Looks like life can change on a dime. We never know what will hit us next. Just a few weeks ago, no one knew about Pokemon Go Now we are seeing people of all ages "enjoying" the outdoors. As they wander through the streets and parks, many are no doubt discovering they are themselves a lure. Not just potential bad guys but mosquitoes and ticks as well. Even with the drought, mosquitoes seem to be bad, especially in wooded areas. The dry conditions seem to be perfect for ticks. Fleas will soon follow. Then there is the annual picnic spoiler "The Picnic Bee" which isn't even a bee. It is a yellow jacket which is in the wasp family. Their numbers are already elevated for this time of the summer.
Other than sending our children back into the basement to play video games all summer. There are some reasonable precautions we can make. Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn. Avoiding being outdoors during this short period will reduce exposure. Avoid dark clothing and strong perfumes etc. Proper labeled deet products and even some of the newer natural products will work fine. Ticks require a bit more effort to avoid. Long sleeves and long pants are helpful, wearing a hat helps as well. Avoid the tall grassy areas where bushes and trees are thick. Pathways made by wildlife are sure to be hot spots as well. Repellent products help but not as well as they do for mosquitoes.
In you yard? Avoid allowing bird baths and other items to hold water for too long. Make sure to refresh bird baths daily. Don't forget your gutters. Yes, those things way up by the roof can be a major source of mosquitoes. Make sure they are properly hung, avoiding pooling where plants and mucky water can build up.
All hornets are wasp, yet not all wasp are hornets. Then there is the aggressive Baldfaced Hornet which isn't a hornet but a black yellow jacket. Which is a wasp! It gets trickier. Wasp, Bees and Ants are all related. Some ants look like bees and don't sting, while some bees look like ants and sting. The velvety ant, otherwise known as the "cow killer" is an example of an ant-looking bee with a bad attitude!
If you see wasp, bees or hornets entering a hole in your siding? Do NOT seal it up. They are not entering to explore. That is their home. You want to make sure the hive is dead before sealing. Liquids and spray foams only work if the hive structure is visible.
Spectrum Pest Control is more than glad to evaluate your problem, free of charge. You can even text us a picture or two for an estimate on wasp or bees.
Enjoy your summer and the great outdoors. Pokemon Go away!
Easter is early this year and so is spring.The frogs are chirping two weeks earlier than normal as well.
Spring is here! No wait....Yes.... No.....Yes. Sheesh
Due to the recent news about the Zika Virus.Many are already securing their slot in our mosquito service calendar. The Zika virus will not likely make a mosquito borne appearance in the upper midwest. LIKELY, not very reassuring.... The mosquitos common to our area are not known carriers. Which means unless a Southern House Mosquito or Tiger Mosquito works it's way up north? We will be fine.
We have plenty of other mosquito borne diseases to worry about. West Nile being the most likely.
Spectrum Pest Control offers a comprehensive approach to protecting your family from mosquitoes. First and foremost, we identify conditions that would attract and breed mosquitoes. They are far more lazy than you think. If given a choice, they will feed off of those sitting a few feet from their breeding source than they ever would hundreds of yards away.
Top five sources of residential mosquitos.
1. Stagnant birdbaths/ ornamental ponds.
2. Poorly hung gutters that never completely drain.
3. Hidden water reservoirs such as tires, children's toys and sagging pool covers.
4. Poor drainage in turf. Avoid allowing standing water in yard. Especially near permanent bodies of water.
5. Dense foliage near decks and patios. Mosquitos hate air movement. Avoid privacy screens that block proper circulation.
In some areas, the mosquitoes are hard to avoid due to marsh and other bodies of water outside you control. One of the best ways to prevent mosquitoes from spoiling your summer evenings? A large "barn" fan blowing towards where people will be active. Again, mosquitoes hate wind.
Pest Pro of the Month: SPECTRUM PEST CONTROLA little over 2 decades ago, a young fella and his bride decided that they would spray their way into financial independence while serving the citizens of Kenosha, WI. Brent and Judith Towle celebrate 22 years of business this month, and we’re proud to be able to announce Spectrum Pest Control as the February 2016 “Pest Pro of the Month”.
Like many in the USPMPA, Brent started his pest career with a national company. A consistent top salesperson in his branch, Brent loved the ability to solve his customers’ pest problems, while also continuing to learn. At the same time, Towle wanted what we all desire: the elusive “work-life balance”, the ability to raise a family AND have the ability to spend time with them, and also be his own boss while still serving the public.
The Towles jokingly refer to Feb. 1, 1994 as their “Independence Day”, and they jumped in with both feet. They started by advertising in the phone book, and relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, referrals and Brent’s participation in the Rotary Club. The business is lean: Brent designed and built their website, kenoshapest.com, and is owner-operator while Judith is owner-office manager. Initally Towle found himself tempted to follow what was a very aggressive strategy. Doing so required longer hours in the business, however, leading up to what he describes as a “pivotal conversation” with Judith. Staying true to their desire to have a work-life balance, the Towles agreed to pace themselves to live comfortably while still steadily growing into a 6-figure gross revenue. A minimal marketing budget has worked for Spectrum: while 2008 and 2009 were a depression, Towle has reported growth every year since and projects growth again in 2016.
USPMPA: If you could go back, what would you tell yourself?
BT: I’d say two things to myself:
BT: I really enjoy and even look forward to carpenter ants! I feel like I’m best known in my market for my success at treating carpenter ants. I really enjoy the troubleshooting and the challenge of eliminating a colony that may have satellites that a new customer has been dealing with for years before they called me.
USPMPA: Ok, and how about your least favorite?
BT: Bed bugs! (laughs) I like the money that comes with the treatments, but there is an elevated amount of chemicals applied, more so than with other pests…plus the risk of bringing them home. That’s the last thing I want!
USPMPA: What is one of your most memorable achievements?
BT: A few years ago I was hired to deal with a massive flock of about 100,000 starlings. I was the the first documented operator to successfully – and permanently – remove an established winter roost of starlings using lasers! It took 3 seasons for me to deal with them, using lasers in 40-minute sessions. I actually got the job because everyone else said it was too big a job for them. I had even said that at first, and the factory owner called me back when he couldn’t find anyone to take the job! (laughs) I think that’s how I got the nickname “MacGyver of pest control”.
USPMPA: (laughs) I just saw one of your inventions…the plunger…
BT: (laughing) I have a big foaming job coming up and needed to be sure that the foam would get past the P-trap, so I made this..MacGyvered it!
Brent and Judith have built a solid business, and his commitment to his community has paid off handsomely. Spectrum Pest has customers still on service that started 22 years ago. The Towles give back as well: Spectrum donates 5% of gross receipts to local charities. Those who have interacted with Brent on US Pest Management Professionals Association or other groups know what a nice guy he is, always glad to offer advice to others.
Please join us in congratulating Brent and Judith on the remarkable milestone of 22 years in business, and for being the Pest Pro of the Month!
Many are now discovering the "gift" they did not think they received, BED BUGS! Yes, bed bugs. Either they were brought back from that nice warm tropical trip they took or a guest has a problem at home and unwittingly brought them to you.... Many store their winter coats in their bedroom closets which are close to their beds. They are then invited to leave their coat on your bed.
Be sure to check out the rest of my blog for more advice on how to prevent bed bugs.
As we finish one year and move on to the next, we often do a self check of how we did and what changes need to be made for the new year.
Whether it is resolving to change our clothing size or improve our financial well being or even our spiritual diets. Committing to those changes can at times be quite difficult. How is it some are better at than others. Did they find that "magic door" where time stands still? We know that is not likely. We are all given the same 24 hours a day.
On February 1st of this year, my wife and I will be celebrating Spectrum Pest Control's 22nd year! WOW! Twenty two years in business. You know just how few are able to do this? Even fewer remaining committed to their core client base and not simply chasing the "mighty dollar". We made a commitment back then that we did not want to have employees. Why? Everyone else does that. All with mixed results. All using their clients as training ground for their technician. Don't get me wrong, it's not that that is a bad business model. After all, it is the American Dream.
My role is to help ensure those who have had bad experiences with a "new tech" that we will not do that to them.
I digress, as I review with my wife what went well with our business and what went not so well. We put together a plan of attack on how to fix the "holes" while nurturing what worked.
Several years ago, we committed to no longer taking calls, emails, text etc while driving or servicing a client. Safety was our main reason. Respecting the time of those we are with also came into play. Nothing is more irritating than taking some time off of work to "let the tech in" only to hear him talking on his phone in the other room. Thus delaying your return to work..... All this does come with a price for efficiency and quick response of our clients needs. Which as a business owner also means a loss in revenue. The temptation is to make the occasional exception and take that call while driving, look down at the text or email.... after all, you see your competition do it all the time.
As hard as I try to return calls, voicemails, text and emails as fast as I can, I know sometimes there is a delay or worse yet. The ball gets dropped and requires a reminder call from our client. We eliminated all forms of advertising in an effort to slow down the rate of calls when already busy. Yet the calls still increase. A nice problem to have....
So, what's the solution? One is to have a more efficient way to have you, our valued clients be able to schedule service visits.
We are now in beta testing of a new system when instead of simply requesting service from this website, you will be able to actually schedule an appointment. Once online, your prefered date and time will populate my calendar with a service request. If it is good? You will get a confirmation email. If not available? You will get a calendar invite for one of your alternate times and dates.
What will this mean? I means I will literally be able to add three more service calls per day. Thats right, three more.
Please stay tuned for more details on this and other changes we will be doing to make your experience with us a more relaxing and stress free one. these changes will also give you more confidence in referring friends and family to us without the worry somehow you won't be seen because I am too busy.
For accurate information about the so called "kissing Bug" follow this link.
Here comes the snow and mice. No fear, Brent is here. I have a four wheel drive truck and have stocked up for the season. Deer mice as well as the common house mouse both will be moving in, in droves.
For some reason, when people see my truck in front of a house or business, they assume "they must have a bad pest problem". In most cases, nothing can farther from the truth. I specialize in proactive and preventive services. If you see my truck infront of a café or restaurant? Know this, they DO NOT have a pest problem. Matter of fact, they also are very clean.
I only service a handful of food establishments. This is for many reasons. Many are frankly just too dirty for me to waste my time with. The ones I do service are full partners in keeping your dining experience not only pest free, more importantly safe. What does this mean? They keep their back kitchen and food prep areas clean. How is this important? The pest it self usually is not as filthy as the environment they live in. They pick up the germs we can be harmed with as they crawl across food prep surfaces as well as the floors and walls.
In order for there to be effective pest control in food establishments, cleanliness is critical. Same is true in our homes.
So, rest assured the next time you see me in a coffee shop or café. I am likely enjoying their cuisine. If you see me enjoying a cup of coffee? Stop by and say hello. Mention this blog posting? Coffee is on me!
why am I asking this? Have you as a pest control client or explorer of pest control providers ever even pondered the difference?
In the industry of pest professionals, we have struggled with not being viewed as exterminators. You see, we know the difference. I am not convinced you the consumer has put nearly the thought into this designation as we have.
Most call us because they see a pest and want it gone. Many want their future generations gone as well.
Will simply showing up, killed by the pest and leaving going to satisfy most of those who call us? Probably not. Do most want to be involved in a long term committed relationship with a pest control provider? Usually not. My wife not included.
So, what is an exterminator? Simply put, they are someone who's profession is to kill unwanted life forms residing in our homes or businesses. They kill and then leave you to your own abilities.
A pest control professional is some one who will not only get rid of the critters at hand, also will take measures to to prevent their return. Be it repeated visits or make structural changes/recommendations. They may even practice Integrated Pest Management on a lesser scale.
What is a Pest Management Professional i.e. The dreaded PMP degignation. They are someone who lo Ka at the big picture and determines the cause of the infestation, the level and what remedies are available. Be it using chemical, deterants, or environmental practice changes. Sounds good? It should, if practiced in its purest form, it will give the client long term results. Sometimes even eliminating the need for ongoing professional help. YIKES! What did I just write? Take me out of the long term equation?
Only problem I hear when people hear Pest Management is that they will be told to tolerate a certain level of pest. Now in a corn field this may be desired. In our home or business, tolerable levels better not come out of my mouth. Not when you have paid me good money.
Reasonable expectations may be a better approach.
How so? Let's look at spiders for a moment. There will be times where spiders will overwhelm even the best pest management program. Some may appear indoors inspite of what has been used. It is what happens next that will be important. Will they at least die with in a reasonable period? Asian Lady Beetles, kind of the same thing. Reduce their numbers indoors by 95% sounds real good until your home gets hit by millions of them. Suddenly 95% may still mean hundreds or thousands in your home.
Extermination will simply not give you the results you are looking for. For in the case of both spiders and lady beetles, prevention and structural changes are required. One trained in killing only, will not be able to come anywhere near the 100% elimination expected.
So, what ever you want to call me, Exterminator or Pest Manager or Certified Pest Control Technician or the like..... Know this, I always look at the big picture. Wholistic if you will. I will always look for ways that will reduce the frequency of times you will need me. I will even risk you never having to call me again.
Something tells me "God Loves a Exterminator " for he seams to always present me with a new and interesting pest to help you with.
It is so hot, not even Tarzan likes it this hot!
Finally we have a normal heat wave! What does this mean in the insect world?
It means insects will be reproducing at a very fast rate. Multiple generations of box elder bugs, earwigs and yes, mosquitoes. It also means my calendar fills up fast.
I normally try to get to all my service request with in a day or two. I am now booked pretty solid about four or five days out. Depending on your location, I am still able to respond to wasp and yellow jacket calls fairly quickly.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the impact of insects in your home. Make sure common gaps are sealed up.
My top five are......
1. Central air coolant line seal is dried out
2. Dryer vent flaps are stuck open from lint. A good time to have the line brushed out. Either get a kit from hardware store or contact your HVAC repair.
3. Mortar joints in foundation have popped out. Even a #2 pencil sized hole will be inviting to yellow jackets and carpenter ants.
4. Door sweeps. Common to have a gap at the bottom of doors. The bristle type sweep is best.
5. Over hangs with water damage or flashing pulled back. Between birds and bugs, these are hot spots often over looked due to inaccessible without a tall ladder.
Bonus. Bird baths, gutters and any other area where standing water can remain for days or weeks. Mosquitoes love these spots.
All our services include a thorough pest proofing inspection.
Be sure to fill out a service request today.
I am the owner and sole operator of Spectrum Pest Control. Hope you enjoy my helpful hints, predictions and fun stories.