A New Year’s Resolution to be Pest-Free

Next to a coffee cup and smart phone, a notebook reads: New Year's Resolutions

Do you have any new year’s resolutions for 2023? The most popular resolutions for the new year often involve things like improving one’s diet or beginning an exercise regimen. If you do have any new year’s resolutions, they most likely won’t involve pest control. Maybe they should. You can reduce your chances of experiencing a pest infestation in 2023 by making a few easy changes to your daily routine. These changes are likely easier to maintain than most new year’s resolutions. Don’t misunderstand us; Vermont Pest Control is here to help if you need assistance with a pest problem. But you might be able to avoid a pest infestation entirely if you follow these recommendations.

Watch out for Clutter

Most pests choose secluded, dark, and uninhabited places to hide and build their nests. If your home is cluttered, you unintentionally make it the perfect place for pests. Roaches, mice, and bed bugs all enjoy having easy access to locations where they can feed and breed undisturbed. To avoid this, try to minimize clutter throughout your home. To assist in decluttering in the new year, think about renting a storage unit or donating unneeded items. Not only will doing this help keep pests away, but it will also make your home more orderly and functional.

Keep a Clean Kitchen

Are there any unattended foods on the counter? Are the utensils from dinner last night still in the sink? One of the things that bugs are most drawn to is food. The longer food or dirty dishes are left out, the greater the chance of attracting ants, roaches, or rodents. Your kitchen will be much less enticing to bugs and rodents if you keep dirty dishes from piling up, routinely sweep or vacuum, and properly seal and store food.

Seal up Entry Points

Pests don’t just magically appear. All of them enter homes through an opening of some kind in the exterior. So, take the time to identify and plug any potential cracks in your home’s defenses, ideally before it gets bitterly cold. Pay close attention to gaps around any electrical, gas, or water pipes, as well as windows, doors, vents, and other openings. Your home can be made even more secure against pests by inspecting your exterior doors and, if necessary, placing new weatherstripping or door sweeps on them.

Be Intentional With Firewood

Winter is a great time to cozy up with a wood fire. However, insects can be hidden in your woodpile and end up getting inside on the wood. Always inspect the wood before bringing it in to keep ants, spiders, and other pests outside. Also, only bring in logs that you intend to burn immediately. Finally, think about moving your firewood. Ideally, it should be at least 20 feet away from your home but at least it should not be leaning up against the outside of your home. By taking these steps, you can stay warm without bringing in bugs that are trying to escape the chilly weather.

Contact Vermont Pest Control

If you take these precautions and still wind up with a pest infestation in 2023, Vermont Pest Control can help. We’ve provided pest control services in Vermont since 1991. We know the pests that live here and how to get rid of them. We’ll help you become pest-free in 2023. Want to know more and get a free quote for your household? Contact us today!

What is QualityPro Certification?

Two pest control technicians in uniform hold cases filled with pest control equipment

It can be hard to shop around and choose a pest control provider. How do you know which companies are reputable and which companies aren’t? These days you need to shop smart to ensure you get quality service for your household or business. At Vermont Pest Control, we know this and that’s why we want to educate you on an important credential that a quality pest control service should have: QualityPro certification.

What is QualityPro?

You may have seen the blue and white QualityPro logo on a pest control company’s website if you’ve searched for pest control online. Think of it as the seal of approval from the NPMA, or the National Pest Management Association. It’s given to companies that meet a certain standard of excellence and complete rigorous ongoing testing and training. Both management and employees receive training and ongoing education annually as part of renewing their certification.

What Does it Mean to be QualityPro Certified?

Let’s be honest, not every pest control company is fit to be a QualityPro company. The NPMA is the non-profit leadership group that represents the pest control industry, and they demand a lot from QualityPro-certified businesses. As a result, to be QualityPro accredited, you have to do more than just pass a test. You also have to certify that your company:

  • Conducts background checks on job applicants
  • Meets minimum insurance coverage requirements
  • Has an on-the-job safety policy
  • Provides Integrated Pest Management (IPM) information to consumers
  • Tests and trains employees to the highest industry standards
  • Agrees to periodic audits to ensure compliance with QualityPro standards

Benefits of QualityPro

QualityPro is the most recognized professional pest management certification. It lets you as a consumer know that a pest control company is committed to excellence. You’ve probably encountered similar certifications in other industries. The National Insititute for Automotive Service Excellence offers the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification for auto repair shops, for example. Maybe someone once advised you to buy a kitchen appliance that’s EnergyStar certified. 

It makes sense to choose a provider with a seal of approval for something as important as your home’s pest control. You don’t need to know everything there is about the exterminating industry. QualityPro certification tells you that you can be confident about your choice of pest control company.

Vermont Pest Control is QualityPro Certified!

If you’re looking for a QualityPro-certified pest control company serving southern or mid-Vermont, look no further than Vermont Pest Control. In addition to QualityPro certification, we’re licensed by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Quality service is what you’re going to get when you call us, no matter what the pest or the circumstances. If you want to feel confident that the pests will be gone and that you’ve chosen the right pest control company, contact us today!

What Happens to Ticks in the Winter?

tick waiting on leaf

You know by now to look out for ticks when camping or hiking in the warmer season. So, when the weather in Vermont cools down for the winter you might think you no longer have to worry about these burrowing pests. Many pests common to the area are unable to survive in near-freezing weather, so ticks might do the same, right?

Bad news: ticks are more present throughout the winter than you have hoped. They aren’t as active as they are at the height of summer, but they can still pose a problem for homes across the state. So where do ticks go in the winter? Are ticks still a problem when it’s cold out? More importantly, what can you do to prevent these pests from getting warm and cozy on your property?

Vermont Ticks in Winter

There are 850 species of ticks, but only 90 are found in the United States. And if you look at Vermont in particular, you’ll find that there are three main varieties that pose a real problem. Ticks in Vermont include: 

  • Lone Star Ticks, with long mouthparts and a white spot on their back.
  • American Dog Ticks, the most common tick, with a darker back and smaller mouthparts.
  • Deer Ticks, identified by their bright red back and maroon head. Females are most likely to carry Lyme disease.

Each variety of tick has its own individual habits, especially when it comes to living through the cold in Vermont.

Surviving the Winter

The lone star and American dog tick are both considered overwintering pests. That means when the weather cools, they seek out a shelter to go dormant until spring. This might look like hiding under a pile of debris or burrowing deep underground to insulate themselves in soil and snow. They can still cause a problem, especially before the winter when they are the most desperate to find a host before it gets too cold.

Climate change also plays a big part in the habits of these two varieties of ticks. It’s been noted before that Vermont is warming faster in the winter than anywhere else in the United States. That means the season where ticks are most active is longer than ever before. And for varieties like the deer tick, they now have no problem being active all year long.

Ticks, just like any parasitic pest, are uncomfortable for anyone that comes across them. For the sake of safety, it’s best to be on top of any potential infestations.

Checking Your Yard for Ticks

You don’t want to wait until you find a tick burrowed into you or someone else in your household. There’s a simple test you can perform with things you already have around the home. All you need is an old shirt, a stick, and a relatively warm day.

If you attach the shirt to the stick, it mimics the leg of an animal that a tick would want to use as a host. So, if you drag the stick over the grass of your yard, you might draw out a few ticks onto the material. If you do, you can determine for certain that you need tick pest control.

Tick Extermination in Vermont

Vermont Pest Control has been working in pest control services across the entire state since 1991. Since that time, we’ve treated tick infestations of every size and variety. We’ve built a reputation of comprehensive treatment, from that first holistic inspection to the follow-up appointment where we make sure the job we did held up.

Don’t start your spring with a threat of discomfort and Lyme Disease. If you think you have ticks in your yard, contact Vermont Pest Control today for a free quote!

Rats vs. Mice: Which is Worse?

Mice vs rats in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

If you’ve dealt with any species of rodents before, you know what a nuisance they can be. Both rats and mice share similar characteristics, habits, and more but if we had to determine which is “worse”, rats would be the winner! Rats can be visually scarier due to their larger size and can be more aggressive than mice.  Rats are also very smart, and while you wouldn’t think that makes them worse, it does mean that it takes longer to remove a rat infestation from a structure. Both of these rodents can inflict a lot of damage on your home, so it’s important to learn how to differentiate rats from mice. Here at Vermont Pest Control, we want to keep our customers informed of the pest threats they face. To start, we’re here to share all you need to know about the differences between rats and mice.

Rats vs. Mice

Rats and mice are different in a number of ways. The following traits can help set them apart.

  • Rats
    • While they differ between species, rats typically have larger bodies that are about 6–9 inches.
    • Rats have small, hairy ears and larger feet.
    • Their droppings are much bigger than those of mice at 10–20 mm long.
    • Rats produce 3–6 litters a year with up to 10 pups in each litter.
    • Rats are opportunistic feeders that will eat meats, grains, seeds, and much more.

Mice and rats identification in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

  • Mice
    • Most mice are only 2–4 inches long.
    • Mice typically have larger ears and tails compared to their body size.
    • The droppings mice leave behind have pointed ends and are just 1–2 mm long.
    • Mice are omnivores but mostly feed on seeds, grains, and fruits.
    • They are more prolific: Mice produce 5–10 litters a year with up to 14 mice in each litter.

Signs of Rats and Mice In Your Property

Unlike many types of pests, rodents will make their presence known rather quickly when they infest your property. Some of the most common signs you have rats or mice in your home include foul odors, odd noises, gnaw marks, chewed up nests, burrows or tunnels, and droppings or urine spots. Besides being a nuisance to get rid of, rats and mice alike are dangerous due to their ability to transmit some of the world’s worst diseases. As soon as you spot the signs of rats or mice, it’s crucial to contact your local rodent control company.

How to Identify Rats or Mice

If you think you are dealing with a rodent problem, it’s time to contact the pros at Vermont Pest Control. We are committed to protecting our customers from the dangers of rodents and can help identify the type of rodent you’re dealing with. Contact our rodent control experts today.

Dangerous Droppings: Rodent Poop in the Home

Mouse chewing electrical cord in house

Rat and mouse droppings can look, at first, like small streaks of tracked-in dirt. If it is just dirt brought in off the sole of someone’s shoe, that’s one thing. But what if you find this “dirt” in impossible places, like in your attic or behind your silverware drawer? That is a good indicator that what you’re looking at is actually the leavings of an invading rodent. You may want to dispose of them as soon as possible, but mouse and rat poop can actually be dangerous if mishandled. Vermont Pest Control is here to tell you all about rodent droppings. Read more to learn how to identify them, clean them safely, and who to call to clear out an infestation!

Rat and Mouse Poop: What to Look For

All pests leave some kind of dropping. Learning how to differentiate between them is a great way to get a head start on fighting an infestation. So, what does mouse poop look like? What is the difference between that and rat poop?

The main thing that distinguishes rat and mouse droppings is size. Mouse poop is small and roughly the scale and shape of a grain of rice. They commonly get mistaken for cockroach poop, although roach droppings are more rounded.

Rat poop, on the other hand, is much larger and shaped like a coffee bean or grape. It looks similar to squirrel poop, except their droppings are rounded while rats are blunt at the ends. Squirrel poop will also lighten over time.

Mice tend to pick a specific area to use as a toilet, like behind the spaces where you store food. But if you have rats in the home, you’re likely to find their droppings all over the place. Regardless of the type of rodent, if you find their leavings you need to know how to clean them carefully.

Cleaning Rodent Poop

Rat and mouse poop cannot be cleaned the way you might with any other kind of droppings. Rodent droppings can transfer diseases – specifically Hantavirus, a respiratory illness that is potentially fatal to humans. If you sweep or vacuum infected droppings, you will release the virus into the air. With that being said, how can you safely clean mouse and rat poop?

You’ll need protective gear to cover your hands, eyes and mouth. Soak the contaminated area with bleach or disinfectant and let it sit for five minutes. Then all you have to do is wipe the mess with a paper towel and throw it away. After that, you can clean the area as you usually would.

This is a good way to keep your home cleaner, but it doesn’t get rid of the rodent infestation in your home. To do that, you’ll need professional pest control help.

Vermont Pest Control for Rats and Mice

We know more than most the effect rodent infestations have for homes across Vermont. Rats and mice can infect food supplies and destroy valuable possessions stored in attics, basements and closets. They will chew through insulation and electrical wires, creating a risk of fires. All in all, having a family of rats or mice in the home is stressful and unpleasant, something you want taken care of as soon as possible. That’s where we come in.

At Vermont Pest Control we’re experienced in rodent extermination and control. We’ll remove them from your house, as well as find and take care of the potential entry points they may have taken advantage of. When we’re done, you’ll be pest-free for the long term. To get started, contact us today!

Dealing with Common Late Summer Pests

An American dog tick

While what we refer to as “pest season” ends in the middle of summer, this doesn’t mean that the late summer season is free of pests entirely. In fact, there are several kinds of pests that thrive in these conditions in Vermont. Preventing these pests for the rest of the summer means making regular efforts to ensure that your property is in inviting them in. To learn about late summer pests and the prevention techniques that our technicians at Vermont Pest Control recommend you use against them, read on!

Pests to Look Out For in Late Summer

Several kinds of critters to just find in the heat and relative aridity of the late summer. These are the pests that we are most often called to deal with in August and September:

  • Ticks: These parasitic arachnids lurk in large numbers in the forests of Vermont. Because they breed in the late spring and early summer, tick numbers are at their highest right about now.
  • Wildlife: If an animal hibernates during the winter, it means that they will be out and about all summer, taking advantage of the favorable conditions. Raccoons, possums, and squirrels commonly cause property damage in the late summer.
  • Bees and wasps: If you host regular outdoor get-togethers or have a habit of leaving food out, you can easily attract bees and wasps, or even incentivize them to build a nearby nest.
  • Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are a tricky pest to deal with because if you don’t prevent their ability to breed, they can stick around in large numbers through the summer and into the fall.

How Can I Prevent Pests in Late Summer?

While we encourage all of our customers to lead with natural, DIY pest prevention, it is important to know that any serious pest infestation should be addressed by a licensed exterminator right away. That said, we advise you to add these measures to your routines to keep late summer pests away:

  1. Seal gaps shut: You could have tiny gaps or cracks in your fencing, roofing, siding, foundation, windows, or doors that you’ve never paid close attention to. These holes could be used as pest entryways, so seal what you can with a silicone-based caulk and install screens where needed.
  2. Be cautious with garbage: Taking out the trash frequently and using sealable outdoor bins will go a long way in preventing bees, wasps, wildlife, and other pests.
  3. Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes will breed in even the tiniest of standing water pools, so you have to cover or pour it out wherever you find it on your property. Be sure to double-check gutters, planter boxes, and other receptacles.
  4. Do regular yard maintenance: Get rid of grass clippings and leaf piles promptly, trim your trees and shrubs back, and take regular decluttering sweeps to prevent pests from finding hiding places.

Late Summer Pest Control in Vermont

Sometimes you discover a pest infestation before you have the time to do anything about it. If you’re dealing with an outbreak of any kind of pests that’s getting out of hand, let your local pest control company know. Our licensed and certified technicians at Vermont Pest Control can assess your property for the cause of the infestation, quickly handle the pest problem, and teach you how to prevent similar ones going forward. For a free quote, contact us today!

Why Can’t I Keep Ants Out?

Ants on a bathroom floor

Ants are one of the hardest pests to keep out of your home if you’re not taking the right steps to get rid of them. If you’ve had ants in the house before, you know that they’re capable of coming back strong even when you think you’ve gotten rid of all of them. So, what is it that makes ants so persistent?

Because ants come from large and ever-growing colonies, you need to constantly stay on top of your ant prevention measures in order to keep them from hounding your home for resources. Looking for advice on conducting your own ant control? Read on to learn from the experts at Vermont Pest Control!

Why Does My DIY Ant Control Fail?

The problem with the ant control strategies that we usually turn to when we find an infestation is that they fail to address how ants work. Usually, people tell us that they squashed their ants or sprayed them with some sort of chemical ant control solution. These approaches will most likely only delay or worsen your problem. This is because ants release a pheromone signal when they die to warn other ants of an area to avoid. After sensing this, their colony members will change their route into your home. This shouldn’t be a problem for them, because ants are small and sneaky enough to find plenty of different ways inside!

Ant Control Strategies That Really Work

If getting rid of the ant trail in your home won’t fix your problem, what can you do to keep ants out of your home? We recommend taking these three approaches:

  • Find their access point: If you can follow the ant trail in your home back to the point they’re entering your house from, you can block it off with a silicone-based caulk seal, a screen, or whatever the surrounding material calls for.
  • Remove food and water access: Ants are probably trailing into your home because they have found a reliable source of food or moisture. By cleaning up spills, storing your food properly, and keeping your home well-ventilated, you can prevent ants from finding easily accessible nourishment.
  • Team up with a pro: If you can’t trace your ant trail all the way back to its source, a trained ant exterminator can. Getting rid of the anthills on your property is the only way to ensure ants never come back.

Expert Home Ant Extermination in Vermont

If you’re tired of dealing with ants in your house in Vermont, it’s time to team up with your local ant exterminators. The professionals at Vermont Pest Control are familiar with every common ant species in the state. We can find all active nests and colonies on your property, seal off entry points to prevent any further invasion, and teach you how to prevent infestations yourself. For a free quote, contact us today!

Mosquito Prevention: 4 Signals You Give Off to Mosquitoes

What mosquitoes look like in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

It might seem impossible to avoid mosquitoes once spring and summer roll around, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Mosquitoes are one-track-minded. They operate by taking heed of a few select signals to find hosts to feed on and continue their reproductive cycle. Looking to learn how to disrupt their search and save yourself from mosquito bites? Read on to learn from the mosquito extermination team at Vermont Pest Control!

4 Signals Mosquitoes Look For

It’s hard to predict exactly who mosquitoes will be attracted to, but we have identified signals that they use to find hosts. These are the 4 signs that mosquitoes use when looking to feed:

  1. Breath: When humans exhale, we release carbon dioxide into the air. Mosquitoes have special organs that are focused on finding carbon dioxide imbalances. This allows them to pick up on our scent when we’re close by.
  2. Body odor: The more you perspire, the higher your chances of attracting mosquitoes are. Floral perfumes can also tip off mosquitoes by way of a novel and attractive scent. This is because mosquitoes primarily feed on nectar.
  3. Body temperature: High internal body temperature can attract mosquitoes. Exercising around mosquito hotspots will surely result in some attempted bites.
  4. Color: It has been proven that mosquitoes seek out light with longer wavelengths after smelling CO2. Regardless of pigmentation, human skin gives off these desirable wavelengths.

Preventing Mosquitoes from Biting

It might feel like you can’t avoid giving off the signals that attract mosquitoes, but there are some ways to lessen your chances of bites. You can limit your exposure to mosquitoes in these ways:

  • Get rid of standing water: Mosquitoes use standing water pools as breeding grounds because they lay their eggs on the surface of still water. Pour out standing water if you find it in your gutters, planters, buckets, tarps, or elsewhere.
  • Wear the right clothing: Dark colors can trap heat and raise your body temperature and short sleeves can leave exposed skin that makes it easier for mosquitoes to sense and bite you. Long sleeves and light colors are helpful when trying to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Use insect repellent: EPA-registered products containing DEET or picaridin can help keep mosquitoes away for hours at a time. For all-natural alternatives, try citronella candles or make a diluted lemon-eucalyptus oil spray.

Mosquito Abatement Professionals in Vermont

If you think you’re taking all of the necessary precautions and you’re still experiencing countless mosquito bites, you might have a mosquito infestation. In this case, call up your local pest control company. Our mosquito exterminators at Vermont Pest Control can assess your yard to find vulnerabilities and set up a barrier system that keeps mosquitoes away for months. Learn more about our services and receive a free quote by contacting us today!

Protect Yourself from Ticks & Lyme Disease

A tick on a dog in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

Everyone agrees that finding a tick on your body is one of the most unsettling pest-related experiences, but ticks are even more notorious for their ability to induce Lyme disease in humans. As is the case with all pests that harbor diseases, pathogens, and bacteria, it’s important to understand the ways that ticks work so that you can protect yourself, your family, and your pets from their bites. If you’re looking to learn more about Lyme disease and preventing ticks, read on. We’ve compiled some expert advice from our technicians at Vermont Pest Control!

What is Lyme Disease?

The deer tick, also known as the blacklegged tick, is the tick species responsible for spreading the bacterium that leads to Lyme disease. Most often, deer tick nymphs spread Lyme disease to humans, rather than adults. This is because nymphs are only about 2mm long, much less noticeable than when they’re fully grown.

Initial symptoms of Lyme disease include headaches, exhaustion, pain in muscles and joints, fever, and rashes. If left untreated, these symptoms can worsen into nerve damage and arthritis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and believe them to be related to a recent tick bite, reach out to a medical professional right away.

How to Avoid Ticks

To protect yourself from Lyme disease, you have to be aware of the habits and preferences of ticks. These parasitic pests hide in bushes, tall grass, or dense vegetation, waiting for small animals to walk by that they can latch on to. Lower to the ground, our dogs end up very vulnerable to tick bites, but it’s easy to come back from a long walk or hike with a tick on your own ankle, too. Here are the best ways to avoid ticks in Vermont:

  • Wear pants and long socks when walking outside in densely vegetated areas
  • Stay on the trail when hiking
  • Perform a tick check on your pets when they come back inside
  • If you find a tick attaching itself to you, use tweezers to pinch it as close to the skin as possible and gently withdraw it

Tick Control in Vermont

If you think that there is a tick presence in your backyard or the area surrounding your property, reach out to your local pest control company. Our tick exterminators at Vermont Pest Control are experts at locating tick hotspots. We can provide you with a property-wide inspection, determining areas at risk for high tick activity and applying professional tick control products to eliminate active populations. To learn more about tick prevention or to receive a free quote on tick pest control services, contact us today!

April Rain Attracts Spring Pests

A tick in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

Keeping pests out of your home is a frustrating practice year-round here in Vermont, especially in spring. There are many reasons for spring’s infamy as a pest-ridden reason, but one of the most major of these is the amount of rainfall. The rain creates favorable conditions for all kinds of pests to thrive amongst the blooming plant growth that we see in this season. It’s important to know how to get ahead of them. Let the expert exterminators at Vermont Pest Control help out!

What Pests Love Spring Rain?

A rainy spring allows for many kinds of pests around Vermont to thrive. There are a few in particular that you should be watching out for this spring:

  1. Fleas and ticks: These parasitic pests survive by hiding out in dense plant growth, waiting for animals to walk by that they can latch onto. A rainy spring means more hiding places.
  2. Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes breed in standing water pools, from sources as big as ponds to as small as puddles. With more opportunities to proliferate, mosquitoes thrive after a rainy spring.
  3. Fire ants: Soil softens after a rainy spring, making it easy for fire ants and other subterranean ants to expand their colonies.
  4. Beetles: Lots of rainfall in spring means our gardens will flourish, but it also gives beetles easy access to plentiful food.
  5. Termites: Sometimes called rain flies, winged termite swarmers come out after a rain to take advantage of damaged wood.

What Can I Do to Prevent Pests During a Rainy Spring?

A rainy spring won’t only make your yard a pest hotspot, it could also lead to pest problems inside your home. We recommend adding these measures to your cleaning routines to prevent pest infestations this spring:

  • Seal any cracks and gaps: Fill in any gaps you find around your doors and windows with weather stripping or screens, whichever you see fit. Cracks in the exterior of your house in walls, roofing, foundation, or otherwise can be filled with a silicone-based caulk.
  • Ensure your gutters are clear: Leaves and other natural debris can build up in your gutters. This can either lead to overflows or perfect standing water sources for mosquitoes to breed in.
  • Prevent standing water from pooling up: Anywhere that standing water pools, pests will come, and this includes the interior of your home. Wipe up any water spills in the kitchen or bathroom promptly.

How Vermont Pest Control Can Help This Spring

If you feel that pest problems are inevitable every spring, ask your local pest control company how they can help. Our team at Vermont Pest Control is well versed in our local pest issues. We can assess your property for vulnerabilities, exterminate active pests, and teach you how to avoid your recurring pest problems going forward. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you and receive a free estimate!