How Can I Protect My Family from SFTS and Other Tick Borne Illnesses?

east asian tick exterminationTicks spread a number of serious illnesses. In the news there have been reports of SFTS, which is spread by the East Asian Tick that was recently introduce to United States. Currently, this tick is only found in the New Jersey area, and it is not in the Arlington area. However, the tick is expected to spread throughout the United States since it is extremely invasive. The experts are predicting a record tick season in Virginia, which increases your chances of contracting an illness from a tick. There are things that you can do to protect your family from SFTS and other tick-borne illnesses.

Protect Your Yard

One of the best ways to protect your family is to have a tick treatment applied to your yard. This will kill the ticks that are there and also creates a barrier around your yard that will stop ticks from wandering in. Getting rid of any leaf litter in your yard also helps, as does keeping your lawn short.

Dress Appropriately

When you go into areas that are prone to ticks, it is important to dress appropriately. You can do this by wearing long sleeves and long pants. When you tuck your shirt in and your pants into your socks, you give the ticks fewer places that they can come into contact with your skin. Once you leave an area that has ticks, you should check your clothing, because you may be able to brush off any ticks that are on your clothing before they have the chance to attach.

Wear Insect Repellent

Insect repellent is very good at stopping ticks from biting you. DEET is the most effective treatment for ticks. It comes in a number of different strengths. Once your child is two months old, it is safe to use insect repellent up to 25% DEET. If you are older, you can use 40% or higher if you know you will be spending an extended period of time in area with ticks. Be sure to reapply according the package directions.

Check for Ticks

It is important to regularly check for ticks. You should check under your arms, between your legs and behind your knees for ticks. You should also check around your hairline and in your ears. The sooner you find and remove a tick the better. This is because the ticks spread the disease when the regurgitate. If you find a tick, remove it with a pair of tweezers by pulling straight back. Never using gasoline, rubbing alcohol or Vaseline because this will cause the tick to regurgitate into your skin and it will increase the chances of you getting sick. 

How to Get Rid Of Fleas in Your Clothes and more people today are keeping pets for comfort and companionship. However, pets also cause people to have to face many problems. One of the most annoying issues that most people have to deal with is fleas. Fleas can appear in every corner of the house such as in carpets, in beds, on your cats and dogs and on your clothes. Today, we will focus on treating fleas on your clothes.

Detect Problems

To eradicate fleas in your clothes in the most effective way, it is advised that you should find and detect the original cause of the flea infestation. First, you should check your pets as a flea infestation usually originates with them. If the cause of fleas in your clothes is your pets, you will need to give your pets some treatments to get rid of their fleas. This could be bathing them in flea shampoo and applying flea collars.After detecting and treating the fleas on your pets, if any, you should remove them from the area for a while before implementing the next steps. This is because fleas can jump over a long distance, thus if you do not remove your pets, they may jump straight back onto your pets, making all your hard work for nothing. Then, check your wardrobe, your carpets and rugs to find the things that have fleas on. You can now take steps to eradicate them.

Steps for Removal If you find out that the fleas are in your clothes, the following steps would enable you to eradicate them effectively. Firstly, make sure you put all infested clothing into a sturdy plastic bag and seal it up. This step will prevent you from spreading fleas while you are transporting your clothes to the washing machine or laundry facility.You can now use a vacuum cleaner to eradicate any fleas’ eggs that are left. You should vacuum your carpets, floors, bed, and wardrobe thoroughly. Steam cleaning these things would be even more effective, as fleas will not survive the high temperatures. Wash all your clothes at the highest temperature your washing machine can reach. Once they’re dry, iron them thoroughly to kill any remaining flea eggs.Once all this has been done, use some natural flea control products to prevent the fleas coming back again. This may be cedar wood blocks in your wardrobe or sprinkling it with essential oil such as lavender or tea tree oil.Finally, keep your clothes in a dry place as this can prevent a re-infestation. Fleas like to live and breed in dark, humid places. It’s important to make sure that your house is always kept in a clean, tidy and sanitary condition.


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a wise old saying. It is necessary to take some preventative steps after removing existing fleas on your pets and in your home. Here are a few tips to help you.

Vacuuming daily

It is important to vacuum your entire house daily. Because one female flea can lay up to fifty eggs a day, vacuuming daily is the best prevention method to protect your pets and your home.

Wash and launder regularly

 Do not leave your dirty clothes for more than three days before washing them. This will prevent fleas maturing and laying eggs on your clothes. Fleas prefer humid, dark and dirty places, which sounds just like a laundry basket! Thus, always do your laundry regularly

Use natural flea products

All the above-mentioned methods can help protect you from fleas. However, you should take the additional step of using natural flea products. This is one of the most effective prevention and treatment methods for fleas. One suggestion is cedar oil products, which can be sprayed onto your pets or around the yard and house. Another is to plant rosemary or lavender plants in pots around the outside of the house.I hope that all the above steps can help you confront the problem of fleas in your clothes. You can find more flea treatments on this website.

5 Dangers of Wildlife on Your Property

Dangers of Wildlife on Your Property
Image courtesy of Kevin Law CC by S.A.-2.0
Wildlife is a common occurrence in rural areas, and it is even common to see some wildlife in cities. You may be dealing with raccoons, moles, squirrels, deer and even foxes. While wildlife is common and an important part of nature, it is not necessarily a good idea to have a lot of wildlife on your property. There are dangers that wildlife can carry, and you may need to have some of the wildlife trapped and removed from your property or set up fences to keep it out of your home. Here are five dangers of wildlife on your property.

Danger to Your Pets

Wildlife can be a danger to your pets. If the wildlife has contracted rabies and is behaving erratically, it may be more likely to attack your pets. Some wildlife like coyotes may prove dangerous to your small dogs or cats. Raccoons will also defend their territory and may pose a threat to your animals that approach them. You will need to take your pet to the vet if they are bitten by animal.

Chance of Being Bitten

Some types of wildlife may be dangerous for your children as well. Raccoons are aggressive if your children accidentally stumble on a nest. Woodchucks have a powerful bite and strong teeth and can do serious damage to your home. Poisonous snakes also pose a problem for your children and will need to be addressed if they are on your property.

Exposure to Feces

Some of the animal feces can contain parasites that they can seriously impact your family if they even just accidentally step in it or disturb it. Raccoons have a parasite that will burrow into different areas of your body and leave a cyst that can cause issues years later. The best way to protect your family from these areas is to keep the animals away from your family.

Damage to Your Property

Wildlife can damage your property. If they get into your crawlspace or your attic, they can pull apart your insulation, chew through wiring and wreak havoc on your HVAC system. They can also chew through your fence, tip over trash cans and they can ruin your vegetable garden. Even birds and bats can damage your home if they live in your attic.

Risk of Contracting an Illness

Wildlife can spread a number of different illnesses. They can also carry fleas which can also spread a number of diseases. There is also the chance of it spreading illnesses like rabies. Watching out for more aggressive animals can help you prevent from contracting an illness.

Why Does My Home Smell Musty?

moisture controlThe air in your home can directly affect your and your family’s health. There are a number of different reasons why your home may have a musty smell. The first step that you need to do is to identify why your home is smelling musty and then you can take the steps to address it.  

Address Things That Are Causing the Smell

Your home may smell musty because it is holding onto old cooking odors or there may be issues with having a pet. If this is the case, you will need to address the issues by addressing the smells. Cleaning your home thoroughly can help. Be sure to wash your dishes right away and to wipe down the counters and stove food. Taking out the trash can help. If you have issues due to having pets in your home, you can address this in a few different ways. You may need to bathe your pet more often and be sure to wash any bedding they sleep in on a regular basis. You may want to have the carpets cleaned more regularly. If you are a smoker, you may be facing issues with this smell. Make sure your home can air out, and try to smoke next to an open window. Cleaning your furniture and your drapes can also help with this.

Look for Other Issues

 If you have a strong mildew or mold smell in your home, you will need to look for what may be causing this smell. You should begin by looking in your crawlspace or basement for issues. Check to see if there is moisture in this area. You should look for signs of mold growth on the wood or insulation. If the area is damp, you need to address this because it can lead to mold growing and the air in your crawlspace does affect the overall air quality of your home. This may need to be addressed by a professional that can encapsulate or seal off your crawlspace. This will address any mold issues and help with your heating and cooling bills too.  

Find Trouble Spots

You may find that there is one room in your home where the smell is stronger than others.  If you have an issue with a bathroom that is always smelly, you may need to have the plumbing checked to make sure that the pipes are vented properly and that there isn’t anything trapped or any clogs. You should make sure that the ventilation system in your bathroom works properly as well as that there is no mold in the bathrooms. This should help overall.   

How to Help Your Property Recover from Termites

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Many homeowners feel panic when they first suspect that they may have termites. Then a feeling of dread may settle in once that is confirmed after an inspection. A termite infestation affects your ability to your sell your home, and it can reduce your property value until the repairs are completed. Here are the steps you need to take to help your property completely recover from a termite infestation.

Treat Your Home for Termites

The first step is treat the infestation and get rid of the termites. The sooner you have the termites treated, the less damage that they can do to your property. While many people try to treat for insect infestations themselves, when it comes to termites, it is best to use a professional. They can correctly apply the treatments and make sure that the termites do not return. The treatments usually come with a warranty, which protects you against future termite infestations.

Make the Repairs

While you may want to delay making the repairs because of the cost to do so, it is important to make the repairs right away. The repairs may have made your home structurally unsound. You will need to make these repairs to keep your family safe from the damage. While you may not have significant structural damage to your home, you should still make the repairs. The damaged wood will give easy access to other insects and animals that may try to come into your home. It is important to make those repairs correctly and right away. While you may be tempted to make the repairs yourself, there are proper ways to make those repairs to keep your home safe, and having a professional may be the best option.

Prevent Future Infestations

Take the time to examine your home for signs of weakness. Be sure that the roof is in good repair and that any vents are covered with grates that will keep termites out. Check your crawlspace to see if it can be improved by keeping it dry and sealed off. You can also check your property to see if there is any wood around the property that may attract the termites.

Set Up a Continued Monitoring System

It is important to have a continued monitoring system for termites. This can be done around your property. You should continue to have regular inspections and treatments done in the future to prevent termites from being an issue again.

5 Commonly Asked Questions About Termites

termite controlTermites are a large problem throughout the world. While they perform a necessary part in breaking down the dead wood that may be underground or around a forest and turning it into soil, they can also do significant damage to your home in a relatively short period of time. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.

Can Termites Hurt People?

Termites will feed on wood. They avoid light and will spend their time underground. Termites focus the most on their colonies and their roles within it. The solider termites that are designed to protect the colony may bite you if you are hassling them in some way, but it is not a very common occurrence. For the most part, termites will leave you alone as they just want to remain undetected as they feed on your home.

Can I Treat Termites on My Own?

While you may be able to find methods of treatment throughout the internet that suggest using vinegar soaked cardboard or other methods, it really is best to turn to the professionals for treatments. This is because of the extensive damage that termites can cause to your home and make it unsafe for you and your family. However, you can focus on preventing termites in your yard and around your home by clearing out dead wood on your property and keeping the trees and bushes from touching your home. You can also avoid using mulch around your property.

Do Termites Fly?

Termites will fly when they swarm. This happens when some of the termites leave to establish a new colony. Generally, termites will swarm in the spring. If you see flying termites around your property or in your home, you likely have an established colony on your property. If you see piles of discarded wings, you likely have a newly established colony. Either way you should schedule a termite inspection to make sure that you do not have an issue in the future.

Do I Really Need a Termite Inspection?

You should schedule an annual termite inspection or set up a termite monitoring system around your property. This allows you to catch termite activity before it become s too serious. The inspector will look at common areas where termites first start to attract your home, like your attic, crawlspace or basement. The inspectors are trained to look below the surface and to catch any activity so that you can begin treatment. You can watch for signs of termites like mud tubes, damaged wood around your property or in your home or discarded wings as well.

How Much Damage Do Termites Really Do to Your Home?

One termite colony can eat through your entire home in just two years. While this may seem like a slow process, it is important to realize that the damages that make your home unsafe like weakened floor joists, can actually happen much more quickly. Another thing to consider is that many people find that they have more than one colony on their property. Termites can damage the floor joists, floor boards, supporting beams and any area that is wood. Dampwood termites will eat the protective casings around electrical wires and can create a serious fire hazard. This damage can affect your property value until it is addressed and repaired.

5 Ways to Prevent a Cockroach Infestation

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Cockroaches are an issue that can be difficult to deal with. Roaches spread illnesses as they crawl over your dishes and through your food. They can also trigger people who have allergies and asthma. Cockroaches can be difficult to eliminate and it is best to avoid an infestation if possible. Here are five steps you can take to avoid getting cockroaches.

1. Check Packages and Boxes You Bring Into Your Home

Cockroaches can catch a ride into your home through the packages that you bring in from the grocery store or order from the warehouse. You may inadvertently bring some home from work or school in your backpack if you are working in a place that has a serious cockroach infestation. When you receive a package, open it immediately. Do not let it sit in your home, because this gives cockroaches a chance to escape. Take the box outside to the recycling immediately. Check your grocery bags and other bags when you get home and immediately empty them. If you know that there is a roach issue where you are working consider leaving your bag or purse at home.

2. Seal Off Outside Entrances for Cockroaches

Cockroaches will crawl in through the cracks around your windows or doorframes. Caulking the cracks around the windows and adding weather stripping to your door can prevent a number of cockroaches from getting in. In addition, check to make sure that the vents in your attic or home have exclusion barriers that are designed to let air in but keep insects like roaches and termites out. Look at any area where a pipe enters your home. Be sure that the wood around it is in good condition and that there are not cracks or holes that cockroaches can crawl through.

3. Trim Back Overhanging Trees and Bushes

Cockroaches can crawl up trees or bushes and drop onto your roof. There they may find weaknesses in your roof or the vents that lead into your kitchen or bathroom and make their way inside of your home. Trimming back overhanging limbs will help prevent cockroaches and other pests (like mice) from finding a way inside your home. This can make a big difference without too much effort.

4. Protect Your Walls and Home

If you live in an apartment, townhome or condo, you may be facing a bigger battle when it comes to preventing cockroaches. They will move through your shared wall space and can invade your home even if you keep it as clean as possible. There are a few things you can do to protect your home.
  • Be sure that the electrical covers are installed over all of the outlets.
  • Install childproof plugs in each outlet.
  • Repair any holes in the walls that will allow roaches to move into your home.
  • Seal up cracks between the walls and your cupboards to seal areas where roaches nest.
  • Keep your bathtub drains closed when you are not using it.

5. Keep Your Home Clean

Keeping your home clean will make a big difference in the number of cockroaches in your home. If you do not provide them with food or water or a place to nest then they will not stay. Cockroaches like clutter. If you can clear off your counters and bookshelves, you will help to reduce the number of places for cockroaches to hide. Doing your dishes as soon as you eat and taking out your trash every evening can also help reduce the chances of having cockroaches. Be sure to only eat in the kitchen.

What Are Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are different from common or household ants. However, they are one of the most common types of ants in Virginia. It is important to be able to identify carpenter ants because they can do serious damage to your home. If you notice them around your home, you will need to exterminate them right away.

Where Do Carpenter Ants Build Their Colonies?

Carpenter ants will build their colonies in dead wood. They do not eat the wood like termites do, but they will chew it to create tunnels to live in. Since they do not eat the wood, you may see piles of sawdust in your home or around your yard. This is a sign that you may have carpenter ants. Carpenter ants like to build inside the wood of your home, which is how they were named.

How Do I Identify Carpenter Ants?

People can confuse carpenter ants with termites or household ants. Carpenter ants are larger than household ants. The grow up to ½ an inch in size. Carpenter ants are black. Termites look different from ants because their body is uniform in width without having the narrow waists that ants have. Carpenter ants can have wings. Only the queen and the reproductive males will have wings, and you may see them when they are looking to establish a new colony.

How Can I Check If My Home Has Carpenter Ants?

If you notice hollow sounding wood, you can knock on it. If there are carpenter ants, they will stream out of the wood. You may also notice them along the edges of your carpet or your baseboards. You may also see the ants in your window sill. You may find them when you pull up the carpenter of if you see the small piles of sawdust around your home.

What Do I Do If Find Carpenter Ants?

When you spot carpenter ants, you need to call an exterminator right away. They will continue to cause damage in your home until you treat for them. The longer you wait, the more extensive and expensive the damage will be. An exterminator can also inspect other areas of your home to make sure that you do not have any other issues with wood boring insects that can damage your home and give you an expected treatment plan. Once you have treated for the carpenter ants, you will need to make repairs so that your home is structurally sound. Other pests can find their way inside your home through the damage that they have caused.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Bed Bugs in Fairfax County

bed bugs FairfaxWith recent reports in the news of bed bugs in public buildings, like schools, in the greater D.C. area, you may be wondering what you can do to protect your family and your home from bed bugs. While bed bugs were nearly eradicated in the 1960s, they have made a huge comeback in recent years. The bed bugs themselves do not spread disease, but they can cause other problems including allergic reactions. Add that to the fact that they are hard to treat and exterminate, and you can understand why it is important to avoid getting them completely.

1. Check Before Any Hotel Stay

One of the best ways to protect yourself from getting bed bugs is to complete a throughout check of your hotel room before you stay the night. You should check the bedding to make sure it is free from stains and droppings. Bed bug droppings are small, but will smear a rust color stain if touched. Look behind the headboard to make sure you do not see signs of droppings or the bugs themselves. If your room looks clean, then you should still be careful with your luggage. Never place it directly on the bed or on the floor. Use the luggage rack that is provided in the room.

2. Check Your Luggage Before You Take It Inside

Bed bugs can crawl from one location to another. Be sure to check your luggage for signs of bugs before you leave the hotel room. You should also look for bed bugs again before you take your luggage inside of your home. You can purchase a special suitcase heater that will treat the luggage for bed bugs by heating it up. This can work as an extra precaution after any trips

3. Be Careful with Purse, Briefcase and Backpack

Many bed bugs are being spread in public buildings like schools or municipal buildings. Bed bugs do not travel around on people, but they will crawl into someone’s bag, and then out of it again looking for a new place to call home.  Students can bring bed bugs to school in a backpack, and then they will wander out and infest the school or wander into another student’s backpack, especially if the backpacks are stored close together. When you are in a public place try to keep your bag or purse off the floor to reduce the chances of picking up bed bugs. If there are issues at your child’s school, then you may want to stop sending your child with a backpack until the situation is addressed.

4. Rethink Your Gym Bag

Gyms are another common area to pick up bed bugs without realizing it. Often a person will not realize that they may be spreading bed bugs when they take their bag to the gym. The bed bugs can get out and wander around the locker room looking for a new place to hide. If they wander into your gym bag, then you may end up taking the bugs home with you. If possible, you may want to consider changing and showering at home. If this is not feasible with your schedule, be sure to check your bag carefully for bed bugs before putting it in your car or taking it home.If you think your home might be infested with bed bugs, contact EcoTek today for a free inspection and estimate for affordable bed bug control.