Ask anyone who’s had a personal encounter with bed bugs and they’ll tell you they wish they’d known the risks, what to watch for, and what to do about it before things got… um… itchy.
The top three places for bed bug infestations? Apartments/condos, single-family homes and hotels/motels, according to pest professionals surveyed by the National Property Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky. Other infested locations pest pros responded to included nursing homes, college dorms, offices, daycares, schools—even hospitals and public transportation.
A List of the Top Cities for Bed Bugs:
Here are the top 20 U.S. cities for bed bug infestations, based on metro areas where the most bed bug treatments occurred in the past year. Indianapolis has moved up from #15 a few years ago to #4!
- Philadelphia, PA
- New York, NY
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Cincinnati, OH
- Los Angeles, CA
- Cleveland, OH
- Washington, DC
- Chicago, IL
- Boston, MA
- Columbus, OH
- Houston, TX
- Baltimore, MD
- Atlanta, GA
- Detroit, MI
- Cincinnati, OH
- Philadelphia, PA
- San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, CA
- Richmond/Petersburg, VA
- Raleigh/Durham, NC
Many people associate bed bugs with filth. While they leave a disgusting mess, you have to remember that they’re travelers. And you’re going to see that cities with a large transient population carry bed bugs to their new location. Indianapolis isn’t just the Crossroads of America for transportation, colleges, sports, and conferences… it’s also a prime location for bed bugs to hitch a ride into!
Bed Bugs: Where are They, Factors for Fighting, and How to Inspect for Them
We’re seeing some pretty intense thunderstorms with quite a bit of rain here in central Indiana. It shouldn’t be a surprise that rain can have a huge impact on pest activity and their ability to feed and reproduce before, during, and after rainfall.
Pest Activity Before the Storm
Insects and small pests often have built-in barometers that sense the pressure drops associated with storms. Some underground pests will run for higher ground to avoid flooding, some will bury themselves in, and others may actually make it outdoors to take advantage of the humidity.
On the plus side, insects often don’t reproduce during storms and rainfall, so prolonged storms can really devastate infestations. Leading up to the storm, though, you may see a lot of movement and activity in your yard. Be sure to seal up any gaps in your foundation, openings in garage doors and doorways, and any other place around your home that insects can find their way in.
If you’re seeing quite a few insects before the storm, you’ll probably want to get your home inspected as they’ve probably found a way in and are busy building a highway for later!
Pest Activity During the Storm
Some larger pests may run for cover as their nests and dens become flooded. Keep an eye out for them and then watch for any locations in and around your house where there may be standing water. Adjust where your downspouts are pushing water and make sure it’s not getting into your foundation, cellar, or crawl space.
Pest Activity After the Storm
Standing water doesn’t attract just small animals, it’s also at the mating ground for bugs. A 2 or 3 inch deep puddle that’s hidden away in the brush of your yard can be a mating ground for a colony of mosquitoes that will breed tens of thousands. You’ll want to make sure you have good irrigation so the water is never standing. If you have a pool or fountain, you’ll want to be running your pumps periodically to keep the water moving.
After the rains have subsided and moisture has been absorbed, you may see signs of nesting in new locations in and around your home. Keep an eye out for hair and lint around the cracks outside your home… these may be where rodents are moving in and bringing some bedding with them.
Irrigation and Pest Control
Just as we’d run for cover or move our families indoors, so do pests. Ensuring that you have proper irrigation and a pest-proofed home can eliminate an infestation before, during, or after our summer storms here in central Indiana. Be sure to give us a call if you see signs of pests and we can schedule an inspection!
Roaches are nasty business! These creepy-crawlies are among the most reviled of pests, especially because once they are in, they can be tough to get rid of. Responding to the presence of roaches in your home or business is important. As Central Indiana’s top pest control company, we keep both homes and businesses roach free. We know what it takes to prevent and eliminate roaches from your home!
Here is what you need to know.
How do you know if you have roaches?
Roaches are nocturnal, so it is rare to see them active during the day. You should inspect for them at night, using a flashlight to catch them by surprise in dark spaces. They prefer darkness and moisture, so we recommend that you look in bathrooms and kitchens first.
Laundry rooms, garages, barns, and mud rooms are other places to check out. When you inspect for roaches, use your flashlight to shine underneath appliances, in and around drains, under rugs and carpets, and in any cracks, such as the small gaps underneath baseboards.
If you see a roach, you should know there are probably many more hiding elsewhere. Unfortunately, not seeing a roach does not mean that your home is roach-free. Other signs of roach infestation include a foul odor, roach droppings, and roach eggs.
What attracts roaches to a home?
Cockroaches love dirty dishes, crumbs, trash, and leaks. They sneak into your home through cracks, pipes, drains, open windows and screens, and in just about anything you might carry inside. Clutter is not a huge appeal to roaches, but if something is sticky, crumby, messy, or wet, they are going to love it.
What attracts roaches to a business?
Why do some businesses have roach problems? There are a few reasons. First, some businesses have the same attractive environmental conditions that homes do: kitchens, trash cans, messes, and moisture.
If your company produces a lot of trash, you are more susceptible to an infestation. The same is true if you have a kitchen, a garage, barn, or storage area. Companies are also more likely to have drop ceilings, which can hide roaches as they breed and take over an area.
What kind of roaches are most prevalent in Indiana?
The Purdue Extension office explains the types of cockroaches that are most common in Indiana. They describe roach varieties as follows.
- The German roach can typically be found in your kitchens; it’s one of the most common species. When these roaches achieve adulthood, they stay small (about 1/2 inch long). They are tan, and they generally travel in large numbers. Young German roaches, known as nymphs, can be identified by their dark markings that change their appearance, making them look dark brown to black.”
- The largest of the roaches, the American roach is usually reddish-brown in color and can grow to be roughly 1-1/2 inches in length when it matures. You’ll generally find these roaches in food establishments, but any dwelling near the place that serves food runs the risk of infestation.
- Another large roach, the Oriental roach grows to be about 1 inch in length. These roaches are typically shiny black or dark brown. Oriental roaches are also referred to as “water bugs” or “black beetles.” They prefer to live somewhere damp, and generally invade homes through places like the sewer opening. When it’s warm outside, Oriental roaches might take up residence outdoors; during the less temperate months, they tend to move from home to home.
- While the Brown-banded roach is usually thought of as southern species, it can be found in Indiana. It’s roughly the same size as a German roach, but the resemblance ends there. Brown-banded roaches make free with your whole house— they don’t restrict their activities to the kitchen. Any item that is shipped from one location to another can contain these less-than-desirable tagalongs.
- Woods roaches usually restrict their activities to the outdoors, generally residing under the loose bark of dead trees, logs or stumps. They might invade a home that is in a heavily wooded area, but they don’t typically thrive unless they’re outside. At nearly 1 inch long, male woods roaches are dark brown with a pale stripe on the outer edges of their wings. They fly well, so that’s often how they make their way into homes. The female woods roaches have shorter wings, closely resembling the Oriental roach; however, it’s rare to find a female inside the house.
Are roaches more common in one season?
Roaches tend to head inside buildings and homes to avoid the cold in winter, so winter infestations are pretty common. However, it is summer when the creatures thrive. They love the heat and breed in the warmest months. That is why many homeowners choose to start protecting their homes in the spring— they want to prepare for the upcoming summer months.
Why should you hire a pest control professional?
Getting rid of roaches is a serious challenge. Hiring a pest control professional like Freedom Pest Control can get your roach problem under control and prevent future infestations. Why should you hire a professional instead of trying to get the infestation under control yourself?
- Professionals know how to detect and defeat infestations faster and more effectively than home and business owners. Our years of experience allow us to do a better job in a shorter amount of time than attempts at amateur pest control.
- We can prevent infestations. Instead of having to worry about roaches and other bugs coming back after you get rid of them, we can prevent you from ever having to deal with another pest infestation again.
- We can protect homes and businesses alike in a cost-effective way.
Do you need help now for a pest problem? Do you want to make sure that your home or business is not a home for creepy-crawlies like roaches? Let’s talk today about how to keep you from ever needing to deal with roaches again!
Spring is in the air! At least we hope it is. Seems we bounce from freezing to beautiful every day now. While it may confuse us, it’s not confusing pests. As the days become warmer, you’re going to see more issues with ants, bees, cockroaches, earwigs, flies, mosquitos, silverfish, wasps, and rodents.
- Ants are most active in spring, building routes into homes to bring food and moisture back to their nests.
- Beetle grubs begin to feed on your yard roots… preparing for summer when they’ll emerge.
- Stink bugs will emerge from their hiding places and begin to mate and lay eggs.
- Wasps, hornets, and yellowjacket queens are coming out of hibernation and ready to start new nests.
- Mice and rats are on the hunt for food – finding any way they can to get into your home to feast on whatever they can find.
- Spiders mate in spring and their fall eggs will begin to hatch.
- Ticks that have stayed warm in leaf bins and garden mulch for the winter begin to lay eggs for the summer.
Since it’s also Spring Cleaning time, be on the lookout as you’re cleaning out your garage, opening the windows for fresh air, and clearing up the winter mess from the yard. Be on the lookout for three things:
- Water or moisture that will attract bugs and small posts.
- Dark and hidden spaces where bugs and spiders will make their new home.
- Cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation, siding, and roof where pests can make their way indoors.
This is the best time of year to prepare and prevent pests since they’re most vulnerable, mating, and laying eggs. Treating your home, gardens, and yard today can save you a ton of energy and money later! Here’s a detailed checklist:
- Cabinets and Pantries – empty out, vacuum out, and wipe down to ensure no food or traces of food are in there.
- Windows and Doors – patch and replace screens and insulation that may be damaged and provide a means into your home.
- Garages – move your lumber and stuff off the floor onto shelves with plenty of room to wipe and vaccuum in, around, and behind them. Break down boxes and toss out anything that will provide a home or bedding for pests.
- Leaks and Drips – keep an eye out for any puddles or moisture around pipes and hoses and fix them all.
- Foundation – walk around your home and look for breaks in your siding and cracks in your foundation. You can typically find outdoor caulking kits you can use to fill them.
- Firewood – store old firewood away from your home. Spiders and pests love wood piles.
- Soffit – clean and inspect your soffits frequently looking for wasps who may start building a new hive.
And, as always, if you find a nest or some other creature that sends you screaming – give us a call and we’ll take care of you.
Temperatures have dropped this week, and we’re not the only ones preparing for winter. This is a highly active time for pests who are seeking food, water, and some protection from the cold weather. Our partners at PestWorld have developed this fall checklist in coordination with the National Pest Management Association to keep pests outside during the fall and winter:for home and business owners to avoid an infestation of rats, mice, spiders, or insects… the most active fall pests that make the migration.
This week, we even found a black widow spider that had taken up shop in a customer’s garage. The female black widow is highly venomous and dangerous to humans and pets. You can’t miss these spiders, they have a bright red hourglass marking on their abdomen. They often build a web in between storage boxes or in the gaps of firewood where you can’t see them. A misfortunate reach in to grab a box, and you’re going to be heading to the hospital.
So, before the ice and freezing weather sets in, take a few hours and do your own little home inspection to find any spots where pests are going to hold up for the winter!
Pro Tip: Buy some heavy work gloves, a heavy hoodie, and put on some safety glasses while you do your home inspection. That way, as you move or inspect items around the house, you don’t accidentally get bit, touch pest droppings, or have anything drop into your eyes.
Whether you’re a business or a home-owner, here’s a great checklist. Mice only need a hole the size of a dime or a 1/4″ crack to squeeze into your home (rats can fit through a hole the size of a quarter), so be sure to pay close attention as you inspect!
Fall Pest Prevention Checklist
- Openings – Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, crawl spaces, and any other areas where homes may be open to the outdoors, including mail slots and animal doors.
- Moisture – Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Pests are attracted to areas of moisture, something they need to survive. Using dehumidifiers in basements and garages will help keep these areas dry.
- Cracks – Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure. Some rodents can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Be sure to use a quality, outdoor, 25-year caulk.
- Food – Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Crumbs and a buildup of garbage are attractive to pests scrounging for food. It is recommended to clean up after each meal and to properly close garbage cans when they are stored in the home or garage.
- Foundation – Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows. These are easy ways to keep not only pests, but also cold air out of the house.
- Firewood – Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed. Removing areas where pests can hide near your home can reduce the chance of them finding a way inside.
- Screens – Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens. Torn window screens and cracks under doors are an ideal entry point for household pests. When you open the window, you could be letting in more than just fresh air.
- Storage – Inspect items such as boxes of decorations, package deliveries, and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Pests can find creative ways to get inside a home. Shake out or inspect anything that has been left or stored outside.
- Pet Food – Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time. Pests don’t discriminate between people food and cat food. Pet dishes that have been left sitting out are enticing for all kinds of insects and rodents.
- Drainage – Have a proper outdoor drainage system. Installing gutters or repairing an existing system will help draw water and moisture away from your home, preventing any leaks or build up that might attract pests. Since it’s fall, you may want to get those gutters cleaned out!
You might notice that many of these items are good strategies for keeping your home energy efficient, too! Our friends over at Amos Exteriors have a great article on how to winterize your Indiana home – be sure to check that out for some great tips. They can also assist with ensuring your home is well-insulated as well as installing energy-efficient replacement windows and doors.
Note: If you find pet droppings or some webs, you may already have an unwanted guest. Give us a call and we’ll take care of it for you.
Freedom Pest Control are Members of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA)
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members from around the world, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. This commitment is reflected both in the continuing education of pest management professionals and the dissemination of timely information to homeowners and businesses.