Bug Archives: Residential Pest Control

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.

 

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.

Cockroaches May Help Explain Asthma Outbreaks

A new study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that finds that higher exposure to cockroach dust may explain why some New York City children have asthma while others, who grow up just blocks away, do not.

The researchers collected dust — containing cockroach, mouse and cat allergens — from the upper half of the beds of 239 children, 7 or 8 years old, all from middle-income families in households widely scattered across the city, though not in the most affluent areas.

They found that children in high-asthma neighborhoods were more likely to have been exposed to cockroaches than those in low-asthma neighborhoods, and twice as likely to be allergic to them (23.7 percent vs. 10.8 percent).

Other studies have shown a link between cockroach exposure and asthma. But the Columbia study, published online in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, is the first to show that children in high-asthma neighborhoods have been more exposed to cockroaches than those in adjacent low-asthma neighborhoods.

The study may help explain why the prevalence of asthma among children entering school varies greatly by neighborhood, from 3 percent in Flushing, Queens, to almost 19 percent, in East Harlem. Levels of mouse and cat allergens were also higher in the homes of high-asthma neighborhoods, but did not seem to have the same effect.

Dr. Perzanowski, the senior author of the article in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, said this could be because children were exposed to mice in other places besides the home, like schools and subways. For cats, he said, “I think the jury is still out,” but there is some evidence that exposure to cats could actually protect people from developing asthma.

Good housekeeping could help combat asthma, though it is of course harder to control cockroaches if your neighbors are not cooperating. Use the obvious antidotes: vacuuming, sealing up cracks, not leaving food out, and washing the bed sheets in hot water.

Article written by: Anemona Hartocollis

Killer Hornets in China

Chinese officials are fighting back against giant hornets which have killed 42 people and left 1,600 injured. In China’s northern Shaanxi province, whole cities have been terrorized by the world’s largest hornet.  This hornet has started attacking people. Now government officials have started fighting fire with fire – literally – by burning and gassing the thumb-sized bugs out of their hives.

Workers wearing protective clothing have moved in to eradicate the nightmare insects before any more people are injured. Horrific pictures have emerged of wounds the size of bullet holes left in the arms of victims after being stung.

hornet

Over the past three months the cities of Angkang, Hanzhong and Shangluo have been worst affected. Experts have suggested the high number of attacks this year could caused by a growth in habitat or unusually warm weather making the hornets more agitated.

Victims say these hornets can chase people for up to 600ft after attacking. The poison in the stings can lead to anaphylactic shock and kidney failure when receiving at high doses.  Until government specialists arrived, locals have been trying to tackle the wasps themselves. The aggressive animals will feed on honeybees, severing their heads, wings and legs before carrying the body back to their young. 

Attacks on humans are rare and specialists are unable to fully explain why this year has seen so many cases. Theories include increased plant growth boosting the number of the insects, and unusually warm weather making the creatures more disturbed.

September and October is the breeding season for the big bugs, meaning now is when they are most active. These insects are an aggressive and predatory animal, however, and will send out scouts to look for honeybee hives for them to colonize. When one is found, the scout will leave a pheromone trail, which other hornets will then follow, before using their jaws to decapitate the bees. After slaughtering thousands of the much smaller creatures, the hornets will then take over the nest for themselves. The hornets use their powerful sting, jaws, and superior size to kill up to 30,000 bees in a couple of hours.

The species has already spread to France and fears are growing that giant Asian hornets are headed for Britain. The thumb-sized insects have been attacking people and experts struggle to explain why. The deadly species are four times the size of British honeybees and have been known to wipe out entire hives as they look to claim the nest as their own.

The dark invaders with yellow feet are thought to have arrived in France in a delivery of Chinese pottery from the Far East in late 2004.

Article Source: The Daily Mail, written by Chris Pleasance

Earwigs – Summer Pests

Earwigs
Earwigs are a member of the phylum Arthropoda and are a type of insect. The earwig is native to Eurasia but were found in America and Europe in the 1900′s and have been considered an invasive pest ever since, both because of earwig bites and for their ruining domestic plants.

Earwigs are active at night. During the day they hide in cracks in damp areas. They live under rocks and logs and in mulch in flower beds. Earwigs eat plants and insects.  Outdoors, earwigs spend the winter in small burrows in the ground. In spring the female lays eggs in the burrow.

Earwigs are attracted to light. They can become a nuisance on while you are out on your porch or patio on a summer night. In the morning hours, they will be hide under things like cushions and things that were Earwigleft outside overnight.

Earwigs move into homes to find food or because of a change in weather.

Both male and female earwigs have forceps. Male earwigs have curved forceps while females have straight forceps.

When disturbed earwigs may let off a foul smelling liquid as a self defense mechanism. However, if further threatened, earwigs bite, or more accurately “pinch” with the forceps on their tail ends.

How to take care of an earwig bite
An earwig bite is actually a pinch from the forceps which both males and females possess.

When an earwig bites, there is not poison exuded so there is no danger from an earwig bite. However the forceps of the earwig can be quite strong and an earwig bite may be quite painful and may even cause some bleeding.

The primary risk resulting from an earwig bite is a risk of infection. Carefully wash and disinfect the site of your earwig bite. If your earwig bite was administered by a male earwig one of the curved forceps may have broken off underneath your skin (especially if you stepped on it) so be sure to examine the site of the wound for any foreign material.

Preventing Earwig bites
The best way to avoid earwig bites is to keep earwigs out of your living areas. Earwigs rarely colonize indoors and usually only come inside at night when they are active and it is cold outside. The best way to keep them outside and avoid getting earwig bites is to make sure that all your doors and windows are shut at night and properly sealed as earwigs can crawl through very small spaces.