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Ant infestation is the most commonly reported pest problem. These tiny scavengers will enter your home or business looking for moisture and an accessible food source. Rotting or damp wood that is moldy can attract ants. Ants also feed on sugar, cheese, meats, vegetables, grease, peanut butter, and dead insects. Ants often enter a home through cracks around windows or doors, but they can find numerous entrances to your home or building. Once inside, the growing ant colony can become a problem quickly, as ants mature from juveniles to adults within a matter of days.
It is necessary to properly identify the ant species that you have in order to effectively eradicate them. Of the thousands of species of ants, the four listed below are the most commonly found in the United States.
Carpenter Ants: are about five eighths inches long. They tend to burrow in damp wood but have also been known to damage solid wood. They do not eat the wood, but simply remove it in order to build a nest.
Red Imported Fire Ants: vary in size from one-eighth to three-eighths inches. They construct large mounds for nests and administer painful stings.
Pavement Ants: are about one-eighth inch long. They generally make their nests in pavement cracks and are also capable of infesting a building.
Pharoah Ants: are about one-sixteenth inch long. These ants are commonly found in hospitals and nursing homes, where they are are capable of transmitting Staphylecoccus and Psuedomonas infections. Pharoah Ants also invade restaurants, apartment buildings and similar dwellings.
Ants with wings can easily be mistaken for termites, which may lead to a wrong treatment. In comparison, ants have a very narrow thorax (mid-section), while termites’ bodies are more uniform.
Bed bugs have largely been thought of as being a problem of the past. Unfortunately, we are now experiencing a widespread recurrence of bed bugs in the United States and abroad. The most significant factor that explains their return is the increase in international travel. Bed bugs easily get into clothing or luggage and are brought home. Even the finest hotels are not immune.
A bed bug does not actually live under your skin, but will simply drink a few drops of blood while you are sleeping. You cannot feel its bite, even though it is actually piercing the skin. Although some saliva will get into the bite, bed bugs are not known to pass on any diseases to humans.
While many bed bugs hide in mattresses, some may also hide in a sofa or chair, or behind wall paper or pictures. Thoroughness is the only real way to get rid of Bed Bugs. Every corner and crevice needs to be searched. As you might guess, this means that simply getting rid of an infected mattress will not completely solve the problem.
Bed Bug bites often cause redness and some swelling. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be given to help relieve the itching. Approximately 50% of Bed Bug victims do not show any evidence of bites. These tenacious pests are about 3/8″ long and are visible to the naked eye. Amazingly, they are able to go without food for as long as a year. After getting their fill of blood, the females will lay eggs in batches of up to 200 at a time.
Since their reappearance, researchers have found that the new Bed Bugs are much more resistant to chemicals that have previously been in use. Insecticides that are often used for roaches and similar insects are ineffective on Bed Bugs. Bed Bugs, in particular, require professional pest control management.
Centipedes & Millipedes
Millipedes and centipedes are similar pests. Though they may be unusually repulsive, they are not a major threat to people or animals.
Centipedes in the south tend to be the largest. They can grow up to six inches in length. A centipede can be easily distinguished from a millipede because it has fewer legs; specifically, one set for every segment of its body. Millipedes have two sets of legs for every segment, and when they move, their legs appear to be moving in a wave-like motion. A millipede’s legs are also shorter and, in general, a millipede cannot move very fast. A centipede, with its fewer legs, can travel considerably faster.
Both centipedes and millipedes are generally hatched from eggs, but some varieties are born live. Some centipedes may live as long as six years.
Centipedes actually have the ability to bite, and are poisonous. The poison from their fangs, located behind the head, is used to kill insects, which are their primary food. To a human, a bite feels like that of a bee sting, and can be dangerous,especially if there is an allergic reaction in response to the bite. Children will be more sensitive to a centipede’s bite.
Millipedes are not poisonous and do not have fangs, but they can emit an obnoxious fluid to defend themselves. Some varieties can spray this fluid several inches. The fluid can cause irritation to the skin in some people and should be removed right away. Additionally, it may take some scrubbing to get rid of the odor.
Millipedes feed on decaying plant matter and sometimes living plant roots. Millipedes can damage those roots if there are too many of the pests in the soil. Some varieties are known to be especially bothersome to greenhouse plants. If this occurs, you may need to contact a pest control agency to eliminate your millipede infestation.
House centipedes are an indoor variety. They can move quickly and do not require the moisture that the other varieties need. Centipedes are beneficial to the control of other insects, which may be a good reason to keep them around. The most likely time of year to see centipedes in your home is in the spring or fall.
There are several types of chinch bugs found throughout the United States. These bugs have the ability to ruin turfgrass and are typically found on drought-ridden grasses.
When a chinch bug feeds on grass, it sucks the fluid out and causes patches of lawn to yellow or brown and die. This damage is often caused during summer months where there is hot and dry heat.
You can identify a chinch bug by their back and white color and white wings. The young chinch bugs are bright red and white across their backs. These bugs produce strong odors, especially when they are crushed or are found in groups. Chinch bugs mate during the spring and lay eggs on leaves or grass stems. Females can lay up to 500 eggs which are then hatched within 1-3 weeks time.
It is important to keep your lawn hydrated especially during the summer months to control chinch bugs. Make sure to mow your lawn and use fertilizers that release over time.
Flies, typically considered a nuisance, exist in all regions of the United States. There are more than 240,000 different species of flies in the world. Approximately one third of them, including mosquitoes and gnats, can be found in the United States.
A true fly has only one set of wings. All flies are known disease carriers, many of which can be transmitted to humans. Flies typically breed in garbage, excrement of animals and humans, sewers, compost piles, and any other place where matter is decaying. This enables them to pick up various kinds of diseases which can be transmitted to people by biting or by landing on food, where the bacteria and viruses are released. Since flies are able to transmit disease so easily, it is necessary to seek insect control quickly. The diseases that they can carry include malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, dengue fever, and more.
All flies have a rapid rate of growth and go from egg to adult in about seven days. Maggots are just one stage in the early development of a fly. Maggots of some fly varieties, such as the Carrot Rust fly, can be a problem because they eat the roots of some vegetables. The most common flies are the Fruit fly, the House fly (which have four stripes on their abdomen), the Cluster fly (which is dark gray in color), and the Garbage fly (which has a metallic color that is either green or blue). Another kind of fly, the Stable fly, typically exists around livestock. The Horse fly and a few other varieties of flies actually have mouth parts and can bite humans. Most other flies have a sponge-like mouth and can only drink up their food.
One benefit of flies is that they help reduce the population of other pests. They also help to break down carcasses and other decaying matter faster by preparing it to reenter the ground. Properly controlling flies includes not only killing the adults, but also destroying their eggs and larvae. Call a pest professional to manage any fly problems you encounter.
Fleas are external parasites; the adults can be found crawling on the skin of their hosts. Adult fleas measure approximately 2.5mm in length. Their bodies are shiny and reddish brown in color. They are covered with microscopic hair and are compressed to allow for easy movement through animal fur. Fleas do not have wings, although they are capable of jumping long distanced. They have three sets of elongated legs.
The cat flea is the most common flea in North America, although the dog, human and oriental rat fleas can also be found. Fleas commonly prefer to feed on hair animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice and other domesticated or wild animals. Humans are not a preferred food source and it is unlikely to have a sustained population feeding only on humans.
The female flea lays her eggs on the surface hair of the host or on the ground. Eggs then drop from the host and can infest carpets, bedding and furniture, hatching into larvae within 12 days. Flea larvae avoid light and feed on organic matter found within cracks and crevices. Usually within 18 days, larvae enter the pupal stage by constructing small, cocoonlike structures around themselves. Approximately two weeks later, adult fleas emerge and begin to search for food sources. Fleas establish large populations where pets and other animals, such as livestock, are present. Multiple treatment methods are employed to eradicate flea population.
Pets suffering from flea bites scratch themselves incessantly. Fleas also feed on humans and some people exhibit allergies. Fleas may also carry human diseases such as typhus and tularemia.
Just about everyone knows what a cockroach looks like; they are everywhere. While it is often jokingly stated that if anything could survive a nuclear war, it would be a cockroach, the idea is clear – they are real survivors.
Once there is a cockroach infestation, it can be very hard to get rid of them. Cockroaches multiply very quickly, and they also adapt quickly, too. It is important to contact a pest control agency quickly if you see them in your home or business.
There are over 4,000 different varieties of cockroaches, but only about thirty of them can comfortably live with humans. This number can be further reduced to include only four varieties; the main species that cause problems in homes and businesses in America.
The four main species are the American, German, Asian, and Oriental cockroaches. These vary in size from about 1/2″ (German), up to 2″ (American). In America, the species that is most common in homes would most likely be the German variety.
Cockroaches increase in population at a very rapid rate. The German cockroach female lives about 200 days. Each egg case that she lays includes thirty to fifty eggs. In her lifetime, she will produce between four to six egg cases. German cockroaches are clearly able to thrive.
Once cockroaches infest a home, they are rarely seen. Cockroaches are nocturnal and can live up to a month with little or no food. They can also survive by eating book bindings, furniture, glue, soap, dead insects, shoe linings, and more.
The presence of cockroaches can lead to a definite impression of uncleanness- especially if your guests see them. Contrary to popular belief, a cockroach infestation is not necessarily an indication of poor hygiene. However, an untidy environment will make it all the more difficult to get rid of them. The presence of cockroaches can also lead to health problems, including asthma in children. If you spot a cockroach at home or work, there are likely more of them concealed nearby. Contact a pest professional to avoid letting an infestation get out of hand.
Mice and rats are a problem when they find their way into your home. They like to be near humans so that they have a ready supply of food. This has earned them the term “commensal,” which means “to share one’s table.”
The class of creatures called “rodents” actually encompasses a much more than just mice and rats. It refers to any animal whose incisor teeth continue to grow, so they must continually gnaw in order to keep them serviceable.
There are more than 2,200 different rodents. Together they make up more than 40% of all mammals. In this group you will find: mice, rats, squirrels, capybaras, nutria, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and many more.
Removing rodents can sometimes be as easy as setting a mouse trap; but a larger infestation (especially with rats or larger rodents) can be larger issue. Rats, especially, are smart and can learn to avoid traps.
Rodents can carry up to thirty-five diseases that humans are susceptible to, which is another reason to eliminate them as soon as possible. Cleaning up after a rodent infestation also requires a great deal of caution. This is necessary because of the possibility of fleas or mosquitoes, which may transmit their own diseases to you, your children and pets. There is also risk involved if you inadvertently stir up the dust of their nests; it can be hazardous to breathe in the bacteria contained within.
Rodents can also do physical damage your home or business. They easily chew through some types of siding and other building materials. They are also known to chew on electrical lines, thereby increasing the possibility of fire. They damage other materials as well, creating holes and gnawing on numerous objects, especially food or food containers.
Removing rodents can be difficult. A professional pest management company will identify nesting areas and feeding grounds and know how to completely eliminate them. Proper cleanup is also performed, ensuring that you and your family are safe from allergies, illness and possible future infestation.
Spiders are generally good to have around, as they help minimize the population of harmful insects. The problem arises, however, when they negatively affect humans. The mere sight of a spider can be a real scare for some people. Aside from that, many spiders do bite humans and are poisonous, so it is a good idea to have a pest control company address your spider infestation.
Several spiders pose a serious threat to humans. The two that are the deadliest to humans in the United States are the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Since a few people die each year from the bite of either of these two spiders, it’s extremely important for any person who is bitten by one of these spiders to seek treatment immediately. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary.
The Black Widow spider can be easily recognized because she is black with a red hourglass on the underside of her abdomen. The male is considerably smaller than the female, and he has a body up to half an inch long. The Black Widow typically remains outdoors.
The Brown Recluse spider has a darker brown hourglass on its back. The Brown Recluse loves to be indoors and generally stays out of sight. It may never be seen until you startle it by reaching into a dark spot where it is hiding. Then it will bite.
There are plenty of other spiders in the United States, such as the Grass Spider, Wolf Spider, Hobo Spider, and the Saint Andrew’s Cross Spider, just to name a few. These spiders do not have the same strong venom in their bite, but all are painful and treatment may be required.
If you have noticed spiders in your home, contact a pest management company. They will know the most effective, safest way to eliminate the spider problem, and make recommendations about keeping them away in the future.
A bee or wasp problem in or your home or yard can disrupt daily life and put both you and your family in danger. If a family member is allergic to a bee and is stung, the reaction might be serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. A bad reaction can occur even if the allergy had previously been non-existent or mild. Also, an individual’s allergy can worsen after repeated exposure to bites. Multiple bites can be quite dangerous, especially with regard to the elderly or small children. Regardless, bee stings hurt even without an adverse reaction. If you want to make sure that bee or wasp stings do not pose a danger to you or your family, let a professional exterminator address the problem.
Exterminating bees or wasps on your own can be difficult and even dangerous. Sometimes a homeowner will attempt to exterminate pests alone, using chemical sprays from a hardware store or supply center. If these sprays are not applied in the correct locations, most of the bee or wasp colony will survive. The most challenging nests to control are those that located deep inside the walls of a home or in the attic. Often, a homeowner does not even know where the actual colony is located. He or she only sees where the wasps are flying back and forth through a crack or hole in the home. If there are bees or wasps anywhere in your home, extreme caution is advised. A professional exterminator will know exactly where to spray in order to eliminate your bee or wasp problem for good.
Outdoors, bee and wasp nests near human activity can pose a potential problem. Some wasps may become aggressive scavengers around human food and are attracted to outdoor activities where food or drinks are served. Most bees and wasps will not attack if left alone. However, some people are curious to observe a nest or unknowingly surprise a member of a hive. If provoked, a bee will sting in defense of its nest or itself. Insect sprays should be used with caution. Some of the more caustic over-the-counter sprays on the market can cause harm to children and pets. A professional exterminator knows which sprays to use that will not harm any of your loved ones.
If you attempt to exterminate pests yourself, you could literally spend hours shopping for costly pest control sprays or trapping devices. You could then spend even more time trying unsuccessfully to kill the wasps or bees, putting yourself or your family at risk in the process. A professional exterminating service can take care of your pest problem efficiently. Exterminators train or apprentice before they begin working independently and know a great deal about insects and insect removal. Contacting a professional exterminator can save you both time and money. The sooner you call a licensed exterminator, the sooner your family’s home and lives can return to normal.
Ticks can be found year-round but are most prevalent in the warm summer months. They are parasites, and as a result, are on a continual quest for a host. If a host is not available, a tick can survive up to a year without feeding.
A female tick must have a blood meal before she can lay eggs. After feeding, she drops off her host and lays thousands of eggs. A female tick lays one batch of eggs, after which she dies. A male tick also dies after reproducing.
There are two established families of ticks: hard ticks and soft. A tick matures from egg to adult in stages. Depending on the family, some reach maturity in only a few stages of growth. Other varieties may take as many as eight stages to develop. The length of time to reach maturity also depends on factors as temperature, humidity and availability of food. With regard to physical characteristics, an immature tick has six legs; a full-grown adult has eight.
Ticks transmit a number of diseases as a result of feeding off both human and animal hosts. Examples include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Q Fever, Tularemia, Tick Paralysis and Meningoencephalitis.
Ticks often prefer certain hosts over others, resulting in names as Deer Tick, Cat Tick, American Dog Tick, Bat Tick, Bird Tick, etc. The family pet is a popular carrier of ticks, which unfortunately results in a tick entering a home. After feeding for a few days, a female tick will drop off of her host to lay eggs. Ticks seek out tiny crevices in which to store their eggs, which can result in a full-blown infestation of your home. Attempting to rid your home of the tick infestation can be difficult and frustrating, as eggs can hatch months later, long after you think you have the situation under control. For the best results in combating an tick infestation, contact a professional pest control company.
Termites easily access a home through any wood in contact with the soil. As a result, nearly every termite prevention list advises storing firewood several feet from the house and keeping the surrounding grounds clear of other wood debris. Regular inspections by pest control companies are highly recommended. A pest control technician can save a homeowner thousands of dollars in home repair bills by conducting routine professional inspections on a regular basis.
Termites are insects with a very defined social strata. A mature termite colony may number in the millions, with each member fulfilling a defined biological role. The castes, not including nymphs (immature termites), are called workers, soldiers and reproductives. Typically, a queen and king reside in a mature colony. Winged adults are referred to as “swarmers.” They emerge from the colony and take flight (swarm) during certain seasons of the year, usually late winter to early spring. This marks the beginning of the termite reproductive cycle, as the swarmers are the primary reproductives. Swarming is also significant, as it is during this time that they are most likely to be spotted by humans.
Subterranean termites are the most common and destructive termite in the U.S. Interestingly, they are found in every state except Alaska.
Subterranean, by definition, means “situated or operating beneath the earth’s surface; underground.” These insects make their home (a nest or colony) primarily in the soil or wood beneath the soil. They tunnel through the ground, searching for trees, brush and other decaying wood (preferred) found in nature. If this primary source is reduced or absent, termites look to other food sources, namely, your home.
If you suspect an infestation or wish to take preventative measures as a homeowner, contact a pest control company to conduct a professional inspection.