How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home From Vacation

What bed bugs look like in Florida - Florida Pest Control

If you’re planning a vacation, you’ve probably considered what you’re going to pack or what your itinerary might look like, but have you thought about bed bugs? Many people we’ve serviced for bed bug infestations in Florida have told us that their troubles started soon after they returned home from a vacation. Bed bugs have the ability to sneak into the luggage and belongings that we bring to new locations, aiming to spread however they can to find shelter and food. To learn how to avoid bed bugs during your next vacation, read on for expert advice from the Florida Pest Control technicians.

How Do Bed Bug Infestations Start?

Bed bug infestations start when we leave our belongings accessible to them in a foreign location. Specialized to move discreetly, bed bugs wait until the nighttime to move in search of food or better places to take shelter. They are also able to change their schedules to be active whenever people are at rest—their whole existence depends on being able to feed off of us without us noticing.

So, this means that we aren’t often going to catch bed bugs in the act of infesting our belongings. Instead, we have to learn how to take proper preventative measures against a potential infestation, especially when going on vacation or staying in a new location temporarily.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs on Vacation

Avoiding bed bugs on your getaway starts before your vacation and ends after you get home. Although it might seem like a lot of work, you will thank yourself later for being able to return to a clean home! Here are the three phases of vacation bed bug prevention:

  • Before you leave: Check the reviews of your hotel to see if they have had a recent bed bug infestation. You can also call your chosen destination to ask if they use mattress covers and box spring encasements.
  • During your stay: Look for evidence of bed bug activity, like dried blood spots on mattresses and furniture, shed bed bug skin, and, of course, live bed bugs. Inspect your room’s furniture, drawers, baseboards, closets, and any other places that could offer them shelter. Additionally, store your luggage above the ground or on a tile floor and keep your clothing inside your bags instead of unpacking.
  • When you return: Turn out your luggage to make sure there are no signs of bed bugs anywhere, especially around folds and zippers. You can wash all of your clothes in a hot water cycle to ensure that any bed bugs don’t make it out.

Professional Bed Bug Control in Florida

If you’re one of the unfortunate ones that couldn’t avoid a bed bug infestation, let your local pest control company know. At Florida Pest Control, our bed bug specialists are trained in multiple methods of bed bug control and have the experience to assess your property to determine the proper strategy to go forward with. For a free quote or to learn more about our bed bug control services, give us a call or fill out our contact form today!

How Quickly Can Mice Breed In Your Home?

A mouse found in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Even here in Florida, winter does eventually roll around. With the drop in temperatures comes an increase in rodent activity in residential areas and around businesses. Like us, mice are just trying to stay warm, and the colder weather outside does not permit them to breed as they wish. Mice look to our homes for shelter, warmth, and breeding sites to continue their rapid proliferation through the winter. If you’re looking to learn more about mouse breeding habits and what you can do to prevent them from taking over your home, read on for advice from the Florida Pest Control technicians!

How Quickly Can Mice Reproduce?

Rodents can turn around new generations much faster than many kinds of animals in Florida, and mice are perhaps the best example of this. We’ve laid out some information about mice breeding habits that should tell you something about how serious an infestation can become:

  • Female mice can produce up to 10 litters per year and up to 14 pups per litter. With these being extreme examples, the average amount of pups produced by one mother mouse in a year usually sits between 35 and 55.
  • Mother mice have a 25 day gestation period and can mate again right after delivering a litter.
  • Newborn mice are able to breed after just 4-6 weeks of life.

With a little math, you can see these numbers mean that a small mouse infestation can very quickly become an outbreak of hundreds.

How to Stop Mice from Breeding Indoors

It should come as no surprise that the best way to prevent mice from breeding inside your home is to keep them out in the first place. We know that this can be quite difficult, especially in the winter, so we asked our technicians for advice to give to people both who are looking to get preventative and who are already struggling with mouse problems. Here’s what they said:

  • Keeping mice outside: The best way to keep mice out is to look all around your home for entry points and close them off with a silicone-based caulk or steel wool. These could be gaps in walls, cracks in foundation, broken roof tiling, and more. You can also perform regular yard maintenance and seal your garbage bins to avoid attracting mice with hiding places and food.
  • Getting mice out: Spraying diluted apple cider vinegar or peppermint oil around infested areas has proven successful for some Florida residents. Kitty litter and fabric softener sheets have also worked for some, but we recommend that you consider these as supplemental treatments for use in specific hotspots. If you plan on using mousetraps, make sure you consult a local rodent exterminator for advice on the best trap for your home.

Expert Mice Extermination in Florida

If your DIY mouse control plans aren’t coming to fruition, ask your local pest control company for help. Our Florida Pest Control technicians are trained to look in the places you wouldn’t think to to locate mouse-attracting vulnerabilities, pest access points, droppings and nests, and more, using industry-leading technology and strategies to remove every last mouse from your home. For a free quote or to learn more, contact us today!

Types of Millipedes in Florida

Yellow banded millipede in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Almost like clockwork (depending on environmental conditions), millipedes migrate in large numbers and become quite a nuisance for many homeowners during this time of year. Some migrations in the past were so large that it became necessary to apply sand on slippery railroad tracks for traction of locomotive drive wheels due to the squished millipedes! These days, millipedes remain very active in Florida, where there are currently over 50 species in existence. Thankfully, only a few of these species migrate in large numbers. At Florida Pest Control, we know how distressing seeing a ton of millipedes can be. Our experts are here to share everything you need to know about the plight of millipedes here in Florida—read on to learn more!

Common Millipedes in the Southeast

The types of millipedes to be most concerned about include:

  1. Yellow-Banded Millipede (Anadenobolus monilicornis) is known to exist in numbers high enough to cause homeowners grief. Although the Yellow-Banded Millipede is not a naturally occurring species, populations have grown quite large over the years. They’re often seen crawling over patios, sidewalks, and up the sides of buildings.
  2. The Florida Ivory Millipede occasionally migrates but rarely in numbers that will cause any alarm. This millipede is often seen crossing roads and sidewalks. They occasionally invade patios but rarely in the high numbers we see other millipedes migrate at.
  3. There are two species of Flat-Backed Millipedes that migrate in extremely high numbers during the fall.  The first is known as the Greenhouse Millipede (Oxidus gracilis) and the second is sometimes called the Cyanide Millipede (Asiomorpha coarctata) because of its ability to secrete hydrogen cyanide. The two look very much alike and are almost indistinguishable. Flat-Backed Millipedes are much smaller, ranging from about ½” to 1” in length. The smaller size allows them to enter homes and businesses through cracks in thresholds, sliding glass doors, windows, etc. This migration usually takes place in late summer and fall (September through November).

How to Prevent Millipedes

Controlling millipedes can be a challenge due to their behavior and high populations. Knowing a little about their biology and habits will help considerably. A thorough treatment of the grounds, including ornamental beds, is necessary. However, in the case of millipede control, it is best that mulch is raked back to allow the control product to be applied where the millipedes are harboring. If the turf has heavy thatch build-up, aeration will help reduce the thatch, eliminating a major food source for the millipedes. By making sure you’re doing this on a normal rotation, you can successfully prevent millipedes

Need Help with Migrating Millipedes?

At Florida Pest Control, we understand why millipedes are such a concerning pest. Not only are they frightening to look at, but they can migrate in the hundreds! Our experts are happy to help with any millipede concerns you may have, whether it’s preventing them or getting rid of them.

Contact us today to get started!

Pests on the Rise in Florida This Winter

Norway rat in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Pests can run rampant year-round here in Florida. Unlike regions with seasonal weather that renders many pest infestations nonexistent in the wintertime, we are accustomed to dealing with certain pests even throughout the colder months. In partnership with PestWorld, the NPMA recently released their 2021 Fall & Winter Bug Barometer® predicting the pest trends we’re to expect in our region this winter. Unsurprisingly, rodents have been named the number one concern pest for Florida residents this winter. To keep your home or business safe from rats and mice this winter, the experts are here to share everything you need to know about preventing increased rodent activity—read on to learn more!

Winter Pests in Florida

Although many types of pests go away in the fall and winter, there are a few that stick around. With above-normal rainfall predicted, mosquitoes have lingered well into the fall months—which is much longer than usual. The most pressing pest pressures we face this time of year are those pests that look to get inside our homes to escape dropping temperatures outdoors.

In November, you may still be seeing some infamous fall pests inside your home. These include ants, stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs, all of which look to overwinter until springtime right in the comfort of your property. The most concerning winter pest problem Florida residents face in 2021, however, is a rodent infestation.

NPMA Bug Barometer 2021

Why Rodent Infestations Are Dangerous

Rodents are an increasingly common pest problem for homeowners, especially this time of year. Both rats and mice can squeeze their way inside impossibly small holes to gain access to your basement, attic, or another area. Once indoors, they can wreak havoc. Some of the major dangers of mouse or rat infestations are:

  1. With their ever-growing incisor teeth, rodents are constantly chewing on a number of things in your home, electrical wires included.
  2. To build nests, rodents will tear through materials in your home, including your insulation and cardboard boxes.
  3. Rodents can directly or indirectly transmit some of the most dangerous diseases, from rat-bite fever to hantavirus.
  4. Rodent droppings can contaminate food and create a hazardous environment in your property.

How to Prevent a Rodent Infestation this Winter

With NPMA’s prediction of increased rodent activity this time of year, it’s more important than ever to team up with your local rodent control exterminators. At Florida Pest Control, our experts will work hard to implement the best rodent exclusion tactics to keep rats and mice away for good. Contact us today!

The Dangers of House Mice and Rats [2021 Update]

Rat in Florida home - Florida Pest Control

Even if you love visiting Mickey and Minnie in Orlando, odds are you’re not too keen on the idea of mice or rats sharing your home. Many people have an inherent dislike or fear of mice and rats and, considering how dangerous they can be to humans, that’s understandable. A rat or mouse infestation isn’t only messy, it is hazardous. Rodents can chew on wires, cause a mess with their droppings, and even damage the structure of your business. With rodent infestations on the rise in 2021 and into the next year, it’s important to learn how to prevent these pests in your home. The experts at Florida Pest Control are here to help—read on to learn about the top threats that rodents pose.

Dangerous Rodents in Florida

Mice, rats, and the parasites that come with them can carry a number of diseases, some of which are potentially deadly to humans, like hantavirus, listeria, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis, and even the bubonic plague. Admittedly, most of these diseases are more common in other parts of the world than they are in Florida, but it should help you understand why people and non-domesticated rodents should maintain separate residences.

Mice and rats can also play a large role in contributing to dangerous allergies. A national study detected mouse urine levels that could trigger allergies in 35% of homes. Trace amounts or higher were found in 82% of homes. Mouse droppings are also an allergy issue. There are as many people allergic to mouse droppings as there are to mold and dust. Exposure to mouse allergen is a known cause of asthma in children and adults.

Additionally, rodents eat just about anything—including items in your home. Their teeth can gnaw through insulation, wallboards, cardboard, even wood. Some are especially fond of electrical wiring and that can lead to real danger. Exposed wires resulting from mice are believed to cause 25% of U.S. house fires!

How to Keep House Mice & Rats Out

If you want to stay safe from the dangers of house mice and rats, it’s important to prevent them in the first place. Once they get indoors, rats and mice are likely to hide away in your attic, kitchen, garage, and other places where they can stay warm and have access to food. Exclusion is the key to getting rid of rat problems for good:

  1. Inspect your property to look for any openings rodents may have snuck through. By sealing these openings and closing up gaps around vents and soffits, you can effectively keep rodents out.
  2. Further rat-proof your property by repairing your roof and monitoring drains. By limiting their access points, you can get rid of the means by which rodents get inside of your property.
  3. Look into traps and baits. If you have just a couple of rodents in your property, you can effectively get rid of them using bait or traps. Keep in mind this is not a strong enough solution to get rid of an entire infestation.
  4. Get professional rodent control services. If you have a serious rodent problem, the best thing you can do is hire a pest control expert. A professional will know to safely and effectively get rid of the pests for good.

Get Rid of Dangerous Rodents For Good

Many people believe if they’ve never seen a mouse or rat in their home, they’re not there. That’s overly optimistic. Rodents can be quite secretive and live in your home for a long time without you noticing. Even if they’re not in your home yet, they soon could be.

Florida Pest Control offers rodent control and exclusion services. Our experts are trained to locate areas of rodent activity and potential rodent entry points. Contact Florida Pest Control today and we will perform a rodent control inspection to ensure you, your family, and your home are protected.

Noticing Silverfish In Your House?

Silverfish in Florida home - Florida Pest Control

Some insects could seemingly care less whether or not people see them. Others, like silverfish, make every effort to avoid the limelight. In fact, you might never know silverfish are secretly living inside your home. As nocturnal insects, silverfish are active while most people are sound asleep. They prefer dark, humid areas such as garages, attics, sheds, kitchens, and bathrooms, but won’t hesitate to scurry across a bedroom floor. The brown-gray to the bluish-silver appearance of their tapered bodies coupled with their wiggly walk earned them the silverfish name. They often lurk in cabinets or inside cardboard boxes and may also deem a pile of damp clothing a good nesting place.

If you are noticing these pests around your home, you may be wondering what you can do to get rid of them. The experts at Florida Pest Control are here to share everything you need to know about silverfish.

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish have powerful appetites that translate to a lot of damage within our homes. Paper and photos make for ideal dining as do sugary or starchy substances like carpet glue, book bindings, wallpaper, plaster, and some paints. And those are just a few of the items on the silverfish menu. Most often, you’ll notice silverfish damage long before seeing an actual silverfish.

When people do encounter silverfish inside the home, it often happens in bathrooms. You may see them in the sink or bathtub or crawling along the floor, near a wall. They move fairly quickly and rush to find cover, often squeezing under baseboards as soon as the lights come on.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

To discourage silverfish from entering your home in the first place, there are a few things you can do. To prevent silverfish, there are two crucial steps you can take:

  1. The most important thing you can do is control humidity inside the house. They prefer to live in areas with 75-95 percent relative humidity. That might sound high, but it’s not uncommon in Florida. For that reason, air conditioners and dehumidifiers are vital for making your home environment less attractive to silverfish. You can also take steps including fixing leaky pipes, caulking baseboards, and eliminating standing water.
  2. Whenever possible, store items in plastic bins with lids, rather than cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes tend to be one of the silverfish’s most favorite places to hang out. Not only do silverfish like cardboard, but roaches also do too! The corrugation of the cardboard creates a nice place for them to call home.

Dealing With a Silverfish Infestation?

If you don’t stumble across a silverfish, however, how are you supposed to know they covertly live in your home? Well, you probably won’t know for sure without a professional inspection. If you have suspicions (most likely based on damage around the house), our household pest control service is a perfect option to eliminate these secretive insects.

Contact Florida Pest Control today to schedule an inspection!

Common Bathroom Bugs & How to Get Rid of Them

Spiders are a common bathroom bug in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Bugs in the bathroom are never a welcome sight. You want your bathroom to be your own sanctuary—and, preferably, a bug-free zone! Unfortunately, pests of all kinds love to dwell in bathrooms. This is because a bathroom provides shelter, water, and even food for insects to feast on. In order to avoid the discovery of bugs infiltrating your Florida home’s bathroom, it’s important to learn not only what bugs are drawn to that room, but also what you can do to get rid of them for good. The experts at Florida Pest Control are here to share everything you need to know. Read on to learn more!

Common Bathroom Bugs in Florida Homes

Out of all rooms in a home, bathrooms are one of the most susceptible to pest problems. After all, leaky pipes, showers, and sinks provide precisely the environment many pests require to survive and reproduce. The culprits behind most bathroom pest problems are as follows:

  • Cockroaches. Roaches love filth and feed on sewer and drain sludge. They easily get into your bathroom through plumbing fixtures.
  • Centipedes. These long, spindly insects feed on other small insects that are common in bathrooms and love a humid environment.
  • Drain Flies. Just as their name suggests, drain flies are found around drains. They often appear when there is a plumbing problem in the main sewer line.
  • Spiders. As predators, spiders like to prey on the smaller insects often found in your bathroom areas.
  • Silverfish. These nocturnal insects are typically found around sewers or drains, and prefer to feed on mildew and mold.
  • Ants. A small ant problem can quickly turn into a large one if ants have found a source of food or water in your bathroom.

How to Get Rid of Bugs in Your Bathroom

The key to bathroom bug control is prevention! By eliminating the things that attract bathroom pests in the first place, you can avoid dealing with a full-blown cockroach or ant infestation. First, it’s crucial to quickly address any leaky pipes or plumbing issues that are contributing to the humid, moist environment. Consider using a dehumidifier from time to time to aid in this process. Lastly, clean your bathroom on a regular basis! By reducing clutter and cleaning every square inch of your bathroom from top to bottom, you can keep an eye out for early signs of a pest problem.

Need Bathroom Bug Control?

No homeowner wants to encounter pests in their home, let alone their bathroom. If you are noticing endless pests in your bathroom, you may have an infestation on your hands. It’s always best to enlist the help of a professional pest control company that can not only get rid of bathroom bugs but keep them away for good. Contact us today to get started!

Recluse Spiders in Florida

Recluse Spiders in Florida - Florida Pest Control

There is a popular misconception that Florida is riddled with the dangerous brown recluse spider. Thankfully, this simply isn’t the case. While several different species of recluse have indeed been found in Florida, they are rare and homeowners do not have to worry about them! At Florida Pest Control, we know how concerning these spiders can be. Our spider control experts are here to share everything you need to know about recluse spiders in the state of Florida. Read on to learn more!

Does Florida Have Recluse Spiders?

There are three species of recluse spiders that have been found in Florida: the brown recluse, the Mediterranean recluse, and the Chilean recluse. No breeding populations of these species have been found in any Florida county in a natural habitat. Over the years, our team has received a number of recluse spiders to identify. While they were indeed all recluse spiders, they were not brown recluses, but Mediterranean recluses! We once came across a Chilean recluse that was carried in from South America by the owners of a home being fumigated in the Winter Haven area. Recluses are found in cracks and crevices in and under rocks or the loose bark of dead trees. Thankfully, they are rarely found here in Florida.

Do Recluse Spiders Bite?

Many believe spider bites are quite common, which simply is not true. Spiders have no interest in us as a food source. They feed on insects and other invertebrates, not on human blood. Most spiders are venomous, but few have the ability to bite us. In fact, most spiders would rather leave us alone entirely—there’s a reason why the recluse spider gets its name, after all. The bottom line is bites from spiders—including recluse spiders—are extremely rare. However, it is still important to learn how to recognize the signs of a more dangerous bug bite. Some of the symptoms to look out for include the following.

  • Pain at the site of the bite.
  • Redness and swelling.
  • In serious cases, a deep, purple sore or ulcer that forms.
  • Fever and chills
  • Nauseua
  • Joint pain
  • While rare, seizures.

Needless to say, always contact a medical professional immediately if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms from a spider bite.

How to Stay Safe From Dangerous Spiders in Florida

While spiders may be abundant in our region, you don’t have much to worry about when it comes to the recluse. Spiders in general are typically harmless, especially the ones we tend to encounter in our homes. If you are ever unsure of what type of spider you may be dealing with, the spider exterminators at Florida Pest Control are happy to help. Contact us today to learn more!

Do Hurricanes Cause More Termites?

Hurricane season in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Termites are a big threat for Florida homeowners year-round. Another big threat for homeowners? Hurricane season! Every summer, storms seem to get worse and worse. Unfortunately, 2021 is predicted to be another above-normal hurricane season. While you may not think termites and hurricanes are relevant to each other, they go hand in hand in causing massive damage to homes and businesses. With termites’ love for damp, damaged wood, hurricanes can encourage their activity this time of year.

At Florida Pest Control, we know that termites and hurricanes are both major stressors for residents throughout the state. Our termite control experts are here to share all you need to know about termites during hurricane season.

Are Termites Dangerous During Hurricane Season?

Both subterranean termites and Formosan termites are infamous for infesting damp wood that is typically in contact with soil. A stormy summer, then, can encourage termite activity even more. The main dangers of termites during hurricane season are as follows:

  1. Storms will put more wood in contact with wet surfaces and soil, even to the point of causing water damage in a property. Water damage in wood above ground can bring subterranean termites up out of their nests and into higher levels of a building.
  2. Termites weaken wood not only in buildings but in trees as well. This puts structures at an even higher risk of damage during a storm or hurricane. Trees weakened by termites will be more likely to fall during a storm, and homes weakened by termites won’t have quite the stronghold they need to withstand high winds and water.

What Happens to Termites During a Storm?

Similar to other insects and animals, a hurricane or storm will likely displace termites. In the case there is serious flooding from a hurricane, it is likely that subterranean termites will drown. In fact, research conducted in 1995 by entomologists at the University of Georgia at Athens found that inundation, or flooding, was the single-greatest natural factor that led to mortality of subterranean termite populations. Before you get your hopes up, this usually will not kill off an entire colony. While there may be a decrease in termite populations immediately after flooding or storms, they will come back quickly—especially with the abundance of moistened, damaged wood at their disposal after a storm event.

How to Stay Safe From Termites During Hurricane Season

The last thing you want to think about during a hurricane is about the threat of termites. Unfortunately, these two threats go hand in hand. To ensure your property is not weakened by termites and made more vulnerable to storm damage, it’s important to team up with a local termite control company. At Florida Pest Control, we are proud to provide Florida property owners with industry-leading termite treatments and monitoring. Contact us today to learn how we can help prepare you for termite and hurricane season.

Types of Florida Scorpions

Florida scorpion identification - Florida Pest Control

Florida is home to three main species of scorpions, the Florida Bark Scorpion, the Hentz Striped Scorpion, and the Guiana Striped Scorpion. These scorpions like to hide under boards, in debris, and in other places in homes and yards where food and shelter can be found. Florida scorpions live from three to five years. Scorpions may be capable of reproducing up to several times a year, so an infestation may become severe and long-lasting. It is recommended that professional pest services be sought if a scorpion infestation is suspected in the home.

Do Florida Scorpions Sting?

None of the three Florida scorpion species are capable of producing a fatal sting. While the sting may not be lethal, it is painful and may cause swelling and allergic reactions. Florida scorpions are not aggressive, but may sting when pinned against the skin as when the scorpions become trapped in clothing or sheets.

Florida bark scorpion - Florida Pest Control1. Florida Bark Scorpion

Also called the slender brown scorpion, the Florida bark scorpion is the largest of the Florida scorpions. These scorpions can grow up to four inches long and have a brown body, light-colored legs, and yellow dashes on the back. Bark scorpions are nocturnal and are typically found under boards, especially in newly constructed or abandoned homes. The sting is extremely painful, although not as venomous as bark scorpions that are native to Central and South America. These scorpions are found in the more tropical areas of Florida and feed mainly on termites, spiders, and other small insects.

2. Hentz Striped Scorpion

The most common scorpion found in Florida is the Hentz striped scorpion, which can be found in nearly all parts of Florida. These scorpions are typically about 2-3 inches in length and are dark brown to tan. These scorpions can be further identified by their dark brown to tan color and the presence of greenish-yellow stripes on the midsection. The abdomen is slender and there is a tooth behind the venom bulb. These scorpions are most commonly found beneath stones and other debris on the ground. Hentz striped scorpions eat cockroaches.

3. Guiana Striped Scorpion

Guiana striped scorpions can range from one to three inches in length. They are identifiable by their primarily yellow body, although patterning and coloration may vary. These scorpions are the least common type that can be found in Florida and are generally only seen around Miami-Dade, Collier, and Monroe counties in Florida. These scorpions seek available shelter under stones, under bark, or in vegetation. When Guiana scorpions sting humans, the effects last from one to five hours.

Scorpion Control in Florida

Florida scorpions don’t cause often problems, but in the event that you have an issue, Florida Pest Control is just a phone call away. Our Integrated Pest Management methods allow us to customize services to meet your needs, keeping you and your family protected from household pests. Our lawn services can help to reduce scorpions and exclusion will keep them out.

Have you spotted scorpions around your property? Check with your local office for services offered. Contact us today!