Archive for the ‘Fleas’ Category

Rats!

Remodeling in the East Bay

From dirt to doorknobs

It’s a rare attic or crawlspace where we see no evidence of these nasty critters. It seems like they climb, swim, dig, or chew their way into our houses no matter what we do. One homeowner complained of rats that ate the fruit out of their dining table centerpiece!

Rat raceway between insulation and subfloorRat raceway between insulation and subfloor

It’s bad enough that they get into our attics and crawlspaces, worse yet is what they leave behind. Proteins in their urine are potent allergens and become airborne when dry. Their urine and feces can contain hantavirus, a group of deadly virus that can be aerosolized and transmitted through air movement (more on hantavirus).

In the average house ducts leak at least 30%, and the building “shell” leaks at least 100% more than what’s required for adequate ventilation (data). If the leaky ducts run through the attic or crawlspace, they can directly vacuum up rat leavings and deliver it into each room of the house. If they don’t vacuum it up directly, they can depressurize the house, causing the house itself to suck it in through all the little holes and cracks between the attic or crawlspace and the house.

Rat urine on a water pipeRat urine on a water pipe

 In a typical building performance project that involves rodent infestation, we remove all contaminated materials and neutralize soiled surfaces. Then we reduce duct leakage and eliminate air infiltration between the attic or crawlspace and the living space. Even if the rats eventually get back in, the bad stuff stays in the attic or crawlspace, not in the bedrooms.

This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.
 
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Northern Manhattan Subway Riders Say Rats Abound

Fulton Street in Manhattan, June 2010.Marcus Yam/The New York Times The rats are downtown, too: Fulton Street in Manhattan in June.

Rodents, the traditional scourge of New York City, are having a rough year. The rise of the bedbug seems to have rendered rats a has-been pest, a mere nuisance to be ignored rather than read about in countless alarmist trend articles. The bedbug is a breakout media star; the rat is, well, still a rat.

But there is one realm where the rodent still rules, where rats play the stars of an underground theater with a captive audience in the millions. Where else but the subway?

Earlier this year, the city’s Board of Health, in what was called the first study of its kind, discovered that half the subway lines in Lower Manhattan exhibited signs of mild or severe infestation. At the time, many New Yorkers expressed a surprising fondness for the creatures.  Now, a new, slightly less scientific survey has found a similar rat takeover of 20 stations in Upper Manhattan, based on the observations of thousands of riders who say there is a “severe” rodent problem in the underground.

The Have You Seen a Rat Today? campaign, sponsored by State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat of Harlem, collected responses from about 5,000 New Yorkers who filled out surveys distributed by the senator’s office.

Because this type of survey is self-selecting, and because there was no way to verify the responses, the results of Mr. Perkins’s study (also see below) ought to be taken with a grain of rat poison. But the findings do seem to match up anecdotally with many New Yorkers’ experiences.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they saw rats on a daily or weekly basis in the subway, with a majority of sightings on the tracks. (Far fewer rats appeared to make their way onto benches or into the trains themselves.) Only 1 percent of the respondents said they “never see rats.”

All 20 stations in Mr. Perkins’s district, the 30th, were cited. The worst offenders: the big 125th Street express stop at Saint Nicholas Avenue; the 145th Street station on the A, B, C and D lines; and the 163rd Street station in Washington Heights. Strangely, the new 96th Street station at Broadway was also cited, although perhaps all the recent construction sent rodents scurrying of late.

The point of the survey, Mr. Perkins said, was to prompt officials to examine new methods of attacking the rodent problem. He also proposed a ban on eating in the subway, similar to no-food policies used on transit systems in Chicago and Washington.

“What we know for sure is the rats are not growing the food they are eating, nor are they shopping at Whole Foods or McDonald’s,” Mr. Perkins said in an interview. He noted that discarded food and litter are the primary culprits that attract rats to the mass transit system: “If you feed ’em, you breed ’em.”

Mr. Perkins mailed his survey results to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Oct. 21, and he urged the agency to step up its eradication efforts. The agency has laid off station cleaners this year and acknowledged over the summer that it may not have the budget to pursue a more advanced attack against rodents.

“I know this is a challenging time for transit and for the M.T.A.,” Mr. Perkins wrote in his letter. “But rodents in the subway jeopardize the health of all those who travel and work underground.”

In the interview, Mr. Perkins emphasized the far-reaching effects of his cause.

“This system is so important to people,” he said. “It is an experience that determines significantly one’s daily life, not simply from a bread-and-butter go-to-work point of view, but from an emotional and psychic point of view.

“You’re on a subway and a rat is sitting next to you — that moment does not end for a while.”


Yes, You Have Rat’s, Heres How We Know!

We have been asked about a million times by prospective customers, “How did you know we have rats?”

We usually smile and just point to the most obvious clue that could ever be observed…that is if you knew what to look for.

Here it is…..

Rodent Rubmarks are a wonderful creation by greasy haired rodents everywhere! If looked at correctly, you can see the natural path that the rodent travels.

Entry into this residence  is mostly from the “wires” coming to the house as seen in the first arrow to the left, the rodents follow  the “wires” around the corner and into the hole that was created (and not sealed, very common) for the conduit.

Here is a close up of that hole! Yikes!

What causes the marks from the rodents? Rodents are a very dirty creature and Rubmarks  appear from contact with the rodent’s body. Rubmarks on walls appear as black smudges left by the rodent. New rubmarks are soft and will smudge. Old rubmarks are brittle and will flake when scratched. Rafters may show swing marks of roof rats.

This house had just about the most active rodent infestation that we have seen in a long time. But nothing is impossible…through a rigid program of trapping, baiting and exclusion the problem was easily solved.

Having rats in your attic is very bad for so many reasons, one of the most important reason is that  rodents gnaw every day in order to keep their teeth short and sharp. Rats also gnaw to gain entrance or to obtain food. Teeth marks on food, building materials, wire, and edges of beams are indications of gnawing. They will gnaw holes in wooden walls, pressed wood, and posts.  Many house fires have been attributed to the rodents chewing on wires.

Rodents will also destroy A/C ducts for the insulation (nesting) and also chew A/C water drain lines (water) which can also do serious water damge to your ceiling.

Of course lets not forget fleas, diseases and possible “biting”.

On a better note…

My son and I have had pet rats for many years and deeply enjoyed them. They are loving, curious and spontaneously funny. We have not had one since we obtained our best friend Mighty “Mullet” the Wonder Dog. He is a Jack Russell and is naturally rodent driven with four confirmed kills of wild rats, although he was done well (very nice) around our friend’s pet rat…I believe that  if the rat ever got out and we were not around, I think he would do what comes natural.

The squirrels endlessly tease Mullet everyday around our tree’s. The very moment he comes out of the house the squirrels come down from the tree tops and make him chase them. He will chase them for literally hours on end.

Got Rats? Call Us  Now 727-388-6759

 

 

Speaking of Pets, Itch season begins

Our pets suffered a double whammy in the last few months.

The extra cold spell this winter has led to even more blooms on the already prolific Florida foliage.

More blooms means more pollen, and more pollen means more scratching for our pets suffering from atopy, or an allergy to substances in the environment.

Mighty “Mullet” the Wonder Dog! Some pest control companies have dogs that find termites or bedbugs, but not Beucher & Son Termite and Pest Control, we have a dog that finds FLEAS….or maybe visa-versa.

 Unfortunately, the cold seemed only to slightly delay Florida’s massive flea population, which is now in full force as well.

Dogs suffering atopy often bite and chew at their feet, which is the part of their body in contact with the pollen laden ground when they go outside. Many dogs suffering from flea bites bite and scratch around their back end and tail. The classic hot spots, which are areas of moist skin infection, are often flea-related.

Cats suffering from fleas often have miliary dermatitis, which are multiple pin-prick scabs around the neck and the base of the tail. Not all of our pets will follow this stereotypical pattern, as each allergic pet has the potential to be a little different, but looking for these patterns give us a good starting point.

Diagnosing the flea allergic pet can be especially frustrating, because the most allergic, and consequently most itchy, pets may never have an actual flea found on them. These dogs and cats have a huge reaction from a single flea bite, and are very aware of how severe their reaction will be. If these pets feel anything like a flea on them, they will become frantic trying to get it off, and can often be fairly successful. These pets many be itching

          Mullet and Brandon Beucher

constantly and even damaging themselves, but you will never find a live flea on them. This is similar to people with allergies; if someone was severely allergic to ant bites, even thinking they feel an ant crawling on them would make them desperate to get the insect off.

Treating fleas requires a multi-pronged approach. There are now many different topical and oral flea medications for pets that kill fleas including Advantage, Frontline, Capstar, Comfortis, Vectra, Promeris, Revolution and others. These medications all work in different ways, and may vary in effectiveness depending on your individual pet and his or her environment, Additionally, there are medications that prevent flea reproduction, such as Program or Sentinel, or the sprays with active ingredients such as Nylar and Methopreme. Using both a medication that kills fleas as well as something that halts reproduction is known as Integrated Pest Management, or IPM.

There has been much discussion recently about whether fleas are becoming resistant to individual medications; whether this is happening or not, we should assume that all flea medicines will have a failure rate, even if it is very low. A medication that kills 99.9 percent of fleas sounds great until a squirrel, opossum or stray cat drops 2,000 flea eggs in your yard; then killing only 99.9 percent allows for surviving fleas, and the life cycle of these pests to continue. IPM sterilizes any surviving fleas, stopping the problem before the infestation reaches your house or yard.

While IPM may stop an infestation, for the super-flea-allergic pet, even a single flea bite may be too much. Some medicines don’t mix, so get professional advice before attempting this.

Living in the sub-tropical weather of Florida has its advantages, but we also have to deal with a large number of parasites and pests, including fleas. If your pet has not had to deal with these little monsters yet, count yourself lucky and be vigilant. For most Florida pet owners, it is not a matter of if, but rather when.

Michael J. Rumore, DVM, is the owner of Lake Seminole Animal Hospital.

“I’m A Happy Dog”

I’m a happy dog at the beach
If I had the power of speech
I would tell you all
To throw my ball
I’m a happy dog at the beach

I’m a happy dog at the beach
There are no new tricks you can teach
I’m bouncy and glad
And my tail wags like mad
I’m a happy dog at the beach

I’m a happy dog at the beach
My joy is always in reach
Whatever the talk
It’s the best place to walk
I’m a happy dog at the beach

I’m a happy dog at the beach
As I hear the seagulls screech
I chase and I bark
Long into the dark
I’m a happy dog at the beach

I’m a happy dog at the beach
And I don’t want to start to preach
But if you ask me
The best thing to see
Is a happy dog at the beach

Flying Lemming

Beucher & Son Termite and Pest Control is well experienced in Flea Control.

Check out our Prep List for Fleas, this is a great information on how to properly prepare your home for a successful flea treatment.

 

Flea life cycle. 1: Fed adult. 2: Eggs. 3: Larva. 4: Pupa (covered with dirt). 5: Unfed adult (remains in suspended animation until it detects a host).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Flea – Red Hot Chilli Peppers –Michael Peter Balzary (born October 16, 1962), more commonly known by the stage name Flea, is an Australian-American bassist, trumpet player, and occasional actor. He is best known as the bassist and co-founding member of the alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers.

 

 

 

 

 

Beucher & Son Termite and Pest Control – 727-388-6759