Ever heard of orange oil? Of course you have, especially when it comes to termite treatments. When you are stuck on the freeway listening to KFI or KNX, you’ll hear an obnoxious ad touting the awesomeness of orange oil. Some folks believe that because the active ingredient in orange oil (d-limonene) is derived from natural sources (oranges!) that it’s safer and more effective than fumigating with Vikane gas.
But is it really?
If this treatment sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is. Before you run out and buy citrus oil by the gallons from your local health food store or hire one of those other guys, it’s best to consider the research and documentation that has been done on d-limonene versus fumigation and tenting with Vikane gas for termite elimination and control.
How Does Orange Oil Work?
The active ingredient in orange oil treatments is known as d-limonene and is derived from citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. Besides treating for termites, orange oil is used as a solvent for cleaning purposes (Orange Glo anyone?), a paint stripper and a less pungent and noxious alternative to acetone for nail polish remover.
One of the biggest problems with orange oil as a termite treatment is that you have to get the little buggers to come into direct contact with the orange oil in order for it to kill them. Typically, this is done by drilling holes every five inches into the wood beams of your house and filling them with orange oil. The idea being that the oil saturates the wood, making the wood toxic to the termites.
However, you can see how arduous this would be, since you’d have to go through this little exercise with every piece of wood in your house. And even then, unofficial tests have revealed that using orange oil kills only 50% of the dry wood termites in an affected house.
Plus, oil is greasy and flammable with a flash point of 115 degrees. (Do you think your attic gets above 115 in the summer?) And since the active ingredient in orange oil is used as a paint stripper, there is a possibility that it could damage and strip the painted surfaces the oil comes in contact with. For many, this is a deal breaker when it comes to controlling termites within painted wood. Orange oil is an even harder choice when you consider having to drill holes every five inches.
Vikane to the Rescue
The most popular and (as we believe) best treatments for drywood termites is Vikane gas. Admiral Pest was one of the first companies in the United States to use Vikane gas. More than fifty years ago, Earl Lance was invited to a presentation by Dow Chemical to learn about this new fumigant called Vikane (read about that here). Until then, highly toxic chemicals such as methyl bromide and cyanide were used to treat for termites. Even though these chemicals did the trick, they frequently left behind an odor that many homeowners couldn’t stand. And after some research, scientists discovered that methyl bromide was also found to be damaging to the ozone layer. Vikane on the other hand, doesn’t leave behind an odor and doesn’t harm the atmosphere.
When compared to orange oil, Vikane is leaps and bounds better. While you will have to leave you home for a couple days, just think about the many nooks and crannies of your home that are inaccessible or difficult to get to. For orange oil to be effective, it must come in contact with the termites, which again, requires someone to drill holes in the structure of your home every five inches. Many orange oil treatments flat out miss areas of peoples’ homes because they aren’t accessible. Because it’s a gas, Vikane can penetrate every nook and cranny in your home without having to drill holes. This “blanket coverage” is perfect for odd-shaped structures, and has even been used to save historical landmarks. For example, Honolulu’s iconic Waikiki Shell (an outdoor amphitheater) was plagued with termites, but due to its dome shape it was nearly impossible to spot treat. However, crews tented the structure with Vikane and immediately the termites were gone (click here for an interesting article on this fumigation).
But more importantly, Vikane has over 50 years of university and pest control industry research to back it up, including results from the University of Florida, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Journal of Economic Entomology (to name just a few). Conversely, there is no formal research on the effectiveness and safety of using orange oil to control dry wood termites, nor are there any guarantees it will even consistently work.
And let’s not forget that when you use Vikane to control dry wood termites you get the professionals at Admiral Pest Control to not only administer the treatment, but also follow up on it. After the tent comes down your termite specialist goes through a number of procedures to make sure the Vikane has completely dissipated and your home is completely safe to reenter. On the other hand and besides the permanent holes in your home, orange oil leaves behind a pungent citrus odor hanging around for days, weeks, or indefinitely. If anyone in your family is sensitive to smells or has allergies, this could present a problem.
With spring rains and hot summer on the way, swarms of dry wood termites will be looking for new homes in which to nest. If you suspect they’ve taken up residence in your house, call Admiral Pest Control today to assess your situation. We offer the fastest, easiest, safest way to get rid termites WITHOUT structural damage or lingering odors.
For over 30 years the National Pest Management Association has dedicated April to be National Pest Management Month. This is their way of encouraging pest control companies all over the country to educate consumers on the importance of keeping their homes free of annoying creatures like ants, flies, termites, spiders, cockroaches, fleas, bedbugs, and rodents. Many people don’t realize the health risks that many of these creatures cause. From allergies to salmonella household pests are a common source of diseases that can go far beyond routine inconvenience or an occasional shriek from mom when a cockroach crawls out on the kitchen floor.
April is the perfect time to treat your house. After the long winter months many hibernating or nesting bugs and rodents literally come out of the woodwork. The persistence of these household pests can quickly escalate into an infestation by summer if left untreated.
How do you prevent this from happening? Start with these simple spring-cleaning tips:
Check for cracks
Over the winter moisture that gets into your basement, garage, foundation, subfloor, siding, or even walls can cause unwanted cracks and holes in your house. These openings are the perfect gateway for all kinds of pests (including birds) to discretely worm their way into your home. As soon as the weather starts to warm up inspect your house for any random openings and plug them immediately.
Replace torn screens
Wind and rain wreak havoc on your window and door screens over the winter. And if you live within 50 miles of the coast, the salty air adds another element of destruction to the exterior fixtures of your house. Inspect all screens for tears, corrosion, and frame alignment. Even the smallest opening should be fixed, as bigger pests (such as rodents and birds) have no qualms about tearing an existing opening to make it bigger.
Fix leaky faucets
All pests need water to live. Therefore, if they find a leaky faucet or pipe they’re more than happy to set up their own little neighborhoods near the water source. Plus, pooling water can lead to home damage, and worse yet, invite mosquitoes to lay eggs. It’s worth the price of a plumber (if needed) to come out and inspect the integrity of your plumbing, and fix any leaky pipes.
Clear drains and gutters
Clogged rain gutters and drains provide the perfect environment for pests that are just as happy to live outdoors. To make the exterior of your house uninviting, clean your rain gutters by scooping out the debris and then flushing the gutters completely with a hose. The water should run out the bottom spout of the gutter in a steady, rushing stream. And if you have outside drains, snake them once the rainy season ends to make sure they flow at fully capacity. In any case, you don’t want standing water anywhere near your house.
Clean out your garage, basement, and pantry
It’s no secret that the garage and basement become dumping grounds over the winter. April is the perfect time to rid these areas of any messes that could potentially invite nesting pests. Wrapping paper, old clothes, unwanted holiday decorations, expired tax records, or any piles of paper that a rodent or insect would happily shred into a tidy bed needs to go. Similarly, go through your pantry and cupboards and toss old or expired food, being extra careful to clean up any spilled crumbs that would make a tasty morsel for a marauding bug. And if you use shelf paper, now is an excellent time to change it.
Schedule an inspection
Most importantly, be sure to schedule a home pest inspection with Admiral Pest Control. Even if you don’t see actual pests, you may not detect their signs until it’s too late. Droppings, fine wood shavings, disrupted insulation, displaced debris or dirt, and even smells, can all indicate you’re sharing your home with unwanted six- or four-legged strangers. Admiral professionals are trained to look for isolated signs of pests and then consult you on your options to get rid of them.
Thanks to the NPMA, pest control professionals like Admiral Pest Control collectively bring awareness to communities across the country every spring. It’s their job to make sure people check their houses for pests at least once a year, thus preventing risks that can lead to home damage or illness. So call Admiral Pest Control today for you spring pest inspection. Make it part of your spring-cleaning every year. It’s the easiest way to ensure you’ll have a happy, healthy, pest-free summer!
With warm summer months just around the corner we have many things to look forward to: backyard barbecues, pool parties, afternoons at the beach…and fleas.
Unfortunately, fleas are a fact of life in the summer, especially if you have pets. Even if your dog or cat stays indoors, fleas can still enter your home on other things you bring in the house, including you! Once inside fleas make themselves at home on the handiest hosts, and since pets have shaggy coats and typically don’t bathe everyday (like humans do) your dog or cat will do nicely.
What can you do manage fleas?
The best deterrent is prevention. Having Admiral Pest Control regularly treat your house and yard for fleas is the best way to rid your house of these pests. One of our trained Admiral technicians can recommend a schedule of treatment based upon your circumstances (for example, how many pets you have) and the severity of your current situation (if your problem has reached infestation).
Once you have fleas under control, you can help keep them away in between treatments by following some simple steps.
- Clean all beach and camping clothing, towels and equipment outside
Fleas love water, which means they hang out at the beach and near rivers and streams. After you come home from the beach or a camping trip, don’t bring your dirty clothes, towels, or camping equipment into the house, unless it’s going straight in the washer. Hose it off outside and if possible leave it in the garage. In fact, hose yourself off, too, as fleas are more than happy to hitch a ride into your house on just about anything that moves.
- Get a cedar pet bed
Cedar chips are a natural repellent for fleas. They hate the smell. So using cedar chips is a great way to keep your pet’s bed free of fleas. Most pet stores sell cedar chip pet beds, or you can easily make one yourself. Simply purchase cedar chips and sew them into a pillow big enough to fit your pet. However, watch your pet for an allergic reaction in the form of itching or hair loss. Some dogs are unfortunately allergic to cedar chips.
- Vacuum frequently
In two to three weeks one flea lays hundreds of eggs. This takes your flea problem from nuisance to infestation in no time. Carpets and pet beds are the perfect environment for flea eggs. However, if you vacuum frequently (even everyday) then you stand a good chance of keeping your flea population down. Just be sure to throw your vacuum cleaner bag away in the outside trash after each use. Or if you have a bag-less vacuum cleaner, do the same when you empty the canister.
- Bathe and groom your pet more often
You probably don’t bath your dog that much in the winter, but in the summer you should bathe your dog outside with a flea shampoo after each outing away from home. And get used to giving your cat regular baths, too. If you can’t do it, take your feline friend to a professional pet groomer. Unfortunately, even cats need to be bathed when fleas are in the mix.
- Flea-treat your pet
Since your pet is the flea host, it makes sense to treat the source. There are a couple ways to do this.
- Spray your dog or cat’s coat with Frontline, Advantage, or some other flea product that you obtain from your vet or specialty pet store. Treatments are usually once a month and turn your pet’s coat into a toxic environment for fleas.
- Ask your vet about prescription flea deterrents you give your pet orally. These medications turn your pet’s blood distasteful to fleas, and as a result they shorten the flea’s lifespan.
These tips alone won’t rid your home of fleas, however, combined with regular professional spray treatments by Admiral Pest Control, they increase the effectiveness of your treatments. The goal is to keep your flea problem from turning into a flea infestation. Because nothing ruins a summer more than itchy swollen skin…especially when you didn’t get it from lounging in the sun!
Have you ever noticed you hardly ever see insects or pests in the winter? A lot of people assume it’s because they die off when the weather turns chilly. Although that’s true for a very small population of pests, the reality is most bugs, insects, and rodents actually spend the winter months hunkered down somewhere warm and cozy until spring.
And that “somewhere” is usually inside your house.
Even though the hot weather isn’t quite here yet, you may start to notice one or two lone reconnaissance ants lurking around the parameter of your kitchen floor; or a silverfish scooting out from the bottom of a cupboard; or even a fly buzzing around the house. “Where the heck did they come from?” you might ask yourself. You haven’t had to endure these meddlesome creatures since you put the lawn furniture away last fall.
The answer, unfortunately, is they’ve been with you all along. Rodents, beetles, termites, bees, spiders, ants, and even flies move indoors at the first sign of bad weather. They’re very sneaky about it, so you may not even suspect they’re there, until they dare to venture out in early spring looking for food.
Are a couple of bugs really a problem?
Yes! Because what you don’t realize is that these are explorers for a whole colony of pests residing in your home. Seeing these scouts is your signal to call the professionals at Admiral Pest Control to come out and inspect for whatever might be invading your house. Waiting could lead to a full on infestation, which is not only much harder to eliminate, but more expensive to treat.
How can pests live in my home all winter, but not be a problem until spring?
Pests react to cold weather in different ways. In just about all cases they seek shelter in and around your house just before the winter months kick in. But once inside they all have their own stealth ways of settling in.
- “Antifreeze” Bugs
For some bugs the cooler weather actually triggers glycerol production in their bodies, which acts as an antifreeze. Bugs of this nature either become lethargic or actually go into a hibernation state until the weather warms up again. Usually they move to a warm spot (like your attic, basement, garage, or even the inside of your walls or floorboards) before they go to sleep. Which is why you don’t see them until they come alive again in the spring.
- Gestating Bugs
Many pests renew their families in the winter. Rodents give birth to (lots of) babies and insects lay eggs, thus ensuring a new generation just in time for warm spring weather. As you might imagine, parental pests want safe, warm places to nurture their young so in the fall they take up residence in the nooks and crannies of your house. Why don’t you notice them? Because they hunt for food at night and are very careful not to be seen. If you don’t notice the discreet signs of their presence, then you could go all winter not even realizing you have freeloading pests.
- External Pests
Then there are those pests who are just as content to use the outside of your house as a safe haven through out the winter. Dirty gutters, overhangs, and woodpiles provide the perfect nesting places for birds, rodents and even some hearty insects. Nesting pests are not only disgusting, but they can also cause real damage to the outside of your house. If possible, clean your gutters through out the winter and move any debris or woodpiles away from your home.
Not sure if you have a springtime pest problem? It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Contact Admiral Pest Control today to schedule an inspection. Our technicians know what to look for so you can enjoy a happy, healthy, pest-free summer!
With spring just around the corner the weather will warm up soon, and you know what that means…outdoor living! From patio parties to backyard camping, after months of cool weather it’s fun to finally be outside AND warm at the same time.
And nothing signals the start of summer more than al fresco dining and entertaining. But unfortunately some common pests are just as happy about the warm weather as you are. And they can’t wait to invite themselves to your next barbeque or outdoor dinner party. In these cases, it’s best to meet your backyard bug issues head on, rather than wait until they become overwhelming problems.
Most people don’t realize that in addition to treating the inside of your house for pests,
Admiral Pest Control can also treat your yard, as well. This is a good idea whether you
spend time outside or not, because treating your yard is the first line of defense in keeping
summertime pests out of your home. And if you do plan on spending any amount of time
outside during the warmer months, then having Admiral Pest Control take care of your
yard is the best way to enjoy a pest-free summer.
Who Are These Pesky Party Crashers?
As you can imagine, mosquitoes and flying insects are the most common (and most
annoying) intruders at an outdoor party. During the day, while it’s hot outside, they’re not
as prevalent. But once the sun goes down and it cools off, mosquitoes, flies, gnats, “no-see
ums”, and other biting, flying insects are more than happy to join the festivities, making
you their main course. Some backyards are more inviting than others, like those with pools
or standing water treatments. If you have anything like that, be sure to turn on pumps to
circulate the water while you and your guests are outside.
And if you plan on cooking in your backyard on a gas grill or barbecue, hornets can
suddenly appear out of nowhere. Hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and many types of bees
are actually carnivorous and they have a very acute sense of smell. So when you throw that
steak on the grill, they can detect your culinary delights all the way from your neighbor’s
yard (or even further away on a breezy day).
And if you live in a densely wooded or lush area, ticks can be a problem. You probably
aren’t aware of this, but ticks are actually of the arachnid family, having more in common
with spiders than flies. Ticks can’t live without the blood of a victim, and you don’t want
that to be you, your guests, or your pets. Besides being painful and annoying ticks also
breed a host of diseases in humans, including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted
Fever, Colorado Tick Fever, and in extreme cases tick paralysis. The last thing you want is
for one of your guests to go home with a tick as a party favor.
And finally, you definitely want to avoid the grand annoyance of all outdoor dining, ants.
Like hornets, ants have a keen sense of smell and will come out of hiding to feast upon just about anything you serve. They are especially fond of sugary food like fruit and juices. So if
your child happens to drop (or even drip) a Popsicle or anice cream bar, for example, ants
will descend upon the mess in a matter of moments. And once they’re present, they’re more than happy to stick around so they can check out what else you having going on in the way of food.
But thankfully you can steer clear of summertime pest party crashers by calling Admiral
Pest Control to come out and assess the situation in your yard. With regular, unobtrusive,
safe outdoor treatments Admiral Pest Control can assure that every backyard event you
have this summer will pest-free. And when you get right down to it, isn’t that the ONLY
type of outdoor party you want to host this summer?