How much damage is caused by termites?

Have you ever wondered how much damage is caused by termites in a  year? Well, estimates vary, but it is estimated that each year termites cause over $5 billion in damage in the United States – and that is most likely a low estimate. Another way of saying it is, in one-year termites cause more property damage than floods, fires, hurricanes and earthquakes, combined. Which is especially unfortunate, as most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the costs to repair termite damage. This is also why it is so important to get a termite inspection and call us at the first sign of termites.

 

termite damaged wood, termite damageHow much can a termite eat?

Homeowners should be aware that the most aggressive termite colony can eat one pound of wood a day, and most species eat two to three times their body weight every day. Of course, the amount of termite damage may be more or less severe, depending on several factors including type and size of termite, moisture level present and time of year. For example, subterranean termites can cause the most damage, will thrive where moisture is available, and, like most termites, are less active during the colder months.

How large is a termite colony?

Another factor in termite damage is the size of the colony. A maturesubterranean carpenter termites on wood, termite damage colony can take 3 to 5 years, or more, to reach a mature size of about 50,000 to 60,000, which is when the colony is large enough to swarm. In reality, a subterranean termite colony can range from a few thousand to several million termites. Not to mention, one termite colony can cover a third of an acre! Though termites only travel a couple hundred feet from their nest, one colony may establish several smaller nesting sites, allowing their colony to reach a much larger area.

What termite causes the most damage?

One type of termite we are most concerned with here in Bakersfield and Ventura is the Formosan subterranean termite, also known as a ‘super termite’. These termites are larger and more aggressive than other types of subterranean termites and can eat 1 foot of a 2 x 4 piece of wood in 2 days. For comparison, an Eastern subterranean termite colony takes 6 months to consume this amount! Formosan termite colonies average 3 million termites to a colony, and can cause widespread damage to a structure in 6 months, especially in the ideal climate that is warm and moist.

 

It is always more expensive to repair termite damage than it is to prevent it. It is estimated that in the US alone, termites damage over 600,000 homes every year. Homeowners should also be aware that termites could affect homes built of just about any material, including concrete, stucco and brick. Call us for a free termite inspection at the first sign of termite damage, or if you are concerned that your property may be at risk for an infestation.

What happens to insects in the winter?

Have you ever wondered what happens to bugs and insects in winter?

Though Bakersfield and Ventura don’t get nearly as cold as other parts of the country, we do see a significant change in bug and pest activity in the winter. Some pests may move on to warmer climates, several overwinter, a few die, and yes, some will try to move inside. Curious which insects will come inside, and which will die off? Read on for more information:

 

Monarch Butterflies and Dragonflies:monarch butterflies insects in winter

Some butterfly and dragonfly varieties will die off before winter sets in, but not the migratory types, such as Monarch butterflies. Monarch butterflies are renowned for their winter migration pattern, where they typically travel down to warmer climates such as Mexico, for the winter months. In addition, migrating dragonfly colonies will travel south for winter, and nymphs of the non-migrating dragonflies will survive in the water until spring.

 

Spiders:

Did you know there are indoor and outdoor spiders, and most indoor spiders have never been outside? In fact, most would not be able to survive outside. So, as the conditions inside your home do not change in the winter, neither will the amount of spiders you see inside your home. Outside spiders, however, is a different story. While they are fairly dormant in the winter, these spiders are cold blooded, and are not affected by the weather unless temperatures drop below freezing. This is because they carry a sort of ‘antifreeze’ product in their bodies that prevents them from freezing – however, the cooler temperatures do affect their level of activity, just like other cold blooded animals, like snakes.

 

Bees, Wasps, and Ladybugs:

These winged creatures all choose to hibernate as a means of surviving the cold winter months. Ladybugs, for example, will hide under rocks to stack together to protect themselves from the elements. Bees and wasps will also gather together in hives and nests where they will survive off of stored food until warmer weather arrives.

 

Termites and Ants: 

Similar to the winged creatures above, termites and ants will make themselves comfortable below the frost line, where they will feast on stored food and wait out the chilly weather.

 

Crickets:

cocoon on branch insects in winter

Crickets are one of the few that actually die off before every winter. Before these adults die in the fall though, they lay eggs that will hatch in spring. As mentioned above, some butterfly and dragonfly populations also die before the cold comes, but leave larvae behind that will survive until spring, such as in the picture to the right.

 

Roaches:

Well we’ve saved the best for last. Did you know that most cockroaches have a hard time staying alive below a temperature of 15 degrees Fahrenheit? While that means several varieties can survive outdoors, the American Cockroach cannot. Yes, that means this is insect most likely to move inside during winter to find food, heat and water. This also means winter is the most important time to create a plan of attack against roaches!

 

During this season, you may see more pest activity inside your home, and less outside. If you have not had a pest control inspection done on the inside of your recently, now is a good time to do so. Please give us a call to schedule your next pest control inspection or service.

5 Common Fall Pests in Southern California

Thanks to 2015 being an El Nino year, Bakersfield California is experiencing a high population of common fall pests. While there is no doubt that California desperately needs the rain to help the drought, the extra moisture in the air – and high temperatures – have welcomed an onslaught of pests to the Central and Southern California regions.

Here are 5 pests to watch out for this fall:

two little black rats

Rodents – Did you know rats can fit into holes as small as ¼”? Fall is the time mice and
rats start to find their way inside where they’ll create a home to keep them warm all winter. The best way to prevent rodents from coming inside is to trim all trees and bushes back from your home, and to close up any holes in siding, roofing or screens. Also be aware that rodents love to camp out in wood and debris piles, so keep these to a minimum and away from your home. Rodents reproduce quickly, so if you’re seeing signs of these dirty creatures, give us a call immediately.

waspStinging Insects – Thanks to the warm temperatures, wasps, hornets and yellow-jackets are all at their busiest during the autumn months. Expect these annoying bugs to stick around until temperatures drop to the low 50’s. In the meantime, be on the lookout for nests and make sure to give us a call if you find one so we can remove it. If you don’t take care of your stinging insect problem this fall, expect them to come back in the Spring with a vengeance.

Fleas – Did you know fleas can survive all winter indoors or on a warm host? So it is no surprise that these pesky bugs start to head inside during the fall months while searching for a warm winter home. Establishing regular pet flea treatments, and vacuuming of carpets and furniture are the best ways to keep fleas from becoming a problem in your home.

Ants – This time of year is when ants start to make their way inside to find warmth and stock up on food before winter hits. If you have ants, we suggest you read our blog post on getting ants out of your house – and then call us. Ants can be very hard to get rid of, and often require more than one type of treatment to successfully eradicate them, which is why it is best to let a pest control professional handle the problem.

red and black seed bugs california

Seed Bugs – Similar in appearance to the Box Elder bug, infestations of seed bugs have been reported in several mountain and desert communities this year. Though they don’t bite, their extremely large numbers are a nuisance and can stain fabric when crushed. These annoying bugs are strongly attracted to any light source, and are often not receptive to pesticides.

We know what a nuisance these pests can be, and the damage that can be done if left untreated. If you are experiencing an issue with any of these common fall pests in Bakersfield and need a good pest control company, we can help – give us a call today!

Ants – Get out of my house!

Whether you live in Bakersfield, Ventura, Tehachapi or Camarillo, you will sooner or later have ants in your house. So it’s a good to know that if you’re in Bakersfield and need a pest control company, we can help! Ants are one of the most common household pests we experience, indoors and out. And, while it’s easy to kill ants, it’s not actually very easy to get rid of the entire colony of ants.

In fact, only using one method usually does not work – and not all ant pest control methods work on ants. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with an ant infestation in your house – it just means there are few things you need to know about how to get rid of ants and why they are there.

Ants infestation Hubble Pest BakersfieldFirst, did you know ant infestations are often related to the weather?

When it’s cold and wet, ants will come inside to find food, heat, and avoid flooding. When it’s dry and hot, or for example, when we are experiencing California drought conditions, ants will try to make their way inside to find water, food and cooler temperatures. This presents a case for ant problems in Bakersfield and Ventura for a couple of times during the year. This also means you can be very clean and still have ants. Keeping a clean kitchen and house alone is not an effective strategy in preventing ants because weather often plays such a large part in the problem.

Second, did you know spraying store-bought insecticide is rarely effective with ants?

Spraying ants with pesticide only kills the ones you can see, and leaves the nest safe – where most of the ants reside. Bait works better as the workers will take the bait back to the nest for others to eat. However, this is not a fail proof method, and you should consider hiring a pest control professional to ensure your problem has been resolved.

Third, the best way to get rid of ants is to avoid an infestation to begin with.

This includes the usual things like:

  • Keeping a clean house; especially the kitchen and bathroom
  • Cleaning up crumbs and spilled liquids, and throwaway rotting food
  • Store items like sugar and honey in well-sealed containers, and wipe down any stickiness on the outside

And other things you might not have considered, like:

  • Checking for any water leaks or places where water pools around faucets and sinks. These are considered good water sources to visiting ants.
  • Do an interior and exterior perimeter check and caulk holes or cracks where ants may be getting in. Also make sure to replace torn screens or weather stripping.
  • If you do see an ant, kill it and clean the area around it so that other ants cannot follow its trail. If you can find the trail, clean this area as well to prevent future ants from using the trail.

Ants infestation Hubble Pest BakersfieldThe last thing you should know about how to get rid of ants is that you will never be able to kill all of the ants – they will always make more. The best thing you can do to get rid of ants is to follow the steps above, and to have a regularly scheduled pest control service in place. If you aren’t currently using a pest control service in Bakersfield, give us a call today for a free inspection and let us help your ant infestation become a thing of the past!

 

West Nile Virus – How to Reduce Your Risk

West Nile Virus can be quite frightening, and despite the name, this virus is not only in Africa. In fact, it’s a growing problem in the United States, including areas of California like Bakersfield and Ventura County. If you have a mosquito problem, we are a pest control company in Bakersfield and we can help. While most people think that they could never become a victim and contract West Nile Virus, if they do not take proper precautions, they may be putting themselves and their family at risk. In this post, we’ll cover the basics of how you can reduce your risk and help to keep your family much safer. First, it’s important to learn a bit about it.

 How Does It Spread and What Does It Do?mosquito west nile virus bakersfield and ventura california

West Nile Virus is an infection that humans generally get through mosquitoes. Fortunately, many who get the disease do not have any symptoms. Others may only experience minor symptoms. Some of those mild symptoms might include headaches or fevers. However, others could develop far worse symptoms, including brain inflammation. Those who fear they could have West Nile Virus should have an examination by a doctor as soon as possible.

Tips for Reducing Risk

Since West Nile Virus typically transfers via mosquito bites, it is important to avoid bites. Some ways you can do this are:

  • Using repellents to keep the mosquitoes off of your skin when you are outside. When choosing an insect repellent, always go for quality and make sure that the repellant specifically works on mosquitoes.
  • If you can, wear long sleeves. This is not always possible in such a warm area as Bakersfield, so be wary of where you are and when you are out.
  • Be aware that the insects tend to be the most active during the evening hours all the way through to dawn, but they can bite during the day as well.

Additionally, you want to make sure you are protecting your home. You can do this by:

  • Ensuring you have screens on any windows and doors you keep open.
  • Inspecting screens for holes and gaps where a mosquito might be able to enter, and having them repaired.
  • Keeping the house closed up. If you have air conditioning, use it to keep it cool in the house so you don’t have to open windows.
  • Remove standing water. One of the most important tips to help keep your home a bit safer is to remove standing water! This could be from buckets, flowerpots, pet dishes, stagnant ponds, birdbaths, and more. These areas are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. By removing the standing water, it reduces the risk of having mosquitoes on your property. Even if they aren’t carrying West Nile Virus, it is always good to reduce the number of these annoying pests.

mosquito warning west nile virus Hubble Pest controlBe aware of what is happening in your area as well. Dead birds could be an indicator that West Nile Virus is in the area. If you notice this problem, make sure that you contact the authorities in Bakersfield and let them know. While it might not be an issue, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

The above are some of the simplest and best tips coming right from the Center for Disease Control. Even though it might be frightening, with a bit of preparedness, you can reduce your risk of contracting West Nile Virus.

Our knowledgeable employees are always looking for ways to help you keep your good health and to enjoy the comfort of your home with our Pest Control Service in Bakersfield. So, if they see areas with standing water that might attract mosquitos, they will suggest for you to get rid of this potential source of breeding mosquitos in Bakersfield.

How to get rid of bed bugs – and yes they are in Bakersfield and Ventura County!

Bed bugs are tiny, brown bugs the size of a seed that live on blood. These bugs do not fly, and are most active at night when they tend to bite. They have been a problem in Bakersfield, Ventura and across the USA. Thankfully, our company is a qualified bed bug pest control service in Bakersfield. Bed bugs do not transmit disease, but will leave itchy welts. As their name states, bed bugs like to hide in cloth items like bedding, sofas and carpets. It’s also common for bed bugs to be transmitted in luggage.

It may be difficult to see them since they are so small and generally only out at night, but here are a few pictures of what they look like:

 

bed bugs

bed bugs size

 

If you’re concerned that you may have bed bugs in your home, there are several things you can do to start remedying the situation. However, it can be very difficult to kill and get rid of all bed bugs without professional service.

What to do about bedbugs:

  • Use mattress covers that cover the entire mattress – top and bottom.
  • Hot wash and dry all bedding.
  • In addition, hot wash and dry any clothing that has touched the floor – including the laundry hamper.
  • Hot wash any stuffed animals or other items.
  • Vacuum your floors, pillows and upholstery regularly, and make sure to empty the vacuum canister outside.
  • Steam clean your carpets, bedding and curtains. Steam will kill bed bugs, but only if you are very thorough.
  • Eliminate or reduce clutter so bedbugs have fewer places to hide. This includes cleaning out anything under the bed.
  • Patch and seal any cracks. Inspect your walls for holes and cracks and seal these to prevent any other bugs from entering your home.
  • Call in professionals for the safest most effective approach! A combination approach of the above suggestions, in addition to calling in a bug and pest control company is highly suggested as the best recommendation for effectively killing and treating a bedbug problem. Hubble Pest Control is very experienced in treating and eliminating bed bugs. Just give us a call if you need help!

 

The best way to prevent and/or treat for bed bugs is to have a regular pest control service in place! We can ensure your home or office is free of bed bugs – Give us a call today for a quote on your pest control needs!

 

Pitter-Patter… What’s that Noise in My Attic?

While the title of this blog post might make for a good children’s story or even campfire story, the truth about what might be lurking in your attic could be very frightening, not to mention dangerous. If you hear noises in your attic at night, there’s a very good chance that you have some type of pest rattling around up there rather than Casper or some other friendly ghost! You can hear a number of different types of sounds coming from the attic. The type of creature tramping around your attic differs depending on what you hear and how frequently you hear it. Let’s look at some of the common sounds.

Nighttime Sound in the Attic

Certain types of creatures tend to be more active at night. Because they are more active, it means that you will hear them in your attic as they move around. If you hear loud thumping, chances are that it is some type of larger animal up there. It could be a raccoon or a possum, for example. They have relatively heavy bodies, and as they move around they may make some noise.

Scratching sounds, while they could be from raccoons and possums, could also be from other, smaller pests. Mice and rats also tend to be more active in the nighttime hours, and you can often hear them scurrying along the attic and even in the walls. If you hear something that sounds like a vocalization of some sort at night, it could be a raccoon. Other creatures can make sounds, such as bats, but the larger animals are often much easier to hear.

Some of the other types of creatures that could live in your attic, even though they may not make any nighttime sounds, include birds, squirrels, and snakes.

Just because you hear one of these sounds, it does not necessarily mean that you have one of these types of critters up in the attic. It could be any number of other animals in the Bakersfield area. Some are more active in the day and some are more active at night. What it does mean is that you should get in touch with a pest control company as soon as possible.

What Should You Do?

First, let’s cover what you should not do. Do not attempt to remove a wild animal on your own. They can be dangerous, and when they are in fear – as they will be when you approach them – they can bite or claw you. You want to let the experts handle the inspection and the removal of any type of pest on your property. It is safer for you, as well as for the animal in question, when you let the experts handle it. Let the experts come to your house and make the determination of what errant little creature decided to make a home on your property.

Once the creature is out of the property, make sure you take measures to prevent any other animals from making their way into your attic. A good Bakersfield pest control company will not only get rid of the pest. They will also close the most likely entryway to your attic.

One pest control company located in Bakersfield and Ventura County that can handle pest control in your attic and patching up potential entry points for pests is Hubble Termite.

Preventing Dry Rot

No one likes nasty surprises that lead to spending money on expensive repairs. However, experienced homeowners know that it is just part of being a property owner. One of those issues that can be quite expensive, is dry rot. The cost of dry rot repair can be quite small or astronomical depending on how extensive is the damage. In some cases, where the dry rot is severe, the entire home or commercial building might be beyond repair. No one likes to think about this happening, but it is a frightening possibility.

Dry rot in wood is caused by moisture and fungi which basically makes the wood hollow. Termites also work in a similar way in that they eat the wood and make tunnels in the wood. Whether you are dealing with dry rot or termites you will need help to deal with the aftermath and the damage. Of course, the best way to deal with the problem is by taking preventative action before it ever happens. Take the following tips and implement them right now as a means to prevent dry rot in your own home or commercial building.

Tips for Preventing Dry Rot in wood

One of the best and easiest tips is to make sure that you have your wood sealed properly. Having a good coat of paint on areas of the wood exposed to direct weather helps to prevent moisture from getting into the wood and starting the rot. Make sure there is no area in your home where water settles onto any wood and stands. These water traps are trouble. Be sure the home has plenty of ventilation, as well, to help ensure any moist areas are able to dry. Allowing for airflow can make a real difference. For example, make sure the wood does not have direct contact with the ground, including cement and masonry work.

Another option, if you are just now building, is to use rot resistant wood. Some good options include teak, red cedar, and cypress. However, many people already have a home, and they have to deal with the wood that was used to build it.

It is also a good idea to inspect your home from time to time, so you can look for signs of dry rot, as well as signs of termite infestation. Termites can damage wood quickly, so an inspection at least once a year is a good idea. Since most people are not experts when it comes to termites, make sure you have a professional who can come to the property and complete the inspection for you. They will let you know if you do have a termite problem as well as what you can do about that problem to help save your home from further damage.

Even though you might spend money now on dealing with a termite problem and making sure the wood in your house is not subject to rotting, it is less than what you would pay if a significant portion of your home was affected by dry rot. The price of preventative maintenance is an investment you should certainly be willing to make.

Fortunately for our customers at Hubble Termite we are Bakersfield and Camarillo experts at dry rot repair and termite damage. Our long term experience happens to be in construction, so we know wood and what to do if repair is required.

Are there termites in my house?

Do you worry about termites in Bakersfield, Ventura County or any California city? If you have a property made of wood, then at some point there is a very real possibility that the dastardly little pests could be making their way toward your building. Of course, knowing whether you have termites may not be easy, especially in the early days of an infestation. Once the termites have a good hold of your property though, it becomes painfully obvious. The next step is to make sure that you have someone come in to take care of those termites as early as possible. So, how do you know if you have termites on your property?

Signs of termites

It is important for any property owner to have a basic understanding of just what they should look for when it comes to termites. They leave certain signs that can point to their infestation. A colony could eat up to a pound of wood in a single day, and this makes it possible to pinpoint whether you have an infestation or not.

Here are some of the signs that you will want to keep looking for on your property.

swarm of termites termite tubes termite damaged wood

 

  • Swarms
  • Termite Tubes
  • Damaged Wood

Swarms are a relatively easy way to know if you have these pests. Seeing actual termites swarm around your property, or your neighbor’s property, is an indicator that they could already be invading. However, many people mistake the termites for flying ants, as many of them flying together do look like flying ants.

Termite tubes are the ways that termites will travel through the ground. They travel underground to help keep them safe from predators and the environment. These tubes, sometimes called mud tubes, are only about the thickness of a straw. Sometimes they might be slightly larger. If you notice these “vein-like” structures on your property, such as on your lawn, yard, or around the foundation of the property, there is a chance that you could have termites.

Another one of the signs your home might have termites is actually having damaged wood. Most of the time, this means that the infestation is already quite severe and that the property could have a substantial amount of damage. This is a nightmare for any homeowner, as it means repairs and reconstruction of the property in order to make it safe and to get it into a livable condition again. This is why it is so important to have regular inspections. Catching the problem sooner rather than later is always a good idea.

If you feel that you might have a problem with termites from your own investigation, or if you just aren’t sure, you don’t want to risk it! Instead of sitting up late at night and hoping that you don’t have termites, you need to take steps to get an inspection right now. Hubble Termite can come to your property and make an inspection to identify the extent of termite damage. If it turns out that you do have termites, we can help you with that problem as well.

6 Top Summer Pests in Bakersfield

The Bakersfield summer unfortunately comes with some pests to compete with your time at the pool, grilling in the backyard, and relaxing in your nice, air conditioned home. While you might think that the weather is great, you certainly aren’t the only one. Insects and all types of pests come out in the summer months as well, and they can be highly annoying and sometimes dangerous. Bakersfield is a great place to live, but you have to admit that just like other cities, we have our fair share of bothersome pests with which to deal.

Here are the top 6 pests that tend to be active in the Bakersfield area in the summer. Are these the only pests? Not at all. However, they can be very troublesome, and you will need some help dealing with them.

  • Cockroaches
  • Bedbugs
  • Bees
  • Ants
  • Spiders
  • Earwigs

Each of these pests is a problem in its own right. I am also sure that if you asked 10 people in Bakersfield what the top 6 pests are, we would probably get all different answers.  They also are the ones we chose based on years of experience getting rid of them.

Cockroaches – are known for being dirty creatures, and they can spread disease. They can also be an indicator of other issues on the property. For example, if cockroaches are infesting one unit in a townhome or apartment complex, it could indicate health issues and greater home pest control issues, such as rodents.  Cockroaches are very active at night and are known for even crawling into your bedding, so be advised to call in a Bakersfield pest control company to use the right stuff to kill those cockroaches.

Bedbugs – unfortunately are a real nuisance and can multiply very rapidly.  A female can lay hundreds of eggs at a time.  Bedbugs feed on blood so they need insects or humans to survive.  They usually arrive in your home via a used piece of furniture or when you have visited a hotel that had bed bugs and then return with your dirty clothes to your home.  They are very small, about the size of an apple seed or smaller.  They hide during the day and come out at night to feed.  You will know you have them when you wake up with your skin itching and have small red spots from their bites.  They are not known to transmit disease, but they are not easy to get rid of yourself.  You need to call a professional pest control person who is experienced with bedbugs.

Bees…. might be quite important to nature, but they and their other stinging friends like wasps can be quite a problem when they decide to have a hive on your property. If you have swarms of bees around your flowering plants, but do not have a hive, you are not in much danger.  You could just trade in those flowering plants for something they do not like.  However, if you have a hive in your front yard tree, it is time to call your local pest control service company before one of the neighbor kids gets stung.

Ants can get into your home and infest the place quickly, sometimes damaging food and being a general nuisance. No one wants to deal with an ant infestation, as without the proper help, it can be difficult to overcome.  Finding the source of the problem is important and unfortunately most home owners only spray the ones they see which will not end the problem.  The queen needs to be attacked and most Bakersfield pest control companies have good methods to take care of problem ants.

Spiders – one pest that can be quite scary to anyone.   We have all heard stories about someone getting either deathly ill or they develop a big hole in their skin because of a poisonous spider bite.  And, who likes to clean up spider webs..what a mess.  Spiders are unfortunately known for being quite resilient when it comes to bug spray…they just keep going despite a direct hit with the spray.  Again, time to call the pest control service for that spider invasion.

Earwigs – what a funny name for a bug, but can they multiply with females laying up to 50 eggs each.  Since they are nocturnal you will usually see them at night looking for food and water, so kitchens and bathrooms are normal places to find them.  They are very thin and can crawl through a small opening.  Contrary to popular belief they do not like to crawl into peoples’ ears and chew on brains.  They are quite harmless to humans, but they can make a mess out of your plants.  Fortunately, a good Bakersfield home pest control company should be able to free your home of earwigs.

No one likes dealing with pests, but they are simply a part of life. Having a great company that can help deal with those pests can make life quite a bit easier. When you find that you have pests in your home or anywhere on your property, it is important to take action as soon as you are able. The faster you can deal with the problem the better. However, you need to be sure you are working with a qualified company for the job. Check to see that the company you choose will actually be able to provide you with service to deal with the specific types of pests you have.