Month: March 2015

Ants!

Ants are very common insects. There are more than 10,000 known ant species around the world. Ants are especially prevalent in tropical forests and may make up to half of all the insects living in some locations.

Ants look like termites and the two are often confused, especially by homeowners who are worried about termites. Ants, however, have a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, termites do not. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and some powerful jaws.
Ants usually live in structured nest communities that can be located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees. Carpenter ants nest in wood and can be very destructive to buildings. Some species of ants do not have permanent homes, instead they seek out food for their enormous colonies during periods of migration.

Ants communicate with each other by using chemicals that can alert other ants to danger or lead them to a promising food source. Ants typically eat nectar, seeds, fungus, or insects. However, some species of ants may prey on reptiles, birds, or even small mammals.

So what can you do to prevent Ants from invading your home? First, ants can enter through the tiniest of cracks and crevices seeking out water and food sources. So be sure to seal up those cracks and crevices. Secondly, ants leave scent trails so other ants can be lead to the food source others have found. Be sure to clean up the sugar and creamer area around your coffee makers. Ants really love those areas. Also, clean off the counter tops and behind the faucets on your sinks. Sometimes food particles will get behind there and can become a good food source for ants. Lastly, look around the perimeter of you home and in your yard. Do you see any mounds or old tree stumps? If you do, make sure to remove the old tree stumps. Treat the ant mounds directly by sprinkling ant bait around the mounds, not on top. Prevention is the key to all your pest problems, even ants.

Termite Bait Systems

This is a picture of a cartridge from a termite bait system. These bait systems work to monitor termite activity around your home. As you can see, the termites are very much alive and active, constantly foraging, and looking for food. This picture is even more interesting because these bait stations were placed around the dwelling only 30 days prior.

If you’ve ever thought that Termite Bait Stations don’t work, think again. They do! This is a picture of a cartridge from a termite bait system. These bait systems actively work to monitor termite activity around your home. As you can see, the termites are very much alive and very active. Termites are constantly foraging, looking for food. This picture is even more interesting because these particular termite bait stations were placed around the dwelling only 30 days prior. Active management to prevent termites from entering your dwelling is key.

Wood Siding and Termites

This is what wood siding does when it's in contact with soil. It absorbs the moisture from the soil, causing it to rot. This can attract termites.

This is what wood siding does when it’s in contact with soil. It will absorb the moisture from the soil, causing it to rot. This can and will attract termites. The soil grade is too high. Our recommendations are to remove to soil off the siding to where at least 3-4 inches of the slab line is showing. Any time that wood comes in contact with the soil, the wood will absorb the water. This is not good because termites now have an easy access to your home.

Wasps and their uses

There are approximately 30,000 identified species of Wasps. We are mostly familiar with the ones that are wrapped in bright colors, such as the yellow jacket and hornets. Wasps come in a vast array of colors, the very familiar yellow to bright red, brown, and even metallic blue. The brighter colored species of Wasps are in the Vespidae family, other wise known as the stinging wasps. What you may not know is most wasps are actually solitary, non-stinging insects. They all do far more good for us by controlling other pest populations than harming us.

Wasps are very distinguishable from bees. They have pointed lower abdomens and a narrow “waist” that separates the abdomen from the thorax. Wasps are divided into two primary subgroups: Social and Solitary. Social wasps make up about a thousand species of Wasps, including the awesome colony-builders, the yellow jackets and hornets.

All wasps build nests. Wasps create papery abodes from wood fibers scraped with their hard mandibles and chewed into a pulp. Bees, on the other hand, secrete a waxy substance to construct their nests.

Social wasp colonies start from scratch each spring by a queen who was fertilized the previous year. These queens usually will hibernate in a warm place during the winter. Once the queen emerges, she builds a small nest and raises a starter brood of worker females. These workers begin to expand the nest, building multiple six-sided cells, into which the queen will continuously lays eggs. By the end of the summer, a colony could have more than 5,000 members, all of whom die off at winter, including the queen. Only the newly fertilized queens will survive the winter to start the process over in the spring. If a Social wasp is in distress, it will emit a pheromone that sends nearby colony members into a defensive, stinging frenzy. Unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly. Only female wasps have stingers. The stingers are actually modified egg-laying organs.

Solitary wasps are by far the largest subgroup. They do not form colonies. This group includes some of the wasps largest members: the cicada killers and the striking blue-and-orange tarantula hawks. Both of these wasps can grow to be 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) in length.

Despite the fear the wasps sometimes evoke, they are extremely beneficial to humans. Almost every insect on Earth is preyed upon by a species of wasps, either as food or as a host for it’s parasitic larvae. Wasps are widely used as a form of agricultural pest control because they prey mostly on pest insects and have very little impact on crops.

Do It Yourself Pest Control- the non-toxic way

You’re probably thinking, “Yeah right, what are you trying to sell?” The answer is nothing. Now that spring is coming and the cold weather is starting to wane. Those lovely creepy crawlers that lurk in the corners and give you nightmares will be out and about before you know it. First thing about “Do It Yourself Pest Control” is prevention. PREVENTION! That is key to keeping them away.

There are many ways to prevent the insects from infiltrating your dwelling. First, wipe down your counter tops and other kitchen surfaces to remove odors and food particles. If chemicals are not your thing, you can use a dilution of vinegar and water as your cleaning agent. Second, fix any and all leaky faucets. Insects, such as ants and roaches, are attracted to the leaks because they also need water to survive. If you don’t have jars or containers that seal well, get some. Place your dry goods (Ex: Cereal, Cookies, Sugar, Pasta, Rice) in jars or containers because insects need food as well to survive. Third, rinse out all the sauce jars and juice containers before placing in a recycling or trash receptacle. This is also considered a food source for the insects. Lastly, CLEAN YOUR DRAINS! We will get calls often saying that someone has fruit flies and cannot get rid of them. Clean your drains! They need to be cleaned out from all the food that was just washed off your dishes. It sits and accumulates in the pipes. Our suggestion is baking soda and vinegar. Let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes in the drain. The use boiling water to thoroughly clean out the drain pipe. Now that your drains have been cleaned, let’s address the fruit flies. Get some Apple Cider vinegar. Use a small glass and fill it with 2-3 inches of the apple cider vinegar. Cover it with plastic wrap and poke small holes in it. Fruit flies are attracted to the sweet smell of the apples.

Let’s tackle the outdoor pests. As previously mentioned in Mosquitoes, the diseases they carry and your backyard, there are quite a few plants that can be planted through out your yard and some even in plant containers inside your home to keep these flying buggers at bay. These are a few of the plants we suggest to help you better manage the warfare against mosquitoes, flies, gnats, chiggers, ticks, and fleas: Citronella, Marigolds, Catnip, Horsemint, Lemon Eucalyptus, Geraniums, Lavender, Lemon Grass, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Tea Tree.

You don’t always need toxic chemicals to rid yourself of the creepy crawling bugs.

 

German Roaches and their nasty bits

The German cockroach is a major concern. This species is the one that gives all other cockroaches a bad name. German Roaches cannot survive in locations away from human activity unless there is a steady cold temperature. Studies have shown that German cockroaches could not survive in homes without central heating in northern climates. The availability of water, food, and shelter also governs the ability of German cockroaches to establish populations and limit growth.
German cockroaches corrupt food and food products with their feces and secretions. They also transport pathogenic organisms which may cause severe allergic reactions and in extremely heavy infestations, roaches have been reported to bite humans and feed on food residue that can be found on the faces of sleeping humans. Some suggest that German cockroach infestations may cause human psychological stress and that the stigma associated with infestations alter their behavior. For example, people with houses that are infested with roaches do less entertaining and avoid the kitchen at night for fear of encountering a cockroach.
In order to get control of a German Cockroach infestation, it’s going to take some work. Everything in the kitchen cabinets needs to be pulled out and cleaned. The cabinets themselves needed to be cleaned and probably vacuumed out as well. What appears to look like dirt is actually roach feces. YUCK! You certainly do not want to spend all this time cleaning and place clean things back in that! So please, please, please use a vacuum and thoroughly clean up all the roach feces. Look behind and under the following: Refrigerator, Sink, Microwave, Oven, Dish Washer, Toaster, Coffee Maker, etc. You’d be surprised. Roaches can and will live inside of these things! By cleaning and removing their food sources, it will help get the roaches under control. Once you’ve cleaned thoroughly, take the vacuum cleaner,, trash bags, etc., outside. Let me repeat that. Take the vacuum cleaner, trash bags, etc OUTSIDE to the trash. Do not leave it inside. Clean out the vacuum cleaner outside. You do not want to leave any of that stuff inside. A typical German roach egg case contains 30 to 40 eggs. The egg case is a tiny, brown, purse-shaped capsule. You do not want to accidentally leave one or two roach egg cases behind after you clean. That would potentially be 60-80 baby roaches waiting to hatch and take over the house again. Cleaning and keeping it clean is a big part of eradicating the German Roach population in a dwelling. Once the cleaning is done, then you may use a roach gel bait sparingly in the cabinets, under the sink, and around the appliances.