Pinpoint Pest Control Blog

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

Bill Tanksley, 68, has been part of the pest control industry since June of 1972. He has served in every area of structural pest control from field service to fumigation and now is the founder and CEO/Operator of Pinpoint Pest Control, Inc in Oceanside, California which he runs with three of his five sons. Bill teaches classes on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in conferences across the Southwest.

The Best Shampoos for Dealing With Lice

Lice are common pests that cause irritating symptoms and can be a hassle to fully get rid of. Fortunately, there are affordable shampoo products available that are specifically designed to deal with a lice problem. The following are some of the best shampoos for dealing with lice.

Nix Lice Killing Creme Rinse

Nix Lice Killing Creme Rinse is a shampoo that is designed to kill lice and their eggs, as well as preventing reinfestation for up to 14 days. This product is also safe to use on children that are over two months old and has the ability to kill lice that are resistant to traditional lice treatments.

RID Lice Treatment

RID Lice Treatment is a three-step lice removal kit that makes it simple to comb lice out of hair. This product can also be used within your home on mattresses, furniture and the interior of a car. Simply removing lice from your hair may not always be enough to deal with the problem completely. Removing them from different areas in your home makes it much less likely for you to experience a reinfestation.

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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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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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More than you ever wanted to know about Mice

 

What Mice are Like

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