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
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“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.