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5 Pest Control tips for a New House

Yes! You finally received the keys to your new home. What’s even better is that it’s in Texas, where the most fun people on the planet live.

What’s not so fun, however, are all the pests that live here too. Texas has pretty mild weather (well, sometimes it can be so hot the hens lay hard-boiled eggs) but we don’t get much snow and cold. This means we have a more hospitable environment for creepy crawlies. So, let’s check out 5 new house pest control tips:

1. Do a Deep Clean and Keep Things Tidy

Pests aside, the first thing you should do before moving into a new home is to thoroughly clean it. After all, the previous owner might have just spiffed up a few spots, sprayed some air freshener around, and decided that was good enough for government work. It’s also way easier to deep clean before you fill the rooms up with stuff, so take advantage!

This is going to be your new home and you want it to be pristine. Plus, any crumbs or debris left lying around is like sending pests an open invitation. Keeping a clean home is probably the best preventative measure you can take against pests. Insects and rodents alike are attracted to a steady supply of easy-to-access food.

2. Clean the Yard

When moving into a new house, pest control starts at the front gate. Your yard could appear as a welcome mat or a steel barricade depending on how you treat it. Proper landscaping and maintenance goes a long way toward deterring pests from getting too close.

Clean up brush piles and keep grass trimmed. This limits habitats for critters that might consider hunkering down. Trim trees and bushes near your home to prevent pests like mice and squirrels from using them as a bridge to your home. Likewise, keep foliage away from your foundation where termites and ants might travel undercover. Finally, don’t let standing water pool up in birdbaths, planters or waste containers. These pools become breeding sites for mosquitoes and other nuisance insects.

3. Seal Up Cracks

Go over your new home with a fine-toothed comb and a tube of caulking. Seal up every little crack and cranny you find. You’d be surprised what pests can use as an entry point. You won’t be able to button it up so tight that not a single pest gets in, but you can cut down on their presence considerably.

As a bonus, sealing up all the cracks can help your home stay dry and save you money on your cooling bills — something you’ll appreciate when it’s hotter than a stolen tamale outdoors.

4. Set Out Traps

Does a new house need pest control measures beyond cleaning and sealing? You’ll find out soon! Pests seem to have a nose for when people move out of a home. It doesn’t have to be sitting empty for long before they start coming in droves, looking to nest in a safe location. Consider setting around a few traps for mice and ants before you move into your home. This is the perfect time to do it before you have your kids and pets running around getting into things.

If you don’t catch anything, you can be reasonably sure there isn’t an infestation — yet.

Alternatively, you might consider calling a reputable pest protection company to do a full inspection. You can also set up ongoing pest protection services, which are far more effective (and less icky) than dealing with an infestation after it has already set in. At Buckaroo Pest Protection, we use non-toxic, eco-friendly products to protect your home (as opposed to the chemical-laden ones commonly used by other companies).

5. Install a Termite Baiting System

If you’re moving to a Texas home from somewhere else in the South, you already know there are far more termites here than you can shake a dozen sticks at. What’s more, they are sneaky little critters. By the time you realize that you have an infestation, they will have already done a whole passel of damage to your home.

Termites in Texas

We have two basic types of termites here in Texas: the Formosan subterranean and southeastern drywood termites.

As you might guess, the subterranean ones live underground. They tunnel through the earth looking for sources of their favorite food — wood. When they find that wood in your home, they create odor trails for the other workers to find the food source and they get to work hauling back the food. This, of course, means they are dismantling the structure of your home as they work.

Drywood termites are similarly destructive. However, instead of building their nests underground and traveling to your house, they set up shop right in the dry wood in your walls, roof, and foundation.

If you were smart as a hooty owl, you already ordered a pest inspection. This ensures there isn’t already an active infestation. But, you’ve got to keep those pesky critters at bay going forward.

Termite Baiting System

Now is the perfect time to install a termite baiting system. Unlike the liquid termiticide that is applied generously and indiscriminately as a barrier around your home, baiting systems are more refined.

Pest professionals like us who are smart as a whip know where to place the bait stations for maximum efficiency. When roaming termites find the bait, they take it back and share it with their friends, effectively enjoying their Last Supper together.

Baiting systems are less harmful than injecting bucketloads of pesticide into your dirt, but they work slowly so implementing this pest control before moving in or soon after is ideal. Protect your home from these pesky critters before they ever become a serious problem.

What Buckaroo Can Do for You

When it comes to protecting your home from pests, we ain’t all hat and no cattle, you can be sure about that. Our resident pest expert has plenty of arrows in his quiver with 30 years of experience behind him. If you find that the DIY pest control measures you’ve taken in your new house have come up short, call in the cavalry. 

Even if you don’t know where the pests are, or if you even have an infestation, we can help you figure it out and corral those critters in no time — or better yet, keep them from ever showing up. After all, those critters are about as welcome as an outhouse breeze, if you know what we mean.

Give us a holler today for a free whole-house inspection.

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We are Available Monday – Friday; 8am – 5pm

Want to know more? 

 You can lasso up some information about different types of pests we protect against, the services we provide, or just schedule a service today. 

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How to Tell If You Have Rats or Mice

If you’ve ever heard a little scratch, scratch, scratch in your walls while home alone, you may have wondered (and worried) what’s on the other side. What sounds like a scene straight from a horror movie, can be a nightmare of a different kind for homeowners. Since rodents are nocturnal, you might miss hearing their scratching and scampering all together while you’re fast asleep.

To put your fears to rest, let’s look at common signs of rodent infestation so you can determine if you have rats or mice in your home and can act accordingly. We don’t want mice or rats in walls keeping our clients up all night wondering what’s making that noise.

Why are rodents an Issue?

When temperatures start to drop and food sources become scarce, mice and rats are most likely to seek shelter in your home or business. To be prepared, it’s important to know the signs of a rodent problem and the risks involved.

Rats and mice can wreak havoc on your home or business, causing hundreds of dollars in property damage if left untreated. Not only that, rodents are notorious disease vectors that can taint food and spread illness. It’s important to accurately identify the signs of a rodent infestation and quickly treat the problem with proper pest control measures before you get in over your head. Here are a couple reasons a rodent problem is nothing to ignore:

Mice and rats stink!

Rats and mice have a particular odor to them. Trust us, once you identify it, you’ll never be able to forget. Rodent odors are musty, like a damp and dirty rag that fell behind the washing machine and went undetected for way too long. 

A rat or mouse urine trail marks the routes that these invaders use to navigate your home or business. Since they don’t have particularly good vision, these trails help guide them from their nests to food sources. Rodent pests can also build up oils in their fur to rub along the walls to mark their way. These oils are another method they use to communicate to other rats and mice. If you notice the unmistakable odor of rodents, beware that an infestation could be looming if it isn’t present already. 

Rodents chew up everything

Since rodents have teeth that continually grow throughout their lives, the only way to keep them at a manageable length is to always be chewing. This means that rats and mice end up gnawing on everything from electrical wires, boxes and mattresses to clothing and wood. They especially prefer chewing on soft materials that they can use to create nests.

How mice and rats get into your home

small grey mouse in wall
Mice can fit into the smallest places. This is because their soft tissue allowing them to compress their bodies to wiggle into the smallest spaces.

Mice can fit into the smallest places. This is because their soft tissue allows them to compress their bodies to wiggle into openings the size of a dime. While larger, rats can also flatten themselves to fit under doors or through openings the size of a quarter. 

Mice and rats are unfortunately some of the most adaptable Texas pests we handle at Buckaroo Pest Protection. Even the most secure homes or commercial buildings can have a rat problem or mouse infestation when a small opportunity presents itself. 

Where one mouse or rat finds a way in, others will surely follow. This is due to the pheromone trail (aka urine trail) they leave when they find safety and food. It may seem like common sense, but since rodents start from the outside and infiltrate inward, the signs will start showing up first along exterior walls, before moving deeper into the inner walls of your home.

Oftentimes, rats and mice will get into a neglected attic first before making their way into the living space of the house. This is especially common if you have cats or dogs in your home that might deter them from entering your predatory living space.

Early signs of a rodent infestation 

If mice or rats have made into your attic or other part of your home, you may see: 

  • Disturbed or chewed up insulation 
  • Tunnels created for them to travel unnoticed
  • Scratch marks along baseboards
  • Tiny holes near your plumbing
  • Small droppings on countertops, around food or near nesting areas

If you start to notice any of these signs, it’s likely that rats or mice have made it into your home. You’ll be able to tell any potential droppings belong to rodents because of their distinctive appearance. Mouse droppings look like small, granular pellets and are about the size of a grain of rice. If you have rats, the pellets will look similar but be slightly larger in size.

Hot to deter mice or rats in your home

It may be alarming if you realize that you have  rodent problems. Forget wasting time with pesky glue traps or snap traps—the first thing to do is to remove any and all available food sources. Safely secure any food that may be left out on the counter into airtight containers. The same thing goes for bags of pet food, or even uncovered pet dishes if your pet is free-feeding. Sadly, rats and mice love feasting on dog and cat food. By eliminating food sources, you’re drastically reducing the desire for rodents to take up residence in your home long term.

How to safely get rid of a rodent infestation

Be sure to read our article about Preventing Winter Pests, because your best bet at getting rid of a rodent infestation is preventing any from coming in in the first place. Remember, your pest pals at Buckaroo Pest Protection are always ready and rarin’ to give you a helping hand in corralling your critters. We protect your loved ones from pests and pesticide exposure by using botanicals and barricades that are safe for family and pets! Call Buckaroo Pest Protection for more information or to schedule a free pest inspection today.

7 Signs of Rats in Your House (or business)

Rodent infestations are common in North Texas. Big, aggressive Norway rats and lonely roof rats like to live near humans. These critters scurry inside to escape the cold or steal your food when outdoor sources grow scarce. Unfortunately, these destructive and disease carrying vermin are not respectful.

If you’re concerned that you might have an infestation, read on to learn about the signs of rats in and around your home or business so you’ll know what to watch for and when to call a pest professional.

 

1. Scratching or Scurrying Sounds

Rats tend to be most active at night, which gives you a wonderful opportunity to listen for the sounds of their activity. After everyone has hit the hay for the night, take a few moments to listen to your house. The kitchen is a good place to start since the critters will be looking for a snack.

When all is quiet do you hear tiny scratching or scurrying sounds? You might even hear a faint squeaking as the critters gossip about their days.

2. Droppings

Are you wondering how those little dried-up raisins got in your garage? Or maybe you’re noticing them in the bottom of your pantry or in drawers in your kitchen.

Who is being so darn clumsy with their raisins?

We hate to break it to you, but they probably aren’t raisins and you’re probably dealing with a serious rat infestation.

Fresh rat droppings look dark and moist, just like a juicy raisin. However, they will shrivel as they age and turn gray. Keep a sharp eye out for rat droppings. Accidental ingestion can make you seriously ill and some rats carry diseases that are deadly to humans.

3. Chew Holes or Gnaw Marks

Rats are large enough that they often must make their own entrances to get into your home or business. Keep an eye out for holes in the walls and ceilings. Since rats are notorious climbers, you might want to inspect your soffits. This area under the eaves is a perfect place for rats to enter your building.

Rats teeth never stop growing. To keep them from getting too long, rats must constantly chew on anything including plastic, fabric, paintings, cardboard, even electrical wires.

If you find holes, examine them closely for gnaw marks. This sign is good not only for alerting you to your rat problem but also for telling a rat control professional what kind of rodent is infesting your home. This will help them know what methods are best to send your unwelcome guests packing.

4. Rat Nests

Have you found bits of shredded paper, plant matter, fabric, and other materials stuffed into nooks and crannies around your home? Before you start yelling at your kids for making a mess, take a closer look. You may have found a rat nest.

Inspect the area for droppings, signs of gnawing, or little rodent tracks. You might get lucky and find an old nest from a previous infestation. But if you see fresh droppings or other signs of recent activity you can bet the farm you’ve got an active rat infestation.

5. Stale Smell

Hordes of little creatures living within your walls or ceiling leave little presents everywhere (a single rat can produce 40 droppings in a single night!). Plus, rat urine has a such a sharp smell that you don’t need a puddle to know that rat pee is nearby.

Furthermore, rats are always digging through the garbage and it’s not like they enjoy a daily bath. They’re stinky little critters!

All this filth produces an unpleasant smell. At the beginning of an infestation, it might be too faint to notice. But once you have more rats than you can shake a stick at milling around in your building, the smell will become very noticeable!

6. Rodent Paths

Like most of us, rats are creatures of habit. Once they find a good path to a watering hole or food source, they’ll follow it over and over as they trek back and forth. The fact that they have poor eyesight also contributes to this.

This repetition will eventually lead to little rodent paths. Watch for dark, greasy smudges on walls, floorboards, between stair banisters, and anywhere else that rats might pass through.

If you suspect that you’ve found a rat trail, try leaving a tiny bit of flour or baby powder at the site. The next time the rats come through, they’ll leave track marks confirming their miserable existence.

7. Neighbors with Rodent Problems

Is your neighbor already dealing with a rodent problem? This doesn’t automatically mean that you have a rodent problem as well, but it does mean you should keep a sharp eye out. As the rat population grows (or gets spooked out of your neighbors’ house) pioneer rats might come to your house looking for a suitable place to settle down.

Rat Control for Texas Homes and Businesses

Have you seen the signs of rats in your home or business? Don’t let them spread deadly diseases or cause damage. It’s dangerous to ignore the warning signs of a rat infestation.

If you notice any of these signs of rodents, don’t hesitate to call the pest professionals here at Buckaroo Pest Protection. Trust us when we say, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ll send out experts in rodent and rat removal to diagnose and handle your infestation.

Not quite sure about an infestation? Don’t worry, you can get a free whole-home inspection and $100 off rodent removal services. Contact us today to learn more!

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We are Available Monday – Friday; 8am – 5pm

Want to know more? 

 You can lasso up some information about different types of pests we protect against, the services we provide, or just schedule a service today. 

Call Us Anytime: (469)-742-2345

Types of Wasps in Texas (and what you should know about them)

Wasps, commonly referred to as Hymenoptera in the scientific community, are the friends of nature no ones like to have around.  Aggressive wasps in Texas seemingly attack without much reason but do you know where this behavior comes from? Wasps tend to get a bad rap because they’re angry, aggressive and bear painful stings, but wasps can be surprisingly helpful when it comes to pest control.

Though commonly found hovering over trash cans or around the canopies of your homes, wasps also target spiders, grasshoppers, caterpillars and more when searching for food. Some wasp species utilize their powerful stings to paralyze their prey before feeding on them, whereas other species prefer to feed on the dead flesh of other insects.  Like grasshoppers and daddy long legs, wasps may be annoying, but they serve a definite purpose.

The Life Cycle of a Wasp

Did you know that worker wasps die off every fall and that only a few queens are left to rebuild their nests the following spring?

Wasps typically spend their short life cycle nesting and feeding on pests that tend to find their way inside minus the invitation. In addition to other insects, these outdoor omnivores like to nest close to homes and feed on fruit, other sugary food items and surprisingly, tuna.

Here in the good ol’ barbeque rich state of Texas, reside a handful of wasp species that all serve their own purpose and march to the beat of their own drums. Let’s look at the types of wasps in Texas and what you need to know about each.

Mud Daubers

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Mud daubers are one of the only non-aggressive species of wasps that not only avoid humans but also won’t actively defend their nests. This species of wasp tends to be docile around most humans and will only sting if they feel threatened.

Many wasps and even bees look similar, but mud daubers are easily distinguishable by their slender body proportions. These wasps are usually black in color but may have pale markings along their bodies.

Unlike a normal wasp nest, mud daubers build their nests with mud via one-inch-long tube-like structures. These nests are typically built close together and can be easily found in sheltered locations such as garages, sheds, and/or attics. If a mud nest has a rounded hole in it, this may signify that this nest is old and inactive.

Paper Wasps

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This species of wasp is very social and tends to build nests out of paper like material. These wasps are slender, black in color with yellow markings and have trademark black wings.

It’s common to see this species milling around your home and they can be easily identified by the type of nest they build. Paper wasps build their nests with wood fibers that they chew down to a paper like material and shape into hexagonal craters throughout their nests. Unlike their docile cousins, the mud daubers, paper wasps are more aggressive but only attack when their nests are disturbed, or if they feel threatened.

Like many wasps, paper wasps provide a natural form of pest control by eating the other insects in the neighborhood. They are commonly attracted to things that resemble flowers such as perfumes or bright colors. With this species of wasp, the easiest way to prevent them from nesting around your home is to identify nests before they grow large. If you see a nest or many wasps flitting around your home, give us a call so we can inspect your home for hidden nests.

Mexican Honey Wasp

Another common species of Texas wasp that you may run across is the Mexican Honey Wasp. Surprisingly, this is one of the few species of wasps that can produce honey and pollinate some fruits such as avocado. Mexican honey wasps are non-aggressive and tend to leave humans be unless their nests are disturbed. Like paper wasps, these insects tend to build papery nests but instead of sticking close to your home, they tend to nest in shrubbery and trees. These nests typically resemble a paper balloon and are large enough to easily hold thousands of wasps.

Fun fact, though these wasps produce honey that’s like a honeybee’s, wasp honey may contain nectar from toxic plants that can prove fatal if ingested. So no, Texas, you probably won’t see this delicacy at your local grocery store. In short, these are not the friends you want around your home. If you start seeing an influx of striped yellow and black wasps, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.

Asian Giant Hornets

The Asian Giant Hornet, aka the ‘Murder Hornet’ has been broadcast across news stations around the nation, sealing fear into our heart and indirectly encouraging social distancing efforts. These wasps are the largest species of wasp on record and are not commonly found in the U.S.

These approximately three-inch long horrors are very anti-human, tend to attack without much provocation and are a menace to bee colonies worldwide. These wasps nest in the ground and have an aggressive nature like that of rabid wolves.

The Asian giant hornet has a large stinger that delivers potent venom to its victims. This toxin can potentially dissolve flesh and may prove fatal if it delivers multiple stings. It doesn’t stop there. Twenty to thirty of these wasps are capable of killing off over five thousand bees. Luckily, these terrors have yet to grace the south with their presence but since they’ve been in the news, we wanted to give you some peace of mind that these guys are ones you probably won’t have to worry about here in Texas.

I think I found a wasp nest, what now?

As your family friendly local pest control company in the Plano area, the safety of your homes and families are our top priority. If you’re worried you have a wasp infestation, call us today. Though wasps can be a natural form of pest control, due to their aggressive behavior it’s important to take proper preventative measures. As the first key to proper and effective pest control is pest prevention, we understand how important it is to ensure that nests are removed safely and permanently.

Wasp Removal in Plano, McKinney and North Dallas

If you’ve spotted a large wasp in or around your home, don’t get stung, give us a call. This warrior species is wiping out bee colonies at such an alarming rate that local agricultural departments are taking extensive measures to eradicate these nests the moment they’re found. Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we want to ensure the safety of your family around such an aggressive species. Click here to sign up for a free whole home inspection or give us a call at (469) 598-0560 for more information. Check out our latest promos!

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We are Available Monday – Friday; 8am – 5pm
Want to know more? 

You can lasso up some information about different types of pests we protect against, the services we provide, or just schedule a service today. 

Call Us Anytime: (469)-742-2345

How to Keep Wasps Away

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

The wasps are closing in on your backyard barbecue! Unfortunately, a wasp invasion will kill your party faster than a prairie fire with a tailwind. People don’t take their chances hanging around with a troupe of stinging insects.

Is this becoming a major problem for you? Then it’s time to learn how to keep wasps away with a few wasp control tricks for dealing with these highly undesirable insects.

1. Eliminate Food Sources

Many types of wasps, including the Great Black Wasp, eat protein-based foods. While the adult wasps are looking for flower nectar to drink, they are also keeping an eye out for other insects like katydids, crickets, and grasshoppers. They then paralyze the poor insect and bring it back for young wasp larvae to snack on — while it is still alive.

So, if you have a tantalizing slab of meat on your picnic table or an abundance of grill drippings, the wasps will be coming around to say hello.

Keep your food covered during outdoor gatherings and maintain a clean grill. Also make sure that your garbage cans are covered tightly and nothing else that could become a wasp buffet is left lying around.

2. DIY Wasp Spray

What if it seems impossible to keep the critters from stopping by during an outdoor gathering? Or perhaps you find a small wasp nest and are wondering what to do with it?

DIY wasp spray is an easy and effective solution. Simply mix together a couple of tablespoons of dish soap with water in a spray bottle. Spritz the critters when you spot them or douse a small wasp nest with the solution.

Did you know that wasps such as the red wasp actually breathe through their bodies? The soap clogs their breathing pores, making it impossible for them to breathe, causing them to die in a few seconds.

3. DIY Wasp Traps

A less hands-on option is to create a DIY wasp trap (or several) and leave them hanging near where the wasps like to gather, such as the wasp nest.

This is easy to do with an empty 2-liter bottle. First, add a couple of inches of sugar water to about a cup of apple cider vinegar and toss in a delectable banana peel for extra attraction. Next, cut a small hole in the top of the bottle. The idea is that the wasps will be attracted to the tempting concoction, then get stuck inside and drown.

If you have a lot of wasps, the traps can fill quickly so keep an eye out and change them regularly.

This method is effective for reducing the number of wasps that are trying to party with you. However, it only kills the wasps that get stuck in the trap. It won’t kill the queen wasp, which is important for eliminating a wasp infestation altogether.

4. DIY Wasp Repellent

There are a couple of natural ways to deter wasps from hanging out in your yard. First, choose plants like eucalyptus, lemongrass, and citronella to plant in your yard. Wasps don’t like these plant varieties so they will provide a natural level of prevention. Be sure to place them close to where you plan to spend time outside, such as the pool or patio area. 

Second, mix up a DIY wasp repellent spray with essential oils. Start with a cup of warm water and add a couple of drops of liquid soap. Then add two drops of each of the following essential oils:

  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass

Swirl the bottle to mix it well then spray this solution generously around your sitting area. Wasps hate every ingredient in this concoction and will be less likely to rain on your parade.

How to Get Rid of Wasps the Safe Way

Does your stomach get queasy at the thought of handling wasp nest removal yourself? We don’t blame you. Nobody likes the idea of disrupting an angry horde of aggressive, stinging insects that fly to boot.

A safer way to handle your wasp infestation is to call for professional wasp removal. Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we’re committed to protecting your home (and you!) from the dangers of all sorts of pests. Let us help you remove your active wasp nest as well as safeguard your home against future wasp problems. We’ve found that the best form of wasp control is trying to keep them from showing up in the first place.

Schedule a service with Buckaroo today!

 

Related Articles

We are Available Monday – Friday; 8am – 5pm

Want to know more? 

 You can lasso up some information about different types of pests we protect against, the services we provide, or just schedule a service today. 

Call Us Anytime: (469)-742-2345