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!

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!

Professional Exterminator or DIY Pest Control?

DIY pest control can be dangerous, especially sprays. Learn more from Vermont Pest Control

One time or another, we’ve all attempted our own pest control. From homemade sprays with vinegar for ants to store-bought traps for roaches, there are many options out there. But do they even work? Despite their success in the short term, these at-home remedies rarely work for a full-blown infestation. If you have a pest problem, it’s almost always recommended to get the help of a professional exterminator.

Here at Vermont Pest Control, we want our customers to make well-informed decisions when it comes to protecting their homes from pests. Read on to learn the pros and cons of DIY pest control and professional pest control.

Does DIY Pest Control Work?

If you see just a couple of ants or houseflies in your home, DIY and store-bought products can often put a stop to the problem before it gets worse. However, if the problem gets worse and persists, it’s best to use a professional pest control company. Do-it-yourself methods simply don’t provide long-lasting relief from pests. Some of the disadvantages of DIY pest control include:

  1. Many store-bought sprays and baits are filled with chemicals that can be dangerous for you, your family, and your pets. Even when you read the label carefully, these products can be applied incorrectly, which can be hazardous.
  2. Some pests, including rodents, termites, and carpenter ants are more dangerous and destructive. Without the help of a professional, getting rid of certain pests can be very challenging and even dangerous.
  3. DIY and store-bought products don’t come with a guarantee or warranty as often as professional services, often meaning you often have to buy more products.

When to Hire a Professional Exterminator

When you have a serious pest problem on your hands, a professional exterminator is always your best bet. In addition to getting rid of the pests, an expert can put measures in place to prevent future problems, as well. Although this might be more of a commitment on your end, you can rest easy knowing any pest problem will be taken care of quickly and efficiently. As often as possible, a professional will use environmentally-responsible products that are always applied safely and effectively with little invasion or disruption to your daily life. Lastly, a pest control expert can work with you to develop a customized pest control plan suited to the unique needs of your home or business.

DIY vs. Professional Pest Control: How to Choose

It’s easy to understand why DIY pest control is so appealing. At the end of the day, store-bought products are always a gamble, and all-natural methods won’t hold up. To ensure your Vermont home is safeguarded against pests all year long, a professional pest control company can help. Our team is proud to work with our customers to deliver a pest-free lifestyle, 365 days of the year.

Contact us today to get started!

Worried About Animals in the Attic?

Squirrel on Vermont home roof - Vermont Pest Control

Whether you’re gathered in the kitchen with your family or trying to sleep at night, hearing noises and movement coming from your attic is enough to frighten anyone. While feeling a presence in your home may lead some to believe they’re living the plot of a B-list horror movie, the reality is that a nuisance wildlife problem is underway. Wild animals often gain access to our homes through the roof, where they take up residence in the attic. It goes without saying that no one wants any animals making themselves at home in their attic.

The experts at Vermont Pest Control understand how stressful wildlife problems can be, especially if they make their way into your home. Provided by our experts, we have all the information you need about potential infestations in your attic.

Common Wildlife in Vermont Homes

We’re no strangers to wild animals roaming around our neighborhoods here in Vermont. But how do they get inside? Any animal that can access your roof can likely squeeze their way into your attic if given the chance. The five pests that are the most likely culprits for invading your attic include the following:

  1. Bats: Possibly the most dangerous attic dweller is the bat. Bat waste is toxic and can cause health risks.
  2. Birds: Hearing chirping noises or fluttering indicates you could have a nest of birds in your attic. They have a harder time leaving once they’re inside.
  3. Rats & mice: These rodents can make some of the loudest noises with their scratching, chewing, squeaking, and running. The roof rat is the most common rodent in attics.
  4. Squirrels: All types of squirrels can squeeze in through tiny openings and are feared for their ability to chew through wires.
  5. Raccoons: Female raccoons are known to nest in attics, and can come and go during the day and night. Chattering noises may indicate a nest of baby raccoons.

What to Do When You Have an Animal in the Attic

Don’t try to find a wild animal that you think is living in your attic on your own. When you try to get rid of the animal, bat, or bird on your own, you are not only putting yourself and your family at risk, but also the animal. It is possible for wild animals to carry rabies and bite if they feel threatened. For this reason alone, a professional should always be consulted. When you hire a humane wildlife removal company like Vermont Pest Control, you can rest assured that the safest traps will be used to capture and relocate any wild animal.

Humane Nuisance Wildlife Removal

At Vermont pest Control, we know how stressful it can be to discover wildlife in your attic. Wildlife can also pose a threat to your family. In addition to inspecting your home thoroughly, our animal removal experts can prevent wild animals from entering your attic in the future by putting preventative measures into place. For more information, contact us today!

Can Bees Hibernate?

Winter bee hive in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

Everyone associates the buzzing of bees with the spring or summertime. During these times of the year, bees and all other types of stinging insects are in full force, oftentimes through the fall. But what happens when winter rolls around? With our frigid temperatures here in Vermont, it’s hard to believe any insect survives the winter. Believe it or not, certain types of bees can indeed survive through the winter months depending on how low temperatures drop. Read on to learn all you need to know about winter bees with the experts at Vermont Pest Control.

Which Bees Hibernate in the Winter?

After certain bee species peak in the late summer or early fall, they can seemingly disappear. Typically, any temperatures that dip below 50°F will disable bees from being as active as they are in the summer.

There are three bees common to Vermont that all react to winter temperatures in differing ways:

  1. Honey bees: In order to survive the winter, a honeybee population must have an already robust population with a secure hive and plentiful stores of honey. Male honey bees die off, leaving the female bees to crowd tightly together in their hive with the queen in the middle. The female worker bees will vibrate and shiver around the queen bee, keeping alive until warmer days return.
  2. Bumblebees: All bumblebees in a colony except the queen will die off when temperatures become inhospitable. The queen bees will “overwinter”, or hibernate, by digging small holes into the dirt or in hollow logs to keep warm.
  3. Carpenter bees: These wood-destroying bees can hibernate through the winter in their nests. Young carpenter bees that hatched in the late summer months will return to their nests in the winter to hibernate. Older bees will die during the summer after larvae are laid.

Winter Bee Prevention Tips

While you don’t need to worry about a full-blown infestation in the winter, it’s a great time to start preparing for the months ahead. Before bees become active in the spring, here’s what to do:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the exterior of your property to keep pests from getting indoors..
  • Plant your gardens far away from your property, or stick to grasses and non-flowering shrubs.
  • Mow your lawn regularly and avoid letting areas become overgrown.
  • Install tight-fitting screens on your windows and doors.
  • Fill in holes in the yard left by animals to get rid of nesting sites for bees and other wasps.
  • Invest in tight-fitting lids for outdoor trash and recycling cans.

Need Advice on Bee Control in Vermont?

If you’re dealing with bee problems any time of year, it’s important to reach out to your local experts in bee control. Our experts can help pinpoint areas around your property that may harbor nests or overwintering stinging insects. We also can help better prepare you for the pests come spring and summer. Contact us today to get started!