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Busting the Top 4 Mosquito Myths

Busting the Top 4 Mosquito Myths | The Bug Man

While the mosquito is no stranger to Louisianans, how well do you know these all-too-familiar fun suckers? There’s a swarm of information available on what attracts them, how to prevent them and why they behave the way that they do. But how do you decipher an old wives’ tale from actual science? Let’s break down a few of the most commonly-circulated myths about the unofficial state bird of Louisiana…

Myth #1: “Mosquitoes are more attracted to sweet blood.”
No matter your sunny disposition or the amount of sugary treats you consume, tasting “sweet” isn’t really a thing. Mosquitoes are, however, drawn to certain odors your body emits, like heat from your movement, the carbon dioxide in your breath and the lactic acid your skin secretes. In fact, scientific studies show that people with Type O blood were twice as likely to be bitten than people with Type A blood because they expel more lactic acid than others.

Myth #2: “Mosquitoes rely on blood to survive.”

Male mosquitoes couldn’t care less about blood. Females feed on it out of natural primal instinct – they only need its nutrients to produce eggs. But for humans, because most mosquitos are continuously breeding, it feels as though the vicious blood-sucking never stops. While blood is a female-exclusive feast, both male and female mosquitoes run (or fly) on nectar to fuel their everyday activities.

Myth #3: “Eating certain foods can act as a natural mosquito repellent.”

While eating a large amount of garlic may cause your date to flee in the other direction, it doesn’t do much to deter mosquitoes. Research shows that while consuming foods like onions, beans, grapefruit or peppers can potentially help to mask the natural smells your body emits, it isn’t exactly fool-proof. Experts suggest using a bug spray that contains DEET (with a concentration of 50% or less) and wearing pants and long sleeves to best protect yourself from these mini vampires.

Myth #4: “You don’t have to worry about getting a disease from mosquitoes in the U.S.”

While the risk has been greatly reduced over the years, we’re not completely out of the woods. There are over 200 types of mosquitoes in the United States, and the CDC reports about 12 of them spread germs that can cause severe illnesses, like West Nile, Zika and more. If you have recently been bitten by mosquitoes and you are experiencing fever, a rash, joint and muscle pain, headache and nausea, please seek out medical treatment as soon as possible.

Now that you have a little more insight into how these little itch-inducing pests act, there’s no time like the present to learn about how you can safeguard your property from housing them in the first place. Contact The Bug Man at (225) 923-2847 today for a tailored treatment plan, specific to your site’s needs.

Bugs That Benefit Your Garden

You may not realize it, but some bugs are actually good for your garden. We call those bugs the “beneficial bugs” (BB), and they can help by eating pest insects that want to eat your plants. Your backyard has thousands of insects, and of them, most are either beneficial or harmless. They fall into three categories. 

  1. Predators: They eliminate pests by eating them.
  2. Pollinators: We depend on these insects to pollinate our garden flowers.
  3. Parasitizers: Like predators, they prey on other insects, but in a different way. They lay their eggs on or in the bad bugs, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the hosts.

To introduce you to “beneficial bugs,” we’ve created a list.

Green Lacewings:

Green-Lacewings

These BBs feed on nectar and pollen, but their larvae prey on pests like aphids and caterpillars.

Ladybugs:

Ladybug

You may think of them as harmless or even cute, but did you know these little guys are fierce. As they start in life, they cruise around feasting on aphids. In fact, ladybug larvae can eat up to 40 aphids an hour.

Spiders:

Spider

Not everyone’s favorite arachnid (that’s right, it’s technically not an insect), but spiders are great pest controllers. They are attracted by movement and eat many live insects and are great at keeping pests under control.

Ground Beetles:

Ground-Beetles

Both beneficial as larvae or as adults, ground beetles will eat a wide range of insects, including caterpillars, slugs, silverfish, thrips and nematodes. 

Hoverflies:

Hoverflies

These BBs look like tiny Yellowjackets, but they don’t have a stinger. They feed on pollen and nectar and extremely important pollinators. Their larvae are ferocious predators as well. They will kill aphids, caterpillars, beetles and thrips.

We’ve only touched on a few beneficial bugs for your garden, and like all living creatures, they have a basic need for food, water and shelter. By providing these things, your garden will become an inviting home for them. 

 

The Bug Man knows all things bugs; if you need advice or assistance attracting good bugs or getting rid of the bad ones, give us a call. 

Growing for the Better

Growing for better

Bringing our leading pest services to as many people as possible has been our goal for a long time. We feel nobody should be unprotected from pests, which is why we’re proud to announce that The Bug Man has recently acquired two additional pest control companies to service even more people.

Both newly acquired services have been incredible in what they’ve accomplished and they share a great deal in common with what we stand for at The Bug Man.

  1. Customer service is a priority
  2. Family-owned
  3. Strong values

The two new acquisitions: Witt’s Pest Control in Baton Rouge and X-Pert Pest Control, likewise in Baton Rouge, will combine over 300 years of experience and expertise in protecting homes and businesses throughout the state.

As The Bug Man is growing and expanding its services, rest easy knowing that we are always ready to protect you, your family, and your business from unwanted pests. If you want to inquire about our services, expand your services or learn more, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 225-923-2847.

Mosquitos in Louisiana and How to Treat Them

Rain Events Bring More Mosquitos

Mosquitos in Louisiana can be particularly nasty and aggressive, especially with the warm weather rains we get that provide plenty of opportunities for standing water where mosquitos breed and flourish. We’re here to share a few tips on treating these pesky pests, particularly how to limit their numbers and keep them from biting you. But first, a few sobering facts of why mosquitos can be more than just a nuisance.  

  • According to the World Health Organization, mosquitos infect between 330-600 million people a year with Malaria and Dengue, just two of the life-threatening diseases that mosquitoes can carry.
  • Mosquitos kill more people (over 700,000 per year) than any other animal on the planet by far. The closest in fact would be snakes, they kill around 50,000 people per year. 
  • Over 1 million pets in the U.S. alone are estimated to be infected with heartworms, which are passed along through mosquito bites. The infection rate for dogs over 2 years old is thought to be over 80% in South Louisiana.

Make Your Yard and Land Less Hospitable to Mosquitos

One way to lessen the amount of mosquitos on your property is to eliminate areas for them to breed. Female mosquitos prefer to lay their eggs near stagnant water and can lay anywhere from 100 to 300 eggs at a time. These larvae can hatch within 48 hours. That’s a lot of mosquitos! Here’s what you can do.

  • Eliminate sources of standing water and dispose of water-holding containers, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.
  • Pay special attention to discarded tires that may have collected on your property. Stagnant water in tires is a common place for mosquitoes to breed.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters.
  • Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use, such as buckets, wading pools and wheelbarrows.
  • Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis. Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths; aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. When pools are not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary. Be aware that mosquitos may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitos will develop in any puddle that lasts for more than four days.

Fight the Bite!

Mosquitos feed on blood from humans and other animals, which is why they bite. Use the following measures to help reduce bites from these pests.

  • Be particularly careful at dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or for baby strollers.
  • Use mosquito repellent when you are outdoors. Always use according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
  • Always wash treated skin when returning indoors.  Do not apply repellent under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants younger than two months old.
  • Be sure your home’s door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair to avoid mosquitos entering indoors.

If you are still experiencing mosquitos on your property, it’s a safe bet you should call a pest control professional. The mosquito treatment plan usually begins with a thorough property inspection and identifying the kind of mosquitos that are causing problems. Once the inspection and identification are complete, your pest management professional will prepare a mosquito treatment plan best suited for your property, such as mosquito pots, misting systems, or yard fogging.

If you are concerned about a mosquito breeding site in or around your home, consider calling a pest management professional. The Bug Man provides three revolutionary mosquito treatments that don’t just repel mosquitos, the unit kills them for good! Our newest mosquito program is a great, inexpensive alternative to yard fogging. We place mosquito pots around your yard that sterilize a female mosquito from laying eggs. For an effective mosquito solution, contact The Bug Man and ask about their mosquito services or give us a call at (225) 923-2847.

8 Helpful Tips to Help Protect Your Property From Termites

It’s that time of year again. Yep, you guessed it—time for The Bug Man to come out and inspect for termites.

It’s that time of year again. Yep, you guessed it—time for The Bug Man to come out and inspect for termites. While termites are active year-round, most subterranean termites tend to swarm in the spring and summer months here in Louisiana. However, with all the recent rain and flooding making wood structures a breeding ground for an infestation, it’s never been more important to have your home or business inspected for these pests.

When there is this amount of moisture, termite colonies are constantly looking for new sources of food. It’s essential to take proactive measures to prevent termites from destroying something you try so hard to protect.

Here are some helpful tips to help safeguard your property:

  1. Store firewood away from your home. Place it in a dry area.
  2. Don’t allow water to pool next to the slab or under your home or business. Create ways to help the water drain away.
  3. Trim your tree limbs and vines that may be growing near or on your home.
  4. If you have any leaks in your pipes, roof or outside faucets, have them repaired or replaced.
  5. Repair any rotting wood on the soffit, fascia and exterior wood surfaces.
  6. Clean the gutters on your home and repair any sections that may be damaged.
  7. Make sure to turn off outside lights at night. Consider using yellow bulbs to avoid attracting swarming termites.
  8. Call The Bug Man to get rid of them.

Take a look around your structure and look for mud tubes on slabs, piers, or walls and pinholes in wallboards, softness in flooring or blisters in paint or wallpaper. If you see any of these signs, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a termite infestation. They can and will destroy if not dealt with in a timely manner. If you need help with your termite problem or to schedule an inspection, give The Bug Man a call at 225-923-2847.

If You Think Floods Are Bad, Wait Until You Hear About Termites.

Recently Flooded? Treat for Moisture and Termites

The recent rain and floods have done an incredible amount of damage to homes and businesses across the state. To magnify the problem, termites look at the amount of moisture around and don’t see a problem but an opportunity to thrive. Pests are survivors.

As many people will be opening up their walls to let their studs dry out, this is a perfect time to not only do a surface repair but also treat for termites. The type of termite that causes the most damage in North America is the subterranean termite. These pests require ample moisture and then add a food source that contacts moist areas of the soil, and there you have it – perfect conditions for an infestation.

Most pests will seek higher ground to get out of floodwaters. Some insects, like fire ants, will float on water to survive. So, one might think that termites might drown in water. Well, the answer to that is “no” as termites have been around for 250 million years and have survived the ice age, natural disasters, and dinosaurs’ extinction. In short, these pests have strategies to survive.

One strategy for survival is in the way termites breathe. Termites have a system of holes (spiracles) along the sides of their bodies. When around bodies of water, they can close their spiracles for extended periods. One study found that they could survive underwater for over 19 hours. If that doesn’t amaze you, then consider this – they can also tread water for up to 4 days.

Flooding causes damp and wet conditions to become attractive to termites. In many cases, wood that is wet for extended periods of time may lead to an above-ground termite infestation as the termites move into the damp wood. If flooding has damaged your foundation or footing, termites can gain access to your structure

If a termite baiting system is installed around a flooded structure and the floodwaters are contaminated with pollutants, the bait matrix can be tainted and compromised in terms of attractiveness to termites. In this situation, the bait and possibly the bait housing would need to be replaced.

Soil treatments may require remediation or re-treatment if the soil has shifted or eroded or if sediment is deposited over a treated area. Likewise, flood waters may cause chemical treatments applied directly to wood for structural protection to leach out, requiring re-treatment.
Excess moisture is the biggest threat to a home’s structure. The moisture will compromise the strength of the wood, promote mold and fungi growth and attract pests. One way to combat that is with Bora-Care with Mold-Care. It acts as a moisture preventative against the damaging effects of water and the conditions that promote infect infestation. The Bug Man provides moisture treatment to open studs with at least 8% or less of moisture. A termite preventative can be performed as well with Bora Care while the walls are open to your structure.

Based on history, floods and standing water problems will not kill termites. At best, they provide termites more material to feed on due to increased moisture levels. That is all the more reason that pest management professionals need to get out and make sure their termite protection and moisture treatments are in place. Frequent inspection is the key to termite control success.

If a flood has impacted you, The Bug Man can help by making a thorough inspection of the flooded property/structures to determine if your treatment has been compromised. We can suggest appropriate steps for remediation if needed. Give us a call (225) 923-2847

Beware of the “Super Termites”

image of super termites

It’s that time of year that many of us dread. You guessed it, Formosan Termites are looking to feast on your home. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill Termites. The Formosan Termite is also known as a “super termite” since they are much more aggressive and destructive than their relatives. Just how harmful, you ask? They are responsible for nearly $2 billion a year in property damage.

Louisiana is a perfect climate for these pests. They love the moist wood in the spring and summer months. They do most of their damage at night. They will shed their wings after flight and find a safe place to mate and begin their colony by laying eggs. Formosan Termite colonies can have anywhere from 1 -10 million termites within them.

Once the Formosan Termite is mature, it can cause massive amounts of damage. They can go through roughly 13 ounces of wood in a single day. If you do the math, that means a single colony of Formosan Termites can destroy an entire structure in three months.

So, what can you do to defend and defeat the “super termites”? At the Bug Man, we look for areas with conducive conditions around your home. We then treat the house in various methods, such as digging trenches, applying termiticides, hydraulically injecting the termiticide around the slab area and then baiting the home with Sentricon – the best on the market, to help prevent Formosan Termite infestations.

So what’s the bottom line? The best way to control is to have a termite barrier in place with liquids or baits to prevent entry into the home. The Bug Man, our professional and knowledgeable crew has years of experience with Formosan Termites. We can help save and protect your home or business. Give us a call to go over your options.

How to Keep Your Home Flea Free

Keeping Your Home Flea Free - image of a family in their living room

When you probably think of fleas, your mind probably jumps (no pun intended) to your pets. When in fact, they like parts of you just as much. Here are a few things to consider to keep you, your pet and your house flea-free. There are four parts to the flea cycle. They include flea eggs, flea larvae, flea pupae and adult fleas. Sounds pretty gross, but understanding the flea cycle can help.

If fleas have a preference for a host, they’re going to be looking first and foremost for your pet. Once an adult flea has feasted on her host, she can lay approximately 40 eggs per day. Yikes! The eggs are then distributed throughout your house. Typically you’ll find them around your pet’s favorite hang-out areas. Dog beds, toy bins, and regions they sleep are common.

Those 40 eggs mentioned earlier hatch approximately 2-14 days later and become larvae, which have an aversion to any light source, typically making their home in warm, dark carpeted areas.
The larvae love to feed on organic material, such as shed skin cells (yep, from pets and people) and ‘flea dirt’ (flea poop) from adult fleas.

The fourth and final life stage, the adult flea, is when most people start looking for help, like The Bug Man, in getting rid of these pests. Before a large full-onslaught infestation, the best line of defense is to stop the cycle before it starts with year-round protection on your pet. Don’t forget fleas can make their way into your home on your shoes and clothes.

Don’t let the fleas get you or your pet. Our professional and knowledgeable staff are happy to walk you through the best options. Give us a call or text at 225-923-2847.

Powder Post Beetles

Powder Post Beetles

In Louisiana when it comes to wood-destroying insects, the usual culprit is termites. However, powder post beetles would come in second only to the termite in causing costly structural damage to homes. As the name implies, these beetles can turn wood into powder. The beetles lay their eggs in the pores of wood. Their larvae then hatch from the eggs, feeding on the wood and creating a series of tunnels as they eat the wood. Eventually, the larvae will mature into adult beetles. Once the insects reach adulthood, they tunnel their way out of the wood, leaving behind a tiny exit hole This life cycle can take two to five years to complete, meaning the larvae are literally eating the wood in your home for years.

Generally, homes raised off the ground are at high risk for infestation. Powder post beetles most often attack bare, unfinished wood with a high moisture content. The wood framing under raised homes is the perfect environment for beetles to thrive.

To treat for powder post beetles, we apply a surface treatment on all accessible exposed bare wood using a product containing “borate”, such as BoraCare or Timbor. These products eliminate the beetles by not allowing them to enter or exit the surface of the wood.

If you have a pier type structure, call The Bug Man today for a FREE estimate for wood boring beetle control.

Buying A New Home? Here’s One Thing To NEVER Forget.

Never overlook the termite inspection

Buying a home is one of the most significant moments you’ll experience in life. You now have a home that you can settle down in and maybe raise a family. You’ve invested so much into making this dream come true, but there’s one thing never to overlook when making this large purchase – a termite inspection.

Not many people consider a termite inspection as part of the overall home inspection, when in fact, a termite inspection is one of the more common contingencies in a real estate contract. Termites cause over $5 billion dollars in damage annually in the US. That’s why more and more lenders are offering loans only with a mandatory termite inspection, such as a VA loan, which requires a termite inspection to be performed in all home purchases.

Far too often in the past, a termite inspection was overlooked, leaving the new owner in a world of hurt. Thankfully, as we grow wiser, more and more owners are checking for termites and other wood destroying insects when buying a home.

Imagine how upsetting it would be to learn that termites have been munching on your beloved home. This is not a problem you can afford to ignore. They will continue to do what they do, and the problem will only get worse.
The same can be said for any pests – from ants to mice. Bring in a professional like The Bug Man, stop termites in their tracks and repair the damage before the sale. While ants and mice are not a huge concern and can be rectified relatively easily, wood destroying insects are not something to fool around with because of their ability to destroy the structural integrity of a home.

When it comes to making your home purchase, call The Bug Man, we’ll make sure your new home is pest free and can help make this next chapter of your life go a lot smoother. To make sure all insect infestation signs or pest inhabitation are appropriately addressed. Give us a call or text at 225-923-2847.