Happy Valentine’s Day from Brezden Pest Control. As we approach this holiday our thoughts are focused on love, romance and intimacy. Unsuspecting lovebirds may not realize that some potential guests with romantic names are anything but loveable! The following are a couple of bugs whose names reflect their actions and one Valentine’s day pest who has a bad reputation.
What is a Love Bug?: Love bugs might have a cute name, but their semi-annual descent on the southern states (particularly Florida) are anything but loveable! They are not known to bite or sting humans, but are viewed as a nuisance due to their vast numbers and acidic composition. They are particularly bothersome near highways where they tend to congregate resulting in their untimely demise at the hands of oncoming traffic. If the remains are not removed from the vehicle in a timely fashion, they can cause extensive damage to the painted and chrome surfaces. They have also been found to be attracted to lightly colored and freshly painted surfaces.
Dealing with Love Bugs: Love bug season tends to be late spring and again in early summer, farther south may even experience a third flight in December. What can you do to deal with these annoying pests? Avoiding painting during this time frame, especially with lighter colors, can help to protect your paint finishes. Try giving your car a wax treatment prior to the active season to minimize damage to your vehicle’s finish. Keep these not-so -lovely pests out of your home by installing screens in all windows and doors and seal any visible gaps. There are also natural controls in place to help deal with the love bug population. Dry weather and certain fungi can help to keep them in check and their larvae can fall prey to spiders, insects and birds.
The Kissing Bug
What is a Kissing Bug?: A more serious insect with an equally romantic name is the “kissing bug” or triatomine. These primarily nocturnal pests get their name from their propensity to bite people around their mouths while they are asleep. The bite itself is not cause for concern, but over 50% of kissing bugs are estimated to spread the parasite trypanosoma cruzi which is responsible for causing chagas disease in humans and other mammals. Chagas disease is often misdiagnosed and can go undetected for weeks, or even months, due to an asymptomatic acute phase. In most cases any symptoms will disappear on their own, but the parasite can remain dormant in their system for years. Some high risk individuals (particularly the very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems) can progress to the chronic phase. This can lead to major cardiac and intestinal complications
Dealing with the Kissing Bug: Kissing bugs can be exterminated using non-toxic treatments with varying degrees of success. A more effective method of extermination would be to hire an expert to treat your home with professional grade pyrethroid spray, but this does involve evacuating the home for family and pet safety. Education can go a long way towards protection. Know how to identify kissing bugs; if spotted collection may be attempted using protective gloves and a glass or plastic container being sure to avoid direct contact. Specimens can be submitted to the proper authorities for assessment. Any surfaces the bugs have been in contact with should be thoroughly cleaned with a bleach solution. Prevention is also key. Seal any cracks and gaps in foundations, walls or entrances and ensure installation of proper screens. Kissing bugs are attracted to light, so try to install outdoor lights away from your residence and turn off those directly near entryways when not in use. Keep your pets indoors at night and check them regularly for signs of hitchhikers. It is also a good idea to clear away any brush and debris that is in close proximity to your home.
Valentine’s day stinkers: Valentine’s day is just around the corner and we humans aren’t the only ones feeling the love. Our most romantic holiday just so happens to coincide with mating season for skunks! Skunks are not malicious, they are peaceful creatures that tend to keep to themselves whenever possible. Sightings may be more frequent during mating season as amourous skunks are on the prowl for a potential mate. Most of our run ins with skunks can be attributed to the unsuspecting skunk being disturbed by humans or their pets. Spraying is not the skunks first line of defense. They will issue prior warnings and your best bet to escape unscathed is to slowly retreat.
Dealing with Skunks: If you or your pet find yourselves on the business end of a skunk, you will most likely hear everyone and their cousin suggesting you douse yourself with tomato juice. Professionals tend to prefer a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap when dealing with the lingering effects. Try to contain the stench by remaining outdoors until completion of treatment when possible. Attempts to remove the odor from your clothing may require professional intervention. Efforts can also be made to keep skunks away from your home and property. Remove any sources of food and erect mesh fencing around your yard that is high enough to prevent access and extends at least 6 inches under ground to discourage burrowing. Loud noises, bright lights, certain herbs and spices and commercial preparations have also been known to discourage skunks from setting up shop!
Valentine’s Day Events in San Luis Obispo:
Coastal Discovery and Stewardship: Celebrate Valentine’s with a day of coastal exploration. There are a variety of locations and events running throughout Coastal Discovery and Stewardship Travel Month. Come learn about Marine Protected Areas and the wonders of San Luis Obispo’s marine life.
The Big Laugh: Spend an evening filled with love and laughter. Four headliner comedians will keep you and your date in stitches as you enjoy food, fun and fine wine! Get your tickets now at www.biglaughlive.com.
Wine and truffles: What says “romance” more than wine and chocolate? Sextant Wines has put together a selection of truffle and wine pairings to give you and your sweetheart a taste of Valentine’s day.
Q:Can I use my bug repellent on my pets?
A: Never use your own bug sprays on animals. Our products are intended for use on humans and may contain chemicals that are too harsh, dangerous or even deadly to our furry friends.
Q: What should I do if I spot a mouse in my house?
About Brezden Pest Control – Brezden Pest Control was founded in Cayucos by John and Maria Brezden in 1980. As the business grew, it expanded to serve all of San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Los Osos, Cayucos, Cambria, Five Cities, Atascadero and Santa Maria. Professional pest control services which Brezden provides include dead animal removal, pest inspection, rodent control, and termite treatment. Visit the website and Facebook page or call 1-800-464-9446 for a free estimate or copy of the “Top 10 Reasons Customers Choose Brezden Pest Control.”