Announcing the 2nd Annual $10,000 Healthy Home Giveaway!

Announcing the 2nd Annual $10,000 Healthy Home Giveaway!

As part of our dedicated mission to help make the world a happier, healthier place, we’re continuing our tradition of service work and community support through the 2nd Annual Healthy Home Giveaway.

Rounding Up the Facts: A Century-Long Saga of Chemicals, Cancer & Mass Manipulation

Rounding Up the Facts: A Century-Long Saga of Chemicals, Cancer & Mass Manipulation

One of the most arguably controversial names ever known to the global economy is about to disappear -- or at least that’s what its stakeholders want you to believe.

Can Essential Oils Solve All Pest Problems?

 Essential oils are concentrated botanical extracts that have a number of medicinal and household uses, including natural pest control!

Essential oils are concentrated botanical extracts that have a number of medicinal and household uses, including natural pest control!

Essential oils can sometimes be a good deterrent for pest control but they are not intended to be used as your only pest control method. Here are some reasons why essential oils don’t work for complete pest control.

There are some pests that will survive.
You may be able to successfully get rid of a few pesky insects with essential oils, but it’s not effective for all insects. Bed bugs are a great example. They are so resilient that they can survive in your freezer for some time. They can also live for a year without eating and sometimes it takes multiple pest control treatments to get rid of them. A little essential oil is not going to make them go away.

Essential oils are useless against infestations.
The truth is you may be able to use essential oils to take care of a couple of ants, but essential oils are simply not powerful enough to destroy an infestation of any kind of pest.

When you are preparing your home to be healthy from pest, you should do proper pest control. This includes sealing all possible entry points, cleaning, and inspecting your area properly. If you choose to use essential oils for pest control at this stage, you are free to do so. But, if your home is already infested with cockroaches, fleas, ants, mosquitoes, and mice, we recommend you leave that to the pros.

This cool front feels great, but what’s that smell?

 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Add stink bugs to the list of pests who enjoy the comforts of your home in the cooler months of the year.  Luckily these critters don’t carry the germs a lot of their counter parts do.  BUT they do pack quite the stinky punch if you decide to put them out of their misery inside your home. Here’s a few tips that will help you battle the stinky  creatures through the fall and winter.

1. Block entry points
Inspect the exterior of your home for stink bug access points such as areas around siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and under wood fascia or other openings. Seal any cracks and holes using a good quality silicone or caulk.

2. Check your screens and window seals
Inspect your screens and make sure your windows are closed completely as this is a common entry point. Don’t forget to check for torn weather-stripping and loose mortar. You can also install door sweeps if necessary.

3. Keep outdoor lighting to a minimum
Stink bugs like many other bugs are attracted to lights, so it’s recommended to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum.

4. Reduce moisture
Eliminating all moisture buildup around your home can help prevent many pest infestations, including stink bugs.

5. Don’t squash those stink bugs unless…
You want to know why they are called stink bugs. When disturbed or crushed, stink bugs have a tendency to release a bad odor from pores on the sides of their bodies.

6. Your vacuum can be of use
If stink bugs have already entered a home, use a vacuum cleaner for their removal. Their smell clings to moving parts, and any vacuum attachments you used, acting as a filter if you will.  A handheld vacuum might work best.

Remember that homes can be pre-treated for are pests including stink bugs before they become a problem. If you suspect an infestation in your home has already developed, contact Natran today to eliminate the issue.

Does Cold Weather Eliminate Bugs for the Winter?

In Houston as we drag ourselves to the light at the end of the tunnel to close out those hot months of August, September, and October we often say things like “we need a freeze to kill these mosquitoes”, but does cold weather really eliminate these pest?

The answer is no.

In an extremely cold year with freezes spanning over a couple of days yes, that can make a dent in the population, for that particular season. However due to the relatively short lifespan of pests like aphids, white-flies, and mites their populations can grow rapidly even if winter survival is low. But odds are we will never truly escape pests in our climate no matter how cold the temperatures might dip.   As we all know here in Houston we do freeze, but that’s always followed by rising temperatures which don’t allow our temperatures to remain in the sub-fifty degree range for very long.  With such a mild climate we have the perfect environment to support an eco-system of insects, pests and bugs 365 days a year.

In addition to our climate which supports these insects, they also have three main strategies for dealing with the cold: freeze tolerance, freeze avoidance, and migration.  The migration factor is what Natran is here for when these pest migrate and seek shelter in your warm cozy home! As we have discussed many times in our blogs, those pests love the comfort of your home just as much as you do.

Our lesson here is, don’t forget about pest prevention even as you start to bundle up for these cold days!

Christmas Light Safety Tips from Natran

We have all seen the holiday classic about the Griswalds. While their Christmas light “No No’s” make for great humor on TV we couldn’t help but think of all our Natran family and their beautiful homes during the holiday season.  We want all to not only enjoy the festive lighting and decor but we want you to be safe.  Whether you’re a decked out exterior, multiple color lights and decorations home or a simple white strand to show your holiday spirit, proper setup and safety precautions are a must.

One recommendation we encourage this season is replacing your old lights with LED lights. Especially if you’re still using those giant bulb old school lights. LED Christmas lights only use a third of the energy traditional Christmas lights use. The new age LED lights not only save tremendously on electricity but they also burn much cooler than those outdated lights.  With a cooler light source means you will save yourself time on replacing burned out bulbs. Another great perk of the LED lights is their life span, they will exceed traditional lights by at least a decade.

Before lighting up your entire block make sure you check your plugs, extension cords, timers, and power strips to make sure they are not faulty.  It is important not to overload these devices as this can create fire hazards and overload breakers.

Tips to remember when hanging Christmas lights

Christmas Trees
Most Christmas light enthusiasts will hang lights on the exterior of their homes, the bushes, wrap trees, setup lighted figures of reindeer, snowmen and Mr. Clause himself.  But many people will also put them in their windows, and most will string them around their tree in the living room.  And, more than 200 house fires per year begin with Christmas trees. A report from the National Fire Protection Association said that, Christmas tree fires resulted in “an annual average of seven civilian fire deaths, 19 civilian fire injuries, and $17.5 million in direct property damage.”  Rule of thumb with the indoor lighting on trees and windows, never leave on when you are not home and never leave on overnight when you go to bed.

If you use a artificial Christmas tree, the hot lights on a plastic tree are an obvious fire hazard. Artificial Christmas trees will emit dioxins if burned and create all kinds toxic fumes in the process. Which goes against the grain with anything Natran because we are all about the #Healthyhome.  Of course, real trees aren’t excluded from fire hazards. Give your Christmas tree plenty of water so it doesn’t dry out. Check daily to minimize the margin for error. Dry needles pose a fire hazard just like they do in forests. The U.S. Fire Administration says “one of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, and a heat source too close to the tree caused roughly one in every six.”.

Window Lights
If you’re using lanterns or bulb candles in your windows as decor for the holidays, as stated above make sure you turn these off before leaving or going to bed. You can use a timer but in our opinion, shutting them off yourself is much safer.   Although most newer products contain LEDs which pose less of a hazard, it’s better to know that these lights around your home are off while you sleep.

Outside Lights
Although Christmas trees are the number one concern when it comes to fire hazards around the home during the holidays, the outdoor lights can cause issues as well. Just last year, a home in our very own state of Texas caught fire when a string of lights sparked and sent the deck up in flames.

To steer clear of as many hazards as possible this holiday season, select high-quality lights that are designated for the outdoors and that have safety ratings. Stay away from those cheap dollar store lights.  Choose those that have been tested by the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or ETL (Edison Testing Laboratories). If you’re going to continue using older sets, check for any damage to the wires that could cause a short. These light strands are kept in attacks and garages leaving them prone to nibbling by mice, plastic coating melting from summer heat, and other factors which can compromise their design making them faulty. Finally, don’t use metal, like nails and staples, to hang your lights; this can be an electrical hazard that would surely knock you off that ladder.  Use the insulated hooks and light clips that come with your sets.

7 Ways Natran Can Keep Your Home Healthy This Holiday Season

As the holiday season rolls in you are likely thinking of shedding those Thanksgiving lbs., decorating your home and procrastinating on your Holiday shopping rather than keeping your home pest free.  So here’s a few tips and reminders for our Natran family this holiday season:

7. Check your trees and decorations for bugs!!! See our recent blog on tips to accomplish this important task.

6. If your decorations are stored in card board boxes throughout the year, do not leave these boxes in closets or bedrooms until they go back into the attack, storage, or garage. Leaving them in the living quarters of your home will only draw in pests such as roaches to those areas.

5. Those spare bedrooms you have not entered in some time, step in and inspect them for excess dust and check for dead insects in window seals and light fixtures.

4. Change the linens if they have not been changed in a while. Dust can build up on pillows and comforters which you won’t see with the naked eye but can easily irritate ones sinuses. Additionally, small spiders seem to like taking cover underneath pillows and blankets which haven’t been disturbed in a while.

3. Here’s a tip which does not translate to most other places except for Houston. Yes it is the fall/winter but in Houston it has yet to get cold. Nowhere near freezing which means we still have plenty of pesky skeeters buzzing around. As always in Houston’s unpredictable climate make sure there is not any standing water outside of your home. The weather is cool enough to spend time outside but not cool enough to rid our yards of those mosquitoes.

2. Clean out your pantry and remove old, expired, and stale items such as chips, rice, cereal, bread.  Not only are they major attractants to small bugs but if they have not been opened in a while…. You know the ones WAAAAY in the back… then there is a good chance you might find a dead bug in them. Its gross but it common and it happens!

1. The toughest chore of all, after eating way to much at your holiday dinner…. As tough as it may be… you HAVE to clean those dishes, take out the trash and make sure all food and scraps are cleaned up. Not cleaning up and leaving overnight makes your kitchen a bug and rodent attractant and a heaven if they do find it.

To get your home checked before the family starts arriving give us a call today!

Happy Holidays from Natran!

Beware of Christmas Tree Stowaways

Happy Holidays Natran friends, family and to our wonderful clients!

Turkey day has come and gone and we have jumped right into our next holiday season!  As we decorate our office here at Natran, and our staff discuss their decorated homes amongst themselves we have come across quite an interesting reminder in the news which directly relates to our duties to ensure a #Healthyhome for all of our Natran family.

We would like to take the time to spread some awareness regarding… you guessed it… Pests. Those Christmas trees and other “live” decorative items can hold a whole slew of bugs you do not want in your home.  By bringing a Christmas tree into your home you could be exposing your home to up to 25,000 bugs!

To ensure your home stays pest free follow some of these tips below:

  1. Check your tree for bugs before entering the home
  2. Undersides of branches, crevices, etc
  3. Look for nests or other obvious signs of pest habitation
  4. If a pine tree be weary of bark beetles, preying mantises, and saw flies
  5. If you go with a Douglas-Fir tree check for spiders and mites.
  6. Neem oil is a great preventative step. Spray your tree down.
  7. Use a cloth, dust cloth or something of the sort to wipe down your tree for extra precaution

If you need a pest treatment or consultation gives us a call today!