Archive for June, 2009

Scorpions: The Arizona Bark Scorpion

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

There are many different species of scorpions in Arizona, but there is one that most people seem to be more afraid of. The Arizona bark scorpion is the most venomous scorpion around, and is most often found in the Arizona desert or other desert areas. The Arizona bark scorpion is only about three inches long, and due to where it likes to live a person could easily overlook it. Even though they like the desert, the scorpion does like to enter homes.

scorpions arizona bark scorpion

Arizona Bark Scorpion.

If a scorpion gets inside a home it can be found in many different places like piles of clothes, laundry, clothes that are folded or hung, inside shoes, on the bottom side of objects, and in crawl spaces. Some of these spots are actually daytime hiding spots for the Arizona bark scorpion. Once it becomes night out the scorpions will come out to play. This can be very dangerous in a home since scorpions are out moving around. People can step on a scorpion in the dark, put a robe on that a scorpion is nesting on, put slippers on where a scorpion is hiding, or if you reach for something. If any of these situations occur it could also end in an Arizona bark scorpion sting!

The sting of an Arizona bark scorpion is most dangerous for children and the elderly, in most cases adults are not affected as bad. In any case there are steps to take care of the sting. Learn the steps to aid a scorpion sting. Often time’s people will panic, and that’s okay just remember to breathe if it is more comforting you can always call your local poison control center.

One way to prevent scorpions from entering your home is to get rid of their food supply. The Arizona bark scorpion eats crickets, cockroaches, spiders and even other scorpions. The best preventative method would to have a professional Arizona exterminator come and spray your home regularly for these insects. If the food is not near or in your home there isn’t much of an interest for the scorpion to stay around.

Another way to help prevent the scorpions from getting inside your home is to check all of the openings that are on the outer structure of your home. This can range from the thresholds in the doorways, door screens, window screens, vent screens, roof tiles, cracks in wood, cracks between bricks, or any other small openings. This may seem overwhelming for a home owner, but often pest control companies offer these services.

scorpion arizona bark scorpion

Here is a picture of two scorpions in Scottsdale, AZ caught on sticky traps. They might not be Arizona Bark Scorpions, but none the less the traps worked.

A service that many pest control companies use to help detect scorpions is a black light. If you are not able to afford to have a professional exterminator out to your home this is one method that could be helpful. Due to scorpions being nocturnal it is best to do this at night. Once the black light is on move it over the floor and it will actually make the scorpion glow, that is if you find any scorpions. Also use it in your closet as shoes and clothes are popular places where people find scorpions. Sometimes pest control professionals will lay down sticky traps to help catch scorpions. These traps are helpful, and easy to set yourself too. Sticky traps actually are good for those hidding spots underneath objects, and to catch scorpions in their peak hours. It is suprising how well they can work.

A few other things homeowners can do outside their home is just keeping everything tidy. Do not keep piles of wood or shrubbery by the house, move it at least three feet away. Keep trash in proper bins or cans, as any piles of trash or junk is a hiding spot for scorpions. Also piles of rocks are places scorpions like to hide.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org. Picture courtesy of a Scottsdale resident.

Rats: Roof Rats, How to Keep Them Outside of Your Home

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The common points of entry are any opening in the attic area, shingles on the roof, screen covers for windows and doors, and any general holes in the outer structure of the home. Once all measures have been taken to seal the outside of a home there should be no way for the rats to enter. The one downfall is that the roof rats can still be lurking on your property.

  • An exterminator or you should walk the property and carefully examine the exterior walls. Pay attention higher up too as roof rats are crawlers.
  • Check all points of entry to the house. Doors, windows, vents, etc. if they are covered with a screen make sure it is intact correctly.
  • Examining the roof is important as well, because roof rats like to crawl up into high spaces that is a good spot for them to get into the attic.
  • If your roof is tiled make sure the gaps are sealed.

To be on the safe side these things can be left for the professionals to do, either an exterminator or even a handy man. Even though your house can be protected from roof rats entering there are other places where roof rats will live, learn more about where roof rats live. There are also things a home owner can do to prevent roof rats from hanging out on their property.

Rats: Roof rats spread diseases

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Roof rats can spread diseases without even being in a room with people. Unfortunately, the urine and feces they leave behind are also transmitters of their nasty diseases. The other way they spread the diseases they carry is by biting people. Whether you’ve been bitten or exposed to a roof rat’s feces there are things to be aware of; such as how serious it is, what your symptoms will be, how to treat it, and if you need to go to a doctor. To protect yourself and your family be aware of the diseases. Here is a list of the most common diseases roof rats carry:

  • Bubonic plague: a skin infection that can be treated with antibiotics see a doctor right away, symptoms are red marks on skin that turn black, heaving breathing, aching, and throwing up blood. The Bubonic plague, or Black Death as it was called in the middle ages, wiped out a significant portion of Europe’s population.
  • Rat bite fever: most frequent in Asia, rat bite fever can take up to two weeks before symptoms develop like fevers and inflammation, penicillin is used for treatment.
  • Arena virus: transmitted through the air where feces and urine are, causes flu like symptoms but can turn into internal bleeding. If exposed see a doctor immediately.
  • Eosinophilic meningitis: this disease is also known as rat lungworm, it can also be transmitted through eating uncooked food like fish, snails, frogs, or freshwater prawns. Another way it can be transmitted is through contaminated foods such as lettuce. The symptoms are headache, neck pain, and vision problems. It is treatable, but you should see a doctor right away.
  • Hanta virus: airborne virus, symptoms do not occur very quickly once they happen, they are similar to the flu and last about a week. If still sick heavy breathing can occur and you should be taken to a hospital because it can be fatal.
  • Weil’s disease: transmitted through rat urine, it is often on contaminated food that people end up eating, shows flu like symptoms but can also cause jaundice and throwing up, is best to see a doctor right away.
  • Typhoid: transmitted through feces and urine either airborne or from something contaminated, people will get high fevers, sweat profusely, diarrhea and rash of red spots. Treated with antibiotics, so see a doctor.
  • Trichinosis: carried by rats, but they get it from pigs, it is a worm that can get inside of your intestines. Nausea, diarrhea, heartburn. Headache and chills are some of the symptoms best to go to a doctor right away.
  • Murine Typhus: can be transmitted from the lice that live on rats, this is treatable with antibiotics and the symptoms resemble those of the measles or rubella.

Rats: Roof rats live in these places…

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Although roof rats love to live in citrus trees, they do find other places to invade. Often times the rats like to make their homes in:

  • Shrubbery
  • Wood piles
  • Composts
  • Garbage
  • Under the hood of a car
  • Palm Trees
  • Bougainvilleas
  • Oleanders

The fact that a car engine is a hot spot for roof rats is yet another reason why keeping these pesky rodents off your property is important. They like to go under the hoods of cars and feast away at the wires. The rats will gnaw and chew at wires, obviously not knowing if they are eating away at the brakes, the gas, the glass cleaner or anything else under the hood. Keeping your cars in a garage is the best way to avoid this problem. Make sure the garage is sealed up so no rats can enter. Don’t panic if your home doesn’t have a garage, there are other options to keep roof rats away from your car. Keep an insect light on your car port, this way the light will detour the rats and also keep other insects away. Here are more specific things to do to your property to prevent roof rats from making your home their own.

Rats: Prevent Roof Rats from Getting On Your Property

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Almost anywhere in a backyard can be a home for roof rats. Home owners just need to maintain their landscaping and keep a clean patio and they should be roof rat worry-free. Here are some tools to use to help keep these rodents away.

  • A popular spot is resting water; in the summer’s monsoon or storm season a lot of water is left on carports or on back porches. It is best to sweep the water into the gutter or into your grass, that way there are no puddles for rats to come drink from.
  • Don’t worry if you have a giant amount of resting water known as a pool, roof rats are afraid to swim! But keep plants that are next to your pool trimmed up.
  • Another great way to prevent roof rats in your plants is to put the planters on a rack so they are not resting on the ground.
  • A favorite of roof rats is dog or cat food, if there are food bowls left outside for your animal there is a high possibility roof rats will stop by.
  • A great way to keep roof rats out of your citrus trees is to put a rat guard on the tree. This is a piece of sheet metal wrapped around the tree to make sure the rats can not crawl up it.
  • Trimming all trees is important. Make sure they are not touching power lines or anything else as the rats will use those to get into the top of the tree. Also make sure no branches are too low as that will be a way to crawl up the tree.
  • With bushes, it is best to keep them pruned regularly, and having the bottom not touch the ground below is helpful.
  • With all shrubbery, bushes, and trees it is best to have them free standing that way their limbs do not overlap fences or worse yet, your house, which can make it easier for roof rats to make a home.
  • All stacks of wood or clippings should be kept at a higher level and not on the ground.
  • Keep any containers that are outside closed with a tight lid. Anything from a trash can to a plastic storage container. Especially a trash container otherwise it’s a roof rats paradise.
  • When trimming bigger plants like oleanders or bougainvilleas, make sure they are thinned out enough where you can see the sunlight through them. The thicker they are, the more appealing they are to roof rats.
  • Rats will eat anything so ensure to clean up thoroughly after parties on your patio.
  • Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees on a daily basis. If they can’t get in your tree then the next best thing is a free meal.
  • Pick up animal waste on a daily basis. Yes, as gross as it sounds that is another invitation for a rat to come feed.
  • Keep the bottom of your trees cleaned up as well, if you don’t have a rat guard. If the area is open many of the rat’s enemies could see it, so they tend to stay away from areas where they can’t hide.

Although the rats are not in the house, they are still close enough that they could have the opportunity to get in. In the spring and fall seasons the evenings can be cool, sometimes with a slight breeze; many people tend to open a porch door or some windows in the house to help with air flow. Even though the weather is nice this is a welcome mat for roof rats.

Double check these areas, as they are the most popular places for roof rats to live.

Rats: Problems With Roof Rats

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

New York City has sewer rats and Arizona, and other states, have roof rats. Both of these rodents make people squirm, but roof rats also cause damage to peoples homes, their belongings and potentially can cause health problems.

Roof rat picture problems from roof rats

Roof Rat.

The roof rat is also known as the black rat, the rodent was called the black rat mostly in the Middle Ages. The rat’s name is also a reminder of the plague or Black Death, which the species was the initial carrier of the plague. Still to this day the roof rat still carries just as harmful diseases on its body. Also the roof rat can carry fleas, lice, bacteria, and parasites. The health implications are serious, and unlike spiders or scorpions they do not have to physically bite a person to infect them. Roof rat’s droppings that are often left behind, sometimes in gross high amounts, can cause a person to become ill. Not only are the rats carriers of diseases, what they leave behind can still have the potential to get a person sick. See how to handle this situation if it occurs by reading our blog on the diseases roof rats carry.

If you see droppings, how are you to know they are from a roof rat or a common house mouse? The droppings of a roof rat are actually long and cylindrical; the droppings are the most useful tool to determine if they have infiltrated your home. These rodents are nocturnal, so catching them out and about in your home in the day does not usually happen. It is what the rat leaves behind that will help you decide how to handle them. Although there is a chance you could find them sleeping in your attic. In order to tell if the rat is an actual roof rat look for these characteristics they can be as long as 18 inches, sometimes their tails are shorter than their bodies, have large ears and have a brown to black colored fur.

Having a professional Arizona pest control company come out to evaluate the mess and decide best way to get rid of the rodents is an option. Otherwise homeowners can set traps themselves. Often times this can be a challenge as the roof rats are usually in high places, in the inner structure of the home, or they can be in the attic. If the roof rats are just hanging out in the attic it will be an easier task. If the dirty rodents are within the walls it is a job for a professional Arizona exterminator to handle. There are more places roof rats like to call home, find out more about where else roof rats like to call home.

Having the rats within the inner structure of the home can not only be disgusting it can also be a huge danger. A favorite thing for roof rats is to chew and gnaw on things, often things like wires. This problem could lead to electrical problems in the future and or even worse a possible electrical fire. It is very important to take roof rats seriously as they can cause serious damage.

Another important reason why a home owner should have the problem taken care of immediately is that the rats could have had babies. Although someone might just discover the problem it could be something that has been happening for months. In that time frame the roof rat could have reproduced. These rats can have up to 6-10 babies in a liter which only makes the problem worse. Once a homeowner is positive that they have gotten rid of all the rats there are actions they can take to make sure the roof rats can not get back in the home.

Although roof rats can range anywhere from 13 to 18 inches long it only takes a small hole for them to enter a home through. A local pest control company can come to a home and close up any entries from the outside into the home. Here is a more specific list of things to do to keep rats out of your house.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org

Arizona Pest Control, Household Pests

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Arizona has many beautiful things to offer for its residents, an unfortunate part of living in this great state is keeping your home free of household pests. Most Arizona homes are surrounded by desert landscape, mountains, or have the desert as their backyard. With having these scenic views and backdrops come scorpions, snakes, spiders, ants, rats, mice, bees, bed bugs, termites and many more unwanted guests.

There are many different types of household pests that can reek havoc on a home. Identifying the type or species is important because each pest has it own sets of problems. Knowing the physical characteristics of the different pests is helpful to know what exactly you are dealing with. Looking at pictures is helpful in identifying your household pest. Although it’s a rat, it could be one of the two most common rats in Arizona, the pack rat and the roof rat, identifying it by its size and shape is important when calling a professional exterminator to come help you with the problem.

Although these sound terrifying they can be prevented through maintenance of the home and protecting it from the outside. By having a local pest control service on-call a homeowner will know their property is protected. Many times the need to have a local pest control service can be avoided by just checking the house to see if there is any damage that would invite insects in. There are many ways for household pests to get inside your home. A few of the common entry points are the roof top shingles, window sealing, door frames, vents and base of the home. These entry points are places for all household pests to enter, pests like black widow spiders, roof rats, termites, scorpions, common house mice, or even snakes.

Many of the pests that frequent Arizona homes live in the desert and find a new home when construction is going on, people are moving, or people have abandoned their homes. There are some areas of Arizona that are not completely desert, but still are home to insects and rodents because they have citrus, pine trees, palm trees, and other places to make their homes. Arizona is not the only place where these problems occur, but because of the dry climate insects like scorpions, snakes, rats, bees, spiders, and termites live here and do not want people taking over their homes.

There’s a variety of insects, bugs, vermin and rodents that can cause problems to a home’s structure or even the home owner’s health by getting inside. Once a homeowner has identified the household pest that has entered their home they can be aware of the potential harm it can cause. Some of the insects, like a scorpion or black widow spider, can be poisonous. Others can be dangerous because they can transmit diseases from bites or even airborne. Knowing what to do if one is in your home is important. In most situations the pest will not attack if the person acts in the correct manner. In the case where there is not enough time to call a pest control company to come remove it then the home owner must take matters into their own hands.