Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pest of the Week- Bed Bugs!

Bed bugs have been around for a very long, long, long, long, long time. These creatures are nasty, but they are not dangerous. They were nearly extinct in America around 40 years ago, but in the past decade they have made a dramatic comeback causing an epidemic throughout America. 

Bed Bugs are parasites that feed on human blood. Because they feed on human blood at night they make their homes in beds. A mattress is a perfect hiding place for a bed bug and provides them with a good source of food every night. They hide in the seams of mattresses, cracks in bed frame, under chairs, couches, under rugs, edges of carpets, baseboards, and almost anywhere else.

Bed Bugs find their way into your home by hitching a ride in a suitcase or on your clothing. Infestations of Bed Bugs are on the rise and have been on the rise in large cities such as New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Des Moines for the past few years. Bed bugs were irradiated by the use of pesticides such as DDT but have returned most likely thanks to the banning of those pesticides and to worldwide travel.

Can I Get Rid of Bedbugs?
Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eradicate because of how well they hide and how resilient they are. There are some steps that can be taken though to eradicate and prevent infestations. But, due to the difficulty it is often best to call a pest professional.

How to Get Rid of Bedbugs without an Exterminator?
Removing mattresses and furniture from property, vacuuming and scrubbing infested areas thoroughly, washing laundry in hot water are all steps that can be taken to eliminate bedbugs. The longer you wait to take action the more difficult it is to get rid of bedbugs. They reproduce quickly and each night they will feed in hopes to reproduce. A few bedbugs and quickly turn in to an extreme nightmare each night. But, without knowledge of bedbugs and pest control products it is best to leave the use of chemicals to the pest professionals. Visit Get Rid of Your Bedbugs for more info.

What Will A Pest Professional Do To Get Rid Of My Bedbugs?
There is a wide variety of ways that pest control operators eradicate bedbugs. Chemical, heat, cold, steam, mechanical, and even dogs are used to sniff out the location.

Chemicals are applied to locations were the pests hide; in cracks and crevices, in the seams of mattresses, in bed frames, in walls, on baseboards. To be effective often multiple chemical treatments are needed. These are the most risky because a lot of chemical is often applied in the living space. Most often however these chemicals used are a type of pyrethrins which has extremely low toxicity to mammals.

Heat treatments have become a fad in large cities such as New York, Chicago, Las Angeles, and Des Moines.  These treatments can cost thousands of dollars but they are very effective. They are often best if used in large apartment complexes where chemical treatments have proven to be unsuccessful. The chemicals are often unsuccessful in large apartments because once an apartment is treated they run to the next.

Cold treatments are used by a large pest control company that claims the treatments kill the adult bedbugs, nymphs, and even the eggs. Not much information on how effective this method is though.

Our favorite tool in eliminating bedbugs is the bedbug dogs. These dogs are able to sniff out bedbugs and find them. This helps pest control operators locate the bedbugs and kill them. Finding bedbugs is almost the entire battle in eliminating bedbugs.

Overall, the best way to get rid of bedbugs is to contact a pest professional who has proven the ability to get rid of bedbugs and integrate some of the other steps we have mentioned that will help you get rid of your bugs.  

Visit our bedbug site. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Mud daubers are wasp-like insects that construct nests from mud. They make a variety of nests ranging from elaborate structures (i.e., multiple tubes several inches long or small vase-like nests attached to plant stems) to merely 'plastering' up existing cracks or crevices in wood, stone, or masonry. Many mud daubers will fill holes in round openings found in equipment and lawn furniture. There are three main species of mud daubers, the black and yellow, the blue mud dauber, and the organ pipe mud dauber.

Mud daubers use spiders for prey, but other species use a variety of insects ranging from caterpillars to cockroaches to stock the nests. Some related species that burrow into the ground catch large insects such as katydids and cicadas.

They create their nests in corners on walls outside the home. They will also find any other corner, or old nests to create their new nest. They are not social wasps. Though sometimes it may seem that multiple wasps are in the same spot, they are not a colony.

Mud daubers are not aggressive insects and rarely sting, unless they are threatened or inadvertently contacted. Although the venom is primarily for paralyzing and preserving prey, it is painful. The yellow and black mud dauber was rated a 1 on a pain scale ranging from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe), which was the same rating as the red imported fire ant.

Source: Wikipedia

SIZE: 5/8” to 1”
COLOR: Black and Yellow

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pest Of the Week!

This week's pest is the ant. The pavement ant is the most common pest that we have gotten calls for this week. Pavement ants are the little sugar ants that dominate your kitchen when you leave crumbs out. These ants can be very difficult to get rid of. It is possible to control ants on your own without the help of a pest control operator. At times, they can be very difficult to get rid of. If you are struggling with ants call us at 515-309-2089. We can get rid of your ants very fast. You can also check out our informational page at

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stay Clean!

Today I just wanted to emphasize the importance of keeping your home clean of clutter and food. The main reason why bugs enter your home is to find food and water. Most insects that enter your home are actually called Accidental Invaders. Accidental invaders do not puropsely try to enter your home, they just accidentally end up there. They need to scour the area to find food, and what better place to find food than in your home or trash.

The best way to keep bugs from coming in your home is to keep your home free of food and debris. Ants are notorious in finding foods and bringing in more of their friends. They release a pheromone in a trail that leads the rest to the food source. If you see ants, then that means you have a good food source for them to be there. Keeping the area clean will help prevent them from wanting to be there. Remember that even the smallest crumb can feed multiple insects.

The next thing you might want to to is limit the hiding places for the insects. Insects love tiny cracks and crevices. They will find anywhere that is tight to protect them from dangerous creatures. If you have lots of clutter on the floor or in the basement, this is just a ample place for bugs to live. It is difficult to spray within our limits if where the bugs are hiding are in your boxes of food or clothes. The best thing we recommend is organzing what you need to keep into plastic sealed containers. This will help keep the bugs from hiding in the boxes and allow us to get a safer, better spray in your home.

Just remember that food and hiding places are the main reason why bugs come into your home. Keeping your home free of food crumbs and clutter will limit the number of bugs and the ability for them to survive.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Moles- Pest of the Week

Editor's Note: For some reason, the blog did not want to publish my entry about moles yesterday. I do not know what went wrong, but let's just try to make it work this time.

About Moles
Not the cutest animal
Source: Wikipedia

Moles are most noticed in the spring time when they search for their food and nesting materials. During the winter, when the ground freezes, moles stay deep underground in their nests to stay warm. Moles create burrows, a series of tunnels and nesting sites, which can go as deep as 10-20 feet.

Moles can grow up to 6-12”, depending on the species. They usually have a dark gray fur, a slender snout, and very sharp teeth. They have tiny beady eyes that are only capable of distinguishing light from dark, otherwise they are considered blind. Moles have very large front claws that are used for digging.

Diet & Reproduction
Moles live alone except for when they are rearing young. They usually have about 1-6 per litter, once or twice a year. Mole babies are hairless and blind at birth. Fur begins to appear on the babies at about ten days after birth. It takes about 6-12 months for the mole babies to grow to adult size.

Moles diet consists of small invertebrates, usually worms. Moles have a very big appetite; they can eat their weight in worms and other grubs every day. To get their food they usually create new shallow tunnels to find the grubs. Finding the grubs is what usually causes the grass to die. The grubs are in the roots of the grass and cause the roots to be exposed and die off. They do not eat your plants or grasses.

Moles live most of their lives underground so it is very uncommon to see a mole, but they do come to the surface occasionally for search for water or nesting material. They can dig surface tunnels at a rate of 18 feet per hour. Moles dig two different types of tunnels: shallow and deep tunnels. Shallow tunnels are the tunnels most noticed by homeowners, because it makes the ground weak and collapsible when walked on.

Shallow tunnels are also used mainly to get their food. Deep tunnels are the mole’s usual main runway, since it is usually the safest from predators. Deep tunnels are anywhere between 1 foot and 10 feet deep. Moles usually dig their tunnels in soils that are loose, moist, and that have plenty of food sources (worms and grubs).

The most common detection of mole is the pathways they create under the lawn. When they burrow, they tend to push the soil upwards and outwards, often killing the grass roots and therefore leaving a path of dead grass that can be unsightly.

Mole tunnels are about 1-2 inches wide. If you see a mole hill, a pile of dirt surrounding a hole, then that means the mole tunnels are deep. It’s an easy inspection, walk along your yard and look for ridges or soft parts in the yard.  

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between an active mole tunnel and an abandoned tunnel. A simple way to see if it is an active tunnel is to flatten the tunnel down (step on it). If the tunnel is rebuilt then it is an active tunnel, if it doesn’t after a week then you can bet on it being an abandoned tunnel.

There two main ways of removing moles: baits and traps.

Mole baits usually come in gel form. The moles are attracted to it, eat it and die from the poison. This method can work pretty well if you use enough bait and place it in the correct places. The only problem with gel baits are that if the mole doesn't die the first time, it will stay away from the bait from then on.  

The most effective and usually cheapest method of controlling moles is through traps. Some people have tried and failed using traps. This is because they placed the traps in the wrong places. Placing a trap near the entrance of a suspected mole tunnel is not as effective as actually putting a trap in a tunnel that is used for travel. Placing a trap at the entrance is like standing there with a shovel playing the real life version of Whack-A-Mole, except no moles will stick their heads up out of the holes.

Spring traps, harpoon traps, and choker loop traps are all common traps used in the business. The most common trap used, and usually the most humane, is the choker loop trap. The key in placing the traps is placing more than one trap and in active tunnels.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pest of the Week-Bees

Bees are very beneficial to our environment. We need them to pollinate plants, and they make tasty honey. Honey bees are well-known for their honey making. They have been important for thousands of years for human food consumption. Also, honey bees create bee’s wax that is also collected by humans. There has been a severe decline in bee population in the last decade and this is not good for our farmers or our food products. without the population of bees pollinating our plants, the plants will not grow as strong and healthy as they should.

Bees come in all shapes and sizes, the biggest being bumble bees. Here are three of the most common bees found in Iowa:


Honey bees are social bees; they live in extensive colonies that have thousands of bees in it. The colony consist of one queen bee, hundreds of drones (fertile male bees), and thousands of worker bees (infertile females). The queen lays all the eggs and is the most important bee in the colony, without the queen the colony will collapse. The drones are created from unfertilized eggs, the drone’s job is to grow and leave the colony to mate with queen bees. Drones cannot sting. The worker’s job is to care for the nest. They leave the colony for food (nectar) and take care of the eggs, protect the queen, and protect the nest.

Honey bees’ nest stay around all year. During the winter, the hive stops flying around and huddle together. They can keep the center of the huddle at a constant temperature of 85
degrees throughout the whole winter. The colony usually begins working again once spring begins.

Honey bees are important, but are facing a type of disease that is killing them off in large numbers. No one seems to understand why this is happening, though. The honey bee is so important to farmers that some usually rent colonies of bees to pollinate their crops from beekeepers.

Carpenter bees are usually solitary bees, but they have been known to live in very small colonies consisting of their sisters or daughters. Carpenter bees look very similar to bumble bees, but the main difference is the lack of hair on carpenter bees compared to bumble bees. Carpenter’s abdomens tend to have a shiny black abdomen. Carpenter bees are also important to pollinating flowers.

Carpenter Bees will drill holes into exposed wood. The usually will drill on the bottom side of the wood. Often in Iowa they are found drilling holes and tunnels into the wood on the bottom side of decks. The hole goes about 1/2 inch then makes a 90 degree turn below the surface and goes with the grain up to 1 foot. Carpenter bees are usually not a threat to sting. They do not eat the wood; they get their food from nectar in flowers.

Bumble bees are probably the most recognized type of insect by every one of all ages. Bumble bees are easily recognized by their yellow and black body that looks to be soft because of the hair-like pile covering their bodies. They also tend to have a louder “buzz” compared to other bees, just because of their size.

Bumble bees live in small colonies of about 50-100 bumble bees. The colony is like most other social bees. They consist of a queen and workers. The queen chooses the location of the nest every year, and who lays all the eggs. The workers tend to the nest and eggs and are not able to lay eggs. Their nests are usually built in the ground and only stay around for a year at a time.

Unlike the honey bees, the bumble bee does not have barbs on their stinger, so bumble bees can sting more than once. Bumble bees are protective of their nest and will only attack if their nest is threatened. This can be dangerous, because their nests are usually very hard to find and can easily be stepped on without realizing it.

Bumble bees also are very good pollinators. Since their bodies are fuzzy, pollen from the anthers of
flowers gets stuck on the “fur-like” pile, when they collect nectar. Bumble bees tend to go to the same flowers every day, as long as it keeps producing enough nectar. Once they collect the nectar they take it back to their nests, and put it in wax cells for food storage. Nothing to the sorts of honey bees, though.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bites? Maybe not

One thing I have noticed with people today worrying so much about bed bugs, is that any red bumps found on their bodies must be a bug bite.This is not always the case. Red bumps and rashes can come from all sorts of things not related to bugs. It is not within our authority to look at your skin and determine whether it is red from bugs.

If you notice red marks or rashes on your sin, one thing you should do is see a dermatologist and have it professionally looked at. The job description of a technician is to thoroughly inspect for insects and spray pesticides accordingly. The job of a dermatologist is to determine what is causing problems on the skin. Most of the time, it is too hard to distinguish a difference between bug bites and other causes. If it is sometimes difficult for dermatologists, who go through years of schooling, to determine the real cause of bites, it is definitely not within our authority to confirm any suspicious ideas a customer may have.

Family safety is of the utmost importance
People's reaction to bites are different. Some people never have any signs of bites, some people skin is so sensitive that it causes heaps of troubles from the smallest encounter. This is why it can be difficult to pinpoint any problems with the skin, everyone is different.

Here at Downs Pest Control, we believe that the customer's safety is most important. We will not spray for bugs you think are biting you without any hard evidence of insects. So, if you think you have bugs biting you, do not expect us to start spraying here and there. We need to follow our prcedours and keep your safety forefront.

For more information, read this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pest of the Week-Cockroaches

Cockroaches are found worldwide, especially in the Des Moines area. Cockroaches are nasty and very difficult to control. If you have cockroaches the best thing you can do is call a professional to help you eradicate this problem from your home. Most often these bugs travel into your home as stowaways. Cockroaches hitch a ride in to your home in a grocery bag, or in with cardboard boxes. Once they are in your home they are very difficult to control.

What makes these pests so difficult to get rid of is their ability reproduce and survive. They crawl into the smallest little spaces and hide themselves. Often they are very good at hiding and do not come out in daylight. Proper treatment depends on a thorough inspection and accurate identification. Once it is known where the roaches are hiding and feeding they can be treated.

The only way to eliminate a cockroach infestation is to use an integrated approach to pest management. There must be multiple methods taken and the home owner must work with our Downs Pest Control technicians to eliminate the roach infestation. Sanitation combined with baits, insect growth regulators, insecticides and knowledge of different cockroaches and their eggs cycle can eradicate these nasty infestations.

Cockroaches are nasty and can carry a disease into your food. The best thing to do is to eradicate them as soon as possible! Call Downs Pest Control today for a free quote- (515) 309-2089!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rats VS Mice

Rats and mice are one of the most destructive pests throughout the world. These species are related, but only in the way that a cheetah and tiger are related. They have a common ancestor somewhere in the past. This is just a quick chart showing the differences and similarities between these two rodents. 

Remember that Rats and Mice are two different species. A common misconception is that they are baby(mice) and adult (rat). Although it is a very appealing idea, it is not right.

Click to make larger!

Note: This is just a quick glance at the similarities and Differences, there are plenty of other facts not listed

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Benefits of Bats

In a recent Science Magazine a study was revealed that bats, not the bats you can swing, can save over $3 billion in funds for the national pest control. This is good news for farmers or other areas that need to get rid of bugs.

Vampire Bat
Don't Worry Vampire Bats are not in the USA
Click here to get Images & Vampire Bat Pictures - Pictures
“This analysis suggests that bats are saving us big bucks by gobbling up insects that eat or damage our crops. It is obviously beneficial that insectivorous bats are patrolling the skies at night above our fields and forests – these bats deserve help,” says one of the study’s authors.

Yes there are downfalls with bats, like rabies or other diseases, but I believe the benefits greatly outweigh the downfalls. Less than 1% of all bat species actually carry the rabies disease, and less than 40 people have ever gotten rabies from bats in the past 40 years. Insect eating bats, which makes up about 70% of the US bat population, can eat over 1,200 insects in one hour. Multiply that by 4-5 hours of feeding by thousands and thousands of bats, and you get a lot of insects eaten every night.

I would like to place bats in the group with spiders for being one of the most underrated pest control species in the world. They get a bad rep because of the way they look. This just goes to show you, do not judge a book by its cover. You just may never know the benefits it may have.

So the next time a bat gets into your attic or home, DON'T KILL IT! Hire a professional to capture it and release it humanely. A bat's life will save everyone money on pest control.

Downs Pest Control is family owned and operated pest control company that serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping residents and businesses in Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights prevent and remove pest infestations. We are dedicated to safety and high quality customer service. Downs Pest Control 50309, 50310, 50311, 50312, 50313, 50314, 50315, 50316, 50317, 50318, 50319, 50320, 50321, 50327, 50391, and 50392

Monday, April 18, 2011



Mice are the most common rodent found in homes, hotels, hospitals, schools, and restaurants. Mice are very resourceful and adaptable to any environment. Because of this adaptability mice are able to live almost anywhere. There are two types of mice that are commonly found in Iowa, the house mice and our native deer mice. Deer mice are slightly larger than house mice, and weigh about ½ to one ounce.

Mice may be smaller than a tennis ball, but the damage they can cause is insurmountable. Mice can cause over $2 billion in damage worldwide every year. They can contaminate food and water and weaken structures with their gnawing.

Mice have very bad eyesight so their other senses are very strong. Mice are also very nimble; they can fit through small holes that are only ¼ inch wide. An unknown attribute about mice is their ability to jump. Mice can jump over a foot in height, and mice can jump off a wall and use it as a springboard to jump up even higher. Mice can also run straight up a wall and scamper across small electrical wires easily.

Mice like to eat grains like cereal. They are herbivores, meaning they do not eat meat. They are very good scavengers and will eat any scraps that are left on the ground.  With their expert gnawing skills, they can easily gnaw their way through a cardboard box containing foods.

Mice breed year round in the house, producing around 50 young ones every year. They produce around 6 young per litter, and between 8-10 litters every year. Newborn mice are hairless, pink and their eyes are usually closed. By the time mice are three weeks old they are covered in fur and making trips away from the nest by themselves. They can reach sexual maturity 4-5 weeks old.

A family of 5 mice in your home has the ability to reproduce to 25 within a couple of months and it can increase exponentially from there if it's not controlled properly and rapidly.

The three best ways to control mice is prevention, prevention, and some more prevention. If you don't allow your home to be suitable for mice, they will not come in.  Here are some easy steps you can take to prevent rodents.
  • Seal all cracks and holes inside and outside of your home
  • Block or fill the opening around water pipes or wires
  • Use screens in air vents and other holes that may be too large to fill
  • Make sure that the door’s bottom edge is flush to the floor
  • Keep the food out to a minimum
  • Keep pet food sealed in plastic containers

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Spiders are our friends, especially in the garden. Spiders found in the garden, usually the Garden Spider, do not harm your plants. Think of them as guards to your garden. They protect your garden from unwanted pests, like aphids and beetles. If you have a garden, you should look into bringing in garden spiders for an Eco-friendly way of pest control. Plus, it's free. 

Spiders are important in the world's population of creatures. Spider's do not cause harm to humans as many of us would want to believe. In fact, spiders help us out more than we want to believe. 

Did you know that spiders worldwide eat enough insects to equal the weight of the entire human population. This is a lot more insects than how much birds and frogs eat worldwide. 

Spiders are actually protectors of our homes. We think that all spiders make webs and just sit and wait for the prey to come. In fact, less than 2% of the spider population actually makes a web. The rest of the population actually stalk and hunt their prey. Spiders will hunt down the incoming pests near your home. They are a free natural, Eco-friendly form of pest control.

This is the best kind of pest control because it saves you money! Here at Downs Pest Control that is our philosophy, we know that money is tight, and we certainly would not like it if a company took advantage of us. We believe that the customer should be treated fairly, and we will work with you on what you need to get finished.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Choose Us?

Downs Pest Control
Downs Pest Control is a Des Moines, Iowa company dedicated to helping you live pest free. We are a company that strives to put their customers first. We try and work with you and your budget on what you really need. We love helping people, and we can never imagine taking advantage of you. Downs Pest Control is a family owned company. We offer very competitive and affordable prices.

Family Owned, Family Care
There are different levels of tolerance for bugs outside the home, but Downs Pest Control is out to help everyone live without bugs inside the home and around the home. No one should have to worry about invasions of pests. There are so many nasty little critters out there that are searching constantly for food, shelter,and water. Your home provides all three of those for you, and little critters will try to stay at your place without paying rent. Downs Pest Control specializes in ants, bedbugs, beetles, centipedes, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, mice, rats, silverfish, spider mites, ticks, and wasps.

Downs Pest Control serves the Des Moines area and is the delivers the most value of any exterminator in the Des Moines area. We pride ourselves in providing affordable high quality pest control services. We are very prompt and take pride in satisfying our customers. We believe that our customers work hard for their money and deserve the best service possible. We are locally owned and operated and are proud to serve Des Moines, Iowa and the Central Iowa area. We serve a fifty mile radius around the Des Moines, Iowa area.

Lawn Care
We just don't control bugs from getting into your home, we take care of your lawn. We have a lawn treatment program that includes, fertilizing, weed control, grub control, mowing, and aerating. So protect your home, and all of your property with one company, Downs Pest Control.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time to Clean Your Home

It's time to clean your home. The weather is nice, the skies are blue, and the rain is going to be coming in very soon. This week is a good week to get your spring cleaning done. There are plenty of benefits other than just having a clean home with spring cleaning. Did you know that cleaning out your home can get rid of your bugs?

Most people do not realize this, though. The bugs love clutter. Clutter gives them hiding places, clutter gives them protection, clutter is their best friend. Clearing out the clutter will scare away the bugs and prevent more from coming in. You do not want to harbor in more bugs.

Not only should you clean up the clutter, you should rearrange your garage or basement. If you have a lot of boxes or storage in these areas that don't get touched often, this can be a good place for bugs. Rearranging the storage containers can make it unwanted for bugs to stay there.

Now spring cleaning does not just help prevent and get rid of bugs, it also gives you much more personal achievements. One thing spring cleaning gives you, is the feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes the best feeling is getting something done. You may fret about something for a while, but once you begin and finish it's the best feeling in the world.

Another benefit to spring cleaning is saving money! During spring cleaning, you can inspect to see if you have any other problems and stop it before it gets worse. You also can prevent problems from occurring in the future as well.

Spring cleaning is may be a chore, but the outcome outweighs not doing it by far. so take your time and start the spring cleaning effort. Don't kill yourself working too hard on this project, don't try to do everything all at once, it will only make you more stressed.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pest of the Week-Millipedes

What is a Millipede?

A millipede is a part of the arthropods family. They have 2 pairs of legs on every segment in their body(except the first two or three segments-the head has no appendages, and the next few segments only have one pair). Even though millipede in Latin literally means "one-thousand foot",  species on average only have between 36 and 200 legs. There is a rare species that can have up to 750 legs!

Common Defense Mechanism of Most Millipedes
They typically are dark brown or reddish in color and around 1-2 inches in length. Although, the largest of this family, the African Millipede, can grow to be 11 inches long.


Millipedes will eat almost any type of soil. They especially love to eat damp leaves or decaying organic matter. Most are only herbivores, but there are some species that are omnivorous, meaning they eat both vegetation and small insects.

Millipedes may have a bunch of legs, but that doesn't make them faster. In fact, it only slows them down. Millipedes are slow, but very powerful in burrowing into the ground. They also seem to reinforce the tunnels they create with other objects.

When threatened, millipedes curl up into a ball to protect the soft under belly of their bodies.


Millipede females can lay between ten and three hundred eggs per laying. This varies depending on the type of species. Within a couple of weeks, the eggs will hatch. They are not hatched with all the segments of their bodies, as they get older and molt, more and more segments will be added every molt.

Types of Millipedes

There are many types of millipedes, over 10,000 different species worldwide. These are the most common species you might find near your home.

  1. Black Millipedes-Larger of the species (60 mm), usually shiny black.
  2. Bristly Millipedes-Completely covered in bristly hairs, brownish in color, only grows to be about 2 mm.
  3. Flat-backed Millipedes-Flattened bodies, about 20-40 mm in length, and can vary from brownish to a pale color.
  4. Pill Millipedes- Commonly known as a pill bug or roly poly, only 20 mm.
  5. Spotter Millipedes-Commonly found in the gardens with potatoes, corn, or bulbs. These are thin and pale with red spots on the side.
Get rid of other bugs!

50309, 50310, 50311, 50312, 50313, 50314, 50315, 50316, 50317, 50318, 50319, 50320, 50321, 50327, 50391, and 50392. Downs Pest Control is family owned and operated pest control company that serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping residents and businesses in Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights prevent and remove pest infestations. We are dedicated to safety and high quality customer service. Downs Pest Control

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Types of Traps

There are usually three methods of pest control: traps, baits, and sprays. It usually takes a combined effort of all three of these to control the bugs. Today we are going to go over the first of the three--traps.

Traps are useful in observing bugs. Since most bugs and rodents are most active at night, a person or exterminator will not be able to see the pest. Traps are awesome because it allows us to see what type of pest is in your home or business. Each pest has a different method of treatment. The most important thing in pest control is using the right treatment.

When it comes to traps there are plenty to go around. There are many different types of traps that come in all different sizes. There are traps made specifically for ants, roaches, spiders, rodents, and pretty much all types of pests.

Even with all these different types of traps, they all boil down to two types of traps. Live traps and lethal traps.  Live traps are usually used on larger animals like squirrels, rabbits, opossums, and raccoons. Lethal traps are mainly known for use on mice and rats, but today live traps are becoming more popular and more humane way of controlling rodents.

Live Traps
Live traps used on insects are usually not as sophisticated as live traps used on bigger animals. Insect live traps are usually just sticky traps. Sticky traps are just a paper or cardboard product covered in a very sticky glue substance, catching the insects when they walk over them. This, however does not control the insect population.

Live traps used on larger animals usually have a trap door of some sort and a large room where the animal is to be trapped. This is humane and can relocate animals away from your home. This should be done by professionals on large animals like raccoons and opossums. These animals can be very dangerous and carry diseases. Also, if there are animals in your home, more than likely there will be little babies.

Lethal Traps
Lethal traps have been used since the Dark Ages, especially on rats. Lethal traps are usually only used on small mammals, like moles, mice, and rats. They kill the pest by a mechanical blow. although, this method is highly productive in controlling rodent problems if done correctly. This method does not always instantaneously kill the rodent.

The downfall to lethal traps is that if you catch the wrong animal, it will most likely kill it, and cannot be released like live traps.

When selecting a lethal trap, be sure to know what animal you are trying to capture. The size of the trap is very important. Select the right size for mice, rats, and moles. Use the smallest possible trap pertaining to the right rodent.

Now, the smartest thing to do when setting traps is setting enough and setting them in the right places. Putting down one or two traps will not ensure the capture of rodents, putting down ten or more (depending on size of infestation) has a better chance of doing so. Remember, it may take up to two to three weeks before the traps start to work. Just be patient and check the traps regularly.

Downs Pest Control is family owned and operated pest control company that serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping residents and businesses in Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights prevent and remove pest infestations. We are dedicated to safety and high quality customer service. Downs Pest Control 50309, 50310, 50311, 50312, 50313, 50314, 50315, 50316, 50317, 50318, 50319, 50320, 50321, 50327, 50391, and 50392

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Time to Search for Bugs

In Iowa, spring time doesn't just mean warmer weather and flowers. It means plenty of checkups on your home too.  

In spring time, all the bugs start to come out of their hiding places. Unfortunately, these hiding places are usually in your home during the winter. You, the homeowner should look for any signs of bugs in your home.

What should you look for?
  • Hiding places
  • Cracks or holes
  • Food sources
  • Leaky faucets
Hiding places are important to the protection of bugs. One thing bugs don't like is being found by a bigger animal, mainly us. The best hiding places for bugs in your home during the winter are in areas that are undisturbed and have low traffic . Areas that are usually the best place to search are in the attic, in guest rooms, in the basement, under porches, in closets, and in boxes being stored in the garage or basement.

Checking in these areas not only helps you find the pests, it also disturbs the areas and helps keep them undesirable.  

Another thing you should look for in spring time are any cracks or holes created from the cold winter. Iowa always has harsh cold winters and hot summers. This fluctuation of temperature is rough on foundations and concrete. Just look at the roads, the potholes are created from water getting in cracks and freezing. the freezing water expands and breaks apart the pavement.  If you find any evidence of cracks or holes, you should fill or cover them immediately before wandering pests enter your home for food.

You should also look for food sources that pests like.  This may take some thorough inspection because the food pests like may just be little crumbs. Sufficient cleaning of the kitchen and food storage areas is highly recommended.

Fix any leaky faucets, indoors and outdoors. Water is very important to pests. Water is the basis of life. If water is leaking out all the time, it allows pests to have a good source of water. Also a leaky faucet outside can cause rotting to wood, making it a magnet to termites.

So, when you start your Spring Cleaning in Des Moines, be sure to look in these areas to keep pests out of your home.  A clean, uncluttered home gives no hiding places for bugs.

50309, 50310, 50311, 50312, 50313, 50314, 50315, 50316, 50317, 50318, 50319, 50320, 50321, 50327, 50391, and 50392.Downs Pest Control is family owned and operated pest control company that serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping residents and businesses in Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights prevent and remove pest infestations. We are dedicated to safety and high quality customer service. Downs Pest Control

Monday, April 4, 2011

April is National Pest Management Month

According to the National Pest Management Association, April is celebrated as National Pest Management Month. They have been observing this for more than 30 years.

“The NPMA is pleased to have the opportunity to publicly recognize the important work that pest professionals do every day during National Pest Management Month. In honor of National Pest Management Month, the NPMA is dedicated to raising public awareness about the risks posed by household pests and encouraging homeowners to take proactive steps to prevent pest infestations in their homes and properties.”-Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA

April is a well chosen month because of the growth in activity of the pests. Spring time is coming, and warm air causes the bugs to come out of their hiding places to eat or mate. The thing you need to remember is how dangerous pests can be to you and your families health. They can carry diseases or bacteria that can get in your food. Knowing how to control pests is one of the main reasons why April is observed as National Pest Management Month.

Along with your health, pests can also destroy your personal property. Termites and ants cause millions of dollars of damage every year. With proper pest control worldwide, these losses could be avoided. The best way to control pests is through prevention. We can not say this enough.

"During April, the NPMA recommends that homeowners follow these tips to prevent pest infestations:
  • Seal up cracks and small openings along the foundation of the house.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.
  • Keep all food containers sealed.
  • Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Keep trash containers clean and sealed, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • If you see signs of pests or suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional."-NPMA
Downs Pest Control strongly urges you to take these steps to keep the pests out of your home. If these steps are not taken, you might have to pay some unwanted expenditures on things you should not have to.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Todays Featured Pest- Fleas


Fleas. What can I say about them? They are annoying, itchy, and quite hard to get rid of. If you have pets that go outside, you may know exactly how I feel about them. Just thinking of the fleas may make you start to itch.  The fact that they can jump 200 times their own height (7 inches vertically, 13 inches horizontally) can give you the chills.

Trying to get rid of fleas can be quite the hassle. But with the right knowledge of where they hide, their lifecycle, and what to use getting rid of these guys is possible.

First thing first, there are different types of fleas that attack different types of animals. Using the right treatment is VERY important. Some pesticides or treatments used for dogs, may be strong enough to kill a cat or other small pet. Please, please, please read the instructions on the type of treatment you use before you treat your pet.


They are surprisingly resilient during the larvae and pupa stage. They create a hard cocoon that is almost impenetrable, this is the stage where they can wait for up to a year, just waiting for the
Life Cycle of Fleas
1.       Egg
2.       Larvae
3.       Pupa
4.       Adult
opportune moment when the time is right. This also makes it difficult to fully get rid of them because you may use all the pesticides to get rid of the eggs and adults, but the ones in the cocoon can come out long after the infestation is gone and repopulate quickly.

So after all that is said, it may sound like you may not be able to get rid of fleas. But it takes the right treatments and persistence to get rid of them altogether. You need to be able to know where the fleas are located.


The places where the pests like to hide are basically anywhere where your pet likes to lay down. They can live in gravel, bedding, couches, beds, and on the pet (or human).  If you think there may be fleas in your home, you can do a simple test. Wear long white socks, and walk around everywhere where your pets walk and lay. For some weird reason, fleas seem to be more attracted to white clothing, so you can easily notice the little black fleas that may latch on to your socks.


There are several treatments like shampoos, foggers, powders, and sprays. Some of the most recommended methods for pets are Frontline and Advantage. These are treatments for the pet and they help kill the fleas on the pet and help keep them from returning. This does not, however, get rid of the fleas in your home.

There are also flea combs to use on your pets, but this is just a short term method. It does not keep them from coming back, especially if most of the fleas are in the pet's bedding. A pet's bedding can support thousands of fleas.

You can try to buy foggers or powders for your home, but these can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. One thing we do at Downs Pest Control is never over-spray. Too much pesticides can make you or your family sick, and it can cause fleas to build up an immunity to these sprays.


Be sure to read the labels, these are very important. You should not just go aimlessly around shooting pesticides around. the best way to control fleas is with a controlled method and spraying or using foggers in certain areas.  Labels of products give you directions on how to use their products safely. Safety is always number one.


The first treatment may not get rid of all the fleas. Do not get discouraged, there may be some fleas that were hiding in a different spot or coming out of the cocoon. It may take up to three or four treatments to fully eradicate your flea infestation, but with persistence you can get passed the infestation. 


You can always call your local family owned, Downs Pest Control to help you with your problem. We are trained licensed professionals who know their bugs. We can help you choose the right pesticides and help you locate where your problem is.

50309, 50310, 50311, 50312, 50313, 50314, 50315, 50316, 50317, 50318, 50319, 50320, 50321, 50327, 50391, and 50392.Downs Pest Control is family owned and operated pest control company that serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping residents and businesses in Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights prevent and remove pest infestations. We are dedicated to safety and high quality customer service. Downs Pest Control

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ants Come Marching In

Spring time is here. Yes, I know it snowed yesterday, but the bugs tend to have a bio-clock and they start coming out of their burrows and shells this time of the year. Even the slightest change in weather can trigger this clock to go off.  When they come out, they are going to be very hungry. And where do you think the best place to find food? The kitchen ad trash cans.

Ants are intelligent and their sense of smell is strong. When they smell the food, they will find a way to get into your home. The scary part about ants, is how many there really are. The ones you see walking in your home or by the trash cans are just a small fraction of what really lies beneath at the colony. Each colony can have up to 10,000 ants in it. There is also some proof of colonies working together to create a "supercolony," and can have over a 100,000 ants working together.

Ants tend to walk in a line, making it look like they are marching together somewhere. Basically, it is true, they are marching somewhere, and it's usually your kitchen. Ants are attracted to sweets, salts, and anything sugary. Once an ant finds a good food source, it leaves a trail of pheromones that lead the other ants to the food. They walk straight over the scent, and if it gets knocked off its path, it finds its way back to the path as quick as possible. 

Ants are interesting insects, but they can be annoying. Getting rid of them is very important. Store bought methods are usually not enough to stop them. The store bought sprays are usually just repellants, and repellants do not work in the long run. Baits are usually the better method to get rid of ants by yourself. You can easily find some baits at your local depot store or home/garden store. Remember, not all products work, do some research and be sure to read the labels of how to use the product.

If you try and don't succeed, calling in the pros may be your best option. These guys have the license to carry the stronger pesticides that will kill the ants and stop them from coming in. The most common pesticides used in ant treatment is Phantom(for inside) and Termidor (for outside).  These pesticides are strong enough to get rid of your pests.

Downs Pest Control is family owned and operated pest control company that serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping residents and businesses in Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights prevent and remove pest infestations.50309, 50310, 50311, 50312, 50313, 50314, 50315, 50316, 50317, 50318, 50319, 50320, 50321, 50327, 50391, and 50392.
 We are dedicated to safety and high quality customer service. Downs Pest Control

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bed Bug City Ranks

The bedbugs are coming to the Midwest, according to a Fox News article, "Where Does your City Rank When it Comes to Bedbugs?" These nasty things are making their way across the country as we speak. Fox News got their data from Terminix, one of the major pest control companies in America, listing off the top 15 infested cities.

Should we be afraid? Not really, but it is cause for concern. There has been a steady rise of bed bugs in Des Moines. This is caused by the number of people buying cheaper used furniture and more people staying in hotels. Bed bugs are becoming more frequent, and even staying in hotels is not an absolute to not get bed bugs. 

You may be asking what has caused this sudden increase of bed bugs? Well, bed bugs were nearly eliminated from America in the 1960s with the use of heavy pesticides. These pesticides were very toxic though, so the government banned the use of these throughout America. You may recognize one of these pesticides, DDT. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, DDT, was most famous for what it did to Bald Eagles' population.

Bed bugs do not spread diseases like most pests. Their bites are similar to that of mosquitoes. Just because you wake up with some bites, it does not mean it is bed bugs. There are other types of insects that can give the same type of bite, but the one thing different about bed bug bites is the pattern of the bites. Bed bugs tend to bite in a line or in a pattern of three. This is commonly known as the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner pattern."

Getting rid of bed bugs is a timely, expensive ordeal. Bed bugs are about the size of a mustard seed and can hide in any crack or crevice, that most people do not even recognize. The time for the inspection and the amount of detail done to reach all these spots is what makes this so expensive. Multiple treatments may be needed just because the eggs are so resilient to the process, and when the eggs hatch more treatments will be needed to be sure the population doesn't grow again.

Bed bugs like to hide near the corners of beds and in the seam in the back of the couch.  If you have a bed bug infestation, try to capture one to show a professional to make sure it is a bed bug. Do not stay in other people's beds or other rooms, for it only worsen the infestation.

Downs Pest Control is family owned and operated pest control company that serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping residents and businesses in Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights prevent and remove pest infestations. We are dedicated to safety and high quality customer service. Downs Pest Control