Formosan Termites Take Damage to a New Level

Dugas Pest Control provides termite treatment and extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge LouisianaTermites are a particularly annoying and dangerous pest to deal with. One thing that is so irritating about them is that unlike many pests which are much larger, they can easily cause structural damage to a wooden building. The worst part is that you might not notice that it’s happening until it’s too late.

However, one thing about termites that people have come to expect is that removing them usually means they won’t return unless you are very lax with preventative measures.

There is, however, a species of termite that this doesn’t apply to – the Formosan termite, which is now threatening homes in in several regions of the country. In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes this termite so difficult to get rid of.

Damage caused by Formosan termites

It is estimated that Formosan termites alone cause around 100 million dollars of damage every year in warm, humid locations like ours. In one frustrating case, a homeowner dealt with three separate infestations that occurred one after the other; spreading from a windowsill to underneath the baseboards of almost the entire house’s ground floor.

This isn’t an uncommon story where Formosan termites are concerned, as they are able to spread fast and far throughout a home or region. Once an infestation has occurred, it is incredibly difficult to completely remove them. This isn’t to say that it is impossible – just that it is a whole lot better to prevent them from ever getting inside your home in the first place if you can.

Where do Formosans thrive?

Formosan termites are an invasive species in the Carolinas, the Gulf South, and similar regions which landed in the United States in the 1950s. They were accidentally brought in shipping containers from Asia.

Formosan termites are incredibly hardy, and they can thrive anywhere that is moist, dark, and vaguely woody. They can live on the cellulose in soil, but they greatly prefer wood for its nutritional value to them.

Termites of all kinds thrive in situations where wood meets soil or other wood, and which are dark and moist. This means they scout out basements, crawlspaces, windowsills, and anywhere with stagnant air, a lack of light, and a potential connection to the soil are present.

What to look for

Formosan termites can be difficult to detect and even more difficult to get rid of. However, they can be identified by the fine grain like powder they leave behind as they mine through the wood in their straw-like tunnels.

Additionally, if a house nearby has been infested, it is highly likely that yours might be dealing with an infestation, too. Formosan termites are incredibly resilient and as if their species weren’t annoying enough, they can fly to travel to new places.

Once they have been established somewhere, their colonies spawn queens who lay around two thousand eggs per day. Congrats, Queen Mother, it’s a bouncing baby infestation!

Prevention

Termite prevention often relies on treating wood with chemicals that kill termites or drive them off somehow. Conversations are ongoing about the complete environmental impact of this practice, but it is one of the only effective methods of preventing Formosan termites.

Besides requiring careful handling, these treatments require a lot of planning and set up, and involve drilling into baseboards in order to create barriers against termite invasion. Due to the difficulty, not to mention the possible destruction of your home if this treatment is applied incorrectly, it is much better to leave this sort of thing to the professionals.

Formosan termites might be scary, but there are definitely things you can do to prevent them from infesting your home. If you live in an area where Formosan termites are active, you can start working on preventative measures now. Contact the termite professionals at Dugas Pest Control today for an inspection, and keep your home the safe place it is for you and your family!

Why Did Termites Eat Your House but Not Your Neighbor’s?

Dugas Pest Control provides termite treatment and extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge LouisianaTermites are a big threat to wooden structures of all types and in particular, to homes. It is estimated that every year, termites cause around 40 billion dollars of damage to homes and other buildings worldwide besides damaging around 600,000 homes just in the United States.

With the growing concern over various environmental issues like pollution, many people are looking for new methods of repelling termites.

In this article, we will take a look at different types of termites, why they might prefer one home over another, and which materials you use around your home may prevent them from damaging it.

General causes of termite infestation

There are a couple of major predictors of termite activity and a few things that appeal to particular species as well:

First of all, termites are very attracted to moisture, and they will gravitate to areas of your house that are moist and dark, like basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and areas with leaky piping.

Termites eat wood of almost all kinds, but specific species like certain types of wood better than others. If your house is surrounded by untreated foliage, this can be a way that termites are introduced to your walls and home in general.

Going along with the moist concept from earlier, termites also prefer that the air is stagnant and moist. Circulating your air can do a lot to prevent an infestation, especially in areas that attract moisture, like rooms with potted plants or pools of standing water.

If you are renovating your house, make sure to keep any new lumber in a place where it won’t be infested, and make sure to burn old lumber that had termites to prevent them from spreading to the new addition or remodeled section.

Finally, avoid putting mulch or dirt near the foundation of your house because this is an easy way for termites to get into your home.

Termites Resistant Wood

The type of wood that termites like to eat depends on the species of termite in the region of the world that you are in, but there are some general similarities between all of them.

Scientists have been experimenting with what they call allelochemicals, which are substances found in the heartwood of some trees that naturally repel insects, or in some cases, even kill them. Several of the trees they tested, such as Brazilian jabota, Peruvian walnut, Honduran mahogany, and a few others showed much higher than average resistance to the termites forced to eat them.

In particular, the group of termites that were fed teak actually exhibited a higher mortality rate than the control group which they didn’t feed anything to at all. This suggests that not only does teak resist termite infestation, something in the wood actively kills them.

Although we can’t make every house out of teak, it is only so long before a preventative measure is developed using what these scientists have learned.

Preventative steps

For now, however, there are a couple preventative steps you can take on your own. We have covered a few of these already in the previous section above, such as ventilating stagnant rooms and trimming brush away from the sides of buildings.

You can also cover the soil in crawl spaces with plastic sheeting and remove as much wood to soil contact as possible.

Additionally, do not put two pieces of wood together in a way that creates a dark, wooden space that termites can infest – so, don’t stack loose wood next to a wooden wall or affix a wooden trellis to wooden siding.

Other prevention measures are just basic home maintenance, such as clearing leaves out of gutters and removing infested trees and stumps from the property.

Finally, seal up cracks in order to prevent termites from finding their way inside.

One day, we might have a natural and completely environmentally friendly way to prevent termite infestations. Until that time, however, there are plenty of old methods that make a lot of sense and are fairly effective.

Keep these tips in mind to help prevent your house from being the neighborhood termite’s target. If you do find termites near your home, however, you must call a professional like the ones at Dugas in order to avoid damaging your home further and to make sure that all the termites are gone. We offer a free consultation, so there is no reason to delay!

Can Raccoons Make You and Your Pets Sick?

Gone are the days when raccoons are treated as mere parts of the wildlife landscape. These days, they seem to be everywhere. Raccoons are a tricky bunch, and they are intelligent enough to adapt themselves right into houses.

Once they leave their natural habitat, they instinctively seek out shelter and food, and establish their dens in places where they have access to both. Their favorite places to stay are dark, warm, and spacious, such as attics and crawl spaces.

A Raccoon is a Reason for Concern

Raccoons are furry nocturnal animals, and they actively seek out food at night. They seriously cause problems even to people who are trying to sleep just because of the noises and nuisance they make at night.

Aside from the noise, these animals could cause structural damage to your home as they try to enter it and turn it into their own home. They also carry diseases that can be easily transferred to people and pets.

If encountered, they can become aggressive and will scratch and bite those who they think will do them harm. Charming.

Diseases Carried by Raccoons

There are many health risks involved whenever there is a presence of raccoons inside a home. If you suspect you have one frequenting your home, here are some of the diseases that you and your loved ones could possibly contract:

Roundworm

Roundworm eggs come from raccoon feces, and are called baylisascaris.

Since these eggs are small and slight, they become airborne and could easily be transmitted into people who are also living inside the home, even if they have not had any direct contact with the raccoon.

Some symptoms from roundworm are fever, tiredness, loss of vision, and coma.

Rabies

A raccoon’s bite or scratch can cause rabies which could severely affect the victim’s central nervous system and cause brain inflammation.

Rabies can be deadly, and there have been confirmed cases of death resulting from rabies that came from a raccoon. If bitten by a raccoon, the symptoms you should watch out for are anxiety, aggression, high fever, hallucinations, and seizures.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is transmitted to people and pets who come into contact with raccoon urine. If one of your household pets has a jaundiced yellow color in the whites of the eyes, then he or she may be suffering from leptospirosis.

Among humans, leptospirosis can cause high fever, body pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If left untreated, it could lead to even more serious diseases such as meningitis and liver failure.

Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria can be found in raccoon droppings. The resilient nature of the bacteria allows it to stay dormant in the feces for a long time—even if the droppings are not so fresh anymore.

Some of the symptoms observed are fever, diarrhea, abdominal pains, and a weakened immune system.

Raccoon Prevention

It will only be half the solution if all you do is spring a trap, catch, and exterminate a raccoon and then leave it there. After all, what’s to stop another animal from moving in?

In order to successfully remove raccoons from your house for good, it is imperative that you figure out first how they managed to enter your premises. A thorough inspection all over your house is needed in order to determine how they found a way in.

Once you have established the raccoon’s entryways, you need to seal them off using a wire mesh or a metal flashing. This will prevent these pesky animals from entering again.

During cleanup, necessary precautions will have to be made when handling the droppings the raccoon has left behind, and you must also remove the materials it has been in contact with during its stay in your home.

Raccoon removal can be a very difficult task, but a necessary one that should be done immediately, as prolonged exposure to raccoons in your own home could lead to harmful diseases.

For the safety of your family members, and to achieve peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that your home remains a pest-free haven, you need to get rid of these animals.

Seeking the help of a professional pest control company like Dugas Pest Control will bring the solution you need. We have years of experience removing wildlife from homes, and we take your families’ safety as our utmost priority. Get in touch with us today to be rid of these pests once and for all!

What Kind of Pest Problems Will We See This Year?

Dugas Pest Control provides mosquito control service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana Having pests crawling all over the place where you live is more than annoying and inconvenient, it’s harmful to the overall health of your family. They bite, bring you diseases, taint the food you have stored, and cause damage to your property.

For these reasons and more, pest control is important in order to keep the unwanted insects out of your home and off your yard.

Implementing an effective pest control program requires predicting and correctly identifying the kinds of pests that could infest your home, depending on where you live, and the habits of the pests in your area.

Once you are able to identify the pest and learn about its lifestyle, then you will have an easier time controlling and exterminating it.

Here is some of the important information can that make you all the wiser about pest infestations in 2016.

The Correlation Between Bugs and the Weather

First let’s take a closer look at bugs and the weather. The lives and habits of insects depend on the temperature. It is during the cold winter months that many pests spend their time burrowed underneath the ground, waiting for spring to come around, and we don’t see them.

Conversely, during periods of higher temperatures, pests get out of their self-imposed hiatus and move out of their habitats. It is then that they become problematic, reproducing swiftly and improving their growth rate.

Warmer temperatures also mean that pests can feed earlier in the day and for a longer amount of time than they normally would during the winter season.

Unfortunately, this could also mean that the destructive pests that thrive in hotter climates also increase their population, and increase the number of diseases they carry.

This year we are experiencing a milder than normal winter, which as you can see, often results in more pests.

Insects are Surviving in the Mild Winter

Many insects imitate the robins: they survive harsh cold winters by going southwards in search of warmer weather as soon as the temperatures begin to drop. For other bugs, they wait out winter by burrowing down into soils and into the bottoms of ponds.

Still others become larvae and pupae so that by the time spring rolls around, they can emerge as a fully-grown adult insect. But now, there are plenty of insects that can tolerate the mild winter weather we are having and stay above ground.

Epidemic Potential for 2016

With the current weather conditions, there are potential epidemics at hand for 2016.

Industry experts predict that mosquito-carried diseases will reach epidemic levels in many countries around the world.

Zika virus

As you have surely heard, the Zika virus has seen a massive outbreak in Brazil and is also causing havoc in other Caribbean and Latin American countries. If infected, it could cause birth defects, including brain damage to the fetuses.

Just recently, its alarming spread across the Western Hemisphere has caused the WHO to declare the Zika virus as a public health emergency. US residents are not immune to this also because Zika is spread by the yellow fever mosquito, also known as Aedes aegypti, which is commonly found in Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Chikungunya virus

The Chikungunya virus is considered as a cousin of the Zika virus, because it is also transmitted through mosquito bites, and both diseases have similar side effects on their victims. A person suffering from the Chikungunya virus can experience fever, headache, muscle pain, and joint swelling.

Lassa fever

Another disease caused by pests that could continue to make its presence felt this year is Lassa fever.

This disease is spread by rats and is transmitted to humans through food and other materials that have been contaminated with rat feces or urine. Lassa fever has caused the death of at least 100 people and counting in Nigeria.

Dengue

Dengue is expected to continue to be an epidemic in Southeast Asia in 2016, due to the fact that the El Niño effect continues to be experienced in the Pacific. This weather pattern brings heavy rains, flooding, and a generally wet environment where mosquitoes thrive.

As these conditions are not unlike our own weather, those in our area should be prepared for an active pest season this year.

It is wise to be attuned to the kind of weather you are having, as well as the kinds of insects that live in our area, in order to take the proper prevention steps to ensure a healthy home. Dugas Pest Control is your ally in the fight, so get in touch with us today to keep your family protected this year!

Common Property Management Concerns

Pest Concerns for Property Managers

As a property manager of condominiums, apartment complexes or other multi-family environments, pest concerns are often a common issue. Properties utilized by large numbers of people are often vulnerable to bed bugs, cockroaches, flies, wasps and rodents, to name a few.

Not only do they pose very real health risks to tenants, they can also cause damage to the very structure of the building. An especially terrifying example is when rodents chew through electrical wiring, causing electric fires.

When pests move in, other than having to deal with the particular set of issues they bring along, another potential headache is managing the expectations of tenants. Tenants expect a safe and clean environment to live in.

With rodent or other pest infestations, this trust is broken, leading to increased vacancy rates and rent reduction. Understandably, preventing pests is a top concern for property managers.

Potential Pests

Infestation often occurs when the entry points to a property face structural defects, which allows easy access for pests. The lack of knowledge and awareness on the tenant’s part about the need for active pest prevention could also be a cause.

The highest risk of infestation goes to rodents and pest birds at 90%, followed by crawling insects at 85%, then bed bugs at 80%, food and textile pests at 75%, and lastly flying insects at 20%.

Here is the info you need to know about potential pests:

Bed bugs. While bed bugs are commonly thought of as a result of poor hygiene, that’s not actually the case. Though the good news is that they pose no actual health risk to humans, they are still a real headache, and one that is plaguing the country at higher rates than ever before. Removing them yourself is also a hassle, as they are small and usually multiply quickly.

Rodents. Rats and mice often enter buildings in search for food, through openings in walls, open basement windows and even vertical gutters. Rather than wait for an infestation to happen, prevention and early detection are key. Voles and moles are also forms of rodents that could potentially destroy landscaped gardens, parks and green areas.

Fleas and Ticks. Crawling pests like fleas and ticks are attracted to warmth, food and water, making boiler rooms, private and communal kitchens appealing breeding grounds. As they can reproduce quickly, it’s important to detect them early, before they multiply and spread disease-causing germs to tenants and their pets.

Termites. Certain kinds of conditions are particularly attractive to termites, depending on their particular type: dry wood or subterranean. Dry-wood termites feast on dry wood, while subterranean termites prefer the insides of wood structures, covering their tracks with mud or dirt. Termite infestations need to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible, to prevent serious structural damage to the building.

Roaches. Hardy pests that can survive for long periods of time without any food or water, roaches come in several varieties that could take up unwelcome residence in your building.

Dugas Pest Control Solutions

Our team is trained to confront the any pest problem through education, early detection and proven elimination methods. By understanding the biological and behavioral nature of every pest, we can remove them quickly and efficiently.

Whether it’s termites, bedbugs, fleas and ticks, or roaches, we have the expertise to handle them all, and most importantly before they wreak serious havoc on your property.

Though it’s possible to set traps and use insecticide on your own, true peace of mind comes when you know that a professional job has been done to ensure that these pests will not return to disturb the tranquility of the property that you manage.

Call us now for a free estimate on pest control. With our regular inspections, prompt and efficient services, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

Will a Wet Winter Cause A Squirrel Infestation?

A wet winter isn’t just a hassle for human beings, it also causes disruption to wild animals and their habitats. One of the byproducts of a stormy few months is facing the possibility of an infestation if a home or property owner is not properly prepared and defended against these rodents.

You don’t need to have a kid on a baseball team to know that it’s been especially damp lately; read on for some insight into how a wet winter affects wild animals and your home.

How Storms Affect Rodents

After a storm, the natural habitats of rodents may be destroyed. This leaves rats and squirrels to seek an alternate shelter in order to find warmth and food. Usually, houses, barns, sheds and other buildings become common targets, especially those that have been damaged structurally by a storm.

With many access points, small rodents are able to enter property easily, cause damage within, and on some occasions, even pose a health risk.

How to Prevent Squirrel Infestations

Preventing squirrel infestations is chiefly about eliminating access points into your property. You can do so by taking the following precautions:

– Check for any vulnerable areas that could be potential access points at least once a month.

– Keep areas surrounding the house and the attic clean, removing any potential foodstuffs that could attract squirrels.

– Prune the trees close to the house, to prevent squirrels from jumping onto the roof.

– Check for openings into the attic and eaves of houses and buildings, and seal them with heavy 1/2-inch wire mesh or sheet metal.

– Make it more difficult for squirrels to traverse wires and cables leading into the building by installing lightweight plastic pipes onto the cables. As squirrels use the wires as private highways, the pipe rotates, causing the squirrel to lose balance and fall. These pipes should be in 2-foot sections, measuring 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Installation simply requires you to slit the pipe lengthwise, spreading it open over cables and placing it over the wire.

– Consider using chemical repellents, such as mothballs or moth crystals, which could act as temporary deterrents. Distribute 1 to 2 pounds evenly throughout the attic. You could also use ammonia-soaked rags, a popular folk remedy.

– Set traps, by using foods like apple, cracked corn, shelled pecans, peanut butter and sunflower seeds as bait, to catch squirrels that are attempting to enter the building. Some commonly used traps include No. 0 or 1 leg hold traps, box traps and cage traps. To avoid a smelly situation, you’ll want to check these traps often.

– As a last resort you could use small-caliber firearms to shoot squirrels, away from your home of course! Check with law enforcement agencies and wildlife conservation offices for proper procedures.

How to Remove Squirrels from the Attic

If squirrels have already entered your property and have taken up residence in your attic, there are several ways to remove them. Before you take any action, first check if there is a nest of squirrels with young. Humanely removing them will involve waiting a few weeks for the babies to grow old enough to leave with their mother, as they will not be able to survive without her.

Once that precaution has been taken, you can proceed with the following steps:

– Locate the entry points that squirrels use to enter your attic. Seal all but one entry point, so that they are forced to use just one.

– Next, one option is to trap the squirrels in order to remove them. Mount cage traps right against the point where they exit their nest to forage for food. Some available traps are body grip traps, repeating live cage traps and single animal live cage trap.

– Another option is to install one-way doors. These doors have a tension flap that allow the animal to exit, but not to enter. You’ll want to take care when installing these as it is important to place them in the correct direction.

– Using commercial repellents such as sprays can be effective as well. A non-toxic way would be to leave rags soaked in ammonia or apple cider vinegar in the attic, as the smell would be able to drive them away.

– Try making loud noises, like banging on the rafters or speaking loudly in the attic, which may scare them away. You could also leave a radio on in the attic around the clock, set to a particularly stimulating station. Installing a bright light in the attic all day and night will also serve a similar purpose.

To ensure a safe and hassle-free removal of squirrels, calling in a professional will prove to be the most effective, not to mention easiest, method. At Dugas, we handle pest removal in a safe, efficient and humane way. Get in touch with us today for assistance with your squirrel infestation issues.