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.


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.


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.

Should You Worry About West Nile Virus This Summer?

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Summer is on its way, which means campfires, marshmallows, and growing concerns about the West Nile virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 47 states reported West Nile virus infections.

Approximately 2,122 individuals contracted the disease, and some of these cases resulted in neuroinvasive conditions such as encephalitis, meningitis, or both.

In Illinois, 34 West Nile mosquito samples reported positive, 15 humans contracted the condition, and 2 residents died from the virus in 2014 alone.

What Is West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus is anthropod-borne virus (arbovirus). Although scientists first identified the virus in Uganda in 1937, the virus has since spread to many other areas of the world. In 1999, the US had its first major outbreak, and more than 1,700 people have died because of the condition since then.

Common Symptoms

Most people infected with the virus don’t notice or experience any signs or symptoms. Some individuals may experience a mild headache or fever, but often the symptoms go away on their own. According to Dr. Jorge Parada, infectious disease specialist at the Stritch School of Medicine, about 75% of West Nile victims don’t feel sick enough to seek medical attention.

However, some moderate cases of the disease can result in:

  • Severe headache
  • High fever
  • Disorientation
  • Sudden weakness
  • Body aches and joint pains
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rash

And in more severe cases, individuals may experience encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). These conditions can trigger:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

Recovery from more severe cases can take several weeks or months, and a few individuals have permanent neurologic effects.

How Does It Spread?

West Nile Virus most commonly spreads via infected mosquitos, which become infected when they feed on infected birds.

But in a small number of cases, the virus spreads through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Rarely, an infected mother can transfer the disease to the baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.

What Can You Do to Prevent It?

Although West Nile virus symptoms and statistics sound frightening, keep in mind that the average mosquito does not have the virus. Additionally, some experts estimate that less than 1% of those infected with West Nile develop severe illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis.

People with certain medical conditions (diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, etc.) have a greater risk for experiencing more severe symptoms. But you can take steps to reduce your likelihood of catching the disease, including the following 1. Don’t Forget Insect Repellent

Since the condition spreads via mosquitos, applying insect repellant whenever you spend time outside can help keep you safe. Look for repellents with ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

These chemicals can cause harmful side effects if you inhale or swallow the spray, so only apply the repellent as directed on the label. Wash the spray off your skin as soon as you go indoors again.

  1. Use Clothing to Cover Up

Short sleeves, t-shirts, and tank tops may provide some relieve from hot Chicago summers. But most experts recommend using clothing to cover up and reduce skin exposure to mosquitos. Some mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so wear heavy jeans and long sleeved jackets during peak mosquito biting hours (dusk to dawn).

  1. Install or Repair Screens

Your home should be a safe haven from insects, so do everything you can to keep mosquitoes outside. Repair or install screens on windows and doors. If you have air conditioning or fans, use them regularly. Mosquitoes become less active during cooler temperatures.

     4.  Cover Outdoor Playpens with Netting

Many doctors agree that you shouldn’t apply insect repellent on children younger than 2 years old. To protect them from mosquitoes when they play outdoors, cover any playpens or baby carriers with a fine mesh netting. If you wish, purchase playpens and cribs with mosquito netting already attached.

  1. Remove Any Standing Water

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed, and they can reproduce in any puddle or pool that lasts for more than four days. Removing standing water significantly reduces the number of mosquitoes buzzing around your home.

Pay close attention to the following, as these can easily collect water:

  • Discarded metal cans, plastic containers, and ceramic pots
  • Old replacement tires and trash cans
  • Clogged roof gutters and downspouts
  • Plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows
  • Birdbaths and ornamental ponds

If you have a swimming pool, regularly clean it and check that it’s properly chlorinated. Water can also collect on top of pool covers, so siphon away the water with a garden hose as needed.

Call Pest Control

Because of the health risks mosquitoes pose, call an expert to help you eliminate any infestations you see on your yard or property. Pest control can also spot any potentially problematic areas that could harbor the insects in the future. Don’t hesitate to call in an expert if you worry about West Nile virus. Contact us today!

9 Reasons Why Rats Are Even Grosser Than You Thought

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Even if you don’t mind guinea pigs, gerbils, and chubby little hamsters, rats are probably not your favorite rodent. With their big black eyes, pointed snouts, and thick tails, you might already feel disgusted by rats and their mouse brethren. And if rats don’t creep you out already, they’re about to.

Rats are ingenious and resilient little creatures, but that doesn’t always bode well for you if they get in your house. Read on for 9 reasons why rats are even grosser than you thought and why you should get rid of a rat infestation in your home as quickly as you can.

  • Rats Are Found All over the World

Rats have a reputation for sneaking onto ships. And before the invention of airplanes, ships were the primary way for people to travel around the world. For centuries, the rats took full advantage of this transportation system. When humans on ships arrived at their destinations, the rats arrived along with them. As a result, rats live almost everywhere in the world.

Even to this day, you can find rats can on ships at sea, traveling between continents.

  • Rats Can Fit Through Small Spaces

Seal your house as well as you like, and the rats still might get in. Even if you think you’ve covered every nook and cranny, if a rat thinks it might find something it likes in your house, it can chew through almost any material and squeeze through spaces the size of a quarter.

Rats use their sharp teeth to munch through brick, wood, and even lead.

  • Rats Can Produce Thousands of Offspring

If left to their own devices, rats will mate like rabbits. A single female rat can mate with hundreds of males throughout the yearthey have even more fertility cycles than humans. With this kind of virility, rats can produce thousands of offspring in their short lifetimes. While they only live two to three years, they can have as many as 2,000 babies annually.

Although they have the potential to have thousands of offspring, most rats produce under 100.

  • Rats Can Swim

Have you ever seen a scary movie where a monster or creature came up through the sewer pipes and out the toilet? Well, you actually can find a rat in your toilet in a similar fashion. Rats have the ability to swim up to half a mile, and they can tread water for days. If you ever flush a rat down the toilet, don’t feel surprised if it comes back up the same way.

Because of their strong swimming abilities, rats have even been known to swim between different islands.

  • Rats Used to Populate an Entire Island

In 1780, a Japanese ship wrecked on an island in Alaska. As with most ships, especially at the time, this Japanese ship carried a few rats. When the ship crashed, the rats took refuge on the island and quickly established a thriving population. The rats did so well on the island that the land itself earned the name of “Rat Island.”

Unfortunately for the island’s native bird species, the rats wreaked havoc on their populations. To prevent further damage, the US government staged a rat intervention in 2008. Rat Island was declared rat-free in 2009 and was renamed Hawadax Island in 2012.

  • Rats Used to Fight Dogs

In a practice called rat-baiting, rats fought against a dog in a large pit to see how long it would take the dog to kill them. The practice was first developed in London after other forms of animal fighting became illegal-but not rat fighting. To keep their betting games going, Londoners put rats in a pit with a dog, started a clock, and watched the animals go at it.

Rat-baiting is now illegal, although dogs can still effectively kill rats as a pest control measure.

  • Rats Transmit Disease

Although this should seem obvious, one of the biggest reasons rats are creepy is that they carry disease. Rats have transmitted everything from hemorrhagic fevers and the black plague to humans around the world.

  • Rats Can Survive Great Falls

If you ever encounter a rat on a balcony, don’t think throwing it off will kill it. Rats can survive falls of up to 50 feet and escape unscathed.

  • Rats Can Laugh

When you picture a rat, the last thing you want to see is it laughing. Rather than seem joyous, a laughing rat seems like something from a nightmare. However, scientists have reported that lab rats make happy squeaking noises when they play with other rats, and when the scientists tickle them. Before you’re taken in with this seemingly happy picture, remember all the other creepy facts you’ve learned about rats.


Rats are unpleasant yet innovative creatures. If you find any signs of rats in your home, such as droppings, scratching noises, or gnawing damage, call a pest control company right away. For resilient rats, you need resilient professionals.

Bees, Wasps, and Hornets-Oh My! How to Spot the Difference

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

During the spring and summer, you love to bask in the sunshine as much as possible. You sit in your favorite chair and sip lemonade, or perhaps you run on the grass and play games with your children.

But while you’re enjoying that light breeze on your face, you happen to feel a tickle on your arm.


Something stung you. The red bump starts to swell, and then the insect flies past your nose.

Not sure what it was? Use the following guide to help you determine the culprit.


Chicago is home to a variety of bees due to the city’s hobbyists and green entrepreneurs. Many restaurants rely on the natural honey to create cocktails or honey wine.

Yet while beekeepers tend to their hives in their backyards and balconies, you can’t help but wonder if the insect that stung you was an escapee or a natural local.

Bumble Bee

Bumblebees are fat and furry in appearance, with black and yellow (and occasionally orange) markings. They are social bees that most often live in the wild. They live in nests with 50 to 400 bees, and these nests tend to stay mostly in the ground or slightly higher. They only make small amounts of a honey-like substance that they eat themselves.

Though bumblebees have a loud buzz, they are not aggressive in nature. However, their smooth stinger enables them to sting more than once if aggravated.

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter bees look like bumblebees in size and appearance. They are fuzzy and large with black and yellow markings. However, unlike bumblebees, they are solitary creatures. They build nests in trees and in the frames of buildings where they can drill into the wood.

The male carpenter bee does not have a stinger, but it may approach people who move quickly or wave a hand in the air. If you’re approached, don’t panic; the bees are harmless. The female carpenter bee can sting, but seldom does. You must handle and provoke her a great deal before she will sting.

Honey Bee

Honeybees are smaller and slimmer than bumblebees, but they’re not as angular as wasps. They live in hives of up to 50,000 or 60,000 bees, which are often tended by beekeepers. As their name implies, honeybees make a lot of honey, which beekeepers can harvest to sell or eat.

Unfortunately, many honeybees are dying due to Colony Collapse disorder. And because they have barbed stingers, they can only sting once. The stinger lodges into its attacker, causing the stinger to rip from its body. Because of this, honeybees only sting as a last resort to protect their colony.


While bees tend to be harmless, wasps are often more aggressive. You can often tell the difference between wasps and bees by their hair and body shape. Wasps tend to be slimmer than bees, with elongated bodies. They also lack the body hair that makes bees look fuzzy. Yellow Jackets

True to their name, yellow jackets are black with prominent yellow stripes. They have narrow wings that fold longitudinally when resting. You can recognize a yellow jacket by the way it flies: a rapid, side-to-side pattern right before it lands.

Unlike bees, yellow jackets do not produce honey. Rather, they scavenge and eat meats and sweets, which is why you can often find them in parks or picnic areas.

Yellow jackets create enclosed nests below ground, which they defend aggressively. Because they can repeatedly sting if provoked, you should take care to check for yellow jacket nests before mowing your lawn.

Cicada Killer Wasps

Chicago is home to unique wasps known as cicada killer wasps. Unlike other wasp species, many nature-lovers appreciate these insects for the work that they do. Rather than attacking humans, cicada killer wasps kill cicadas that invade and damage neighborhood trees.

Before you grab the bug spray, double check the wasp’s appearance. Cicada killer wasps are large, nearly two inches long, with distinctive black and yellow stripes and reddish-brown eyes and legs. They are mostly solitary insects that nest in bare soil and along edges of flower beds. Hornets

Hornets, or bald-faced hornets, look much like yellow jackets. They have black and yellow (and occasionally white) markings. However, hornets are often longer and thicker than yellow jackets, and their sting is often more powerful.

Unlike yellow jackets, hornets do not scavenge, so they are less likely to show up at your favorite outdoor activities. And unlike cicadas, hornets prefer to build their nests high above ground, such as high in eaves and trees.

See These Insects Buzzing Around Your Home?

While some bees, wasps, and hornets are harmless, you might still have difficulty spotting the difference. If you worry about an insect infestation on your home or property, don’t hesitate to call pest control, just in case. A professional can help you safely remove the insects and protect your home and family.

The “Bite” on Mosquitoes: How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard and Away from Your Skin

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

As a child, you may have read the children’s book Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. In this book, a mosquito lies to a lizard, which causes a chain reaction, eventually disrupting the entire animal kingdom. The story ends by saying that the mosquito continues to buzz in people’s ears to find out if everyone is still angry at him.

If this story were true, it may partially explain the anger many people hold toward mosquitoes. But we all know was have plenty of other reasons feel angry with them. Mosquitoes are especially annoying if they overpopulate your yard, ruining your chance to enjoy the outdoors. Let’s learn more about mosquitoes’ role in our ecosystem and how we can keep them safely at a distance.

What Is a Mosquito?

I’m sure you’ve seen-or received a bite from-a mosquito at some time in your life, but have you stopped to learn more about this interesting creature? Mosquitoes are midge-like flies (their name in Spanish literally means “little fly”).

There are more than 3000 species of mosquitoes, and only three species spread human disease. Surprisingly, most blood-seeking mosquitoes prefer biting horses, cattle, and birds rather than humans.

An adult mosquito lives 5 to 6 months. This doesn’t seem like a lot to humans, but for insects, it’s a long life.

The Danger of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes seem bad enough simply because of the annoying, itchy bites they give people. The itchiness comes from your body’s reaction to the saliva the mosquitoes inject when they take your blood. But that’s not the end of the story-mosquitoes can spread all sorts of blood-borne diseases, like the following:

West Nile Virus: This disease isn’t as dangerous as you may think, as most people do not experience symptoms. However, 1 in 5 people will develop a fever, and 1% of people may develop a neurological disease.

Malaria: Thousands of people die from malaria each year, most of whom live in Africa. Malaria, a parasite-caused disease, causes flu-like symptoms.

Yellow Fever: Also causing flu-like symptoms, yellow fever is a dangerous virus. It can also cause muscle pain and even liver damage.

Chikungunya Virus: Chikungunya happens most commonly in the Caribbean, but it has also spread to many U.S. states. It causes joint pain but rarely proves fatal.

  • Dengue Fever: Like other mosquito-borne diseases, dengue fever causes flu-like symptoms and joint pain. In extreme cases, it can cause bleeding and low blood pressure.

Fortunately, the majority of mosquitoes will not infect you with a disease. But the more you can reduce or repel your mosquito population, the less likely you are to contract a mosquito-borne illness.

Mosquitoes Aren’t All Bad

Before we move on to strategies for eliminating mosquitoes, let’s cut the mosquito some slack. We’ve already noted that the majority of mosquitoes do not carry disease. But what about mosquito bites? It’s interesting to learn that that only female mosquitoes bite, and they do so to feed their children. So they don’t exactly bite you with malicious intent.

Still annoyed? Note that mosquito larvae serve as food for fish and other animals. Eliminating mosquitoes completely would disrupt the ecosystem.

How to Eliminate Mosquitoes

Despite their benefits, an overpopulation of mosquitoes is no fun to have in your yard. We’ve given you some tips for keeping them at bay:

Wear mosquito repellant while outdoors. Repellants contain substances such as DEET, SS220, and citronella oil. If you use DEET-based sprays, do not use it under clothing or on broken skin, and choose a product that contains less than 30% DEET.

If you plan to host an outdoor gathering, light citronella candles or torches to keep mosquitoes away.

Plant plants that naturally repel mosquitoes. These include basil, citrosa, lavender, lemon balm, and lime basil.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes will more likely bite.

  • Eliminate areas of standing area in your yard, because mosquitoes need water to hatch. These areas include flower pots, bird baths, ponds, and swampy areas.

If these methods do not keep mosquitoes out of your yard, call a pest control professional. A professional can eliminate the cause of the problem not only by removing adult mosquitoes, but by removing mosquito larvae. He or she will also provide a treatment that will keep mosquitoes from congregating in your yard.

You can use chemicals and traps yourself, but this can prove dangerous if you have not first consulted with a professional. A pest control professional has the training to use only environmentally friendly pest control methods that won’t harm nearby plant or animal life.

Stop those mosquitoes from buzzing in your ears! If mosquitoes have overrun your yard and destroyed your summer vacation, take steps to repel them or lower their population. If these steps don’t work, call a pest control professional.

Eliminate Bugs Once and For All with Pest Control in Chicago, IL

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

Are you concerned about pests in your home? You’re not alone. Nearly 80% of homeowners in America have these same concerns. Your home should provide you with sanctuary from your worries. Yet when bugs and rodents invade, your home becomes anything but a refuge. For this reason, protecting your home from pests should become your top priority.

Most Common Pests

Ants invade U.S. homes more commonly than any other pest. In fact, they’re responsible for 49% of pest problems affecting homeowners. As a close second, spiders cause 43% of pest issues.

You may also have pest problems outside of your home. Many homeowners find that wasps cause a fair amount of problems around their yards. These flying, stinging pests cause 29% of pest problems for homeowners. However, homeowners have to deal with more than just insects. Mice typically cause 30% of pest concerns.

How Do You Eliminate Pests?

When you deal with pests, you can either try to eliminate them on your own, or you can rely on professionals to solve your problem. Keep in mind that of the 54% of homeowners who tried treating pest problems on their own, only two-thirds succeeded.

On the other hand, 51% of homeowners believe it takes a professional pest control services to resolve their pest problems. Additionally, 95% of homeowners say working with a company that guarantees its work really matters.

Call us at 630.236.1600. We will free your home from pests and restore your sanctuary today.

Indian Meal Moths in Schaumburg, IL

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

The Indian Meal Moth is a very common insect found in stored products within the home and in stored grain on farms, in warehouses, and grocery stores. In the home, Indian Meal Moth larvae feed on any grain product (flower, cornmeal, oatmeal, etc.), seeds (including bird seed and dried beans), nuts, chocolate, dried fruit (such as raisins), and even dog food. These larvae often leave their food supply when they are ready to spin their cocoons and they may wander about in search of a suitable place to pupate. They are frequently found in unsuspected places because of this wandering behavior. Control of any stored food pest requires locating and eliminating infested item(s). All potentially infested foods should be checked. The insects may be in unopened boxes or containers. Infested items can be thrown away or salvaged by freezing for 1 week or heating in a 140 degree oven for 15 minutes. Empty and thoroughly vacuum clean cupboards or shelves holding infested items, paying particular attention to cracks and corners. Vacuum cleaning picks up hiding insects and spilled or infested material. Empty the vacuum cleaner bag after use to prevent re infestation. Insecticide sprays are not recommended for controlling insects in stored food cupboards.

Chem-Wise usually does not need to spray for Indian Meal Moths. The customer must first follow the following outlined steps, which in many cases will eliminate the problem:

  • Thoroughly clean cupboards with a strong cleanser: repeat this process two weeks later
  • After cleaning, thoroughly vacuum cupboards paying close attention to cracks and corners
  • Store pet food in air tight containers: throw out old food and clean the containers before adding a new bag
  • Store susceptible foods in seal able glass, metal, or heavy plastic containers

Treatment is really up to the homeowner, we do sell Pheromone Traps to customers with an ongoing problems. If you have any questions regarding stored product pests in the Naperville area, please call our office.

The Added Value of Routine Pest Management in Aurora, IL and Surrounding Areas

Written by Chem-Wise on . Posted in Blog

As the old saying goes; “a penny saved is a penny earned”. This statement holds more importance in today’s economy. What many people do not realize is the added values and benevits that are gained by maintaining a preventative maintenance pest control program on the biggest investment of one’s life.

What are the benefits of a preventative maintenance program in Naperville and surrounding areas?

-“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”… especially when dealing with the insect world. By treating the source areas and breeding grounds of insects on a regular basis, excess populations are less likely to develop and infest areas of your home.

-Prevent the possibility of rodents invading your home which my result in unhealthy conditions, or damage to food and property.

-Avoid the cost to restart the program. The average cost to restart the Tri-Annual program is double what a seasonal maintenance visit is.

-Take advantage of discounted services such as Wasp Proofing or Termite monitoring.

-The Tri-Annual preventative maintenance program is guaranteed throughout the year! If there is ever a need for service between your seasonal visits let us know and we will take care of it at no charge for any covered pest.

For these reasons Chem-Wise strongly suggests that maintaining the Tri-Annual service is an investment in your home, personal safety and property.