The 1954 film Them! is considered a classic in the science-fiction genre — a masterpiece that was one of the very first films to use "big bugs" as the antagonists. In the movie, carpenter ants in the New Mexico desert are exposed to radiation and mutate into giant terrors that begin to wander the country in order to make new nests.
Of course, it is easy to dismiss this as just silly Hollywood drivel, and in many ways it is. However, as is generally the case, the film did evolve from some kernels of truth. The reality is that carpenter ants' quests to establish nests can turn out to be very problematic for humans, especially our homes. Luckily, we are here to provide some answers and some solutions.
Image via Flickr by treegrow
On the surface, it may seem obvious that if you see ants in your home or business, then you can assume they are building nests somewhere within. However, this assumption does not always hold true. Sometimes ants can be seen in a building even when they have not created a nest there. Carpenter ants are known to search for food far away from their nests, and they can enter a building through attic vents, foundations, holes for pipes or wires, and cracks around windows or doors. They can also burrow through wood — especially wood that is damaged.
On the other hand, carpenter ant colonies often reside in a building for many years completely unbeknownst to the human occupants. The ants may simply search for food outside the building and may be using an entrance/exit path that is not very visible to humans.
Since looking for ants in your home is not always a clear way of knowing if there is a nest, here are a few other tips for finding an ant nest:
As you can probably imagine, carpenter ants can cause a pretty severe amount of damage to a home. As burrow within the walls of your home, they compromise the integrity of the wood, which can lead to costly repairs. The number and size of the carpenter ant nests will determine how significant the damage is and how quickly it spreads.
If the ants begin to enter the building, they may also bite humans. Since carpenter ants are large, their bites can break the skin. The insect may also spray a chemical that irritates the skin and adds to the pain of the bite.
For these reasons, you want to get rid of carpenter ant nests as soon as possible. Since these infestations are challenging to eradicate, if you suspect one in your home or business, you should call a pest control professional.
Since carpenter ant nests can be hard to find, it may be wise to have your home checked out by a professional even if you are not sure whether or not you have a problem. Many companies will do a free home/business checkup, and some offer online quizzes to let you know your level of risk.
You can take several relatively easy steps to help ensure that carpenter ants make their nest outside of your home or business rather than within its walls. For instance:
Store any firewood or lumber away from your house.
Trim bushes and trees so that they are not touching the building and thus creating a perfect walkway right into your home/business.
Ensure there is no standing water in your home and quickly fix any leaks.
Block areas where ants like to enter. Seal any cracks, install door sweeps, and ensure windows are screened and properly installed.
Take away potential food sources by cleaning crumbs from counters, tables, and floors regularly. Also, be sure to store food in airtight containers.
Carpenter ants may seem relatively harmless because they are so common and because they are such fascinating and intelligent creatures. However, they are capable of producing significant damage to your home or business. Do what you can to prevent ants from entering your home in the first place, and if you do discover a nest, contact a pest control specialist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your terror upon seeing your home repair bill could be even greater than what you might experience if you happen to come across any of those irradiated ants from the sci-fi movies.More >>
Image via Flickr by Derek Keats
Like all winged insects, termites and flying ants have four wings. Both winged termites and flying ants swarm when they are mating, and they typically mate around the same time of year. Once they have mated, both species shed their wings, adding more confusion as to which creature you are observing.
Termites are insects that are strongly attracted to wood, especially rotting wood, as a food source. However, their diet is more varied than most people know. The primary element that termites crave is cellulose. Cellulose is plentiful in the fibers of many different plants, but very few creatures on Earth have the ability to break down cellulose. Termites are one of these creatures. They contain cellulase, an enzyme that is required to breakdown cellulose into a reusable form.
One benefit to the environment that some scientists attribute to termites is that they reduce the chance of forest fires. Termites consume the rotting material of fallen trees, thus decreasing the required fuel for fires. By clearing such debris from the forest floor, termites also contribute to the improved flow of oxygen.
Termites typically get the nutrients they need from trees, plants, shrubs, and grass, but they will also eat plastic, paper, and drywall. This can cause damage to your home structurally and cosmetically. Termites have been known to cause so much damage to the structure of buildings that the buildings had to be condemned until the damage was repaired. As you can see, termites pose a severe threat to your welfare when they are eating your home for dinner.
Ants are, in a sense, nature's clean-up crew and contribute to the process of decomposition by eating organic matter, dead insects, dead animals and other materials that litter the forest floor. Ants that burrow into the ground help to turn the soil and create fertile topsoil. So when left to their own devices within their natural habitats, ants can be a positive force for the ecosystem.
Flying ants can be a little more tricky to deal with than termites, as multiple species of ants have wings when they are mating. So not only will you have to figure out if you are dealing with ants or termites, but you will also have to discover which species of ant you will have to defend against. Once you have determined that to indeed have a swarm of ants in your home, then you can start the process of treating for ants.
The damage that can be caused by ants who are nesting inside is different depending on the species of the ants. Pretty much all ants can spread bacteria or even pathogens into your home, so you could be at risk of contracting some nasty illnesses. For example, carpenter ants can spread sickness in a house but can also cause unsightly cosmetic damage along with structural damage very similar to that of termites.
Image via Flickr by -JvL-
Identifying termites vs. flying ants can be fairly straightforward when you know the differences. From a distance, you might not be able to tell which one is swarming, but up close, you will be able to distinguish between the two.
The physical characteristics of termites vs. flying ants are noticeable to someone who knows what to look for. Though termites can be similar in size to certain species of ants, when observed up close, they have very distinguishable characteristics. A termite's wings are generally longer than its body and are rounded on the ends. Their wings are also of equal length on either side of their bodies. Termites do not have a pinched waist, and their antennae are straight. When they are mating, you typically will not see termites without wings mingling with termites that have wings.
A flying ant's wings are uneven in length and are more pointed on the ends. Flying ants also have the typical pinched waste that all ants have, and their antennae have a visible elbow and are not straight. When flying ants swarm, you can often observe wingless ants amid the swarm of the flying ants. Carpenter ants are the most common ant species to be mistaken for termites due to them living inside of homes and causing damage similar to what termites cause.
When a swarm is found inside, it is suggested that you hire a professional pest control agency to identify the pest and to implement a plan to eradicate the threat and prevent future invasions.
If you find that you have a swarm of flying ants in your home, you most likely are dealing with an infestation of carpenter ants. The elimination of carpenter ants can be very complex, especially when you aren't able to directly access the nest. You can use the following methods to get rid of and prevent flying ants:
Toxic ant bait.
Boric acid bait.
Dust that is laced with toxic chemicals.
Natural dust, such as diatomaceous earth.
The best way to manage ants or any pests that could invade your home is to take the appropriate preventative measures to deter them from entering your home in the first place. Keeping your house clean, repairing water leaks, sealing off cracks, keeping all food sources securely stored, and trimming any landscaping plants away from the exterior of your home can help prevent pests from trespassing where they don't belong. Now you know how to identify termites vs. flying ants, you will be better prepared to protect your home and your family.More >>
The roach was meant for dinner, the spider ended up on the plate.
Have you ever seen a cockroach vs a spider and win? We here at Bulwark Exterminating had never seen this before nor can we find a single search result for "Roach eats spider". Sure we know cockroaches will eat anything, including roaches, ants, and spiders. But to see the twist of fate where to roach was to be the spider's dinner, the spider miss his meal, only to be eaten by his dinner days later. And to catch some of the live action as the story unfolded, we were shocked. We are still shocked.
"Well" we thought, "Well, well, well... now THIS is NEW. Roach David beats the goliath spider."
I went to feed our spider a roach. I was videoing. What happened surprised me. The spider missed it's prey and in the process webbed his own feet. Huntsmen spiders are considered to be accurate hunters with above 90% success. What's was even more shocking was a week after the spider was dead in cage, apparently it starved. And then I noticed something odd. The spiders face was missing. The next day it's body. The roach was eating the spider!! Cockroach vs Spider and the cockroach wins! We have named Mr. Oriental Cockroach, David. Sleep well David, and may you ever LIVE SPIDER FREE.
Walking through the front doors of CrossFit Mesa in Arizona, one theme becomes very apparent with this gym… Patriotism.
Amongst the smell of sweat and the sounds of barbells being dropped on the ground; a giant US flag overlooks the gym, surrounded by other flags representing each and every branch of the military.
CrossFit Mesa owners Craig Shumway and AJ Richards, who also happen to be employees of Bulwark Exterminating, have added a patriotic memorial in the front of their gym. A Legacy Desk adorns the gym’s entryway; paying tribute to so many that have lost their lives serving our Country.
The Crossfit Mesa family has found an incredible and humbling way to pay tribute to all those heroes who have so nobly and honorably paid the ultimate sacrifice; losing their lives in Operation Enduring Freedom.
A Legacy Desk has been unveiled inside the CrossFit Mesa gym; with steel caging holding some 6,954 rocks. Each rock has a name written on it; all the names of? each ?soldier, ?marine, ?airman, ?sailor and American warrior killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom. The rocks have been carefully placed inside the desk framing for all to see.
Additional rocks have been added to remember some of our brothers and sisters who have chosen to end their life early due to the invisible wounds of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
May their memories and sacrifice live on as legends of our time.
Included in the Legacy Desk’s almost 7000 symbolic rocks, is a rock for Pat Tillman. Tillman was an Army ranger who left a lucrative professional football career to serve his Country in Iraq and Afghanistan. As an Arizona State alum and football player, as well as an Arizona Cardinals football player, Tillman is held in extremely high regard in the state of Arizona especially. Tillman lost his life while serving his country. His rock is very visible at the front of the desk upon viewing.
The Legacy Desk is the brain-child of CrossFit Mesa co-owner AJ Richards, who served a couple tours ofIraqhimself; losing fellow brothers and sisters in arms in which he knew personally. The desk itself is built by CrossFit Mesa member Dustin Bradford, who put many hours of labor into it making it.
The Legacy Desk was unveiled on Memorial Day 2015, with over 100 CrossFit members along with their friends and family people on-hand to see it up close. Following the desk’s introduction, all those in attendance participated in the Murph Hero WOD, which entails 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats sandwiched between two one mile runs. The workout is done every year in memory of veterans who have given their life.
While CrossFit Mesa’s Legacy Desk solemnly and symbolically expresses all the lives lost in battle during Operation Enduring Freedom, it also symbolically expresses some of our brothers and sisters who have chosen to end their life early due to the invisible wounds of PTSD; as over 50 rocks have been added by members of the gym by those who have lost loved ones due to the affects of PTSD.
CrossFit Mesa founder AJ Richards has been very candid about his struggles with PTSD; as a nIraq war Veteran encountering a Tannerite bomb. AJ works to raise public awareness about the impacts of PTSD.
According to the 2012 Suicide Data Report, the VA estimates that 22 veterans a day have committed suicide from 1999 to 2011. This is a deeply troubling statistic and has galvanized a veteran movement to raise public awareness about PTSD.
CrossFit Mesa is currently adding more names and rocks to the Legacy Desks through social media submissions. If you are interested in adding a rock to the Legacy Desk in honor of someone you love, Tweet them at @CrossFitMesa or visit their Facebook page.
All of us here at Bulwark Exterminating believe that this Legacy Desk memorial has given authentic meaning to all the men and women which paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
We are truly indebted to all those service men and women who have put their lives on the line to help protect our freedom, liberties, and these United States.
We live in the greatest country in the world; the land of the free because of the brave. Only real heroes can do what you do.
To all those who serve our country, THANK YOU for your unselfish efforts! We salute you!
May all who are connected to the names on the desk’s rocks have peace.
If you’d like to see the Legacy Desk memorial for yourself, visit CrossFit Mesa:
5950 E Brown Rd
Mesa, AZ 85205
(480) 544-2446More >>
We all know how disgusting and traumatic bed bugs can be. They cause anxiety, panic and can be extremely difficult to get rid of. They seem to infect every corner of the Earth and love a good trip. The key to never getting bed bugs is understanding how to search, identify and prevent them. This bed bug prevention guide provided by Bed Bug Force NYC illustrates some of the basic precautions to take when traveling and how to handle your luggage upon arrival at hotels and when you're coming home.
Obviously, to be able to prevent bed bugs you need to know what they look like and how to identify them. The main ways to identify if there is a bed bug problem is by looking around the bed and mattress seams for black specks that seem to resemble pepper flakes. These are bed bug feces and are a sure sign that there is a bed bug presence. Bed bugs themselves are rather flat with a slight elliptical shape to them with a reddish-brown color. They are usually no bigger than an apple seed in size.
There are some basic things you should do before embarking on your trip like:
Pack a flashlight - You'll need one to inspect for bed bugs in your hotel room and around the bed where you plan on sleeping.
Use a hardshell or collapsible suitcase - Hardshells usually are easy to clean and don't have seams where bed bugs can hide. If a hard-shell isn't possible than a collapsible type suitcase is another option as these can be washed easily upon arriving home.
Bring a plastic bag (optional) - If you want to be extra careful, bring a large garbage bag to put your suitcase in during your trip. This will make it even more difficult for bed bugs to get into your luggage.
Read reviews carefully - Of course doing your due diligence on any place you plan on staying in is paramount. Any reviews that mention bed bugs should be taken seriously. Avoid any place with reviews mentioning bed bugs at any point during the establishment's history, even if the review is old.
Upon arriving at your hotel, hostel or wherever you're staying immediately put your luggage in a bathroom during the inspection process. Bathrooms are much safer to store your luggage in since they are usually full of slippery surfaces and tiles that bed bugs do not like. This will give you some time to inspect your room thoroughly before bringing your luggage into the actual hotel room main area.
You'll want to be as thorough as possible with your inspection of your room. Areas you'll want to check are:
Once you've determined that room is clear, you can bring your luggage out from the bathroom into your room. Even though you may think that you are clear if you didn't see anything during your inspection, you still want to be careful. Keep all of your luggage off of the floors, preferably on a desk or table that can't easily be climbed up on from the ground.
Bed bugs are hitchhikers and they love to travel. That means that they can also end up in rental cars and get into any items you may have stored in the trunk or inside the car. After picking up your rental, do a quick sweep of the trunk, inside and tire areas to ensure there are no bed bugs hiding out in the rental. Check under spare tires as well for any remnants of past or present bed bug infestations.
Never assume that you came home bed-bug free. It's always best to assume that you DID come home with bed bugs and get in the habit of handling your items as such upon arriving home. Some basic things to do when you're coming home from your trip include:
Wash all your clothing in hot water. Even the clothing you didn't wear. - If any bed bugs slipped in during any point of your trip, they will be killed during the wash.
Before bringing your luggage into your home, do a thorough inspection outside with a flashlight and a keen eye. The last thing you want to do is bring a single bed bug into your home from not checking your luggage thoroughly. You'll want to inspect all necessary parts of your suitcase where bed bugs may be hiding such as:
After following these basic steps and educating yourself on how to identify bed bugs and prevent them, you'll be able to travel the world and have peace of mind knowing that your chances of bringing bed bugs home with you are very slim. Staying alert and being diligent in your efforts will ensure you have many safe travels that are free of bed bugs. Check out the infographic below that helps illustrate the bed bug prevention process. And of course for any bed bug related situations be sure to talk to an expert at Bulwark Exterminating for possible bed bug treatment options.
Hows this for a crazy vacation idea… Work on a farm, stay for free!
Thousands of farms across the United States, and throughout the World, invite travelers to volunteer in exchange for a free place to stay… meal(s) included.
Participating in a farm stay or host farm program is an incredible way to not only see the world on a budget, but learn more about the rural farming world around you!
It’s not a bed and breakfast.
It’s not a luxury vacation at a five star resort.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a farm stay program in which travelers agree to put in a few hours of work on a host farm in exchange for accommodation. No money is ever exchanged in the transaction.
WWOOFers, as they are referred to, will spend around half a day learning about and working sustainable agriculture, leaving the remainder of the day free to see the local sights of the area.
Participants in the program must be at least 18 years or older, and purchase a valid membership that runs $40.00. Membership will give volunteers access to the 2069 farms currently participating in the WWOOF program.
If you are a traveler who is looking to see the country, and save some serious money in the process, then a farm stay vacation may be what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that your room and board on the farm is a two-way transaction. You will be required to put some time in on the farm; the amount being determined by each participating host farm. Typically, a half day of work is what most host farms require.
You may be asked to pick vegetables, work with animals, tend to honeybees, bail hay, irrigate crops, milk cows, or even make wine. Essentially, you’ll be doing farm chores. The type of work you do is entirely dependent on the host farm you elect to stay at and their particular needs at that time.
When selecting a host farm to stay and work at, it’s imperative that you look carefully though the information listed for each farm; and make sure to check with the owners beforehand exactly how much time each day you will be expected to contribute. Please keep in mind that staying at a host farm is considered compensation for the work you do, and no additional monetary compensation will be offered.
WWOOFing is a way to learn practical farming skills, be part of the organic agriculture movement, and experience the heart of American agrarian culture; all while getting a serious vacation discount. If you are looking to bring children along, it’s also a great way to teach them the value of hard work while still having some fun along the way.
There are currently 2069 farms participating in the farm stay program in the United States alone. If you have your heart set on vacationing somewhere in particular, chances are there is a participating farm near your desired destination. Here are just a few notable U.S. farm locales in which you can stay:
Unless you have a predetermined destination in mind for your farm excursion, the process of selecting among the 2069 farms that participate in the program can be pretty daunting. Fortunately, the WWOOF program lets interested party select farms based on their own specific criteria and desires. These include:
Duration of Visit. Stay at a farm for just one day, or long term. Most farms have opportunities that are only a week or two in duration, but there are some that let participants stay for one month, two or three months, or even longer.
Number of Visitors. How many people are you bringing with you? Some farms can accommodate large families or groups, other cannot.
Type of Farm. Choose among dairy, garden, vegetable, livestock, vineyard, orchard, and homestead farms. Consider the type of work you might be required to do; be it picking grapes or helping milk cows.
Food. Select from farms that feed you vegan, vegetarian or traditional cuisine. Most farms serve breakfast; the available other meals depend on how the farm operates.
Lodging. Are you interested in sleeping in bedroom in the farmers home, a separate structure all together, a tent, or an RV?
Pets and Kids. Some farms will not let you bring your rugrats, or Fido. Make sure you check before booking your farm excursion.
In addition to WWOOF, there are also a couple other programs that are participating in the farm stay program. Workaway.info and helpx.net are also sites that list host farms or farmstays that are looking for short-term volunteers in exchange for food and accommodation.
If you are the adventurous type who wants a first hand farm experience; someone who wants to be a part of something bigger in the organic agriculture movement; someone who likes to work hard and play hard, then the staying at a host farm while vacationing is for you. You can save some serious dough and see these United States, or even the World, for a lot less.
If you are the vacationer that wants to separate work from pleasure, and wants to refrain from getting your hands dirty while on vacation; staying at a host farm my not be in your best interest.
A few of us here at Bulwark Exterminating think this is an awesome opportunity; so much so that we’re currently looking at a local farm here in Arizona that we’re going to do a one night stay at with our families. We’ll let you know how it goes!More >>
As a homeowner, a termite infestation is one of your biggest fears. If it’s not, it should be. Termites cause more damage to homes in the United States than fires and storms combined. Even a small colony of termites can severely compromise the integrity of a home in just a short amount of time.
At the first signs of a termite infestation, there are a few things that you should and shouldn’t do to limit the damage these destructive pests can do to your home.
As a homeowner, here’s what to DO and what NOT to do after you discover termites in your home:
At first sign of a termite infestation, it’s best you call a professional; and not just any professional. You want a licensed professional that has years of expertise dealing with these destructive pests. You want a company that offers excellent customer service, and can schedule inspections and services around your busy schedule. You want Bulwark Exterminating and our professional termite solution.
Your home is one of your biggest investments. Don’t leave its protection to just anybody. Leave it to the preferred termite control professionals who are highly trained in all the leading termite pest control methods; the professionals that can provide all the best pest control options including baits, liquid baits, liquids, and monitoring stations.
Call Bulwark Exterminating for your termite solution today!More >>