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If you’re looking for a warm place to spend the winter, you’re not alone! So are pests!

This time of the year, we get calls about all kinds of pests trying to take up residence in homes and businesses in preparation for winter. Pests like rodents (mice & rats), flies, crickets, stink bugs, spiders and others are being reported throughout the valley this fall. If you observe any of these or other pests, be sure to give us a call!

In the meantime, there are measures you can take to prevent pests from entering your home or business. These include:

• Caulking or otherwise sealing openings on the outside that leads into the structure.• Trimming bushes away from the sides of the building. These act as superhighways to pests looking for a warm place to spend the winter.

• Check to be sure screens are in good repair.

• Seal doors, windows and basement sashes with adhesive- backed weather stripping. Clean the surface first so the weather strip will adhere well.

• Rake moisture-wicking soil and mulch away from the window frames and low wood. Turn your mulch periodically to help keep dampness down, and keep bushes trimmed back as well.

• Fix any leaks inside that will provide needed moisture to pests.

• Move wood piles, compost piles, piles of leaves or grass clippings, or stacked boards or stones away from the foundation.

• Ventilate basements and crawlspaces to reduce moisture levels.

• Drain standing water around the foundation.

• Reduce outside lights, especially around doorways. Many pests are attracted to lights.

Remember, we’re here to help when you need us!!

Almost anywhere in a backyard can be a home for roof rats. Home owners just need to maintain their landscaping and keep a clean patio and they should be roof rat worry-free. Here are some tools to use to help keep these rodents away.

 A popular spot is resting water; in the summer’s monsoon or storm season a lot of water is left on carports or on back porches. It is best to sweep the water into the gutter or into your grass, that way there are no puddles for rats to come drink from.

 Don’t worry if you have a giant amount of resting water known as a pool, roof rats are afraid to swim! But keep plants that are next to your pool trimmed up.

 Another great way to prevent roof rats in your plants is to put the planters on a rack so they are not resting on the ground.

 A favorite of roof rats is dog or cat food, if there are food bowls left outside for your animal there is a high possibility roof rats will stop by.

 A great way to keep roof rats out of your citrus trees is to put a rat guard on the tree. This is a piece of sheet metal wrapped around the tree to make sure the rats cannot crawl up it.

 Trimming all trees is important. Make sure they are not touching power lines or anything else as the rats will use those to get into the top of the tree. Also make sure no branches are too low as that will be a way to crawl up the tree.

 With bushes, it is best to keep them pruned regularly, and having the bottom not touch the ground below is helpful.

 With all shrubbery, bushes, and trees it is best to have them free standing that way their limbs do not overlap fences or worse yet, your house, which can make it easier for roof rats to make a home.

 All stacks of wood or clippings should be kept at a higher level and not on the ground.

 Keep any containers that are outside closed with a tight lid. Anything from a trash can to a plastic storage container. Especially a trash container otherwise it’s a roof rats paradise.

 When trimming bigger plants like oleanders or bougainvillea’s, make sure they are thinned out enough where you can see the sunlight through them. The thicker they are, the more appealing they are to roof rats.

 Rats will eat anything so ensure to clean up thoroughly after parties on your patio.

 Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees on a daily basis. If they can’t get in your tree then the next best thing is a free meal.

 Pick up animal waste on a daily basis. Yes, as gross as it sounds that is another invitation for a rat to come feed.

 Keep the bottom of your trees cleaned up as well, if you don’t have a rat guard. If the area is open many of the rat’s enemies could see it, so they tend to stay away from areas where they can’t hide.

Although the rats are not in the house, they are still close enough that they could have the opportunity to get in. In the spring and fall seasons the evenings can be cool, sometimes with a slight breeze; many people tend to open a porch door or some windows in the house to help with air flow. Even though the weather is nice this is a welcome mat for roof rats.

Double check these areas, as they are the most popular places for roof rats to live.

Pre-Emergent Weed control is like insurance for your yard! You know the weeds will come, it is just a question of when and how bad will they be this season? The cities of the valley are known to be hit with winter weed annuals after the winter rains and summer weed annuals during Monsoon season.

The goal is to prevent the seeds and spores of weeds that travel by wind and other animals from taking root in your yard.  Treating the rocks and crevices where weeds pop up while leaving no damage to the lawn or existing shrubs and trees.

We recommend a Pre-Emergent Weed Control be applied every six months to control weeds in your yard.

What does the term “pre-emergent weed control” refer to?  It means “weed prevention.” It refers to a method for preventing weeds by way of killing weed seeds and seedlings before they can germinate or establish themselves. To accomplish this, there are pre-emergent weed control products you can use to kill weed seeds before or as they try to sprout. Pre-emergent weed control can tremendously cut down on the need for mixing and spraying other chemicals to kill weeds post-emergently, after they have sprouted.

Winter annuals germinate in late summer and fall, small leaves during our short mild winter then flourish in the spring or the months of March and April in the valley. It is best to apply a pre-emergent weed control herbicide from February thru April.

Common winter weeds include:

-Spurges (Euphorbia spp) spotted spurge; ground spurge and creeping spurge typically have prostrate stems up to about ½ meter in length. Typically considered a summer annual, Arizona’s warm climate keeps this weed active year round.

-London rocket (Sisymbrium trio) Flowering December to May growing up to 36” tall with yellow flowers.

-Nettleleaf (goosefoot Chenopodium murale) coarse bushy annual with a strong unpleasant odor, 1 to 3 feet high, December to June.

-Silversheath Knotweed (Polygonum argyrocoleon)

-Spiny Sowthistle (Sonchus asper)

-Wild Oat (Avena fatua)

-Shepherdspurse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

 Summer annuals in the valley, they germinate in the spring, mature and produce seeds during the summer, and die in the fall or winter when frost occurs.

Common summer weeds include:

-Russian Tumbleweed (Salsola kali var. tenuifolia) the classic Arizona tumbleweed.

-Junglegrass (Echinochloa colonum)

-Spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) Active August through November. Growing in a flat mat shape with little leaves, and spread throughout landscaping rocks. Contain white, sticky milky juice which may cause skin inflammation, all the more reason to not pull your own weeds!

-Red Sprangletop (Leptochloa filiformis)

-Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus pallmeri)

-Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)

-Large Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)

-Bermuda grass:  This troublesome weed is very hard to eradicate when it becomes established in undesired areas. Bermuda pollen is one of the most serious sources of hay fever in the state. However, it is the most common summer lawn grass in southern Arizona. It cannot stand freezing temperatures, shade, or frequent cultivation, but can tolerate indefinite periods of drought.

-Nutsedge:  Resembling grass, Nutsedge can take over your lawn and can be hard to treat if not managed early on.

If you are sick and tired of seeing weeds on your property, and if you have tried just about everything in the book trying to get rid of them, please give us a call. We are straightforward in our approach and professionalism, and we always aim for total customer satisfaction with our complete services.

Homes all over the country can be infested by the dreaded termite. This insect will work quietly and devastatingly inside the structure of your house and can do serious damage if not removed. Here are some pointers on how to look for signs of termites.

Watch out for mud tubes. Unlike ants, termites do not roam around exposed. They either burrow through wood or travel inside pencil-sized (or larger) mud tubes that they build from wood particles, soil and other materials. Look around the foundation of your home, in the crawl space and along the walls of your garage for termite tubes. These tubes are earth-colored and about the diameter of a pencil. If you find any, break them open to see if there are live termites inside. Live termites are a sign that you have a termite problem. Even if you do not see termites, it doesn’t mean that termites are gone; they may have just abandoned this particular mud tube. Check again the area after a few weeks to see if the termites have rebuilt the mud tubes.

Be wary of any holes that suddenly emerge in walls, most especially if you see any signs of soil close by. While the tunnels may be deep within the walls, termite holes can sometimes be found in painted drywall, and even in wallpapers.  Some small surface holes may already be a clue of termite activity, just a few inches behind the walls.

If you think you may have termite damage, call us, as serious damage could be taking place in the structure of your home. Proper treatment is best handled by a Bircher Exterminating professional.