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Happy Groundhog Day!

Friday, February 2nd, 2018 by Bill Cowley


Ground hog

We’re half-way there! It’s already February 2, the rough midpoint of our astronomical winter. And on this special day, all eyes are focused on rodents. Well. actually one celebrity rodent: Punxsutawney Phil, the well-fed and pampered groundhog who is the prognosticator of all prognosticators, Sure, there are other wannabe groundhogs who are trying to weasel their way into the spotlight, including Essex Ed and Milltown Mel right here in New Jersey. But let’s face it. Phil is the big kahuna of meteorologically gifted groundhogs. According to folklore, if the weather is cloudy when Phil emerges from his burrow, spring will come early. But if it’s sunny and he sees his shadow, he’ll head back inside and we are in for another six long weeks of winter. 

Cowleys woke up bright an early to hear the news. We’re sad to report that Phil saw his shadow, so we’re in for six more weeks of winter. But don’t get into a mid-winter funk quite yet. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Phil has absolutely no predictive ability. Since the first Groundhog Day in 1887, all of the Phils’ predictions have been accurate only 39% of the time. Considering these chunky woodchucks have a 50/50 chance of getting it right, the soothsaying skills of these marmots are dubious at best.

Maybe its time for Phil to get out of the weather-predicting business and start forecasting the likelihood of homeowners dealing with a cockroach infestation. It’s much easier. There is a 100% chance that some homeowners will find themselves invaded by these insects this winter. The only question is which home the cockroaches will choose to infest. 

Fortunately, roach infestations are not random. Some homes are more prone to roach infestations than others.  These are precautions homeowners can take to reduce the likelihood of a troublesome roach infestation. Roaches are dirty, nasty insects that spread disease and contaminate food. Also, roach allergens are an often-overlooked asthma trigger, especially with children. Studies show that about 20% of children are sensitive to cockroach allergens! If you have kids in your home, that’s not a risk worth taking.

Homeowners can take steps to keep these pests at bay. 

First, block them from coming in! Cockroaches, like all insects, enter your home to forage for food and water and to escape the harsh outdoor elements. You can avoid roach infestations by blocking potential entry points. Roaches enter homes through he smallest cracks and holes. A pest control professional can perform exclusion work by locating and sealing these access points. Don’t roaches, other insects, and rodents like mice an open invitation into your home. (And don’t worry about Phil or his friends paying you a visit. Groundhogs are not common home invaders.) 

Second, make your home inhospitable to these pests. Roaches often rear their heads when there are sanitation problems. Be a fastidious cleaner. Roaches can survive on relatively small amounts of food so vacuuming all crumbs is important. You will also want to make sure spills are cleaned up immediately. Lastly, don't leave dishes in the sink. Both the food on the plates and the water they are soaking in will attract roaches. Also, roaches need water or moisture to survive — and these are major attractants for insects. Fix leaky pipes including that dripping sink faucet. If your crawl space or basement is damp, it is the perfect environment for not only insects to breed but also for dangerous mold to gain a foothold in your home.

Roach infestations can be challenging to treat and DIY methods and hardware store products are usually ineffective. Roach populations can skyrocket quickly. We are happy to make sure that your roach problem is quashed before matters get worse. And you don’t need a soothsaying groundhog to predict that a small roach problem will soon turn into a big one!