Pinpoint Pest Control Blog

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

The Differences Between Mice and Rats

Mice and rats have several traits in common. These nocturnal creatures eat a wide range of foods and frequently gnaw on building materials. Nevertheless, the two rodents also differ in multiple ways. They don't look identical or engage in all of the same activities.

Appearance

An adult rat measures about 10 inches longer than a mouse. It has a thicker body and tail. Big rodents typically cause more damage and create sizable messes. However, a mouse can infiltrate your home or business with greater ease.

Mice have tiny triangular heads and pointy snouts. They also feature comparatively large ears. You might find them cute if they weren't trying to raid the pantry or shred your socks. On the other hand, most rats have big heads with a chunky appearance.

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How to Treat a Bee Sting

If you are the victim of a bee's sting, you may notice that the area becomes red and swollen. The stinger may cause you to feel sudden pain in the area where you were stung. Provided that you are not allergic to the toxins emitted by bees, an occasional sting should not cause you to experience any serious medical issues.

In the case of a honeybee sting, the sting is more dangerous to the bee. After a honeybee stings you, the bee dies. The honeybee loses its life because its tiny digestive tract, nerves and muscles are intricately connected with the stinger. Consequently, the bee suffers from a rupture in its abdomen resulting in death.

If you are stung by a bee and break out in hives or experience severe itching, you are suffering from a severe allergic reaction requiring immediate medical attention. If you start to vomit or have diarrhea, go to the nearest emergency room right away. If you only experience a mild reaction, you may find relief by using one or more of the following home remedies:

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Did You Know Some Insects are an Endangered Species?

Although bugs can be a big-time nuisance, they are often quite fascinating. Like some animals, certain insects are currently on the verge of becoming extinct. Let’s take a look at some of today’s endangered insect species.

Goliath Bird-Eating Spider

As its name suggests, the Goliath bird-eating spider is a monster-sized spider. No other spider on the planet has a larger stature. In fact, you’ll need two hands to even hold it. From mice to small snakes, this humongous spider can be seen chowing down on a variety of different animals. Unfortunately, its population continues to dwindle with each passing year.

Kauai Cave Wolf Spider

Found in Hawaii, the Kauai cave wolf spider is a bit different from the typical wolf spider. Because the Kauai cave wolf spider lives in extremely dark environments, it doesn’t need to see. However, special sensory organs enable this eyeless spider to easily locate prey. Humans have now taken over the Kauai cave wolf spider’s habitat, which has caused it to become endangered.

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Keeping Pests out of Your Fourth of July Party

If you are looking forward to spending a fun and exciting summer with your friends and family, you are likely wondering what steps you can take to keep pests away from your Fourth of July party. Allowing pests to strike during your event will affect your guests in a negative way, and some of them might feel tempted to leave early. Since nobody wants pests to ruin the party, striving to keep them at bay is critical if you would like to keep everyone happy. You can discourage pests and secure your Fourth of July event without much trouble when you follow a proven path.

Clean Your Yard

A dirty yard makes it easy for pests to strike because they will have many places to hide. Cleaning the clutter from your yard, mowing your grass and removing standing bodies of water will reduce the number of pests that will crash your party. Mosquitoes won't have stagnant water for reproduction, and other pests will leave to find environments more favorable to their survival. If you want to get positive results when you use this step, you must clean your yard several days to a week before you plan to host your event.

Dealing With Bees and Wasps

Not many things will spoil the fun as much as getting stung by a bee or wasp when you are trying to enjoy the day. Pain, itching and skin irritation are the symptoms you can expect if you become the victim of a bee or wasp sting, but those who are allergic to the venom will have an even bigger problem. Cutting off the tops of 2-liter bottles, filling them with sugar water and replacing the top upside down creates the perfect bee and wasp trap. They will smell the tasty treat and want to get inside, but the bottle will trap and drown them.

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Treating a Bee or Wasp Sting

Those who spend time outdoors for work or fun will encounter bees, wasps and other stinging insects on occasion, but they won't always know what steps to take when they get stung. If you are the victim of a bee or wasp sting and want to reduce the pain, following the right steps and having a few tips on hand will help. Although stings will always cause some pain and mild discomfort, treating them properly will make the situation much more manageable, and this guide will show you where to start.

Bee or Wasp Sting Symptoms

Learning about the symptoms you can expect when a bee or wasp stings you is a great step in the right direction. These insects release venom into your skin when they attack, so you will notice a sharp pain followed by itching, redness and skin irritation.

You could be asking yourself how long the pain from the sting will last, and the answer depends on several factors. For most people, the pain will vanish within two hours, but swelling can last for several days. Those who are allergic to bee stings will notice life-threatening symptoms that require immediate attention.

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Prevent Ants From Getting Into Your Pantry

If you don't want to go to your pantry and discover an ant infestation when you least expect it, taking steps to keep ants at bay is vital. Ants will taint your food and create an unpleasant sight if you don't stop them from launching an invasion.

Keeping these insects out of your home is easier than getting rid of them after they make their way inside, so you must learn what attracts ants and how you can discourage them. Arming yourself with the right tips and information will allow you to protect your pantry without much trouble, and you will know you are on the right track.

Keep Your Pantry Clean

Cleaning your pantry on a regular basis is a powerful way to stop ants from causing problems for you and your family. Food sources will attract ants before you know it, and spills are like beacons that entice them. You can remove all of your items and wipe your pantry down with a nontoxic disinfectant when your goal is to avoid ant infestations.

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Understanding Yellowjackets and How to Prevent Getting Stung

A yellowjacket has a similar appearance to a bee or a wasp, but they are often much more aggressive. The sting that they deliver can also be very painful. If you're outside in the spring and summer when these flying pests are swarming around, there are a few things that you can do to avoid being stung by them. Most yellowjackets are social insects, which means that they like to swarm in large numbers. They are often seen around trash cans and other areas where food and beverages are on the ground or readily available. Avoid throwing any food outside so that yellowjackets aren't tempted to come around. If you have an event planned outside, you should keep foods and beverages covered to keep the insects away.

Know What To Do

If you do interact with a yellowjacket, it's important to stay as calm as you can. Don't agitate the insect, and don't try to swat at it or run because these actions can cause the pest to sting. If yellowjackets feel threatened, then they will usually sting. They can sting several times instead of only once like a bee. When yellowjackets are killed, they emit a hormone that lures other yellowjackets to the area. This means that one or two can quickly become a dozen or more if you are not careful in how you handle them. If there are yellowjackets on your property or you encounter several of them in one area, it is important to have them removed in a safe manner so that you and other people are not stung.

Any yellowjacket sting should be washed and cleaned as soon as possible. Monitor the area for any redness or swelling because many people are allergic to these pests without knowing until they are stung. You can put ice on the bite or an antihistamine to keep swelling to a minimum. Most yellowjackets will only live in their nest for a short time. When the weather turns colder, they tend to die off. If you see any kind of yellowjacket nest on your property, it's sometimes better to just wait until the fall or winter season if you don't want to handle the pests on your own, especially if they don't pose a direct threat to your home.

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Ant Control Myths

Are you trying to eradicate the ant colonies in your yard? Beware that unconventional solutions are practically useless, so they won't produce long-term results. What makes them useless is the fact that they are based on myths. Therefore, you can save yourself headaches by reaching out to a professional pest exterminator. Professionals are specially trained to deliver effective ant control. Here are the top myths that property owners often rely on.

The Boiling Water MythAnt Carrying Leaf

Using boiling water is like putting a small patch on a serious wound. The boiling water will help kill a lot of ants, but it won't stop the colony from expanding. Also, you will have to use this method on a regular basis to keep these critters at bay.

The Cinnamon Myth

For ants, cinnamon is totally unappetizing, so they will try to avoid anything that's covered with cinnamon. However, dumping cinnamon on anthills won't deliver a devastating blow to the colony. Doing this will only cause an even bigger problem because the ants will relocate, and their new home might be closer to yours.

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How to Tell if You Have a Flea Infestation

Every year, fleas cause itching and other discomforts for millions of people and their pets. That is not the worst of it, however, for fleas can also transmit bacterial infections such as cat scratch fever and the plague. Being able to recognize a flea infestation in your home or elsewhere is vital so that you can get rid of these insects and avoid the problems associated with fleas. Several key signs may indicate a flea infestation in your home.

Pet-Specific SignsFlea

Fleas will go after your pets first, so your pets will show the earliest and clearest signs of a flea infestation. You may have a problem if you see these things with your pets:

  • Scratching and Biting: A cat or a dog that spends an excessive amount of time scratching and biting may be suffering from fleas. In particular, cats tend to scratch their heads and necks a great deal if fleas are present, while dogs will scratch and bite their hind quarters.
  • Red or Black Flecks: An abundance of red or black flecks in your pet’s fur may indicate a flea infestation. These flecks are the droppings that fleas leave behind.
  • Red and Irritated Skin: As you groom your cat or dog, pay close attention to the skin under the fur. Red and irritated spots on the skin may mean that fleas are present because the skin of pets reacts to flea bites and to all the scratching and biting animals do to get relief from fleas.

People-Specific Signs

There are also signs of a flea infestation that manifest on people. The following may indicate a flea infestation:

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Surprising Facts about Roaches

Discovering the presence of household pests is a common occurrence for many homeowners throughout America each year. Whether they are seeking shelter from the colder weather of Fall or Winter or simply after food, pests of various types can take up residence in your home for many reasons. Cockroaches are exceedingly common in the US in a wide variety of locations. Among some of the most hated insects for good reason, cockroaches are troublesome to encounter. However, detecting a cockroach problem is not always an easy task. Let's talk briefly about the reasons why cockroaches are a problem and why they are an intriguing insect to learn about.

Three Surprising Facts about Roaches 

roach plAlthough they are generally disliked and removed from homes quite promptly, roaches have many fascinating traits that can be fun to learn about. Below is a list of three facts about roaches that you may find surprising. 

Roaches Spend 75% of Their Lifespan Sedentary

Did you know that cockroaches spend as much as 75% of their lifespan at rest? You are very unlikely to even see a cockroach during the day due to the fact that they are nocturnal. They spend the entire day at rest and may go scavenging for food or water at night while you're sleeping. Spotting an active cockroach during the daytime is a good indication of a large infestation as this is highly abnormal behavior for them to display.

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Do Earwigs Bite or Pinch?

Earwigs – these insects look like aliens from another planet. Their long bodies, numerous legs and pinchers make them the stuff of horror movies. In fact, these pests have earned a reputation as deadly predators that feed on the human brain. None of the rumors are true, mind you, but it doesn't take anything away from their frightening appearance.

Pinch, Bite or Sting: Are Earwigs Dangerous?

earwigContrary to folklore, earwigs are no more dangerous than a cricket. Many people misunderstand this common household pest, believing that it bites or pinches when it attacks. Earwigs don't attack people and will only use their pinchers if they're handled and frightened. If they do use their pinchers on someone, it feels like a pinch and doesn't normally break the skin. Therefore, earwigs don't bite; they pinch.

How Did Earwigs Get Their Reputation?

In medieval times, doctors believed that earwigs could crawl into a person's ear and burrow down into the brain, causing serious harm or death. This insect struck fear in the hearts of most everyone back then, and they kept it as far away as possible at all times. Of course, earwigs don't enter your ear or burrow into your brain. Although they look sinister, they're not venomous and only use their pinchers for defense.

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Don't Let Pests Come to Your Thanksgiving!

Nothing beats turkey with all the fixings on Thanksgiving. Having the game play in the background while visiting with friends and family makes this day one of the most special holidays of the year. With so much going on in the house, the last thing that you need to deal with is a pest infestation. When flies, roaches and other insects are trying to ruin your holiday, Pinpoint has some tips to help you out.

How to Keep Out Pests on Thanksgiving

Learn which pests cause the most problems

Knowing what to look for will give you a better chance at eliminating the pests. Fall pests often invade homes in search of shelter for the coming winter, such as stinkbugs and beetles. Other pests, such as roaches and ants, will also make your life miserable for the holiday. Identify the pests, and use the appropriate treatments to eliminate them.

Inspect your home for hidden entryways

Insects are getting into your home one way or another, so locate and plug up their entryways. The most common entrances are gaps around windows, doors, vents and plumbing. Use a sealant to block the holes and to stop the pests from coming indoors. If the gaps under the doors are too wide, plug them with large towels or foam rollers.

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How to Avoid Fleas & Ticks

Of all the pests that call Oceanside, California, home, fleas and ticks are not only the most prevalent but also the most harmful to both you and your pets. Read on for important information about protecting your family and furry friends.

How to Avoid Fleas

Fleas have four life stages, which includes egg, larva, pupa and biting adult. They feed on the blood of humans as well as domestic animals like dogs and cats. Considering that a female flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs in her lifetime, it's important to take action immediately if you've found one flea in your home or on your pet. Not only will this prevent a major infestation in your home but it'll avoid pets from developing intense bouts of itching, anemia and tapeworms.

How Do Fleas Get Inside Your Home

  • Not applying flea prevention strategies in and around your home, especially if you own cats or dogs.
  • Rodents carry fleas into your yard, and your pets bring them into your home.
  • Any human entering your home can also act as transportation for a flea hoping to infest it.

Tips to Prevent a Flea Infestation

  • Mow your grass regularly, trim your shrubs routinely and deter rodents from entering your yard.
  • Run a flea comb through your pet’s coat before going inside after a walk, and apply a monthly flea treatment.
  • Vacuum your carpets once per week, or more if suspect there are fleas in your home.

How to Avoid Ticks

Like fleas, ticks also have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. And they also feed on the blood of their hosts, such as humans and pets. They fall into the arachnid classification, which means they're closely related to scorpions and spiders. What makes ticks so dangerous is that they can transmit diseases to humans, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichia. It's more common to find a tick infestation on a dog than a cat.

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Which Types of Bees Are Beneficial?

The United States is populated by about 4,000 species of bees belonging to nine different families. These include such familiar members as the bumbling bumble bee, the sweet honeybee and the busy carpenter bee. All of these bees perform invaluable services to our world as pollinators.

Bees and Pollination

Plants reproduce through pollination, which refers to the pollen transfer from the male part of the plant to the female part of the plant. Once the pollen has been transferred, a new fruit, seed or nut can form. Plants often depend on the wind or animals to help with reproduction, and bees are among the most effective pollinators because they have pockets and hairs on their legs that tend to collect large volumes of pollen and they focus their attentions on one type of plant at a time. This allows for more and better quality pollination with each trip a bee makes.

The Benefits of Bees

About a third of crops benefit directly or indirectly from bees’ visits. Honeybees and other pollinating creatures, including hummingbirds, bats and butterflies, are estimated to help produce millions of dollars worth of agricultural crops. Some of these foods include apples, asparagus, blueberries, broccoli, cantaloupes, cherries, cucumbers, cranberries, watermelons, pumpkins and almonds. Honey is another food we would not have without bees.

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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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