Author Archives: Agent 00757

Molting animals, insects, arthropods and more!

Molting animals, insects and more!

 

Caught in the act!

This picture was sent in by one of our customers. Pests know that fall is here and they are busy preparing for even colder weather coming our way. They are near your homes or breaking into your home. This picture is an example of how awesome rats are at climbing and balancing! This photo is stunning:

 

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This rat on the upper left of the picture is balanced on the fishing pole trying to get away from our customer’s fur baby

If you have not had your home professionally evaluated by a pest control company, you should consider doing so today! A no cost inspection can yield health affecting finds, energy saving needs, as well as any moisture issues that need to be corrected not to mention entry points that rodents can use to gain access into your home.

Call License to Kill, Inc. at 757-233-0110 Today!

 

Because Skeletons

Happy October, Everyone!
There are times when we receive a phone call regarding someone’s crawl space. With Hurricane Matthew flooding out many unsuspecting homes on top of the other heavy rain we have experienced in our area of Hampton Roads for the past year, it is wise to have a professional company inspect your crawl space. A crawl space that holds too much moisture can cause issues with mold, fungus, and wood destroying fungus not to mention the pests such as termites that this would attract.

Another reason to have your crawl space evaluated often is that rodents can gain access your crawl space by prying open, scratching, and clawing their way in. Rodents can cause destruction to your HVAC, Insulation, as well as attract snakes.

The following photos are from our Intrepid Inspector, Al Neely. He was performing an inspection on a customer’s home who had not had their crawl space evaluated in many years. Call License to Kill, Inc. for your evaluation today at 757-233-0110 and we’ll help you with those Skeletons just in time for Halloween :)

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Squirrels Nests, Rats, Mice- it’s a mess, oh my!

 wp_20160918_10_27_08_proThis is a close up of the squirrel nest after the siding and trim were removed.
A Customer called us because they could hear the squirrels in their attic.

 

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Here is another picture of the Squirrel’s Nest

 

 

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You can see how fairly large this nest had gotten to be

 

 

 

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These are the “After” shots once the nest had been cleaned out.
Traps were set and whatever was sealed into the attic space would be trapped.

 

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Here is the squirrel. What a cutie, but what a destructive little thing!
This squirrel was released in an area that had more trees than homes!
Happy Trails, Squirrel and Happy Days for our Customer.

Rodents (squirrels, rats, and mice) are a year-round pest, however, as the days get shorter and cooler they are more than likely to seek shelter Attics, crawl spaces, garages, sheds are all easy places for rodents to access. License to Kill, Inc. provides a comprehensive protection plan.
1) We seal out the entry points
2) We clean out and sanitize the spaces
3) We place our specially designed traps to capture rats and other rodents
4) We check these traps until we are satisfied we have captured anything trapped in the                     home.
5) We provide a warranty that is renewable for years to come for added continual protection.

 

Fall brings us Spiders: Nature’s natural born killers!

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Around July or August this year, I was walking into a local grocery store with a pumpkin and jack-o-lantern display. I took a picture with the intention of posting it on Instagram with the hashtag, “Noooo it’s too soon”! It is now September and the children are back in school. As a matter of fact, they have had a day off due to the torrential downpour and subsequent flooding we have been experiencing these past three days. Chances are people around Hampton Roads have been noticing a little more spider activity than normal. By noticing, I mean walking squarely through an invisible spider web on the way to the car. I myself caught one across the face walking onto a customer’s porch. That sucker was pretty strong, too. I guess he was going for larger prey like rodents and unsuspecting humans.

One fairly prominent spider this time of year is the Argiope spider. It is also known as the Zipper Spider or Zig Zag spider because of the zig zag pattern in their webs. They are fairly menacing looking to any who come across them. This spider is interested in eating bugs, not humans. They are relatively harmless to humans, however, as in the case of any venom, the reaction could be different in children and the elderly, so extra precaution and medical attention should be paid to them as well as those with compromised immunity.

Another “fall friend” is the Wolf Spider. According to the article by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Wolf Spider does not make webs, but generally, they seek out insects for food on the ground.  They enter homes in the fall when the weather for warmth. They are basically your bouncers or “organic pest service providers”. They are not the snuggly types so they will bite if handled and their venom can cause pain and irritation.

Black widow spiders are common as well as venomous. They are not aggressive and those that have been bitten generally picked up an object that the black widow’s web was attached to and pressed the spider into their flesh. Immediate medical attention is necessary for children and the elderly especially. Bringing the spider to the medical facility for proper identification aids in identifying how best to treat the patient.

Brown recluse are mainly from the Midwest, however, they have made their way to Hampton Roads. There are a few of them and even fewer cases of brown recluse having run-ins with people, but they do deserve an honorable mention. The brown recluse, like the black widow, is not aggressive. In my research, I found articles on homes with hundreds of brown recluse living in the home, but they live in peace with the homeowner.  Their bite reactions range from no irritation to skin sloughing off and tissue death.

In general, spiders do perform a function in eating other insects. Prevention would involve cleaning closets, corners, and other parts of your home regularly. You do not want to find out they are there the hard way. Use a vacuum to clean corners from the ceiling to the floor and inside shoes. If you happen to see a rather swollen spider, be careful not to kill it by smashing it, you could find yourself watching dozens of baby spiders scattering away!

Exclusionary measures such as checking the seals around your exterior doors, filling in gaps around pipes that enter the home, as well as caulking around windows are a few of the ways to prevent spiders entering your home. A pest management professional can also assist with pest prevention with a chemical application to high areas, corners, as well as wall voids and other “hot spots”.

 

You can find more information about spiders in Virginia in these two articles:

Identifying spiders

Spiders of Medical Concern in Virginia

Happy Fall!

American Roach

American roach

It is August and lately our phone calls have been centered on a nuisance pest that has been on this earth for about 300 million years: the cockroach. Specifically, we have discovered that the American Cockroach has been creeping into homes and businesses.

What do they want? Why my house? I keep my house spotless-why am I being punished?

If you have not had the pleasure of meeting these creatures (you may be fibbing, but we forgive you..) they are approximately 1 ½ inches tall, reddish brown in color, and they have large wings that cover their abdomen. The babies-to-young-adult stage of the roach life span are called Nymphs. They look similar to the adults, but they lack wings thereby causing teenage roach angst because all they want to do is prove they are grown up and can leave the nest to be on their own.

Generally, the entire clan can be found in shadowy places of warmth and dampness such as around pipes under kitchen sinks, around water heaters, in crawl spaces as well as floor drains just to name a few. They can also be found in places such as wet leaf stuffed rain gutters and your shower, but only right about the time you are getting ready to step in to use it. Just kidding, they like hanging out in the shower whether you are there or not.

As far as cuisine preferences they prefer their nourishment to be of decaying organic matter; however, they make wonderful houseguests in that they are not terribly picky. They are fond of cheese, beer, hair, book bindings, and cardboard boxes just to name a few things.

They can live without food for two or three months, but only a month without water.

Each female is capable of dropping an egg capsule (or attaching it somewhere safe) that contains 14-16 eggs and- to further cause you to have the willies- they generally produce an egg capsule once per week. If you do a little math, that could be as little as 56 babies per month from one mama roach or as many as 64.

So what does all that have to do with the fact that you are seeing them in your spotless and immaculate no-one-even-wears-shoes-inside-my-house home?

Roaches are opportunist and survivalists. You don’t get to be a millions of years old species without learning how to get around and adapt to their surroundings. Just like any pest, it is important to take a good look around your home. Be sure to caulk areas such as baseboards, around pipes under sinks, windows. You want to seal them out of your home. If there are areas in need of repair, have them repaired in order to prevent creatures from lurking into your inner sanctum.

Roaches have also been known deploy the Trojan horse tactic to gain access to your home. Well actually, you can find them in cardboard boxes, grocery bags, and other items that are brought into the home.  It’s a good practice to open packages outside and dispose of them in your recycle bin right away. Washable and reusable grocery bags may also be a big help.

Lastly, clean. Be sure dishes are cleaned and put away. Clean the sink and all around the sink, be sure to take care of all food articles and dry up any water. Clean up food, grease, and seal food items up in containers all around the kitchen. Sweep floors and take trash out regularly. When pets are done eating dispose of any food around their dishes and clean their food and water dish.

In terms of treatment, it is a good practice to consult a professional who can perform the treatment and investigation for you or who can sell you products in order for you to take care of the infestation yourself. The products that a professional sells verses the over the counter treatments are going to be more effective. Whichever direction you take would be of great benefit for ridding your home of this nuisance pest, but it works best when you take the necessary precautions of sealing out entry points and sanitizing as well.

Ant prevention Part 1

During warm, moist times of the year, ants emerge in a manner reminiscent of Biblical Plague proportions. We receive phone calls and emails from folks: “it’s EXPLODED. We’ve got to take drastic measures even if it’s … planting a nuclear waste chemical!!! I can’t live like this!!!”

It may seem dramatic, but for those of us who have left one tiny crumb on the kitchen counter, this is all too real. There are homes, however, that have had the misfortune of being built on an ant hill. Really. It’s a thing.

Colonies of ants live in multiple structures underground that can span several miles. These super colonies have several queens and workers. Ants can also live under roof lines and under the siding of your home.

Watch this video: click here.

Wow, right? All the way up there?

Water, food, and shelter are all ants need and everything we provide at our homes and businesses.

So what now? I know, I’ve just told you all the stuff you already know. What can be done? Part of the battle is ours as homeowners. Here is your “Honey Do” list:

1) Clean!

– sweep floors and vacuum: you are looking to pick up food crumbs and etc.

-take a bucket of hot soapy water and wipe down counters, stove tops and tables and etc

-wash your dishes and get rid of food particles in the sink. Put food in sealed containers (in the refrigerator is best).

– clean your gutters! Make sure that water flows easily through the gutters.

-rake up leaves and cut back bushes so that they are not touching your house

– take care of areas around your home that water pools

– add extensions to the downspouts of your gutters to ensure water is directed away from your home

2) Seal!

– take a caulking gun and caulk around cracks, wall voids, openings between your backsplash and counter tops etc.

– seal around pipes that lead into the home such as the Air Conditioning unit, pipes under sinks and seal around windows and baseboards as well.

Summer Travel Advisory: watch out for bed bugs!

Memorial weekend ushered in summer and summer plans. As our activities increase with the warm weather and in our travels whether local or far away, we should be mindful of pests such as bed bugs. Whether you are staying in a hotel, cabin, or at someone’s home, it is always a good idea to examine your quarters prior to entering.

The first thing you want to do is to leave your luggage in your vehicle or outside of the room. You do not want to unnecessarily contaminate your clothing. Next, head straight for the bed and peel back the covers to expose the mattress. Check the seams on the top and the bottom part of the mattress. If you see what looks like flakes of pepper, black dots, or any red/dried blood this could be an indication of bug activity. (see photos below) Third: Check the headboard behind and all around. Also, check behind any artwork/pictures on the walls. You are looking for live bugs- they are good hiders! There are many other areas that they hide in, but checking the bed is a good indicator as to whether you have an issue or not.

You may have heard some research that was conducted. It turns out that bed bugs are attracted to as well as repulsed by certain colors! Regardless of this interesting study, wearing the color they despise the most does not protect you from bed bugs wherever you go. Bed bugs are anti-discriminatory. Whether you are in a movie theater, posh hotel, or border house they are only after one thing: your blood.  To read about research click here

What attracts a bed bug to you, you ask? When you breathe out, you emit carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is a beacon for bed bugs to find and feed on you! Not only are they attracted to you as their source for a meal, they have now found a host that will allow them to produce babies. Female bed bugs can lay as many as five eggs daily! It takes twenty-one days for the babies to fully mature with some molting in the middle of it. In order to molt this child into a teen/adult, he has to have a blood meal first. This blood meal means he has to feed on you, of course.

Should a person call a professional? I know, there are so many things you can do according to the internet. Steaming. Laundering. Showering. Repeat.  This is just part of your arsenal in the battle that is bed bug ninja folklore! In a class I was in several years agoColor research click here prior to the major resurgence of this super-ninja-vampire-bug our instructor, Dr. Austin Frishman held up an ordinary hotel hanger. He asked, “How many hiding spaces are on this hanger?”

Silence. Hiding places on a clothes hanger?

Dr. Frishman counted for us: 1: The dip where a spaghetti strap would rest in. 2: The inside of the hanger corner where the top and bottom meet. 3: the opposite corner 4: the other dip where the other spaghetti strap would rest and 5: the hook at the top of the whole contraption

Amazing.

The point is: unless you consult a trained professional, you will not know the intricate details of where bed bugs could hide. Pests are survivalists and bed bugs can not only hide from you, but they can live for months without a blood meal. Like any other organism that feels threatened, they can stay away for a time before attacking you again in your sleep.

Be sure to work hand in hand with a professional bed bug killer. You will save on being psychologically affected as well as countless hours of guess work and reoccurrences.bed bug activity Bed bug activity 3

Another day at the office for Al Neely

Click here to view

Our intrepid inspector has really done it this time. It is his quest to make his company #1 in rat residential and commercial eradicator in Hampton Roads and Eastern shore: no stone is left unturned (or in this case, a rodent trap in a crawl space!) You should put your fork down before you hit play!

Termite Season is upon us this season!

The US Forestry has said this about termites:

Subterranean termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the United States. They cause more than $2 billion in damage each year, more property damage than that caused by fire and windstorm combined.

You can find the rest of the article here: US Forestry regarding Termites

Termites are subterranean meaning they live underground. Termite colonies can generally be found every 6 feet on a property. We like to say that it’s not a matter of “if” you will get termites but “when”! Hampton Roads is the Tidewater region of Virginia meaning that we are on the seacoast which lends to a more damp and humid climate. The high moisture content of our region causes more concern with groundwater and our high water table.  Why do I mention moisture? Termite bodies are 90% water. With this in mind, they must keep from drying out so they travel in protected environments when they leave the colony. They protect themselves by traveling in what is commonly referred to as “Mud Tubes”. They can build such tubes from the ground toward your floor joists in your crawl space in a stalactite fashion in order to get to the wood and begin their work of destroying the wood.  In short, moisture under and around your home is dangerous for the foundation as it opens itself up to attack not just by termites but also to wood destroying fungus and other organisms.

Generally, a crawl space can have issues with moisture because it is not adequately ventilated to allow the moisture to dry out of the crawl space. Many times we would recommend that the crawl space be sealed up and a device known as a dehumidifier be installed. This mechanism draws the humidity out of the enclosed space and pumps it outside of the crawl space. The added benefit is that it helps to maintain a constant temperature in the crawl space which in turn helps with your energy bill.

Termites do not only enjoy wood but other cellulose material also. They have been known to enter into garages and sheds and destroy boxes as well as the books and magazines that may be inside those boxes. In this video you see that the customer had left cardboard out in their yard:

Check out our Video of live termites that were found on a customer’s yard: Live action termites

What is the solution?

  • Be sure all wood to ground contact is remedied. If you have stacks of firewood against your house remove it immediately. You also want to be sure it is raised up and stacked off the ground so that they do not have immediate access to it.
  • Have a professional evaluate your crawl space to determine the wood to moisture content of the wood in your floor joists. This will help you determine what course of action you should take to protect your home.
  • Protect your home from termites by getting a termite treatment. Do not be fooled by the over the counter products at the store! A truly good treatment is performed by a licensed and trained termite technician using Termidor or Premise brand products.

Contact us today with any questions you may have! 757-233-0110