3 Common Household Ants

Ants replaced cockroaches as the most common nuisance pest some years ago. While the Pest Control industry focused its attention on controlling cockroaches, for obvious health reasons, ants took a back seat to technological advances which gave rise to the current state of ant control in the United States. Basically, Ants have taken over!

Most homeowners have no idea what kind of ants they’re looking at around their homes, we get it – we’re dorky and want to identify every bug we see … been doing it since we were kids lol. So we thought we would put together a quick ID guide to help the less nerdy homeowners … probably like you.

We decided to zero in on the 3 most common ants that you would see around your home and tell you a little about their behavior and maybe even help identify them so you can feel cool like us when you do.

Let’s first talk about the easiest to identify, the Carpenter Ant. You’ve seen these your whole life. Some of them are red, some are black and some are red and black or some variation on any of these colors. But you can’t mistake them because of their size.

Carpenter Ant

These are about the biggest ants we’ll see around our homes and they’ll mostly be found outside foraging. They range in size from about 1/64” to 1/2” – which is really pretty big in the ant world!

They’re not really a trailing kind of ant, you may actually only see one or two here and there … until you find them working on a dead tree which is where they nest. Damp and decaying is what they like.

This is fine as long as it’s out in the wood pile or at the back of your yard, but when your window sill isn’t sealed well and has gotten wet over time and Carpenter Ants get into it, things change. Quickly. Thousands of ant nesting in your walls is the kind of things nightmares are made of. And with those kinds of numbers they can cause a tremendous amount of damage in a short period of time. Not good.

Another common household ant is the Pavement Ant. You know these guys … you’ve seen their small mounds next to the sidewalks around your house since you were a little kid. You would kick them (c’mon you know you did) and they would come out looking to see what happened. You walked away for 10 minutes and came back and they were gone!

Pavement Ant

They usually live pretty deep in the soil, but when they decide that there’s a food source in your kitchen for them they will make your home their home. They move in and don’t pay rent!

Their colonies are pretty good sized so you can get a few hundred traveling back and forth between your kitchen sink and the patio in the back of the house like crazy. You spray them or give the ant bait that you bought at Home Depot or Lowe’s which works for a few days, but then they’re back … with a vengeance. It’s because you only see a small percentage of the colony and you really didn’t hurt them by killing off a few hundred, there are thousands more that are willing and able to infest your home. If you call us, we’ll get rid of them for you 🙂

Lastly, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite ant, The Odorous House Ant. Aptly named, these ants stink! Like rotten coconuts … pretty nasty really. Some folks refer to them as, well, another word for urine – you know – a p*ss ant. When I was a kid I had friends that would crush them just to smell them. That was not something I was real interested in. But whatever, LOL.

And then you have the second part of their name, the House Ant. Because, you guessed it, we find them in our houses … a lot! And thousands of them because they will nest in the wall voids and take up residence. And these ants also don’t pay rent either for that matter!

Odorous House Ant

They’re mostly dark brown and black and they’re pretty small, top end they go less than an 1/8” so if you see these tiny little boogers in your kitchen that’s probably the Odorous House Ant.

They run in trails, chasing the phermones that the scout left when he found some good vittles. Everyone just kind of falls in line.

They’re not big carb eaters, they like the meats and sweets kind of diet. Keeping stuff picked up and wiped down in the kitchen will certainly go a long way.

If you get them though, they’re kind of a pain to get rid of. They cause us some fits too, so don’t feel bad if you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to get rid of them. It’s mostly because they’re living in your house so there needs to be an eviction, of sorts. We’ll be glad to help you.

The biggest problem with these ants in your home is that they contaminate everything they touch … and they touch a lot! You should probably chunk whatever it is that they get into, just for safety sake.

Well, that’s a wrap on the 3 most common species of ants around, and in, our homes. Good sanitation will always help deter these critters, but sometimes not even that will help. If you find that you just can’t deal with them anymore. We’re here to help.

Just call us at 731-285-4982 or hit us up online at okeena.com

Do You Have Termites? Click Here To Find Out Yourself

Below are 4 ways to know that termites are eating away at the structural integrity of your home.
Protecting your investment is always the smart thing to do. Considering that there is an average of 13-15 million termites per acre of land, it’s usually only a matter of time before your home is susceptible to a termites attack if left unprotected.
Termites cost property owners over roughly $5 billion annually in the United States. The average termite repair cost is $3300. Termites cause more damage than fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes……Combined!
Here are four ways to identify termite activity.
1. Termite Swarmers/discarded wings: This time of the year when daytime temperatures are reaching in the 70’s, flying termite Swarmers leave mature colonies to split up to form new ones. A mature termite colony generally has between 60,000 termites and up to 1 million termites per colony. If you see Swarmers, a mature colony is close by and the termites are attempting to split up to further incease their presence by creating another one.
2. Mud tubes: Along side of Swarmers, mud tubes are also a common sign that termites are near. Mud tubes are “pencil sized” mud shelters that termites make by combining soil, wood, and termite saliva. Mud tubes are usually found around the base of the foundation of a structure but could be anywhere termites are.
3. Frass: Frass is the droppings from termites that are dusty and gray to wood –colored. It is found throughout infested wood.
4. Damage: Termites usually cause damage from the inside out. When exposed to sunlight, termites will dry up and die very quickly. Therefore, they generally stay out of the light in dark, moist areas where they can’t be seen. Tapping on the wood can indicate termite damage if it appears to have a hollow sound.
Even though these are 4 great ways to detect termites and their damage, termite professionals are more concerned about what you can’t see when looking for termites as opposed to what you can. When activity is detected, property owners are unexpectedly forced to protect their investment by assessing the damages and treating the structure with the right termiticide. Like we mentioned earlier, the average termite repair cost is $3300 and if your luck is anything like ours, we’d be lucky to get out that cheap.
Termites workers never stop feeding themselves as well as wood other colony members. They are at work 24/7.
But, here is the good news………A good set of eyes and knowledge can go a long way in finding out if indeed you do have termites. But if you are unsure, we would recommend call a licensed professional to do a thorough inspection and lay out the plans/options to protect your investment. Regardless if activity is found, protection is far less expensive than termite repairs in the long run.
If you would like more information about termites or termite protection from Okeena, call our office for a free consultation and inspection. Or you can go to our website and fill out a quick quote request.

Scott Riley
731-285-4982
Okeena.com

Step-By-Step Process For You To Check Your Attic Insulation

We’ve created a step-by-step, simple to follow, process for you to check your own attic insulation.

Quick note – most homes have attic access in at least one of a few places:

  • Hallway access (between bedrooms) and generally have a drop-down ladder
  • Closet access from one of your bedroom closets (you’ll need a ladder)
  • Walk-in access from the upstairs hallway
  • Carport access from the exterior of the home (you’ll most likely need a ladder here too)

So, here we go!

Step 1: Grab a ruler or a tape measure, and a ladder if you need it

 

Step 2: Find your attic access

Step 3: Access your attic (you may have to move your Christmas decorations or … whatever)

Step 4: Eye Spy your insulation

        3 Most Common Types of Insulation

Ok, time out.

This is where we need to help educate a little so that you can determine your insulation status and you need to know just enough here to be dangerous. First of all, let’s talk about R-Value.

By definition, according to our friends at Merriam-Webster, R-Value is a measure of resistance to the flow of heat through a given thickness of a material (as insulation) with higher numbers indicating better insulating properties, i.e; R-38 has a greater resistance to the flow of heat than R-11.

Makes sense? Sort of? Ok, in layman’s terms, the more insulation you have the cozier you’ll be when its freezing outside. There, that makes sense to me.

But, how do I know what the R-Value is for my insulation? (I know, I just read your mind right?) Great question. See, each type of insulation has a specific R-Value PER INCH for that specific insulation. Here’s a chart that breaks down the most common types of insulation and their R-Values.

What you see: What it probably is R-Value per Inch 6″ of product
Loose fibers light-weight yellow, pink, or white 2.5 R-15
dense gray or near white, may have black specs rock wool 2.8 R-17
small gray flat pieces or fibers (from newsprint) cellulose 3.7 R-22
Granules light-weight 2.7 R-16
Fiberglass Batts light-weight yellow, pink, or white 2.9 R-17

 

 

Just have to say two things … if you don’t see any insulation, please know that you most definitely need some and the chart above only uses 6” as an example. If you have more or less you’ll have to do a little math.

Step 5: Measure the depth of insulation in your attic

Step 6: Multiply the depth by the R-Value per Inch found in the chart above

Now you know what the R-Value is in your home. Congratulations, you did great! One more step, based on your new discovery you need to determine if what you have is sufficient or deficient, it’s one or the other.

Sufficient R-Value will provide comfort and energy savings. Deficient R-Value will help your utility company get rich, while making you energy poor. It can also create more work for your heater, and air conditioner in the summer, and reduce their efficiency and life span. Lastly, deficient R-Values will keep you from feeing all warm and cozy during the long winter months.

So, how do I know if I’m sufficient or deficient? Great question. Here’s a chart from the

U.S. Department of Energy which tells us exactly what R-Value we should have for our neck of the woods:

 

 

As you can see, the U.S.Department of Energy recommends higher amounts of R-Value the further North you’re located, and lower amounts the further South.

Step 7: Subtract your R-Value (which you determined in Step 6) from the recommended R-Value for your location. This is the amount of R-Value that you need for sufficient insulation.

How did you do? Do you have a sufficient amount of insulation? Are you deficient? If you found that you were deficient, honestly, you’re in good company. The truth is that most home builders never put enough insulation in our attics, and unless you’re losing sleep about it, most homeowners never even think to check.

Ok, so I found out I’m lacking in the insulation department and that I’m obviously losing money (maybe a lot of money) and I need to do something about it. Now what?

You’re just full of great questions! If you remember back to the first chart that gave the R-Values of specific insulation types, you’ll notice that cellulose insulation provides the greatest resistance to heat flow. That’s why we chose cellulose insulation for our customers.

We want our customers to save the most money possible and to be super comfortable in their homes. So, we install blown-in cellulose insulation for homeowners throughout our service area.

If you would like more information on our blow-in cellulose, make a quick call to our office and we will provide you with a pretty good idea of how much you can save in energy bills by speaking to one of our energy experts.

Don’t lose sleep tonight! The call is free and you’d be amazed at what a properly insulated home will do for your comfort, and your pocket.

 

Call today at 731-285-4982 or visit our website here.

Okeena.com

731.285.4982

Have a Great Week,

Scott Riley

The Perfect Pest Control Service

How does your pest control company

provide recurring services?

If you are like so many people that still have pest control companies that come inside to apply chemicals around all baseboards and thresholds every single month, whether you needed or not, is just absolutely absurd in our opinion. Our job as certified pest control operators are to not only control and keep bugs out of your home, but also in a manner that poses the least of amount of harm to people and the environment. Pesticides are applied inside your home where you eat, breathe, and sleep every 30, 60, or 90 days. The average residual of an insecticide indoors is usually about 30 to 60 days. Therefore, monthly pest control, the old fashion way, would provide excessive buildup of pesticides, which could be a health hazard.

 

{Hazard= Toxicity x Exposure}

 

Another reason we should apply the least amount of pesticides necessary is because repeated applications of pesticides leads to pest resistance. Pest resistance is a real issue today and we expect to continue to see it in the future. Pest resistance means after a certain pest has been exposed to too much of one particular (mode of action) pesticide. And in return the pest can become resistant to the deadly affect that the pesticides have on the pest as well as its offspring. When recurring action is required to control pest, finding other alternatives as far as pesticides with a different mode of action, will help in reducing past resistance.

 

So how do we prevent exposure and control the pest in the best, most responsible way? I thought you would never ask.

 

When little or no activity is found inside your home or business, an outside perimeter pest control application has proven to be more effective and safer than your traditional inside sprays. We have astonishingly found (enter sarcasm here) by moving the pest application 6 inches from your inside foundation wall to the outside foundation wall, will provide better long-term results. Think about it. Bugs come from the outside. Why would we apply pesticides inside your home every single month or every other month just for the bugs to have to come inside to die. Once the perimeter applications have been applied, and if you see any activity inside, the correct plan would be designed and implemented based off the results that were found with the least amount of exposure to humans and the environment.

 

So why should someone consider changing their pest control company or pest control approach?

 

Perimeter Applications vs. Inside Traditional Application

 

  1. It’s Safer.
  2. It’s more effective
  3. It’s more convenient

 

Any other questions? This is the best way to perform pest control services. Remember, if there is pest activity inside, we always design and implement a plan to control those unwanted pests!

 

Okeena provides excellent pest control with our perimeter applications. Our customized approach consists of applying pesticides off the foundation 4’ and up your foundation 3’. We service your eaves, windows, doorways, and leave you a couple of monitoring stations for inside your home. If you are ready for a pest control service that is safer for you and your family and like always, keep you pest FREE, we would love the opportunity to talk to you. Consultations are free!

 

Call today 731-285-4982

FREE ESTIMATES

Okeena.com

Scott Riley

Owner/Operator

Okeena Termite and Pest Control, LLC.

Are You Paying Too Much To Heat Or Cool Your House?

Of course, we’ve all done this. We’re exhausted from a long days work and we just want to get a good night’s sleep. We lay down with confidence, knowing that we’re going to drift right off into a restful night sleep. Nope! We can’t stop thinking about the cost of heating and cooling our house. Do we have enough insulation that will allow our home to use its energy efficiently and save us money on energy bills? It all starts in identifying the type of insulation as well as how many inches in depth you have.

Insulation is just not something we EVER think about. Right? Well, I guess, most of us never think about it. It’s never really “top of mind” because there are 10,000 other things we are thinking about that keep us from a good night’s rest.

80% of the attics we enter are guaranteed to be drastically under-insulated, usually only having about 6″ of fiberglass batt insulation. That is HALF of what you need!

 

So why, you may ask, is it so important to have proper insulation?

  • Save You Money: The average utility savings we can provide after installing your new attic insulation: 20%-40% Savings 
  • Tax Benefits: The IRS provides a tax credit for home energy improvements (Tax Form 5695): 10% of Job up to $500 Tax Credit Savings
  • Eco-Friendly: Our cellulose insulation is made of recycled goods. It is not harmful at all unlike fiberglass insulation, which has a hazardous warning label.
  • Fire Retardant Our cellulose insulation is non-flammable unlike fiberglass
  • Borate Treated: Our cellulose insulation is treated with a borate, which is a built in pesticides that prevent harboring of pest. (spiders, rodents, etc…)
  • Soundproof: Our cellulose insulation is a great way to reduce sound inside of structures making your home more quite and comfortable.

Winter is rapidly approaching and if insulation is ever going to cross your mind it would be about this time of year. So, we thought we’d make this really easy so that you don’t have to lose any sleep.

We’ve created a step-by-step, simple to follow, process for you to check your own attic insulation. If you need further assistance in determining your insulation’s R-Value, call our office for a FREE inspection and evaluation.

Quick note – most homes have attic access in at least one of a few places:

  • Hallway access (between bedrooms) and generally have a drop down ladder
  • Closet access from one of your bedroom closets (you’ll need a ladder)
  • Walk-in access from the upstairs hallway
  • Carport access from the exterior of the home (you’ll most likely need a ladder here too)

So, here we go!

Step 1: Grab a ruler or a tape measure, and a ladder if you need it

Step 2: Find your attic access

Step 3: Access your attic (you may have to move your Christmas decorations or … whatever)

Step 4: Eye Spy your insulation

Ok, time out.

This is where we need to help educate a little so that you can determine your insulation status and you need to know just enough here to be dangerous. First of all, let’s talk about R-Value.

By definition, according to our friends at Merriam-Webster, R-Value is a measure of resistance to the flow of heat through a given thickness of a material (as insulation) with higher numbers indicating better insulating properties, i.e; R-30 has a greater resistance to the flow of heat than R-11.

Makes sense? Sort of? Ok, in layman’s terms, the more insulation you have the cozier you’ll be when its freezing outside. There, that makes sense to me.

But, how do I know what the R-Value is for my insulation? (I know, I just read your mind right?) Great question. See, each type of insulation has a specific R-Value PER INCH for that specific insulation. Here’s a chart that breaks down the most common types of insulation and their R-Values.

 

What you see:

What it probably is

R-Value per Inch

6″ of product

Loose fibers

light-weight yellow, pink, or white

2.5

R-15

dense gray or near white, may have black specs

rock wool

2.8

R-17

small gray flat pieces or fibers (from newsprint)

cellulose

3.7

R-22

Granules

light-weight

2.7

R-16

Batts

light-weight yellow, pink, or white

2.9

R-17

 

 

Just have to say two things … if you don’t see any insulation, please know that you most definitely need some and the chart above only uses 6” as an example. If you have more or less you’ll have to do a little math.

Step 5: Measure the depth of insulation in your attic

Step 6: Multiply the depth by the R-Value per Inch found in the chart above

Now you know what the R-Value is in your home. Congratulations, you did great! One more step, based on your new discovery you need to determine if what you have is sufficient or deficient, it’s one or the other.

Sufficient R-Value will provide comfort and energy savings. Deficient R-Value will help your utility company get rich, while making you energy poor. It can also create more work for your heater, and air conditioner in the summer, and reduce their efficiency and life span. Lastly, deficient R-Values will keep you from feeing all warm and cozy during the long winter months.

So, how do I know if I’m sufficient or deficient? Great question. Here’s a chart from the

U.S. Department of Energy which tells us exactly what R-Value we should have for our neck of the woods:

 

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-58-45-am

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-58-18-am

 

As you can see, the U.S.Department of Energy recommends higher amounts of R-Value the further North you’re located, and lower amounts the further South.

Step 7: Subtract your R-Value (which you determined in Step 6) from the recommended R-Value for your location. This is the amount of R-Value that you need for sufficient insulation.

How did you do? Do you have a sufficient amount of insulation? Are you deficient? If you found that you were deficient, honestly, you’re in good company. The truth is that most home builders never put enough insulation in our attics, and unless you’re losing sleep about it, most homeowners never even think to check.

Ok, so I found out I’m lacking in the insulation department and that I’m obviously losing money (maybe a lot of money) and I need to do something about it. Now what?

You’re just full of great questions! If you remember back to the first chart that gave the R-Values of specific insulation types, you’ll notice that cellulose insulation provides the greatest resistance to heat flow. That’s why we chose cellulose insulation for our customers.

We want our customers to save the most money possible and to be super comfortable in their homes. So, we install blown-in cellulose insulation for homeowners throughout our service area.

If you would like more information on our blow-in cellulose, make a quick call to our office and we will provide you with a pretty good idea of how much you can save in energy bills by speaking to one of our energy experts.

Don’t lose sleep tonight! The call is free and you’d be amazed at what a properly insulated home will do for your comfort, and your pocket.

 

 

Call today at 731-285-4982 or visit our website here.

731.285.4982

Have a Great Week,

Scott Riley