How to Prevent Squirrels from Carving Your Pumpkins

Pumpkin picking and carving are some of the most popular outdoor activities during the month of October. To make sure your perfect pumpkin and masterful carving stay intact, here are a few simple ways you can repel squirrels and prevent them from making a meal out of your festive pumpkin creations:


1. Seal it up. Once you’re finished carving, spray the entire fruit with sealing lacquer or hair spray. The result will be a hard, sticky texture that squirrels cannot and will not want to permeate.

2. Pour on the vinegar. When poured on and around your pumpkins, the strong scent of white vinegar can repel squirrels, ants and other pesky insects. Be careful not to overdo it though, as the vinegar’s acidity can potentially ruin the pumpkin.

3. Use hot pepper. Blend up some hot peppers or use hot sauce to cover the pumpkin’s exterior. Squirrels will be deterred by not only the smell, but the taste as well if they get close enough. For added protection, sprinkle some cayenne pepper around your pumpkins as a warning.

4. Use scare tactics. Placing an owl statue near your pumpkin can scare squirrels and keep them off of your property. In addition, installing a motion-activated light sensor, or simply placing a motion-activated sprinkler or air blaster will shock any intruders and have them running for cover.

If you seem to be having trouble keeping your seasonal decorations safe from small rodents, you may have a bigger problem that needs professional attention. If you’re worried about a possible rodent infestation, we offer a free evaluation by one of our expert professionals! Call Petri at 954-781-4100 today!

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Keep Pests from Haunting Your House

Do you hear scary noises and scuffling sounds in your attic, garage or crawl space? You may have RODENTS!

Once inside, rats and other pests can do more than just provide their fair share of scares. They are capable of contaminating food, spreading disease and posing a threat to property. Rodents can spread Salmonella and Hantavirus and create fire hazards by gnawing through electrical wires in the home. They trigger allergies and asthma, especially in kids.

Rodents move inside as temperatures start to drop in South Florida.

Rodents move inside as temperatures start to drop in South Florida.

Creepy Crawlies – Roaches spread disease and also cause allergy and asthma attacks! They date back to Prehistoric times and outlived the dinosaurs, flourishing today!

Headless Horseman? – Cockroaches can live a whole week without their heads! The headless cockroach will eventually die from thirst – because they have no mouth to drink with.

Webs are not just a scary Halloween decoration – they are an all too real sign of spiders. Spiders can administer a painful bite when disturbed. Florida is also home to some truly poisonous varieties – Black and Brown Widows – DANGER!

Real Life Bloodsucking Vampires? Bed Bugs attack you while you sleep – like Vampires they come out at night. They inject their own “anesthetic” that numbs you while you sleep so you usually do not wake up! They engorge themselves and fatten up with your blood – shades of Dracula! These creepy crawlers can’t fly and don’t travel far – they hitch hike on luggage, people’s clothing, etc. and hide from view.

Don’t settle for tricks this Halloween; call Petri for a treat (Free!) evaluation. 954-781-4100.

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What Impact Do Tropical Storms & Hurricanes Have on Local Pests?

For those of us from South Florida, we know that the arrival of hurricane season also means the arrival of “fire ant season.” Wet, humid and moist weather caused by lurking storms and hurricanes cause a significant increase in fire ant activity.

Fortunately for South Florida, the recent tropical depressions have by-passed us in recent weeks. However the excessive daily rainfall and remnant moisture especially here in Broward and Palm Beach counties are forcing fire ants to seek drier grounds – for example, your home! These pests are more prominent in wet conditions and quickly move to dry areas during hurricane season.

Did You Know? Fire ants are one of the most flood-resistant species in the world. It’s not that fire ants are aquatic by nature. But they are quite adept at evacuating a flooded nest to ensure the colony’s survival. Fire ants form floating “rafts” by locking their legs together when their mounds are flooded. These rafts contain the entire colony – worker ants, eggs, larvae, pupae, winged males and females and queen ants. Once the raft hits dry ground or a tree, rock, or other dry object, the ants can leave the water. Spot-treating mounds or infected corners in your home will not get rid of the infestation.


Keep your home and lawn pest free this hurricane season; contact Petri for a free evaluation!

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Bugs Want to Go Back to School too!

In South Florida, the summer temperatures stay with us long in to the early fall, which means summer pests are likely to hitch a ride to school with your child. Keeping pests from taking over classrooms, school buses and the playground can be a back-to-school challenge.

“At the start of the school year, parents and teachers should be diligent about pest prevention.” said Chris Cavanagh, Associate Certified Entomologist and Vice President of Petri Pest Solutions. “Students closely gathered together throughout the course of the school day, make it very possible for pests to transfer from student to student, backpacks, and make their way back to your home.”


Petri recommends these simple tips to keep pests at bay at home and in your child’s classroom:

Super Lice – Since early August we have been hearing a lot of about Lice and their resilience to over the counter treatments. They can spread from one person to another through contact with bedding, clothing, or by sharing combs. Lice are very common in schools as children tend to share belongings and supplies more and frequently come into close contact with each other.

Prevention – Avoid sharing combs, hats, towels, etc. If you suspect exposure to lice, wash all clothes, bedding, combs and towels. You can also use special combs, shampoos and conditioners designed specifically to treat lice, and some of these can be used as a preventative measure if the school notifies you of an outbreak. You can also contact your pediatrician for a medicated prescription.

Ants – Ant infestations are incredibly common at schools. The abundance of food crumbs, wrappers and drink cartons in cafeterias, trash cans and lunch boxes make perfect snacks for these tiny creatures. While ants are not harmful, their bites can be painful and some ants are known to cause allergic reactions.

Prevention – Because ants can easily find their way into buildings through cracks and crevices, teachers should take care that all food is properly disposed of and lockers are regularly cleaned out. To help prevent ants in your home during the school season, try to keep all food sealed and in airtight containers. Remind kids to clean up after themselves and to not place any open or spilled items back into their lunch bag.

Bed Bugs – Bed bugs can easily attach themselves to clothing, shoes and bags and travel into your home from school. Once at home, they can usually be found in mattresses, suitcases and boxes. Bed bug bites are extremely painful and they will typically bite repeatedly in a cluster so your child will more than likely be able to tell you that something has bitten them.

Prevention – To avoid an infestation, check bags each night and hang backpacks and purses to keep them off the floor. Get into the habit of always shaking out your child’s bag before entering the house. This is a helpful hint to avoid any pests that might have been hiding in there during the day.

Bees – Bees are attracted to anything sweet, especially high-sugar drinks. Stinging pests are especially a concern for younger students going outside for recess, where bees, yellow jackets, wasps and hornets can all pose a threat. While these flying pests aren’t likely to come home with students, school faculty and staff should all know what to do in the event of a sting.

Prevention – Teach your children to remain calm if they see a bee hovering around their cold drink. They need to put the drink down and move away without aggravating the bee by screaming or shaking their hands. It’s good to keep in mind that bees are generally harmless and will not attack unless they feel threatened.

Keeping your child’s belongings properly labeled and in zipper-closed bags will ensure their belongings stay with them and stay protected. Teaching your child to be more mindful at school about hitch-hiking pests can also be a good learning opportunity. We recommend your Junior Entomologist visit this kid-friendly site, Pest World for Kids, for easy to understand information about bugs. Teachers will also find this to be a useful resource for creative lesson planning.
As the cooler South Florida weather makes its way through in the upcoming weeks, we should see a decline in bee and mosquito activity, however, if you’re concerned about bed bugs or ants, you can learn more about our services by visiting

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Proactive Tips to Control Pests after a Storm

It looks like 2016 is going to be an active tropical storm / hurricane season! With the tropics being active, now is a good time to proactively start preparing your home – inside and out.
When storms make their way up the coast, studies show there is a spike in pest populations. Contrary to what some make think, heavy rains do not wash pests away. If anything pest populations increase as they seek out new grounds to live. This makes your home, especially wet areas around your home, a prime target. Any exposed wet wood, debris and standing rain water are all prime sources pests will seek out to breed
Simple Tips to Prepare:
• Increase your pest control efforts by properly sealing entryways – doors and window frames, loose screens, attic vents, and even weather stripping around your garage doors.

• Quickly clean up after inclement weather has passed through. Be sure to empty all containers, uncovered garbage cans, and debris as quickly as possible. Tipped over garbage cans with food can attract rodents and other pests to your property.

• Inspecting your roof for any leaks, holes or missing tiles after a storm is effective in ensuring critters do not seek shelter in your attic.

• Beware of cockroaches! Cockroaches often live in sewer drains. As water levels rise outside due to storming weather, these water bugs often climb up and out of pipes infesting kitchen areas. It’s imperative to repair any leaks and crevices immediately to eliminate colonies from spreading. In Florida, cockroaches will also live in palm trees and under mulch, but they may find shelter in your attic should a storm displace them. It may often be weeks, or months, after a storm that a roach or rodent problem is finally discovered after the pests and/or critters have established themselves in your attic or crawl space and have begun to venture out to other areas of your home.

The best pest control is preventative to treat problems before they arise. Homeowners that establish an efficient pest management program from professional exterminators delivered strategically throughout the year, before and during at-risk seasons, are the best prepared and protected during hurricane season. To learn more about Petri Pest Solutions annual pest control programs, call 954781-4100 or visit

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Integrated Pest Management – What is it? And Why Should Your Pest Control Company Use It?

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a pest management system that solves pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. It focuses on long-term prevention. IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere—in urban, agricultural, and wildland or natural areas. This integrated approach, relies on several tactics to eradicate the pest problem.  A company that uses an IPM approach can help reduce long-term costs by addressing the cause of the problem. Since low-risk pesticides are used only when needed, environmental and health impacts are reduced as well.

IPM follows a multi-step approach:

  • Identification: The first step in solving any pest problem effectively and safely is the correct identification of the pest. It is critical to find out what kind of pests you have and where they are coming from. Since each pest has different habits, biology and life cycles, its positive identification will lead to more effective control.
  • Prevention and Exclusion: Prevention of the conditions that pests need is critical to successful control. In the case of rodents, ants and cockroaches, it can be accomplished by eliminating pests’ food, water and shelter. This means cleaning up food and beverages and their packaging or wrappers, fixing leaky plumbing, and eliminating clutter. Entry to a building or home by pests is prevented by caulking cracks and crevices, repairing screens, repairing drains and installing door sweeps.
  • Monitoring: New infestations can be controlled best if spotted early. With IPM, pest populations are regularly monitored using traps. Pest sightings are recorded to document where and when the problems occur.
  • Multiple tactics: IPM typically uses several non-chemical tactics to deal with the pest. Pesticides are used only as a last resort and only by a licensed and experienced professional.

Prevent Pests

IPM focuses on prevention by removing conditions that attract pests, such as food, water, and shelter. Preventive actions include:

  • Reducing clutter.
  • Sealing areas where pests enter the building (weatherization).
  • Removing trash and overgrown vegetation.
  • Maintaining clean dining and food storage areas.
  • Installing pest barriers.
  • Removing standing water.
  • Educating home and business owners.

To choose a pest control company that uses an IPM approach, ask these questions:

  1. What training, certification and qualifications does the technician have?
  2. What steps will the technician take to assess and control the pest problem?

A good IPM specialist will:

  • Inspect the premises
  • Identify the pest
  • Explain what condition(s) most likely caused the pest problem
  • Explain the extent of the damage, if any.
  • Develop and discuss corrective actions
  • Implement a plan for corrections
  • Explain ways to prevent further pest outbreaks
  • Schedule a follow-up visit to evaluate the success of the corrective actions.

Petri Pest Solutions is fully certified in all four categories of pest control in Florida including: General Household Pest and Rodent Control; Lawn and Ornamental; Termite and Wood Destroying Insects; and Fumigation. In addition, Petri offers specialty services including whitefly treatments, bedbug elimination, wildlife removal, honeybee removal, and rodent exclusion services. We are very proud to be leaders in an industry that plays a vital role in protecting people, health, food, and property.



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The White-Footed Black Ant

In the recent past it was considered to be a pest problem of near epidemic proportions. Some feel it was akin to a horror movie. It has frustrated and perplexed pest control technicians and reduced little old ladies to tears. If you live anywhere from Orlando south to the Keys and have not experienced it, it still could be coming soon to your neighborhood. I’m referring to the dreaded white-footed ant (technomyrmexalbipes). This ant, though more under control than when it was first introduced in South Florida, still remains a big problem ant.  It is likely a native of Asia that migrated to Hawaii on plant material and soon made its way to South Florida.  The white-footed ant was first identified in Homestead, Florida in 1986. It has made a slow progression north each year, becoming a common problem in Dade and Broward counties in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Palm Beach County was next to be inundated and there have been sightings of the ants as far north as Orlando.

white-footed_ant03About an eighth of an inch long, the ants are dark black with white coloring at the base of their legs. They march in tight formation in long columns that sometimes branch out in several directions. Although they do not bite, sting, or cause any damage, they can be a terrible nuisance mainly because of their enormous population. Colonies can have up to three million members while most ant species are limited to several hundred thousand. About half the colony of white-footed ants are fertile males and females, allowing for quick expansion. Other ants have only one or just a few queens per nest. In addition, white-footed ants often have a primary colony and several satellite or sub-colonies. These sub-colonies are formed when the ants swarm (winged males and females fly to new areas) or through budding (a huge number of adults split off and crawl to a new colony). Most ants do one or the other, while the white-footed ant does both to expand their population. All of these factors make control of this insect extremely difficult for homeowners and pest control technicians alike. Perhaps the biggest obstacle, though, is the fact that regular baiting methods will not eliminate the colony as they can with other ants. Most ants have workers that forage for food, encounter the bait and then take it back to the nest where it is regurgitated to feed the rest of the colony, including the queen. White-footed ants lay sterile eggs and this is what colony members in the nest eat. While the bait will kill the worker, it will never get back to the queen.

It is rare that white-footed ants can be totally eliminated both in and around a structure because these ant colonies are often spread throughout a neighborhood and ants of course don’t know property lines.  Control can be achieved though with the proper approach. A pest control company must be brought in for this problem.

In the past the best treatment strategy was a power spraying of the perimeter on bushes, shrubs, trees and palm fronds to eliminate as many colonies as possible since these ants are considered arboreal ants that often nest in trees.  Many times nesting sites are located at the tops of palm trees or in the bark of trees. Since the white-footed ants are a sweet-feeding ants, they are often found on shrubs and ornamentals where honeydew producing insects, like scale and aphids, are found as well. By treating the shrubbery to remove the honeydew producing insects you will be removing the ant’s food source as well.

The treatment of nesting sites in trees and the shrubbery is still an important part of the strategy to control white-footed ants but in recent years the development of non-repellant sprays, such as Termidor, have greatly helped to reduce white-footed ants. By applying this spray to the perimeter and entry points under the eaves of the structure, where these ants often gain entry, white-footed ants can be controlled.  The non-repellant spray goes undetected by the ants and is then transferred throughout the colonies as worker ants touch or groom other ants.

If ants have become established in the attic these areas may have to be fogged or dusted by a professional pest control company.  A thorough inside crack and crevice service may be needed as well if the ants are established inside.  It is not unusual for homeowners to have to continuously vacuum up thousands of dead ants that have died because of the treatments.  There should be fewer and fewer ants each time though.  If this is not the case then chances are there are still one or more nests remaining.

Lastly, even though baits will not eliminate the colony, such baits as Terro and Maxforce granules, when put out in large amounts by the pest control technician, can greatly reduce the ant population. Some other tips for homeowners when battling these persistent ants are to trim back any foliage away from the house by at least a foot, caulk all possible openings, clear any fallen leaves and compost which may provide a food source and nesting site, and keep all products containing sugar in an airtight container or bag.

The white-footed ant is not the epidemic it was years ago but it remains a difficult problem to manage, especially during the summer months when it is most active.



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Chinch Bugs – South Florida’s Most Destructive Lawn Pest

“Give a chinch an inch and he’ll take a yard”
By Chris Cavanagh, Vice President Petri Pest Solutions

The southern chinch bug is by far south Florida’s most destructive lawn pest and the most injurious pest of St. Augustine grass there is. Eggs of chinch bugs begin hatching in late February in south Florida and there are seven generations per year. The nymphs (immature chinch bugs) start out the size of a pinhead and will molt five times before reaching the adult stage. The nymphs are a bright reddish-orange and have a white band across the back. Adult chinch bugs are about 1/5 inch long and black with white wings. Chinch bugs suck plant juices from the grass resulting in yellowish to brownish-red patches in the lawn. These damaged areas are usually first noticed in the dry, sunny areas of the lawn near the edge of sidewalks or driveways leading some people to believe the lawn is just under drought stress. Watering these areas of the lawn will not help bring the lawn back until the chinch bug problem is resolved. Chinch bugs may spread to other areas of the lawn through crawling and in some cases flying short distances. To determine whether chinch bugs are the cause of yellowish-brown areas in lawns, they can often be found by parting the grass at the margin where the yellow damaged area meets with the still green undamaged area. It is important to identify that chinch bugs are the cause of the lawn problem as there are other factors such as disease, drought, or nutritional deficiencies that will also cause off-color areas in the lawn.


The first step in preventing chinch bugs is proper cultural practices which can greatly help control chinch bug infestations in lawns. This includes proper watering and mowing practices to reduce stress to the lawn. Drought stress can lead to chinch bugs but excessive watering or fertilization can also create the perfect habitat for chinch bugs. When a lawn is watered too frequently and/or fertilized with quick release nitrogen products the lawn can develop a thick spongy mat of live, dead, and dying shoots, stems, and roots which accumulate in a layer above the soil. This is referred to as thatch and it can provide an excellent home for chinch bugs and make control much more difficult. If a serious problem exists, thatch may need to be removed mechanically through vertical mowing or power raking. Certain varieties of St. Augustine grass such as Floratam and Floralawn also provide varying degrees of resistance to chinch bugs. Perhaps the best defense against chinch bugs is regular monitoring of the lawn, especially from March through October when chinch bugs are most active.

Regular inspection and lawn spray applications by a trained lawn professional at Petri combined with the home owner being aware of any changes in the lawn, and then notifying Petri, is essential to protecting your lawn from this damaging pest.

Petri Pest Solutions specializes in indoor and perimeter pest control, lawn spraying and fertilizing, tree and shrub spraying and fertilizing, TermaPest all-inclusive services, termite control services, termite tent fumigation, and “no tent” termite solutions.



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Pest-free Memorial Day!

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us! As we celebrate and commemorate the services of our military members, we are also making time to enjoy the holiday with friends and family. Whether your plans include a big backyard BBQ or a simpler get-together, don’t let uninvited pests crash your party.

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Your yard can be a breeding ground for bugs. Here are a few tips to reduce the amount of bugs in your yard this Memorial Day weekend:

  • Mow your lawn. Bugs like to hide in long grass. Regular mowing is important. Use a mowing height of 3 to 3.5 inches, and change directions each time the grass is mowed. Keep the lawn mower blade sharp.
  • Trim trees and shrubs. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed back from your home. Often times, bugs can gain entry to your home by branches that have contact with small cracks and crevices in window frames and on the exterior walls of your home.
  • Remove or drain standing water. Standing water is a breeding pool for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Water containers, decorative fountains, and even kiddie pools can be a targeted source for unwanted pests.
  • Effective Pest Control. Sometimes these simple tips are not enough to control the pest population invading your yard. Especially in South Florida, weather conditions and the vast variety of pests found in this region, make pest control a necessity all year long. Petri Pest Solutions offers effective residential pest control services and can help eliminate and prevent potentially damaging insect and rodent infestations in and around your home.

When planning any outdoor event that involves food, make sure to follow good sanitation and food preparation practices. You should:

  • Pick up leftover bottles and wrappers and clean up crumbs and spills.
  • Empty garbage or recycle bins frequently to make your picnic or cookout less attractive to these hungry pests.
  • Keep food tightly covered in plastic containers or covered with foil or plastic wrap, before and after cooking.
  • Do not leave soda cans uncovered, as the sugary ingredients can attract ants or stinging insects.

Petri has been providing exceptional pest control services to the South Florida area since 1956. Give us a call today to discuss our home pest control services and to schedule your next preventative treatment service with our experienced professionals.



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Questions to Ask Before Calling a Pest Control Company

Pest control issues aren’t always easy to manage. Most consumers think they can solve the issues on their own, but pests can be pesky critters! For the quickest and best way to find a solution to your pest problem, calling in a professional may be required. Here at Petri’s Positive Pest Control we know there are many choices in selecting the right pest control service for your needs; we offer a few things to consider before giving us a call…

Do I know what I am dealing with? If possible, when a homeowner can identify the pest(s), it may speed up the process by which your pest control company can assist you with recommendations and control of the pest(s). The more you can answer about your pest problem, the more helpful it will be to assist the pest control experts in identifying the first steps necessary in eliminating insects and rodents problems.
• How long it has been an issue?
• Where it is affecting your house?
• What steps have you already taken?

Do I have a picture to share? Photos identifying critter existence or damage will help pest control experts understand the extent of your pest control issues.

Is the company I am considering hiring licensed and insured? For the protection of your family or the employees at your business only hire a pest control company that is licensed and insured to service your home or business. In Florida, a pest control business license through the Department of Agriculture can only be obtained when there is a pest control operator who is certified by the State after taking a state administered exam. A minimum of 3 years of experience in the industry is generally necessary before taking the exam. An operator must be certified in: general pest control; lawn and ornamental; termite control; and fumigation (tenting) before selling or rendering these services.

Am I contacting a pest control company with qualified technicians? A lot of companies offer pest control services, but only professionals with years of experience are going to know the best methods to eradicate critter issues without causing damage to your home and health. Petri’s Positive Pest Control has been serving the South Florida area since 1956. Our technicians are trained extensively on South Florida’s most common pest control issues and invasive pest problems. Regular safety training and awareness of Integrated Pest Management techniques that may be used during the treatment process are essential to any professional pest control company’s technician training program.

Do I want preventative treatments in the future? Pest control companies can often come to your house or business within a day or two to help take care of current pest problems. Remember that most of these companies, like Petri’s Positive Pest Control, offer regular preventative treatments to help avoid future pest problems from occurring. If you are interested and want to learn more about those treatments, give us a call at 954-781-4100.

Petri continues to deliver expert quality service that people can depend on for their homes and businesses. We specialize in indoor and perimeter pest control, lawn spraying and fertilizing, tree and shrub spraying and fertilizing, TermaPest all-inclusive services, termite control services, termite tent fumigation, and “no tent” termite solutions. Contact us for a free evaluation

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