Pinpoint Pest Control Blog

Integrated Pest Management Serving North San Diego County for over 40 Years.

What Are the Most Dangerous Pests in the World?

Individuals and business owners know that pests are a common problem that they will need to address right away if they don't want to face unneeded complications. From using pest control products to sealing the cracks of your home, you can try many things in the quest to keep your property free of pests. Although they are a common problem, some pests are more harmful than others, and certain creatures will keep you awake at night. We are now going to explore some of the most dangerous pests in the world and what you can do about them. This knowledge will give you peace of mind and allow you to put your fears to rest.

Bullet Ant

Located in the rainforests of Paraguay, the bullet ant is one of the most feared insects on the planet, and those who travel to the area will want to take steps to protect themselves from the painful sting. Because of their large size, bullet ants are easy to identify. When a bullet ant attacks, you will feel the impact for 24 hours, and some people compare the feeling to a gunshot wound. Using insect repellents and wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves is a great way to avoid these pests. No matter how tempting, never overlook the threat that these creatures can present if you don't want to experience unbearable pain and discomfort.

Botfly

When it comes to insects that will make your skin crawl, nothing can compete with the botfly. This flying pest looks like a bumble bee and calls South America home. The larva of the botfly is parasitic and can live under human skin, and people who are infected can often feel the insects moving under their skin. Botflies can also cause bumps and localized pain, and the larva can live in a human host for up to 12 weeks. Those who want to avoid this threat will need to apply insect repellant on all of the exposed parts of their bodies.

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Pests to Avoid at the Beach

Like any other natural environment, beaches are home to a wide variety of species that call these areas home. Unfortunately, many of the same insects and animals that people consider to be pests in the ordinary world can be found on beaches. People who plan to visit beaches should be prepared to chase away pests that could be in the area with repellents, and they should avoid areas frequented by pests. Beach pests can be especially problematic for people who own property that is adjacent to a beach or near the ocean. Understanding the types of pests that can be found on beaches can help people to prepare for the worst.

Types of Pests

Many of the pests that can be found on beaches are seen on dry land as well because beaches are relatively small habitats. Therefore, few species have evolved to adapt themselves specifically to the beach environment. Instead, pests found on beaches tend to be those that thrive in either the wet environment found near the water's edge or the dry sand that covers the main portion of a sunny beach. Some of the most common pests found on beaches include ticks, spiders, ants, and flies. For beaches that are less crowded, snakes and rodents can often be found in many areas.

What Beach Pests Look Like

Due to the wide variety of pests that can be found on a beach, people should be prepared to look for anything that could resemble a pest when settling down on their beach towel. Small insects that can bite should be the first thing that people check for when seeking a peaceful place to spend time on a beach. Setting a towel down on top of an ant colony, for example, could make for an uncomfortable afternoon. People should also look for potentially dangerous animals that could be present on a beach. Aggressive animals may attack people on beaches who they perceive to be walking on their territory.

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Prepare Your Yard For Your July 4 BBQ

If you are planning to host a cookout July 4, you might be wondering what you can do to prevent fleas and ticks from spoiling the fun. Although these pests prefer to target animals, they will gladly feed on a human host if the opportunity presents itself. You will want to learn about the steps that you can take to safeguard yourself and your guests from the danger, but as long as you have a plan in mind, you can reduce the risk and reclaim your yard. The key is to remain proactive and to take action as soon as possible.

Fleas

Taking a close look at fleas is a good point from which to start for those who want to get the most from their cookout. The small parasites have six legs and can survive for up to 100 days without a host, but they will spend their entire lives on a single host if they can do so. Since these pests can spread diseases, keeping them away from you and your pets is vital if you want to avoid safety hazards. With a quick trip to the store, you can locate several products that can discourage fleas from entering your yard, but you will want to apply the treatment a few days before your cookout takes place.

Ticks

Ticks are small insects that have eight legs, and you won't want them to visit your home this summer. Since they can survive for three years without a blood meal, they don't need to live on their host. Once a tick is done eating, it will leave the host until it's ready to feed again. Ticks can't jump, so they will sit at the edge of plants and weeds until a suitable host gets within range, and dogs make perfect targets.

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Preventing Ants From Ruining Your Memorial Day BBQ

Memorial Day is the gateway to summer fun. Picnics, parties and backyard barbecues offer the perfect way to celebrate this important American holiday with family, friends and neighbors. After preparing a mouthwatering spread and planning fun activities for your favorite folks, don't let unwanted visitors intrude on the festivities. Keep ants away with these helpful tips from Pinpoint Pest Control in Oceanside, CA.

Herbal Ant Prevention

Many types of plants help keep ants at bay. Certain potted herbs make pretty table decorations while serving double duty as pest repellents. We may love the smell of mint in teas and candies, for example, but ants find it repugnant. Another herb, tansy, has a fragrance reminiscent of camphor with a touch of rosemary. Its admittedly strong aroma is refreshing to most humans but causes ants to turn the other way. Tansy can be toxic when eaten in large quantities, so place it out of small kids' and pets' reach.

Ant Infestation Control

If you already have an ant colony living on your property, a few easy tricks can keep the infestation temporarily under control. Sprinkle any ant trails with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or a mixture of dried peppermint and red pepper flakes. Spraying their trails with peppermint oil is also effective. Drive ants away from food sources by placing citrus peels in high-traffic areas and moving compost and trash bins as far from the yard as possible. Prepare for pest-free summer fun next year by planting garlic, common yarrow and other herbal ant repellents around your property. Some gardeners plant garlic in their rose beds to keep the thorny flower plants infestation-free.

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Can a Cockroach Really Survive a Nuclear Fallout?

Anyone who has experienced a cockroach infestation can attest to the critters' remarkable resiliency. Aside from being extremely fast and intelligent, cockroaches can survive for up to a month without food. You've likely heard the urban legend that cockroaches would be the sole survivors of an all-out nuclear war, but can a cockroach really survive the fallout from a nuclear explosion? Fortunately, we don't have much firsthand evidence to go, but we can make an educated guess based on experimental studies and what we know about cockroach anatomy.

Where Does the Legend Come From?

Nuclear fallout is the radioactive material released from a nuclear explosion. The idea that cockroaches could take the place of humans as the predominant species is a product of the fear of nuclear catastrophe that permeated the Cold War era. Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, rumors surfaced that the cockroach population continued to thrive. Thus, the legend was born.

Cockroaches vs Nuclear Fallout Experiment

A few years ago, a team of scientists finally tested the theory. They subjected three groups of German cockroaches to three different levels of radioactive metal cobalt 60 for an entire month. Half of the roaches exposed to 1,000 rad, which is enough radiation to kill a human in 10 minutes, were still alive at the end of the experiment. An astonishing 10 percent of the roaches exposed to 10,000 rad, which was the amount released from the Hiroshima bombing, survived the study. None of the roaches exposed to 100,000 rad survived.

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The Dangers of Spiders

Spiders are scary, but only a few are dangerous to humans. In San Diego County, the black widow, brown widow and desert recluse are poisonous. Brown recluses are not found in San Diego County.

Spiders prey on other insects including crickets, ants and flies. Spiders are shy and avoid humans. They live in secluded places and usually hunt at night. However, if threatened, they will bite. If you think you have been bitten by a spider, seek medical attention if unusual symptoms occur.

Black Widows

Black widows are distinctive because of the red hourglass marking on the abdomen of the female. They are web spinners and grow to about ½-inch long. Only the females are poisonous. Black widows mate in the spring and lay egg sacs that can contain up to 250 eggs. Black widows live in secluded spots in and around buildings.

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Why Our Bee Control Practices Are Eco-friendly

Why Our Bee Control Practices Are Eco-friendly

Although bees can be annoying, frightening or even deadly when they take up residence around humans, pest control isn’t just about killing unwanted insects. Responsible pest management solutions must work without causing new problems. At Pinpoint, our eco-friendly approach to North San Diego County bee control serves property owners as well as the environments we all share.

The Drive for Environmental Stewardship

Bees have played vital roles in ecosystems for millions of years. In California, native species pollinate plants that would otherwise perish. In the process, they ensure that crops grow and guarantee food sources for other critical species, including humans and livestock.

Using ecologically friendly, integrated pest control techniques enables us to target individual infestations without harming beneficial bee colonies. As diseases like colony collapse disorder and other problems become more widespread, methods that protect good bees will become critical to preserving our ecosystems and food supplies.

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Why Customers Love Pinpoint

More than Four Decades of Excellent Service

At Pinpoint, we have been serving our loyal customers in the North San Diego County area for more than 40 years. We are a family owned and operated business and pride ourselves on treating each customer like family. We have the specialized knowledge and proven track record of taking care of our customers' pest control needs for both residential and institutional properties. No job is too big or too small for the dedicated pest control professionals at Pinpoint.

There is nothing more important than the safety and health of your loved ones. The presence of pests in your home is a serious threat to that, and we are on a mission to make sure that every family in the North San Diego County area.

What Our Customers Think About Us

There is no better measure of the performance of a company that listening to what its customers have to say. Our customer reviews will show that Pinpoint is the most reliable and dedicated pest control services around. We never abandon a job until the customer is more than satisfied with the results.

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About Raccoons in North County

Raccoons

Pinpoint Raccoon 1

roof 2Raccoons are one of North County’s most engaging creatures; especially the inquisitive little masked bandits that beg for food down by the lagoon and at your campground. Most people are not aware of how destructive a mother raccoon can be when she digs through a roof and then has her pups in your attic!

During winter or early in the springtime, a female raccoon will be looking for a den where she can raise her young. If she finds a weakness in an overlapping roof-line or a missing screen, she will move in and set up housekeeping. In an attic, raccoons are extremely destructive and they can be very dangerous while they protect their young. The time to chase one out is before she has a litter. Contact us if you see a raccoon on your roof or under a shed this winter.

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Have A Pest-free Holiday

Have A Pest-free Holiday

As winter approaches in North San Diego County, you may notice more pests in your home. This can be especially distressing around the holidays when you have guests stopping by or family coming to visit. These are some important issues to consider.

Winter Pests In San Diego County

Most of the pests that enter your home during the winter are bugs or rodents normally seen outdoors. These are a few of the most common examples:

  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Spiders
  • Mice
  • Rats

What Attracts Winter Pests

Most of the pests listed above are attracted to food, warmth or both. Ants and cockroaches go indoors in search of holiday crumbs and sugar sprinkles that fall on the floor. Since people often eat more in living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms during the holidays, food sources are plentiful for them. Spiders go indoors to feed off of the bugs eating the crumbs. Mice and rats prefer the warmth of closets, attics or other low-traffic areas in comparison with the outdoors. They also like the food spills that are common during the holidays. Ants and roaches can enter through the smallest cracks along doors or windows, and mice can slip through an opening about the size of a quarter. 

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Are Pest Control Chemicals Harmful?

Are Pest Control Chemicals Harmful?

Integrated pest management, or IPM, techniques are growing in popularity. In environmentally friendly states like California, they’re even outpacing traditional alternatives that rely on pesticides and poisons. Of course, this begs the question: Are pest control chemicals really that harmful? Here’s the definitive answer.

The Reality of Chemical Pest Control

The chemicals that are designed to target insects and pests function in various ways. Some simply repel them, while others kill their offspring, inhibit their reproductive cycles or introduce microorganisms that are lethal to specific species.[1] Unfortunately, these substances have numerous side effects that can impact humans and other animals that shouldn’t be harmed. 

In truth, it’s not a question of whether pesticides are harmful but rather how much harm each one can do. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, pesticide exposure can cause mild symptoms, such as headaches or nausea, but it may also contribute to severe reproductive health issues, respiratory ailments or cancers.[2] The National Pesticide Information Center suggests that because many pesticides contain cocktails of distinct ingredients, it may be difficult to evaluate how hazardous they are and minimize your risk.[3]

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Honeybee Swarming Season is Here!

Starting in the early spring we are accustomed to honeybee swarming activity. A healthy hive will send out scouts to locate a new home while a new queen bee is preparing to set up housekeeping. When the time is right, several thousand worker bees will accompany a queen to her new home. Sometimes they stop for a rest or an overnight stay on a tree branch on their way; if they are left alone, they usually move on as soon as the sun comes out. An exposed bee swarm can very often be rescued by a competent beekeeper during the spring and in the early summer when the new bee colonies are at their largest and healthiest. Please call Pinpoint for an evaluation, right over the phone, if you have a bee swarm on your property.<

bee swarm

Don’t use a garden hose on bee swarms! Whether it is rain, sprinklers, or a garden hose, the natural instinct of bees is to stay in place and shed the water to protect the queen. The hose can break up and spread out the swarm, but they cannot leave without the queen and they do not travel when it is raining. Using sprinklers or a garden hose to move bees is counterproductive and will usually end up causing the bees to stay much longer and will increase the danger of stings to residents, pets, or to those who are passing by.

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Bees! An Amazing Comeback!

Bees! An Amazing Comeback!

We are very well on the way to finding out what caused the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that played a large part in the dramatic collapse of honeybee colonies across the country during the past ten years. Honeybees are responsible for about 15% of pollenization here in North America and bees are a vital part of some of our commercial agriculture so there has been a lot of concern and quite a bit of research into what may have caused this remarkable decline. The good news is that the bees have made a rapid and decisive recovery during the past three years

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Owl Boxes and Bees

I came across a sign on a North County highway that read: “I will build an OWL BOX on your property for $----” It made me want to write a sign that says: “I will take the BEES out of your OWL BOX for $----.” Many people are now recognizing that owl boxes very often become the home of bees that can and do turn aggressive. Owl

Owls have been called “The Perfect Predator” because of their amazing ability to pinpoint rodents that move about in the darkness. Their ears are located at differing levels on their head which gives them an uncanny ability to hear the distance and precise location of their prey. Their wings are built for stealth rather than for speed and the feathers are tapered in such a way that they fly almost soundlessly. All in all, they are excellent night-time rodent hunters. More tomorrow….

It takes about 2 square miles of hunting territory to support an owl family unless they are in a forested area and they are reluctant to live very close to other owls for that reason. They will capture and eat gophers, rats, mice, snakes, rabbits, and ground squirrels here in North County and they need a large, healthy population of rodents in the area if they are going to prosper. By the very nature of things, they cannot “get rid” of the gophers for several reasons; among them:

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The Hidden Danger of Bird Nests

This weekend I noticed that a double bird nest had been blown down from the palm trees in front of my house and had stuck on the decorative shutters above our front window. I lifted the nests off of the house and noticed some fallen and broken eggs on the lawn and in the street. After I disposed of the nests, I noticed some tiny little mites crawling on my shirt and on my arms and hands.

One of the consequences of handling bird nests and allowing them to build on or near our houses is the bird mites  that can appear in very great numbers. The mites are perfectly designed for feeding on birds and they will drop off after each feeding to grow a little larger until they get mature enough to breed and make some baby mites to keep the cycle going. Birds have thinner skin than we do; the mites feed, drop off, molt, and then feed again. 

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Brown Widow Spiders (Brown is the new Black)

Here in North County we are used to seeing Black Widow Spiders around the base of the house, on fence lines, woodpiles, and occasionally in the garage. In the past four years we have seen an alarming increase in the number of Brown Widows, and we see them on patio furniture, stair rails, windows, mail boxes, porches, and decks. I have found evidence of Brown Widow Spiders on nearly every property that I have inspected since early last summer. This is alarming, because the Browns often build their nests up off the ground in places where we naturally put our hands and where children will play.

The bad news that Brown Widow Spider venom is nearly twice as potent as the Black Widow is offset by the fact that the Browns are normally much smaller than the Blacks and have less venom to inject. Widows are not aggressive spiders and like to stay away from physical contact with people. Bites happen when a spider gets caught in our clothing, or when we accidentally touch one and press up against it.

Appearance:

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Spiders in Springtime

In the springtime you will see spiders showing up in all kinds of places while they set the table for their summer reproductive season. As the weather warms up, the spiders start looking for ant trails to set up housekeeping. The first step to long term spider management is to eliminate the ants. That’s right, ants! You see, the primary food source for the early stages of development for most spiders is the ever present ant and the occasional tasty gnat or drain fly. From that, they graduate to larger bugs with each stage of their development. Of course spiders also eat each other so, without a ready supply of ants, spiders will end up reducing their own population, often by more than ninety percent! A sac spider’s offspring that survives normally does so at the expense of several of its siblings. Spiders in the house are very seldom a health or safety threat here in San Diego County, but they can be a real nuisance with their unsightly webs and their threatening demeanor. Spider bites usually happen when someone picks up some firewood or moves things around in a shed or garage. It is also quite possible to be bit in bed or putting on clothing with a spider inside.

The following is a list of some of the local spiders that you may come across. Please understand that there is no comprehensive list of NorthCounty spiders. 

Two basic types of spiders that we commonly find around north county homes are web spinners and hunters. Hunting spiders, sometimes called “wolf” spiders (pictured) scurry around, mostly at night, seeking a bug to jump on and eat. They do not use webs to capture their prey and they often have several eyes. The largest of the hunters is the Tarantula, often growing to fist size, and the smallest is a little “Wolf” spider about as big as this “o”.  Spiders feed on each other and on other bugs that they can capture or overpower. Web spinners use their spinnerets to create bug traps and to make nests or egg sacs that they spin for their offspring. Their webs can be tunnels, trap doors, nets, tents, sacs, and intricately patterned orbs. Some of the webs are sticky, and others can be 
tough enough to use in gun sights!                                                        

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Whiteflies

Get ready for the Whiteflies this spring!

 

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Rat Trapping Done Right

Kwikmesh Roll PhotoThe first step to rat and mouse control is to place monitors and unset traps in the places that you would like to use as a killing zone. Do not set the traps yet! It is very important to introduce the rats to the bait that you will be using before you start setting the traps to keep them from becoming trap shy! I like to use sunflower seeds (in the shell) to prepare the rats for their eventual demise. The rats will eat the seeds and leave the shells behind, giving us a confirmation of their presence and preparing them to accept the bait on the traps. 

Next, we want to find out how those nasty rats got inside in the first place. Check for openings at the bottom of the exterior walls, especially just outside of the kitchen and bathrooms where the pipes go through the slab. Also inspect all exterior doors, including garage doors, for openings at the base of the door jams or under the doors. Check all the screen vents in the garage as well as the attic, and check the area around the air conditioner condenser box outside. (Be aware that even if you do not have air conditioning you will likely have a condenser tube opening in the wall that rats can use to reach the attic or the furnace room.) Overlapping rooflines are a common entry point for everything from bees to raccoons; check them thoroughly, but be careful if you climb on the roof. You can use KwikMesh or pre-made screens for areas that need ventilation and you may need to replace dryer vent hoods and other types of covers.

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Rats in the Attic!

Do you hear noises in your attic or walls? Usually this means that some rats have found a way into your house and they are using your rafters as a jungle gym. This week we will talk about rats, and the next blog will instruct us on how to exclude and extract them; including comprehensive trapping instructions. 

 

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