Winter Pest Prevention: A Checklist For Your Home

Brown Mouse

As a homeowner in or around Idaho Falls, you may not think too much about pest control in the winter, after all, our frosty winter weather here does a pretty good job of keeping the pest population very low outdoors. 

The low temperatures drive away the pesky outdoor pests such as mosquitos, stinging insects like bees and hornets, and houseflies. However, many critters you see in the spring, summer, and fall really love to overwinter inside of your house, to include rodents like mice, spiders, roaches, and assassin bugs. They especially love garages, basements, and dark warm areas behind appliances. Mice make disgusting messes over the winter, can damage food storage and tear up items in your garage for bedding, not to mention they can potentially carry disease. Some spiders can cause nasty bites, and cockroaches are just plain unnerving. These pests also lay eggs and have babies right under your nose, all winter long.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of things you can do, as a homeowner, to prep your home for winter pest control.  Use this checklist to winterize your home against the common pests who are looking for a way in from the cold.

Checklist For Pest Control During Winter

  • Inspect the exterior of your home for holes, cracks, and other points of potential entry for small rodents and insects.  Seal these breaches up tight with caulk, or other sealers to keep the unwanted guests out.
  • If there is any loose weatherstrip around windows or doors, repair or replace it to keep out pests as well as cold drafts.
  • Examine home foundation for loose or broken mortar, and patch it if there is any that needs to be fixed.
  • Keep firewood stacks or piles a good distance away from entries to your home.  At least 20 feet if possible.  Spiders, mice, and other creatures love woodpiles and can make a quick dash inside of your home and not be noticed if it’s close.
  • keep clutter off of floors in garages and basements.  If pests are inside already, or somehow get in, this is where they will make their base camps.  The less clutter and piles of junk, the less hiding places pests will have to spend their winter in.
  • Check your doors for damage to door sweeps, or install them if they aren’t there.  This will save on energy costs while keeping creepy crawlies from sliding under doors.  
  • Repair any damage to window screens to keep pests out of window frames.
  • If you have chimneys, make sure the vents are screened to deter pests from making entry.
  • Monitor your attic, and basement, and any crawl spaces for humidity.  You want them to be as dry and well ventilated as possible, especially against cockroaches, they love dark and humid spaces.
  • Replace or clean filters in your heating and ducts to watch for any pests trying to make a home in them.
  • Apply insect spray around doors every few months if needed.
  • Sweep and vacuum regularly, especially in kitchens where crumbs and food particles can attract and feed insects like roaches.

If you feel like you have done all of these checkpoints and you still have a winter pest problem, or if you spend holidays or winters away, be rest assured you can always seek pest control services for your home with Star Pest Control as well.

Featured photo by David Hablützel

Take Heart, Boxelder Tree Owners, There Is A Tree Spraying Service Near You!

Boxelder Tree Injection and Spraying Services in Idaho Falls

The boxelder tree, it is pervasive in the Idaho Falls area. You will see them everywhere! Also known as an ash-leaf maple, boxelder trees thrive in our cool and dry climate. They are fast to grow, and offer up great shade and a home for birds and squirrels. They might not be the prettiest tree in the world, but they are hardy and they prevent soil erosion. Despite their shortcomings, in southeast Idaho we have them and we live with them. Because of this, we also live with the little black and red bugs that come with them. 

Boxelder bugs are harmless, but they are considered a pest. If you have these prolific bugs all over your home and yard, there is help! Star Pest Control, a tree spraying service near you in Idaho Falls, can help control these pests so you can enjoy your yard without being overwhelmed by them!

Boxelder Tree Pest Removal In Idaho Falls

Boxelder Bug
Boxelder Bug – Photo by Bruce Marlin

Let’s indulge in a quick biology lesson about boxelder trees and boxelder bugs. Boxelder trees come in two types, male and female. The female trees produce blossoms that, when pollinated, turn a bright green color. They are also the kind that attracts boxelder bugs. So if you have a boxelder tree in your yard, and you don’t notice the boxelder bugs too much, your tree is likely a male. If you have a female tree, you definitely notice the bugs! Boxelder bugs are true bugs. As the saying goes, “all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs!” True bugs have piercing/sucking mouthparts, and are in the same family as cicadas, stink bugs, and asassin bugs, which are all hemipterans. These small black and red bugs love to eat the the juice that is in the ungerminated seeds from the female boxelder tree. 

As more seeds develop through the summer, more boxelder bugs show up to feast. The baby boxelder bugs are soft-bodied and all red, they often cluster together in the sunshine on fences, trees, and even your house. No need to worry, they cannot hurt you, and they cannot damage your home. They can get into every nook and cranny, however, and they have an unpleasant odor when smashed. Even though they are harmless, not everyone loves a stampede of insects where they eat and sleep.

In Idaho Falls, there is help – Star Pest Control offers tree spraying service that can keep these bugs under control. We use chemical and organic sprays on your boxelder tree to stop the boxelder bugs from invading your personal space. This keeps your summer tidy and nearly pest free! For Star Pest Control tree spraying services near you, don’t hesitate to call today!

Featured Photo by Michael Morse

New Organic Services Coming March 2020

organic pest control

We are excited to announce some new services that we will be implementing this year! With all the hubbub about glyphosates (round-up) and chemical pesticides going one right now, we are proud to announce an Organic Pest Control and Weed Control option that we will be extending to our much-appreciated customers. 

About Our New Organic Services

As many of you know, Monsanto has been in the news lately with class-action lawsuits levied by farmers who have been damaged by glyphosate, the active ingredient in round-up. Also, the GMO (genetically-modified) food movement has created wheat, alfalfa, corn, and soy that are round-up ready, meaning that farmers can spray glyphosate directly onto the crops without killing them. This chemical survives in the food until it reaches the grocery store and right into our food. Most other countries have banned glyphosate and GMO foods because they are not good for our health. For instance, glyphosate can compromise gut flora and disrupt the immune system, leading to health problems. 

So in an effort to be part of a more bio-friendly and healthier solution to this problem, we are pleased to announce that we will be using new products that will kill weeds both selectively and non-selectively without the use of glyphosates or other harsh chemicals. This means that we will still be able to eliminate broadleaf weeds on your lawns without conventional herbicides, which means a safer and healthier environment for families and pets. And, of course, for our customers who desire to continue with conventional products, we are still happy to oblige you. The choice is yours.

Organic Pest Control

pest control sign with dead pest

In regards to pest control, we will be offering organic interior and exterior bug treatments. These will consist of a special concoction of essential oils combined with other natural products that are highly effective at killing insects. These will be totally and completely safe and unlike organic produce at the grocery store, pricing will remain the same as the conventional treatment. You just simply tell us which treatment you would like, and if you are worried that we won’t stand behind these organic products, our 45-day spider warranty will remain effective. 

The chemical we have been using for years on house foundations and interiors is called Bifenthrin. Compared to other pesticide active ingredients it is relatively safe and effective. However, we encourage you as the consumer to do your own research and decide for yourself which way to go. You’d be surprised to learn how many naturally occurring herbs have potent anti-pest properties. 

Organic Weed Control

In addition to organic structural pest control options, we will be offering treatments for garden areas, fruit trees, and other ornamentals.

pest control being sprayed in yard
  • For gardens, we offer organic sprays and powders that ward off leaf-munching pests, as well as cultural methods to set up a pest-free environment.
  • For fruit trees, we have sprays and injections that are chemical-free and effective against pests like the coddling moth and apple maggots.
  • For ornamental trees, we are still offering our foliage sprays but with an option for trunk or deep root injection. Trunk injection is still done with conventional pesticides, but these are injected directly into the vascular tissue of the tree and are effective for the entire season with just a one-time treatment.

We can treat aphids, boring insects, scale, leaf-miners, and more this way. The major benefit to trunk injection is there is no spray drift like from conventional tree sprays that can get carried by the wind to gardens, neighboring yards, and playgrounds, and the treatment is much more effective and environmentally safe. 

Starting in March (actually, whenever the snow melts) we will be spraying horticultural oil on trees. This is also an organic product. It’s a naturally occurring mineral oil that suffocates insects and any over-wintering eggs that are laid on the bark of a tree. This is a great way to boost the natural immune system of the tree we highly recommend this treatment. It’s safe for ornamentals and fruit trees alike. It can only be sprayed in March and April before the temps get too hot because the oil can burn the leaves and needles of trees. During the remainder of the season, we will be offering organic and conventional sprays along with injections.

Call to make your appointment today!

A Bit About Pest Control Services

pest control truck with equipment outside of home

As the weather begins to get warmer, the pests start to become active again. No one likes to deal with these pesky pests within their home or business. Other than being annoying, pests can cause damages, health problems and an unsafe environment to be living in or working in. Calling a professional for pest control services will help save your sanity. No matter the type of pest, Star Pest Control is ready to eliminate the pests within your home or business.

Types of Pest Control Services Available

Star Pest Control has a team of licensed professionals to care for all your pest control needs. As professionals, they are able to use higher grade treatments as opposed to what is available to consumers on the market. This means the treatment is more effective and will last longer. Star Pest Control has pest control services to care for the following:

Pest Control sign with dead bug next to it
  • Roaches
  • Fleas and Bedbugs
  • Bats
  • Ants and Termites
  • Bees, Wasps and Hornets
  • Spiders
  • Grasshoppers and Locusts
  • Tree Insects
  • And More!

The Star Pest Control services include a one-time insect spraying, tree insect control and more. The treatment is applied both inside and outside of the property. Chemical and mechanical treatments are used that are safe for both kids and pets. The pests are eliminated and then proactive defenses are set up to ensure they do not return!

About Star Pest Control Dependable Services

technician spraying pest control

Star Pest Control has been in the industry for several years and has much experience when it comes to pest control services. Their team of licensed technicians has been trained to properly identify and eliminate any pests that are infesting your home or business. With the professional products that only professionals can be licensed to use, the application lasts up to two months. Some pests are a bit peskier than others and may require multiple applications. Don’t fret, your assigned technician will know what to do and when to do it. After your first treatment, speak with your technician on setting up a treatment schedule. This will take away the hassle of trying to remember yourself. It will also help you not lapse on any pest control service coverage, ensuring your property remains pest free! A safer, happier and healthier home or business is just a phone call away. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Star Pest Control for all your pest control service needs. The experienced staff can help answer all the questions you may have.

About Black Widow Control

black widow spider in leaves

Black widow spiders are considered one of the most venomous spiders in North America. Their venom has been reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s. However, their bite isn’t deadly because only a small bit of venom is injected during the bite. Luckily, they usually try to escape instead of bite and only bite in times of desperation or protection of their eggs. No matter the spider though, no one likes to have the nasty critters within their homes. With the help of your local pest control company, Star Pest Control can have your home protected in no time with black widow control.

Black Widow Habits

black widow spider in web

Female black widows are easily recognizable with their dark black body and the infamous red hourglass on their abdomen. This bright marking is a warning to potential prey that she is toxic. The male widow spiders are actually harmless and about half the size of the females. Their bodies are marked with yellow and red bands with spots on their backs. Females will often eat the males after mating with them, hence the dubbed name of “widow”. Females can live up to three years and the males typically only live around a month or two.

The venom in the black widow bite is toxic to the nervous system. Depending on the person and their age and weight, they may react differently to the black widow bite. The first sign is slight swelling where you were bitten. After about three hours or so, the bite site can become more painful. Common reactions are:

  • Overall body ache (particularly in the legs)
  • Alternating salivation and dry-mouth
  • Paralysis of the diaphragm
  • Profuse sweating
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Headache
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Nausea

In most cases, these symptoms will disappear in two or three days. However, it is advised that the victim of a black widow bite should go to the doctor immediately for assessment and any needed treatment. Clean the site of the bite with soap and water. You can apply a cool compress and keep the site elevated if possible. Aspirin or Tylenol can help alleviate minor symptoms.

Black widow spiders like to hang out on the underside of ledges, plants, and debris; basically wherever a web can be strung and not be bothered. They prefer dark and dry shelters in temperate weather. During colder weather, they will migrate to the indoors. Inside of garages and basements are some of their favorite places to be. They also are attracted to clutter to help hide as well as hunting grounds for prey. The female will rarely leave her web awaiting her prey and is often found hanging upside down. She will stay close to her egg mass and defends it ferociously by biting anything to disturb her egg sac. Each egg sac can hold anywhere from 25 to 750 or more eggs! The incubation period for the eggs is 20-30 days. The babies will be fully grown in two to three months. Only a few survive to adulthood because the baby spiders are cannibalistic and survive off of each other.

Black Widow Control

technician spraying pest control

The best action to take against black widow spiders is to have your home professional sprayed against them. Professionals use high-quality pest control products and ensure proper distribution of the sprays. There are things that you yourself can also do at home to help protect against black widow spiders. Remove clutter and materials that would attract the spiders to build a home there. Frequently dust and vacuum around windows, corners, and under furniture. Use your vacuum to remove webs, spiders, and their egg sacs. Make sure to always wear gloves when handling firewood, debris, and other materials where the black widow spider could be hiding. Keep weeds and plants trimmed around your building foundation to discourage insects and spiders to make homes there. Seal your home openings by installing screens and door sweeps to help prevent the black widow spiders from entering.

Again, the best defense against black widow spiders is to hire a professional to come to your home and spray. Professionals are licensed to use much more heavy-duty sprays than what is available to you on the market. These sprays do not leave behind harmful residue and are very effective. It is best to call your local professionals for black widow control to have them come to your home during the Spring season when the spiders start to become active again.

About Dormant Oil Treatment

technician spraying pest control

One perk of the winter season is the lack of pests. Surviving the cold months becomes more tolerable knowing all the little critters won’t be pestering you. Once the weather begins to warm up you should start thinking about hiring a professional to spray your yard with a dormant oil treatment to help prevent against pests invading your personal space.

What is Dormant Oil Treatment?

pest exterminator

Dormant oil treatment refers to the time of season “dormancy”, not the actual oil itself. Through the winter season, both plants and insects become dormant. Insects will lay their eggs in the soil and on your trees before the harsh winter months appear. The adult insects then die during the winter while their eggs wait it out to hatch in the spring season. However, some adult insects will wait out the winter as well. The oil is usually made from refined petroleum oil or cottonseed oil. When the oil is sprayed it works its magic by suffocating the pests. The oil may either block the pests breathing pores, penetrate through and destroy their cells or just dry them out. Either way, once the dormant oil is sprayed it will take care of any lingering pests and eggs that are waiting to become active again during the warm Spring season. The oil does not leave a harmful residue and has low toxicity to humans, animals, and beneficial insects. The reason beneficial insects are not harmed is that they are not present during the appropriate times of spraying. However, once dried the oil no longer works to control pests so thorough coverage is essential. Depending on the severity of population, you may need a second treatment to fully take care of your pest problem. Eggs are often stacked on top of each other and it may be difficult for the first round of oil treatment to penetrate far enough down to the bottom layers.

Why and When to Use Dormant Oils?

The treatment of dormant oils targets killing overwintering pests, including mites and scales. These pests when they become active in the Spring can cause plant injury and even end up killing your trees and plants. To treat your plants and attempt to rid of the pests in later months is more difficult. Multiple different treatments at varying sources will be needed once the insects are in their active stages. It’s better to treat the problem at its source during the early stages with just one or two preventative dormant oil treatments. Insecticide treatments may not be needed when using dormant oil. Not using insecticides will preserve natural enemies of these pests, including predators that provide free control of these unwanted pests.

pest control being sprayed in yard

The best time to have a dormant oil treatment applied is completely weather dependent. You need to have the application before the buds on trees have begun to swell. However, the temperature needs to stay above freezing, at least 40 degrees F, for a minimum of 24 hours. Wind and rain can also have an effect on the application, so a calm day is a must. With these specifications, it’s best to have the treatment done around March or April. For the dormant oil treatment to be as effective as possible it should be done in conjunction with good yard sanitation. Rake up and get rid of fallen leaves, debris, and grass that could potentially be harboring the overwintering insects. Also, do any necessary pruning to your trees and shrubs. This allows for maximum coverage of the oil spray because there are no extra leaves in the way.

Hire a Professional

The use of dormant oil treatment is not harmful to humans, animals or beneficial insects. However, if not sprayed at the right time or sprayed appropriately it can cause damage to your trees and shrubs. If sprayed after bud break, the oil can cause the young leaves to die or turn the edges black. If not sprayed at the appropriate time, the dormant oil will not be effective. When you hire a professional these questions will be answered. They are trained and qualified to administer these treatments effectively and efficiently. Knowing you have a trusted technician taking care of your yard will help ease your stress and also save you time and money. Make sure to call in and get your dormant oil treatment scheduled before it is too late!

Spring Services You Need

pest control sign with dead pest

As the weather begins to warm up, so do the pests and potential diseases. No one likes to have their home and yard infested with pesky pests and diseases. The best thing you can do is to take preventative measures to stop these unwanted problems in their tracks. Star Pest Control offers many residential and commercial services such as pest control and weed and feed for your yard, but we also offer the following services as well:

pest control being sprayed in yard
  • Dormant Oil Treatments: This is to kill overwintering insects and eggs. Best applied before leaf budding starting mid-March.
  • Deep Root Injection Fertilization: This is for your trees and shrubs. Best to have done in March or April.
  • Organic Preventative Treatment: This is for codling moth in apple trees. Best to have done before May 15th.
  • Aphid Sprays: Optimal during mid-summer.
  • Crabgrass Pre-Emergent in Turf
  • Broadleaf Pre-Emergent in Turf
  • Shrub Bed Pre-Emergent: This treatment is great in landscape beds with no weed barrier or a failing barrier.
  • Preventative Treatment: Used for tree insect borers like pine bark beetle and aspen borer.
  • Plant Growth Regulators: This type of treatment makes it so you don’t have to trim and hedge as often.
  • Grub Prevention 
  • Bare Ground and Sterilant Treatments: This treatment is used on driveways, parking lots, and non-ornamental rock beds.

There are many different types of services you can utilize to fully take control of your property and its surrounding yard. Don’t wait until it is too late and you are overrun with infestations. Call ahead to Star Pest Control to schedule your services. We can help you plan for your yearly care and get ahead of these pesky pests and diseases.

Idaho Falls Hobo Spider Control

Idaho Falls Hobo Spider Control

Idaho Falls Hobo Spider Control

If you have lived in the Idaho Falls area long enough, chances are you’ve at least heard of the notorious Hobo spider. They like to make an appearance sometime between the end of July to September. This article will help provide the best Idaho Falls Hobo spider control. We will discuss how you can identify these spiders, where they live, how best to treat hobo bites, how to avoid bites, and how to control hobo spiders.

How Can You Identify A Hobo Spider?

Hobo spiders or Eratigena agrestis, are members of the genus-group of spiders known as “funnel spiders”. This term is used to describe the type of web they make. This funnel-shaped web is how Hobos prey on their insect victims. Hoping they will “trip” and fall into their tunnel where they are waiting. Hobos can be difficult to identify based on their appearance since their color and markings are similar to many other species of spiders. Some characteristics to look for in a Hobo spider are:

  • Long Brown Legs
  • Brown Body
  • A Gray-colored abdomen (sometimes with yellowish markings)
  • Body length is ¼ to ½ of an inch long
  • Leg span of 1-2 inches
  • Can run up to 3 feet per second
  • Not great climbersIdaho Falls Hobo Spider Control

Where Do Hobos Live?

To provide the best Idaho Falls Hobo spider control, knowing how to identify Hobos is just as important as knowing where these spiders like to build their homes. Hobos can be found in the Pacific Northwestern United States, this includes Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah. Hobos originally got their name because they could easily be found along railroad tracks, but that’s not the only place you can find these little critters. Hobos can usually be found in:

  • Places low to the ground, with holes and cracks
  • Construction supplies
  • Beneath debris
  • Around building foundations

If you live on a level floor near cement, or in close proximity to a garage it is important to get our home check by Star Pest Control, your Idaho Falls Hobo spider control experts.

So You’ve Been Bit By A Hobo, Now What?

If you’ve been bit by a Hobo, you may not have even realized it. This is because most bites from a Hobo spider are virtually painless or feel like a quick pinprick. According to studies done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hobo bites are no longer considered to cause tissue damage. Even with this new emerging evidence, it is important to know how to treat your Hobo spider bite as part of your Idaho Falls Hobo spider control care. If you have recently been bit by a Hobo, you will want to treat the bite right away and follow these instructions:

  • Clean the infected area with water and mild soap
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling or pain
  • Elevate the affected area

After you have followed these steps, contact your doctor immediately. If possible, bring in the offending spider to speed up the treatment and diagnosis process. Though Hobo bites are not dangerous, it is best to avoid contact with these spiders if possible.

How To Avoid Hobo Spiders In Idaho FallsIdaho Falls Hobo Spider Control

Prevent contact with Hobo spiders with the following suggestions from your Idaho Falls Hobo spider control expert:

  • Limit piles of wood and rubbish around your home
  • Seal tools and other items in garages and sheds
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, gloves, and boots when cleaning attics, basements, crawl spaces, garages, and sheds.
  • Make sure that all of the screens in windows and the doors of your home fit snugly and that there are no cracks, where a spider could easily get through.
  • Keep beds high off the ground and don’t let the bedding touch the floor
  • Vacuum frequently to let spiders know they aren’t welcome in your home.

If you have followed the above steps, but still think you might have an issue with Hobos in your home, don’t hesitate to call your experts in Hobo spider control in Idaho Falls. We will be sure to eliminate this particular pest and put up defensive measures so you won’t have to worry about them returning. Call us at (208) 357-9129 or use the quick contact form found here.