Protecting Your Family With Pest Control

Crazy Ants: What Are They And Why Are They Called Crazy?

Most ants behave in predictable patterns by how they nest and forage for food, which makes it a little bit easier for you to find and treat the pests yourself. But some ant species can be tough to locate and eradicate, including crazy ants. Crazy ants are invasive species that wreak havoc outside and inside your home, including your electronic devices. If you notice strange ants misbehaving in your home or on your property, take immediate steps to treat them. Here’s more information about crazy ants, how they cause destruction in your life and what you can do to treat them. What Are Crazy Ants? Crazy ants originated in South America and eventually spread to North America and other areas of the world. The pests have quickly become the bane of existence for many homeowners, especially people living in the Florida, Texas, and other areas of the South. The pests can reproduce in great numbers very quickly. This fact alone makes it difficult to eliminate the ants in your home and property. There are several types of crazy ants: the Raspberry, Caribbean, and Longhorn. All three types of pests can invade your home without warning. So, how do you know if the ants you see are crazy ants? All crazy ants tend to behave strangely when disturbed. The ants will generally run around in erratic patterns or appear “crazy” when you bother them or when they sense a threat. In addition, Raspberry crazy ants are reddish brown in color and reach lengths of about 1/8 inches. Longhorn pests have brown and black bodies with a blue-like color or tint running through it. Longhorn crazy ants are less common than the Raspberry and Caribbean ant. The Caribbean ant ranges from gold to reddish-brown in color and can reproduce in substantial numbers.  All crazy ants possess long legs and very long antennas. The antennas can be much larger than the pests’ heads, which gives the ants an advantage over other insects in finding food. Crazy ants can also have multiple queens controlling their nesting sites or colonies. Some crazy ants spawn or “clone” their queens to ensure that the pests survive. To treat your crazy ant problem, you must first learn how they invade your life. How Do Crazy Ants Invade Your Life? Crazy ants tend to live inside structures, such as cracks, logs, and under rocks. The ants don’t make traditional mounds […]

2 Damaging Garden Pests And How To Protect Your Plants From Them

Planting a vegetable garden can be rewarding but can take up a great deal of your time. When you invest so much of your time into growing a successful garden, you want it free of damaging pests and insects. Here are two types of garden pests that can cause damage to your garden plants, and what you can do to protect your garden from them. Squash Bugs If you grow a vegetable garden containing pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, melons, or other plants with similar vines, stems, and leaves, your plants are at risk of being eaten and damaged by squash bugs. Squash bugs are grayish-brown in color and only grow to the length of five-eights of an inch, but they can harm your garden as they feed on the leaves and vines of your squash plants as they suck out the sap and eat their fruit. This feeding can cause the leaves of your squash plants to wilt, turn black, and die. If the squash bug population becomes too large in your garden and on your squash plants, they can cause a plant to stop producing fruit and kill the entire plant with their feeding. Squash bugs begin laying their small, brown eggs on the underside of the leaves in late spring and early summer, so it is a good idea to look for and get rid of them as soon as your plants begin to grow leaves. Their eggs hatch in just a couple weeks, bringing on numerous baby squash bugs to also eat the sap from your squash plants.  Begin searching the undersides and crown of your squash plants for these bugs weekly. When you find any adult squash bugs, you can pick them off the plant and smash them on the ground or other hard surface. When you find juvenile squash bugs and eggs, smash them with a paper towel. It can also be helpful to remove juvenile squash bugs and eggs from the underside of your plant’s leaves using the sticky side of a length of duct tape.  Another way to help control the population of squash bugs in your garden is to set a trap for them with a shingle or a similar-sized piece of plywood. Place your shingle or wood near the base of your squash plant, under the leaves. When the sun sets, the squash bugs will crawl underneath the shingle or wood for the night. Early the next morning, smash […]

Dealing With an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation? How Can You Protect Your Trees?

If your home sits nestled among tall ash trees, you likely reap many environmental and economic benefits — from lower utility bills to insulation from road noise. However, a single invasive insect could be the catalyst for an emerald ash borer infestation that could damage or even kill your trees over a brief period of time. How can you tell whether your trees are in danger? What can you do to eradicate these pests and maintain the health of your ash trees? Read on to learn more about your best defensive options against the emerald ash borer.  Why is the emerald ash borer such a problem in North America? The emerald ash borer is native to eastern Asia, particularly Russia and China, where tree density is fairly low compared to much of the United States. Because these beetles have a short range, they tend to cluster on a single tree, helping keep colonies at manageable levels while maintaining the health of surrounding trees.  However, in the denser forests of North America, a single colony of ash borers can start a chain reaction that spreads to all the ash trees in a large radius. As a result, many of the infected trees in areas with high ash density will be quarantined or immediately removed to help prevent further infestation.  What are the signs of an ash borer infestation? Ash borers slowly kill trees by boring into the wood just below the bark, preventing the tree from efficiently siphoning water and nutrients from the soil. While a single ash beetle or two shouldn’t cause any problem to a large tree, a sapling can be especially susceptible to ash borer damage at an early age. As the tree grows, the chasms created by the boring beetles will widen, compromising the tree’s ability to reach its full height.  The most telltale sign of an ash borer infestation is the squiggling lines created by the beetles in the surface of the wood. However, unless a section of bark is already missing from your tree, this can be difficult to spot without causing damage.  Dead or dying leaves near the top of your tree can indicate the roots and trunk aren’t able to carry enough water to sustain growth. You may also notice odd growth patterns, like new shoots and branches sprouting low on the tree’s trunk. This is often a sign that the tree is trying […]

True Facts About The Bed Bug

Bed bug infestations are no joke. They can be extremely difficult to eradicate, especially if you don’t undertake the services of a qualified exterminator. Just the thought of bed bugs is enough to send some people into an itchy furor as if they can feel them creepy-crawling around on the sly. Much as with any other battle, knowing your enemy is half the fight. In this article, you’ll learn some of the strangest and most interesting facts about these tiny little bed denizens–helping you to prevent or treat them should they occur. Bedbugs Have a Seven-Stage Growth Cycle In almost all cases, visibly detectable bed bugs are considered to be in the final adult growth stage. These are fairly easy to identify, although they tend to hide in crevices and the inside of furniture. Seems easy enough, right? If you see them, call the exterminator. Unfortunately, what you aren’t always seeing is what can make the problem so difficult to eradicate. Bedbugs have a seven-stage growth cycle as follows: Egg stage Nymph stage 1 Nymph stage 2 Nymph stage 3 Nymph stage 4 Nymph stage 5 Adulthood There is a difference in appearance depending on the age of the bug. Adult bedbugs tend to be about the size of a match head or an apple seed. Younger bed bugs, however, can be much smaller and are often semi-translucent in color. This is what makes earlier growth stages so difficult to identify. Eggs are so small and poorly colored that most people cannot identify them with the naked eye. Most importantly, you should understand that if you have one life stage present, you probably have them all and should move forward with a full treatment plan. Bedbugs are Proven to Cause Psychological Distress Alright–this may seem like an obvious thing at first. After all, bed bugs can be extremely annoying. However, research has shown that they may cause even more mental harm than originally thought. In fact, PTSD-like reactions are very common. In some cases, infestations have even led to suicide in individuals with comorbid mental health concerns. A study in the American Journal of Medicine quotes related psychological distress symptoms as: Nightmares Flashbacks Hypervigilance Insomnia Anxiety Avoidance behaviors Personal dysfunction Each of these is also tied to PTSD, suggesting that bed bugs may, in fact, be able to trigger post-traumatic stress disorder. While not everyone reacts the same way, the percentage […]

Termite Terror? Tips To Determine And Treat The Terror Of Termites

As a homeowner, you are probably familiar with the various tasks necessary to keep your home functional, appealing, and valuable. Unfortunately, you may be one of the many homeowners who do not place effort into pest prevention and control. Since certain species of termites can quickly grow into a large colony of 500,000, understanding the initial signs of an infestation is smart to protect your home. A termite infestation can quickly wreak havoc on your home, so prevention is key, but prevention can be difficult. Using this guide, you will learn the initial signs of a termite problem and find the best options for taking control of your home. Signs of an Infestation While surprising to hear, termites are attracted to more than just wood. These insects can cause enormous amounts of damage to your home’s siding, windows and doors, and even foundation. If you notice one or more of the following signs, termites may be taking control of your home: Damaged Wood – Inspect your home for visible signs of wood damage. Termites will feed on various wood surfaces in and around your home. Over time, this can cause the wood to become soft, warped, or hollow. Paint Problems – Cracks and chips in your home’s paint may be a sign of a termite issue, as well. Inspect the exterior of your home for multiple areas of chipped, cracked, and breaking paint. Pest Poo – If you notice an accumulation of sawdust in and around certain areas of your home, it may actually be pest poo. Fecal matter from pests, or frass, appears similar to sawdust. Take a closer look at the matter. If it resembles shavings of wood, it is sawdust. However, if it has an appearance closer to small pellets, it is frass. Professionally Controlling the Termites Termites eat 24 hours a day, 7 days of week, so treating the infestation is essential preventing serious damage and expensive repairs. Thankfully, a pest control company can design a plan of action to rid your home of termites and prevent further infestation. Professionals will most likely apply a liquid treatment to infested areas of your home and termite entry sites. Termites will ingest this pesticide and share it with the rest of the colony, resulting in a complete eradication of the insects. A professional may also recommend treating the actual wood to control a termite infestation. During a wood […]

Rodent Control: An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

Many property managers believe that ongoing pest control contracts are not necessary. After all, what’s the difficulty in buying a few rat traps if a problem arises? Surely, they think, it’s a waste of money to pay every month for maintenance against a problem that doesn’t yet exist. Unfortunately, this is ultimately proved foolish thinking when rats get a foothold on their property. If you are a wise manager, you don’t want to learn the hard way that, when it comes to rats, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Rodents: exploding populations Rats are, unfortunately, frequent visitors to densely populated buildings such as apartments and housing communities. In search of food, warmth, and shelter, rats can enter residences through holes the size of a quarter.   According to a story by ABC News, the rat population is exploding across the country. Consider these numbers: Complaints about rats in Boston have increased 40 percent More than 33,000 rat sightings were reported in Chicago in one month Last year the city of New York performed more than 95,000 rodent inspections, and the city’s rodent population is estimated to be about two million. Summer swarms Forget the “dog days” of summer: it’s rats you’ll be seeing more of in the summer, because rodents thrive in warm weather. With more people out and about, rats are quick to pounce on their leftover picnic and barbeque foods. Additionally, standing water in kids’ front yard pools attracts thirsty rodents. If your housing or commercial complex is planning more outdoor activities in the months ahead, now is the perfect time to institute preventive measures. Diabolical destruction and disease Aside from the “eew” factor for your tenants who see rodents around the property you own, rats cause destruction and bring disease. Destruction. Rats chew through cinder block, electrical wiring, and insulation. In fact, twenty percent of undetermined residential fires are chalked up to rodents’ chewing electrical wires. These rodents also tear up insulation, reducing its effectiveness and driving up your energy costs. Further, if you have had a rat infestation on your property, you cannot sell it without disclosing this to potential buyers. Disease. Rodents bite 40,000 people per year in this country. Rat bites expose your tenants to diseases such as leptospirosis, hantavirus, bubonic plague, and rat-bite fever. These illnesses can also be spread through human contact with rodents’ urine and fecal material–and because […]

Termites And Ants: What You Need To Know

Imagine yourself moving a bookcase away from a wall and seeing a pile of sawdust on the floor, along with some winged insects. Are they flying ants or termites? If there is no apparent damage, you might be tempted to simply sweep or vacuum them up and forget about it. If you have either a carpenter ant or a termite problem, however, ignoring it and hoping it will go away is probably the worst thing you can do! Here are some tips on determining whether you have a termite or ant infestation, as well as information on how each type of infestation should be treated. How to Tell the Difference Between Termites and Ants There are three main differences that you, as someone who is not an etymologist, are likely to be able to discern when you look at your winged invaders. Wings. Both termites and flying ants have four wings. You’ll notice that two are in front; these are the forewings. The two further back are called the hindwings. In termites, the forewings and the hindwings are the same size. In flying ants, however, the forewings are larger. Antennae. While all insects have antennae, those of termites and ants differ. Ants’ antennae are bent, sometimes at as much as a 90 degree angle. Termites’ antennae, however, might be curved or more straight. If you look closely, you’ll notice that they look as though they are made of tiny beads. Ant antennae are more smooth, though they might look like they have one bead at the end. Body shape. An ant has a tapered waist, like a wasp. Termites are more broad and have bodies that are roughly the same thickness from end to end. If the insect you are looking at has an hourglass figure or looks like it’s wearing a corset, it’s an ant. Now that you’ve determined which type of insect you are dealing with, it’s time to figure out what to do about it! Treating Ants or Termites If you have insects in your home but you think they are coming from damaged wood outside the home, such as a decaying tree, it is beneficial to have the outside wood removed. If the ants or termites were just passing through, they might simply leave, because their source of food has been taken away. This makes sense as a first step if you see just a few […]

How Can You Rid Your Home Of Carpenter Bees?

If you’ve been following agricultural or economic news over the last few years, you may have heard that declining bee populations are worrying scientists and lawmakers. Without bees and other pollinators to fertilize plants, it becomes virtually impossible to sustain agricultural production levels, which will cause food prices to rise significantly. However, the need to protect local bee populations doesn’t mean you have to simply allow destructive carpenter bees to bore holes into your siding, decking, or outdoor furniture. Read on to learn more about some ways you can humanely relocate carpenter bees — solving your problem and ridding yourself of pests without contributing to the collapse of a bee colony. Why are carpenter bees important? Although the honeybee is generally the first pollinator that comes to mind, the carpenter bee is also an important part of the plant reproduction cycle. Eastern carpenter bees are the most common type of carpenter bee in the eastern U.S., and are especially skilled at pollinating open-faced flowers, like those found on most fruit trees. In fact, many orchards and vineyards will place small blocks of untreated wood around the bases of the trees to encourage carpenter bees to build nests in the area and increase fruit yields. Without carpenter bees, local fruit harvests would decline significantly, and the price of apples, cherries, peaches, and pears would skyrocket. How can you humanely relocate carpenter bees? Unlike honeybees, which often form large hives containing hundreds of bees, carpenter bees are relative loners. The female carpenter bee will bore a number of independent tunnels into a piece of wood, laying an egg in each partitioned area. When these eggs hatch, the larvae already has a ready-made meal awaiting (a small pollen ball left by the female bee). After this meal is finished and the larvae has begun to transition into an adult bee, it will bore its way out of the hole and join its relatives. Often, much of the harm caused by carpenter bees is due to the destruction of the wood by woodpeckers who can hear the larvae moving inside. Most females will only lay between four to six eggs during a nesting period, so unless you have a severe infestation already, it’s unlikely that your bee population will significantly increase from year to year. It’s usually best to relocate carpenter bees during the spring, as this is when they are most active — […]