Pest Control Blog About Bugs and Rodents

Welcome to A1 Exterminators’ Uninvited Guests blog! Here we talk about anything and everything bug related. Big and small, from ticks and bed bugs to roaches and termites; from bugs and insects to mice, rats, squirrels and rodents. Follow us to keep track of the new pests you should be worried about in your area. Get the latest news on pests, tips on how you can keep pests away from your home and business, and some other fun and interesting tidbits about bugs.

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Facts about Ants

Are you interested in pests?  Although ants are frustrating when they get into your home or when you’re having a picnic, ants do help the

Odorous Ants

environment. They are social insects, which means they live in large colonies or groups. Depending on the species, ant colonies can consist of millions of ants. Here are some facts you may be interested in learning.

  • There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world.
  • An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight. If a second grader was as strong as an ant, she would be able to pick up a car!
  • Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies!
  • Ants don’t have ears. Ants “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
  • When ants fight, it is usually to the death!
  • When foraging, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they’ve been.
  • Queen ants have wings, which they shed when they start a new nest.
  • Ants don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through the same holes.
  • When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months. Queens are rarely replaced and the workers are not able to reproduce.
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Paper Wasp Prevention

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Keep Pets Pest Free

Fleas are a common pest that can affect pets, especially cats and dogs. The most common species of fleas plaguing American homes and their domestic animals is the cat flea. Their bites can cause itchy, red bumps that lead to excessive scratching. Fleas can also cause conditions such as anemia and flea allergy dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms.

Adult fleas lay their eggs on their host, where they hatch and reproduce. Eggs can also roll off onto nearby surfaces such as carpets, couches, pet bedding-usually anywhere a family pet has access to and particularly likes to lay.  Fleas can be particularly hard to find since they are so small and move very fast along the surface of the skin.  In addition to being hard to find, they breed fast. One adult flea can lay as many as 20 eggs per day and the eggs typically hatch within 2 to 14 days. As a result, a flea infestation can grow quickly. A flea infestation in your home should always be left to licensed pest professional. We have the knowledge, tools and experience to treat the infestation safely and effectively.

Of course, the best way to protect your pets and your home from common household pests is to prevent an infestation before it ever happens. There are many steps pet owners can take to protect their pets from pests like fleas and ticks:

  1. After walks or playtime outside, inspect your pet thoroughly.  Brush their coat to remove any debris or insects. Be especially vigilant if your pet has been in wooded areas or high grasses, where pests thrive.
  2. Bathe dogs regularly, using a shampoo that can kill pests.
  3. Be on the lookout for skin irritations on your pet, such as bite marks or red, itchy skin. Excessive scratching is a good indicator that they have skin irritations.
  4. If your pet has long hair, consider having them groomed in the spring and summer, when ticks and fleas are most prevalent. Not only will this help to prevent insects from latching onto their long hair and help you to spot any that do, it will also help to keep your pet cool during the warmest time of the year.
  5. Consult with a veterinarian to determine if a preventative medicine is recommended for your pet.
  6. If you notice a change in your animal’s behavior, such as lack of appetite or decrease in energy, take them to your veterinarian ASAP. This could be a sign of Lyme disease or other health issue caused by pests.
  7. Wash your pet’s bedding, crate, toys, food bowls and sleeping areas on a regular basis.
  8. Keep your home clean and clutter-free to deter pest infestations and make it easy to spot any pests that do find their way indoors. Vacuum frequently and wash linens on a regular basis.
  9. Keep your lawn cut short and gardens well maintained to prevent breeding grounds for pests. Fleas and ticks often hide out in tall grasses.
  10. If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately, being careful to extract the head and mouth parts completely. If your pet has fleas, bathe them and seek the consult of a veterinarian.
  11. If you suspect your home is infested with ticks or fleas, contact us at 800-525-4825.

By following these tips and keeping your pet and your home pest free, you’ll help ensure that your pet has many happy, healthy years ahead of them.

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Facts About Lightning Bugs

Running around the backyard on summer nights in an attempt to catch fireflies is a fun pastime. These insects, also known as lightning bugs, can light up the night with their magical glow. But, what actually makes them flash?

Fireflies aren’t flies.

They’re actually beetles. Fireflies are nocturnal members of the Lampyridae family. The name comes from the Greek “lampein,” which means to shine. Some fireflies are diurnal, but they typically don’t glow. Most fireflies are winged, which distinguishes them from other luminescent insects of the same family, often referred to as glowworms. The name “glowworm” can indicate many different species, including fireflies.

Fireflies are efficiency superstars.

Fireflies have light organs that are located beneath their abdomens. Although more than 2,000 species bear the name “firefly,” not all fireflies glow. Those that do mix oxygen with a pigment called luciferin to generate light with very little heat. The enzyme luciferase acts on the luciferin in the presence of magnesium ions, a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and oxygen to produce light. The light that some fireflies produce is extremely efficient. In fact, it’s the most efficient light in the world! Nearly 100% of the chemical reaction’s energy becomes light. The light that fireflies produce may be green, yellow or orange in color.

Occasionally, fireflies put their efficient light to good use in flashy displays. Some fireflies, most famously in Southeast Asia, will synchronize their flashes. In the U.S., this phenomenon occurs during the first few weeks of June in the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee.

Firefly flashes can be as romantic as a dozen roses…sometimes.

Fireflies flash in patterns that are unique to each species. Each blinking pattern is used to help them find potential mates. Male fireflies typically fly through the air in search of a female by emitting a species-specific flashing pattern. Some fireflies only flash once, while others do so up to nine times. The females sit on the ground and wait until they see an impressive light display. They show their interest by responding with a single flash, timed to follow the males’ characteristic flashes in a species-specific manner.

Less romantically, female fireflies in the genus Photuris mimic the flash of females in the genus Photinus attracting Photinus males, which they lure in to eat. Not only do the Photuris females get food, they also incorporate chemicals from the Photinus males that make them distasteful to predators.

Fireflies use their light to ward off predators.

Speaking of predators, firefly blood contains a defensive steroid called lucibufagins, which makes them unappetizing to potential hunters. Once predators get a bite, they associate the unpleasant taste with firefly light and avoid attacking the lightning bugs in the future.

Some fireflies eat other types of fireflies.

The larvae of most fireflies are predaceous, beneficial insects that feed on snails, slugs and worms. When they become adults, fireflies may eat pollen, nectar or nothing at all! The few species that remain carnivorous through adulthood eat other types of fireflies.

Humans are contributing to fireflies’ decline.

If you don’t see as many fireflies this summer as you have in the past, it’s because these lightning bugs are on the decline. Light pollution, development of fireflies’ habitats and harvesting are all leading to a decrease in the number of fireflies. When their habitat is overtaken, fireflies do not relocate. Instead, they just disappear.

If you live in a place where fireflies are common, look out for the patterns and habits discussed here. If you want to catch fireflies, keep them safe by placing a wet paper towel in the bottom of a glass jar. Pierce holes in the jar’s lid so that the fireflies can breathe. Don’t forget to release them after a day or two!

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Bug Tip Tuesday | Mosquito Repellent Mason Jar

Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your summer fun! This all-natural Mason Jar Mosquito Repellent will keep you bug-free at all your picnics, BBQs, parties and family get-togethers.

The addition of the lemon eucalyptus oil is what will keep the bugs at bay…meaning you won’t end up breathing in any weird chemicals. These repellent jars are also really simple to make, and there’s a good chance you already have all the ingredients on hand to whip some up now!

Materials

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Water
  • Mason Jar
  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
  • Floating Tea Candles
 Directions
  1. Slice your lemons and limes into rounds.
  2. Add about 3 slices of lemon and lime to the bottom of each mason jar.
  3. Add 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary to the jar.
  4. Add 3 more slices of lemon and lime.
  5. Fill the mason jar with water.
  6. Add 7-10 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus Oil.
  7. Place your floating tea candle on top and light when you’re ready to use!
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Facts about Ants

Are you interested in pests?  Although ants are frustrating when they get into your home or when you’re having a picnic, ants do help the

environment. They are social insects, which means they live in large colonies or groups. Depending on the species, ant colonies can consist of…

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Get the Latests News for Pest Control in New England

Paper Wasp Prevention