Four Reasons You Should Get Your Lawn Organically Fertilized

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Chemical fertilizers give plants three macro-nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Despite providing a critical supply of growth-promoting nutrients, chemical fertilizer products don’t include secondary nutrients such as magnesium, sulfur, and calcium. They also don’t have trace nutrients like iron and zinc.

Unlike traditional chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizers contain all of these nutrients and more. They slowly release nutrients into soil, facilitating better soil aeration, moisture, and texture. Over time, organic fertilizers dramatically improve the quality of soil in your yard.

If this hasn’t convinced you to start getting your lawn organically fertilized, we’ve outlined four reasons why you should consider it.

1.) It Increases the Amount of Organic Matter in Your Yard

Examples of organic fertilizer include manure, greensand, lime, and rock phosphate. When you apply these organic fertilizers to your lawn and garden, it slowly releases complex nutrients–primary, secondary, and trace nutrients–into the soil.

The gradual pace of the organic fertilizer’s nutrient release allows the soil to absorb and retain all of the nutrients. Because of this nutrient infusion, the soil quality improves.

Eventually, you may find that you no longer need to fertilize your lawn and garden because the soil in them has retained nutrients from previous years of organic fertilization. Therefore, organic fertilization represents a great long-term investment in your property.

2.) Earthworms Thrive in Organically Fertilized Soil

Earthworms are nature’s little compost-making machines. They graze on organic matter within soil and produce excrement rich in potassium, nitrogen, and phosphates. Their consumption and subsequent excretion of organic matter essentially turns soil into humus, making it ideal for plant growth.

As earthworms burrow through soil, they build a soil structure that enables both drainage and aeration. Without this structure-building, your lawn’s soil becomes too dense for optimal plant growth.

Unfortunately, chemical-rich fertilizers can be fatal to earthworms, preventing one of the most natural methods of soil improvement from happening.

3.) It Recycles Organic Wastes Instead of Sending it to the Landfill

Organic fertilizer ingredients can include animal and plant matter. Most people are familiar with organic fertilizers derived from animal waste, such as cow, pig, horse, and chicken manure.

Less common animal-based fertilizers, like bat guano and fish meal, are gaining popularity. Popular organic fertilizers with plant-based ingredients include kelp, bone meal, wood ash, potassium sulfate, and alfalfa.

Almost all of these ingredients, if they weren’t converted to organic fertilizer, would be considered waste material. Instead of being reused, they’d end up in a landfill.

4.) Few Chemicals in Your Soil Means Fewer Chemicals in Your Garden

Chemical fertilizers effectively grow plants quickly and, often, kill weeds, too. They have a very high concentration of nitrogen, a crucial nutrient for plants. However, this high concentration of nitrogen isn’t always beneficial.

When you apply chemical fertilizer to your lawn and garden, it gives your soil a quick dose of nutrients. But, unlike organic fertilizers that release nutrients slowly, chemical fertilizers drain much of their nutrients into aquifers.

Nitrogen then enters your groundwater, which can cause a low-grade contamination. The leached nitrogen also can upset the balance of nutrients in your soil.

As you continue to grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit in your garden, your plants will absorb the chemicals from the fertilizer. Large amounts of these chemicals can be harmful to human health. If you do continue to use chemical fertilizer in your garden, use it sparingly and get your soil tested annually to make sure you’re consuming healthy amounts of these chemicals.

Organic fertilization is a great way to improve the soil quality of your garden and your lawn. Contact a Chem-Wise Pest Management for your pest control and lawn fertilization, to start a thorough organic fertilization program this spring.

How to Identify a Brown Recluse Spider

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

It’s wintertime, and that means rodents, insects, and spiders are looking for a warm place to harbor for a few more months. Your home is more likely to host pests during the cold, icy winter months than at any other time during the year. Unfortunately, some of these pests come with a bite that is much worse than their bark.

Don’t worry-an exterminator can eliminate these pests and ensure that your family and home are safe. But do you know how to recognize a dangerous pest when you see one? When is it time to call the exterminator?

Below is a guide to a venomous Illinois pest-the brown recluse spider. We want you to be able to identify this pest so that, if you see it, you know to call a pest control professional right away.

What Is a Brown Recluse?

A brown recluse spider is a spider species that lives in the United States. Their territory stretches up into Illinois, although you’re unlikely to spot one much farther north than that.

This isn’t something that most people like to think about, but some spiders are synanthropic, which means that they like to live near humans. Brown recluse spiders benefit from the shelter and warmth that humans surround themselves with, so they like to stick close.

Brown recluse spiders are one of two spider species in the US with venom that can do real harm to a human (the other is the black widow spider). Both species have venomous bites that could put someone in the hospital if they’re not careful.

How Do I Identify a Brown Recluse?

Brown recluse spiders are, not surprisingly, usually brownish. Like other species of spiders, their color and appearance can vary a bit-these spiders can be anything from light tan to blackish gray.

A brown recluse has long, spindly legs that make it appear much larger than it actually is. Its body is usually about half an inch long (although it can get bigger) and is shaped a bit like a violin (which is why you may catch older people sometimes calling it a “fiddleback spider”).

The most characteristic aspect of a brown recluse spider is its eyes. Most spiders have eight eyes, but a brown recluse only has six. We don’t recommend that you put your face close to a brown recluse to count each of its eyes, but if you need to ID the species, use a camera or magnifying glass to enlarge the spider’s appearance and count eyeballs.

Where Will I Find Them?

Like most spiders, brown recluses like dark, warm places. You’re most likely to find a spider in one of the following locations:

  • Cracks and corners (in cabinets, drawers, closets, furniture, etc.)
  • Curtains
  • Seldom-used clothing
  • Inside furniture
  • Inside bedding

You’ll occasionally find a spider in a bathtub, because spiders get trapped inside the smooth, slick basin. Be careful as you step into the shower, unfold a piece of clothing you haven’t worn in a while, or turn down your bed.

You’ll also find brown recluse spiders outside in your garden, especially in dark places like woodpiles or garden sheds. Wear gloves as you prepare your garden for spring planting, just in case.

Are Brown Recluse Spiders Aggressive?

If you spot a brown recluse spider, are you in danger? The answer is no, not usually. Brown recluse spiders are quite passive, and they only bite if provoked or startled. If you spot a brown recluse in your home, just stay away and call the exterminator. Unless a brown recluse feels threatened, it will leave you alone.

Brown recluse spiders are incredibly resilient, and can survive for months without food. They live for between one and two years, and they are very self-sufficient. For this reason, any time you spot a brown recluse in your home, it’s time to call a professional. Otherwise, you stand the chance of entertaining that spider for a long while.

What Do I Do If I Get Bit?

If you stumble across a brown recluse and happen to be bit, call the doctor immediately. Chances are that you won’t notice the bite at first, as most brown recluse bites do not sting (in fact, about half of all brown recluse bites have no symptoms at all, other than a slight, reddish, swollen bump on the skin).

That said, brown recluse bites are venomous, and some can be quite painful or lead to severe medical consequences. It’s a good idea to speak with a doctor as soon as you notice the bite, and, if possible, to bring the spider with you for identification.

When you spot a brown recluse in your home, contact Chem-Wise immediately. Chances are that there’s more than one in your home, and you want to keep your family safe. The trained Chem-Wise service technician can quickly ensure that your home is protected from brown recluse spiders and other pests.

10 Signs of a Mouse Infestation

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Most people have a strong opinion on domestic mice. But whether you think mice as pets are cute or just creepy, you probably don’t want feral mice anywhere near your kitchen, drains, or basement.

Unfortunately, mice can infest even clean, well-kept homes in urban areas. Mouse infestations often appear out of basic necessity, when the rodents get low on food or have no other source of shelter. Because of these characteristics, most mouse infestations first appear in the fall or winter months when natural food sources become scarce and the temperature begins to fall.

Mice generally only come out at night to scavenge for food, so how do you detect their presence in your home, garage, or shed? Look for the following 10 signs of a significant infestation.

1. Bite Marks

Mice chew on the items that surround them in an effort to keep their continuously growing teeth short. If you have mice in your home, you may notice gnawing or bite markings on the following items:

  • Cables
  • Carpet and rugs
  • Paper goods
  • Piping
  • Wooden furniture

If bite marks only appear in a particular area of your home, chances are that the nest is close by.

2. Burrow Openings

While mice often use existing holes to enter buildings, they may also make their own. Mouse burrow holes typically appear in baseboards, corners, and foundations. You may need to look closely to spot a mouse hole, since many measure only ½ of an inch high.

3. Droppings

One of the most telltale signs of mice is droppings, as each mouse leaves behind approximately 80 droppings per day. Mouse droppings typically appear in crevices and under furniture. These droppings appear dark and rod-like in shape.

4. Live Mice

If you see a single mouse out in the garage, you needn’t assume the worst. However, if you notice live mice in a high-traffic area, you likely have a significant infestation. You may also notice dead mice under furnishings and along the baseboards.

5. Nests

Mice make nests to live in. Most indoor nests consist of fibrous material, like shredded cardboard or fabric, and measure around 5 inches across. You may find nests in any warm, undisturbed area, including storage boxes and crawl spaces.

6. Scavenged Food

Because mice typically invade homes looking for food, you will likely notice trails to or from your dry goods. Mice tend to gravitate toward the following food types:

  • Corn
  • Dry grains, including cereal
  • Oats, including oatmeal

However, mice will eat whatever food they come across. If you notice other infestation warning signs, check any food you have stored in the pantry for holes and scavenging.

7. Stains or Smears

Mouse fur contains strong oils that become smeared on surfaces that the mouse passes. If you have a big enough infestation, you may start to notice stains or dirty smears along your walls or baseboards. These smudges usually mean that one or more mice walk close to that surface on a regular basis.

8. Strong Animal Smells

Some infestations stay confined to the insides of walls or crawl spaces, but they still leave noticeable signs. One undeniable sign of a mouse infestation is the smell. Mice use urine to navigate unfamiliar spaces since they have poor eyesight. Unfortunately, this practice means that mouse nests and the surrounding areas often smell like ammonia. You may also begin to notice the smell of mouse feces during an infestation.

9. Unexplained Holes

In addition to practical burrows, mice tend to create other holes as well. Usually these holes come from a mouse’s need to keep its teeth short. Unexplained mouse holes may appear in any of the following:

  • Containers, especially cardboard boxes
  • Clothing
  • Upholstery

Even if you don’t see through-and-through holes, mice may leave behind shavings as they gnaw at items in your home.

10. Unusual Sounds

Because mice often live and travel through walls, you may hear them as they pass by, especially during the night. Mice communicate through squeaks, many of which are audible to humans. Additionally, you may hear the scratching of mouse nails clawing on your insulation, pipes, or wall interiors.

 

If you notice any combination of the signs listed above, contact your pest control service. Remember, mice reproduce quickly, so the sooner you take care of the issue, the better. Pinkies, or newly born mice, mature in as little as 20 days, and a single adult female can have up to 10 litters every year, so it’s in your best interest to act quickly.

A pest control professional can also give you recommendations specific to your property and location to help you avoid future infestations.

For more information on identifying pests, browse our ID Your Pest section. To learn more about common pests and pest control measures you should take, stay up to date with our blog.

The Comprehensive Guide to Pest-Proofing Your Home in 2016

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

As the holidays wind to a close and 2016 begins, individuals all over America set goals so they can start the year on the right foot. Along with setting personal or professional goals, many of them list home improvement projects to make 2016 their best year yet.

Whether you aim to remodel your bathrooms, upgrade your carpet, or reorganize your garage so the car fits better, one additional goal will help your home stay comfortable and clean all year long: eliminating pests. You don’t have to take care of this goal all at once-in fact, you can split it up into easy-to-implement seasonal sections that make this goal much more achievable.

With a little help from our guide below, you won’t have to let this particular New Year’s resolution go to waste. Instead, implement the tips we list to reap the rewards of a pest-free home all year long.

January-March

Hopefully, you’ve already read our blog about how to winterize your home. If you followed the tips listed in that blog, you should have been able to pinpoint pests’ favorite entry spots, seal up any cracks and holes, and keep pests out in the cold where they belong.

But to ensure pests don’t try to worm their way indoors, you should stay vigilant all season long. Make sure you take the following steps:

  1. Deal with leaky, wet areas as soon as you notice them. If an ice dam caused your roof to leak, repair the damage as soon as possible to prevent moist areas from becoming entry points for pests. Similarly, be on the lookout for dripping pipes, either in the walls or under sinks.
  2. Keep firewood away from your home. If you use a wood-burning stove, don’t pile the logs right next to the door or against the side of the house-and don’t store wood inside your house either. Pests from insects to rodents love to burrow in wood piles, which often become entry points to your home.

Additionally, cover your wood to keep it dry and make it less attractive to pests. If you worry about moisture seeping into the wood through the ground, set the wood on top of cinder blocks or in a firewood holder.

Finally, make sure to use all the wood in the pile before restocking it. Old, rotting wood that never moves can look like the ideal home to termites and rats.

April-June

Whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not, you can expect spring to arrive by April, and then it’s time for spring cleaning. Start as soon as the snow begins to thaw-the warmer weather won’t keep pests away for long. When you air out your house for the spring and repair any winter damage, don’t forget these important tips:

  • Repair or replace old, broken, or ripped window screens.
  • Deal with puddles of stagnant water as soon as you notice them. You could have a drainage problem that will only intensify as you move into summer.
  • Deep-clean your greenhouse or sunroom. Scour the glass and clean all surfaces to eliminate any mold, dust, and dirt.
  • Keep your gutters clear. Spring rainstorms and snowstorms can often wrench branches and leaves off of budding trees.
  • Clean up dirt, dust, and clutter around the house that could attract pests.

You can also call your pest control company to assess your property, repair winter damage like cracks or holes that let in pests, and give you recommendations on how to safeguard your property during the upcoming year.

July-September

Over the summer, you should be on the alert for mosquitos, wasps, and hornets that could take up residence in your garden. If you have a wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket infestation, contact a professional to deal with the problem. You can minimize your yard’s attractiveness to these stinging pests by:

  • Looking for growing nests and hives at the start of summer and then calling a pest control company to deal with them immediately
  • Covering the food and drinks that you serve during outdoor barbecues and picnics

Mosquitoes are a little more difficult to get rid of, but you can deter them if you avoid any standing water, including in outdoor pet bowls or bird baths. Talk to your pest control company for more tips.

October-December

It’s never too early to start winterizing your home. Trim back tree limbs and shrubs that have grown during the spring and summer-you don’t want any tree branches hanging over your home to give pests easy access to the attic. Thoroughly clear the gutters of any debris, just like you did in the spring-clear your gutters every few weeks until the last of your trees’ leaves have fallen.

As discussed in our previous blogs, fall is also the perfect time to caulk holes, seal cracks, and install weather stripping around doors and windows.

If you’ve followed the steps in this blog, you’ll have gone a long way towards keeping pests out of your home for the entirety of 2016. Hopefully, by this time next year, you’ll have enjoyed a comfortable, pest-free home that keeps your family safe and keeps insects and rodents out.

If you have further questions about pest control, want to cope with an existing infestation, or want in-depth, customized suggestions about how to get rid of pests, get in touch with our company. Don’t forget to browse the rest of our blogs to get more tips about dealing with pets in 2016.

Must-Dos Before the Holidays: Projects That Will Pamper Your Home

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Your big holiday party is coming up, and family and friends will soon visit your home for a night full of games, laughter, food, and cheer. You want your guests to feel comfortable in your home, so you’ve already started preparing: you’ve decorated the house, made your grocery lists, and sent out your invitations.

But as the holiday season gets busier and the date for your party gets closer, you realize that you still need to finish some home projects. A few of these projects require professional help, and you’d rather the specialists finish their work long before your friends and family arrive.

Below, we’ve listed a few tasks that you might want to take care of before your big party. These professional projects will help your guests to feel welcome and at home, and will show off your home to its advantage.

Schedule the Exterminator

You probably wouldn’t think about an exterminator in connection with your holiday party plans, but trust us-no one wants to spot a black widow spider a rodent scurrying through your home.

Winter has arrived, and rats, mice, and other pests will try to find anywhere warm to live in-including your home. If you schedule an exterminator a few weeks before your party, your pest control specialists will have plenty of time to seal your home against pests and protect your guests from insects, spiders, and rodents.

Exterminators can also inspect your home for bed bugs. The US has been in the middle of a bed bug epidemic for the last couple of years, and you need to be careful about insects in your home’s beds. After all, if you have guests staying with you during the holidays, they won’t want to share their sleeping quarters with bed bugs. You may even want to invite the exterminator back after guests leave, to ensure your home stays free of bed bugs.

Take Care of Your Home’s Plumbing

The guest bathroom sink has been clogged for ages, but you haven’t found the time to get it taken care of. Now is the perfect time to make sure that your home’s plumbing is in order. Holiday guests mean that your bathrooms will get a little more traffic than usual, and you want to be sure that your plumbing can handle the extra use.

You may need to call a plumber who can help you to deal with any annoying plumbing issues, like a running toilet or a leaky faucet. Remember to schedule a plumber in advance, because many homeowners may be preparing for their own holiday parties as well.

And don’t forget to keep your home’s pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes can cause more than an inconvenience during a party. If frozen pipes burst, you could have a real plumbing emergency on your hands. Ensure that your pipes don’t freeze by leaving a little water running during the night, and open cabinet doors under your sinks so that the heat in the house can warm up the pipes.

Turn Up the Heat

The last thing you need is for your furnace to die on the eve of your party. Your guests won’t enjoy themselves much if they can see their own breath, and you’ll have a hard time keeping everyone warm even if there are a lot of people in the house.

Now may be the perfect time to get a heating system tune-up. Your HVAC specialist can calibrate your thermostat, clean your vents, and repair or clear your furnace. A functional heating system ensures your guests’ comfort, and a calibrated thermostat makes it easier to choose an interior temperature that everyone can agree on.

As you look at your furnace, put a few drops of lavender or vanilla oil on your filters. The fan will waft the scent through the house and help you eliminate musty smells. Don’t worry-the scent is very subtle, so it won’t bother guests with a sensitive nose.

Clean Your Carpet

If your home’s carpets look shabby, guests are bound to notice. Contact your local carpet cleaner to clean your carpets and rugs. The process only takes a few hours, but it’s best to schedule a carpet cleaning long before the party arrives. You’ll need to rearrange furniture and stay off the carpet for a while after the cleaning, so call your carpet cleaner about a week or so in advance.

If you’re worried that guests will tramp mud, snow, and dirt onto your newly cleaned carpets, purchase a few inexpensive rugs at your local home decor store and lay them carefully in the entry way. Ask guests to wipe their shoes or remove their shoes entirely.

 

You want your holiday party to be perfect and for your guests to feel at home. These professional projects will ensure that your party goes smoothly and your home is a beautiful place to celebrate the season. Contact your local specialists now to schedule your appointments.

Watch Out for These Four Bugs in Your Home This Winter

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

The temperatures have finally started to drop, and you know winter is on its way. But with the falling temperatures comes the risk for indoor bugs during the colder months.

In a previous blog, we discussed how to winterize your home against pests. Yet despite your best efforts, some insects may still find their way into your kitchen, bathroom, and window sills.

Below, we’ve listed the four most common bugs likely to enter your home this winter. Read on to learn what each insect looks like so you can better identify any pests you find inside your home.

Ladybugs

During the summer months, ladybugs serve as a great pest control feature for most gardeners-especially since ladybugs feed on other insects. But during the winter, though they pose no threat to you, your family, or your home, you may find their presence a nuisance.

Ladybugs tend to overwinter in light-colored homes. Additionally, these bugs prefer older homes that reflect high levels of heat during the cold months. And since these insects emit powerful pheromones (which sometimes reach up to a quarter-mile away), they attract dozens of other ladybugs into a home.

You can easily recognize these bugs by their small round shape and bright red, black polka-dotted exoskeleton.

However, Asian ladybugs (colloquially known as Asian beetles) are more commonly found inside Midwest homes during the winter. These insects closely resemble ladybugs, but with one distinction: their exoskeletons sport various shades of red, yellow, and burnt orange.

Ladybugs and Asian beetles don’t reproduce or feed while indoors, so you don’t have to worry about them damaging your home or belongings. But if you accidentally crush either of these insects, they’ll leave behind a yellow, smelly residue that stains surfaces.

Stink Bugs

Like Asian beetles and ladybugs, stink bugs emit a foul odor as a defense mechanism. These bugs have a dulled arrowhead shape and don various shades of brown speckles. The lower edges of the abdomen also display alternating brown and cream stripes.

In the warmer months, stink bugs live in thriving gardens, plant-filled parks, and lush landscapes. During the winter, these insects move indoors to survive the cold.

Stink bugs love to consume pumpkin juice. If you placed jack-o’-lanterns outside your home for Halloween or if you carved fresh pumpkin for your Thanksgiving pies, you’ll likely see these critters outside your home-and once it starts to frost outside, they’ll move indoors.

Once inside, stink bugs find secluded, quiet spaces to overwinter. Look for them near your walls or in crawl spaces and attics. These locations contain adequate heat and protection from predators, so you’ll want to run a thorough inspection.

Woolly Bears

You can easily recognize woolly bears by their black- and rust-colored stripes. And if you’ve lived in the Midwest for some time, then you’re likely familiar with the myth behind woolly bear caterpillars.

According to folklore, the thickness of a woolly bear’s rust-colored bands can determine the severity of winter weather. If the band is thicker, the winter will be mild. But if the caterpillar has more black bands, the winter will likely be more severe.

It’s very rare to find woolly bear caterpillars inside your home during the winter. However, you’ll likely notice their transformed moths indoors.

Better known as Isabella tiger moths, these flying insects are easily recognizable by their creamy yellow color and small black spots on their wings. These moths feed on herbs and flowering plants (such as sunflowers), so you typically won’t have to worry about these moths eating your furniture or clothing.

Carpenter Ants

During the summer, carpenter ants nest in wood structures like patio and decks. And a few carpenter ants in your backyard don’t cause excessive damage to these wood structures. But once carpenter ants move inside for the winter, they can cause severe structural damage to your home.

The largest of any ant species, carpenter ants range between 6 and 12 millimeters in length. Winged carpenter ants can achieve a length of 18 millimeters, and a queen carpenter ant reaches up to 20 millimeters in size.

Carpenter ants also look dark brown or black in color and have narrow abdomens, bent antennae, and hind wings that are shorter than their front wings. Since carpenter ants nest inside wood, you’ll likely notice wood dust, insect parts, and soil around nest areas.

Luckily for homeowners, carpenter ants are more likely than termites to venture out of their dark hiding places. This regular visibility makes it easier for you to identify any carpenter ants in your home this winter. The sooner you notice these bugs, the less likely your home is to sustain damage.

 

As you prepare your home for winter, consider the bugs listed above. Remember what each looks like so you can easily identify them if they enter your home. When and if you do see any of these insects in your home, contact your local pest control specialist. These professionals can clear your home of any bugs and help you further winterize your home as well. Contact a Professional today to help eliminate any these pests and get your home ready for the coming winter months.

10 Movies with Memorable Bug Scenes

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

From arachnophobia (fear of spiders) to entomophobia (fear of insects), creepy-crawly creatures earn top spots on lists of what humans fear most. Many scientists say we developed these fears as a result of evolution. We cringe at these spiders and insects because our ancestors learned to associate them with life-threatening bites.

Filmmakers have noted this widespread fear of bugs, and have created numerous on-screen stories that prominently feature pests. If you enjoy getting a good scare from the safety of a movie screen, check out these 10 movies with memorable bug scenes.

  1. “The Fly”

Before Paul Rudd become a bug-inspired superhero in “Ant-Man,” Jeff Goldblum assumed the role of half man, half flea in “The Fly.” Goldblum plays a scientist who uses his invention on himself with disastrous results. Fans of the film may also want to view the original 1958 version, starring Vincent Price. Both versions have sequels as well.

  1. “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”

For a family-friendly bug film, watch this 1989 Disney movie. Rick Moranis stars as the inventor of a shrink-ray that accidentally unleashes its powers on his two kids and two teenage neighbors. While the kids journey through their backyard jungle, they encounter several over-sized bugs, including a bee, an ant, and a scorpion.

  1. “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”

The second film in the Indiana Jones franchise is actually a prequel to “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” In one notable scene, Indy and his entourage attempt to enjoy a dinner with live bugs as a primary protein option.

Later, leading lady Willie Scott, played by Kate Capshaw, must wander through a tunnel overrun with insects to save Indiana Jones and his pal Short Round from peril. The scene used real insects-so many that crew members often found them crawling in their hair and clothes off set.

  1. “Arachnophobia”

The title of this 1990 Jeff Daniels film tells you exactly what creatures it features: spiders. A small town must take precautions around arachnids when an extra-venomous species starts to bite and kill citizens. This film’s special effects and plot feel somewhat campy today, but this movie still contains plenty of jumpy moments. Actual arachnophobia sufferers likely want to stay away from this flick.

  1. “Dr. No”

Is James Bond afraid of spiders? Evidently not. At least that’s what the first film in this long-running franchise seems to indicate. The movie’s villains attempt to take out Bond with a tarantula, but the MI6 agent uses his trademark moves to conquer the spider.

  1. “The Swarm”

Over his long career, Michael Caine has acted in many critically acclaimed films, but this 1978 movie isn’t one of them. Caine plays a scientist connected to a series of killer bee attacks in Texas, and many other top actors join him on screen. Film buffs should watch this sci-fi horror film just to see Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland, Patty Duke, and Jose Ferrer face off against the swarm.

  1. “Them!”

This 1954 film plays on more than humans’ inherent fear of bugs. It also draws inspiration from Cold War fears about atomic bomb technology. After bomb developers test their creations in the desert, the radiation fallout produces a race of giant ants bent on eradicating humans before they get exterminated themselves. This black-and-white classic earned an Academy Award nomination for special effects.

  1. “Mothra vs. Godzilla”

What happens when an airplane-sized moth faces off against a dinosaur-like monster? Find out in “Mothra vs. Godzilla.” Japanese filmmakers made numerous movies with over-sized bug villains during the 1950s and 1960s, and many critics hail this film as the best of the bunch. Be sure to watch the 1964 original before moving onto the 1992 sequel, “Godzilla vs. Mothra.”

  1. “Men in Black”

This summer blockbuster features Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as a secretive team of government agents (named “Jay” and “Kay,” respectively) who manage aliens that live on Earth. Jay and Kay’s nemesis is an extraterrestrial species whose members look like giant cockroaches. One bug comes to Earth to lead an invasion and disguises itself in the body of a farmer. “Men in Black” was the second-highest grossing movie of 1997, surpassed only by “Titanic.”

  1. “A Bug’s Life”

No list of bug movies feels complete without this Pixar Animation Studios film. This kid-friendly motion picture teaches that bugs aren’t always scary. Inventor-ant Flik recruits other bugs to help his colony stand-off against not-so-nice grasshoppers in this retelling of “The Grasshopper and the Ant.” Adults will enjoy hearing the voices of famous actors like Kevin Spacey and Madeline Kahn.

 

Even if you get a thrill out of watching giant bugs or swarms of insects wreak havoc on the big screen, you don’t have to tolerate bugs at your home or workplace. Contact a professional pest management team whenever you suspect spiders or insects are getting too comfortable.

For more facts about pests, read our other blogs posts.

Your Home, Not Theirs: Winterize Your Home against Pests

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Cold weather can be deadly for rodents, insects, spiders, and other pests. As a result, the changing season makes your home particularly vulnerable to infestations. Once inside, these pests go right to work and destroy everything in sight-they chew through wires, get into your food, and shred insulation.

Pests aren’t just destructive-they’re dangerous. A rat in your house could expose your kids to salmonellosis, Hantavirus, and rat-bite fever. And with recent reports of the plague in Michigan, you have even more of a reason to protect your family from rodents.

Worst of all, pests breed-and they breed fast. For example, give six mice three months, and you’ll have 60 mice to deal with. If left unchecked, those 60 mice also reproduce and the infestation cycle continues until you have too many mice to deal with.

You want your home to be a refuge from the coming winter, but you don’t want to share it with rats, bats, beetles, ants, and spiders. Your best defense? Keep them out. Below, we’ll teach you how to winterize your home and seal it against pests.

Examine Your Home’s Exterior

Did you know that a mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime? That’s just 1/4 of an inch in diameter. Critters of all sizes will try to get into your home this season, and they’ll get through any space you leave exposed to them, big or small.

The Big Three-rats, mice, and squirrels-are a homeowner’s first concern when autumn arrives. Should a rodent enter your home, you’ll have to consider poison or traps, and you’ll need to contact your pest-control company immediately. But if you’d rather skip the hassle of fighting angry rodents inside your own home, you’ll need to evaluate your home’s exterior and check for any cracks and holes.

Many homeowners prepare their abode for winter-weather conditions anyway, so take this extra step to safeguard against any unwanted pests. While you examine the walls of your home, look for light coming through cracks and check for air movement to clearly identify any potential entryways.

Seal Holes and Cracks

Any crevice you find should be sealed immediately, and it’s easy to do-hardware stores provide inexpensive tools and materials to weather- and pest-proof your home.

Check the sealing around your windows and doors (including basement and garage openings, which often get passed over). If the caulking or weather stripping looks chipped or broken, replace it. Examine your home’s foundation for cracks, and check the wood for rot or water-damage.

Make sure that the screens on your vents have not been chewed through or damaged. Cover any remaining vents with secure screen wire.

If you had anything installed or repaired in the house during the year, check for opened spots around the site. Dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators often aren’t sealed properly, and installers can leave holes in unlikely places.

Eliminate Potential Habitats

During the summer months, pests create cozy spaces for themselves near available food and water sources. They need these items to thrive, and as autumn approaches, they begin to winterize their habitats, just like you do. Many of these nests will be located near your home, and they can cause significant damage to your home’s exterior.

Use the following tips to eliminate potential habitats:

Clean out downspouts and gutters.

Remove debris near or against the house, including compost and rock piles, bricks, and other materials. Store trash cans and firewood away from the house.

Remove leaves and mulch.

Prune plants so that nothing touches your foundation, hangs over your roof, or rubs against your walls or porch.

Many pests will attempt to enter your home when they sense warmth and light. Another way to safeguard against pests is to keep the clutter around your house and inside your basement, garage, and attic to a minimum. Clutter creates space for pests to nestle in and make themselves at home.

Talk to a Specialist

As you prepare your home for winter, consider asking a pest control agency to inspect and troubleshoot your house. An expert may be able to spot potential entry points that you’ve missed, and they even set up glue traps and other chemical barriers to keep your home free of pests.

 

Should rodents, insects, or other pests enter your home this winter, call pest control immediately. Pests multiply quickly, especially in a habitable area, like the walls of your home or your attic insulation.

Many home owners try to tackle pests on their own by setting up complex traps and laying poison around their home. But if you take matters into your own hands, you could inadvertently cause unintended complications. A pest control company can eliminate hassle, danger, and frustration as they eliminate pests in humane ways. For more information on different pests you may encounter, visit the rest of our blog.

There’s a Bug in My Food! 6 Common Pantry Pests That Need to Bug Off

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

The following scenario can happen to anyone: You open the cupboard and pull out a box of oatmeal-only to see weevils inside.

Short of screaming for help and dropping the box, what can a home or business owner do?

Before you can fight common pantry pests that invade your food cupboard or commissary, you need to know your enemy. Only then can you find a permanent solution for annoying pantry insects. Browse the list below to learn more.

  1. Indian Meal Moths

You may remember reading about Indian meal moths in an earlier blog post. However, if you’ve never seen them before, watch for them in grain products, nuts or seeds, dried fruits, and legumes.

Depending on your food container, you can salvage infested food by either freezing it for seven days or putting in an oven (set to 140 degrees) for about fifteen minutes. Otherwise, toss it out immediately and take the disposable bag to the outside garbage can. This way, infested food won’t contaminate anything else indoors.

  1. Flour Beetles

Despite their name, flour beetles are attracted to both cereal and flour. Today’s flour and grain mills have to stay on constant guard against them.

Flour beetles come in several varieties, including the black, false black, red, broadhorned, and depressed flour beetles. Despite having wings, most flour beetles don’t fly-the red flour beetle being the exception.

Most adult flour beetles can easily crawl into packages, even if the packages appear sealed. If you notice that flour smells bad or appears discolored, suspect flour beetles and throw the flour away. Wash and disinfect all nearby containers and cupboard shelves.

Keep in mind that flour beetles may prove too resilient to eliminate fully on your own. If so, contact your pest control company for help.

  1. Sawtoothed Grain Beetles

Like flour beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles like cereal. However, you may also find this beetle species in a package of dried fruit or beef jerky, a bag of pasta, or in nuts and seeds.

Each beetle averages 1/10 of an inch. Look for slim, reddish-brown or nearly black bugs with jagged teeth (hence, the ‘sawtooth’ name) on the bug’s thorax.

As previously mentioned, throw away any and all infested food right away, sealing garbage bags tightly and leaving them outside or in a metal waste bin with a close-fitting lid. Thoroughly clean cupboards and adjacent areas.

  1. Weevils

These insects are slim, brown, and marked by a large tube-like snout between the bug’s antennae. Some weevils also have orange spots on their wings.

In practice, weevils generally target whole grains and seeds. Some species target flour, but you’ll more often find grain weevils in bags of rice or wheat. If you notice whole kernels containing round holes, suspect weevils and throw the grain out.

  1. Silverfish

Once you’ve seen this slim insect with a teardrop-shaped body, you’ll recognize the species easily over time. Silverfish have a silver cast but may also look blue-gray or even slightly brown.

Silverfish love damp places, so they often live in the kitchen or bathroom. Although silverfish don’t eat human foods per se, they enjoy starches and sugars found in food packaging, book-binding blue, and liquid soap. You may find them in unopened packages in your pantry or near damp areas in your kitchen.

If you see signs of more than one or two silverfish, contact a pest control expert.

  1. Ants

Few pests are as persistent as household ants. Whether they be tiny black ants or larger species, any ant represents one too many when it comes to protecting your kitchen cupboards.

Like many other pests, ants gravitate toward sugary substances and foods that sit on the counter too long. You may resort to folk remedies like cinnamon (sprinkled near the base of your building) or Formula 409 spray-but some ant species resist every method you can devise.

If nothing seems to work, call your pest control technician. An experienced pest management company will understand local species better than you, and certified technicians will have a smart plan to get rid of ants in your pantry.

Final Thoughts

Most bug companies advise home or business owners to keep their food in glass containers with airtight lids. Metal also works, so long as lids have a tight seal.

Inspect packaging each time you buy food at the store. If the seal is loose or the container is slightly crumpled, the package becomes an easier target for bugs. Choose another package instead.

If you can avoid buying a lot of grains and cereals in bulk, do so. The longer your goods sit in the pantry, the easier they are for bugs to infiltrate over time. Canned goods are no problem; just watch out for thin cardboard packages or plastic bags closed with twisty ties.

Finally, clean your pantry regularly and put perishable foods in the refrigerator so they don’t invite insect invaders.

Contact Chem-Wise if you need help getting rid of further persistent pantry pests!

The Importance of a Bee-Friendly Garden

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Few things taste sweeter than freshly baked bread drizzled with honey, or a warm cup of tea mixed with a spoonful of honey. That glorious golden ingredient enriches your favorite dishes, adding subtle nutty, floral, and even earthy tones.

But how often do you stop to think of the bees that made your honey?

Experts estimate that the average bee has to visit around 2 million flowers and fly 55,000 miles to create one pound of honey, essentially circling the globe 1.5 times. And a single hive can only produce about 60 pounds of honey in a good season.

In the US, the average adult consumes 1.3 pounds of honey per year. Although beekeepers across the nation produce 149 million pounds in a year, we still have to import much of our honey to meet the demand.

Why Help the Bees?

With so many hives and colonies in the US producing honey, many homeowners wonder why they should do their part to help local wild bees. After all, we can always breed more domesticated bees, right?

However, domesticated colonies only account for a fraction of the bee species in the US. And the remaining wild bees play a key role in pollinating crops such as apples, almonds, avocados, blueberries, and cherries. Without bees, you’d also have a hard time growing cucumbers, kiwi, melons, and several other fruits and vegetables.

Recently, domesticated and undomesticated honeybees worldwide have faced colony collapse disorder (CCD). With this disorder, many of the worker bees in a colony disappear, leaving behind a queen and a few nurse bees. Some areas note honeybee losses as high as 75%, and researchers have yet to discover the cause behind the condition.

A few experts suspect the collapse could be due to high concentrations of parasites and fungi. Others hypothesize that the declining populations could link to pesticides, genetically modified crops, or climate change.

But no matter the reason behind the collapse, you can do your part to help the bees when you create a bee-friendly garden.

What Do Bees Need?

Like you, bees need food, water, and shelter to thrive. Even if you don’t have a lot of landscape to work with, you can still create a welcoming environment for these vital insects with the following methods.

Food

Bees depend on two primary food sources: pollen and nectar. To ensure bees have plenty of each, plant a variety of native flowers that bloom at different times of the year.

The following flowers and plants attract bee species, so include them in your yard if you can:

  • Blueberry
  • Chives
  • Aster
  • Crabapple
  • Lavender
  • Goldenrod
  • Primrose
  • Sunflower
  • Squash

Be careful about the flowers and herbs that you choose! Many plants from industrial-sized garden centers contain high levels of neonicotinoids, which are highly toxic to bees and other pollinators. Even if the chemicals don’t kill the bees immediately, neonicotinoids impair the bees’ sense of navigation and damage their immune systems.

Instead, purchase young sprouts and seedlings from local nurseries who use organic methods, or go organic yourself and grow your plants from seed in your backyard. Water

Bees and other beneficial insects need fresh water to drink, but most have difficulty landing near a conventional birdbath.

To create a bee-friendly water source, line a shallow bowl (or even a plate) with small rocks. Fill the bowl with water. The rocks give the bees a place to land.

Keep in mind that shallow pools of water will evaporate quickly, so you’ll need to refill the bee bath at least once a day.

Shelter

Bee species live in a variety of locations. Some solitary bees prefer water and mud, while others like to hollow out reeds or branches to form a nest. If you feel serious about attracting bees to your yard, follow these steps to construct a small bee “house” for them to nest:

  1. Take a small wooden box and use organic paint to make it a bright color (white or yellow).
  2. Layer the box with nesting tubes that stand upright.
  3. Turn the box on its side and mount it at eye level in a sheltered area, such as on a tree or post.
  4. Dig up the ground nearby to expose clay and dirt (which the bees will use to build their nest).

If you prefer to keep bees at a safer distance, you can still offer them shelter by protecting your yard and garden from the elements. Use a combination of fencing and privacy screens to serve as windbreakers, and leave a few weeds or “wild spots” at the edges of your landscape to give the bees a few more natural resources.

Does Your Garden Attract Other Pests?

With the above techniques, you can help local bees stay healthy when they visit your property. But of course, your picturesque garden may also attract a variety of unwanted pests, including wasps and mosquitoes.

If you notice these bugs buzzing where the bees should be, talk to your local pest control expert. He or she may recommend treating affected plants or making minor changes in your landscaping to keep unhelpful pests to a minimum.