how to kill bed bugs

QUESTION: How do I know if I have bed bugs?

ANSWER: Are tiny bugs crawling on your bed and keeping you up at night? Do these bugs that have six legs, a small apple shape and bodies smaller than 6mm? Do you smell crushed coriander or do you see rusty brown blood spots on your skin or bedding? Do you see discarded skins of previous molted bugs in and around your bed and baseboards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have bed bugs! Bed bugs are true bugs that have a 3-segmented part beak and two tubes that inject saliva and an anticoagulant to draw up your blood directly into its waiting gut. They have a scent gland and 4-segmented antennae. Click here to see what a bed bug looks like.

One adult female bed bug can lay 2-5 eggs per day. In 10 – 14 days those eggs will hatch into baby bed bugs, called nymphs, which are only about 1.5mm in size and yellowish white in color. Those nymphs must find a blood meal, preferably a human one, within 24 hours or it will likely die. Bed bugs go through 5 nymphal developmental stages, called instars, and molt between each one until they reach the adult stage where they are sexually reproductive. An adult bed bug, depending on conditions, can survive in your home for approximately 3 months with a host present. If the host leaves, all stages will go into a semi-hibernation state and wait for a warm-blooded host to return so they can continue producing more bed bugs to feed on you.

Treat any bed bugs found with an appropriately labelled pesticide. Mattress and box spring encasements should be used. Depending on size of infestations found, multiple treatments may be needed. Treat night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboards, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, wall voids, attics and other enclosed places with properly labelled residual insecticide. Use insecticide dust in wall voids and under carpet seams. Vacuums are a great way to physically remove bed bugs from an area. Be sure to vacuum cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Also, when finished vacuuming, treat the vacuum hose and throw away the vacuum bag.

It’s important to bring a sample of any suspected bed bugs to our experts at Poulin’s Pest Control. Positive identification of these blood feeding nuisance pests is critical to rid your home of these pests. Please do not be ashamed or embarrassed as anyone can get bed bugs, they do not discriminate and are great hitch hikers on almost any item or person. Know what to look for and call us to set up a program to eradicate them from your home.

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Scientific Name: Columbidae

Common Names: Pigeon, Dove, Rock Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Rock Dove
Color: Varies
Weight: 9 – 16 ounces
Length: Between 12 – 15 inches
Wingspan: 20 – 26 inches

FACT: Pigeons have color vision, a hearing range very close to that of humans and have poor senses of taste and smell. Pigeons cannot think, but are capable of conditional learning.

There are 4 behavioural habits requiring consideration. These are feeding, nesting, roosting and loafing.

  • Feeding: Pigeons prefer to feed on seeds, grain, fruit etc. However, they will feed on garbage, animal matter, livestock manure and many other foods when their preferred foods are scarce.
  • Nesting: Nests are loosely constructed and usually consist of sticks, leaves and other debris. They are built on ledges of structures, cliffs or in caves. The considerable amount of cliff-like nesting sites, especially on older buildings, is one of the key factors that attract pigeons to cities. Often nesting and roosting occur in the same general area, but they can be distant.
  • Roosting: Roosting sites are where pigeons rest or sleep. They usually involve some kind of perch that is often high off the ground such as exposed roof girders, protected ledges, etc. Loafing is loosely defined as when pigeons are not feeding, nesting or roosting. This may occur almost anywhere pigeons are not constantly disturbed.
  • Loafing: Pigeons have very acidic droppings which can deface marble, limestone, painted surface, statues, car finishes, etc. Fresh droppings can cause objectionable odours and slippery situations on sidewalks, roads, fire escapes and other flat surfaces. Droppings, feathers and nesting materials can contaminate unprocessed grain and packaged foods. Pigeons also have diseases, ectoparasites and other pests associated with them.

Many options are available for bird control. There are 5 methods that do not utilize toxicants.

  • Exclusion which involves structural modification (eg. Change ledge angle to 45 degrees), the installation of plastic netting, and/or the use of repellents such as plastic and metal spines, monofilament and steel lines, and gels and pastes.
  • Sanitation which involves the reduction or elimination of feeding sites and temporary water sources.
  • Sound Devices such as noise-making devices (usually not suitable for urban areas).
  • Trapping which can be effective if the birds are destroyed and not released; otherwise, they will return home or create problems elsewhere.
  • Shooting can also be effective for removing birds within some kinds of buildings.

If you find yourself with a pigeon problem, we can help! Poulin’s has 8 locations throughout Western Canada. We’ll respond quickly to your call and work with you to develop a pigeon control strategy that keeps your family’s health and comfort in mind.

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QUESTION: Where do bugs go in winter?

ANSWER: Insects can adapt to survive many different climates and changes in weather conditions. Insects will go through behavioral and/or physiological changes to adapt to cold temperatures and increase their chances of survival during the winter. Many insects maintain a low level of activity during winter months while other enter a hibernation state.

Insects also survive through winter with partial dehydration and reduced feeding, which reduces the chances of excess water in their bodies freezing. Some insects can survive in certain stages of growth that are more protective from the elements, such as eggs in an egg sac or pupae in a hard cocoon, both of which do not require food or water.

Overwintering insects will seek out dry, protected areas such as bricks, wood piles, and mulch as they can provide shelter in cold weather. The lights and warm air coming from your home can also attract many insects to overwinter inside your house.

Some common overwintering pests to watch for in your home are:

  • Cluster Flies: These flies do not present any health hazards. They are slow moving flies that hatch in late summer and early fall. They can be present in very large numbers and are difficult to eradicate once inside a home. These flies are usually located in attics, window frames, and wall or roof cavities.
  • Asian Lady Beetles: These beetles produce an unpleasant odor when frightened or crushed and can stain surfaces. They have also been known to bite humans. Asian Lady Beetles enter homes in winter months by the thousands through any crack, crevice, or opening and gather in warm places once inside.
  • Boxedler Bugs: These bugs become a nuisance when they enter homes in the fall. They will crawl into houses from the ground level but can also fly to higher elevations. They enter through chimneys, electrical wiring cut-outs, doorways, and windows. They will congregate in warm places in a home.
  • Stink Bugs: Stink bugs are highly attracted to light. External and interior lights should be reducing during times of heavy stink bug movement. They search for shelter in late summer and become a nuisance inside homes.

At Poulin’s Pest Control, we’re experts in elimination of pest problems. If you want to take care of the problem yourself, we carry a number of products to assist with many pest problems, and if you need our help, our technicians are standing by. Remember – there’s no foolin’ with Poulin.

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FleaScientific Name: Siphonaptera
Common Names: Flea
Color: Reddish Brown
Weight: Average approx. .19mg – .34mg
Length: Adults range from 1.5mm – 3mm long

FUN FACT: Flea circuses were extremely popular in the nineteenth century. These circuses featured fleas dressed as humans or pulling miniature carts, chariots, or cannons. Fleas were selected to be in circuses based on their jumping abilities. In the insect world, no other jumping capable insect even comes close to jumping as high as the flea.

Fleas are agile, wingless insects with excellent jumping abilities – up to 50 times their body length. They are flattened sideways to enable them to move through their host’s fur or feathers, and have strong claws to prevent themselves from being dislodged.

  • Feeding: Adult fleas feed on the blood of mammals and birds, including you and me. Commonly affecting cats, dogs, rats, bats, mice, and others. Developing larvae feed on the adult flea feces, which contain bits of dried blood. The fecal matter will look like black pepper flakes bunched up in the fur or feathers of the animal affected. Fleas seek a blood meal within two days of becoming an adult.
  • Hibernation: Fleas can survive several months in a vacant homes when their vertebrate hosts are not present. Fleas can be active at any time during the year.
  • Food Sources: Fleas are found on warm-blooded vertebrates: people, cats, dogs, rabbits, rats, bats, mice, and birds to name a few examples.
  • Reproduction: Fleas have four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. After each blood meal, females lay four to eight eggs at a time (but 400 to 800 total within her lifetime) on the host animal and/or its bedding. Eggs hatch in about 10 days. The larvae feed on debris found in your pets blanket or sleeping area. It spins a cocoon for the pupae stage and emerges as an adult in as little as a week or even up to a year depending on temperature.

If your pet has fleas, you will need to go on a flea suppression program arranged by a Veterinarian. Remember that only treating the adult fleas on your pet will not successfully eliminate your flea problem.

In order to assist in the removal of fleas in your home, the house should be thoroughly vacuumed to remove larvae, pupae, and food materials. The vacuum bag should be sealed and discarded immediately after vacuuming.

There are products on the market registered for the control of fleas. There are many registered domestic and commercial product like aerosol sprays. When the label direction are followed properly they will effectively kill the insects. A residual spray product needs to be used in the cracks and crevices as well as a registered residual aerosol for the fabric furnishings and any areas that may have flea presence.

Apply the residual spray to all baseboards (apply to the top to allow it to seep behind the baseboards), cracks, and crevices. The fleas will die as they encounter the spray. Depending on the type of product used it will stay effective for varying time periods. Everyone (including animals, fish tanks should be covered) must stay out of the premises for at least four hours (windows can be left open or fans can be on to air out the rooms after the four hour time period) – this allows the spray enough time to dry.

All clothing, bedding, linens and curtains should be washed during the insecticide treatment. This will clean out the adults as well as the eggs from the fabrics or blankets. It is recommended to wash everything – the more thorough the job, the better chances of solving the problem. Putting infested pet blankets and bedding directly in the drier on high heat for a minimum of 30 minutes will kill all stages.

Call Poulin’s first for a program to rid your home of fleas. If you wish to treat your home yourself, then the professionals at Poulin’s would be available to you for the proper products and guidance to rid your home of fleas.

Our customers are always treated like an extension of our family and we are here to help in whatever capacity to rid your home of fleas or any other pest.

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