(520) 886-4146 or (800) 887-4146
(520) 886-4146 or (800) 887-4146
(520) 886-4146
(800) 887-4146

Rocky Mountain High

November 26th, 2014

Few things will bring terror to a dog lover’s life like ticks and the specter of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).  In Arizona, this is not just an academic study, but a very real concern. A great deal of effort has gone into developing a plan to protect not just your dog, but also the owners and their yards from becoming habitats of the ticks that carry this insidious disease.

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?  Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a tick borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. This organism can be the cause of a potentially fatal human illness and is transmitted directly to humans from the bite of an infected tick species. Once bitten, the typical symptoms include: fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain. A rash may also develop, often after the first few days, although in some patients, the rash never develops at all.  Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be a severe or even fatal illness if not treated in the first few days the symptoms are evident or a diagnosis is made. The most positive aspect to RMSF and other tick borne diseases is that they are all preventable.

The most effective strategy to prevent/control ticks is a multi-phase approach. This approach includes: Read the rest of this entry »

Stored Food Product Pests in Your Pantry and in Other Stuff, Too!

November 7th, 2014

Many people are familiar with the groan that comes in the morning    ”Mom…There are bugs in my cereal!”  Once again you are the victim of a Stored Food Product Pest.  The question you immediately ask yourself is “How did this happen?” 

Most often it is the result of bugs getting in the packaging during food production, or even more likely transportation or storage.  Somewhere between the manufacturer and your grocer, the product you purchased with the confidence that nothing was wrong, then placed into your pantry, and forgot about….  A moth, or a beetle began to develop.  The egg or larvae inside of the cereal or the nuts was already developing and days or weeks later you open the package to discover that not only are Rolled Oats no good, but the Pasta is infested, the Split Peas are bad, The Honey, Wheat and Oats are ruined and just about everything else in the pantry is bound for the garbage bin.

We asked the professionals at University Termite & Pest Control about this and they boiled it all down for us “There are weevils, moths, beetles, bugs, worms and so many more… We could spend a lot of time here discussing the life cycles, the where’s and whys of how these bugs get into your food, how they mate and how they spread….but in the end what you really want to know is this.”

How do I keep them out of my food (and my other stuff too)?

  • When you get home, immediately take things out of the boxes they are in and place them into airtight, individual plastic containers.  This will contain anything that might be inside that package.  You may group like things, with like things at your own risk…but be warned.  If you place a package of infested pasta in with all of your good pasta, all your pasta may become bug ridden.  You may have to toss the entire container.
  • Do the same for your pet food.  “Yes I said pet food.  Pet food is just as vulnerable as our food to infestation as people food.  Keep it sealed and segregated.  I have seen entire sections of national pet stores decimated by stored food product pests in dog biscuits.” Said Rick Rupkey Sr.  many people overlook pet food when they look to protect their food supply.  Don’t forget to protect Fido too!
  • Be careful where you shop.  We all love specialty our stores, but not all cultures embrace the same levels of cleanliness that Western culture does.  Insects are tolerated and considered a beneficial part of the food in many parts of the world.  Isolating your foods will keep you from contaminating your entire food supply.
  • Be aware where you get your craft supplies from and where you store them.  Stored Food Product Pests will attack any number of things that are not traditionally considered food.  Cotton, Dried Flowers, Silk, Tobacco, Wool, Naturally derived fibers and glues, Animal Hides and the like.  These should be also stored in airtight containers so they do not become infested with these bugs.  Museums spend massive amounts of money protecting rugs and hides from insect damage…do the same for your dried flowers.

I Know Something’s Going On…In My House

October 30th, 2014


One of the best parts of living in the Desert Southwest is being able to find not just authentic Mexican food, but also living in and around the actual Mexican culture. Many of us have chosen to decorate our homes, even construct our homes in the local style using materials straight out of Mexico. The lodge poles crossing our living rooms and the saguaro ribs forming the ceilings give an old Mexico feeling to a home. Others choose the furniture, finding imported armoires or Arches. I have seen ornate doorways that have been brought all the way from Mexico City or other parts of Central America all the way here to Arizona. While all of these do lend an air of the old Southwest to our homes, the unintended consequence can also be the introduction of wood destroying pests that are native to not just Mexico but also here in the Desert Southwest right into our homes.

So how do we know when something like this is going on?

I asked Rick Rupkey, Sr., owner of University Termite & Pest Control, what he looks for around a home. Read the rest of this entry »

Kissing Bugs or Cone Nosed Bugs

October 1st, 2014


The cone nosed bug, or kissing bug, is usually not a stand-alone problem in the Southwestern United States. It is associated with the nests of nearby rodents–most often those of pack rats or other feral rodents known to live in and around the Arizona Desert. Beginning in spring, these bugs will be attracted by external light sources around dusk. They will take advantage of small gaps around doors and windows, entering through openings in flooring from crawlspaces and then into homes. From there, they will migrate to dark, quiet areas like closets or  between mattresses and box springs to wait. Read the rest of this entry »

How Much Damage Do Termites Cause?

September 26th, 2014

Termite Tunnels?According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage every year. Regardless of the type of home you live in – stucco, brick, block…even on those concrete slabs – none are immune to an invasion by termites and the damage they cause. Worse, termite damage can remain hidden for years, going undetected until the costs for repair are gigantic. Most homeowners are unaware that their homeowners insurance does not cover termite damage, leaving them on the hook for the entire repair bill!

What’s a homeowner to do? Here in the Desert Southwest that problem is even trickier than in many other places around the United States.

Why? We asked Rick Rupkey, Sr., owner of University Termite & Pest Control, to look at some of the Q&A forums on his competitor’s websites, and here is what he had to say:

“Termite swarms are common in many places around the country. In areas such as Texas, the South, Florida, and even California, operators can point their customers to look for termite wings around their homes, particularly in basements and on window sills. In Arizona, this indicator is simply not a reliable one. Termites don’t swarm here with any regularity, and we cannot count on that as a sign that termites are in a customer’s home. If we waited for that as a sign, it would be entirely too late.” Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing Scorpions?

August 5th, 2014

Summer and fall are prime time for scorpion sightings. Below are a few details on why you might see them in and around your home, and what can be done to reduce their presence.

While scorpions are beneficial, feeding on cockroaches, crickets, and other pest insects, you definitely don’t want to see them in your home. Scorpions enter homes by accident in search of food, moisture or shelter. Once inside, they can’t find a way out and generally don’t do well for lack of food and other environmental conditions. Read the rest of this entry »

Wasp’s in a Name?

August 1st, 2014


Wasps, Hornets, and Yellow Jackets (pictured above, from left to right, respectively) are three of the most commonly and easily confused stinging insects, and while they do all have characteristics in common, here are some facts that can help to distinguish between the three of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Facts About Stinging Insects

August 1st, 2014



Because “stinging and biting insects is a catchall group for solitary pests that sting or bite” it’s no surprise that they, according to the NPMA  “send more than half a million people to the emergency room each year.” Since these types of pests are much more active during the summer and fall and can be more of a health risk, the following are some important facts to keep in mind: Read the rest of this entry »

Facts You Want to Know about the Brown Dog Tick

June 26th, 2014




If pets, especially dogs, are also part of your family,  here are some facts you want to know about the Brown Dog Tick.



Read the rest of this entry »

Monsoons and Mosquitoes

June 26th, 2014

As monsoon season begins in southern Arizona, it’s time once again to think about protecting yourself and your family from the threat of the transmission of common. diseases like the West Nile virus which infects thousands each year.

Monsoons are a huge factor, as their rains bring the mosquitoes, which bring West Nile

Here are four tips from University Termite and Pest Control to help keep you and those you love safe. Read the rest of this entry »