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Protect your home before pests move in

Sept. 4, 2012

Menomonee Falls - As the days remain warm, and the nights become colder and colder, bugs and rodents are starting to seek shelter for the winter months.

Wil-Kil Pest Control, headquartered in Menomonee Falls, has received a high volume of calls in the past few weeks from residents complaining of boxelder bugs that are making their way into homes. These bugs don't cause harm to humans or structures; however, they are a nuisance. Boxelder bugs, says Regional Manager of Wil-Kil Randy Allen, cluster together in the walls and wood to hibernate for the winter. These bugs can be stopped now before they come out of hiding in mass next spring.

"Boxelder bugs are somewhat unique," Allen said.

Most materials used by Wil-Kil leave a residue that bugs "preen" themselves on and are killed by it. Boxelder bugs don't preen themselves, making them harder to kill, Allen said.

"You have to treat on top of them," he said.

Tom Majors, Wil-Kil regional manager serving the Eau Claire area, recommends filling a spray bottle with warm water and a few drops of dish soap to spray on top of the elder bugs. This will kill the pests before they nest in the home.

Prevent rodent invasion

Rodent activity has also picked up for the employees of Wil-Kil, as they find their shelter for winter. Allen said a common misconception about mice is that they move more indoors in the winter when it snows.

"By that time, they already know where they are going," he said.

Now is the time to prevent rodents to pick their winter hot spot.

Residents should evaluate their homes to look for any gaps in the exterior that are a quarter of an inch or more in size. Areas to check and potentially caulk are stripping in doors, conduits, pipes, central air units and utility meters.

"Make sure to caulk around those things. A house mouse needs a quarter inch or better," Allen said.

Wil-Kil offers inspections of the home and professionals can make recommendations as to where residents can add sealant to prevent rodents from entering the home.

"This is a great time of the year to do an interior treatment and exterior treatment of the home," Allen said. "Now is a good time to do preventive treatment, otherwise we get calls in spring saying an entire living room is full of boxelder bugs or Asian lady bugs."

Watch for stinging insects

"For most of the stinging insects, now it's more of a reaction than pro-action," Allen said.

Though summer may be winding down, summer stinging insects are still in full swing.

Allen said it is safer to call a professional when dealing with a wasp or yellow jacket nest; however, for those who want to take care of the problem themselves, he recommends heading outside after dark with an amber flashlight. Residual chemicals that can be found in hardware stores are recommended for use on the nests.

"Some wasp nests are fairly easy, such as the little umbrella nests behind shutters. Sometimes those are easier because there's not as many individual insects in a yellow jacket or hornet nest," Allen said.

Watch for signs of an allergic reaction if stung, including redness and swelling.

Resurgence of bedbugs

For Wil-Kil professionals across the state of Wisconsin, bedbugs have been an increasing issue no matter what time of year, Majors said.

At the Menomonee Falls office, there can be anywhere from 25 to 50 calls per day regarding a bedbug infestation.

"There's this unawareness that they do exist in public places that we visit on a regular basis," Allen said. "The awareness is the only way to prevent them."

Bedbugs attach to people and then are introduced to new environments. Wil-Kil has encountered bedbugs in hospitals, apartment complexes, schools and homes over the last seven years as people are experiencing a resurgence of the bugs.

In some cases, Wil-Kil will recommend people throw things away; however, Allen said the best way to treat them is with a service called heat remediation.

This takes six to seven hours and professionals heat the room to 135 degrees until all stages of the bug are killed. Wil-Kil also has two beagles that are trained to alert staff to the scent of live bedbugs, as well as three heat remediation teams dedicated to stopping bedbugs.

For information on pest control, visit wil-kil.com.

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