Tick Prevention Tips

Summer is back and that means so are the ticks. Fortunately, these little biting menaces don’t have to ruin your outdoor fun. A few simple precautions can help keep you and your family safe all summer long.

Ticks in North East Ohio

There are four types of ticks in North East Ohio. These are the American Dog Tick, the Blacklegged Tick (also known as the deer tick), Brown Dog Tick, and, less common, the Lone Star Tick. While all these species spread various illnesses, the Blacklegged tick is responsible for Lyme disease. This tick doesn’t stay in the woods. Blacklegged ticks can be found in any grassy/wooded area. Including your lawn.

Reducing Ticks in the Yard

There are some things you can do to help reduce the number of ticks in your yard.

  1. Mow the lawn frequently.
  2. Remove leaf litter.
  3. Make sure any compost piles are hot and that brush is not allowed to accumulate.
  4. Remove/mow tall grasses and remove brush around your home and at the edge of lawns.
  5. Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas.
  6. Discourage rodents by keeping trash cans indoors.
  7. Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  8. Use rubber mulch under playground equipment.
  9. Choose plants that are deer and rabbit resistant to discourage them from entering your yard.
  10. Remove any trash, old furniture, or abandoned items from the yard and keep your lawn free from debris.

Avoiding Tick Bites

Any outdoor activity, walking your dog, hiking, gardening, could bring you in contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard.

Before you go outside

Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Always follow product instructions, and do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
Walk in the center of trails.

When You Come Inside

Examine clothing, gear, and pets for ticks. Any ticks should be removed and disposed of.
Wash clothes in hot water. Jackets and backpacks can be put in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill ticks. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed.

Shower within two hours of coming indoors to wash off any unattached ticks and do a full body tick check paying special attention to less exposed areas like underarms, inside belly button, in and around the hairline.

Ticks don’t have to be part of your summer experience. By following these simple tips, you can reduce your risk to ticks and the diseases they carry.

Want more protection from ticks? Call your Mulholland Pest specialist and ask about lawn treatments today (440)528-1234

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Predicting Mosquito Populations

Bad year for Mosquitos?

Seems like every year around the beginning of summer someone will say, “I heard this is going to be a bad year for mosquitos.” But how does anyone actually know? And is there anything that can be done to prevent it?

Is Predicting Mosquito Populations Possible?

Despite what the Farmer’s Almanac says, it’s impossible for someone to predict where a particular area will have an above average mosquito population in any given year. Mosquito breeding conditions are heavily affected by the weather. Differences in temperature and rainfall can have a huge impact on the local population. So while it’s impossible to predict mosquito activity for an entire summer, it’s a good bet that a recent bout of warm, wet weather will make a local population explode.

Why Does the Weather have a Measurable Impact on Mosquitos?

The entire life-cycle for mosquitos occurs in 8-10 days, which means it can go from egg to blood-sucking menace in less than a week. The weather during this cycle has a direct impact for two reasons. First mosquitos, like all insects, are cold-blooded. This means that when the weather is warm, so are the mosquitos. In fact, in Northeast Ohio mosquitos become inactive if the temperature dips below 50 degrees.
Second, mosquitos need standing water to reproduce. They lay their eggs in standing water, and the offspring remain there until they emerge as adults. If something happens to the water, either a freeze or evaporation, the mosquitos die. This is why warm, wet weather promotes mosquito activity.

Using the Cycle to Your Advantage

Anything you can do to disrupt the breeding cycle of mosquitos will help curb the population. Search for any standing water on your property and remove it, permanently, if possible. Mosquitos will lay eggs in the smallest amount of water. Change bird baths regularly by completely emptying them. If you have a pond on your property, add a fountain or consider stocking it with larva eating fish such as koi, mosquito fish, or minnows.

What about Mosquito Sprays?

The mosquito control salesman will try to convince you that a weekly spray program will completely disrupt the breeding cycle. However, sprays can only kill adults, which means a brand new batch will be emerging every day until your next spray. It also won’t prevent them from blowing in from your neighbor’s property. In the Midwest, mosquitos can travel miles from where they hatch, which is why effective spray programs need to be community-wide. Mosquito sprays can be effective for a short term, so consider them if you will be hosting an outdoor event such as a barbecue or wedding.

Making Yourself Less Attractive to Mosquitos

The best repellent is still DEET. Developed in 1957, there has not been another repellent as effective as DEET. For most applications, 10% concentration will be sufficient and last about 90 minutes. DEET is safe for most people, including children aged 3 years and up, if used as directed. Picaridin (sold as Cutter) and lemon-eucalyptus oil (sold as Repel®) have also been shown to be strong alternatives. Wearables, repellent candles, citronella, and other vapor barriers are not a substitute for spray repellents. Also, eating or avoiding certain foods has shown to have little to no effect on the attractiveness of people to mosquitos, with one unfortunate exception: drinking beer may make you more attractive to mosquitos. However, the effect is small enough that you don’t need to worry about giving up your favorite brew.

No matter what the weather, battling mosquitos will take a multi-pronged approach. Take steps to reduce your local population, avoid activity at peak mosquito times, and wear protection if you plan to spend time outdoors. By following these steps you can still enjoy the summer without become dinner for one of nature’s more obnoxious beasts.

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Selecting a Reputable Pest Control Company

Taking the time to research a pest control company often takes a back seat to getting a faster solution. But knowing you can trust your pest control professional is important. Especially when you consider that you will be letting this person into your home!

Vetting a potential company doesn’t need to be daunting. A few simple checks can help you know the person you hire is a qualified pest control professional.

5 Key Areas to consider when selecting a pest control company

Do technicians have current licenses? In Ohio, pest control professionals must renew their license a minimum of every three years. They also must complete at least five hours of continued training to qualify for renewal. This means that licensed pest professionals in Ohio are constantly learning. Make sure the company you hire has current licenses for each technician.

How long has the company been in business? Pest control isn’t one size fits all. Differences in habitat, environment, and even building materials means that your solution will need to be customized.
Have the technicians been with the company long, or is there rapid turnover? A company can’t keep their technicians isn’t a company you want on your property. Rapid turnover means a company may not properly vet employees, or they don’t value them. This could mean that profit, not customer service, will be the company’s priority.

Ask for recommendations from family, friends, or neighbors.
Be cautious using advertising for information about the company’s reputation, and consult multiple outlets for online reviews since these are easily manipulated.

Customer Service
Does the company offer free estimates and a guarantee?
The technician should be clear about the problem, the treatment, the cost, and explain the terms of the guarantee before work begins. If the technician can’t answer your questions to your satisfaction, then don’t let them begin work.

Is the company fully insured?
Accidents can and do happen. Don’t allow an uninsured contractor to perform services on your property.
Also ask about chemical safety and safe exposure levels. Your pest control professional will know how to keep pets, children, and you safe. Make sure you get clear, specific answers from the person doing the treatment.

Just by asking a few simple questions, you can be assured the company you hire employs true pest control professionals who will provide safe, effective solutions and treat your home with respect.

Want to know more about the certified pest control experts at Mulholland? Give us a call. We’re ready to help.

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Spring Insect Pests to Watch For

Carpenter ants are the most common destructive pest in North East Ohio. These small creatures are responsible for millions of dollars in damage every year. Fortunately, they can be treated once they are detected.
These large black ants are usually discovered by the sawdust-like shavings they leave behind. Carpenter ants don’t eat the wood. They tunnel through it, and those shavings must go somewhere. If you spot sawdust near a hole anywhere around your house, it’s a good indication there are carpenter ants. If you see sawdust around the base of a tree around your property, have it treated as well since carpenter ants can quickly spread into your house.

Pavement ants are frequently found in kitchens and any areas where food is present. This includes garbage and compost areas inside and outside your home. While pavement ants aren’t as destructive as carpenter ants, they are a nuisance because they contaminate food and food-prep surfaces. Keeping a clean kitchen will not eliminate these pests. It’s impossible to keep every crumb and drop of water out of the space.

While pollinators are important, allowing stinging insects to nest in close proximity to people can be dangerous. Under decks, children’s play equipment, and flower beds are prime places to consider preventative treatment. If a nest does appear, we can safely remove it, keeping your family safe.

The recluse and black widow are the two spiders in Northeast Ohio that are considered dangerous to humans. Most spiders prefer basements and other sheltered places. They also prefer areas that have insect activity. If you see many spiders in your home, it may indicate another pest problem.

Rodents are a year-round nuisance. These pests contaminate surfaces, gnaw through food containers, and ruin your furniture and finishes. They also destroy your home from the inside, by tunneling through insulation and cause fire hazards by chewing through wiring. They also carry disease and leave their droppings everywhere they go. Electronic deterrents are not effective at controlling these pests. Your pest control expert can help with a comprehensive program that includes prevention and remediation to control these rodents inside and out.

Don’t wait to treat spring insect pests

If you have seen signs of any of these pests, call right away. Pest problems are more easily treated when they are small. Don’t let a pest problem become established in your home. Call Mulholland Pest Control for a free quote. We can get you started on your journey to a pest-free home today!

Call (440)528-1234

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