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Pest Education

Cockroaches

Damage:
Cockroaches spread disease by depositing disease-causing organisms on food and utensils. The American cockroach, which comes into contact with human excrement in sewers or with pet droppings, may transmit bacteria that cause Salmonella and Shigella. German cockroaches are believed to be capable of transmitting disease-causing organisms such as Staphylococcus, hepatitis, and coliform bacteria. They also have been implicated in the spread of typhoid and dysentery.

Recent studies have found a strong association between the presence of cockroaches and increases in the severity of asthma symptoms in individuals who are sensitive to cockroach allergens.

Detection and Treatment:
Cockroaches may become pests in homes, restaurants, hospitals, warehouses, offices, and virtually any structure that has food preparation or storage areas. These pests are common even in the cleanest of crowded urban areas and older dwellings. It’s usually not difficult to discover an infestation because they are often visible. Treatment usually involves sealing cracks and crevices to block entrance, keeping food and trash areas clean to avoid providing food, and the professional application of insecticide and bait on a regular basis. Click here for more info.

Ants

Damage:
Ants cause various types of damage, depending upon the variety. Carpenter ants tunnel through wood, destroying structures. Pharaoh ants may transmit serious diseases. A fire ant’s sting is potentially deadly to susceptible individuals, and all ants contaminate the food they infest.

Detection and Treatment:
Ants build massive colonies, so their presence is generally detected when you see their nests or the ants themselves. Treatments involve baiting, insecticide, and sealing off entry to buildings.

Spiders

Except for poisonous spiders such as the black widow and the brown recluse, spiders are not harmful to humans. When it’s important to control spiders, chemical control is used along with destruction of webs and eggs. Since they feed on insects, measures that control unwanted insects will also reduce spider populations.

Biting and Stinging Pests

Damage:
Bees, wasps, and scorpions are dangerous because of their painful and potentially harmful stings.

Detection and Treatment:
Wasp nests and bee hives can be removed by professionals with protective gear. Insecticides are also used. Scorpion problems are usually treated chemically. Click here to learn more about other insects.

Birds

Damage:
Many birds are beautiful and beneficial, but not when they’re infesting your property. Besides spreading disease and infection, bird droppings are so acidic that they corrode metal and deface the exteriors of buildings. Bird droppings also cause slippery walking and working conditions which lead to potential accidents and lost productivity. Feathers and nesting debris clog drains and gutters, and birds can even pose a fire hazard to buildings when they carry burning cigarettes back to their nests.

Detection and Treatment:
Whether it’s pigeons, sparrows, or starlings, Safeguard Pest Control will be able to assess the situation and customize a program that addresses your concern.

Rodents

Damage:
Rodents consume and contaminate food. They also gnaw on electrical wires and wooden structures and tear insulation in walls and ceilings for nesting. Rodents can also transmit disease to humans, pets, and livestock. They have been found to transmit typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis, and salmonellosis.

Detection and Treatment:
The presence of mice and rats is usually detected by the damage they cause to food and structures, by their droppings, and by their nests. Our rodent control program has four important steps:

  • Thoroughly inspecting to identify the species, where they’re nesting, and what factors are attracting them.
  • Creating effective sanitation so that rodents are denied both food and hiding places.
  • Eliminating all potential entry points.
  • Reducing the population by applying poison, bait, and traps.

Opossum

Description:
The opossums that we deal with here in North America are called Virginia Opossums and they exist throughout most of the United States. They are North America’s only marsupial, which means that they carry their young in a pouch, where they grow and develop.

Detection and Treatment:
Opossum control usually consists of many tactics similar to the control tactics used for other wildlife, including elimination of food and shelter sources. Opossums are omnivores, which means they eat almost anything. Removing garbage and pet food from the premises is a good idea. If your property offers good shelter for opossums, eliminate those sources of shelter. Opossums love to live under sheds and decks. To eliminate their access to these areas, install exclusion barriers around the perimeter of these structures. Opossums even like to live inside buildings and attics; therefore, as with any animal that lives in buildings, all entry points must be identified and sealed shut.

Keeping food and shelter sources away often isn’t enough. Then the opossums should be trapped and removed. Opossums are one of the easiest animals to trap in a cage trap because they are basically dumb and hungry. Often scavengers, they are slow, dim-witted, and unaware. They will wander into a trap to get the food. Once trapped, they can be relocated or euthanized as law allows. Most homeowners cannot legally do either or are aware of the laws. For many wildlife problems, it is best to hire a specialized wildlife trapping company to take care of the problem.

Subterranean Termites

Description:
Subterranean termites are extremely destructive. First they build tunnels to wooden structures and then they burrow into those structures to obtain food. Any wood or cellulose-containing material constitutes termite food, and given time to do so, they’ll eat until nothing is left but a shell. Termites avoid light and air, so they build their colonies where you’re not likely to stumble upon them.

Detection and Treatment:
We look for:

  • Mud tubes built for traveling above ground
  • Damaged or hollow-sounding wood
  • Pinholes in drywall or wallpaper
  • Small piles of sawdust
  • Piles of small wings
  • Other specific termite indicators

To control these unwanted pests, we provide an effective treatment plan, which may include:

  • Exterior Protection – a continuous chemical barrier is created around the exterior of your home or building to keep termites from entering.
  • Insect Growth – we apply chemicals which disrupt the insect's natural hormones to prevent development.

Drywood Termites

Description:
The western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor, is Texas’ second most important termite pest after the western subterranean termite. It is a native insect that has been here millions of years, mostly attacking trees along river washes and arroyos. In Texas drywood termites are most prevalent in southern Texas and can be found infesting wood along the coast.

Because of the difficulty in detecting drywood termites and determining the extent of the damage done, do-it-yourself treatments are not recommended. Over-the-counter products with drywood termites on the label for do-it-yourself enthusiasts do not exist. Except for wood removal, homeowners should seek help from pest control professionals.

Detection:
Drywood termites are secretive insects and are difficult to detect. They live deep inside wood and are seldom seen except during periods when they swarm or when repair work is being done on infested homes. Colonies are small – usually fewer than 1,000 individuals – can be widely dispersed, and take years to mature. While a homeowner may initially detect the presence of termites when they swarm or if fecal pellets are discovered, inspecting for drywood termites and determining the extent of an infestation require experience.

During a visual inspection for drywood termites, inspectors look for feeding damage, shed wings, termite fecal pellets, and kickout holes, which are small holes the size of BB shot through which termites push fecal pellets out of the wood. Fecal pellets are hexagonal in shape and are diagnostic for drywood termites. However, whether the infestation is currently active or what the extent of the infestation is cannot be determined from pellets alone. Cleaning up the fecal pellets around a kickout hole and checking a few days later to see if new pellets have appeared can help to determine if an infestation is active. Keep in mind that building vibrations or movements may cause some pellets to appear. If an active infestation of drywood termites is found in your structure, you should have it treated.

Eliminating Existing Infestations:
All drywood termite control methods can be categorized as either whole-structure or localized. A whole-structure treatment is defined as the simultaneous treatment of all infestations, accessible and inaccessible, in a structure. A localized or spot treatment is more restrictive, often applied to a single board or small group of boards.

Whole-structure treatments have an advantage over spot treatments in that they can eliminate all infestations, even hidden ones. With the uncertainty of current detection methods, particularly when drywall or other wall coverings conceal infestations, there is always some doubt as to the extent of drywood termite colony boundaries within homes. Consequently, one can never be sure that all infestations have been treated when applying spot treatments.

Whole-Structure Treatment:
Fumigants (sulfuryl fluoride) treat all infestations simultaneously and have high levels of efficacy applied correctly. Sulfuryl fluoride kills drywood termites in about three days. A monitored fumigation, which involves installing gas monitoring lines inside the structure being treated, has the highest rate of treatment success. Unmonitored fumigation may not have enough gas concentration to kill infestations and failures may occur. Fumigation’s advantage of localized treatment is that it may eliminate infestations that are hidden from view. Major issues to consider with the use of fumigants include the difficulty of installing tarpaulins, the difficulty in determining the proper dosage, the need to protectively bag food items, and the lack of residual control. Residual control means long-term protection (several years or more) from drywood termite attack. (Generally, only chemicals added to or onto wood provide residual control.) It will also be necessary to vacate the structure for two to three days while it is being treated and then ventilated. Roofs may be damaged by having tarpaulins dragged across them.

Localized or Spot Treatments:
There are many localized or spot treatment methods available that include both chemical and non-chemical options. Spot treatments should only be applied by licensed professionals. Home use products are not effective. Depending on the chemical used for spot treatments, laboratory studies have shown a variation of 13% to 100% in the effectiveness in controlling drywood termites.

Safeguard's commitment to environmental responsibility:
It is our responsibility to care for the earth's environment while still helping to control pests.