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!

How to Get Rid of Rats This Fall

Rodent in Vermont home - Vermont Pest Control

That time of year is here again: rodent season! Every fall and winter in Vermont, the number of rodent infestations in homes and businesses begin to rise. This is because these pests are looking to escape the dropping temperatures outdoors. With Rodent Awareness Week coming, it’s important to know how to protect your home from rodents this fall. Here at Vermont Pest Control, we aim to contribute by helping our communities learn more about the threats rodents can cause to homes and businesses. Today, we’re focusing on how rodents get inside, and what you can do to get rid of them for good. Read on to learn everything you need to know!

How Do Rats and Mice Get Indoors?

Rats and mice alike are very adept at squeezing into the tiniest of openings, which is why they can get into your home much easier than you may want to believe. Most rodents, especially roof rats and house mice, have been known to climb walls as well as jump quite high.

Some young mice can fit into holes that are just 5 mm wide, making any tiny crack or crevice a vulnerability. Rats, on the other hand, are known to climb nearby trees and trellises to get to the roof of your property. From there, they can enter through soffits, vents, and any other opening that is larger than about ½ inch.

Tips to Get Rid of Rats

If you want to get rid of rodent infestations for good, there are a few things you can do. Once they get indoors, rats and mice are likely to hide away in your attic, kitchen, garage, and other places where they can stay warm and have access to food. Exclusion is the key to getting rid of rat problems for good:

  1. Inspect your property to look for any openings rodents may have snuck through. By sealing these openings and closing up gaps around vents and soffits, you can effectively keep rodents out.
  2. Further rat-proof your property by repairing your roof and monitoring drains. By limiting their access points, you can get rid of the means by which rodents get inside of your property.
  3. Look into traps and baits. If you have just a couple of rodents in your property, you can effectively get rid of them using bait or traps. Keep in mind this is not a strong enough solution to get rid of an entire infestation.
  4. Get professional rodent control services. If you have a serious rodent problem, the best thing you can do is hire a pest control expert. A professional will know to safely and effectively get rid of the pests for good.

Rodent Prevention for the Fall

Every Rodent Awareness Week, the rodent exterminators at Vermont Pest Control aim to educate our community about the dangers of rodent infestations. To avoid them, it’s crucial to put a stop to rats getting inside in the first place. For more information or tips on keeping rats and mice out this fall and winter, contact us today to learn more!

Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Vermont Pest Control

Entomologists from Vermont Pest Control’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

The Rise of Rodents During COVID-19

Rodents infest Vermont homes during a pandemic - Vermont Pest Control

With everything else going on this year, the last thing you want to deal with is a rodent infestation. Unfortunately, rodent problems are on the rise due to the pandemic. When restaurants, bars, and cafes were put under regulations to limit operations, rats and mice were suddenly depleted of their number one source of food. This in turn emboldened rodents to turn to residential properties for food, shelter, and water. Paired with their tendency to get indoors to escape dropping temperatures this time of year, the chances of rodent infestations in your home are high. That said, you don’t have to let rodents indoors at all if you know how to seal your property to them. This Rodent Awareness Week, the experts at Vermont Pest Control are sharing their top tips for preventing rats and mice.

Rodents in the Time of Coronavirus

Rodents have been tied to a number of dangerous diseases, but what about COVID-19? While rats and mice have been linked to certain coronaviruses, there is no current evidence or research to show that rodents are transmitting the current strain (SARS-CoV-2) to humans. Here’s what to know about rodents during the pandemic:

  • Due to the restaurant shutdowns and lockdowns, there have been a number of reported cases of rats and mice becoming more bold and rampant in the absence of food sources.
  • While they won’t transmit COVID-19 to you or your family, rodents still can spread other diseases including hantavirus, salmonellosis, and more.
  • Once inside your home, rodents can cause damage with their chewing and nesting habits.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Home

Keeping rodents out requires sealing the spots through which they could enter. Some of the best ways to make your property less attractive to rats and mice include:

  1. Securely storing food in tight-fitting containers with lids.
  2. Using caulk or wire wool to cover up gaps and openings near pipes and other openings.
  3. Installing mesh screens on your vents. Also, consider installing screens on doors and windows.
  4. Using tight lids on trash cans. Rodents love to rummage in the garbage! If possible, keep your trash cans sealed and stored.
  5. Protecting eaves. Fix any damaged roofing and use wire mesh to seal gaps in your eaves.

Rodent Infestations During COVID-19

At Vermont Pest Control, we make sure to inform our customers every Rodent Awareness Week about the dangers of rats and mice. This year is especially important with the ongoing rise in infestations during the pandemic. For help protecting your property from the dangers of rodents throughout the year, contact our rodent exterminators today!

Best Fall Rodent Prevention Tips

Rodents infest homes in the fall in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

Rodents are a nuisance pest throughout the entire year, but they are especially troublesome in the fall here in Vermont. As soon as summer wraps up and the early days of fall begin, dropping temperatures encourage rodents to get indoors for food, water, and shelter. Needless to say, rodents inside are any property owner’s worst nightmare. Besides the damage they can cause, rats and mice also are able to contaminate surfaces and spread potentially harmful diseases. Here at Vermont Pest Control, we know how important it is to keep your facility or building safe from rodents. Our team of rats and mice pest control experts are here to share their best fall rodent prevention tips.

How Do Rats & Mice Get In?

Rats and mice in particular are known for their ability to squeeze through the tiniest of openings to get indoors. Once inside, rats and mice will take shelter in attics, basements, kitchens, and garages. Mice can scale walls, squeeze through tiny openings, jump, and build nests in just about any room you can imagine. A rat or mouse problem often begins when the rodents get in through your chimney, pipes, air vents, and more. In addition to contaminating surfaces and spreading germs, rodents can chew through materials with their ever-growing teeth, making them capable of causing a lot of damage.

8 Fall Rodent Prevention Tips & Tricks

The best form of rodent control is prevention. A few of our tried-and-true tips to prevent rats and mice this fall and all year long include:

  1. Store food properly. Securely store food in tight-fitting containers with lids.
  2. Keep a tidy yard. Cut back any tree limbs or vines that are attached to or near the home.
  3. Seal holes around pipes. Use caulk or wire wool to cover up gaps and openings near pipes and other openings.
  4. Get rid of excess moisture. Fix leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  5. Store firewood away from your home. Piles of lumber will surely attract rodents and other pests to get close to your house.
  6. Cover vents. Install mesh screens on your vents. Also consider installing screens on doors and windows.
  7. Protect eaves. Fix any damaged roofing and use wire mesh to seal gaps in your eaves.
  8. Use tight lids on trash cans. Rodents love to rummage in the garbage! If possible, keep your trash cans sealed and stored.

Year-Round Rodent Exclusion

Finding out you have a rodent problem in your home is distressing. To avoid this, it’s crucial to take the time to implement rodent exclusion and prevention methods. As soon as you suspect the signs of rodents inside, call us. Our rodent exterminators can work with you to develop a rodent prevention plan suited to the needs of your property.

Is Coronavirus Spread By Rodents?

Rats do not transmit COVID-19 - Vermont Pest Control

Rats and mice are known to be dangerous for their ability to directly or indirectly spread some of the worst diseases. From what we currently know, SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, is thankfully not one of them. Here at Vermont Pest Control, we understand that new information is being released daily about the nature and spread of this virus. For that reason, we are committed to staying up to date with information from the CDC and WHO. During these uncertain times, we have seen a lot of questions about how exactly this virus is spread, including the role of pests and animals in the transmission. Although rodents have been linked to other coronaviruses and other dangerous diseases, there is no evidence to currently suggest they are transmitting or spreading COVID-19.

The Link Between Rodents and Coronaviruses

Including the virus causing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), the three most recently discovered human coronaviruses have all created a serious threat to human life and death. All three have originated from a bat, which transmitted the virus first to other animals before eventually to human beings.

As mentioned previously, rodents are indeed capable of carrying a variety of coronaviruses. However, they have yet to be linked to any direct transmissions of this strain causing the current pandemic. According to numerous research studies, the rodents found to carry coronaviruses were kept in poor conditions on farms, markets, and restaurants in Vietnam alongside other animals. These unique circumstances make the risk of rats transmitting coronavirus to humans very, very unlikely.

Should You Worry About Rodents During COVID-19?

The good news is that we know rats aren’t currently directly transmitting SARS-CoV-2. However, there are still a few reasons why rodent prevention is very important—possibly more than ever. 

  1. Because of the nature of the lockdowns and restaurant closures, there have been a number of reported cases of rats and mice becoming more bold and rampant in the absence of food sources. This activity in itself increases the risk of infestations and rodent-related problems.
  2. Some rats and mice can spread other diseases, including hantavirus, salmonellosis, and plague. They also can indirectly transmit diseases from ticks, mosquitoes, lice, and fleas. Some of these include Colorado tick fever, Lyme disease, and others.

How to Stay Safe from Rodent-Related Disease

Whether we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic or not, rodent prevention is always crucial. Rats and mice are not only responsible for spreading bacteria and germs that can cause disease, they also simply are destructive! If you need help protecting your Vermont property from rodents, or if you need help with a current infestation, the rodent exterminators at Vermont Pest Control can help.