and no space enough to accommodate the poisonous insect is left open. Scorpions can break into a home through the tiniest space, so it’s imperative to make sure that your home is sealed at utility entry points, pipes, and doors. A firm rule of thumb is that if you can see daylight into your home through an entry point, it probably needs to be replaced or repaired. For instance, changing old weather stripping on doors will help prevent scorpions from accessing your home. Another good step to take to avoid scorpion entry into your home is to make sure trees, shrubbery and foliage are trimmed away from your house, and not to overwater plants as scorpions thrive on water.

If you have taken the necessary steps to repair common entry points into your house, your home is adequately prepared to begin preventative scorpion treatment. A licensed pest control company can then come in to exterminate scorpions and focus on areas that are difficult to seal. A precautionary approach to winter scorpion control will set you up for success in wintertime. You don’t to let your guard down because it is wintertime, insects like a scorpion, termites are hiding somewhere in the dark and warm crevices, furniture present in your home.

Halloween Pests and Ghouls

Happy Halloween! There are all kinds of scary, morbid, even creepy, crawly elements to Halloween evening. But, it’s the pests that live in your walls, in your attic, along the trim of your home, in your basement or your trees or your foundation…those are the pests you’ll want to keep an eye out on this Halloween.

So, which pests are the most dangerous on this Halloween Eve?

Termites: 

Termites are destructive little creatures that chew walls to the extent of crumbling the whole structure of a building. They cause severe damages every year.

These dangerous insects are silent and difficult to detect. Even though these creatures can’t destroy concrete, block or brick foundations, they can, however, enter a Gilbert house through small cracks in the foundation gaps.

The structural support of a house made of wood can also be affected by termite infestation. The subterranean termites on their way to the ceiling can destroy the walls. The brutality of losses from termite attack depends on the value individual places on items there were destroyed.

Scorpions: 

Scorpion prevention in Fall looks much like scorpion prevention throughout the year. The twist is that many Gilbert and East Valley homeowners don’t realize that scorpions are still active in October, and looking to invade your home as temperatures begin to drop.

Scorpions can pack a nasty sting, and it can be particularly dangerous for anyone who is even slightly allergic. There are a few scorpions that pack particularly dangerous stings: the Arizona Bark Scorpion and the Striped Bark Scorpion. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is found in Arizona but most of the other scorpions in the state are not very dangerous unless you have an allergy. If you happen to run across scorpions when you least expect them and get stung, don’t panic and apply these first aid techniques before seeking medical help.

Conclusion

There are all kinds of pests, hundreds, in fact, that might invade your home on this Halloween evening. So, as you’re handing out candy, be sure to clean up the mess!! The day after Halloween is one of the greatest days of the year for ants, scorpions, spiders, birds, rats, cockroaches, and every other kind of pest who love sugar, or feed of bugs who love sugar.

You’re not the only one with a sweet tooth this time of year…

Where Are These Spiders and Scorpions Coming From?

It’s easy to get frustrated with the pests in your home. You kill a scorpion one night, then find a spider in your home the next night. You think, “How do these bugs keep getting in?”

You think, “Where are these bugs coming from?”

You wonder, “Is there something that I can be doing to keep spiders and scorpions out of my house?”

Yes, there is something that you can do to keep spiders and scorpions out of your home. Here are some tips:

Frequent Cleaning: How often do you vacuum? How often do you sweep and mop? How often do you clean the windows and baseboards? These are the things that need to be done at least twice a week to ensure spiders and scorpions don’t make their way into your home. Many times, they come in simply because the kids haven’t picked up the floor in a few weeks, and things are piling up, making for great hiding spots.

Sealing: Spiders and scorpions, especially scorpions, can fit through cracks you can barely even see. Go around the baseboards and the foundation of your home with something as simple as caulking to seal those tiny cracks. If the baseboards are pulling away from the wall, if the corners don’t align perfectly, or if the windows are showing cracks along the house siding, use some caulking to seal those areas.

It’s the Season: Fall is the season for these types of pests. Scorpions and spiders began to make their way into your home to escape the evening chill.

The best thing that you can do to keep scorpions and spiders away from your home is to call in the professionals. Professional pest control experts, like our very own Magic Pest pros, will not only exterminate any pests, we will also seal your home to keep them out for the future.

How Well Do You Know Your Enemy, the Termite?

Termite Habits You Need to Know

In the book The Art of War, Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of knowing the enemy. Learning about its capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses can help you overcome them. The same is true when you’re trying to get rid of termites off your home. Knowing the habits of these creepy crawlies can work to your advantage; this knowledge will give you the upper hand. Here are a few termite habits you should know about.

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