I Have a Rat in My Backyard. What Can I Do?

Your first instinct may be to cringe if you see a rat in your backyard. No one wants a rodent that can wreak havoc on the interior and exterior of your home. If rats or other rodents are present in or around your home, you will notice a strong, distinct urine smell and holes and chew marks on many of your belongings. If you have pets, their behavior may change because they see these rodents when you don’t, often at night. During the fall is when you will notice an increase of rats and other rodents. If you find rats and other unwanted guests in your backyard or your home, take these steps to get rid of them and keep them from coming back. Tidy Up The first step you need to take to get rid of rats is to clean up. Having piles of wood and leaves spread across your yard is the perfect playground for mice. Mice can hide in piles of junk without being detected, which is why it may take a while for you to notice them. Make sure you keep up with regular yard maintenance such as cutting the grass, pulling weeds, and getting rid of any foliage that provides a cozy hiding spot for these pests. If you compost, these materials need to be kept as far away from your home as possible in a sealed, plastic container. Getting Rid of the Food Source Aside from wanting a warm place to protect them from the outside elements during the winter, rats are also on the hunt for food. Leaving food out is an invitation...

Essential Tips for Termite Prevention in California

As they say, your home is your castle, and one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. Being a resident of the Golden State allows you to enjoy surfing, the beach, and a variety of popular landmarks, such as Yosemite National Park and Universal Studios Hollywood. The other aspect of being a resident of California are  pests, such as termites. Finding pets in your home is never a good feeling. Termites damage your home and can cause expensive repairs, to the tune of billions of dollars to homes every year. The damage caused by termites can lead to a home that is unsafe to live in. Use these essential tips to help you prevent a termite infestation in your California home. Pay Attention to Building Materials If your home’s foundation contains wooden parts, they should be kept at least six inches away from the soil. Wood is a delicacy for termites. Putting wood next to soil gives termites a path of entry into your home. Make sure you leave ventilation between the soil and the wood part of your home’s foundation. Eliminate Moisture Eliminating moisture from areas in your home deters termites because they need moisture to thrive. Make sure there are no leaky faucets or pipes in your home that will attract termites. Once termites are attracted to an area in your home, they will create a nest and begin reproducing. Termites are underground dwellers who feed on wood surfaces, but rotting boards of wood are more than enough to attract hundreds of termites. To prevent termites from entering your home through the soft boards in...

The Basics of Using Fertilizer and Weed Control in Your Front and Back Yard

You may have the best-looking lawn, but chances are, you’ve dealt with weeds before. There are different herbicides and fertilizers available, and they are not created equal, so you need to know when to use fertilizer and weed control. Fertilizers and herbicides help you grow a thick, lush lawn that is weed-free and as green as the most vibrant color green in a crayon box. Here’s what you need to know about weed control and fertilizer. The Basics of Using Fertilizer Fertilizer contains a variety of nutrients that are required for plant growth, including: Potassium Phosphorous Iron Nitrogen Many times, one of these nutrients is in short supply. In normal conditions, these nutritious ingredients are supplied naturally by the air, soil, or water. If you’re looking for a quick fix for greener grass, you need a fast-release fertilizer. Be careful using rapid-release fertilizers can burn your lawn, causing you to apply more fertilizer to your lawn as the season progresses. Go ahead and use natural/organic fertilizer if you prefer. Natural/organic fertilizers won’t burn your yard, but they contain fewer nutrients for healthy plant growth. To determine your front or back yard’s need for fertilizer, take a look at your lawn. If your lawn is suffering from any nutrient deficiency, your lawn will appear yellow or yellow-green. Other indications of a lack of nutrients are clovers and stunted growth. Iron deficiencies feature a yellow-green coloring of your lawn, but stunted growth is not an issue. If your lawn lacks an adequate amount of phosphorous, your lawn can turn a greenish-blue color. The blades of your grass may be a reddish-purple color....

Tips for Fall and Winter Pest Prevention

It may seem like you can rest easy and be pest-free during California winters, but that’s not true. There are different steps you need to take to keep the heat in and the pests out of your home. During the winter in California, you’ll be free of bees, mosquitoes, and flies, but other pests, such as mice, spiders, and cockroaches are still around, looking for a warm place to call home. These pests can be more of a hassle and hazard than you realize. Rodents are not only nuisances, but they are also known for carrying disease. Spiders have a scary appearance and can bite, leaving you to deal with some frustrating side effects. Cockroaches are some of the most unwanted pests in a home and they can trigger your allergies and asthma. To keep your home cozy and the pests and other unwanted guests out of your home, there are a variety of steps you can follow. Seal Cracks, Crevices, and Holes More than likely, the outside of your home contains cracks, crevices, and holes that allow pests into your home. Sealing these cracks can help prevent the intrusion of rodents, spiders, and cockroaches. Many pests are small and it allows them to fit into pipes that lead from the outside to the inside of your home. Surprisingly, a healthy mouse can fit through an opening that’s the size of a dime. Keep a Home Maintenance Routine Keeping a regular home maintenance routine helps prevent the intrusion of pests. Rodents and other animals enter your home through the basement foundation and the windows. Deteriorating weather stripping and loose mortar...

Protect Your Pet From Pests (Ticks, Fleas, Mosquitoes)

If you have pets, you’re going to do everything you can to protect them from the seasonal bloodsuckers. Otherwise, you’ll have sick dogs and cats, costly treatments, and time-consuming instructions to follow as a result of the pest population hiding on your property. Ticks and Where They Hide on Your Pets Ticks live in trees and bushes where they wait for the perfect host to arrive for them to latch onto. The bloodsuckers burrow deep into the skin where they embed themselves and eat until their bodies get fat with blood. Unlike other pests who are repelled by fur, ticks love the hairiest of areas because they can remain undetected for longer periods of time. To discover ticks on your pets, you must physically comb through their fur while paying close attention to moist areas such as under their legs and in their groin area. Even then, the animals may appear to have a scab not a tick on the skin. It’s one of the pest’s most notable features with its rounded and raised body which must be removed in its entirety with sanitized tweezers to keep it from continuing to drink your pet’s blood. Lyme disease occurs in humans and their furry friends because of ticks. That’s why it’s imperative to take preventative measures to keep the pests off you and your pets. By keeping your lawn mowed and cared for, you’re able to eliminate the overgrowth and some of the spots ticks love to hide in before claiming a victim. How to Survive a Flea Infestation A flea infestation can wreak havoc on your home. Once they’ve...

What Bug Did I Just See?

You’re well acquainted with common household bugs such as flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and moths. The more uncommon bugs, however, you may not know as much about. Learning to identify the most elusive pests is time well spent. It allows you to act immediately to prevent and exterminate unwanted visitors in the home before they breed and create a larger population of insects to deal with. Certain bugs are very destructive so investing in methods to get rid of them protects your home and belongings from damage. Some of the more uncommon bugs you’ll see around the home include the six types listed below. Silverfish The wingless bug is silver in appearance, carrot-shaped, full of antennae, and makes fish-like movements, hence its name. This type of insect doesn’t enjoy the light. Instead, they’re typically found in cold, dark, and damp environments such as basements or inside cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom. The most problematic thing about silverfish is how much they love starch. They feast on the glue used to seal boxed food, paper, and even skin cells. The damage that they cause to household belongings is minimal with it being akin to what moths do to textiles such as clothing and curtains. House Crickets A light yellow bug identified by the three dark bands across its head and flat wings on its back, house crickets cause a lot of damage because of the way they feed. They love fabric and will pull fibers loose while they eat. They also defecate on the material which leaves noticeable fecal pallets on upholstery, carpeting, drapery, and clothing. Be mindful about checking...