Home Pest Control Update: Mice and Rats are Active in Maryland in November

mice pest control Pest Shield

Fall has gotten quite cold in Central Maryland. 

It even feels like winter on some days. If you think it’s cold for us, imagine how it must be for those rats and mice! Their little bodies are shivering and they want to find a place that is warm. 

So, where do they go? They go to your home, of course. They have to find somewhere to live for the winter as their grasses where they burrow and live have died off. As the cold weather hits, mice and rats will leave their dead homes and scurry into your live one. 

rat pest control Pest Shield Inc.

They can get into your home pretty easily, too. They can squeeze through a hole as small as ¼” inch. Those holes in your home can be found where wires or pipes come in. Look behind your oven or refrigerator to see if there are holes. Mice also love bags filled with leftovers! They will spend hours gnawing into bags and then eating the contents. If you think that is gross, they also eat your dog or cat’s food and feces!     

Additionally, when they invade your home for food and shelter they also use it as their bathroom. They drop their waste on your floor, in your cabinets, and on your countertops as much as eighty times a day. 

So, how in the world does a Central Maryland resident stop these pests from absolutely soiling and infesting your home? It can be done both personally and professionally. 

Home Pest Control Tips: What you can do 

It may seem like stopping them is a hopeless situation. Yet, there are steps you can take to prevent mice and rats from invading your home, food and pets. 

First, seal up any holes around wiring and pipes. They cannot get in and crawl down the wires or pipes if you have sealed them off. This can be done with caulk, cement, tape or other types of sealants. 

Second, store food in sealable plastic or glass containers. Do not store your food in plastic or paper bags. 

Third, clean up your countertop and floors of all spills, crumbs and other food items. Use a green cleaner or safe detergent. 

If these measures fail, then you may need to call a professional pest control company to intervene. 

Professional Home Pest Control

If everything you have done has failed, call your local home pest control company. Your trained Pest Shield Technicians will also inspect for conducive conditions (holes, channels, etc.) that can contribute to mice and rats infestation.

You can take preventative measures to stop your home from being invaded by mice, and rats by calling our experienced home pest control technicians to rid your home of these pests. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a home pest control consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. We serve Mt. Airy, MD, Central Maryland and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.

 

 

 

Fall Weather in Central Maryland Brings Stink Bugs, Boxelders, and Millipedes

stink bugs Pest Shield Inc

We needed the cool weather after a blazing hot summer in Central Maryland. It’s time for pumpkins, cinnamon, Halloween, Oktoberfest and all the other traditions of fall. 

Unfortunately, it’s also time for the pests to move from outside to your home. Those pests can make the season not so fun and can get into your holiday food and costumes. 

The pests we’re speaking of this time?: Stink bugs, Boxelders and Millipedes. None of these pests will destroy your home or life. But they can be a nuisance. So, let’s take them one at a time:

Stink Bugs     

The Marmorated Stink Bug moves into your home pretty quickly. They are called that name because they emit a musty scent when they are frightened or squashed. They don’t tear up your home. However, if you smell them, you may have them nesting in large numbers in your home, especially if your home is dark colored and has wood or cement siding. Also, if you live near wooded areas, you are more likely to be invaded by them. stink bugs Pest Shield Inc

The best way to reduce your chances of being invaded by stink bugs is to seal all crevices around your windows, doors, and foundation. They don’t bite or sting. They just stink to high heaven. Once they have entered your home, they go for the attic or old clothes and hang out there until spring. 

Boxelders

Boxelders come from Boxelder trees. They are discovered in and around most homes that are near the female Boxelder trees which have winged sea pods and compound leaves. Seed pods turn brown in the fall and should always be removed if they are near the house. 

These pests feed on the Boxelder Trees and swarm on sunny exposures of homes in the fall. They especially like the white surfaces on the south side of buildings and hide in cracks during cold weather. As it gets colder, they move indoors. Boxelder bugs Pest Shield Inc

You can prevent them from invading your property by sealing up cracks with caulk and also tighten screens and doors. Replace any old and falling weather stripping. Use a hard spray of soap and water to knock them down then vacuum them up. 

Millipedes

The good thing about Millipedes: they don’t harm anything. 

The bad thing about Millipedes: they are creepy looking! With all those legs, they look like a 1950’s horror movie monster. 

They are harmless but still can be unwelcome invaders. They are seen in the fall when they search for warm spaces like cracks to hibernate in. They tend to be found in cracks, sinks, and drains as they don’t know any better to hide like other insects. millipede Pest Shield Inc

They can be very difficult to get rid of, however. You may need to call professional pest control or exterminator to do it. They can inspect your home and find the cracks where millipedes live. 

Pest Control

If you have seen any of these pests, you may want to call your local, trusted pest control company. 

You can take preventative measures to stop your home from being invaded by stink bugs, Boxelders, and Millipedes by calling our experienced home pest control technicians to rid your home of these pests. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home. 

Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.

Home Pest Control: Terminate those Spiders and Crickets

Fall is a time of year to enjoy pumpkin spice, raking leaves, cooler weather and spiders and crickets.

Spiders and crickets! No one enjoys those but they will make their appearance and can be a serious nuisance in your home. You need to be on the lookout for these pests as cold weather triggers their migration from outdoors to indoors. 

You can stop them from invading your property by identifying them and then using home pest control to exterminate them. 

First, there are two types of crickets in Central Maryland: camel and field. 

Camel Crickets 

Camel crickets are commonly known as “spider crickets” or “sprickets”. The reason they are called that is that they actually look like a spider/cricket hybrid-really ugly. These insects prefer dark, moist locations such as basements and closets. They also hide under leaves, logs, benches, and burrow their way into small cracks in walls and floors.

Camel Cricket (photo courtesy By Neda Dilmaghanian CC BY-SA 3.0)

While these weird-looking creatures are harmless, they can be everywhere. Also, when they are feeling threatened, they will jump toward or on you. They do have one redeeming value: they eat other insects.

Keep in mind that these crickets climb through vents and into ceiling cracks. So, one way to prevent them is to repair cracks in foundations, stairwells, doors, windows and basements. If this fails, contact your local home pest control exterminator. 

Field Crickets 

Field Cricket (Photo courtesy By Roberto Zanon – Photo by Roberto Zanon, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Field Crickets are the flatter, darker shorter crickets. They can jump very high and get into cabinets and pantries. However, they, like Camel Crickets, tend to hang out in basements, closets and other dark, moist places. 

These crickets are harmless, also, but reproduce in large numbers. Field crickets can do great damage to clothing and furniture. They are quite destructive. The most annoying thing about them is their chirp. The males chirp loudly, often and, of course, during the night when you are trying to sleep. 

Get a dehumidifier and place it in the basement or other dark places in your home where these crickets may live. This will reduce the moisture and drive the crickets out. You can also drown them in soapy water or simply vacuum them up!

Spiders

There are many, many types of spiders in Central Maryland. We will cover just two types in this blog: Brown Recluse and Wolf Spider.

Brown Recluse (also known as “Violin” or “Fiddleback”)  

Brown Recluse Spider Pest Shield Inc

Brown Recluse Spider (photo by John C. Stennis Space Center, NASA).)

This spider is not native to Maryland but we see them everywhere! The Brown Recluse is not one to be taken lightly. It is a light cream to dark brown color. They hide in dark or secluded areas such as basements and woodpiles. They typically eat cockroaches and crickets, dead or alive.

Their venom can have bad effects. A bite will become red and swollen with red rings around it. The bite eventually becomes a swollen, fluid-filled blister. It may take twelve months or longer for it to heal so if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse, see a physician immediately. 

Brown Recluses may live as long as four years. If you have found these pesky spiders in your home, shake out your shoes and bedding, seal cracks in your walls and always wear gloves when working in the woodpile or lumber. Or, you can call a home pest control exterminator to treat your home. 

Wolf Spider

A more common spider found in Central Maryland homes is the Wolf Spider. These spiders are about two inches long. They are furry and have a dark cross pattern on their back. They can be found outdoors but when fall arrives and the weather gets colder, wolf spiders will enter your home and nest there.

They do bite but it is not venomous. However, if you have allergies you may want to see a physician. Preventative measures include removing trees and shrubs from being close to your home and sealing all holes and cracks in your home.

Home Pest Control

wolf spider Pest Shield

Wolf Spider (photo by Patrick Edwin Moran, CC BY-SA 3.0)  

You can take preventative measures to stop your home invasion of spiders and crickets or you can call our experienced home pest control technicians to rid your home of these pests. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.   

Home Pest Control: Hornets and Yellowjackets

Summer is winding down. It has been incredibly hot and humid in the Central Maryland area. Insects continue slamming many homes. Our exterminators and pest control technicians have been busy! Extremely humid summers like this one can be a bonanza for us exterminators but very difficult for homeowners. 

We have touched on different summer insects that you would need to perform pest control on. Though many insects die off at the end of summer, many others flourish and continue to cause damage even into the late fall.  

Two types of insects can be particularly troublesome: hornets and yellow jackets. You may find them inside your home or nesting in your lawn.yellow jackets Pest Shield Inc.

Our area is home to several different species of yellow jackets. They are characterized by being 3/8” to 5/8” with a black striped abdomen. They typically nest in the ground. German yellowjackets nest in walls of homes and buildings. Aerial Yellow jackets use paper and build nests outside in bushes, shrubs, houses, sheds, and other shrubberies. Yellowjackets eat other insects. Once fall comes, these insects become very aggressive. 

European Hornets also pose a threat to your home and health. These hornets are very large, at 3/4” to 1 3/8” in length. Their abdomens are brown with yellow stripes. These insects normally nest in buildings, barns, and hollow trees. It usually eats other insects, too. You will see them at night as lights attract them. They are aggressive only near their nests. European hornet Pest Shield

However, if their nests are near a structure, you need to be careful. Nests are also large and hornets buzz around at dusk or later at night. They can be treated with an insecticide but those are not always effective. You may want to treat them during the day but wear protective clothing and equipment and a veil. (A bee veil is recommended.) 

If you decide against doing the pest control on your own, you would do well to stay clear of the yellow jacket and hornet nests. Both are large and both can swarm and sting. Please be careful and be aware of your surroundings. 

Instead, call a pest control professional. Pest Shield, Inc., will solve these common nuisance pests utilizing our non-repellant transfer effect treatments mainly from the exterior of your home. Your trained Pest Shield Technicians will also inspect for conducive conditions (moisture, vegetation/trees/bushes touching the home; leaf litter, etc) that can contribute to Odorous House Ant populations.

So, call our experienced pest control technicians to rid your home of these yellow jackets and hornets. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.

 

They’re Here: House Ants Invasion

Home Pest Control: Odorous House Ants

If you live in Howard, Montgomery, Carroll, or Frederick County, Maryland, and are experiencing an issue with ants, the most likely annoying culprits are known as Odorous House Ants. They are often referred to by homeowners and home pest control professionals as Sugar Ants. These smaller ants (1/16″ to 1/8″ inches) invade Central Maryland by the thousands. They create homes on our countertops, in our sinks and even in our dishwashers.

They are found almost everywhere.

They derive their infamous name because if you happen to squish one, they emit foul odor resembling a rotten coconut.

Odorous house ants colonies usually have around a few hundred to tens of thousands. The bigger colonies even have several queens.  These particular ants are very resilient. Even the injured workers don’t stop. They keep working. The queens can also survive without food or water for up to two months. Heat or cold do not seem to affect them either.  Once a colony of odorous ants is built, they are very difficult to remove from a home.

Using their many nests, odorous ants forage for food. They will move the queen and workers from nest to nest to deliver food. Their goal is to get as close to the homeowner’s food as possible. Their favorite food? sugar and anything that has it.

During the winter, the colony will stay in a single nest. In spring and summer, they create multiple nests as food is easier to find. Then, when winter returns, they go back to the same nest location. The months they are are most active are March to September and were most inactive October to December. Most of their home invasions occur after rain. They are also quite tolerant of other ants, so they only add to any infestation that you may have meaning they will only add to your home’s pest infestation.  

Odorous house ants also colonize near heat sources or in the insulation. If the weather is hot, they may nest in toilet lids or house plants. Outdoors they can be found under rocks and in the soil. However, you can really find them anywhere around your home and just about anywhere inside it.

 

Though you may want to spray them with an over-the-counter product, we urge you not to do it. These annoying pests can “bud” or develop multiple colonies when disrupted and spread quickly, making the problem even worse. Know that these main colonies are outside the structure and travel back and forth to our homes, developing “satellite “ colonies when conditions are favorable such as our homes.

Pest Shield will solve these common nuisance pests utilizing our non-repellant transfer effect treatments mainly from the exterior of your home. Your trained Pest Shield Technicians will also inspect for conducive conditions (moisture, vegetation/trees/bushes touching the home; leaf litter, etc) that can contribute to Odorous House Ant populations.

So, call our experienced pest control technicians to rid your home of these ants. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.

Pest Control 101: Ant Infestation in Maryland Homes

carpenter ants Pest Shield Inc

Everybody loves summertime. 

The school kids are at home. College students are at home. Teachers are at home. Grandparents are at home. 

And the ants are home.

Yes, summertime in Maryland/DMV and that means that ants are probably going to invade your home, and unlike your family, they are uninvited and destructive. Ants will not only tear up your property, but they can also injure your loved ones and pets.  

Here are the main types of ants in Central Maryland that can cause problems: 

  1. Carpenter ants: These ants build nests inside of wood. They tunnel and remove wood along the way. They also contaminate food. They need moisture to survive. You can keep them away by removing water-damaged wood from your home and making sure gutters are clean and properly draining water. Store wood away from the house and trim trees and bushes that are touching the house.  
  2. Pavement ants: They build their nests under pavement, but can also be found in walls and under floors. Be sure to clean up pet food, your food, and beverages and keep your kitchen clean. Food should be stored in sealed containers. Your home’s foundation, windows, and doors should also be sealed. 
  3. Acrobat ants: These nasty ants sting when threatened and get in your food. Seal window cracks, doors, pipes, foundation, and exterior walls. And, again, clean your dishes right away and store food in sealed containers. 

All of these ants have one thing in common: they are destructive! You can do your own “pest control” by taking the necessary precautions of storing or wiping up food right away. 

If you have spotted these ants and they are taking over, Pest Shield Inc.’s team of Pest Management Professionals will work with you to ensure that your home or business will have the most effective Green Pest Control and Management Reduction Strategy to rid you of these ants! Call us at (301) 829-0060.

Green Pest Control Solutions: What does this mean for my family or business?

Back of house with overgrown brush

We have a proven strategy to reduce destructive, disease-carrying, common nuisance pests in and around our client’s homes and businesses. It is a pro-active approach where we reduce the conditions that are favorable for pest populations in your home to thrive.

Here are some practical tips and recommendations that will work synergistically with Pest Shields Pest Management Service for both homeowners and businesses:

  • Moisture Reduction: this is the best way to reduce mosquitoes and other pests such as termites, carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and other pests.
  • Vegetation Reduction: trim remove plants, bushes, and tree limbs from touching the structure(s).
  • Source Reduction: remove leaves, debris and other stored material that attracts pests and rodents.
  • Sanitation removal and repair: this removes potential food source attractions for pests inside and outside
  • Structural Modifications: remove weathered wood and potential entry avenues to the foundation including pipes, HVAC lines and holes in screens.
  • Regular Pest Assessments and Applications: Pest Shield Inc’s professional, award-winning staff can assess, recommend and apply.

Pest Shield Inc.’s team of Pest Management Professionals will work with you to ensure that your home or business will have the most effective Green Pest Control and Management Reduction Strategy incorporating all of the above recommendations! Call us at (301) 829-0060 for a free inspection.

Termite Control: “If You Have a Wooden Structure or Cellulose Materials, They Will Come”

“If you have a wooden structure or cellulose materials, they will come.”

That’s a little creative play on a famous movie line, but it is so true when it comes to a massive pest: termites.

These immensely destructive pests are active in Maryland, especially in March and April, but do damage all year round. Termites have to be exterminated or they will cause massive, uninsured property damage.   

But, first, we need to understand how termites work.

The Eastern Subterranean Termite is indigenous to our area. They live in colonies under the soil. They have a queen, soldiers, winged reproductives (swarmers), and worker termites. The winged reproductives (swarmers) are the ones usually seen by homeowners. They resemble flying ants and can go unchecked, as many homeowners think they are only ants and not as damaging.

The swarmers, however, are not the ones causing damage. They mate and begin a new colony. They spawn the worker termites which cause damage to wood and cellulose-containing materials when they forage for food. Termites convert the cellulose from wood products into sugar, then utilize it as a food source.

If you see the following “termite red flags,” you know you have an infestation:

  1. “Shelter Tubes.” These 1/4 inch wide dirt tunnels will show up on the foundation, along with exposed wood. They may also dangle from the ceiling.
  2. Dirt tightly packed in cracks or crevices on the structure.
  3. Piles of silvery, membranous insect wings, all about 1/4 inch long, on floors, on window sills, or in spider webs.
  4. Floors that sag or cracks that settle.
  5. Paneling that has dark or blistered areas. Peeling or blistered paint that has moisture under it.

When you see any or all of these termite infestation red flags, your home or business is under attack. It’s time to take action.  

However, termite control cannot be done effectively by using over-the-counter solutions. Termites are too powerful and too destructive for most home remedies. It’s recommended that homeowners and business owners contact a termite control technician or specialist who can analyze the infestation and apply the correct solutions.    

Pest Shield, Inc., provides experienced termite control technicians who use effective solutions to rid your home of termites. We offer termite control protection and prevention for private homes, apartments, condominiums, and multi-family residences. We serve residences in Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, and the Northern Virginia region.

Contact us to schedule a complimentary inspection of your residence or business or to request other services. Call us at (301) 829-0060 or email info@pestshieldinc.com.

How to Hire an Exterminator for Pests in Residences and Businesses

If you look up “exterminator” in the dictionary (www.dictionary.com) this is what you find:

noun
a person or thing that exterminates.
a person or business establishment specializing in the elimination of vermin, insects, etc., from a building, apartment,etc., especially by the controlled application of toxic chemicals.

“Exterminator” is a common term in the pest control industry. It does explain what we do. We “exterminate” bugs and other pests from homes and businesses.

However, when the time comes and you need an exterminator, what do you look for exactly? Anyone can say they exterminate pests. Anyone may claim to be an exterminator.

So, what should we look for in a qualified exterminator? Here are five things to consider when choosing an exterminator:

  1. Years of service: How experienced is the pest control company when it comes to protecting your family and home? How many years have they been in business? Do they have company marked pest control vehicles? You need to make sure they are not a fly-by-night company with no marked company vehicles. Those are definitely red flags. Pest Shield’s award-winning staff has over 60 combined years of protecting families like yours. Two of our staff members have protected our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan against disease-carrying pests!
  2. Certified and licensed pesticide applicator/technician: Maryland requires that pest control services have a business license: “Any business that is offering pest control services, or applying any type of pesticide for hire, as part of a service or contract agreement is required to have a Pesticide Business License and have at least one certified pesticide applicator who has demonstrated competence in the use of pesticides.” Also, each pest control company must have one certified, licensed commercial pesticide applicator. Registered technicians are not required to be under direct supervision. They must, though, have verifiable training in order to apply pesticides under the company license. You can verify licenses by calling the Maryland/Virginia/Washington, D.C. Departments of Agriculture. Be sure to get a copy of the pest control license to verify that the pest control company is licensed and experienced.
  3. Request references: Any experienced pest control company will have satisfied customers. They should have these references available. Additionally, reviews and references should be posted on their Facebook or on Home Advisor.

Pests are a part of life. They can be found in your home and your business. The importance of an exterminator is understood. So, do your homework. Make sure you get an experienced, licensed exterminator with good reviews and references. Your property and health depend on it!

All the exterminators at Pest Shield, Inc., of Mt. Airy, MD, use only our environmentally-conscious pest control solutions. We are licensed and certified by the Maryland and Virginia Departments of Agriculture in all Pest, Termite, and Public Health Categories. Please contact us at (301) 829-0060 or (888) 9 NOPEST or info@pestshield.com.