cotton rats

Combatting the Spread of Cotton Rats

cotton rats

Cotton Rats Can Pose Serious Agricultural Threats

Cotton rats are especially destructive when it comes to sugarcane and melon, as they tend to favor the natural sugars in both foods. In some cases, cotton rats will eat quail eggs, severely impacting the quail population in a given area. To make matters worse, cotton mice are often in competition with quail for a lot of the same food sources.

The cotton rat makes its home across most of the southern United States, including all parts of Texas, as well as most parts of Mexico. Cotton rats are distinguished from other species by their small internal cheek pouches, much like those of the chipmunk, which they use for carrying seeds.

cotton ratsIn many instances, the cotton rat will move from farms and fields to gardens and lawns if the opportunity presents itself. While, in most cases, cotton rats are outdoor pests, it’s not unknown for them to enter homes and other structures if food is readily available. They’ve been known to infest outbuildings like barns, sheds, garages, and other similar structures. Other seldom used buildings like lake or hunting cabins are also prime targets for cotton rats.

Like other species of rats and mice, cotton rats are prolific breeders, and, if an infestation is not caught early on, it can increase in severity at an exponential rate. Females can produce up to nine litters per year, and have about five to seven babies per litter. The young cotton rats reach maturity in about a month, at which point they’re ready to find mates of their own. When resources are plentiful, there’s really no limit to the number of rats that a population can sustain.

Signs of cotton rat activity include the appearance of nests or burrows, likely make out of grasses or weeds, and often with multiple entrances. Cotton rats generally nest directly on the ground or in shallow burrows, and tend to make trails in the grass, similar to ruts, wherever they travel.

Like many other species of rodent, cotton rats have the ability to transmit hantavirus, meaning that extreme caution should be taken when handling dead rats, their nests, or their feces. Most experts recommend making sure that grass and weeds near structures is kept as short as possible, and that all holes and openings in outbuildings are sealed as a means of keeping an infestation of cotton rats at bay.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas cotton rat removal experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If cotton rats have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced cotton rat removal experts.

cockroaches

Cockroaches Are Tenacious and Unsanitary Pests

cockroaches

Cockroaches Enter Homes Through Even the Smallest Crevices

Cockroaches can enter buildings through drains, pipes, and cracks in structural foundations. They can be found in private residences, but are also common in larger commercial buildings and grocery stores, food processing plants, and hospitals—basically wherever access to food is available. Roaches also frequently infest basements and gardens.

Cockroaches reportedly have the ability to spread 33 different kinds of bacteria, as well as a variety of parasitic worms and other human pathogens.

As they invade human dwellings, cockroaches pick up dangerous microbes on the microscopic hairs on their legs and spines. If they travel through sewage drains, for example, they can collect dangerous bacteria and then deposit it if they travel across food or food preparation areas.

Apart from their ability to spread disease through the contamination of kitchen surfaces and eating utensils, cockroaches have been known to trigger asthma. As cockroach nymphs develop, they periodically shed their skins or exoskeletons. Exoskeleton particles, along with particles cockroach’s feces can function as antigens when inhaled and exacerbate allergic reactions.

cockroachesWhen dealing with a cockroach infestation, it’s very rare that only one pest control method is used. Likewise, many follow-up inspections will be required in order to ensure that the treatment is effective.

Effective cockroach control begins with inspection. A good flashlight is helpful when trying to track down signs of cockroaches, as is some kind of flushing agent like aerosol. Keep an eye out for dark speckling which accumulates where cockroaches congregate. Other signs of infestation include discarded skins and egg shells. These signs can help determine the cockroaches’ point of origin. The use of sticky traps can also help determine areas of roach activity. Leaving these traps in place and checking them regularly can help give an early warning and indicate a roach problem before an infestation gets out of hand.

Not unlike mice, cockroaches will maintain their hiding places within a few feet of their food source. Apart from food, roaches will seek out areas that offer warmth, moisture, and shelter. Roaches typically prefer organic surfaces like wood and cardboard.

Younger nymphs rarely venture more than two feet from their hiding places, and fully grown adults usually don’t roam more than 10 feet, which means that you likely won’t have to look far from food storage areas to find a coven of roaches.

cockroachesSanitation is also an obviously important aspect in cockroach control and involving removing their access to food and water. While exclusion and sanitation alone will likely not be enough to eliminate cockroaches altogether, their dual implementation will improve the chances of pesticide application.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas cockroach control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If cockroaches have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced cockroach removal experts.

centipedes

Centipedes are Carnivorous Insects

centipedes

Many Centipede Species Contribute to a Healthy Ecosystem

Centipedes are carnivorous insects and natural predators. Although their eyes are only capable of discerning light and dark, their extremely sensitive antennae are more than adequate for locating their prey. Like spiders, these insects are important in maintaining healthy ecosystems by feeding on other damaging insects.

Most adult centipedes prefer moist, dark, quiet places during winter and place their eggs in dampened soil during spring or summer. As insects, centipedes live abnormally long lives; most usually survive up to a year in the wild, although some have been known to like up to six years. Centipedes do no roam during the daytime, but they will sometimes make inroads into human habitations and seek damp areas in bathrooms, closets, basements, and other similar spaces.

Unlike termites, centipedes are unlikely to consume wood. Millipedes, however, are herbivores and detritivores, and feed exclusively on dead or decaying plant material as well as cellulose-based materials like wood.

centipedesWhile some pests like cockroaches or mice may leaving visual clues that they’ve been using your home as shelter, no such indicators exist for a centipede infestation apart from actually seeing the centipede itself.

In North America, the most commonly encountered centipede is the house centipede which ranges from 25 to 38 mm in length. This particular species possesses extremely long legs and has the ability to travel on both floors and walls without issue.

As mentioned above, centipedes are carnivorous insects, which means that limiting their access to potential food sources is a step in the right direction when it comes to eliminating them from the home. It’s for this reason that a comprehensive approach to pest control is best; ideally, your pest control expert will be able to identify all species of pests that may be invading your home, and from there, he or she can put the most effective control method for your home.

While the venom produced by these pests is not fatal, the bite from some larger species of centipede can be as painful as a bee sting and can lead to severe pain, numbness, discoloration, and inflammation of the afflicted area.

centipedesFor common house centipedes, commercially available sticky traps may be enough to stem the population of these pests in a given area. Moreover, these traps will be able to give you a more accurate idea of where these pests are coming from, as well as the routes they’re taking to get around your home.

If an infestation is confirmed, it’s recommended that homeowners take special care to seal off uncommonly moist areas like bathrooms and reduce entry points to the outside like cracks and crevices.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas centipede control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If centipedes have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced centipede removal experts.

cotton rats

Identifying and Removing Cotton Rats

cotton rats

Cotton Rat Populations Can Grow Exponentially When Resources Are Plentiful

Cotton rats have no qualms about eating fully grown crops of all kinds, but they’ve also been known to steal vast quantities of seeds after they’ve been planted and before they’ve had a chance to take root, further damaging the prospects of a profitable harvest.

What’s more, cotton rats are especially destructive when it comes to sugarcane and melon, as they tend to favor the natural sugars in both foods. In some cases, cotton rats will eat quail eggs, severely impacting the quail population in a given area. To make matters worse, cotton mice are often in competition with quail for a lot of the same food sources.

The cotton rat makes its home across most of the southern United States, including all parts of Texas, as well as most parts of Mexico. Cotton rats are distinguished from other species by their small internal cheek pouches, much like those of the chipmunk, which they use for carrying seeds. Likewise, they have stiff, black-grey fur, which, in some places in the south-western United States, has led to the nickname “javelina rat.”

cotton ratsIn many instances, the cotton rat will move from farms and fields to gardens and lawns if the opportunity presents itself. While, in most cases, cotton rats are outdoor pests, it’s not unknown for them to enter homes and other structures if food is readily available. They’ve been known to infest outbuildings like barns, sheds, garages, and other similar structures. Other seldom used buildings like lake or hunting cabins are also prime targets for cotton rats.

Like other species of rats and mice, cotton rats are prolific breeders, and, if an infestation is not caught early on, it can increase in severity at an exponential rate. Females can produce up to nine litters per year, and have about five to seven babies per litter. The young cotton rats reach maturity in about a month, at which point they’re ready to find mates of their own. When resources are plentiful, there’s really no limit to the number of rats that a population can sustain.

cotton ratsSigns of cotton rat activity include the appearance of nests or burrows, likely make out of grasses or weeds, and often with multiple entrances. Cotton rats generally nest directly on the ground or in shallow burrows, and tend to make trails in the grass, similar to ruts, wherever they travel.

Like many other species of rodent, cotton rats have the ability to transmit hantavirus, meaning that extreme caution should be taken when handling dead rats, their nests, or their feces. Most experts recommend making sure that grass and weeds near structures is kept as short as possible, and that all holes and openings in outbuildings are sealed as a means of keeping an infestation of cotton rats at bay.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas cotton rat control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If cotton rats have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced cotton rat removal experts.

mosquitoes

Mosquito Control in the Southern United States

mosquiotes

With Zika Continuing to Spread, Controlling Mosquitoes is More Important than Ever

In the southern United States, Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas mosquito control is struggling to meet the challenge. People die every year from a lack of adequate health care when it comes to treating mosquito transmitted diseases. Children especially, whose immune systems are not yet fully developed, are most at risk of succumbing to one of these diseases, including Zika, which has recently made its way to the United States.

As many homeowners know, mosquito infestations are generally seasonal, which also means that the rise and fall of diseases like West Nile are also seasonal. Dry winters and wet springs make for the perfect mosquito-breeding environment. Stagnant water and intense heat allow for mosquitoes to thrive all across the United States, making Dallas mosquito control all the more important.

mosquitoesConcerning olfaction in mosquitoes and other insects, it’s worth noting that mosquitoes have an extraordinary sense of smell; a large portion of their admittedly small brains are dedicated to identifying and divining the location of their targets.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, only female mosquitoes feed on blood, which they then use to produce their eggs. Female mosquitoes, accordingly, find their victims through their sense of smell.

As researchers and scientists learn more about the way in which mosquitoes are attracted to their targets, they can reach a better understanding of how to develop more effective methods of combatting mosquito-born diseases.

The Notre Dame researcher’s lab is currently studying what scents plants that mosquitoes are attracted to give off. Again, a deeper understanding of the role of the chemicals produced by plants and how mosquitoes select plants to obtain their energy sources can lead to better control and elimination strategies.

mosquitoesBetter mosquito control protocols would facilitate greater comfort and convenience while outdoors. In many parts of the world, and in developing nations especially, mosquito control is a matter of life and death. In Africa alone, for example malaria takes a human life every 30 seconds. A better understanding of the role smell plays in mosquito behavior can reveal important clues that can ultimately lead to newer and more effective control strategies.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas mosquito control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If mosquitoes have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced mosquito removal experts.

flies

How to Keep Flies Away from Your Home During the Summer

flies

Flies Can Impact Pets’ Health and Spread Disease

Flies are perhaps the most ubiquitous pests in the world, infesting every single region of the world except for the polar ice caps. They are known for their propensity to spread dangerous pathogens and diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, E. coli, and salmonella.

Flies carry millions of microorganisms within their stomachs and billions more on their bodies and in their mouths. Flies spread disease rapidly because of their attraction to rotting garbage as well as human and animal waste, which becomes a pressing health concern when they then land on human food or utensils.

Flies collect these pathogens when they land on certain unwholesome materials, and then deposit those pathogens when they land on food, tables, or counters. They regurgitate onto solid food and then eat that same liquid, meaning that they’re able to transmit disease just by feeding, grooming themselves, or simply by walking around.

fliesLike many other kinds of insects, flies are most active during the warm summer months, usually from late spring to early fall. Although they tend actively seek out human food and habitations during this time, a series of simple preventative measures, including good cleaning habits and hygiene, can decrease the chances that flies will infest your home.

In order to make sure that flies stay outdoors where they belong, it’s important to limit their access to your home as much as possible by keeping doors and windows closed or screened. The same goes for external vents, which they occasionally use to stealthily enter your home.

Likewise, a major key to keeping flies away is to cover up garbage cans and make sure that compost piles are well away from the home. Keeping cooking surfaces clean, both indoors and outdoors, will also go a long way to keeping your home free of intrusive insects.

It’s also important to note that outdoor pets are especially vulnerable to flies and the diseases they carry during the summer months. Since these insects are attracted to offal, manure, and waste, all of which your outdoor pet may come into contact with during the course of an average day, your pets may be beset by any number of particularly irritating species of fly.

fliesBiting flies, for example, will actively harm your pet, and they may very well end up injuring themselves while trying to scratch them away. To make matters worse, if your pet happens to have an open wound, flies will likely try to lay eggs inside the injury which, as one might assume, can lead to all sorts of complications. If this situation occurs, take your pet to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible in order to avoid further infection.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas fly removal experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If flies have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced fly removal experts.

thrips

Thrips Can Spread Agricultural Diseases

thrips

If Left Unchecked, an Infestation of Thrips Can Be Financially Devastating

Thrips, also called storm flies, are tiny insects that feed by puncturing the outer layer of their hosts, be they plant or animal, and sucking out the cellular contents. Many species of thrips are considered pests because they cause serious economic damage to a variety of crops. Despite their minuscule size and ability to fly in limited bursts, they are more commonly carried long distances on the wind.

In the absence of natural predators—in green houses or grow rooms, for example—thrips population size can increase exponentially, at which point they become an especially pronounced nuisance to humans. Moreover, these insects are known vectors of upwards of twenty fairly serious agrarian diseases.

Like many other types of insects, thrips become most problematic during the summer months. Indeed, they usually take anywhere from one to two months to develop into adulthood during the colder months, but during the hottest parts of summer, the process can take only a quarter of that time to complete. As one might assume, thrips are most active during the hottest parts of the day, which means that many growers who choose to apply biochemical pesticides will do so during that time, when the thrips are less likely to be hunkered down inside the most secure parts of their host plants.

thripsThese insects are fairly difficult to control because of their size as well as their propensity to appear suddenly from an origin point that may be a great distance away. If control methods become necessary, it’s a wise decision to use a variety of means, including biochemical control, natural predators, and cultural control.

There are a few methods for determining if thrips are actually infesting the plant life on your property. One method is to shake or gently beat a sample of the foliage over a light-colored sheet of paper, so that any nesting nymphs will fall out and become visible. Another slightly more costly method is to use yellow sticky traps in or near your plants, which will likely collect a large number of thrips that happen by over time.

thripsThere are a variety of predatory insects that may be able to get rid of invasive thrips with minimal effort on your part, including green lacewings, minute pirate bugs, and several species of parasitic wasps, although extra precautions should be taken when introducing a whole new potentially dangerous species to an area in order to get rid of a preexisting one.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas thrip control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If thrips have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced thrip removal experts.

squirrels

Squirrels in Winter

squirrels

Attics Are Attractive Hiding Places for Squirrels During Winter Months

Attics are ideal entry points and nesting places for destructive vermin like mice, rats, chipmunks, and squirrels. As any homeowner beset by such a problem will likely be aware, the fist and most obvious sign of the presence of squirrels in one’s home is the supremely irritating sounds of bumping and scratching that can be heard across the upper floors and walls.

Squirrels are more at home in trees than on a flat, ground-like surface and as long as there is adequate shelter from predators, a squirrel will make it’s home just about anywhere.

squirrelsAs the weather continues to get colder, especially in areas like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, an attic is the ideal home for a squirrel, as it’s warm, dry, and virtually perfect for both nesting and storing food. Moreover, an attic is the perfect place for squirrels to breed, as they’re usually well out of the way of predators—meaning that homeowners beset by this particular problem should immediately search for means of dealing with the problem in order to avoid an infestations.

It’s worth nothing that an infestation of squirrels could mean anywhere from two to twenty of these animals obstinately tearing up your property, and as with any animals that have a tendency to invade homes—insect or otherwise—they’re almost impossible to get rid of when they invade in large enough numbers.

Calling your local wildlife control experts in certainly a solution, but it should be noted that such a measure is generally fairly costly, though they can generally be relied upon to remove the pests to a different location, as opposed to just killing them outright. On the other hand, the enthusiastic homeowner does have a number of options at their disposal to deal with the problem themselves, including trapping and removing the squirrels manually.

squirrelsHowever, this squirrel removal method is generally easier said than done, as it requires the amateur to accurately identify all entry and exit points that may or may not be hidden around your attic. For the untrained civilian, this is not small task. Assuming that the individual in question has successfully managed to identify all of the points of ingress and egress, the next step is to block all of these points except for one. If done correctly, this means that the squirrels have no other option than to use the exit in which the trap should be placed.

Appropriate squirrel-sized traps can be purchased at nearly any hardware store, and should be placed in or near the squirrels’ point on entry. Follow the instructions provided by the trap’s manufacturer, and ensure that the trap is mounted correctly. When a squirrel is successfully captured, it may then be removed to a different location, which usually means that the critter in question will not be invading your attic again anytime soon.

Cantu Pest Control cares about safe and humane trapping of the wildlife that has invaded your home or business. We believe that wildlife invaders do not have to be killed in order to solve the invasion. After our squirrel removal professionals have properly and thoroughly employed measures that will eliminate future wildlife infestation then the property owner may choose to have any wildlife in and around the property caught in humane traps.

If squirrels have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced squirrel removal experts.

mosquitoes

Mosquito Larvae and Maturation

mosquito

Mosquito Larvae Can Thrive in Stagnant Water

Mosquito larvae, commonly called “wigglers,” live in water between four and fourteen days depending on the water’s temperature. They must come to the surface at often to obtain oxygen through a breathing tube called a siphon.

Larvae constantly feed since maturation requires lots of energy and food. They hang with their heads down and the brushes by their mouths filtering anything small enough to be eaten toward their mouths to nourish the growing larvae.

These insects feed on algae, plankton, fungi and bacteria, among other things. They breath at the water surface with the breathing tube up. It breaks the water surface tension.

mosquiotesSurprisingly, one species of larva feeds on larvae of other mosquitoes — the toxorhynchites. These are the largest mosquito known and are predators of other mosquito larvae that may live near them.

Their larvae are much larger than typical mosquito larvae. During growth, the larva molts (sheds its skin) four times. The stages between molts are called instars. At the forth instar, the usual larva reaches a length of almost one half of an inch and toward the end of this instar ceases feeding. When the fourth instar larva molts, it becomes a pupa mosquito.

mosquitoesCantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas pest control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If mosquitoes have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced mosquito removal experts.

opossum removal

How to Keep Opossums from Entering Your Yard

opossum removal

Which Opossum Removal and Exclusion Methods are Best for Your Home?

Opossums are generally solitary creatures, and are known to stay in one area as long as food and water are readily available. Primarily nocturnal, opossums prefer quiet, secure areas to sleep during the day, and will sometimes seek out ready-made burrows for a form of temporary shelter. Successful opossum removal depends on removing materials that attract these pests to your property and to limit their access to shelter.

Opossums have remarkably well-developed immune systems, and many species exhibit partial or total immunity to the venom of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and other vipers. Interestingly, opossums are about eight times less likely than wild dogs to carry rabies.

Perhaps the most notable behavior of the opossums, however, is its unique ability to play dead—or possum—as the old idiom goes. When an opossum is threatened or harmed, it will involuntarily mimic the appearance and smell of a corpse.

opossum removalWhen this hard-wired defense mechanism takes effect, its lips will be drawn back, saliva will foam from the mouth, the eyes close or roll back, and a foul-smelling liquid is secreted from the anal glands. Though this behavior is apparently effective against would-be predators, the animal is, for all intents and purposes, completely defenseless during this period, and can be poked, rolled over, and even carried away without eliciting a response.

The opossum will typically regain consciousness within forty minutes, although the process can sometimes take up to four hours. In conjunction with their ability to play dead, adult opossums will growl deeply or hiss at a perceived threat.

Opossums can be found in most regions throughout North America, though are considered invasive species in Southern Ontario and British Colombia; opossum removal and trapping is subsequently big business in these areas.

They are considered pests because of their tendency to dig up gardens in search of berries and nuts, and, like raccoons, will almost inevitably root through outdoor garbage cans in the hopes of coming across discarded food.

opossum removalTenacious as they are, opossums are not generally wary of traps and can easily be caught using a box, cage, or latch-style trap. In many places, relocating a captured opossum without a permit is illegal, which means that the wisest course of action is to enlist the help of an opossum removal profession to trap and get rid of the pest in a humane (and legal) way.

Cantu Pest Control cares about safe and humane trapping of the wildlife that has invaded your home or business. We believe that wildlife invaders do not have to be killed in order to solve the invasion. After our opossum removal professionals have properly and thoroughly employed measures that will eliminate future wildlife infestation then the property owner may choose to have any wildlife in and around the property caught in humane traps.

If opossums have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced opossum removal experts.