What Are Ear Mites?
While there are several kinds of mites that can live in your cat or dog’s ears, “ear mites” usually refers to a specific type, Otodectes cynotis (an infestation with this mite is called “otodectic mange”). These nearly microscopic parasites can live deep inside the ear canal or on the more external portions of the ears. Their life cycle lasts approximately 4 weeks and they feed primarily on wax, oil, and skin debris. Ear mites typically cause inflammation and irritation, but significant damage to the ear and secondary infections may occur if left untreated. If your pup scratches hard enough they may also rupture blood vessels inside their ear flap, a condition known as aural hematoma. Surgery is usually required if this occurs.
How Do Pets Get Ear Mites
Ear mites are spread by contact with other animals infested with ear mites. Unfortunately, these parasites are extremely contagious, especially in younger cats and dogs. If your pet has been around other animals with ear mites, chances are they now have them, too.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Ear Mites
The following signs and symptoms are common with ear mite infestation:
- Frequent shaking of the head
- Frequent scratching near the ears, neck and head
- Unpleasant odor
- Black or red crusts on the outer ear
- Ear inflammation
- Abrasions on or around the ear
- Dark, waxy discharge
What to Do if Your Pet Has Ear Mites
Because ear mites can be easily confused with common ear infections, it’s advisable to visit a veterinarian if you suspect ear mite infestation. As with any pest issue, prevention is always the preferred route as far as treatments go. Regular ear cleanings can help prevent ear mites, as can naturally sourced bug repellents applied before and after potential points of exposure—in other words, any time your pet is contact with other animals. From medications to natural alternatives and home remedies, there are several ways to approach the treatment of ear mites. Before attempting any treatments on your own, we urge you to consult your vet to see what options are right for you and your pet.
Advice for Cedarcide Customers
Here’s a tip we often give Cedarcide customers to help control ear mites: Dab a cotton ball with Cedarcide Original and gently massage it throughout your cat or dog’s ear. Make sure to treat both the ear and the ear flap, but be careful not to treat down into the ear canal, as Cedarcide Original is not recommended for internal use.
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In case our name didn’t give it away, cedarwood oil is the driving force behind our pest control products here at Cedarcide. So naturally, the obvious question is: How does it work? How does cedarwood oil (aka cedar oil) kill bugs? While the answer can get a bit technical, there are 6 basic ways cedarwood oil works to kill and repel pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, mites and more. Here’s a simple outline of each one.
Most bugs are extremely sensitive to moisture loss, which is bad news for bugs that come into contact with cedarwood oil. Cedarwood oil is extremely effective at leaching moisture from insects and other bugs, leaving them dried out and eventually dead.
It Disrupts Their Pheromones
Pheromones are chemicals that many bugs use for navigation, mating, searching for food, as well as to regulate bodily functions. Cedarwood oil disrupts these pheromones which not only disorients the insects but interferes with their fundamental bodily processes like breathing. The disorientation helps repel insects and other bugs, the interference with their bodily mechanisms kills them.
It Dissolves Them
Insects in earlier life stages—eggs, larvae, pupae—are extremely vulnerable, so vulnerable in fact that cedarwood oil can dissolve them on contact. In adult insects, arachnids and other bugs, cedarwood oil helps dissolve their exoskeleton. This allows the essential oil to penetrate their shell, hastening the oil’s pest control effects.
Emulsification, or the breakdown of fat particles, is another way that cedarwood oil works to control bugs. Like many organisms, bugs require fat to live. By helping disintegrate this fat into smaller, more fluid parts, cedarwood oil attacks bugs from the inside out.
As mentioned above, cedarwood oil can interfere with bugs’ capacity to breathe. Unlike mammals, bugs breathe through openings located on the surface of their bodies. When faced with the lethal effects of cedarwood oil, bugs attempt to limit their exposure by closing these openings, which prevents them from breathing. In other words, the bugs suffocate themselves.
It Messes With Their Body Chemistry
Like most every living thing, bugs must maintain a specific chemical balance to stay alive. Any drastic changes in this balance can have deadly results. Cedarwood oil neutralizes the acidity within bugs’ bodies, effectively throwing this balance out of whack. As a result they cannot properly function, and shortly die.
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Picture this. You go out with your family to select the ideal Christmas tree. After an afternoon of searching, you find it! You bring it home, decorate it, then sit back and admire how well it completes your holiday decorations. It’s lush, majestic, and best of all—It’s real! Just one problem, there are things crawling all over it. Tiny legs scuttle here and there. Maybe there’s even a web. Wait, are those eggs? You guessed it: There are bugs in your Christmas tree.
This might sound like a nightmare, but it happens every year. During the winter, all sorts of bugs—from mites to beetles to spiders—take shelter in trees to escape the season’s cold conditions. Christmas trees are no exception, which is why it’s important to check your chosen tree for pesky hitchhiker’s, preferably before bringing it inside. If you’ve already set up your tree, don’t worry you still have options. Here’s 5 tips to ensure your natural Christmas tree stays bug-free.
One of the most obvious options is also one of the most effective: Shaking. The idea is simple: Shake the tree vigorously enough and you’ll remove any hidden pests, as well as loose pine needles and other debris. This is an easy way to prevent bringing dirt, grime, bugs, bird nests and other undesirable things into your home. While some retail tree lots have mechanical tree shakers on site for this very purpose, many don’t. Even trees purchased from lots with shakers should be re-shaken before being brought into your home (who knows how recently the tree was last shaken).
Regardless of what preventative measures you take with your tree, it should be thoroughly inspected again before moving it into your home. Insects, spider eggs, bird nests, even rodents could still be lurking in the limbs. If you’re squeamish about pulling bugs out with your hands (which you probably should be) consider using a vacuum to remove any remaining insects, webs or eggs. As for larger items like bird nests and rodents—those should shake out quite easily.
Let it Chill
Insects that use trees to survive the winter usually enter a dormant stage as the cold approaches. Once you bring these bugs into your warm home, they start to wake back up, thinking spring has arrived. One way to get pests out of your Christmas tree before decorating it, is to place the tree in your garage for roughly 48 hours. Doing so will allow your tree to warm slowly, which in turn will cause any hidden bugs to emerge from their dormant stage and leave the tree. Of course, this method could introduce bugs into your garage. But for those who dislike killing insects outright, this is a more natural and—you could say—humane approach to debugging your Christmas tree.
For the sake of your health, your family and your pets, you should never use toxic, chemical-based pesticides on your Christmas tree. Firstly, it exposes your home to potentially harmful pollutants. Secondly, many traditional pesticides are flammable, and while a flaming tree is certainly a bug-free tree, a smoldering pine is not the best look for holiday celebrations. Having said that, treating your tree with a pesticide alternative—like diatomaceous earth—is a viable option. Before bringing your tree inside, thoroughly sprinkle it with DE. Then shake off the excess after letting it sit for about an hour. If your tree’s already indoors, you can still treat it with DE, just sweep up the remaining dust afterward (but don’t use a vacuum, as DE can harm many types of vacuums).
Again, we strongly suggest that you do not use traditional pesticides on your tree. Naturally-sourced pesticides, however, are another matter. We recommend using a plant-safe, non-toxic insecticide, such as PCO Choice concentrate. Mix a 1:31 ration of PCO Choice to water in a spray bottle, spray your tree liberally and allow it to dry before bringing it inside. Not only will this kill any hidden bugs on contact, it will prevent additional insects from taking residence in your tree through the holidays.
Spiders are everywhere. A recent study found that on average each square meter on our planet contains approximately 130 spiders. Which means if you’re reading this in a cubicle or kitchen nook roughly the size of a mattress, you’re being watched by about 1,040 beady, spider eyes! Their vast numbers are shocking, but nothing compares to spiders’ appetites. New research found that spiders consume upwards of 880 million tons of prey each year; by comparison all 7 billion humans on earth consume just 400 million tons of meat and fish combined. In fact, the amount of meat spiders consume each year outweighs the total biomass of all humans on our planet—in other words, spiders could, theoretically, consume every human on earth in just one year.
The numbers are shocking, but in truth, spiders are all but harmless to humans. Without question, our lives would be overrun with insects were it not for the spider, nature’s ruthlessly efficient exterminator. It’s for this reason that spiders are considered beneficial. And unless you’re absolutely terrified by them—or commonly seeing venomous individuals like black widows or brown recluses—we encourage you to leave them at their work. If you fall into the above category, though, we’ve got you covered. Here’s 10 all natural ways to get rid of spiders.
Clean & Remove Clutter From Your Home
Clutter and disorganization are a spider’s best friend, giving them ample space to hide and hunt. Consistently vacuuming, dusting, wiping down countertops, and de-cluttering your house will deter both spiders and their natural insect prey. When organizing your home, use sealable plastic containers instead of items like cardboard boxes, which do not adequately seal, providing spiders with yet another place to set up camp.
Clean & Remove Clutter From Your Yard
Brush, stacked wood, unused flowerpots, gardening equipment—spiders will make a home out of any outdoor clutter. Unkempt shrubbery, trees, and overgrown gardens also make ideal homes. Removing unnecessary clutter and keeping the lawn trim will reduce your spider population.
Seal Your Home
Even the smallest openings are a welcome mat to spiders. Windows, baseboards, doorways, light-switches, outlets, fixtures, wall & foundation cracks, chimneys, vents—all are potential spider entrances. Seal your home by remedying these cracks and openings using caulk—don’t forget to check basements and attics, too. The same process should be repeated outdoors as well, paying close attention to the roof and any foundation/wall cracks & holes. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows, vents, chimneys, and doorways always remain firmly shut.
Turn Off The Lights
Traditional outdoor lights are irresistible to most insects, which makes them a dinner bell for spiders. Switching off these lights at night can do wonders for reducing spider populations. Indoor lights whose glow reaches outside are also a liability. For the former, consider trading your bulbs for yellow sodium vapor lights (which do not attract insects). For the latter, plan on installing additional window dressing to limit indoor lights from bleeding outdoors.
Get Rid of ALL the Bugs—Including Spiders
The most effective method for deterring spiders is to remove their food source—this entails adopting a general pest and insect control regimen, both inside and outside your home.
For outside: Using a non-toxic, plant-safe pesticide, thoroughly spray your entire yard, including all shrubbery, bases of trees, and anywhere else insects and spiders might be hiding. We advise spraying front, back and side yards all in one session. To prevent pests from re-entering your yard, carefully spray along fence lines and foundations to create a repellent perimeter around your home and lawn. Repeat this process weekly—or as needed—until you no longer see spider activity.
For indoors: Using a non-toxic pesticide/repellent, treat doorways, windowsills, baseboards and other suspected spider entry points. Continue treating these areas until your spider problems are resolved.
DIY Vinegar Spray
Spiders can’t stand vinegar—in fact, a direct spray is often fatal. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to make a safe, all natural spider repellent. Using a spray bottle, apply this solution to doorways, window sills, known spider hangouts, and other possible entry points once a week until your spider problem’s resolved.
DIY Mint-Based Repellent
Spiders actively avoid the strong smell of peppermint, making it an effective solution for spider control. 5-10 drops of peppermint oil in 16 ounces of water will give you a handy spider repellent you can use throughout the home. As with the aforementioned vinegar, spray this solution in and around possible entry points and spider problem areas.
Citrus oils and peels are a highly effective method for repelling spiders. With a lemon oil spray or actual citrus fruit peels, you can deter spiders from entering your home. Place fresh peels skin-side-down along window sills and other spider problem areas, such as bookshelves, cabinetry and shelving. (Tip: citrus peels can also be used in your garden to limit spider activity).
For spider control, this chalky natural pesticide does double duty—killing and repelling not only spiders, but also spider-attracting insects. DE is highly abrasive, containing nearly microscopic edges which injure bugs that come in contact with it. Placing DE along spider problem areas and potential entry points will keep spiders at a distance.
What Are Mites?
There are over 48,000 species of mites. They can be found in almost every corner of the world, surviving everywhere from tropical environments to arid ecosystems, even indoors alongside humans.
Like ticks, mites are both arthropods and arachnids, but unlike ticks, not all mites are parasites. Some—like house dust mites—are scavengers, feeding off the dead skin and hair of humans. Some mites feed on mold and other plant-life. Some are symbiotic, living on the backs of insects like bees. And, yes, some are parasitic—like bird mites, rat mites and chiggers—which feed on the blood or skin of their hosts.
Do Mites Affect Humans?
You might be surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of American homes have mites. The good news is that most mites are harmless to humans. However, there are in fact a few species that bite or pose other health risks to people. The extremely irritating skin condition scabies, for instance, is caused by an allergic reaction to the itch mite, which burrows into the skin of mammals to live and lay eggs. Mange is often the result of the same itch mite, along with another species, the Demodex mite (or eyelash mite), which infests the eyelashes of millions of people each year. The Demodex mite has also been linked to rosacea.
The most common biting mites found in the home are rat mites and bird mites. These two parasitic species prey mostly on small animals, but occasionally feed on humans too, causing dermatitis and acute itching. Another common household mite, the dust mite, is not parasitic and therefore does not bite; however, it’s a leading cause of allergies and has been found to cause asthma, too.
How Do You Get Mites?
The two most common biting mites—rat mites and bird mites—enter our homes through wild animals and pests. The former is typically brought into the home by a rodent, while the later finds its way in from nearby bird nests. Dust mites on the other hand live almost exclusively within homes, where they deeply embed themselves in carpets, bedding, rugs and other especially dusty surfaces. In fact, a typical mattress contains tens of thousands of these mites. Even more—around 100,000—can live in a single square foot of rug or carpet.
Perhaps most offputting of all, Demodex mites—sometimes called eyelash mites—make their home in the hair follicles and glands in and around the human eye. People with pets are particularly at risk of contracting Demodex mites, as these insect-like organisms are usually transferred to humans from dogs and cats.
What Are The Signs Of A Mite Infestation?
Because of their near microscopic size, and because mites vary so greatly from species to species, it’s extremely difficult to correctly identify a mite infestation. While some mites leave noticeable markings—spider mites spin webs, clover mites are recognizable by their bright red color—most mites leave little to no evidence of their existence.
In fact, the sole sign of an infestation often comes by way of the symptoms mites can cause in humans, such as skin irritation and general allergic reaction. Unless you’re able to capture a mite sample and have it identified by a professional, there’s little to no way to confirm what sort of mite infestation you may or may not have.
What To Do If You Have Mites
While some mites—like the mostly harmless dust mite—are all but impossible to completely eliminate from your home, troublesome biting mites are comparatively easier to treat. Rat mites and bird mites, for example, can often be eradicated simply by removing any small rodents, birds and bird nests from your home.
If you have mites, but are unsure of the source, fogging your entire home might be a good option for you. Fogging your home with an all natural, nontoxic pesticide is the best way to treat all areas where mites could be hiding. If you believe mites have infested your bedding or other linens, washing and drying them on a hot cycle with a natural, water-soluble insect repellent should rid your items of any remaining mites.
Watch Cedarcide’s Fogging Tutorial Below:
– Ticks are parasitic organisms that feed on the blood of their host.
– Although commonly thought to be an insect, ticks are actually arachnids which means they are more like spiders.
– The most common ticks are the deer tick (also called blacklegged tick), the lone star tick and the dog tick.
– Ticks can be active in temperatures above 45 degrees.
– Pets and people can contract multiple diseases from a single bite.
– Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichia are all contracted by tick bites.
– Dogs are more likely to contract ticks than cats.
Top Places To Check For Ticks
- Under Legs
- Between Toes
How to remove a Tick
Use tweezers to grip the tick as closely to the skin as possible. Slowly pull upward and try to keep the tick intact,. Leaving the head or any body parts in the skin can lead to an infection. Do not touch the tick with your hands as they can carry many diseases. Place the tick into a sealed container and mark the date. If you or your pet begins showing any unusual symptoms your medial examiner will likely want to test the tick. After the removal has taken place, thoroughly wash the area with rubbing alcohol, soap and water.
Preventing Tick Bites
- Wear the right clothing. Try not to leave any bare skin where ticks could easily attach. Wear long sleeves and pants. It’s also easier to spot ticks in light colored clothing.
- Use natural insect repellent.
- Stay on the trails. When possible, stay on walking trails and away from overgrown areas where ticks may hide.
- Check for ticks throughout the day.
- Eliminate their habitats. Make your property less friendly to ticks by keeping your lawn and plants trimmed. Spray a chemical-free insecticide to kill existing bugs and prevent future infestations.
- Check your pets. Regularly checking for ticks and using a extra-strength tick repellent such as TickShield will help prevent pets from bringing ticks into your home.