Pests enter homes through various means. The most common entry points are weep holes, cracks and spaces around doors and windows, un-properly screened areas in eaves and attics, cracks in foundations, soil access areas in plumbing penetrations, and so on. Proper seals and screenings are a chemical free way to help control unwanted guests to your home.
Brick constructed homes contain weep holes which are the most common method for mice, rats, roaches, snakes, spiders, scorpions and lizards etc. to enter the home is through the brick weep holes. Weep holes are best described as welcome stations or tons of tiny doors for unwanted guests to just come on in.
During the construction phase of brick-veneer structures, gaps called weep holes are purposely built into the lower layer of bricks in order to allow the wall to drain and ventilate. The unfortunate draw back of weep holes is that they allow pests free access to the interior of your walls.
Solutions offers exclusion services for your home including weep hole covers that still allow the wall to drain and ventilate, but they block the entry of unwanted guests into your home. We also seal up other crack and crevices and replace and torn, damaged, or missing screening in and around your home and attic. Contact Solutions for a free pest exclusion estimate for your home or business.
Your treatment will absolutely work in the rain. In fact, rainfall actually spreads the pesticide into more cracks and crevices around the outside of your house and allows for even better penetration in the top layer of the soil. This is why we frequently use granular pesticides in the rain. This method of application is much like spreading fertilizer. The pesticide granule is activated by rain in the same way a fertilizer granule is activated. These materials are in no way ill-affected by the rainfall. The only exception to this is when a pesticide is applied next to an outside foundation wall and heavy rains and poor drainage allow for rushing water to carry the material away. These occurrences are very rare and our professionals are trained not to apply materials in such circumstances.
Also, the materials we use in liquid applications are residuals that separate from the water in which they are mixed. These residuals are similar to micro-droplets that firmly adhere to treated surfaces and aren't easily washed away by rain. Most structures have eaves that also protect the outside foundation wall to soil juncture and further keep rains from affecting our treatment.
In the case of liquid termite treatments, termiticides are applied in high volume to trenches dug by our service professionals. Once the trench has been treated, it is backfilled with the excavated soil protecting the treatment. Of course any treatments in a crawlspace or a sub-slab concrete area aren't exposed and are not of concern during rainfall.
So as you can see, except in the case of heavy, flooding rains general pest control and termite control can be performed in the rain while still ensuring you of a quality treatment.
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The Problem with Pests
Cockroaches, ticks, ants, mosquitoes, mice...certainly not images you conjure up when you picture "home, sweet, home". But such pests are attracting greater public attention because of the increasing health risks they pose to American adults and children.
"While not all insects, ticks or mites are harmful to humans, some carry life-threatening diseases," says Dr. Jerome Goddard, clinical assistant professor of preventive medicine, University of Mississippi Medical School. "We are seeing several new vector-borne (carried by insects) diseases emerge, such as Lyme disease, and consumers need to learn how to protect themselves and remove such risks from their environment."
Authorities say health-related pest problems are on the rise for many reasons. Dr. Phil Koehler, entomology professor, University of Florida, says many of the pests American consumers contend with today are species or exposures imported from other countries, largely from air travel. Goddard agrees, "Dengue fever, for example, can be traced back to American tourists bitten by mosquitoes during Caribbean vacations."
Suburbanization and the growing human population contribute to the rise in diseases as well. Goddard says the increase in Lyme disease can be linked to building homes in wooded areas and even tick bites in parks near cities. Parks are a source of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme and others.
Pest problems are not limited to diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks. Consumers must also contend with insects that bite or sting, including ants, bees, poisonous spiders, flies, hornets and wasps. Other insects, such as fleas, lice, mites, cockroaches and beetles, can aggravate skin disorders or allergies and infest food supplies. Dr. Bobby Corrigan, RMC Pest Management Consulting, Richmond, Ind., says rodents not only are linked to disease transmission, food contamination but also to electrical problems in city buildings, where they can gnaw through insulation for electrical wires, affecting critical computers and other equipment.
"The good news is that we can put a stop to some of these problems," says Goddard. "Pest control is a matter of education, personal protection, sanitation and elimination."
Corrigan agrees. He suggests controlling rodents using an integrated pest management (IPM) plan that includes sanitation, pest-proofing buildings, trapping programs and rodenticides. "IPM is critical if you have a severe problem with these small mammals, even more than with insects," he says.
While a fly swatter may offer short-term solutions for insect control, many entomologists encourage consumers to focus on broader, more effective answers. Goddard recommends consumers first avoid exposure when possible and use insect repellents and an appropriate pest management program that includes pesticides.
"Pesticides are important public health tools in destroying health threats. I've heard them referred to as 'environmental medicines,' and I agree with that concept," says Goddard. "When pesticides are used judiciously and according to their label, they are extremely safe tools for pest control."
Koehler suggests consumers first learn what they can about the pests they are trying to control by searching the Internet, contacting Extension specialists or pest control professionals. Koehler then recommends consumers target pest control and treat for pests only when a legitimate pest problem exists.
Judicious use of pesticides will not only help protect consumers from disease-carrying insects and rodents, it will help preserve the effectiveness of the products in use. In addition, Goddard says researchers must continue to have the opportunity to develop and register new pesticides that will help control pests resistant to products already on the market.
"The benefits of judicious use of pesticides far outweigh any risks and help slow down the threat to public health," he says. "Consumers do not need to fear being around pesticides when products are being used according to the label."
Pest Problems Are Not Child's Play
While anyone can have a close encounter of the unpleasant kind with insects or other pests, the natural curiosity of children gets them into trouble most often. Whether children are crawling through grass or climbing in cabinets, cockroaches, fleas, ticks or rodents may end up an unwitting part of the exploration.
"Children, just by nature of their size, are very vulnerable to stinging and biting," says Dr. Jerome Goddard, clinical assistant professor of preventive medicine, University of Mississippi Medical School. "Children are also most vulnerable to vector-borne diseases (carried by insects) because their immune systems are still developing. Since they have not been exposed to much, reactions can be more severe than with adults."
Health risks to children in the inner cities where dust mites and cockroaches often thrive have recently been recognized. "We are seeing a higher rate of asthma among inner city children because of allergies triggered by cockroaches and house dust mites," says Goddard.
Dr. Phil Koehler, entomology professor, University of Florida, has found the highest incidence of allergy problems is associated with cockroaches. Because of that finding, Florida state officials are seeking ways to improve indoor air quality.
"Children with allergies in inner city settings have three times the hospitalization rate as other children," he says. "If they're hospitalized or sick, they're not in school."
Other insect-related diseases and illness are increasing as well. Goddard reports a rise in the number of tick and mosquito-borne diseases, and concerns about head lice are reaching epidemic proportions in some areas.
"Children are most susceptible to head lice merely because of a child's playful behavior and personal contact," says Koehler. "The reason we are seeing lice epidemics is because the lice have gradually become resistant to over-the-counter treatments."
Koehler notes the lack of any new product chemistries in the last 15-20 years has allowed lice to become resistant to the one pesticide that is most often used to treat head lice. "This is a good example of why we need a good registration process to bring new products to market and then use them judiciously," he says.
Likewise, a sound pesticide registration system means new products to curb insect-related health problems must be proven safe before they are made available to the public. "Consumers need to know that someone can't just mix up chemicals and sell them as pesticides," says Goddard. "Products go through a rigorous process before they are approved for use."
While confining children's curiosity may be a sure-fire solution to preventing pest-related health problems, experts say the best solution is to control known and existing pests. "As long as consumers follow label directions, the benefits of judicious pesticide use far outweigh any risks," says Goddard.
"Just as antibiotics protect humans from undesirable bacteria and germs, pesticides keep dangerous and damaging pests in check," according to Allen James, executive director of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)Ò . And, the similarity doesn't end there, he adds. "Pesticide products, that rid homes, schools, parks and workplaces of unwanted insects, plant diseases and weeds, are as extensively tested for health, safety and consumer benefits as are antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals."
Many years and dollars are invested in pest product development. The pesticide label, with its consumer instructions, is the proof that all products can be used effectively and safely. Every pesticide must successfully complete as many as 120 government-mandated tests before the Environmental Protection Agency considers label approval and product registration. Many of these tests are specific for human health, safety and environmental quality.
The entire development and testing process takes eight to 10 years at a manufacturer's cost of $35 million to $50 million or more per product. Yet, on average, James says, only one in 20,000 potential products ever makes it to the marketplace.
"It's a complex, demanding process based on sound science principles with consumer safety uppermost," James points out. "The system of scientific and regulatory checks and balances assures that strict safeguards are built into every pesticide, when used according to label instructions."
"And the process is becoming even more stringent, James says. The 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) sets a single health standard for all pesticides, agricultural and specialty, and takes into account any potential occurrence in food and drinking water. The act also provides additional protection for infants and children, and expedites registration of newer products.
Yet some "naysayers" continue to target pesticide products as a risk to consumers, James says, as he notes that "no pesticides are known to have caused harm to humans when applied according to those all-important label instructions." This is where the analogy to pharmaceuticals again can be made, he says. Any risk is in misuse of the products and failure to follow directions.
Dr. C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General has said, "The risk of being killed by an automobile (one in 6,000) is much greater than any hypothetical risk of a pesticide."
Many other authorities have voiced the same confidence in pesticide use. Dr. Roberta Cook, University of California-Davis stresses that scientific surveys repeatedly show that pesticide residues in foods are 100 to 1,000 times lower than levels considered safe by the World Health Organization. Dr. Jerome Goddard, clinical assistant professor for preventative medicine, University of Mississippi Medical School notes: "The benefits of judicious use of pesticides far outweigh any risks and help slow down the threat [of disease-carrying vermin and pests] to public health. Consumers do not need to fear being around pesticides when products are used according to the label."
RISE, and the industry it represents, continue to work with government regulatory agencies to assure the data needed for consumer safety and label accuracy. "We have a commitment not only to provide consumers with effective protection from pest infestations, but also to assure consumers that the benefits of such products continue to far outweigh any potential risk."