Why Aren’t DIY Mosquito Treatments Effective?

We’ve all heard of them—allegedly “foolproof” DIY methods of mosquito control that your brother, mom, neighbor, or Facebook friend swears by! There are only so many citronella candles a person can light, and only so many dryer sheets one can wear under a hat, yet many people will attempt these and more schemes every year before they wise up. All they do is waste time and money before turning to the real solution. So why aren’t DIY mosquito treatments effective?

Some Popular Mosquito Treatment Myths
While the methods are quite varied, see if you can figure out what they have in common:

  • Essential oils are very popular for a variety of uses, and some people utilize them as an all-natural mosquito repellant to replace chemical products and sprays for the skin. Time consuming to make a batch of homemade repellent, this is probably not a time-effective choice.
  • Plants and herbs, such as basil, lemon balm, catnip, marigolds, garlic, lavender, and citronella, are popular choices for gardens, as rumor has it that they can repel mosquitoes. In truth, achieving the maximum benefit necessitates crushing the leaves and rubbing your skin with them.
  • Bug control spray concentrates sprayed onto your lawn using a garden hose can repel mosquitoes for about 21 days, versus the 30 days of mosquito reduction supplied by a professional application. Fun fact: Applied monthly, professional mosquito treatments will reduce the mosquito population by 95 %! That’s amazing!
  • Bounce dryer sheets (the original version) are worn under the hats of professional golfers to keep gnats and mosquitoes away when making that all-important drive or putt. The online magazine of the American Society for Horticultural Science has published proof this will repel them.

Did you figure out what those four methods have in common? They merely REPEL mosquitoes. And there are many more DIY methods that can’t even do that—Listerine, Lemon Fresh Joy, baby oil, repellent coils, bug barriers, and bug shields, to name a few. DIY treatment methods for mosquitoes will at best repel mosquitoes temporarily, and at worst will waste your money and allow more mosquitoes to breed in your yard. 

The Real Mosquito Solution
A true mosquito solution does not simply repel mosquitoes for a brief period of time. The hallmark of the true mosquito solution is reducing and eliminating mosquitoes from your yard, freeing you to enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family. Knowing our region tested positive for West Nile Virus last summer, and with Zika present in every state ,we can no longer just be worried about the itch and annoyance of a mosquito bite—our concern needs to encompass our health, as well.

Peace of Mind
If you’d like to reclaim your yard from mosquitoes and recapture some peace of mind, call the professionals at Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions today at 314-743-1413.  DIY mosquito treatments are simply not effective. Monthly sprays will give you back some peace of mind, as well as giving you back your yard!

yellow-jacket

Stinging Pests: What Just Stung Me?

OUCH! It’s a word heard a lot when families are out enjoying their yards in the summertime. Sometimes it is heard indoors, as well. The culprits? Stinging insects, some of those things we have to put up with when the warmer temperatures draw us outside. Or do we have to put up with them? Knowing a bit about some common stinging pests will help you know how to spot just where on your property they might want to make a nest. Knowledge is power, and with some good planning, a watchful eye, and great pest control technicians, you won’t need to be asking, “What just stung me?” Get ahead of stinging pests and keep your family as free from “‘ouch” as possible!

The Usual Suspects

Yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, bumblebees, and honeybees are all common stinging insects. While they can all be found in house walls, some easy physical identifiers and nest descriptions will help you figure out which stinging pests are hanging around your home.

● Yellow jackets:

Yellow and black striped, yellow jackets are about ¾” in length. Their pointed stinger is capable of stinging multiple times. Yellow jackets build nests in both walls and in the ground. Regardless of where the nest is, the activity surrounding the entrance will resemble an airport–many flying in and many flying out.

● Wasps:

A newer wasp in St. Louis is the European wasp. These wasps look similar in coloring to a yellow jacket, but they are about 1 ¼ inches in length. They, too, have a pointed stinger capable of multiple stings. These wasps build a conical paper nest, often found under overhangs of houses and inside the hollow fencing around pools. An aggressive insect, this wasp needs no provocation to attack.

● Hornets:

Bald-faced hornets are very aggressive. Black in color with a white stripe over each eye and on the thorax (rear segment), they are about one inch long. They also have a stinger capable of multiple stings. They are often easy to spot near their gray, swirled, paper nests, which vary from the size of a cantaloupe to the size of a trash can. This insect has attitude–it doesn’t need to be disturbed to attack.

● Bumblebees:

Bumblebees are large and black, with a yellow stripe. Their entire body is fuzzy in appearance. Bumblebees measure roughly ¾” long and ⅜” wide. Their stinger is pointed and can sting multiple times. Bumblebee nests looks like groups of small eggs stuck together. They can be found in pine needles under pine trees, and are usually above the ground. They can also be found in bird houses, lawn mower clipping bags, and compost piles. When a nest of any size is disturbed, the bees become very aggressive.

● Honey bees:

Honey bees are brownish to golden in color and are about ¾” in length. Their barbed stinger remains in the victim’s skin when stung, which obviously kills the bee. Honey bee nests are layers of honeycomb, usually found in wall voids and tree voids. If left untreated, a nest filled with honey can weigh up to 350 pounds! Honey bees are fairly harmless and usually only sting when provoked.

Can You Prevent Stinging Insects From Choosing Your Yard or House?

While there is no way to guarantee a stinging pest won’t pass your way, a thorough inspection by the helpful folks from Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions will show just where stinging insects have taken up residence, or are likely to take up residence. Nest removal, followed by regular sprays for stinging insects, will help you and your family have a more enjoyable summer by reducing the likelihood that stinging insects take up residence in or near your home. Want to reduce the “ouch” or “ick” factors for all pesky pests? Let Holper’s show you how we take GREAT care of St. Louis area homes. Call 314-732-1413 today!

What just stung me? Probably not one of the usual suspects,
because I called Holper’s!

Insect & Spider Control

Wolf Spider vs. Brown Recluse Spider: Are You Misidentifying The Dangerous One?

We have written many times in this blog about brown recluse spiders, as getting rid of them successfully is one of the things Holper’s is known for! We are seeing many types of spiders right now, but this stretch of heat makes it the prime time of year for brown recluse spiders. Yet, because of their relatively innocuous appearance (in relation to some others) many people are mistaken when identifying which spider they have. When it comes to wolf spider vs. brown recluse spider, are you misidentifying the dangerous one?

Wolf Spiders 

wolf spider

Wolf Spider (https://infowpb.com/wolf-spider/)

A wolf spider certainly has the creepy factor going for it! Up to two inches in size, these large, hairy spiders, with eight eyes in three rows, definitely look ominous. Luckily, these looks are generally deceiving, as wolf spiders typically only bite when threatened. Admittedly, it is hard to get past that menacing exterior, leading many people to misidentify the hairy, scary-looking wolf spider as the brown recluse, which is of much more concern at this time of the year.

Brown Recluse Spiders 

Brown Recluse

A brown recluse spider doesn’t have the fright factor that a hairy, wolf spider does.  Brown recluse spiders range from the size of a dime to the size of a dollar coin. They are light tan to gray in color, with thin, spindly legs. Their well-known identifier is the violin-shaped marking on the top of the head, which is why many people refer to it as a fiddleback spider. Many people fear the brown recluse, and the reason is the bite! The bite of a brown recluse injects the victim with a protein that affects different people in different ways. Some have no reaction at all. But for an unlucky person who does react, the bite can lead to necrosis, organ failure, and, in rare cases, death. Knowing this, it is easy to see why you don’t want to misidentify your spiders! If you want to read more about brown recluse spiders, see our recent blog, Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live? 

Wolf Spider vs. Brown Recluse Spider: Now What Do I Do?

Regardless of which spider you have identified, you’re going to need an expert who can attack your infestation problem with a multi-phased approach, particularly in the case of brown recluse spiders. Even if you have misidentified which spider you have (or prefer not to get close enough to even try to identify it!) our technicians know the difference and are ready to help rid your home of pests. More importantly, our team will help you keep it that way with ongoing pest control.

Call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions at 314-732-1413, and reclaim your home from those spiders, or any kind of pest that is bothering you. Your home really does deserve Holper’s!

 

red-fire-ants

How Do You Kill Red Ants?

Most people don’t realize that ants come in multiple colors and when they see red ants they easily confuse them with fire ants, or red imported fire ants (RIFA). These RIFA, are dreaded wherever they spread. There are actually multiple species of fire ants, but the RIFA is dreaded the most.

How Do I Know If I’m Seeing a Red Imported Fire Ant? 

RIFA are reddish-brown and approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length. However, in areas where RIFA are found, the easiest way to identify this pest is by the appearance of a mound. RIFA build their mounds in almost any type of soil, but they do show a preference for open sunny areas. Their mounds can attain 18 to 24 inches in height under ideal soil conditions. Some mounds are located in rotting logs, tree stumps, and trees themselves. Occasionally a colony can be found in or under buildings.

The very painful sting of the RIFA’s bite is another common indicator, but it is obviously not the preferred method of identification!

How Do You Kill Red Ants? 

Fortunately red ants that are fire ants live outdoors and aren’t a threat to your home, but if you want to have them removed then you should contact a professional as their sting is very painful.  The good news? Here in the Greater St. Louis area, we do not have RIFA, or any other species of fire ants.

But we do have ants that do a fine job of being a nuisance, as well as some that create damage to our homes. For more on eradicating ants in St. Louis, read our recent blog, Ants, Ants, Everywhere!

termites

Do Termites Fly?

Several of the most common types of termites do have wings, and therefore are capable of flight. However, when winged termites swarm, their wings will fall off. If you encounter a pile of wings close to a congregation of what looks to be ants, you are probably looking at termites that have shed their wings while swarming.

Because termites can resemble flying ants, we wrote a whole blog about it last spring! Click on the link to help determine if you are seeing flying termites or flying ants, How To Tell If You Have Termites or Ants. And then call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions at 314-732-1413 to solve whatever pest problem is bothering you!

Insect & Spider Control

Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?

Here in St. Louis, most of the insects and spiders that take up residence in our homes and businesses are merely pests–while we don’t like to see them, they really can’t harm us personally. We just don’t want them around. But the brown recluse spider is a different story. Why are people afraid of finding brown recluse spiders? Where do brown recluse spiders live? How do you get rid of brown recluse spiders?

Why Are People Afraid of Finding Brown Recluse Spiders?

First, it is important to know what to look for so you’ll know if you see one. Brown recluse spiders range from dime-sized to the size of a dollar coin. They can be tan to gray in color, with thin, spindly legs. They are easiest to identify by the violin-shaped marking on the top of the head, leading some people to call it a fiddleback spider. The reason people fear the brown recluse spider is the bite! The bite of a brown recluse injects a victim with a protein that affects different people in different ways. Some lucky ones have no reaction at all. But for an unlucky person who does react, the bite can lead to necrosis, organ failure, and, in extremely rare cases, death.

So…Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live? 

The name itself, brown recluse, is a clue. Reclusive in nature, these spiders like to live in wall voids and attics. They usually come out at night to feed, which leads to an increased likelihood of spotting one while it is out hunting for insects. Sometimes you can find them in sinks, bathtubs, and shower stalls when they fall out of the light fixtures above, which they access from the attic. Though they prefer to stay hidden, occasionally you can see one crawling along baseboards, or high up on a wall near the ceiling.

How Do You Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders? 

Holper’s is widely known throughout the industry as brown recluse experts. Many companies come to Holper’s to learn how to effectively treat this potentially deadly pest.  Remember that you learned brown recluse like to live in wall voids? Most companies don’t treat the wall voids, and if you don’t treat the wall voids, you can’t exterminate the brown recluse! With Holper’s, part of the treatment includes miniscule ports that allow those wall voids to be dusted, targeting the brown recluse where they live. You will  benefit by trusting Holper’s, as our multi-phase treatment plan utilizes the newest formulations and technologies available to professionals. Call Holper’s today at 314-732-1413 and a member of our Customer Care Team will be happy to schedule you.

You can trust Holper’s–we know how to kill brown recluse spiders. Let us give you back your home!

 

 

 

 

 

Skunk control

Ugh–I Smell a Skunk

It’s unmistakable, isn’t it? That horrid, offensive odor when a skunk sprays. Spring can bring beautiful smelling flowers, but it also brings out those skunks! We are already seeing an uptick in skunk activity, so a timely read would be our fact-filled blog from last year, Who Do I Call For Skunk Removal?

carpenter-ant

Are There Flying Ants?

With so many insects making their appearance this time of year, it can be difficult to keep them all straight. One you might think you know for sure is the ant, invader of picnics and expert at marching in straight lines. But is there more to the ant you think you know so well? Are there flying ants too?

Aren’t All Ants The Same?

We are used to ants being wingless creatures and termites having wings, but that is not always the case. That makes it easy to confuse the two.

Some carpenter ants have wings, leading homeowners to mistake them as termites. There is an important distinction between the wings, though–on termites the wings are equal to twice the length of the body. On carpenter ants the wings only reach just beyond the end of the body length.

When termites swarm their wings come off, which often leads to them being mistaken for ants. These swarms usually occur where a patio/porch/driveway slab touches the house, and the swarm can be inside or outside. Since the wings come off in the swarm, the termites will now resemble typical ants. If you see discarded wings nearby, you have termites and not ants.

Another way to tell the difference between the two is that termites will congregate in a large number close together. Ants will tend to be found in the previously mentioned, stereotypical line of ants.

I Don’t Care If They Have Wings Or Not…I Just Want Them Gone

If ants are the problem, the only way to successfully get rid of them, or any other insects/pests, is to have your home professionally treated. Holper’s has been taking care of St. Louis homes since 1985, using low-impact materials for the safety of you and your pets. Holper’s uses a three-pronged attack on your ant infestation: treating the inside, treating the outside, and using bait outside of your home. Once the initial infestation has been exterminated, this service is done quarterly to make sure your home stays free of ants, and many other unwanted insects. Best of all, the program includes a full guarantee!

Holper’s Can Do It All!

Whether you have insects, spiders, nuisance wildlife, or a combination from the list, Holper’s really is the “Do It All” pest control company. Call our friendly customer service reps today at 314-732-1413 to have all your questions answered and to set up an appointment to have peace of mind restored in your home.

ant-removal-services

Ants, Ants, Everywhere

What do we want? Spring!  When do we want it? NOW!

The crazy weather we have had in St. Louis has given everyone a case of spring fever! The little teases of warm weather here and there only make our excitement for warmer days that much stronger. We are not alone, though, in emerging more out into the open as the cool temperatures leave…ants are making their appearance in droves, too! All over St. Louis this annual pest is making itself known, and no homeowner is happy to receive a visit. (This is also the time of year when termites show up–if you want to know how to tell the difference between termites and ants, here is a helpful blog from our library. Do I Have Termites or Ants?)

As they say, knowledge is power! Knowing your ant enemy helps for both prevention and for treatment. Our April newsletter featured the ant as the “Know A Pest” of the month, and you can find that information here:

April = Ants

 Know a Pest: Ants

Did you know:

  • Ants are most often drawn indoors for food and water. High moisture areas (e.g. kitchens and bathrooms) will always be most attractive to ants.
  • The most common ant in the St. Louis area is the odorous house ant, which is 1/16 of an inch to an ⅛ of an inch long, brown or black in color, primarily wingless, with bent antennae.
  • Over-the-counter sprays usually act as repellents, sending the ants to other areas of your home.
  • There are a few things you can to do lower your risk of an infestation: keep moisture in your home to an absolute minimum, properly store all food in airtight containers, and keep your gutters clean and remove all leaf debris that gathers around the foundation of your home.
  • The way to conquer an ant infestation is a three-pronged approach: treat the inside, treat the outside, and use bait stations outside of the home.

What’s the fastest way to get rid of ants and all other pests? Call the experts at Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions right away at 314-732-1413 to make your home pest-free!

commercial-bird-control-services

A Bird In The Hand: Who Can Provide Bird Control Services?

If you have never found yourself hosting a bird in your home or business, congratulations! Consider yourself lucky to have never experienced the stressful feeling of catching sight of a panicked bird trying to find a way out, to say nothing of the mess left behind. Bird removal and bird control services are a highly specialized segment for nuisance wildlife technicians, and not all companies are able to offer this service, in part because residential bird control varies from commercial bird control. Expertise and creative problem solving go hand in hand to address bird control solutions. What goes into solving a bird issue? We’re glad you asked!

How We Do It: Expert Bird Control Service

The first step will always be a thorough inspection to figure out what type of bird is present, entry/access points, as well as if and where it is nesting. This is the basis for formulating a personalized solution.The time of year can also be a factor: for example, springtime bird problems tend to be short lived as the bird likely came inside to nest, hatch its babies, and then leave when the nestlings fly away. That would be serviced differently than a continuing bird issue. Each situation is different. That is why expertise is so important to craft a personalized combination of bird netting, one-way doors, bird spikes on ledges, reflectors, repairs, etc. Each bird problem is unique, so each solution will be, too.

The Holper’s Difference

Whether the pest in your house or yard is an insect, spider, or nuisance wildlife, the friendly professionals of Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions can take care of it all. Call 314-732-1413 to experience the Holper’s Difference.