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The Hidden Dangers of Mold

Filed under: Mold Extermination,Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 7:43 pm March 30, 2013

All across the country homeowners silently grapple with an unseen problem. It’s so small you can’t be seen with the naked eye, and by the time it IS visible, its already a problem. It has been linked to things as benign as coughing and wheezing, to things more serious like asthma and upper respiratory tract infections. This problem – mold – is one of the most common in America, and if left unchecked, it could lead to serious short- and long-term health problems.

Signs of mold

 

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that occurs naturally in the environment, and is found pretty much everywhere you go. It spreads via airborne spores, which are carried into homes through vents, open windows, and even on pets and people. Once landed, spores will grow and thrive in any dark and damp environment such as in basements, attics, crawlspaces, and garages.

Health Problems

It’s important to note that mold itself is not toxic. Rather, certain types of mold produce substances known as mycotoxins which have the potential to cause health problems. For example, the famous Black Mold (toxic stachybotrys), like the name would imply, is colored black, but so are several other variants of mold, many of which are harmless. When dealing with mold, the most reliable way to have them identified is to send a sample off to a lab for analysis.

Numerous studies have linked the toxins produced by molds to several illnesses, including upper respiratory tract infections, coughing and wheezing, and increased asthma symptoms in people with asthma. Children exposed to mold early in their development may also be at risk for developing asthma later on in life.

Treatment and Prevention of Mold Infestation

Depending on the severity of the infestation, and the type of material its on, mold may or may not be easily removable. Oftentimes moldy surfaces can be cleaned with a warm water, a bleach solution, and some sunlight, but certain materials don’t respond well to such treatment. Metals and ceramic surfaces are easy to clean, but wooden surfaces, will often have to be discarded since have microscopic “pores” that mold spores can grow in and can’t be cleaned. The best methods for dealing with mold growth are preventive in nature. Mold cannot grow without moisture, and leaking pipes are the most common sources of moisture for mold, so it helps to ensure that the pipes in the most accessible areas of your home are well maintained. Consult your local plumber or general contractor for assistance with any plumbing-related issues.

Conclusion

Mold, although naturally occurring, can be a serious threat to the health of your home and family if left unchecked so preventive measures should be taken to ensure that mold doesn’t grow out of control.

Horizon Pest Control can help you eliminate the root of your mold problem. Our skilled technicians have access to effective products that will solve your mold issues issues. For immediate help, click Mold Removal NJ and set an appointment with us.

Termites, and How to Spot Them

Filed under: Termites — Megan Howard @ 4:17 pm March 22, 2013

As far as threats to wooden structures go, termites are one of the biggest. These admittedly tiny creatures can’t do much on their own, but in large numbers they can completely destroy a home. A common misconception is that termites are only found in the southern states of the US but  this is not true. They can be found in every state within the continental US, and New Jersey gets their fair share.

Two Kinds Termites

There are two kinds of termites most often found in the US, subterranean and drywood. Drywood termites, like the name implies, build colonies in dry wood or dead wood, and are found in warmer climates like in Arizona. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, are found all across the country because they build their homes underground. This is because they require a certain degree of moisture in the air to survive.

Subterranean termites in NJ

The one thing both types have in common is that they eat foods that are rich in cellulose. More often than not this is found in wood, but they also eat things like paper, cardboard and carpet material as well. Termites usually build their colonies in spring, first by sending out swarms of winged termites to find a good area. These termites usually don’t live that long, due to the lack of moisture, and often die before finishing their task.

Thus, the presence of dead termites is often the first indicator of an infestation. Subterranean termites that have already set up colonies near your home have to build tunnels to get to their food sources. These tunnels help ensure that termites aren’t exposed to unfavorable conditions while out foraging for food. They are often pencil-thick, and are made of a substance that consists of dirt and their own bodily secretions.

The presence of these tunnels is the second, and the most surefire, indicator of termite presence. They are often built inside the walls and foundation of your home, and are usually only discovered once the walls are torn down.

This could mean that Termites are in your home

The last indicator of termite infestation is simply the damage they cause. Damaged wooden structures will sound “hollow” when tapped, and oftentimes there will be piles of sawdust-like material on the floor near the affected surface. Since termites consume wood from the inside out, damage won’t be immediately visible.

When attempting to determine if you have a termite infestation or not, its important to check for all three signs to confirm the presence of termites, and if you think you have a termite problem, contact your local pest control company for assistance. As we said, by the time you see one, the chances of thousands being in your home is very possible. This is why it’s super important to act fast at the first sign to get a free inspection. Acting quickly can save you thousands in repairs. For more info on Termite Control, click here: New Jersey Termite Control.

Bug Bombs vs. Integrated Pest Management

Filed under: Commercial Pest Control,Green Pest Control,Horizon Pest Control,Pest Management — Megan Howard @ 9:12 pm March 8, 2013

In the realm of DIY pest control, bug spray is one of the most commonly used tools. Its effectiveness and affordability have made it the go-to tool for handling small scale infestations in small areas. But what happens when you need to cover a large area? Enter the bug bomb. This device is used when you need to fill an area with pesticide, killing every pest and insect inside it.

Bug bombs spray out concentrated pesticide as super-tiny droplets, between 20-30 micrometers large, and they operate in a way that’s similar to fog machines used by special effects technicians all around the world and, in fact, can be considered somewhat modified versions of them. When properly used, they can blanket an area in a fine mist of pesticide that’s designed to kill insects on contact.

Due to their somewhat large area-of-effect, the area to be treated has to be specially prepared to accommodate it. The location, and oftentimes its surroundings, is usually completely cleared of all furniture and belongings, and anything that isn’t easy to move is covered with tarps and plastic wrap. Residents in nearby areas are sometimes asked to leave if the treatment will affect them as well. After treatment the area has to lie dormant for a specified period of time, ranging from a few hours to a few days depending on how intense the treatment was, and then ventilated and cleaned to remove any traces of residue.

Bug bombs are highly effective pest-killers, but they are also highly dangerous. Between 2001-2006, over 450 bug bomb-related injuries were reported, with various causes ranging from entering the treated area too soon, or failure to clean and/or ventilate the area following treatment. The pesticides that are most often used in these bug bombs are, for the most part, harmless to mammals (including humans), but there are instances where people exposed to them develop allergic reactions and suffer symptoms such as abnormal skin sensations, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and seizures. Additionally, these pesticides also pose a fire risk thanks to their use of aerosol propellants to propel the are often flammable, and have even been known to cause explosions.

Integrated pest manageentFor these reasons, Horizon Pest Control doesn’t endorse the use of Bug Bombs. Rather we prefer Integrated Pest Management and very targeted treatments to eliminate pest threats. The combination of looking at pest control with a holistic approach to not just eliminating current pests, but to reduce exposure to returned pest invasions in the future reduces the need for over the top ad dangerous solutions such as Bug Bombs.

If you’re considering such an option for your home or property, please call us today for a Free Inspection for an alternative approach to help. You can also  go to Integrated Pest Management to learn more about our services.

Damage Caused By Pests

Filed under: Carpenter Ant Control,Horizon Pest Control,Nuisance Wildlife & Animal Control,Termites — Megan Howard @ 4:03 pm March 1, 2013

For hundreds of years, pests have competed with humans over resources like food and water, and often certain pest infestations can physically destroy an entire home. The types of pests encountered depend on the region or area of the country that you live in, but the most common home-damaging pests are carpenter ants, termites, and rats. Today we’re going to take a look at the kinds of damage these pests can cause.

Ants

To start, there are hundreds of different variations of ants, many of which are ultimately harmless to your home. Regular black ants don’t care about anything more than taking your food, but varieties like the carpenter ant build their homes in the wooden beams that make up the structures of your house. They tunnel through wooden beams to create the chambers and passageways they live in, depositing the sawdust remains outside the entrance. If left alone, they will tunnel through the wood, and can render an entire beam almost completely hollow over the course of time. Naturally, this is a serious problem that can threaten the structural integrity of your home, especially if they’ve managed to infest a load-bearing beam or wall.

Carpenter Ants destroy homes

Termites

Termites are similar to carpenter ants, with the difference being that they have a large appetite for wood, specifically cellulose. They’re arguably worse than carpenter ants, since they outright consume wood instead of tunneling through it, and will eat pretty much anything in your home that is rich in cellulose including carpet, paper, and even plant fibers.

Termites destroy houses

 

Rats

Rats are common in cities, and are not only highly unsanitary, disease carrying creatures, but they are also voracious chewers. They can, and will, chew on anything they can get their paws on, be it wood, metal, foam insulation, and even carpet, but they cause the biggest problems when they chew on wires. This can result in damage to expensive electronic devices and the electrical shorts that they cause can even start fires, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Rats destroy houses

 

Prevention Plan

The best course of action is “treatment by prevention”, maintaining your home so that these pests are not inclined to take up residence alongside you. But in cases where that’s not possible, infestations like these are best treated early, so they don’t grow out of control and end up costing you thousands of dollars in treatment and repair.

If you think your home is being invaded by these pests, contact us and ask for assistance. To schedule an inspection, simply visit Horizon Home Services.