The Ants are Coming!

Are ants coming into your home now that it is warming up outside?  You see one, kill it and only to return a few minutes later and there are two more.  This could go on for hours, and it has for some people.

Most common ants live outside in the ground, in nests or ant hills. Several hills and nests can make up one colony. The queen ant (which can live up to 30 years) is responsible for making new ants. In the spring as things start to Ant-adwarm up, ant colonies send out scouts to find food and fuel. These scouting ants leave a scent trail so they can find their way home and so other ants can follow.

While ants may be attracted to the food inside your home, they don’t usually nest indoors. Ants are tiny little creatures and very usually pretty smart, so there isn’t much hope of keeping them out of your house. Try not to give them a reason to come inside in the first place. Clean up all spills, keep food in the kitchen, don’t carry it around your house.  Keep counter tops clean.  However, even in the cleanest of homes, ants will find their way inside looking for food.

Once you find one ant, there will be more.  They never travel alone.  Killing an ant will send out a scent to call for other ants.

When you find an ant in your home, you can:

  • Kill the ant and remove the carcass.
  • Clean the area around the ant with a strong soap or window cleaner to remove the scent.
  • Try to determine what the ant was after.
  • Look for others because there’s never just one.
  • Find the entry point from where they entered.
  • Fill any cracks, patch any holes and then apply bait or ant powder near the entry point.

Ants will continue to show up for some time. Keep cleaning the area around any dead ants, clean the trails and the entry points. Most ‘ant killers’ are made up of an attractant and an ant poison. The ant is attracted to the poison and carries it back to the nest where many ants will be killed. You will never be able to kill all the ant, but you can keep them out of your house.


Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are large bees that look like big bumblebees, however, carpenter bees and bumblebees have different abdomens.  Carpenter bees can be identified by the shiny black abdomen with yellow hairs just on the first abdominal segment of their body and bumble bees have yellow hairs on other abdominal segments as well. Carpenter bees live alone and do not form colonies like many other bees.  The male carpenter bee cannot sting, however, the female can if it is handled.  Since carpenter bees are also pollinators they are beneficial to the environment.  However, they can cause damage to wood around your home. carpenter_bee

Carpenter bees bore tunnels for the females to lay their eggs inside. These tunnels can be 4-6 inches long and anywhere from a ¼ of an inch to ¾ of an inch in diameter. Cedar wood that is untreated is one of their favorites. You may notice that carpenter bees will fly close to your face when you are near their nest.  This is usually when people realize they have a problem.

Carpenter bees live in their nests during the winter months and emerge in April to mate.  Females may return to their same living space or may seek a new location for their eggs.  A female bee will lay an egg then pack in some pollen and nectar to feed the larvae, seal the cell and then start another cell within the tunnel to lay another egg.  This will continue until she is done laying eggs at which point the female will die.  Adult carpenter bees only live one year.

To prevent carpenter bees moving into your home or yard, keep all exposed wood either painted or polyurethaned.  A regular colored wood stain will not prevent damage from carpenter bees.  Be sure to seal up any holes to deter bees from setting up a new nest in an existing location.

If you notice any carpenter bees on your property, contact A-1 Exterminators 800-525-4825 so we can help rectify the problem.

Spring Swarmer Termites

Spring and termites almost go hand in hand.  The swarms of termites are coming, whether we like it or not.  Thousands of winged termites are trying to find a new home and unfortunately your home looks welcoming.  These swarming termites are looking to build a new colony in your home.  Many times, homeowners don’t even know they have termites until this time of the year.  These termites may have been feasting on your home for years and the homeowners never even knew it.

Termite colonies start small, and when they find a good place to enjoy life, they grow. WorTermite Damage Infographickers gather food while the queen is laying eggs. Eventually, the colony needs more workers than the queen can produce.  In that case, the queen then makes a secondary reproductive line.  These are called “sub-queens” and they start laying eggs just like the queen, helping to increase the size of the colony.  The colony needs a good recourse of food, which is wood. Or aka, your home.  Termites take the wood and return to the colony to share the food.  As the colony grows, termites are keeping their species alive.  This is where the termite swarm comes in to play.  Only mature and established colonies can send out swarmers.

In order to start a new colony, termites have to have swarmers.  These swarmers, ensure that the species will live on.  Eastern Sub-Terranean termites are the type of termites we see here in the spring.  Once a colony reaches it limit of workers, the queen starts producing eggs that are her “swarmer” eggs.  While the queen is producing her swarmers, the worker termites are building a tunnel for the swarmers to get to the surface and fly.  Swarmers have wings and they fly, but minimally.  The only reason they can fly is to mate.  They have the hopes of meeting a mate and then digging into the ground to start a new colony.

When you see hundreds of swarmers near your home, don’t panic.  The ones you see are not the ones who are doing the damage to your home.  They are just a tell-tale sign that there is a colony nearby.  If you see these “swarmers” you will need to contact a professional to take care of the problem with a termite treatment plan.  Contact an A-1 Exterminator professional at 800-525-4825 to help rectify this situation.

Bed Bug History and Basics

Bed bugs have been a household pest issue for more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. It is believed that they were first brought to the United States by early colonists. However, by the 1950′s, bed bugs had been wiped off the radar, thanks to new pest control products which help to control the spread of infestations in living spaces.

Several factors led to the rise in bed bug infestations in the late 1990′s.  International travel, more targeted pest control products and the lack of public awareness about bed bugs has unfortunately been a factor in the increase.

Below are the top five findings from the 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey:

1. Nearly all (99.6 percent) pest professionals have treated bed bugs in the past year, slightly higher than the 99 percent that reported the same in 2011.

2. The majority of bed bug infestations occur in residential settings, such as apartments/condominiums and single-family homes, with 98 percent and 96 percent of respondents treating these dwellings respectively. Two years ago, about nine out of ten respondents reported treating infestations in these settings.

3. As in previous years, survey respondents continue to treat for bed bugs in a variety of places outside private residences, such as college dorms, hotels, nursing homes, offices, schools and daycare centers, hospitals, public transportation and others:

  • Hotels/motels – 75 percent (80 percent in 2011)
  • College dorms – 47 percent (54 percent in 2011)
  • Nursing homes – 46 percent (46 percent in 2011)
  • Office buildings – 36 percent (38 percent in 2011)
  • Schools and day care centers – 41 percent (36 percent in 2011)
  • Hospitals – 33 percent (31 percent in 2011)
  • Transportation (train/bus/taxi) – 21 percent (18 percent in 2011)
  • Movie theaters – 10 percent  (17 percent in 2011)
  • Retail stores – 15 percent (21 percent in 2011)
  • Libraries – 12 percent (8 percent in 2011)
  • Restaurants – 7 percent (6 percent in 2011)
  • Airplanes – 2 percent (6 percent in 2011)
  • Laundromats – 9 percent (6 percent in 2011)

NOTE: Percentages denote professionals reporting treating bed bugs in specific locations.

4. Clutter contributes to the problem as approximately two-thirds of respondents point to homeowner clutter as the biggest customer-oriented challenge in treating bed bugs, while 58 percent say customers not following advice and 16 percent point to re-infestation. Bed bugs continue to be the most difficult pest to treat according the 76 percent of respondents.

5. Although not a seasonal pest, prime bed bug time appears to be during the summer months with nearly half (49 percent) of respondents saying infestations occur most often then and least often in the winter. While pest professionals are divided over whether there is “peak season” for bed bugs, more than half of those who notice a seasonal difference receive more calls during summer. Since people tend to travel and relocate more during the summer months, it is possible that a greater number of people unknowingly transport the bugs back home from their travels, or discover them soon after moving.

Article source: Pest World

You Will Be Surprised What Termites Can Do

Termite-adThe sun is finally out and you want to get outside every minute you can.  While you’re trying to get outside, Termites are trying to do everything they can to get into your house.  Termites want sneak their way into your home to get to the walls and floors.

Termites have a big appetite for cellulose found in wood.  They will eat 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Termites can cause serious and costly damage and compromise the structural stability of your home. Homeowners should have their houses expected annually.

In the early spring, swarmer termites may start to appear.  They are winged termites looking for a place to set up a new colony. Some people mistake these swarmer termites for flying ants.  It’s important not to mistake these two pests, as the termites can quickly create an infestation and cause structural damage to your home.

It is estimated that termites cause at least $5 billion in property losses each year in the United States alone.  Having termite damage can significantly reduce the property value of your home.

Termite season usually begins in early March and lasts through June. Here are a few tips to try to prevent a termite infestation.

  • Inspect the perimeter of a home for rotting wood, mud tubes or a visible termite presence. Pay particular attention to doors and windowsills.
  • Avoid water near a home’s foundation by diverting water away with downspouts and gutters.
  • Never bury wood scraps in the yard. If you just built your home, remove any remaining grade stakes or tree stumps on your property.
  • Maintain a one-inch space between soil and wood sections of a building.
  • Keep mulch at least 15 inches from your homes foundation.
  • Do not stack firewood or lumber near home, and inspect it carefully before bringing indoors.

If you suspect you have an infestation, contact A-1 Exterminators at 800-525-4825 to come and inspect your property.