2012 Home Maintenance Checklist
Well it’s that time again. It’s time to dust off the flashlight, pull out the gloves, and start putting a good eye to the state of your home. Walking through a maintenance checklist can help you ensure that your home stays in tip-top shape, year after year. This yearly review can help you identify problems before they become costly charges. Here’s a list of home maintenance measures that can keep your house and your checkbook worry-free.
Fix up the Foliage
A year’s worth of garden growth can really take a toll on the exterior of your home. Tree branches that hang over your roof can create easy access for small animals. Clip off overhanging branches before Massachusetts rodent control services are required to help you flush out your new home occupants.
Walk around the exterior of your home and cut overgrown grass away from the sides of your home. This gives you a chance to look for missing or damaged siding, or pools of water gathering around your home’s foundation. Look for cracks and other entries. Massachusetts pest control is often a big expense incurred during winter months when small animals are looking for warmth.
Clean the Gutters
Wait until a good rain, then climb a ladder and get to clearing those gutters, especially if you are in an area where there are many leaves and branches. Clearing your gutters keeps water from pooling on your roof, and helps to keep your roof intact. Massachusetts exterminators are often called out to handle issues caused by pests that find entry to homes through unmaintained home exteriors, such as roofs.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
Have an energy auditor come out and take a look at your home’s energy usage. Improvement suggestions can help you create a weather-tight home and lower your energy bill. You can check your home yourself for energy leaks by taking a walk around and looking for gaps or cracks. Closing up these gaps can save you large percentages on your bills. Energy leaks are often found where windows and walls meet, where pipes enter the home and around fireplaces, mail slots, and doorways.
Review Your Emergency Plan
Have you checked the battery in your flashlights? Do you remember where your fire extinguishers are? Does everyone in the family know how to turn off the main circuit breaker? Make sure that everyone knows where flashlights, fire extinguishers, water and electric shut-off valves, and emergency numbers are stored, as well as directions to the nearest hospital.
How to Obtain a Massachusetts Pest Control License
Are you interested in gaining a Massachusetts pest control license?
With the environmental conditions, older homes, and propensity for pest-attracting conditions, becoming a Massachusetts exterminator can be a lucrative career that allows you the ability to move around throughout the day.
But in this state as in many others, individuals who apply pesticides in public and private places used for human habitation must be in possession of a valid pest control license. Obtaining a license for MA pest control requires that you take a written closed-book examination, and performance testing.
Here are the general guidelines for getting started down the road to becoming a pest control professional.
Determine your credential needs
In Massachusetts there are four different types of licenses you can acquire:
- Commercial Applicator License – Choose this option if this is your first license or you have not had one for at least five years. If you plan to use general pesticides on another’s property for hire, this is the certification for you.
- Private Certification – If you grow or farm and you plan on using restricted-use pesticides on your property or property rented by you or your employer for the purpose of growing agricultural commodities, then you should choose this license.
- Commercial Certification – If you have held a license for two or more years and you plan on using restricted-use pesticides on another’s property, then choose commercial certification.
- Dealer License – If you plan to sell restricted-use pesticides, you will need a dealer license.
Order study materials
Keep in mind it may take a few weeks to receive your materials, so order early from your educational organization of choice.
Schedule and take your exam
If you are obtaining a certification for the spring or summer months, make sure to choose an available exam date early, as seats do fill up. This is due to the fact that spring and summer months garner the most business for pest control specialists.
Maintain your license
State law requires specialists to carry the official license credential document at all times while on the job. These licenses are valid beginning with the date of issuance and ending on December 31st of the year issued.
Keep up with continuing education requirements
In addition to annual renewal, the state also requires re-training. You must be re-licensed at the end of a three-year period by re-examination or by attending continuing education courses.
Know insurance regulations
Either you or your employer must have comprehensive general liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage. Government employees are exempt from these requirements.
The Insidious Carpenter Ant
Ants invade your home, hitch rides on your clothes, hang out by your sink and can even end up crawling up your arm while you’re watching your favorite television show. Whether you are in Los Angeles or Massachusetts, pest control is often required to remove this petulant pest with which we are all familiar.
The most common type of ant in the United States is the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). In their natural habitat, these ants are beneficial to the environment as they assist in the decomposition of dead wood. In suburbia, however, they can be a pest of enormous proportions requiring the expertise of a Massachusetts exterminator to shoo them out.
Carpenter ants don’t sting, but the larger worker ants can sometimes bite and inject a formic acid that can irritate the site. Despite their name, carpenter ants do not eat wood like termites, but they do tunnel through it to make pathways for their nests. The structural damage they can do to a wood-framed home can be expensive and require fairly heavy reconstruction to save the structure of your home. If you suspect an invasion, it’s best to implement pest control in Massachussetts area residences to nip it in the bud and avoid future problems.
Carpenter ants seek out moist places. Damp wood, after all, is easier to chew into. Therefore, the best way to discourage ants from munching on your house is to keep the area around the foundation of your home as dry as possible.
Make sure flowerbeds, planters, and other moisture-bearing items drain away from the house. This also applies to wooden decks and hot tubs. Water your plants and lawn, but avoid leaving areas that are remain consistently damp. Any wood that is in contact with the dirt can allow these ants a way into your house. Plumbing leaks within the home can also encourage an invasion.
If you believe you have an infestation of carpenter ants, there are many products on the market that you can purchase to place around your home, inside and outside that are made to kill them. You can spray the ants that you see with a can of insecticide, but that will do little to get rid of an established colony.
If your efforts don’t seem to be taking, call in a professional immediately. The quicker you identify the problem, the better chance you’ll have of kicking that small army to the curb.
The Life of a Carpenter Ant
We all know what these little creatures are, what they look like and what damage they can cause. But it’s important to also understand how they live and what their basic habits consist of. Knowing a little bit more about their nesting habits and foraging goals can help lead you to problem areas and identify the extent of a potential infestation.
You can usually find the location of a carpenter ant nest by looking for signs of frass. Frass is a term for the remnants of wood that are a product of carpenter ant construction. These little creatures bore out wood and push it out of their nest. These piles of frass are the byproduct of the carpenter ant’s relative persnickety cleanliness.
Carpenter ants often nest in moist or damaged wood. In places like New Hampshire and Massachusetts carpenter ant control is often sought out after ants have moved from an old stump or other damaged wood on a property into the home. Although most often found in wood, the primary home of a carpenter ant can be any area that is spacious enough to house them, and is near moisture.
Pest control for these creatures includes finding and eradicating their primary nest, but also eliminating any satellite nests. Satellite nests are offshoots from the primary camp and these can number up to six or seven. Nests have distinct “freeways” between them, and ants travel from nest to nest by means of established ant trails. Although eradicating the primary nest is preferable, satellite nests can take over, and therefore New Hampshire and Massachusetts pest control for carpenter ants can become a lengthy seek and find endeavor before the infestation can be completely cleared.
All ant colonies have solders—those ants that make runs out of the nest to scope out new nest sites and hunt for food. These soldiers, or “foragers” are what are usually first sighted and lead to the discovery of an ant infestation.
These ants are older ants that are past their prime, and therefore are sent out on the dangerous hunt for food. The trails of carpenter ants can be wily and abbreviated, popping up in one place and disappearing in another. Finding a soldier already carrying food is great way to quickly identify where a nest is located. Just because ants are foraging inside your home does not necessarily mean they are nesting there. Ants may be located outside your home and merely seeking food within it.