Chiggers, Another Annoying Texas Pest

As spring and summer approach, it’s helpful to brush up on our buggy knowledge. It can be ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, fleas or fire ants. Not really a fun topic, but it definitely pays to be prepared. Whether you’re in your backyard or hiking or camping, you will come in contact with a number of pests. Identifying them, taking precautions to avoid them, and knowing how to treat them will save you time, sickness, and much annoyance.

Let’s Talk Chiggers…

Chiggers are immature mites that are related to spiders. They belong in the same class as scorpions and ticks. In Texas, chigger usually refers to mites from the genus Eutrombicula. They cause most of the itchy bites you may get after walking through brushy or grassy fields.

There are two species of chiggers that are particularly troublesome for Texans. One can be found in grassy or wooded areas. And the other can be found in moist areas, like swamps or rotted logs. Their distribution may be spotty, meaning you may find a bunch in one area and none in a different similar area.

While you’ll make an acceptable dinner, they don’t prefer humans. They would rather have small mammals, birds, or rodents as hosts. And when they do attach to humans, they often do not survive more than a day or two, mostly because we notice and scratch them away.

However, you’ll make a find host if there are no others nearby. Chiggers will attach to clothing and spend hours searching around on the human host before finding a place to feed. Bites are most common around tight clothing or areas with thinner skin. Sock lines, the waist, near the groin, behind the knees, and armpits are all common places to see chigger bites.

Despite what people believe, chiggers do not burrow in the skin. Instead, the skin around the bite area will swell around the pest, making it look like the chigger has burrowed in.

Defending Yourself

  • The best defense is a good offense.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes, long pants and long sleeve shirts, with pants tucked in to hiking boots.
  • After hiking or camping, wash with warm soapy water to reduce bites and severity of bits. You can scrub your skin to remove any mites that may have stuck.
  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET. (This is the go-to piece of advice for most any inspect or pest.)
  • Use products especially designed for clothing for longer lasting results.
  • For home use, insecticides can be purchased and sprayed over the lawn.
  • Treatment
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Scrubbing the area with soap and water after contact is the most helpful treatment option. However, antihistamines are also useful and anti-itch creams help too. For severe or prolonged pain, contact your doctor for further recommendations.

Microfiber Benefits for Cleaning

Although people in Europe have been used microfiber cleaning for the last thirty years, the popularity has increased in the United States in just the last decade or so. Microfiber, which is a man-made product, is manufactured by splitting polyester fibers into even smaller fibers, which provides a superior cleaning over traditional mops and sponges.

With a width of less than 1/16th of a human hair, the microfibers can get into much tinier spaces than other mops, which is better for deep cleaning. The fibers also cause a positive electric charge that causes the dirt to stick better to the cloth or mop.

Microfiber tools can be purchased as clothes for counters and windows, pads for cleaning walls, and mops. Mops can be cut or looped with cut fibers being more abrasive and ideal for grouted and unsealed floors.

Safety Benefits of Microfiber

There are a number of safety benefits of using fiber over other cleaning tools.

Lightweight- The weight makes it safer for employees and other people to use and maneuver.

Wet Floors- Fiber mops use much less liquid than traditional mops and therefore floors dry faster. Less water is wasted and fewer falls occur with dryer floors.

Sanitation- Because less water is used with fiber mops, changing mop buckets is easier and faster, meaning you can refill the bucket for each room needing mopped. The extra level of sanitation is crucial in places like hospitals (and is probably a good idea in bathrooms too!)

Cost Benefits

Microfiber is designed to last a long time, for more than 500 washings. Long term usage adds up to big cost benefits for buyers. There are a number of popular cloths on the market right now, so you can choose from a number of styles and uses. Some cloths don’t even require the use of detergents.

 

Feather Dusters and Fun House Work

The housework has to be done, so you may as well make it fun. Grab the kids, some feather dusters, and a few supplies, and get ready to make the house cleaner AND make it a game. Need some extra inspiration? Watch Fifi, the famous feather duster in Beauty and the Beast and then you … Read more

Controlling Cat Hair

For anyone with fluffy felines around, you know the struggle with cat hair. Cat hair on the floors; cat hair on the furniture; cat hair on your clothes. Kitty’s shedding can make your otherwise spotless house look and feel like a mess. That’s just the price to pay for cat companionship? We don’t think so. … Read more

Mold and the story behind it

Mold and the Story Behind it

All about Mold

Mold is a fungus that grows on damp surfaces or spaces in many different areas. There are many different types of molds. Most are a natural part of the environment. Some grow inside and then there are some that grow outside. There are some types of molds that can be harmful but not all are dangerous. If you encounter this type of fungus inside your home, be sure to take the proper precautions to remove it. Outside molds are not really anything to worry about.

Is it Inside Your Home?

The best way to keep mold out of your home is to control all the inside moisture. If you have some type of leak or water break in your home this can be a source for mold. It is very important to clean and properly dry the damp or wet areas quickly. This should be done sooner than 48 hours after the leak starts to prevent mold growth.

Mold vs. Health

Not all molds are harmful, but some people have reacted badly to it. It can produce potentially toxic substances. This can cause the body to show symptoms of an allergic reaction. Sneezing, red eyes and even skin rashes have been known to associate with an allergic reaction.

Cleaning  Properly

It is a proven fact that mold spores do not grow without moisture. Depending on where the fungus is located, it can be cleaned fairly easy and cheap. More severe cases cost more and are harder to maintain. You can use store bought products or make your own products. Some people choose to make their own cleaning products because they are less harmful if inhaled, spilled or ingested. One way you can stop mold growth is by adding water and vinegar to a spray bottle and spraying the affected areas. Letting it sit on the areas before cleaning is more effective.

Wearing Appropriate Gear

When cleaning up molds you must first make sure you are dressed correctly. Make sure to wear long gloves, a respirator mask and goggles before you begin scrubbing. You can put all of this gear on while you are waiting for the chemicals to sink in. Wearing all the proper gear protects you from handling the fungus or ingesting it in any way. Once you are sure that you have cleaned and properly dried the molded areas, you may now dispose for your gear that is not reusable.

 

Allergies are on the Rise This Season

Allergies are on the rise this season!

Allergy Season

People who suffer from allergies generally have the most flare ups in the spring. Millions of Americans have allergies on a seasonal basis. You can go almost all year without any issues; and then spring time hits. You are then faced with an allergy flare up. For some it can last days, weeks or even months. Many things can be done to help you make it through this time of year. Or at least make it more tolerable.

What causes Allergies?

Allergies are caused by an increase in pollen that is released into the atmosphere. Spring time is the time of year when trees and flowers begin to bloom. Other than medications, you can do things inside your home to also help. Changing your air vent filters once a month can lessen the amount of allergies in your home. Doing this frequently is a good household habit to have. Each time you open the door to your home; you are taking the chance of allowing pollen and allergens inside your home. When your air filters through the vents, it sucks in all the allergens and pollen. Dusting often can also help eliminate this issue.

Pets and Allergens

If you have pets in your home they can also be a source for the allergens to hide. Bathing your pet often or frequent grooming can be helpful. Also restricting pets to certain areas or rooms can help as well. Wood flooring is the best type of flooring to have if you have any allergies. The allergens are less likely to cling to wood floors rather than carpets. Keeping pets off of carpeted areas in a house can cut back on allergens present in the home.

Natural ways to relieve allergy symptoms

Your local pharmacy has many items you can purchase to help relieve some allergy symptoms. Some of them being over the counter medication, and some being natural supplements. The butterbur extract also known as Ze 339, can be taken daily if desired. It has been known to work as well as an antihistamine. A medication with an antihistamine can help block the receptors of histamine in your body.

Eating Right

Eating healthy foods is a great way to fight off allergies and illnesses. Although eating healthy won’t cure your allergy issues; it may help reduce you being affected so often. Eating foods high in fatty acid, and Omega-3’s, like fish has been known to ease allergy symptoms. Vitamin C is also used to control allergies. Like Omega-3’s, eating foods high in these vitamins is better than taking a supplement. All those times you were told to eat healthy might not have been such a bad idea after all.