FAQs

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Termites

Termites are wood-destroying insects. Their presence dates back to the time of dinosaurs. While they play an important role in nature, experts estimate they cause $5 billion of property damage each year.
Yes, the three major kinds of termites in the United States are dampwood, drywood, and subterranean. Dampwood termites commonly live in heavily forested areas of the country as they prefer wet wood; while, drywood termites, much more rare in the United States, prefer extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.

Depending on where you live, termite swarms may be visible in the early spring. Termites are often confused with flying ants. Telltale signs of termite infestation include soft wood in the home, mud tubes on the exterior of your home (often near the foundation) and darkening or blistering of wood structures.

Termites eat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, meaning damage to wood in and around a structure can happen very quickly. In fact, the NPMA estimates that termites cause $5 billion in property damage each year. The good news is that termites can be controlled with the partnership of a trained pest professional.

Homeowners are most likely to notice termites when they swarm in the early spring. A termite swarm is a sign of a likely infestation. If you notice a termite swarm on your property, contact a licensed pest professional promptly.

There are many steps a homeowner can take to help prevent termites from infesting their property. Most importantly, a homeowner should eliminate or reduce moisture in and around their home, which termites need to thrive. Divert water away from your home’s foundation by installing properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Trim vines, hedges, and other vegetation to prevent them from blocking vents. Remove old form boards, grade stakes, tree trunks and roots near a building, as they may attract termites. In addition, maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home. Finally, routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.

Termites are not a pest that can be effectively treated by a homeowner. A licensed pest control professional will be able to recommend a course of action depending on many factors, including the area of the country you live, the degree of infestation, the termite species present and your home’s construction.

JD Smith Pest Control is committed to providing highly effective treatment options for all pest issues. The most effective type of treatment depends on the severity of the infestation, the species of termite, and the location and construction of the home. A trained and licensed pest control professional can assess each infestation individually and recommend the most effective treatment plan.

Termites cannot be effectively treated by a homeowner on their own. Pest control professionals have the training, expertise, and technology to eliminate a termite infestation.

Bed Bugs

There HAS been an increase in bedbug infestations. In fact, 95 percent of pest management companies report that their company has encountered a bed bug infestation in the past year. Prior to 2000, only 25 percent of respondents had encountered a bedbug infestation. In addition, one in five Americans now reports they have had a bedbug infestation or know someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel, according to a recent NPMA survey.

These pests are not limited to any one specific type of dwelling. Pest control companies have been reporting the infestations everywhere including single family homes, multi-family housing, apartments, hotels, hospitals, schools and college campuses, office buildings, retail stores, movie theaters, and even public transportation. Nowadays, even five-star hotels and high-end clothing stores are susceptible to infestation.

Pest control companies have reported bed bug activity on a national scale. Bed bugs are being found from the East to the West Coast and everywhere in between. Specifically, the pests were encountered by 17 percent of respondents in the Northeast in the Bed Bugs in America survey; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West.

Bedbugs should not be equated with filth or sanitation problems — in hotels or homes, for that matter. Bedbugs are very elusive, transient pests. They are often found in other areas besides the bed. And they are hardy. They can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Bedbugs can be controlled with vigilance, constant inspection, and treatment by professional pest control companies.

To prevent bedbug infestations, consumers need to be vigilant in assessing their surroundings. When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing. If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, contact a pest control professional. This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.

Bedbugs leave itchy welts on human skin. Adult bedbugs can live for a year without eating, making them especially hard to control. Once inside a hotel or home, bed bugs spread rapidly from room to room – through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing and luggage. In a hotel, bed bugs can also spread when guests end up moving to another room.

Bedbugs are not just in beds. They can be in chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. In other words, they can live pretty much anywhere.

Any effective bedbug control strategy should start with a careful, thorough inspection by a pest control professional of all known and suspected spots where the bugs may be harboring. This is not a pest that can be controlled effectively with do-it-yourself measures. As they are discovered, the pest control professional will develop a treatment and control strategy with the customer depending on the extent of the infestation.

Bedbugs are not known to spread any diseases to humans. However, their bites can leave behind itchy, red welts which can become infected from scratching.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes transmit at least three human diseases that have been found in the United States. All of them are potentially fatal. These diseases include West Nile Virus, Malaria, and Dengue Fever.

West Nile Virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999, it can lead to serious complications of the liver or nervous system, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), meningitis, or paralysis. It is the most widely known disease, likely due to its rapid spread throughout the nation. West Nile Virus has spread across the country from Pennsylvania to Washington State since 1999. More than 28,000 cases have been confirmed since that time. Forty-seven states and Washington D.C. now have confirmed cases of West Nile.

While malaria transmission was eradicated in the U.S. in the 1950’s, international travelers continue to bring new cases to the county each year. In 2007 alone, more than 1,500 cases of malaria were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of the cases were confirmed to have been acquired outside of the U.S. The CDC also reports that there is a constant risk that malaria transmission could be re-introduced to the U.S., since mosquito species that carry the malaria parasite still exist in the country.

Most cases of Dengue Fever in the U.S. are acquired outside the country. However, there have been some locally confirmed cases in the U.S., most commonly along the Texas-Mexico border and more recently in Key West, Florida.

Many homeowners erroneously believe that all pest management professionals do is spray chemicals to treat their homes. This is simply not true anymore. Many pest management professionals today use an Integrated Pest Management or IPM approach. IPM controls pests by getting rid of the three things they need to survive: food, shelter, and water. Consumer education is a vital part of any IPM program. This approach consists of inspection, identification of the pests, employment of two or more control measures, and evaluation of effectiveness through follow-up inspections. Visit WhatisIPM.org for more information.

The length of effectiveness is dependent upon several variables including temperature, humidity, surfaces treated, materials or control methods employed. The time lapse between treatments depends on these factors and specifically the materials used.

Pests, Allergies, And Asthma

Cockroaches are a leading trigger of allergies and asthma attacks. The pests’ saliva, droppings, and decomposing bodies contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children.
Proper pest control will help to prevent or remove pests that can trigger asthma. A pest management professional (often referred to as an exterminator) can inspect a home for these pests, eliminate them, and provide homeowners with recommendations to prevent re-infestation.
Allergens include pest “frass,” or carcasses, feces, and other debris.

Most cases of Dengue Fever in the U.S. are acquired outside the country. However, there have been some locally confirmed cases in the U.S., most commonly along the Texas-Mexico border and more recently in Key West, Florida.

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