Stink Bugs Invade Homes for Winter
October 29, 2013 Memphis, TN
Stink Bugs Invade Homes for Winter
Terminix reports critters on the rise along east coast, Midwest
MEMPHIS, Tenn., October 29, 2013 – Ghouls and goblins might not be the only invaders you need to avoid this Halloween. Terminix®, the world’s largest pest control provider, says homeowners should prepare for the fright of the stinky squatter. That’s right, Asian stink bugs are making their way into homes now to hibernate for the winter.
Also known as the brown marmorated stink bug, the pest can slip into a home through window air-conditioners, small holes around gas lines and cable television lines, behind chimneys or any other tiny crack or crevice. To homeowners’ dismay, these smelly critters can be found hanging on curtains, lampshades, screens and clothing.
“Once inside walls, stink bugs may be difficult, if not impossible, to totally eliminate,” said Stoy Hedges, senior technical professional with Terminix. “Homeowners with stink bugs need to know that they should enlist a professional pest control company, like Terminix, for removal.”
The stink bug is so-named due to the offensive odor it emits when threatened or killed. The flat, shield-shaped grey bugs let out a stench some say smells like crushed cilantro, ammonia and skunk. And besides the pure nuisance of this pest, the stink bug can pose severe agricultural damage to crops.
First discovered in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in the 1990s, favorable conditions this year have caused stink bugs to flourish, especially along the east coast and now into the Midwest. Parts of the country are reporting a 60 percent increase in the bugs, according to National Geographic.
Since stink bugs can be difficult to control, a targeted treatment can be provided through a professional pest control company like Terminix.
Additionally, Terminix offers the following tips for limiting stink bug infestations this season:
- Prevention is the best strategy by sealing cracks and holes on the home’s exterior with silicone or caulk.
- Check for damaged window or door screens and for torn weather-stripping and loose mortar. Equip vents with tight-fitting insect screens.
- Properly ventilate basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces to eliminate harborage points. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas.
- Keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. During the evenings, turn off porch lights and pull down window blinds to prevent light from spilling outside.
Terminix is the world’s largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services approximately 3 million residential and commercial customers in 47 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. Terminix is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, one of the world's largest residential service networks. The company’s brands include Terminix®, TruGreen®, American Home Shield®, ServiceMaster Clean®, Merry Maids®, Furniture Medic® and AmeriSpec®. To learn more about Terminix, visit www.Terminix.com.
With a global network of more than 7,300 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster® is one of the world’s largest residential service networks. The company’s high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 20,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs an estimated 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster Family of Brands® provided services and products to approximately 8 million customers during the last 12 months. The company’s market-leading brands provide a range of residential and commercial services including termite and pest control; lawn, tree and shrub care; home warranties and preventative maintenance contracts; furniture repair; home inspections; home cleaning; janitorial services; and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow the company at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo.
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Terminix Forecasts Most Likely Pests to Invade Homes in the First Quarter of 2013
December 26, 2012 Memphis, TN
Memphis, Tenn., December 26, 2012 – Terminix, the country’s largest pest control provider, today released its United States pest predictions of the most likely unwelcome guests for the first quarter of 2013.
In the winter months following the New Year, homeowners should be on high alert for the following pests:
- House mice – The most common pest infesting homes, this rodent will seek shelter indoors throughout the cold winter months. Mice contaminate food products and are capable of carrying some diseases.
- Norway rats – Heading indoors to find shelter and food during the winter, rats can damage items, contaminate food, and even cause fires by gnawing on electrical wires.
- Carpet beetles – Pose no health risk to humans, but can damage clothing, rugs, and other items made of wool, silk, and natural fibers.
As the weather starts to warm in March, homeowners will need to be on the lookout for the following pests:
- Termites – These pests can cause significant damage to wood in buildings and early Spring is when swarms occur. These swarms of flying termites are often the first sign of an infestation inside buildings.
- Cockroaches – One of the most common nuisance pests, German cockroaches carry allergens that have been linked to asthma in children.
- Ants – As temperatures rise, ant colonies become active and worker ants begin foraging, often driving the pests indoors.
In addition to seasonal pests, bedbugs remain a problem throughout the country with a significant rise in the number of reported cases in recent years. Bedbugs can cause itchy welts and rashes, and may go undetected for months in a home or business. It’s important for consumers to know the signs of an infestation and have their home inspected by a professional if they suspect a problem.
The best way to protect your home is to schedule regular home inspections from your local Terminix professional. Additionally, the experts at Terminix offer the following tips for do-it-yourself pest maintenance:
- Seal all cracks on your home’s exterior. This includes placing weather stripping on the bottom of all exterior doors and ensuring that the weatherstrip on the bottom of the garage door seals tightly at both corners.
- Clean up food and liquid spills immediately. Ants, roaches, and rodents love the complimentary free meal while they take up vacancy in your home.
- Store trash in containers with tight fitting lids.
- Eliminate piles of lumber, brick, etc., as these could be a harbor for pests.
- Keep tree and shrub limbs trimmed away from the roof and walls of your home. Rodents are great climbers, enabling them to access your home’s roof and exterior vents.
Terminix, a division of the ServiceMaster Company, is the world’s largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services more than three million customers in 47 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. To learn more about Terminix, visit their website at www.Terminix.com.
With a global network of more than 6,900 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks. The company’s high profile brands are TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 24,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people; the ServiceMaster family of brands serves more than 8.2 million customers every year. Our brands hold market-leading positions in residential and commercial lawn, tree and shrub care, termite and pest control, home warranties, furniture repair, home inspections, residential and commercial cleaning and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow us at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo.
Editorial note: High-resolution photography and video assets available upon request
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TERMINIX PREDICTS RECORD-BREAKING SPRING FOR FOUL-SMELLING PESTS
October 3, 2012 Memphis, TN
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (October 3, 2012) – What’s that smell? As temperatures cool, homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic states could be cozying up to a new housemate: the stink bug.
The stink bug – specifically, the brown marmorated stink bug – is invading the region in record numbers, and the experts at Terminix say the pest is not going away without a fight.
“Stink bugs will be entering homes by the hundreds over the next month in the Mid-Atlantic states,” said Stoy Hedges, an entomologist with Terminix. “One they are inside walls, they are nearly impossible to eliminate. True to their name, they release a foul odor when disturbed or smashed.”
Stink bugs are not known to bite or pose a risk of damage to homes, but they are considered a nuisance pest because they seek warmth and shelter inside homes.
What should homeowners do?
The key to avoiding an influx of stink bugs is proper sealing of the home’s exterior…before they’ve made their way inside. Once the pests are in, further sealing may force stink bugs into the living areas of the home.
If you have not yet seen stink bugs inside:
- Seal all cracks in the home’s exterior, especially on the southern and western walls where stink bugs seek warmth.
- Ensure windows and doors seal tightly. Stink bugs can slip through very small openings.
- Install insect screening on foundation and attic vents. These openings can allow easy access for overwintering pests.
If you have stink bugs inside your home:
- Homeowners can vacuum up stink bugs and throw away the bag, but be aware that the smell may linger in the vacuum.
- It is recommended to bring in a professional to deal with any suspected infestation.
The reason behind the invasion
The reason behind this fall’s invasion is two-fold, according to Hedges.
“In the fall, brown marmorated stink bugs search for a warm place to spend the winter, called overwintering. Due to an early spring in 2012, we now have two mature generations of stink bugs resulting in more stink bugs at the end of summer seeking shelter inside homes,” said Hedges.
The increased populations in the fall may lead to an even larger problem in the spring, as more stink bugs may likely survive the winter and start breeding as soon as temperatures begin to warm.
What is a stink bug?
There are more than 200 species of stink bugs in the United States and Canada, but the brown marmorated stink bug is the species behind the invasion. This non-native species was first discovered in Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, and has since spread to 38 states.
For more information, please visit www.terminix.com.
Terminix is the world’s largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services approximately 3 million residential and commercial customers in 47 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. Terminix is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. To learn more about Terminix, visit www.Terminix.com.
With a global network of more than 6,900 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. The company's high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 21,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serves more than 8.2 million customers every year. Our market-leading brands provide a range of residential and commercial services including termite and pest control; lawn, tree and shrub care; home warranties and preventative maintenance contracts; furniture repair; home inspections; home cleaning; janitorial services; and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow us at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo.
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FIVE WINTER PESTS TO WATCH
October 4, 2011 Memphis, TN
Terminix Offers Tips for Dealing with Critters as Temperatures Cool
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (October, 2011) – A home is one of the largest investments made during a lifetime. Although many ritualize the care for it during the summer, winter care often falls by the wayside. Unkempt lawns, gaps in doors and evenfall or holiday decorations all open the doors to a pest invasion.
With fall officially underway, now is the best time for homeowners to watch for signs of an approaching insect infestation and adopt practices to keep insects out for the winter. According to pest control company Terminix, prevention is a key to remaining pest free.
Five pests to watch this winter:
Believing termites to be strictly hot-weather pests, many homeowners let their guards down during winter months. However, classes of termites are known to swarm during fall months and reproduce in homes until February. Subterranean termites are the most destructive and widespread termite in the United States. They are social insects, living in colonies that could contain up to several million, and they cause up more than $5 billion in property damage each year
Bedbugs have become a national nuisance. They are world-class hitchhikers that travel between locations on clothing, luggage and purses. Having been found on airplanes and in hotels, those traveling this holiday season should remain vigilant to prevent bringing these pests into their homes.
Common in southern states, crazy ants infest in large numbers. One Terminix professional in Texas witnessed what seemed to be pavement moving but was actually the erratic movement of crazy ants. These ants sneak into homes from infestations in close proximity or when brought there from hay bales and winter flowers picked up at nurseries and markets. Keeping a well manicured lawn during winter months can help the homeowner or resident notice crazy ants before their numbers increase.
Overwintering pests enter homes in the fall and prepare to nest for the winter. Beetles, ladybugs and box elders are common to see entering homes this winter. Much like humans, insects seek comfort and nutrients, which can be found in homes. Also watch for the west side of homes where the bugs sun-bathe for warmth in the afternoons.
A type of overwintering pest, stinkbugs have been seen in 32 states, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic region. They come to the region to feed on crops there but then enter local homes to survive the winter. Stinkbugs are aptly named for the odor caused by their defense mechanism. Homeowners decorating porches with pumpkins this fall should be especially mindful – stinkbugs like to snack on pumpkin juice.
- Repair roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows termites to survive above ground.
- Ensure gutters drain properly and direct moisture away from your foundation.
- Eliminate all wood-to-soil contact around your foundation, keeping firewood and other wood debris from being stacked against the side of your home.
- Keep mulch or soil away from your home’s siding. It’s best to have a barrier of a few inches.
- Remove items like scrap lumber, boxes and even old books or newspapers from crawl spaces.
- Maintain adequate ventilation in crawl spaces.
- Use a mesh screen on all windows, doors and ventilation openings.
- Have your home inspected by a trained professional at least once a year. Prompt treatment and regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.
- Check hotel headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and dark blood spots.
- Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
- Avoid unpacking clothing and storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
- Store baggage on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
- Vacuum suitcases when returning home, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.
- If you suspect your hotel has bedbugs, ask for a change of rooms. Bedbugs should only be treated by a trained pest control professional.
Crazy Ant Tips:
- Terminix encourages residents to be cautious about these ants. Keeping a well maintained lawn and calling a professional if crazy ants are spotted is one’s best chance of removal.
- Other ants move in a line, but crazy ants’ erratic movement defies this notion.
- The southern climate of states along the Gulf of Mexico is best suited for crazy ants’ existence.
- Before treating any ant infestation, it’s important to identify what ant is currently causing the problem.
- There are a variety of products and approaches available for treating ant infestations, but many of them are designed to target a specific species. Targeting a species with the wrong material can have a negative impact and can worsen the original problem.
- Because ant elimination can be so specialized, it is always recommended to work with a professional pest control company when trying to resolve an ant problem.
Overwintering Pest Tips:
- Seal all cracks in the home’s exterior, especially on the southern and western walls.
- Ensure windows and doors seal tightly. Overwintering pests can slip through very small openings.
- Install insect screening on foundation and attic vents. These openings can allow easy access for overwintering pests.
- If overwintering pests appear indoors, use a vacuum to remove them (cautiously with stinkbugs). Discard the bag once complete.
The company recommends homeowners consult a pest control professional if they suspect an infestation, rather than attempt a do-it-yourself remedy that may make the problem worse. Terminix offers free, no-obligation home inspections for homeowners seeking a professional screening. Those interested can learn more at www.terminix.com.
Terminix, a division of the ServiceMaster Company, is the nation’s largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services more than 3 million customers in 46 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. To learn more about Terminix, visit their Web site at www.Terminix.com .
With a network of more than 5,000 company-owned and franchise locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks. The company’s high profile brands are TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 24,000 corporate employees and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serves more than 8.2 million customers every year and hold market-leading positions in residential and commercial lawn, tree and shrub care, termite and pest control, home warranties, furniture repair, home inspections, residential and commercial cleaning and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com or twitter.com/ServiceMaster for more information about ServiceMaster.
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COOLER TEMPERATURES DRIVE RODENTS INTO AMERICAN HOMES
January 15, 2008 Memphis, TN
Terminix Offers Tips to Help Keep Rodents Out of the House
(TERMINIX) – Homeowners are heading indoors for winter, and unfortunately rodents are following close behind.
Experts estimate rodents scurry into 21 million American homes each winter, searching for food and shelter during the harshest months of the year. Rodents can get into homes through surprisingly small openings. A gap the size of a quarter is large enough for a rat to squeeze through, and mice can enter through voids as small as a dime.
“Rodents normally feed on seeds and plant life, but when winter wipes these out, rodents invade human structures in order to find food,” said Stoy Hedges, entomologist and director of technical services for Terminix.
American homeowners are most likely to encounter these rodent species this winter:
House mouse: The house mouse is the most common rodent infesting American homes. With a body generally less than two inches in length and less than an ounce in weight, this rodent can slip through very small openings. Common entry points include under doors, openings around utility lines and even exterior vents.
Norway rat: The Norway rat weighs nearly one pound and measures more than one foot in length as an adult. This species is also called the sewer rat because it is commonly found in sewer systems. The Norway rat is generally found in urban areas but can make itself at home in agricultural settings.
Roof rat: Known for their acrobatics, roof rats are capable of scaling vertical pipes and even tight-roping utility lines to gain access to vents and openings on the roof of a home. Roof rats are not as widespread as other rodent species and are most common in the Southeast and along the West Coast.
Rodents are considered a health threat, and their presence is cause for concern. Rats and mice can carry diseases that they spread through their bites, urine and droppings. In rare cases, some of these diseases can be life threatening. Rodents are also considered a fire hazard because of their habit of gnawing through electrical wiring.
“Some people mistakenly associate the presence of rodents with unclean living conditions, but that’s not always true,” said Hedges. “Rodents are opportunistic and will live in even immaculate homes if they can find a way inside.”
Look for these signs to tell if you’re living with rodents:
- Dark-colored droppings, one-quarter-inch to one-half-inch in length
- Gnawed boxes of food in cupboards
- Oily, “rub marks” along walls, caused by their habitual use of the same paths
- Gnawed door frames or furniture legs
- Sounds of movement in pantries, ceilings and behind walls
Homeowners who believe their home has been infested by rodents should contact a trained pest control professional. Pest experts have specialized tools and knowledge that can provide faster, better results than commonly used do-it-yourself methods.
Use these tips from the experts at Terminix to keep rodents from invading your home:
- Move piles of firewood and other debris as far from the home as possible to eliminate potential rodent harborages.
- Seal holes or cracks in your home larger than one-quarter of an inch. Large openings should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing.
- Ensure attic and foundation vents are equipped with tight-fitting one-quarter inch hardware cloth.
- Install a tight-fitting weather strip on the bottom of all doors, especially the garage door.
- Move bird feeders as far from the home as possible. This food source can lure rodents closer to the home.
- Trim shrubbery away from the home. Rodents do not like traveling in the open. A well-manicured area near the house can discourage activity.
For more information about rodents and other pests, visit www.terminix.com.