Friday 14 July 2023

Fleas or Bed Bugs: Identifying the Pest in Your Home

Fleas or Bed Bugs: How to Identify the Culprit

Both fleas and bed bugs are parasitic insects that can cause considerable stress and discomfort in your life. They are notorious for leaving unpleasant insect bites and can quickly reproduce, leading to a full-blown infestation within weeks. While both pests can cause itching, there are distinct characteristics that set them apart. Here are some guidelines to help you differentiate between the two and develop an effective strategy to deal with them.

Identifying Fleas and Bed Bugs

Fleas and bed bugs are often confused due to their similar appearances. Both are small, wingless insects with a reddish-brown colour, measuring only a few millimeters in length. Given their tiny size and ability to swiftly escape when detected, it can be challenging to spot key differences. However, examining a deceased specimen can provide an opportunity for analysis. Bed bugs have a flat, apple seed-like shape, while fleas are more elongated and oval in appearance. Fleas are also smaller, ranging in length from 1.5 mm to 3.3 mm. Although both fleas and bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, they often enter homes unnoticed. Typically, people only become aware of their presence after experiencing bites.

Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites

If you notice unusual bites on your skin or your pets' skin, you can gain some insight into the type of pest infestation you're dealing with. While individual reactions to bug bites can vary, there are certain indicators to look for.

Flea bites are commonly found on the legs, feet, waist, or armpits, but they can appear anywhere the insects have access. These bites often appear red, swollen, and somewhat blotchy, accompanied by persistent itching. They may have a dark red centre due to the flea's specialized mouthpart that creates a single puncture. Flea bites are often accompanied by rashes and are described as resembling a cluster of mosquito bites. Fleas bite both humans and pets, and the bites generally have a similar appearance regardless of the host.

Bed bug bites, on the other hand, tend to differ from flea bites and resemble small, hard, swollen lumps, similar to mosquito bites. They are most commonly found on the hands, neck, and arms. Bed bug bites can also cause itching. These bites often appear in a straight row or line, typically consisting of three or four bites, although this pattern may not always be present.

Mosquito bites and their significance

Mosquito bites can bear a resemblance to both flea and bed bug bites. However, it's important to note that encountering mosquitoes within your home is far less likely compared to fleas and bed bugs. If you wake up with bites on your body, it's unlikely to be a mosquito issue. In such cases, it's crucial to observe other behavioral indicators to determine whether you're dealing with fleas or bed bugs.

**It's important to note that an allergic reaction can develop in response to any of these pests. If you experience significant swelling, blisters, or intense itching that does not subside with over-the-counter antihistamines or cortisone, seek medical attention from a physician.

Flea Behavior and Indications of an Infestation

Fleas are transported via household pets and wild animals and feed on the blood of warm-blooded organisms. Although fleas cannot fly, they possess remarkable jumping abilities and move swiftly. The most common species is the cat flea, which targets cats, dogs, and humans alike. A single adult flea can lay between 150 and 300 eggs per week, rapidly escalating the flea problem.

Flea Hiding Spots

Fleas primarily reside on your pets, making their homes in areas where animals sleep. Usually, fleas prefer to stay on their animal hosts; however, as they reproduce, they tend to lay eggs in pet fur, which can fall off and contaminate your surroundings. Over time, the eggs hatch, and you may notice fleas hiding in your upholstery or carpet, awaiting an opportunity to bite you or your pets.

Signs of a Flea Infestation

If you observe your pets scratching more frequently than usual, it's advisable to check for fleas. You will likely notice fleas on your animals before detecting them elsewhere. Fleas tend to hide close to the skin of dogs and cats, but checking your pet's belly is a good starting point. You may notice patches of irritated pink skin resulting from flea bites. Fleas also leave behind specks of brown fecal matter resembling dust. Additionally, you may spot fleas moving on your pet as you examine them.

In severe infestations, fleas may start jumping off the ground. At this point, you will likely have already noticed fleas on your pets or yourself, indicating the need to contact a professional pest control company.

Bed Bug Behaviour and Indications of an Infestation

Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and hide in purses, luggage, and other personal belongings to find a source of human blood. They derive their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. A single adult bed bug can lay 200 eggs during its lifetime, leading to a significant bed bug problem in a matter of weeks.

Bed Bug Hiding Places

While fleas and bed bugs are considered nocturnal, being more active at night when seeking blood meals, bed bugs primarily infest bedrooms. They can be found in the seams and crevices of mattresses, bed frames, box springs, and along baseboards, often concealing themselves in well-hidden cracks.

Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

Apart from waking up with itchy red spots on your skin, there are other signs to look out for that indicate the presence of bed bugs. You may notice bloodstains or fecal spots on your sheets. Some individuals report a musty odour in the bedroom, although this is not always noticeable.

Treatment Options for Fleas

Treat your pets with flea and tick medication.

If you have fleas in your home, it's likely they were brought in by your pets. To prevent future infestations, ensure your dogs and cats receive oral or topical flea and tick medication during the appropriate season. Various treatments are available, and consulting with your veterinarian will help determine the best solution for your pets.

DIY flea treatments.

While it's possible to attempt a flea infestation treatment on your own, it can be challenging and overwhelming. There are numerous options to consider, such as flea traps and foggers. However, if not used correctly, over-the-counter solutions may prove ineffective and even pose risks to your home's occupants, belongings, and pests. Although you may be eager to address the problem quickly, DIY flea treatments generally yield inferior results compared to those performed by professional exterminators.

Clean your home.

Thoroughly cleaning your home is crucial in eliminating fleas. Flea eggs can fall off pets and land on surfaces such as pet bedding, carpets, beds, couches, rugs, and others. To ensure the eradication of fleas, vacuuming is essential. It will help remove live fleas and eggs. Neglecting to vacuum may result in unhatched eggs maturing into adults, potentially leading to a resurgence of the flea problem you thought you had resolved.

Additionally, wash any items that may have come into contact with fleas, including clothes, blankets, pet bedding, linens, and pillows. Use the hottest water setting available and detergent to ensure effective cleaning.

Treatment Options for Bed Bugs

Tidy your bedroom.

Although bed bugs can infest other furniture pieces like couches, they primarily remain in bedrooms. Similar to flea treatment, it is important to wash all linens, using the highest heat setting and detergent. Vacuum your mattress, the area under your bed, the box spring, and the bedroom floor. Cleaning is just one part of the treatment process—using some form of pesticide is necessary to ensure the complete eradication of bed bugs.

DIY bed bug treatments.

In general, DIY bed bug treatments are ineffective. Natural products and chemical solutions are readily available at home improvement stores, but they are not professional-grade and can be challenging to apply correctly. Bed bugs are skilled at hiding and can easily avoid applied treatments.

Professional Pest Control Services Are the Best Option for Fleas and Bed Bugs

Whether you are dealing with fleas or bed bugs, early detection and treatment are crucial. While bed bugs do not pose significant health risks, fleas are known carriers of bacterial infections and, historically, the bubonic plague (although it is now rare). Parasitic insects like fleas and bed bugs can be extremely unsettling, but Pest-Vigil is here to restore your peace of mind.

At Pest-Vigil, our expert technicians offer free inspections to assess your pest issue and develop a customized treatment plan. Contact us today for professional pest control assistance.

Friday 7 July 2023

Attracted to Moisture: Common Pests in Your Home and How to Keep Them at Bay


What Kinds of Pests are Attracted to Moisture?

When dealing with a pest issue at home, our first step in addressing the infestation is to determine the source. All living organisms require three essential elements for survival: food, water, and shelter from the elements. Pests that have entered or established colonies in human dwellings are in search of (or have already found) at least one of these necessities.

Even in the cleanest homes, where kitchen countertops are spotless and food is stored in airtight containers, pests can hide in corners and crevices, waiting to exploit the indoor plumbing. Moisture alone can attract numerous insects into a home, and the added bonus of protection from harsh weather and predators only makes it more appealing.

In the following sections, we will explore which pests are attracted to moisture in our homes, where they are most likely to find it and settle, and what steps to take if your home has a moisture issue.

Where Can Pests Find Moisture in Our Homes?

Pests tend to gravitate towards specific areas of our homes based on their needs and behaviours. Do they prefer darkness or light? Are they carnivorous (like spiders) or herbivores in search of plant-based materials?

While household pests can be found in any part of your home, there are specific hotspots that tend to attract the most attention from insects and rodents once they gain entry.

Kitchens are the most obvious areas for pests to search for food and moisture. Even the tiniest crumb from last night's dinner can be a feast for a tiny insect. Kitchens also tend to have higher humidity levels and may contain stray water droplets from the sink or condensation from cold foods and dishes.

Bathrooms harbor multiple sources of moisture, including toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs, and more. They may also contain organic matter such as hair, skin, and nails, which can be appetizing to certain pests. The frequent dampness caused by steam from baths and showers makes bathrooms susceptible to mildew, which many pests can feed on.

Basements often retain residual moisture from other parts of the house. Due to gravity, water and cool air tend to accumulate in the lowest level of a house, making basements highly prone to mold, mildew, and attractive to pests. Additionally, many pests are nocturnal and prefer to inhabit dark, quiet spaces, making basements an ideal hiding spot.

Attics are frequently the first areas affected by roof leaks. However, if the attic is primarily used for storage and receives little foot traffic, the leak may go unnoticed for some time. Warm temperatures in attics, caused by rising heat, make them appealing to many pests. If an attic is both warm and damp, mold growth is likely to occur, which will further attract pests. Regularly checking the attic for any issues is advisable.

Any room with leaks and moisture can entice hungry insects and rodents, especially if the leaks are caused by openings leading outside. If your roof, walls, or windows allow wind and water to enter, they are likely to become entry points for insects as well.

Even rooms without cracks or holes leading outside can have leaky pipes that create water puddles on the floor, providing insects and rodents with a perfect water source. Locating and repairing the source of the water is crucial in preventing infestations or the growth of harmful mold.

Pests that Thrive in Moist Environments in Your Home

Water is essential for all forms of life on Earth, and moisture will attract a variety of pests into your home. Some pests rely more heavily on water than others, and their need for water may vary throughout different stages of their life cycle.

The presence of water, combined with other factors and the preferences of pests, make certain pests more likely to appear and stay in particular areas. However, any pest in your home can move to any other area at any time.

Some of the most common household pests attracted to moisture include:


Found in: Gardens, all areas of the house

Mosquitoes can be highly irritating as they buzz around and bite animals and humans, leaving itchy red welts. Mosquitoes are extremely common pests found in large numbers throughout India. They lay eggs in standing water, and their larvae attach themselves to the water's surface as they mature. This predominantly occurs in stagnant water outside, such as in buckets, pots, or any receptacles that can collect rainwater. However, it can also happen inside the home if there is undisturbed standing water available. Even one mosquito finding a suitable water source can initiate a mosquito infestation within your home.


Found in: Walls, basements, crawlspaces

Termites are highly destructive pests that cause billions of dollars in damages to homes each year. These wood-eating pests often establish entire colonies inside or beneath homes, where they find food, water, and protection from weather and predators. Termites usually discover a home through exploratory tunnels or mud tubes as they search the surrounding area for food sources (such as wood, paper, plaster, etc.) and moisture. Once they locate a source of food and water, the entire colony may migrate closer to or even inside the structure. Termites are frequently found within the walls of homes, but they can also establish colonies under the foundation, using mud tubes to travel between their colony and the sources of food and water within the home.


Found in: Kitchens, basements, bathrooms

Similar to termites, ants are attracted to sources of food and moisture, which they transport back to their colonies to feed their queens and larvae. Ants are commonly found in kitchens, where they scavenge for food crumbs, grease splatters, and water. Odorous house ants, also known as sugar ants, are particularly prevalent in Indian homes. They are attracted to sugar and sweets but will consume any available food in your kitchen. Ants have a waxy exoskeleton that repels water, allowing them to carry small droplets back to their colony. However, they mainly obtain the necessary moisture from their food.


Found in: Basements, kitchens, bathrooms

Cockroaches are nocturnal scavengers that prefer to hide in small, dark spaces during the day. They startle easily, scurrying and jumping when cabinet doors are opened or basement lights are turned on. Cockroaches are attracted to food, moisture, and warmth, and they can feed on almost anything. Damp basements, bathrooms, and kitchens, with their abundance of food sources, are the most common places to find cockroaches. A female cockroach can produce an average of 150 offspring in her lifetime, so it is crucial to address an infestation early on.


Found in: Bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements

Silverfish, similar to cockroaches, prefer dark, warm, and moist environments, making them commonly found in bathrooms and basements. These small, wriggling insects have a preference for starchy foods over sweets, so they are less likely than sugar-loving ants and cockroaches to infest kitchen cabinets. Instead, they are more interested in paper goods and fabrics. Due to their preference for darkness and moisture, silverfish are known to hide in sink and tub drains, while their affinity for warmth attracts them to laundry dryers. Silverfish are not solitary insects, so if you spot one, there are likely more nearby.

Drain flies

Found in: Kitchens, bathrooms

Drain flies are attracted to the moist and dark areas commonly found in pipes and garbage disposals. They lay eggs in gelatinous masses on drain walls or other wet surfaces near water sources. These eggs hatch into small larvae known as "sewer worms" or "drain worms." The larvae feed on organic matter, such as decaying debris and sludge within drains. While drain flies themselves do not cause harm or transmit diseases, their presence can be a nuisance and indicate underlying sanitation or drainage issues. To prevent drain fly infestations, it is important to maintain clean and well-functioning drains.

How to Maintain a Dry and Pest-Free Home

Homeowners facing moisture problems face various risks to their health and the value of their homes, including mold, mildew, slippery surfaces, aesthetic concerns, and moisture-loving pests. Excessive moisture in the air can contribute to high humidity levels, making the home feel sticky and uncomfortable.

If you have a moisture problem in your home, the first step is to identify the source. Are there plumbing issues or leaking appliances like refrigerators or dishwashers? Are the roof and windows properly sealed and secure? Repairing the sources of moisture is necessary before implementing moisture control measures to prevent future issues.

If you're unsure where to start, don't worry - Pest-Vigil is here to assist you.

Pest-Vigil's certified pest control professionals understand the relationship between moisture control and pest control in ensuring your safety and comfort. They will inspect your home to identify sources of moisture and employ cutting-edge technology to eliminate and redirect moisture from entering your home.

Some of Pest-Vigil's moisture control strategies includes:

Barriers: Placing a protective polyethylene barrier over crawl space soil prevents naturally occurring water vapor from rising into your home. 

Borates: Applying an odorless liquid treatment of Borate to all exposed wood in the crawl space and areas affected by wood-decay fungi helps prevent future fungal growth when moisture levels increase.

Ventilation: Increasing air circulation in the crawl space is one way to address moisture control problems and allow existing moisture to escape.

If your home experiences excess moisture and high humidity levels, a dehumidifier alone may not be sufficient. Contact Pest-Vigil for a free inspection and professional assistance.

Sunday 11 June 2023

When Do Ants Come out to Play ?


Ants: From Outdoor Explorers to Indoor Colonizers. Are There Seasonal Patterns to Ant Infestations?

Ant Control by Pest-Vigil

Cracking the Ant Season Code: When Are Ants Most Active?

Ants are a resilient bunch, thriving throughout the year. While their activity level may vary depending on the ant species, there are certain months that tend to witness heightened ant presence. Typically, from March to October, ants come alive with the changing seasons. 

Spring serves as a catalyst for their emergence, driven by warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours. The rise in activity prompts ants to search for food and expand their colonies. This surge in reproduction leads to an increased ant population, making them more noticeable on your property.

However, this doesn't mean your home is safe during the colder months. As temperatures drop in late fall, ants may seek refuge indoors to escape the harsh weather conditions. Ants are resilient and opportunistic, so be prepared for potential infestations year-round. Remember, staying proactive with prevention is key to keeping these tiny intruders at bay.

Fortify Your Home: Tips to Keep Ants at Bay

Just like us, ants have basic needs: food, shelter, and water. Unfortunately, our cozy homes often check all the boxes. To prevent these tiny invaders from setting up camp, it's crucial to take proactive measures. Before ant season hits its peak, follow these steps:

  • Seal the Entry Points: Inspect your home for any cracks, gaps, or openings that ants could use as doorways. Seal them off with caulk or weatherstripping to deny them easy access.

  • Wipe Away Their Trails: Ants communicate through pheromone trails. By regularly cleaning surfaces with vinegar or soapy water, you disrupt their scent trails and discourage them from marching inside.

  • Store Food Securely: Keep your pantry and kitchen clean, ensuring all food containers are tightly sealed. Don't forget about your pet's food—store it in ant-proof containers or elevate their bowls.

  • Eliminate Moisture: Fix any leaks or drips promptly, as standing water attracts ants. Keep your home dry by using dehumidifiers in damp areas like basements or crawlspaces.

  • Natural Repellents: Certain scents, like cinnamon, mint, or citrus, are known to repel ants. Sprinkle these fragrant substances near entry points or create barriers with essential oils to deter their advances.

  • Regular Cleaning: Maintain a clean and tidy living environment, as crumbs and food residues can be a magnet for ants. Vacuum regularly and promptly clean up spills or food debris.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can make your home an unwelcome place for ants. Stay one step ahead of them and enjoy a pest-free living space all year round.

Tread Carefully: The Pitfalls of DIY Ant Control

When facing an ant infestation, the allure of DIY treatments may be tempting. However, it's essential to proceed with caution, as these methods can fall short and even pose risks.

For instance, a homemade vinegar barrier may seem like a natural deterrent, but it's not as effective as store-bought pesticides. Moreover, it can cause unsightly or permanent damage to delicate surfaces like wood floors, marble, or natural stone.

Homemade ant traps made with borax and sugar can be enticing to both ants and unintended targets like pets and children. The toxicity of these traps can pose risks if ingested.

Similarly, diatomaceous earth, known for its abrasive nature, can cause respiratory distress and eye irritation if mishandled or used improperly.

Most store-bought or DIY pest control methods tend to be less potent, provide shorter-lasting results, and carry higher health risks compared to professional pest control services.

When it comes to dealing with ant invasions, it's often best to leave it to the experts who possess the knowledge, experience, and safe alternatives to effectively eliminate pests while safeguarding your home and loved ones.

By relying on professional pest control services, you can ensure a more efficient, long-lasting, and safer resolution to your ant problem.

Trust Pest-Vigil for Expert Ant Treatments

Regardless of the season, Pest-Vigil is your reliable partner for top-notch pest control solutions. Our experienced inspectors are well-versed in various ant species, from pavement ants to carpenter ants and the ever-present odorous house ants. Once we determine the ant species invading your home, our skilled exterminators will create a personalized strategy to tackle the infestation head-on. Say goodbye to unwanted ant guests with Pest-Vigil by your side.

Fleas or Bed Bugs: Identifying the Pest in Your Home

Fleas or Bed Bugs: How to Identify the Culprit Both fleas and bed bugs are parasitic insects that can cause considerable stress and discomfo...