Harvester ants are a large type of ant that creates massive outdoor nests that are hard to ignore. If you approach them, they're likely to respond aggressively. This is not a species that you want on your property. Learn more about how to identify harvester ants and what to do if they take up residence in your yard.

What Are Harvester Ants?

Image via Flickr by jared

Harvester ants are a broad category of ant that contains many individual species. These ants get their name from their habit of harvesting seeds for food. They prefer to stick to a very limited diet, consuming only one type of food until that food source is depleted. They will travel as far as 31 miles from their nests to find their preferred food source. In addition to seeds, these ants can also eat grasses and dead insects.

It's unlikely that harvester ants will find a food source inside your home, so they're not a major concern within dwellings. However, harvester ants are a major nuisance when they build nests in the yard. If you have these ants around, you'll want to contact a pest control specialist to take care of them.

What Do Harvester Ants Look Like?

Harvester ants are between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch in length. They can be red, orange, or dark brown. They have two segments. Most harvester ant species have a pair of spines on top of the body, and some have long hairs on the head that give them the appearance of a beard.

Where Do Harvester Ants Live?

There are 22 species of harvester ants in the United States. Most harvester ants live west of the Mississippi river. The sole exception is the Florida harvester ant. Harvester ants create large nests with wide mounds that are cleared of vegetation around the opening. Their galleries can go nearly 20 feet deep. Harvester ants are common in the desert, so many such nests go undisturbed and never come into contact with humans.

A harvester ant colony can contain between 10,000 and 20,000 ants. In the summer, these ants emerge from their nests in mating swarms. They typically take to the air after big rains. The swarms congregate around tall structures in the area, such as chimneys, farmhouses, or buildings. The males die within 24 hours of mating, while the females will move on to establish nests of their own. Queens that are successful in establishing colonies may live 10 years or more.

Problems With Harvester Ants

One of the biggest problems with harvester ants is their sting. It's very painful to get stung by a harvester ant. The “King of Sting” Justin Schmidt rated the harvester ant's sting a three out of four on his pain index, making it more painful than a hornet. A researcher studying the ants found that one got into his shoe. Describing the sting, he said it “felt like a large screw being driven in slowly for the next several hours.”

These insects are particularly dangerous to individuals who have allergic reactions to them. Allergic reactions are more common in children than adults. Signs of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing and swelling of the lips or face.

Harvester ants can sting multiple times, so it's important to get them off of you and move away from the nest as soon as possible if you get stung. A cool compress and pain relievers will help with most stings. However, if you have a serious reaction, you should see a healthcare professional right away.

Harvester ants are a nuisance on lawns because they will create large barren spots around their mounds. These may span as much as 30 feet in diameter. They usually nest outdoors and will rarely come into the house. However, this is not an insect that you want to allow anywhere near your home, including your yard. If you have a harvester ant nest on your property, it's best to turn to a pest control professional to help you get rid of the problem.

Pest Control Solutions for Harvester Ants

As with most ants, bait is the most successful option for getting rid of harvester ants. However, it's crucial that you choose the right bait for the job. A sweet bait that attracts other types of ants won't have the same appeal for this species. It's best to work with a pest control professional. Since harvester ants are aggressive when disturbed, you don't want to approach the nest on your own, or you could suffer painful stings as a result.

An experienced exterminator will help you identify the species of harvester ant that you're dealing with. This individual will then work with you to develop a personalized plan to get rid of the nest on your property, so you can enjoy your yard safely again.

Other Harvester Ant Facts

Harvester ants have a long history with humans. Though their desert nests have often gone undiscovered and undisturbed, it's clear that this is a species people have interacted with for a long time. Check out these interesting facts about harvester ants.

They Have a Rich Mythology

Harvester ants figure into the mythology of ancient peoples. The Navajos called these “big pinching ants.” They believed that these ants should not be disturbed. If a harvester ant nest was disrupted, the Navajos had an elaborate ritual they would use to placate the insects.

They've Been Used in Children's Products

Uncle Milton's Ant Farm, a novelty toy for kids, used harvester ants to populate the contained farm. In fact, the red harvester ant is regularly recommended as the best species for ant farms. These ants are chosen for their large size and lengthy life span. They're easy to observe in the right conditions. However, these ants can present a danger due to their aggressive nature and painful stings.

If you're concerned about how to get rid of harvester ants, reach out to our exterminators today. We can help you come up with an effective solution for handling this problematic infestation.


Collectively, ants outnumber all other species on Earth, yet they do more good than harm. Ants are nature's cleaning crew as they contribute to the process of decomposition by feeding on organic waste, dead animals, and other insects. They also work to aerate the ground and till the soil, fertilizing and creating fertile topsoil. When in their natural habitat the work they do is of the utmost importance but its when they invade your property, garden, or home that they become a pest that needs to be controlled.

What Are Carpenter Ants?

Image via Flickr by treegrow

Some of the largest ants located in the United States are carpenter ants. As their name suggests, they make their nests in wood. This can be in a healthy tree, a rotting tree trunk that has fallen, or even in the wood of your home. They have powerful mandibles that they use to tear apart the wood to build their elaborate nests.

Carpenter ants create colonies that can contain up to 50,000 individuals. Most colonies have a single wingless queen. A mature colony that is over two years old will produce swarmer ants that have wings and are released to form new colonies. These swarmer ants will appear between May and June in the eastern United States and between February and June in the west.

Carpenter ants will typically forage for food and water within a 300-foot radius from their nest. In their natural environment, they feed on plant and fruit juices, insect honeydew, insects, and other arthropods. When they are foraging in your home, they will feed on grease, meats, sweets, eggs, and cakes. Once carpenter ants create a nest in your home, they can wreak havoc and are very difficult to eliminate.

What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

In the United States, carpenter ants are in the heavyweight class. They are large and aggressive, and devastation follows them when they take up residence in your home. They can grow to be up to half an inch in length. Their coloration varies depending on the carpenter ant species and can be light brown, dark brown, red, jet-black, yellow, red and black, yellowish tan, black, or orange. Their worker ants have large and strong mandibles used for tunneling in wood.

Identifiers that are unique to carpenter ants are their rounded thorax, a circle of hairs around their anus, and a heart-shaped head. Swarmer carpenter ants have wings and are released by a mature colony to go start new colonies. More often than not, carpenter ants can be identified by their destructive tendencies when it comes to wood.

Where Do Carpenter Ants Live?

Carpenter ants are scattered throughout the United States. They are very resourceful and will nest in numerous wood sources like rotting fence posts, tree stumps, old firewood, inside the wood of a home, etc. Any type of wood — from trees to manmade structures — is subject to being infested by carpenter ants, and once they have invaded, they are tough to eradicate. Carpenter ant nests come in two forms: the parent colonies and the satellite colonies. The parent nest houses the queen, the workers, and their young. The satellite nests consist of mature larvae, pupae, and workers.

Carpenter ants will target a home that has water-damaged wood and will enter the house through this access point. They will tunnel into the center of the wood and destroy it from the inside out. If carpenter ants manage to stay under your radar, they can make your home structurally unsound and do significant cosmetic damage. Because carpenter ants can pose such a great threat to your home and your family, enlisting a professional pest control agency to deal with them is best in most cases.

Food sources in your home that will attract carpenter ants are grease, meats, sweets, eggs, and cakes. You should always be sure that your house is clean from food and other debris on the floors, counters, and tables. Potential food sources for ants should be put away and protected to prevent bacterial contamination.

Can Carpenter Ants Destroy Your Home?

Carpenter ants can and will destroy your home from the inside out. They will usually enter your house through damp or water-damaged wood, so you must keep your house in good repair. Fortunately, signs of an infestation are pretty straightforward as long as you know what to look for and what to listen for.

One visible sign is the waste material carpenter ants create, which consists of sawdust-like material mixed with the body parts of dead ants, called frass. Another thing to look for will be the unsightly cosmetic damage that will eventually present itself. Cosmetic damage usually comes later in the process and indicates that the ants have already established a thriving nest.

The other way you can detect these pests in your home is by the sound of them rustling around as they continue to tunnel and increase the size of their nests. Though they don't present an immediate threat to humans, they will bite if disturbed. Carpenter ant bites are very painful due to the ants' large mandibles and can even break the skin. Carpenter ants also inject formic acid into the bite, which makes the wound feel like it's burning, but these bites are not dangerous. The main threat these ants pose is the destruction of your house.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Getting rid of carpenter ants can be a difficult task. Do-it-yourself methods you can try include the following:

  • The toxic bait method.
  • Direct dusting:
    • Diatomaceous earth is a nontoxic dust that kills carpenter ants.
    • Chemical-laced dust can also be used but contains toxins.
  • Boric acid bait.

You can also take preventative measures to prevent carpenter ant infestations:

  • Cleaning your house.
  • Sealing off cracks.
  • Repairing any water leaks.
  • Putting away food sources.
  • Removing natural debris near the outside of your home that could harbor ants.

Carpenter ants play a significant role in the decomposition of rotting wood, helping to clean fallen debris from the ground. They're also a vital food source for different types of animals. However, with the positives come negatives, and if you have ever experienced a carpenter ant infestation, you know what those negatives are. It is always worth the time it takes to implement preventative measures to deter these pests from invading your home.

Argentine ants have invaded countries around the world, setting up massive aggressive nests that displace other creatures living in the area. If you have Argentine ants near your home, you're likely to see signs of their expansive nests.

What Are Argentine Ants?

Argentine ants are native to Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil. However, this invasive specieshas since made its way to the United States, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Europe, and New Zealand. It's believed that coffee and sugar ships from Brazil and Argentina first introduced these ants to the U.S. in the 1890s. Known for their massive nests, Argentine ants are a major pest that you want to keep out of your home.

Image via Flickr by S. Rae

What Do Argentine Ants Look Like?

Argentine ants are roughly two to three millimeters long and range from light to dark brown. Their distinguishing characteristics are impossible to see with the naked eye due to their tiny size. However, if you examined an Argentine ant up close, you would find that they have antennae that are divided into 12 segments, a smooth body surface, and low-set eyes below the widest portion of their heads.

The easiest way to identify Argentine ants without a microscope is by the wide ant trails they will leave, which are typically three to five ants wide. When you trace these back to the colony, you'll find a huge number of ants. These colonies contain multiple queens, which may number in the hundreds. For every 15 queens, there are approximately 1,000 worker ants. An established Argentine ant colony is difficult to miss.

Another way you might identify Argentine ants is by the smell. When they are crushed, these ants emit a musty odor. Though you may not make the connection at first, the musty smell around your home could be a sign of an ant infestation.

Where Do Argentine Ants Live?

In the United States, Argentine ants are most commonly found in the southern part of the country as well as California and Hawaii. Less commonly, infestations have been found in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Maryland, and Arizona.

Argentine ants prefer to nest outside beneath mulch, branches, wood, or debris. They create shallow nests, with mounds that are just one or two inches deep. If the conditions outside are too dry or cold, these ants will begin seeking shelter indoors. Here, they will look for a moist area that provides a water source. You may find them near water pipes or sinks. Their colonies can number in the millions, so these ants won't go undetected for long.

Problems With Argentine Ants

The primary problem with Argentine ants is their tendency to contaminate food. These ants travel over waste and decaying materials and will bring hazardous contaminants with them wherever they go. If their path brings them into your kitchen, you will have to throw away any food products that these ants get into.

Argentine ants prefer sweet food sources over savory ones. They're often found tending aphids for their honeydew. They will seek out any sugary foods that you've left out in the home. Protein and greasy foods can attract these ants as well. They will take these types of food back to the colony for the larvae and queens to feed on.

These ants don't infest homes as often as other ant species, but they may still travel into your home in great numbers seeking food, even if their nest is established outside. Highly aggressive, Argentine ants will displace any other ant species living in the area. They've also been known to destroy beehives, kill termites, and attack chickens. These invaders are an unwanted presence near any home.

Pest Control Solutions for Argentine Ants

If you're wondering how to get rid of Argentine ants, the best way is to eliminate the infestation with bait. These ants transfer food from mouth to mouth, so poisons will move quickly through the colony. Due to the sheer size of most Argentine ant colonies, it's best to leave the extermination of these pests to a professional. Don't attempt to get rid of an Argentine ant colony yourself. If the ants are only moderately disturbed, they will relocate promptly.

An Argentine ant colony can span entire blocks. Rather than swarming and setting up new nests, as most ants do, this species will mate in the nest and simply expand their existing network. You may find several interconnected nests branching off of the original colony. A knowledgeable pest control professional with the right tools can help you locate the whole Argentine ant colony and come up with a well-rounded plan for eradicating them.

Other Argentine Ant Facts

Argentine ants are invaders in many of the countries where they're found. Destroying native insect populations, they can present a serious threat. There are some intriguing facts that you may want to know about Argentine ants.

They're Highly Efficient

Most ants create a pheromone trail leading back from food sources, so other ants can find their way. Argentine ants leave trails in both directions. This ensures that other ants won't waste their time following an ant that's already scouting in a particular area, even if that ant hasn't returned yet. This behavior helps these ants forage as efficiently as possible.

They Spread in Summer

After mating, a queen can produce fertile eggs for up to 10 years. These ants can build their colonies quickly and spread very far from their original nest. It takes about two months for an Argentine ant to develop from an egg to an adult. In the summer, new queens often branch off from the original nest, expanding the overall network of interconnected nests.

If you believe that you have Argentine ants in your home, contact a pest control professional today. The sooner you act to exterminate this type of infestation, the better, as these ants will spread quickly.

If you have an ant infestation in your kitchen, little black ants are a common culprit. Learn more about these insects, so you'll know if this is what's invading your home.

What Are Little Black Ants?

Image via Flickr by dbgg1979

Little black ants are a common type of ant found in and around many American homes. If you see a trail of small dark-colored ants marching through your home, you likely have this species in the house. Learn more about little black ants so you can properly identify and exterminate them.

What Do Little Black Ants Look Like?

Little black ants are just as they sound. These tiny insects measure just 1/16 inch in length. They're usually jet-black, though they can appear in shades of dark brown as well. Little black ants have a shiny appearance when examined up close.

Where Do Little Black Ants Live?

You can find little black ants throughout the United States. They're most common in the eastern and southern regions of the country. These ants prefer wooded areas, but they will also nest beneath rocks, logs, lumber, and bricks in suburban areas. When they nest in the soil, you'll see a small crater of dirt around the opening.

As heat and humidity rise, little black ants will begin looking for a more comfortable place to nest. This is often inside your home. When they nest in the house, they will typically take up residence behind facades, under carpet, or in wall voids. Due to their small size, they may also live in masonry or woodwork.

Little black ant colonies can contain many queens, making it more difficult to wipe them out. It takes just 10 days for eggs from these ants to hatch. When the nest is disturbed, the colony will relocate.

Problems With Little Black Ants

Little black ants have a stinger, but it's so small that it's not effective against humans. The biggest problem with these insects is their ability to get into homes and their willingness to eat nearly anything they can find. These ants have strong jaws they can use to gather food. However, they can't chew with them. Instead, they will feed on the liquid. Little black ants prefer honeydew from insects like aphids and mealybugs. However, they do not discriminate. They're willing to consume most human foods.

One of the most obvious signs of an infestation is the telltale trail that little black ants will follow to their food source. If you see a visible line of ants marching through the home, you either have an infestation inside the home or somewhere outside that's very close by.

The best way to address an issue with little black ants is to seek help from an experienced exterminator. Since these ants have many queens and will readily relocate when bothered, you need to take a thorough approach to eradicate them from the home.

Pest Control Solutions for Little Black Ants

A knowledgeable exterminator can help you get rid of little black ants in the home. The first step is confirming the identity of these ants. Many ant species look similar, and you won't be successful exterminating the pests if you misidentify them. Each ant species has its own preferences with regard to food. It's important to cater to this so you can place ant bait that the insects in your home will happily consume.

Baiting is typically the best way to get rid of little black ants. The bait should be placed along the ants' foraging trail so they will find the food and take it back to the nest. Your exterminator will also help you identify points of entry that are allowing the ants into the home. We can look for ant amenities that you might be offering as well, like food and water sources you weren't aware of.

Deter little black ants from returning to your home by taking smart preventive measures. Keep firewood and lumber at least 20 feet from the house, so they're not encouraged to nest nearby. Make sure plants and shrubbery around the home are well-maintained and trimmed back. Inspect your home for gaps and cracks. Seal these with a silicone-based caulk for the best protection against these tiny pests.

Make sure all food in your kitchen is stored in sealed containers. Never leave scraps sitting out. Be mindful of where you keep your trash as well. Place outdoor trash cans away from the exterior of the home, and make sure they have tight-fitting lids.

Other Little Black Ants Facts

Little black ants are a nuisance pest. They don't do significant harm, but they are an annoying disturbance in your home. Outside the home, however, these ants can be a fascinating insect to observe. Little black ants are strong and hardy, making a home for themselves nearly anywhere they can find the resources they need to survive.

They're Very Strong

Like most ants, little black ants are able to carry very large objects in relation to their body size. A single ant can lift items up to 20 times its body weight.

They Stay Busy

Little black ants are active both during the day and the night. You can see the workers moving about at nearly any hour. During the night, as temperatures drop, they move eggs and larvae further underground.

Summer is Swarming Time

From June to August, you're likely to see small flying ants. These swarmers grow wings so they can leave the nest and seek mates. After mating, the females will break off to form new colonies. When you see swarming little black ants, it typically means a nearby colony has grown too large and is now splitting off into new colonies.

If you have little black ants in your home, working with an exterminator can provide a quick solution. We'll help you clear up the problem and take smart steps to prevent it from recurring again in the future.

If you've noticed a sickly sweet odor in your home, the source could be a troublesome pest known as the odorous house ant. These ants will invade in large numbers if they find that your home has the welcoming amenities they're after.

What Are Odorous House Ants?

As the name suggests, odorous house ants are an ant species best known for the smell that you'll notice when they're crushed. This is often described as a rotten coconut odor. Visible ants in the home are the most common sign that you have a problem with this species. If you only see workers in the house seeking food, the nest may be outdoors. If you see winged swarmers in the house as well, you probably have a nest inside somewhere. In either case, this is a pest you don't want to live with for long.

What Do Odorous House Ants Look Like?

Image via Flickr by treegrow

Odorous house ants are brown to black, with a uniform tone. They range from 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch in length. All members of the colony are roughly the same size, unlike some other species where the ants vary in appearance depending upon their roles. The thorax in the center of the body has an uneven shape. However, these ants are so small that you're unlikely to notice this detail with the naked eye. These ants are similar in appearance to pavement ants, but you'll likely be able to distinguish them due to the smell.

Where Do Odorous House Ants Live?

You can find odorous house ants throughout the United States. They can build their nests both inside and outside the home. This species is known to move its nests often, typically changing residence about every three months, following rain patterns.

Like many insects, these ants will seek out shelter near food and water sources. Outside, the ants will build nests under rocks or planks. They may also start a colony in wood that's been damaged by termites. These ants tend to come indoors when their outside food supply is diminished. Odorous house ants can get into the home through tiny cracks in the foundation or around windows and doors.

In the home, they often gravitate toward spots with moisture, such as wall or floor voids near pipes. If you have an area where leaks or condensation are common, you might expect to find ants building a colony nearby. Odorous house ants are partial to sweets, but will also seek out meats. Any unprotected food or scraps in your kitchen will draw them in.

Problems With Odorous House Ants

Though odorous house ants can bite, they rarely do. The biggest issue with this type of ant infestation is food contamination. The ants aren't very discriminatory and can get into many items in your pantry. The cost and inconvenience of losing a significant amount of foodstuffs to an ant infestation are enough to spur nearly any homeowner to action.

A colony of odorous house ants can number anywhere from 100 to 10,000 ants. This species can quickly overtake your kitchen if the infestation is left unaddressed for too long. If you suspect an ant infestation in your home, it's best to take action right away.

Pest Control Solutions for Odorous House Ants

Bait is typically the most effective pest control solution for odorous house ants. The workers will take the bait back to the nest where it's ingested by the colony. There are many different types of bait available, which is why it's best to work with a professional exterminator. A knowledgeable pest control expert can select the best bait for your particular type of ant, giving you just what you need to attract your ants to the poison and convince them to take it back home.

An exterminator can also help you identify the ants' trails. Odorous house ants lay down chemical pheromones to guide others to their finds. Setting bait along these trails is one of the more effective ways to deal with these insects.

Preventive actions will help you keep odorous house ants away in the future. Keep firewood and debris away from the house so you won't attract ants to areas near the home where they're likely to send foraging parties inside. Mulch around the house should be less than two inches deep, and always at least 12 inches from the foundation. Trim shrubs and plants back away from the house as well. Be mindful of anything that creates a moist, welcoming environment, like your sprinkler system. Keep moisture away from the house to encourage these ants to stay away as well.

Other Odorous House Ants Facts

You don't want odorous house ants in your home, but in their wild habitat, they can be an interesting insect.

They Live Almost Anywhere

Odorous house ants are found throughout southern Canada, northern Mexico, and all 48 continental United States. They've even been found in Hawaii. These ants can live anywhere from sea level to an elevation of 4,000 meters. From forests to pastures and bogs to coastlands, this ant species can acclimate to it all. In the city, they will seek out any areas with mulch or debris and typically build their nests near buildings.

They Reproduce Quickly

The queen in a nest of odorous house ants averages one to two eggs every day, though she can lay 20 to 30 eggs daily. Throughout the egg-laying season, from April through October, the average queen will lay 350 eggs. A nest can have more than one queen. This is more common in urban environments. The young ants reach adulthood in about 24 days.

If you have ants in your home, contact a pest control professional as soon as possible. We can help you identify the insects in your house and come up with a custom treatment plan.

Ants are among the most disciplined creatures on earth. In ideal situations, ants can be compared to a fine-tuned machine. Each member of an ant colony has a function and performs its task perfectly, benefiting the whole group. Just as they work together for the betterment of their colonies, ants in their natural habitat positively affect the ecosystem. Ants help in the process of decomposition by eating organic waste, dead animals, and other ground litter. They are essentially the janitorial staff of the forest floor.

Ants are fascinating but extremely predictable creatures. Ants are going to do what they do best, and that can sometimes interfere with our lives. When you find that ants have invaded your home, you may have to take action to eliminate the potential hazards they bring with them.

What Are Pavement Ants?

Pavement ants are a species of ants that was introduced to the United States between the 1700s and the 1800s. It is thought that they stowed away on merchant ships traveling from Europe to the United States. Pavement ants are soil-dwellers, but get their names from nesting underneath concrete slabs or asphalt.

If you see mounds of dirt piled up in expansion joints or cracks in the pavement, you are most likely looking at pavement ants. They will nest under other types of objects or debris covering the ground. It's also common to find them living indoors near heat sources during colder weather.

Pavement ants are most active around or after dusk. Light attracts these ants, and they tend to find their way inside of homes during the night. Once indoors, pavement ants will forage for food and water. Their diets vary but typically consist of sweets such as nectar, fruits, and the excreted honeydew of aphids. They also collect and eat dead insects, seeds, and grease. If they explore your home and find food sources such as open food containers, crumbs, or trash, they will be encouraged to return and have the potential to become a significant problem.

Pavement ants have four stages of life: egg, larva, pupa, and mature adult. The reproductive members of their colonies are winged and can fly. Though they have been known to swarm throughout the year, typically these winged males and females will swarm in the months of June and July. After the mating process has occurred, all of the females will seek out new nesting areas and become the queens of their colonies.

What Do Pavement Ants Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Fractality

A pavement ant has appendages that are lighter than the rest of its body, which will range from light brown to black in color. These ants are roughly 3 millimeters in length, and their antennae consist of 12 segments and a club with three segments. Like other ants, they have an abdomen, thorax, and head. Pavement ants, however, have unique lines that run parallel along the head and thorax. Their thorax contains spines, and they also have a stinger.

Where Do Pavement Ants Live?

Pavement ants have spread throughout the United States since arriving from Europe many years ago. They are commonly found in the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic states, New England, Washington, and California. These ants build their colonies underground, often beneath pavement or asphalt. If there is no pavement available, they will make their homes under other objects and debris that sufficiently covers the ground. During the winter months, they have no issues with moving into a structure and nesting close to sources of heat. 

Problems With Pavement Ants

Pavement ants can be difficult to eliminate due to them nesting deep underground. These ants aren't very picky when it comes to their diets, but they love to eat greasy foods. Because pavement ants are active at night and drawn to lights, your home can be a very enticing place for them. Your home will be particularly appealing if you allow easy access to the foods they love, such as grease and pet food.

Like other types of ants, pavement ants are capable of spreading bacteria into your home. These ants are usually docile towards humans, but are very aggressive towards other ants during the spring. They can bite, but their primary defense is their ability to sting. This can happen when the winged mating ants swarm or when they are defending themselves. Otherwise, they are not extremely dangerous to humans.

When they invade your home or garden, they can become a pain and will need to be exterminated as soon as possible to ensure your family's safety. They find their way into homes through cracks in concrete slabs, plumbing pipes, electrical wires, or cracks in the foundation. When foraging, they can be seen in trails that can lead you back to their point of entry.

Pavement Ant Control Solutions

Because pavement ants are more active at night, you may not notice that they have invaded your home right away. A few preventative measures that you can try to keep pavement ants from entering your home include the following:

  • Seal all possible entryways, such as holes or cracks in the exterior of the house.

  • Have your landscaping beds filled with no more than a 2-inch layer of mulch. You should also make sure that no mulch is against the foundation, keeping it at least one foot away.

  • Keep shrubs and other plant life trimmed away from your home.

  • Don't use landscape timbers or large rocks close to your home's foundation.

If you have a severe infestation of pavement ants that are encroaching on your personal space, hiring a professional pest control agency will be a huge benefit. Professional exterminators can identify and neutralize the threat to your home and your family. They are also better equipped to use insecticides and different types of bait when working to eliminate pavement ants.

Though ants can make positive contributions to their environment, they can be a nuisance when they intrude on you and your family. Your home is supposed to be your refuge, and finding ants foraging in your kitchen is not a relaxing way to end the day. However, by taking the time to understand what you are dealing with when it comes to possible ant infestations, you can stay one step ahead of the threat.

Summer is coming fast, and the creepy crawlies have already begun to wake from their slumber. It's almost like ants take a three to four-month vacation and just when we get used to the idea of not having to deal with them, they come back with a vengeance. Though ants can be annoying, they do serve the environment by helping in the process of decomposition, keeping other insects in check, and offering food sources to other animals.

Though ants can be beneficial, it doesn't mean that you have to endure having them overrun your property or move into your home. The best way to defend against ant infestations is to learn their habits and how they interact with the environment. Once you have gained the knowledge necessary to identify the type of ant and how to prevent and eliminate them, you will be well-equipped to protect your family, home, and garden.

What Are Pharaoh Ants?

Image via Flickr by adwsocial

Pharaoh ants are an invasive ant species that reside throughout the entire United States. Their origins are thought to be in Africa, but this is uncertain. Through the years, pharaoh ants were mistakenly believed to be a plague that invaded Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs. Whether or not they were actually in Egypt during that time, they are currently plaguing The United States.

Pharaoh ant queens live about a year and can lay 400 or more eggs in their lifetime. There's also no determined reproduction season for these ants. They reproduce throughout the year while nesting inside the comfort of heated buildings.

When pharaoh ants determine that their colony has grown too big or they sense toxins are being used to kill them off, they instinctively do what is called budding. Budding is where fertile queens and a group of around 400 ants, including fertile males, will relocate and start a new nest. Moving in this manner makes it very difficult to eradicate a pharaoh ant infestation.

What Do Pharaoh Ants Look Like?

Pharaoh ants are some of the smallest ants, only measuring around 2 millimeters in length. They are a yellowish-brown in color and have black and red coloring on their abdomens.

A pharaoh ant colony ranges in size from small to extremely large. The smallest colonies consist of a few dozen ants, while larger colonies can consist of hundreds of thousands of ants. With 150 or more queens per colony, pharaoh ants have an abnormally large number of fertile queens when compared to other ant species. This aids them in their ability to escape from efforts to eliminate them.

Where Do Pharaoh Ants Live?

Pharaoh ants prefer to nest indoors, and once they have colonized inside a structure, they are remarkably difficult to eliminate. They prefer places where food is regularly handled, such as restaurants, hospitals, schools, hotels, and grocery stores. Pharaoh ants will set up their nests in secluded areas that are warm, damp, and close to food and water. They have been found in furniture, inside walls, and behind kitchen appliances.

Pharaoh ants often travel along utility poles and find their way into homes and other facilities by following electrical lines and other utility lines inside. Once inside, they can set up a nest practically anywhere. Nests can be found in piles of trash, between pieces of stationery, and even in layers of bed linens or clothes. Pharaoh ants will continue to use electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, and other utility lines to negotiate their way through the building and forage for food and water.

The diet of pharaoh ants varies. They typically eat many types of foods, such as sweets, greasy meats, and other insects. When they forage for food, they generally travel far enough away from their nest to protect its location.

Problems With Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants can bite, but this poses no immediate danger to humans. The primary threat that pharaoh ants pose is their ability to spread many different pathogens, such as Streptococcus, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.

Pharaoh ants contaminate everything they touch and can be deadly when they have infested a hospital. They have been found in patients' wounds and spotted gathering moisture from sleeping patients' mouths or IV bottles. When you couple the inherent ability of pharaoh ant colonies to spread disease and pathogens with their instinctive budding practices, you have quite an adversary on your hands.

Pest Control Solutions for Pharaoh Ants

Eliminating a pharaoh ant infestation is difficult and takes a coordinated effort. No matter the size of an infested building, the entire building will need to be treated to ensure that all colonies have been neutralized. This is critical to preventing the colonies from budding and forming more nests outside of a treated area. The most effective method of control for pharaoh ants has become baits. When initializing a treatment plan, indoor bait must be distributed in ceilings, electrical wall outlets, walls, and floor voids as well as at each of the nesting sites and in any areas where they forage.

professional exterminator will be able to correctly identify the ant species you are dealing with and implement the proper plan to eliminate the pest. If you are fighting against a pharaoh ant infestation, it is highly recommended that you have a professional help you determine how to get rid of the ants as quickly as possible to protect you, your family, and others.

Pharaoh ants are one of the most dangerous ant species because of their contributions to spreading diseases and pathogens. When it comes to protecting your home, prevention may be your best option. However, pharaoh ants are so small that it is nearly impossible to seal off your home so they cannot enter. The most effective defensive action you can take against ants, in general, is to maintain a sanitary home. Clean regularly, making sure that there are no food particles or dead insects attracting these pests to enter your home.

Egypt might have endured a pharaoh ant plague, and so can you.

There are more ants on Earth than any other species. With such a prominent population, you would think that ants would cause more harm than good. In reality, though, ants can benefit their ecosystems greatly when they stay in their natural environment. For example, ants that make nests in the ground disrupt the soil, aerating and fertilizing it to create quality topsoil. Ants also aid in the natural process of decomposition by feeding on organic waste, other insects, and dead animals. 

As you can see, ants are an essential part of Earth's ecosystem. However, they invade your property, home, or garden, they become a pest to be reckoned with.

What Are Red Imported Fire Ants?

Image via Flickr by AlmogAlpha

The red imported fire ant (RIFA) is one of the two most common fire ants found in the United States. These ants are known as an overly invasive species of ant and are most active during the summer months. In most cases, by the time you notice fire ants on your property, they have already established themselves and will be hard to eliminate.

Along with being an invasive species, fire ants are some of the most aggressive ants in the world. They will displace other species of ants and will disrupt the lives of animals and humans that have the misfortune of agitating a fire ant nest. If you disturb one of their nests, you will soon discover that they come out in force to defend against any threat. They are very coordinated when they attack and can be deadly to family pets, young wildlife, and to humans that are prone to severe allergic reactions. 

Fire ants can bite, but this is not their primary form of defense. They have stingers that deliver a potent alkaloid venomand can sting multiple times when threatened. When on the attack, they will anchor themselves to the skin of their victims with their mandibles and then proceed to sting. 

What Do Red Imported Fire Ants Look Like?

Red Imported Fire Ants are similar to other types of ant species in that they have an abdomen, a thorax, and a head. They also have six legs, antennae, and a visible stinger. The RIFA have a black abdomen with a dull red color on the thorax and head.

The life cycle of the RIFA varies depending on which ant in the hierarchy you are discussing. Worker ants only live around five weeks, while a fire ant queen can live closer to seven years in ideal conditions. Fire ant colonies with only one queen can infest an acre of land with anywhere between 40 to 150 nests and around 7 million individual ants. Add more queens into the mix, and you could see upwards of 200 nests and a staggering 40 million or more individual ants in just one acre of land.

Where Do Red Imported Fire Ants Live?

The RIFA has made its home throughout the southern United States and has spread as far north as Oklahoma and Virginia. The nests of fire ants are very intricate in nature and are made up of underground chambers and tunnels. The soil that they remove to make their nests is typically found on top of the actual nest in mounds that can measure up to 2 feet wide and be as tall as 1 foot. Although this is how they prefer to nest, in dire situations, fire ants will nest in woodwork, buildings, or masonry.

The RIFA are omnivores and feed on animal and vegetable sources. They are not picky when it comes to what they eat, and their diets can consist of any of the following:

  • Dead animals that they may or may not have killed themselves.
  • Plant seeds and excretions.
  • Ticks, earthworms, spiders, insects, and arthropod eggs.
  • The young or newborn of vertebrate animals like birds, calves, and rodents.
  • Greasy materials, such as meat.
  • Sweets in the form of honeydew, sugary foods, and fruits.

Red Imported Fire Ant Control Solutions

Fire ants are troublesome to get rid of, and they can spread quickly, especially when a colony has more than one queen. When treating an area for fire ants, using broadcast baits and insecticides together as a two-step method works pretty well. Alternatively, you can try a few home remedies that might be effective. When the fire ant infestation is severe, you may want to have a professional exterminator handle the task for you.

If you decide to handle the problem on your own and want to use the two-step method, you will need to treat your whole yard with the broadcast bait and use a liquid insecticide solution to address the individual nest or nests. You will need to pour a considerable amount of the liquid solution into each nest to ensure that it reaches the deepest parts of the nest. You may need to perform the treatment several times to eliminate the ants completely.

One home remedy you can try will require you to have a five-gallon bucket that is about two-thirds full of water, a shovel, and a strong back. You will need to dig up the entire nest and place it into the bucket. Once you have the whole nest in the bucket, you will leave the ants in the bucket for a few days to die.

Another home remedy is one that utilizes hot water. You will need a bucket of scalding water, enough to reach the depths of the nest. Being careful not to burn yourself, you will proceed to pour the water slowly into the nest, allowing it to seep to the bottom. Keep in mind that this method will also kill your grass and any plants that the hot water contacts.

Despite being some of the smallest creatures on Earth, red imported fire ants can be a positive force for the environment. It's when you find them in the middle of a suburban neighborhood that they become a threat to your very way of life. Before you decide how to deal with an ant infestation, take the time to educate yourself as thoroughly as possible about this species and the options available to you.

It's blackberry season again, and a blackberry cobbler sure sounds good! So you get your basket, and off you go to pick a mess of blackberries. After filling your basket and your belly with blackberries, you head back home. On the way, you begin to itch around your ankles, up your legs, and even on your arms. Does this sound familiar? If so, you've probably experienced the nagging bite of a mite's larva — commonly known as a chigger.

What Are Chiggers?

Image via Flickr by Skakerman (Archive)

Chiggers are tiny, but if you ever have an encounter with them, you won't forget it. Chiggers are mites and fall under the category of arachnids. This means they are related to ticks, scorpions, and spiders. Birds, small mammals, or rodents are the preferred hosts of this tiny critter, but humans are on the menu as well. The juvenile or larval form of certain species of mites are parasitic and feed off of hosts. When they mature into adults, they are no longer parasitic. In adulthood, they are predatory and feed on insect eggs, small insects, and other chiggers.

What Do Chiggers Look Like?

Harvest mites are considered to be the most abundant type of mites. The female harvest mites become active in early spring and can lay up to 15 eggs per day. In their larval form, harvest chiggers are typically a bright red color and have hairy bodies that resemble velvet. In this form, they have six legs, but when they have fully matured, they have eight legs. Identifying these little creatures can be difficult, as they are smaller than small and you can't feel them on your skin until it is too late.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers live in the tall grassy areas of fields, at the edge of forests, and in your lawn. Chiggers have a life cycle that lasts between 50 and 70 days. Adults chiggers, or mites, have the potential to live up to a year. 

In the United States, chiggers are more prevalent in the Southeast, Midwest, and Southernmost regions. Early spring to early fall is when they are most active, and they are typically inactive after the first frost of the year.

Problems With Chiggers

Chiggers can be a real pain, especially if you live on a fruit farm or have children who love to play outside. They can also affect your pets. Most people have a few misconceptions about how chiggers feed on their hosts and how they can be removed. Chiggers don't burrow into your skin, they don't just drink your blood, and they are rather easy to remove from your skin without the use of harsh chemicals.

When chiggers bite you, they are not burrowing their bodies into your skin. Their mouths act as a drill, an anchor, and a straw. When chiggers bite, they are drilling into your skin and releasing saliva. This saliva contains digestive enzymes that liquefy your skin tissue. Once your skin cells dissolve, chiggers use their mouths like a straw and begin to drink — like drinking a protein shake.

Humans have a worse allergic reaction than other animals. Our natural defense system kicks into overdrive and will form a stylostome. This is where your skin will harden cells that come in contact with the chigger's saliva, creating a tube-like barrier in an effort to prevent the saliva from spreading. The stylostome itself causes irritation, inflammation, and itchiness and presents as a red welt. The longer the chigger feeds, the deeper the stylostome will grow. Recovering from a chigger bite can take upwards of 10 days, but during this time, you can alleviate the itching and discomfort by using antihistamines.

Removing chiggers from your skin isn't as difficult as you may think. Following your natural urge to scratch the itch normally kills them. A chigger's mouthparts are rather fragile, and when they are brushed by our fingers during scratching, they break away from their mouths and fall off. This renders them unable to feed again, and they will die. The most common places that chiggers can be found on your skin is under the elastic bands of clothing, such as socks and underwear. Chiggers use the elastic bands as leverage to help them pierce your skin.

When you are away from civilization and unable to bathe, experts suggest occasionally rubbing your skin vigorously with a towel or something similar to remove chiggers. If you are able to bathe, washing with warm soapy water also works well. Now that you know how to get rid of chiggers, the outdoors should be a little more inviting.

Prevention is your best ally when entering areas that are likely to be infested with chiggers. If at all possible, you should wear pants, boots, and tall socks. Tucking your pants into your socks will also provide an extra layer of protection. Using insect repellent on your shoes, socks, and pants will also help to prevent chiggers from finding their way to your skin.

Chigger Control Solutions

Chiggers prefer to be in the shade and can be found in tall grass, low-growing shrubs, and weeds. Maintaining your lawn will play a significant role in controlling chigger infestations on your property. However, while keeping your lawn well manicured will deter chiggers from making it their home, this may not keep them away entirely. 

Another option is to use an insecticide on your lawn. This method may require multiple applications and can be effective in killing chiggers, ticks, fleas, and ants. If you have children and pets, double-check that any insecticide you choose is safe to use around them and be sure to follow the application instructions. Seeking out a professional exterminating service may be a better option.

How to get rid of chiggers has been a long-standing question surrounded by many misconceptions. Now that you know the facts about chiggers, you are better prepared for spending time outdoors with your family. Following simple preventative methods can go a long way in helping you enjoy being outside. Now get out there and have a chigger-free summer!

Though all creatures on Earth are supposed to have a purpose, some seem to be here so they can be pictured in the dictionary beside the word "pest." A tick is unquestionably one creepy crawly that will leave you scratching your head as to why it exists, but ticks do serve a reasonably significant role within the ecosystems where they reside. They are studied as disease vectors by scientists and provide a food source for many animals.

Generally speaking, ticks are blood-sucking parasites that carry and transmit a large number of diseases. When you have dogs that spend time inside, you are more likely to run into these tiny pests. Otherwise, if you are an active person who loves the outdoors, you may find that you have picked up a tick while enjoying some time hiking, camping, or working in your yard. Learning about the behavioral traits of ticks is an excellent way to know how to handle them.

What Are Dermacentor Ticks?

Image via Flickr by John Tann

Many people consider ticks to be insects, but they are actually arachnids. Yes, they are related to spiders and scorpions. They feed on the blood of domesticated dogs, wild animals, and humans. About 30 species of ticks make up the dermacentor tick genus. All are classified as "hard ticks."

Hard ticks feed on birds, reptiles, and mammals, including domesticated animals and humans. Hard ticks are encountered more often by humans due to them hitching rides on pets. A hard tick begins its lifecycle as an egg. Then it passes through three stages, progressing from a larval stage to a nymphal stage before maturing into an adult. An adult female tick can lay thousands of eggs.     

Ticks feed on blood no matter the stage of life they are in. When in the larval and nymphal stages, hard ticks will typically feed on smaller mammals. When they have fully matured, they will seek out larger prey to feed on, such as your dog or even you if given the opportunity. Tick bites can cause some discomfort, but just the bite alone is not that serious. It's the diseases ticks carry that are of great concern.

What Do Dermacentor Ticks Look Like?

In the larval stage, ticks only have six legs. In the nymphal and adult stages, they have eight legs. The color of ticks varies depending on the species. Adult ticks can be the size of a sunflower seed or even smaller, but when they are engorged with a host's blood, they can be over a centimeter in length. Tick larvae are usually less than a millimeter in size.

Problems With Dermacentor Ticks

One misconception about ticks is that they embed their entire heads into the skin of their hosts. This is not true. They only insert their mouthparts into the skin. They then inject anti-clotting agents into the skin while feeding. Once a tick sets its mouth into place and begins to feed, it can be somewhat difficult to dislodge. 

When you notice a tick on your skin that has attached itself and is feeding, you will need a few things to remove it. You will need to have a disinfectant, such as rubbing alcohol, and a good set of tweezers. You should press the tweezers down on the tick as close to its head as possible and pull up with even pressure until the tick releases. 

When removing a tick from the skin, its mouthparts may break loose from its body and remain lodged in the skin. However, the mouthparts can be extracted with tweezers. Once you have removed the tick, you can kill it by freezing it or submerging it in alcohol. After the tick has been discarded, you should use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the bite area as well as your hands and the tweezers. If you fear that you have contracted an illness from a tick bite, you should seek medical treatment immediately to ensure your health is not at risk.

What Are American Dog Ticks (Dermacentor Variablilis)?

The American dog tick is the dermacentor tick that has the most human interaction, and this is due in part to what its name alludes to. Dogs are a popular pet, and many of our furry friends spend just as much time indoors with us as they do outdoors. Because of this, they can unknowingly introduce ticks to the inside of our homes.

The most common disease that this tick can spread is Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The symptoms that accompany this sickness are lack of appetite, nausea, muscle pain, and fever. If left untreated, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be fatal. Other diseases that this tick can transmit are Colorado tick fever, encephalitis, Q fever, tularemia, and tick paralysis.

Dermacentor Tick Control Solutions

Ticks are numerous and are known to infest areas rather quickly. It's best to simply avoid areas that are overrun by ticks. However, if you do need to venture into a tick-infested area, you can take certain steps to decrease your odds of being bitten:

  • Cover your skin with protective clothing.

  • Using insect repellent with a higher percentage of DEET.

  • Keep to the center of the trails and avoid brushing against the underbrush.

  • Check yourself, your children, and your pets every few hours. Ticks don't usually transmit any harmful diseases until they have been attached for around four hours or longer.

Prevention of ticks around your home can be as easy as keeping your yard and property well manicured. In some cases, ticks are introduced to your home by other household pests, such as mice, and you may need to treat for more than one pest at a time. In these instances, trained professionals can diagnose and resolve the underlying problem. 

Having a working knowledge of how dermacentor ticks behave can help you stay vigilant when enjoying time outdoors. When you believe that you, your family, or your pets have been exposed to ticks, taking the time to search for ticks is always a good habit. Follow the tips above to get out there and conquer your next outdoor adventure while staying tick free.

A whole world of creatures exists on the edge of a human's visual acuity. Fleas are among those that are visible to the naked eye, yet small enough to live a life utterly undetected by humans when they remain in their natural environment. However, when fleas infest domesticated pets or invade homes, they can find themselves under heavy scrutiny.

When your pets have fleas, it quickly becomes a serious situation for everyone involved, especially if your pets spend any length of time indoors. Fleas are insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans alike. They may prefer to live on fur-covered animals, but they aren't picky about where they will get their next meal. If you are experiencing difficulty with fleas, there is hope when it comes to eliminating these pests.

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are a small parasitic insect that feeds on the blood of domesticated pets, wild animals, and humans. They are tiny in stature, making them hard to detect without intense examination. Many species of fleas exist. The cat flea is the most common of them all, and they are challenging to wipe out.

Fleas will lie in wait for an animal to pass by and then jump onto the new host. They have heightened senses that provide them with the ability to detect increases in temperature and carbon dioxide. They also use changes in light and shadow to locate their next host. These abilities enable them to find their next meal with ease.

What Do Fleas Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Michael Wunderli

Fleas are quite small, measuring around 2.5 millimeters. They have strong hind legs and can jump incredible distances. They have a black to reddish-black coloration and will live their entire adult life on a fur-covered animal unless they are forced off.

Female fleas lay eggs that are oval in shape, smooth in texture, and white in color. Although females lay their eggs on their current host, the eggs typically slide off and land on the ground below. These eggs will most likely never be seen due to their diminutive size.

Female fleas can lay anywhere between 18 to 25 eggs per day, at a rate of about one egg per hour. In ideal conditions, up to 1,200 eggs can be produced a week by only ten fleas. This number dramatically multiplies as the fleas increase their numbers, resulting in a staggering number of fleas once the eggs begin to hatch. The four stages of a flea's life are the egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Where Do Fleas Live?

Fleas originate from the outdoors. They can live on any furry creature under the sun. Due to the smooth texture of flea eggs, they slide off of the animal they are on and end up on the surface below. The majority of flea eggs in nature can be found in low-lying grassy areas. After fleas have invaded your home, their eggs can be found in your carpet and on your furniture.

Problems With Fleas

Animals infested with fleas generally have what is known as flea allergy dermatitis. In severe cases, fleas have caused dehydration in their animal hosts due to the amount of fluid loss that the host suffers. Combine this with the constant discomfort of itching and the skin-crawling sensation, and a flea-infested animal will become miserable.

For both humans and animals, fleas can carry and transmit some pretty nasty diseases. These diseases can be transferred across different species by either the flea's bite or its contaminated fecal pellets. This makes eliminating fleas of the utmost importance when they are affecting your pets and your home.

Many flea-borne diseases can affect people. The following are a few examples:

  • Flea tapeworm is most commonly reported in children who may have accidentally eaten an infected flea or have come into contact with infected flea feces.

  • Flea-borne typhus, or murine typhus, is spread by the bacteria present in an infected flea's feces.

  • Bartonellosis, or cat scratch disease, is contracted by humans when bitten by the cat flea or the oriental rat flea.

  • Secondary bacterial infections are most commonly caused by scratching flea bites.

The diseases that a flea can transmit to pets and other animals include the following:

  • Cat scratch disease (CSD).

  • Murine typhus.

  • Rickettsia felis, which affects both cats and dogs.

  • Flea tapeworm

  • Dipetalonema reconditum, a parasitic worm that dogs get from cat fleas.

  • Acanthocheilonemal reconditum, a microfilarial disease that dogs get from cat fleas.

When you have pets that spend time outdoors, it is imperative to take preventative measures. If you wait until there is a flea infestation inside your home before taking action, it will be harder to manage than if you put safeguards in place ahead of time.    

Flea Control Solutions

If you fear you may be facing an invasion of fleas in your home, the first place to start is your pet. Though they are small, adult fleas can be seen relatively easily on your pet's body in the areas that are covered with less hair. Your pet will also let you know that something is wrong by excessively licking or biting at their skin, scratching, and exhibiting hair loss.

Once you have established that you are dealing with fleas and it is your pet that has brought them into your home, you can take steps to control the pests. Using a flea comb on your pet is a good start, as it will remove the adult fleas from your pet's coat. You should dip the comb in a mixture of water and dish soap to kill the fleas. You can also use veterinarian-recommended preventative treatments for your pets, which kill current fleas and prevent them from infesting the animal again.

If you do not have pets, keep in mind that fleas can be brought into your home by other pests. When this is the case, a professional exterminator can show you how to get rid of the fleas and whatever pest brought them into your home. With their expertise, they can pinpoint the source of the fleas and implement a plan to eliminate both pests at the same time. 

Now you know what fleas are and how to recognize the signs of a flea infestation, you can take preventative measures to protect your home, family, and pets.

Bed bugs are notoriously unpleasant to live with. Feeding on human blood, they can make their hosts quite uncomfortable with the itchy marks that they leave behind. Learn how to identify and eliminate bed bugs in your home.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Image via Flickr by Gilles San Martin

Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that feed on human and animal blood. Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, but they are a serious nuisance. Bed bugs can produce three or more generations each year. Females lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetimes. Young bedbugs, known as nymphs, shed their skin five times as they grow toward maturity. Before each shedding, they must feed.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown in color, and oval shaped. They're about 1/4 inch long. After feeding, they will appear larger with a redder tinge to their appearance. Nymphs are less than 5 millimeters in length and almost colorless, making them extremely difficult to identify.

One of the more reliable ways to identify bed bugs is to look for evidence of the infestation on your mattress or sheets. These insects will leave red or rust-tinged stains in these areas. You may also see feces from these bugs, which appears as small dark dots about the size of a pencil point.

Where Do Bed Bugs Live?

Bed bugs can live nearly anywhere in the home. They're most often found in box springs and mattresses, as the name suggests. However, they can also dwell in bedding, upholstered furniture, picture frames, electrical outlets, and wallpaper. Bed bugs may even live in cars, trains, and buses. Suitcases and backpacks may house bed bugs as well and can carry them easily from one place to another. The bed bug's primary consideration is finding a reliable food source.

Bed bugs take five to 10 minutes to feed. Therefore, they often prefer to do so at night when people are sleeping. After feeding, the bed bug will retreat to a secluded area for roughly five to 10 days as it digests its meal. Bed bugs prefer to feed on humans, so they will seek out inhabited areas over rural ones. They are able to feed on other warm-blooded creatures but prefer not to.

Problems With Bed Bugs

The most common reaction to a bed bug bite is a red, itchy welt. Some individuals will have only small dots with no discomfort. Others can have more severe allergic reactions. Bed bug bites usually appear on parts of the body that are exposed at night, such as the neck, face, hands, arms, and legs. These bites are often in a line or zigzag pattern with several appearing in a row.

Bed bug bites will usually heal within a week or two, but the presence of bed bugs in the home will lead to an ongoing problem. In addition to discomfort from the bites, individuals often suffer from sleep deprivation due to the stress of worrying about the bugs coming out to feed. These bites also increase your risk of infection, as the skin is compromised. The itchiness may even cause you to scratch the welts open.

Bed bugs can spread easily, so it's important to get rid of them both for your own comfort and to prevent them from hitchhiking with your visitors and multiplying in other homes.

Pest Control Solutions for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are difficult to remove, so it's important to seek the help of a professional exterminator if you want to do the job thoroughly. Rubbing alcohol will kill visible bed bugs on contact. You can eliminate bed bugs that are hiding in your bedding or clothing by laundering it in water that's over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can kill bedbugs hiding in other items with heat as well. Wrapping a box spring or mattress in plastic and leaving in the sun for a few days will typically kill the bed bugs hiding within.

While these measures are an effective start, you should work with a pest control expert to make sure the job is finished properly. Professional exterminators can use a combination of chemical treatments, sanitation processes, and preventive measures to help you efficiently eradicate all of your bed bugs. Look for a professional that has experience with bed bugs. This is a unique type of pest that requires a knowledgeable approach.

Expect for the process to begin with a home assessment. This allows the exterminator to thoroughly examine the home and understand the scope of the problem. After this, you will typically receive a quote for the entire job, as well as a detailed explanation of what approach the professional will take and how long the process will be.

Other Bed Bug Information

Learn more about bed bugs so you can better understand the threats posed by this pest.

Bed Bugs Aren't Dirty

There's a common misconception that bed bugs are a pest associated with unsanitary living. However, there's nothing inherently dirty about this type of infestation, and homeowners shouldn't be embarrassed to call for help with this problem. Bed bugs aren't attracted to dirt and grime. They're attracted to carbon dioxide, blood, and warmth, which is present in any inhabited environment.

Bed Bugs Like to Travel

Many bed bug infestations are the result of a recent trip. These insects are skilled travelers and like to catch a ride in your bags or the cuffs of pants. Watch out for bed bugs when you're traveling. Check mattresses and box springs when you check into hotels and leave if you see the signature stains associated with this insect. Store your luggage in plastic and keep it off the floor anywhere you go. When you return from a trip, wash all your clothing in hot water, whether it was worn or not.

If you believe that you may have a bed bug infestation, contact a pest control professional as soon as possible. The quicker you can address the issue, the easier it will be. Remember that bed bugs reproduce quickly, so you don't want to let them hide in your home for long.

Many dog lovers have encountered a Rhipicephalus tick, better known as the brown dog tick, at some point in time. These ticks are an invasive species of tick that plagues domesticated animals and humans worldwide. Rhipicephalus ticks are considered to be the most common tick, and they get their name from their preference of feeding on dogs. These eight-legged critters consume the blood of their hosts and can spread diseases as they feed.

The brown dog tick, in particular, is a menace to civilization. They deliberately invade areas where humans live and proceed to feed on domesticated animals and even humans when the opportunity presents itself. Understanding how the brown dog tick survives will be of great importance if you find yourself facing a Rhipicephalus tick infestation.  

What Are Rhipicephalus Ticks?

Rhipicephalus ticks are a blood-sucking parasitic member of the arachnid species, making them even more intimidating than they already are. They can be found through all seasons of the year and can live for up to 18 months without feeding. This makes them a year-round threat for you and your pets. 

Although their preferred hosts are dogs, brown dog ticks will feed off of other mammals and humans when pressed for food. Females will feed for a solid week and become engorged on a host's blood before releasing from the host to digest the meal. Once the female has digested the blood, she is capable of laying up to 5,000 eggs. These eggs will be laid on ledges, in or around houses, or on top of dog kennels.

Brown dog ticks hatch from their eggs within two to five weeks and emerge in their larval stage with only six legs. They will continue to mature and pass through the nymph stage, obtaining their two other legs, before turning into an adult that is capable of mating. 

What Do Rhipicephalus Ticks Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Predi

Brown dog ticks have a flattened body that is thinner in the front and significantly wider at the posterior end. They have a pitted surface over the top of their bodies and are brown in color. The male tick will be a darker reddish-brown color, while the female tick is light reddish brown in color. They will also have a distinguishable head, and as all arachnids, the adult ticks will have eight legs.

Adults that have not fed on blood are roughly an eighth of an inch long. After a female has fully engorged herself, she can measure up to a half inch in length and will be blue-gray in color. Males are distinguishable by having a slightly darker color, and they are smaller in size than the females.

Where Do Rhipicephalus Ticks Live?

Brown dog ticks are disbursed throughout the entire United States but are found in higher concentrations in southern states. They are known to infest areas where humans have settled. They will invade your home, animal pens, and dog kennels. This species of tick is fully capable of spending its entire life indoors, including during the mating and egg-laying processes.

With their ability to lay thousands of eggs, brown dog ticks will quickly overrun an area. You could have a very serious situation on your hands before you even know you have a problem. As a preventative measure, you should always inspect your pets for ticks before letting them enter into your home.   

Problems With Rhipicephalus Ticks

Brown dog ticks are a huge problem for dog lovers. These ticks prefer dogs as hosts over all other animals. Your dogs are most susceptible to these ticks if they are kept in outdoor kennels. If your pets spend any length of time outside and they are brought inside, you are at risk of having your home infested with brown dog ticks.

Since they are capable of living and breeding indoors, rhipicephalus ticks can become a serious threat to you, your family, and your pets. Brown dog ticks, like many other ticks, carry many diseases that can be deadly to both dogs and humans. A couple of the canine-related diseases these ticks carry are babesiosis and canine ehrlichiosis.

Though they are not known to transmit Lyme disease, brown dog ticks are often mistaken for deer ticks, which do carry Lyme disease. Brown dog ticks are known for transmitting Rocky Mountain spotted fever to humans, and this can be a fatal disease in severe circumstances. If you or a family member has suffered a tick bite and you are uncertain of what kind of tick it was or whether any illnesses have been transmitted, you should seek professional medical attention.

Rhipicephalus Tick Control Solutions

The best way to control a brown dog tick infestation is to prevent it entirely. Here are a few simple practices you should follow:

  • Regularly check your dogs or other pets and eradicate any ticks you find.

  • Use veterinarian-recommended treatments that focus on ticks.

  • Make it a habit to vacuum and clean the inside of your home to remove ticks and their eggs.

  • Try approved tick-control products to deal with ticks that are indoors or outdoors.

If you have tried all of the methods mentioned above to manage a brown dog tick infestation and are still having issues with ticks, it may be time to bring in a pest control professional. A trained exterminator can create and implement a custom plan that is best suited for your home and property. When you combine these services with the veterinary care of your pets, you can get a better grasp on the situation and eliminate the threat.

Prevention is the best practice by far when it comes to pest control, but in some occurrences, an infestation will seemingly occur out of nowhere. In those instances, there is nothing wrong with seeking out professional assistance to help you gain some peace-of-mind. When combating against ticks, remember to frequently check yourself, your family, and your pets as a way to safeguard your home.  

Ticks are a serious problem, as they are known carriers of disease. There are two primary types of ticks — soft ticks and hard ticks. Learning about the differences will help you quickly identify any ticks that you encounter and better understand the risks that are associated with them.

What Are Soft Ticks?

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Soft ticks are a type of arthropod that feeds on blood from animal and human hosts. There are about 150 species of soft ticks, compared to the 650 species of hard ticks in the world. Soft ticks are much larger than hard ticks, making them easier to see and identify, particularly in their adult stage.

What Do Soft Ticks Look Like?

Soft ticks are large, measuring about 1/4 inch in length. They're oval in shape and may appear dark brown, reddish, or tan. They have a leathery appearance to their bodies. The tick's cuticle expands as it feeds on blood. A soft tick can ingest a blood volume anywhere from five to 10 times its unfed body weight.

The mouthparts of a soft tick are not visible when it's viewed from above. This is one of the features that distinguishes soft ticks from hard ticks. When looking at a hard tick from above, you will be able to see the mouthparts protruding from the head. In the larval stage, soft ticks have just six legs. In the nymphal and adult stages, ticks have eight legs. 

Where Do Soft Ticks Live?

Soft ticks typically appear in the western United States. These ticks thrive in hot, dry conditions. They seek out habitats where they can find ample hosts, such as rodent burrows or pigeon roosts. Soft ticks like to feed on mice, rabbits, and birds.

If a cabin or home is infested with rodents, it's more likely that it will get infested with ticks, too. Soft ticks prefer to seek out only simple dwellings like cabins or sheds. They're less likely to appear in well-established neighborhoods.

Soft ticks feed only briefly on their hosts before dropping off and retreating. When they're not feeding, soft ticks will hide in nearby cracks, crevices, and furniture waiting for the next meal.

Problems With Soft Ticks

Soft ticks are very long-lived. While hard ticks live anywhere from two months to three years, soft ticks can live as long as 16 years. The females of the species lay eggs many times in batches of 20 to 50 after each feeding. Most soft tick species do not bury themselves on their hosts. They will feed for just a short time, then detach.

The mouthparts of the soft tick can easily penetrate human skin, and they are not easily removed. The hypostome of the tick may remain in the host even after the tick itself is removed.

The Tickborne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) is transmitted by soft ticks. This bacterial infection causes a high fever, muscle aches, joint pain, and headaches. The fever period includes a series of events known as a “crisis.” For 10 to 30 minutes, the patient develops a high fever of up to 106.7 degrees. This may be accompanied by delirium, agitation, and tachycardia. Next, the patient experiences a rapid drop in temperature accompanied by body sweats.

TBRF typically incubates for about a week after the tick bite. Because soft ticks drop off quickly on their own, you may not be aware that you even encountered them. TBRF occurs in a cycle of relapsing symptoms. Patients typically have a fever for three days followed by seven days without. The fever then recurs for three days. This can repeat several times if the patient does not receive the proper antibiotic treatment.

Pest Control Solutions for Soft Ticks

Controlling soft ticks is a multi-stage process. First, you must identify the creatures that are serving as hosts for the ticks. If you have birds nesting in your attic or rodents taking up residence in the walls, the first step is to control them. An experienced pest control professional can evaluate your property carefully to identify the presence of ticks and other pests.

Tick identification is an important part of the process. Working with an exterminator will help ensure that you identify the ticks on your property accurately. The exterminator can then provide you with several helpful steps for discouraging tick habitation and eliminating the ticks in your home. Leaf litter, rock piles, wood piles, and fallen logs are all welcome habitats for soft ticks. Thinning the landscaping so more sunlight reaches the ground will help deter ticks.

A pest control professional may also use chemical products to help eliminate ticks hiding in your home and landscaping. This can be applied to ornamental plantings, cover vegetation, and other parts of the yard.

Other Soft Tick Facts

Learn more about soft ticks so you're prepared for any encounters you might have with them.

Feeding Patterns

Ticks actively seek out and feed on hosts in all life stages. They feed for about 30 minutes at a time. Soft ticks can survive for over a year between feedings when necessary. Some species of soft ticks can survive for as many as 10 years.

Removing Ticks

If you find a tick on you, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or curved forceps to grasp it firmly by the head. Stay as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick backward slowly while keeping it flat to the skin. Don't grasp and pull on the body as this can leave the head in the skin. Pulling upward or yanking on the tick quickly may cause the mouthparts to come off, which can also irritate the skin and increase the chances of infection.

Once the tick has been removed, wash the site of the bite with soap and water. Treat it with alcohol or antibiotic cream to prevent infection.

If you find soft ticks after a hiking or camping trip, they are likely hitchhikers from a more remote area. Soft tick infestations in well-developed homes are rare. However, this is an issue that you should address as soon as possible if you're finding a large number of them.


If you spot black crickets hopping around your home, they're likely field crickets. These can become a pest when they invade in large numbers. Learn more about what field crickets are and how you should respond to them in your home.

What Are Field Crickets?

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Field crickets are a common insect that can appear in many parts of the United States. They're most easily identified by their chirping sounds. The male cricket can chirp up to 30 times a minute when trying to attract a female. Though they're not a physical danger to humans, field crickets can be a nuisance.

What Do Field Crickets Look Like?

There are many species of field crickets, but these are almost identical in appearance. These insects are distinguishable only by their calling songs. Field crickets are black or brown in color. They are fairly large, measuring about 1-1/2 inches in length. They have six legs including two long, powerful hind legs that help them jump quickly. They have large hind wings as well, though not all field crickets can fly.

Male field crickets have specialized forewings that they use to make their distinctive calling sounds. Males sing courtship songs to females and make a fight song when encountering other males. The females of the species don't make any sound.

Where Do Field Crickets Live?

Field crickets are found in many parts of the United States. You will typically find them in the eastern and midwestern parts of the country. There are six common species of field crickets found in the U.S.

They prefer to live in shallow burrows on top of the soil level. You can find them in forests, fields, caves, and lawns. Field crickets may also live in outhouses, basements, and homes. They prefer areas with moisture. In the house, you're likely to find them around plumbing.

Problems With Field Crickets

Outbreaks of field crickets usually happen in spring and summer as they take to the air on their nocturnal mating flights. Each year, a female cricket can lay 150 to 400 eggs. These eggs stay hidden in the soil through winter and hatch in the spring. It takes about three months for newly hatched crickets to reach adulthood.

When crickets are found in manageable numbers, they can actually be beneficial. Field crickets feed on eggs and pupae of other insects and may help to control some pests. However, these crickets might also munch on plants in your garden.

In large numbers, crickets are a major nuisance. They prefer to be outdoors and are usually accidental invaders in the house. They're drawn to lights and may create unpleasant swarms around lighting, particularly during their mating season. One report shared by Oklahoma State University highlights the scope of the potential problem stating that during one invasion “the streets beneath bright lights were black with crickets, sides of buildings were completely covered… and some streets were hazardous for driving due to the slipperiness caused by crushed crickets.”

In the home, crickets might chew on leather products, rubber, plastic, wood, and fabrics. They're particularly attracted to fabrics that are soiled by sweat or food. They do not harm people but can be quite startling as they jump up when disturbed. The noise that male crickets make can add to the disturbance. If field crickets get into the house, the volume of their chirping can make it difficult to sleep.

Pest Control Solutions for Field Crickets

If you have a significant number of field crickets around your home, you may need to speak with a pest control professional about the best way to address the problem. An experienced exterminator can make sure you've properly identified the pest you're dealing with and recommend the best ways to tackle the problem.

A pest control professional can help you eliminate infestations around the home. He or she can also use a chemical application around the house to prevent cricket infestations in the future. This is usually applied to the area directly surrounding the house, including the patio, foundation, and surrounding flower beds.

Eliminate hiding spots for crickets so they don't have a convenient place to retreat during the day. They will look for piles of stones, wood, and debris around the house. Weedy areas or those with dense vegetation are likely to hide crickets in the daylight hours as well. You can keep crickets from entering the home by sealing any gaps, cracks, or holes around windows and doors. Caulk and weather stripping will help secure these areas.

More Field Cricket Information

Field crickets are fascinating insects that can actually be useful in the right situation. They're not always a problem and may, in fact, present a solution in some cases.

Uses for Field Crickets

Some people seek out field crickets intentionally. This species is often used as food for reptiles or pet tarantulas. Anglers might use field crickets as fishing bait. If you're shopping for crickets in a tackle shop or pet store, this is one species that you might find.

Field Crickets as a Meal

In many countries, field crickets are considered an edible treat. Over 2 billion people around the world eat bugs. A 2013 report released by the UN and FAO identified insects as a promising sustainable protein source to help feed the 9 billion people expected to populate the earth by 2050. They're a good source of protein and can be eaten fried or roasted. You might even find crickets in candies like lollipops and chocolate.

Compared to beef, crickets have more protein per gram. They're also a better source of zinc, iron, Vitamin A, calcium, and B12. While it takes 1,700 gallons of water to get a pound of beef from the farm to the table, it takes just one gallon of water to produce the same amount of cricket protein.

If you have a field cricket infestation around your home, a pest control professional can help you evaluate the problem and come up with the best solution for your needs.

House crickets are a common species that you can find in stores throughout the country. When these crickets get into the home, however, you may have a problem.

What Are House Crickets?

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House crickets are a common pest in certain parts of the country. Though they don't bite, they can appear in great quantities, often numbering in the thousands. Their loud noises and noticeable size make them difficult to overlook when they become a pest in your home. If you have house crickets, you will want to address this problem quickly.

What Do House Crickets Look Like?

Measuring between 3/4 and 7/8 inch in length, house crickets are easy to spot. Their antennae are thin and often longer than their bodies. These insects are tan in color with three darker bands on the head. The nymphs are wingless, but adult house crickets have wings that lay flat on their backs.

Where Do House Crickets Live?

House crickets are native to Europe and Asia, but they have since made their way to the United States. They first entered the country for use in pet and fishing stores. If you purchase crickets for use as reptile food or fishing bait, you're likely buying this type of insect. While house crickets are welcome for these purposes, they're not something you want to find in your home.

Since being introduced to the U.S., house crickets have adapted to the wild and can now be found living and reproducing outside. They're found primarily east of the Rocky Mountains, with the exception of Florida. House crickets are also found in the wild in a portion of Southern California.

These crickets live outside during warm weather months. They're attracted to outdoor lights and garbage. In cold weather, they will look for warm, damp environments and often find these spaces inside homes. Lacking a home to winter in, house crickets will seek out dumps or compost heaps where the warmth from the decomposition process can help them survive.

Problems With House Crickets

If you have a house cricket infestation, you'll probably see these insects in the house. However, if they're hiding in an unseen part of the home, you may hear them first. The males make a chirping noise by rubbing their front wings together. This attracts females of the species. You'll typically hear this chirping at night when the nocturnal insects are most active. This can become quite annoying, disrupting the sleep of everyone in the house.

House crickets aren't physically dangerous. However, they can do damage to your belongings. They will nibble on carpeting and clothing. Their favorite materials are cotton, wool, silk, and synthetics. If you have a serious house cricket infestation in your home, you may notice large areas of fabric completely eaten out.

Your books and papers may suffer from a house cricket infestation, as well. They can feed on paper and even wallpaper glue. If you have a serious house cricket infestation, you may start to see signs of their damage throughout the house.

Pest Control Solutions for House Crickets

Vacuuming can remove cricket eggs and even help you capture crickets that you're able to spot. However, the infestation is likely to continue unless you take a more comprehensive approach to the problem. A professional can help you understand how to get rid of crickets in the house.

The first thing a professional exterminator will do is confirm your diagnosis of the problem. There are other species of crickets, so it's important to identify what you're dealing with. The exterminator can then apply a targeted treatment to help get rid of crickets in the house. He or she will also inspect your home for likely entry points and help you seal these so you don't have to deal with ongoing problems in the future.

Keep house crickets from returning by trimming plants, so they don't make contact with the house. Place woodpiles and compost heaps several feet away from the dwelling. Keep the lawn trimmed and maintain neat flower beds with less than 2 inches of mulch. Weedy, unkempt areas will attract these pests. Seal all potential points of entry including holes and gaps around windows and doors.

Yellow bulbs and sodium vapor lamps are less attractive to crickets, so use these for your exterior lighting so you won't draw them toward your house. Inside, make sure that you're keeping your home well-ventilated, particularly in areas that are prone to dampness like the basement or crawlspace.

Other House Cricket Information

House crickets can be a nuisance in the wrong environment, but they are also fascinating creatures. Learn more about these insects.

House Cricket Eggs

Outside, a female house cricket may lay up to 700 eggs. She will seek out damp areas for this, looking for things like peat moss. Inside, house crickets lay about 100 eggs annually. These insects produce only one generation each year, which hatches in spring or summer.

House Cricket Diet

House crickets can feed on nearly anything. They will forage in the pantry for food, seek out your pets' dishes, and hop into the hamper to munch on your clothing. They're especially attracted to beer and sweetened beverages. In your laundry, they will seek out items that are stained with sweat or food. These crickets can also eat other insects, both dead and alive.

Edible House Crickets

In many parts of the world, house crickets are considered food. They are a nutritious source of protein. Individuals have been known to enjoy them dry-roasted in flavors like barbecue, curry, and honey mustard. Crickets are also eaten fried. You can even snack on them in candies like lollipops and chocolate bars.

If you have house crickets dwelling with you, seek out help from a pest control professional as soon as possible. If crickets lay eggs in your home, you might find yourself dealing with a major infestation. The sooner you can eliminate this pest, the better.

The Jerusalem cricket has a very distinctive appearance that's likely to catch your attention the first time you spot this type of insect. Learn more about this cricket and how you should handle any issues with it in your home.

What Are Jerusalem Crickets?

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Jerusalem crickets are flightless insects that bear a resemblance to other crickets yet have a much larger body with fatter legs. They are also known commonly known as potato bugs. Other names for this insect include “child of the earth” and “skull head.”

What Do Jerusalem Crickets Look Like?

About an inch long, Jerusalem crickets are easy to see when you turn one up. However, they prefer to remain hidden, so you might not spot them often. These insects are primarily tan, brown, or red, but they have a large bulbous abdomen with dark stripes. They have a big head with two distinguishable eyes beneath long, thin antennae.

These crickets have six spiny legs. The front legs are particularly thick and enable them to dig in the soil. Though their back legs are large, they are not strong enough to propel long jumps. Their jaws are quite big and powerful. Females have a larger abdomen than males with a smaller head and thorax. The males are generally larger overall. However, females may eat males after mating.

At first glance, Jerusalem crickets are sometimes mistaken for spiders. However, closer examination will reveal that these insects have fewer legs than a spider as well as two distinct eyes.

Where Do Jerusalem Crickets Live?

The Jerusalem cricket is found in the western United States and Mexico. It spends most of its life underground, burrowing beneath the soil. You may find them under rocks or in loose, sandy soil. They drag their abdomens along the ground when they walk, so you might identify the trail of a Jerusalem cricket before you see the cricket itself.

These insects are considered nocturnal, though they have been spotted during the day. They're usually seen only when they're disturbed. Farmers may find them when tilling the soil or digging in manure heaps. Jerusalem crickets prefer dark, damp areas. In desert areas, Jerusalem crickets are sometimes seen along the roadside. This is likely because they emerge from the sand at night but stop at the pavement, resistant to cross.

Problems with Jerusalem Crickets

Though they don't typically attack, Jerusalem crickets can deliver a nasty bite if they're disturbed. These insects have jaws that are strong and sharp enough to draw blood. You should avoid picking these crickets up. When they're residing outside the home, Jerusalem crickets are not a cause for concern. They're not aggressive to humans and don't generally damage the home.

Though there's a common myth that Jerusalem crickets are poisonous, this simply isn't true. A bite from this insect may pinch, but it does not deliver any venom.

It's unusual for Jerusalem crickets to cause major crop damage. They have done damage to some commercial potato farms due to their preference for the underground tubers of this crop. In residential areas, the occasional Jerusalem cricket is not a cause for concern.

Pest Control Solutions for Jerusalem Crickets

If you have a large number of Jerusalem crickets in your home, the infestation can be quite unsettling. The most troubling aspect of this problem is simply the prominent sight of the crickets. If these insects get into your kitchen, they may feed on a variety of foods including bread and produce. Feeding on plants outside the home, they may do a moderate amount of damage to the garden.

If you're concerned about an infestation of Jerusalem crickets in your house, contact a pest control professional to come up with a smart plan of attack. This will begin with proper identification. An experienced exterminator can make sure that you are in fact dealing with Jerusalem crickets and not another type of insect.

Next, you need to identify points of entry around the home. This is another task that a professional can assist with. Sealing cracks and gaps around your foundation, doors, and windows will help you prevent Jerusalem crickets and other insect invaders from getting into the home.

A well-trained pest control professional will help you understand how to get rid of potato bugs if this is necessary. It's often easier to physically remove Jerusalem crickets than to use a chemical treatment method. However, every case is unique, and the best pest control professionals are those that pay careful attention to the situation in your home.

Other Jerusalem Cricket Information

Jerusalem crickets can be alarming, but they are very interesting creatures when you examine them more closely. Learn a bit more about this type of strange-looking cricket.

Jerusalem Cricket Communication

Jerusalem crickets can communicate in a number of ways. If startled or threatened, they will hiss aggressively. Moving about, they might make scratching noises. When mating, the male will drum his abdomen on the ground. This creates vibrations in the soil that are detected by the female. There are over 20 species of Jerusalem crickets in the United States, each with their own unique drumming call. Unlike actual crickets, the Jerusalem cricket does not chirp.

Jerusalem Crickets as Pets

Due to their large size, Jerusalem crickets are occasionally pursued as pets. They can be kept in a terrarium that's equipped in a manner similar to their native environment. They prefer loose, lightweight soil that's loamy or sandy for burrowing. Rocks and pieces of wood can be added for additional hiding places. These insects need a water source and plenty of food. They are omnivorous and will eat vegetables, fruits, meat, bread, and smaller insects.

If you're concerned about a Jerusalem cricket infestation in your home, contact a pest control professional to learn more. An exterminator can help you best understand the scope of the problem and the best way to approach it. It's uncommon for Jerusalem crickets to be a major pest, but you should address the problem promptly if you have several of them in the home.

Blow flies are a common type of fly that you'll likely see outside, where they find their preferred breeding grounds. These flies have a distinctive metallic appearance and loud buzzing sound. If you notice blow flies in great numbers in your home, it can be a sign of a much bigger problem. Learn more about blow flies so you'll know how to address this issue.

What Are Blow Flies?

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Blow flies are a common type of fly in the United States, with about 80 species in this country alone. Worldwide, there are around 1,200 species of blow flies that you might encounter. These flies can be a nuisance in the home, but they are quite useful for other applications, as their appearance on a carcass or body provides a great deal of information to scientists.

What Do Blow Flies Look Like?

Blow flies are typically between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch in length, making them a bit larger than house flies. They are metallic blue, black, purple, copper, or green in color. The blow fly has a wide head and compact body. Blow fly larvae are pale in color. The maggots look like small worms and are about the size of a grain of rice.

Where Do Blow Flies Live?

Blow flies are found in many areas throughout North America. They're most common in the American southwest. Popular Science reports that rising temperatures are causing blow flies to migrate north, looking for more comfortable homes. One species typically found in southern states has moved north, making over two dozen documented appearances in Indiana over a two-year period.

Blow flies typically seek out fresh carcasses. They will lay their eggs in these remains. The larvae remain on the carcass for five to 10 days, then leave to find a dry place to pupate. These maggots will then grow into adult flies in five to seven days. The newly grown adult blow flies will not lay eggs in the same carcass from which they were born, as it's too dry by this time for reinfestation. You will often find these flies around garbage dumps, slaughterhouses, or meat processing plants.

Problems with Blow Flies

Blow flies don't bite humans, but they do bring the risk of contamination. When they walk over surfaces, they can carry contaminants from other places they have landed. For blow flies, this is often on decaying creatures and fecal matter. They may spread microorganisms that can cause disease. Among the bacteria found on flies are salmonella, staphylococcus, and Enterobacter cloacae.

If you notice a large number of blow flies in your home, this can also be an indicator of a bigger problem. Since these flies are drawn to carcasses, a blow fly infestation often means that you have dead animals in or near your home. The presence of blow flies might alert you to another more serious problem, such as a rodent infestation. It's ideal for you to determine where the blow flies are coming from.

Pest Control Solutions for Blow Flies

If you have a serious infestation of blow flies in the house, the first step is to identify the breeding source. As stated previously, blow flies are often an indicator of a nearby animal carcass that might be a more pressing concern. Eliminating the breeding area is the first step to getting rid of your blow fly problem.

If you're having trouble identifying the source of your problem, a professional exterminator can help. A pest control pro will also verify the type of insect that you're dealing with. Blow flies can be mistaken for house flies or bottle flies. A professional will help you confirm the insect that you're dealing with.

Both fly traps and chemical applications can help with a serious blow fly infestation. These will help you eliminate existing flies that have taken up residence in the home. Such measures aren't always necessary if you can get rid of the carcass that drew the blow flies to your home. A professional will help you assess the situation better.

Keep blow flies from returning by addressing any possible breeding grounds on your property. Keep garbage cans tightly sealed and clean them out on a regular basis. Make sure your window screens are in good repair and seal tightly around the edges. Seal any gaps or cracks around windows or doors.

Other Blow Fly Information

Blow flies can be a pest in the home, but they're not entirely bad. These flies can be very useful in both investigative and medical applications.

Blow Fly Larvae Are Good Survivors

Blow fly larvae react to light by retreating into darker places. This is a handy survival instinct that helps them to hide from predators. Blow fly larvae secrete an enzyme that liquefies proteins in the carcass where they're living, so they can easily digest this food source.

Blow Flies Help Investigators

Forensic scientists often use blow flies to determine the time of death for a body. The state of the larvae can let the investigator know how long the body has been in a particular area. However, it's important for investigators to properly determine the species of blow fly that they're working with. Recent blow fly migrations to different areas have made things more complicated for scientists who must be mindful of misidentifying a species and thus estimating time of death improperly based on the wrong life cycle information.

Blow Flies May Have Medical Uses

Blow flies have been used for a technique known as maggot debridement therapy (MDT). The maggots will not eat healthy tissue, feeding only on decaying tissue. This can help individuals with wounds that are not healing properly. The maggots clean out unhealthy tissue, change the pH of the wound, and help to prevent bacterial growth.

If you have blow flies in your home, a pest control professional can help you decide how to best address this problem.

Bees are often seen as beneficial insects when they're found in the right environment. However, carpenter bees often invade in areas where they're not wanted. Learn more about what you can do if you're dealing with this pest.

What Are Carpenter Bees?

Image via Flickr by www.thegoodlifefrance.com

Carpenter bees are a nonsocial species which drills holes in wood to nest. Though you might initially mistake them for bumblebees, this is a very different type of insect.

What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?

Carpenter bees are similar to bumblebees in size, but they have a shiny, black, hairless abdomen as opposed to the fuzzy striped abdomen of the bumblebee. Eastern carpenter bees have yellow hair on the thorax, while other species such as the California carpenter bee and female valley carpenter bee have a metallic appearance. About an inch in length, carpenter bees are difficult to miss. This is one of the largest native bee species in the United States.

Carpenter bees aren't as social as honeybees or bumblebees and don't have a queen. They are not considered to be social insects, but small groups of carpenter bees may live near one another. Because these bees may live alone, you can't rely on a buzzing swarm of bees to alert you to an infestation. You'll need to look for more subtle signs of a problem.

Where Do Carpenter Bees Live?

Carpenter bees are found along the eastern United States up through New York state, and across the southern part of the country from Florida to Arizona. Carpenter bees build their nests in wood. They may choose fence posts, railings, windowsills, telephone poles, roof eaves, doors, and even wooden furniture. They prefer wood that's untreated and at least two inches thick.

The female carpenter bee will typically drill its first hole against the grain of the wood. The bee then tunnels into the wood. After reaching a depth of about an inch, the bee makes a 90-degree turn and begins tunneling with the grain of the wood, creating chambers for her eggs. She works back to front shaping about five to eight cells. She will provision these cells with pollen and lay a single egg in each one. The bee then seals off the cells with regurgitated wood pulp.

The larvae hatch in these cells and feed on the stored pollen until they reach maturation. The bees will then return to the tunnel for hibernation in the winter. In spring, they mate again and either clean out old tunnels or create new ones. 

Problems With Carpenter Bees

Male carpenter bees do not sting. Females, though capable of stinging, rarely do so. The male can be quite alarming, however, as he will hover near anyone who threatens him and may repeatedly dive to scare away anyone he deems a danger. Though it's unlikely that you'll suffer stings from carpenter bees, they can still do a significant amount of damage.

Carpenter bees can live for up to three years, producing one or two generations each year. Female bees may nest with their mothers. It's also possible that several related females will create their nests close to one another. A series of carpenter bee nests can create serious structural damage. Once excavated, these nests create a prime spot for rot and decay to occur as moisture makes its way into the wood.

The primary sign of carpenter bee damage is the initial hole leading into the nest. These bees may defecate near the opening of the hole, leaving stains. You may also see sawdust near the opening of the nest. Carpenter bees don't eat the wood, so they must deposit it outside the hole.

Pest Control Solutions for Carpenter Bees

It's important to explore how to get rid of carpenter bees if you have an infestation in your home. Working with a professional exterminator will help you identify and address the problem properly. Carpenter bees aren't the only insects that may use these types of nests. In fact, other insects may use abandoned carpenter bee nests for shelter, exacerbating your problem.

The best way to get rid of carpenter bees is to take a two-step approach to the infestation. First, your exterminator should apply an insecticide to the hole. After the bees have had time to come into contact with the insecticide, you should plug the hole with a piece of a dowel rod coated in putty, glue, or another sealant. 

An insecticide applied to the surface of the wood can discourage carpenter bees from creating new nests in an area. This type of application will typically last for three to four weeks. 

You can deter carpenter bees from nesting in your home or furniture by treating and painting the wood. This makes it less desirable to them. You can also set up carpenter bee houses that have pre-drilled holes for the bees to use. The bees will typically choose these homes over yours when given the option.

Other Carpenter Bee Facts

Carpenter bees are fascinating creates that should not be considered categorically bad. While you will need to figure out how to get rid of carpenter bees if they're in your home, they can be a welcome neighbor when they live nearby.

Carpenter Bees are Found Around the World

There are more than 500 species of carpenter bees worldwide. However, only five of these species live in the United States.

Carpenter Bees Can Be Beneficial

Carpenter bees are often considered beneficial because they pollinate many different crop and non-crop plants. Because there is little threat of them attacking, they only need to be exterminated if they are nesting in your home.

Understanding both the benefits and hazards of carpenter bees will help you identify the best way to handle them around your home. If you suspect carpenter bees, speak with a pest control professional to explore your options.

Spotting just one or two flesh flies isn't a cause for concern, but you should be alert to any large number of these flies. Learn how to identify flesh flies and what to do about their presence.

What Are Flesh Flies?

Image via Flickr by judygva

Flesh flies are a type of mid-sized flying insect known to lay eggs in carcasses or open wounds. They are often associated with remains and can signify that these are nearby. Infestations in the home are uncommon, but it's important to act upon any major appearance of flesh flies.

What Do Flesh Flies Look Like?

Flesh flies typically range from 1/3 inch to 1/2 inch long. They are gray with a distinctive checked pattern on the top of the abdomen. The thorax has three dark stripes, and many species of flesh flies have a reddish tip on the end of the abdomen. They are similar in size to houseflies and might initially be mistakenly identified as such. However, the flesh fly's patterning is easily identifiable if you get a close enough look when it lands.

Where Do Flesh Flies Live?

Flesh flies are very common and may be found throughout the United States. Flesh fly eggs stay inside the body of the female until they're ready to hatch. She then lays them directly in the food source that she has selected. This is often the body of a recently deceased animal, such as a mouse. Other suitable materials are spoiling meat or manure.

Some species of flesh fly have different preferences. The Sarcophaga Kelly species lays her larvae on the underside of grasshoppers' wings, where they become a deadly parasite. The Wohlfahrtia vigil fly may deposit larvae on infants' skin. Other species leave their larvae in bee and wasp nests.

The larvae emerge from the eggs and dine on their food source. It takes a few days for the larvae to grow large enough to leave. At this point, they will crawl away to pupate. When they're outside, the larvae will typically stay close by, burrowing into nearby soil. Inside the home, they may travel much farther. The larvae will emerge as adults roughly 10 to 14 days later.

Problems With Flesh Flies

Flesh flies will rarely infest buildings in large numbers. A few flies might make their way indoors, drawn by food odors and the warm or cool air currents moving through open doors and windows. However, if you see several flesh flies, this usually indicates that they are breeding somewhere nearby, which is a major cause for concern.

If you see more than one or two errant flies, you may want to look for a breeding source in the building. This might be a dead bird or mouse in the attic or a wall cavity. A great number of flesh flies could indicate another type of infestation in the home which is feeding these insects.

Other common sources of breeding material for flesh flies are garbage dumpsters. If you live near a meat rendering facility or processing plant, this could attract flesh flies to the area, too. In some cases, flesh flies are attracted to breeding facilities, shelters, farms, or other properties with many animals. Here, they will seek out open wounds. Protect your animals from flesh flies by properly treating wounds.

Flesh flies can cause many problems. They can transmit bacteria and other organisms that they pick up while landing on feces, carcasses, and other unsanitary material. These flies have been known to transmit salmonella, streptococcus, E. coli, and the polio virus. They may also transmit myiasis or dysentery. Flesh flies can cause intestinal infections in those who eat food that's contaminated with flesh fly larvae.

Pest Control Solutions for Flesh Flies

If you believe that you have a flesh fly infestation, a pest control professional can help you track down the source of the problem. It's important to know where the flesh fly larvae are coming from in order to properly exterminate these troublesome insects. It's rare for a flesh fly problem to become so severe that you need a chemical treatment. It's more likely that you will need to properly identify the fly, find its source of breeding material, and get rid of anything that's providing a food source for the larvae.

An experienced exterminator can help you properly sanitize your space. He or she can also point out points of entry, such as gaps around windows and doors where flesh flies are entering your house. If the infestation is severe, your exterminator may place traps or use chemical baits and aerosol products to get rid of the flies.

More Flesh Fly Information

Flesh flies are unpleasant pests. However, they can serve a purpose for researchers, scientists, and detectives. Learn more about what flesh flies are and some of their purposes.

Flesh Flies at Crime Scenes

Flesh fly larvae can help inform forensic entomologists about the time of death. A close examination of the state of the larvae may provide a timeline for the course of events in a criminal investigation. This is also true of other types of flies, so it's important for forensic entomologists to distinguish between one species and another to make the proper calculations.

Beneficial Behaviors of Flesh Flies

Though you don't want flesh flies in your home, they do play an important role in nature. They are part of the natural decomposition process that breaks down carcasses and returns nutrients to the soil. In wild areas, flesh flies help balance the ecosystem.

Flesh Flies and Light

Flesh flies are extremely attracted to light. You may find them buzzing loudly near light sources that are around their breeding areas. UV light traps are very effective at trapping these flies if you're struggling to control large numbers of them.

If you believe that you have flesh flies in your home, speak with a pest control professional to make sure that you've identified the pest properly. The exterminator can then help you come up with a treatment plan suited to the problem.

Horseflies are unwelcome guests in any situation. Unlike other flies, which are pesky but often harmless, horseflies can inflict painful bites. If you've ever felt a sharp pinch and seen a fly buzzing away, you likely encountered this type of insect. Learn more about what horseflies are and what you can do to escape them.

What Are Horseflies?

Image via Flickr by smkybear

Horseflies are blood-sucking insects that will give you a painful bite. Though they may look similar to ordinary houseflies at first glance, there's a big distinction between these two pests. Once you've suffered the bite of a horsefly, you'll probably be ready to tackle the task of extermination. This unwanted pest is a major nuisance in or around the home.

What Do Horseflies Look Like?

Horseflies are large flies that can measure over an inch in length. They're black to dark brown in color with bright eyes that are typically black, purple, or green. Their wings can be transparent or solid-colored. They have stout bodies, six legs, two wings, and antennae. Their overall appearance is similar to the housefly only much larger, and in some cases, they are more colorful. Due to their size, they're sometimes mistaken for bees before given a closer examination.

Though you probably won't have the chance to examine their mouths closely, female horseflies have six sharp mouth parts here that are made for cutting and tearing. This is what they use to deliver the painful bites they're so notorious for. Not all horseflies will bite people, however. Male horseflies lack these vicious mouthparts and only collect pollen.

Female horseflies need blood from their prey to get the necessary nutrients to reproduce. Unlike mosquitoes, which pierce the skin delicately and suck out the blood, horseflies pierce the flesh and tear open a wound that they can lap blood from. They will bite their host multiple times if needed until they have gotten their fill of blood.

Where Do Horseflies Live?

Horseflies can be found in many parts of the United States, though they present the biggest problem in Florida. They enjoy the warmth and humidity that's available year-round in this state. These insects prefer warm climates where they can find a habitat near a body of water. Horseflies are typically forest or marsh dwellers, though they will move to any area where there's abundant prey. Beach towns are popular for horseflies because they can stay near water and often find plenty to feed on.

An adult horsefly can fly for over 30 miles, covering a significant amount of territory in search of food. However, this is not their typical approach to hunting. Horseflies are more likely to perch on the ground, sitting in roadways or on wooded paths waiting for an animal to pass by. They are most active on still, hot days and prefer to feed around the middle of the day.

Horseflies are attracted to light, so you may find them gathering near windows if they get into the house. They find their prey by looking for movement and dark color. They can also detect the carbon dioxide that's breathed out by living creatures and will use this to find animals to feed on.

Problems With Horseflies

Horseflies can carry and transfer diseases through their bites. However, in the United States, most horsefly diseases are spread only to livestock and not to humans. This isn't much reassurance for the livestock owners, however, who want to protect their animals from these pests.

Though it's unlikely that you'll catch a disease from a horsefly bite, you may suffer from an allergic reaction. These bites can also lead to bacterial infections if they're not cleaned and treated properly. These flies will respond to certain insect repellents, such as those with DEET. However, this is only a temporary solution. The best approach is to contact an exterminator to find out how to get rid of horseflies in or around your home.

Pest Control Solutions for Horseflies

You can deter horseflies from hanging out around your house in several ways. Do all you can to make sure that you're not creating a welcoming environment for them. Get rid of any standing water on your property that's likely to attract them. Trim your grass and get rid of weeds, as unkempt areas give horseflies a convenient place to lie in wait for their next meal. Horseflies are attracted to garbage and animal feces, as are other types of flies. Clean these up promptly and keep waste in a well-sealed container.

If you have horseflies in your home, look for their entry points. Seal any gaps around windows or doors and make sure your screens are in good repair. These flies are fairly large, so you can often see where they're getting in and close this entry point. An exterminator may also be able to help you identify likely points of entry for these pests.

A lawn and landscape treatment from a professional exterminator can provide a more thorough solution to a horsefly problem on your property. These solutions use chemicals that deter horseflies from visiting your area.

Other Horsefly Facts

Horseflies are a troublesome pest, but there are some interesting things that you may want to know about them.

They Are Diverse

Worldwide, there are about 3,000 species of horseflies. In Australia, these insects are referred to as March flies. In Canada, they're known as bulldog flies.

Horseflies Are Short-Lived

It can take up to a year for horsefly larvae to become an adult. Once this insect reaches maturity, however, it will live anywhere from a few days to up to two months.

If you have horseflies in your area, take action as soon as possible to prevent them from laying eggs and setting up permanent residence near your home. Contact a professional exterminator to find an effective solution.

If there is one insect on this planet that most humans could do without, it would be the common house fly. These small flying insects are some of the most annoying creatures on Earth. They buzz around your head, get in your face, and land on your food. You may even find one floating in your drink.

With all the negative aspects that house flies are known for, their positive contributions to the environment are often overlooked. When in their natural habitats, they help clean up organic waste material and are a huge part of the natural decomposition of dead animals and other insects. Still, despite these positive behavioral traits, flies can be a nuisance when they make their way into your home.

What Are House Flies?

Image via Flickr by Eran Finkle

Adult house flies are half an inch of pure trouble. They aren't picky about what they eat. Their diets can consist of animal food, animal carcasses, human food, excrement, or garbage. They will go from one to the other spreading germs and disease where ever they land. They are known to carry more than 100 different pathogens that can cause illness such as cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid, and dysentery.

Adult female house flies lay eggs anywhere that provides a warm, humid environment and food for the larvae. Female house flies can lay up to six batches of 100 eggs. When the weather is warm, the eggs can hatch within a 12- to 24-hour period. The typical life span of a house fly in its natural habitat is usually less than one month, and that number drops to two or three days without a viable food source.

What Do House Flies Look Like?

A house fly measures between 4 millimeters and 7.5 millimeters in length and is usually dark gray in color. House flies have transparent wings with distinctive veins and black stripes on their thoraxes. They are covered with tiny hairs that act as taste organs. The eyes of house flies are known as compound eyes. Their eyes are incredibly complex and made up of thousands of individual lenses that provide them with a wide field of vision. Male house flies are yellow on the sides of their abdomen.

Where Do House Flies Live?

House flies can be found around the world and are right at home here in the United States. House flies don't have a nest in which they spend a lot of time; they are always on the move. When they need to rest, they like edges, corners, or thin objects. When they are inside, they will rest on the walls, ceilings, and floors. When they are outside, they will rest on the ground, plants, garbage bins, or fence wires. At night, they usually frequent places that are 5 to 15 feet high and near food.

Problems With House Flies

House flies are the epitome of everything filthy. They eat and breed in filth, and then they carry that filth everywhere they go and spread it to everything they touch, which can cause sickness and disease in humans and pets. This becomes especially troubling when you consider how many times a fly has landed on your plate or in your food. Most people will shoo the fly away and continue to eat, but this can be a costly mistake if the fly happens to leave just one of the over 100 pathogens that it may be carrying at the time.

These terrors on wings are attracted to your home and other buildings by air currents that flow from inside. They prefer an ambient temperature of around 83 degrees Fahrenheit and will be drawn to the cool air coming from within your home on warmer days and the warm air on cooler days. They are quick and somewhat stealthy and will shoot in when a door is opened, or they will find their way in through cracks or gaps haven't been properly sealed off.

Once they get inside, flies may thrive on the available food sources and multiply. The fact that they are drawn by odors and air currents from inside your house makes it hard to keep them out, especially during the warmer months when they are most active. Be sure to keep your home in a state of good repair so there are no easy access points for house flies or other pests.

House Fly Control Solutions

House flies are significant indicators of an unsanitary living environment. If you fear that these pests are invading your home, the best course of action is to thoroughly clean and sanitize the inside and outside of your home. By removing potential food sources and possible environments that are suitable for flies laying eggs, you will significantly reduce the chances of having a house fly infestation.

In severe cases, you may want to enlist the help of a professional pest control agency. Professional exterminators are trained in how to eradicate house fly invasions and can implement plans that will prevent future outbreaks.

If you feel that you can handle the situation on your own, you can try one of several methods to eliminate house flies. For instance, you can utilize fly bait and traps if the intrusion is significant enough to warrant them. Alternatively, if you can locate the breeding site where the eggs are being laid and eliminate it, then you will only have to deal with the remaining adult flies.

When faced with menacing house flies, you may feel that defeating them is impossible, but with a little knowledge, you will be well on your way to protecting your home and your family. Prevention will require ongoing effort, but if you stick to your plan, you can keep these pests outdoors where they belong. Take control of your household by working to maintain a pest-free atmosphere.

Moths can be a real nuisance, especially when they take up residence inside your home. Moths are very destructive, and depending on the species, they will invade your pantry or your closet and wreak havoc. In your pantry, they will contaminate food, and in your closet, they will eat your clothes. Identifying which moth species you are dealing with is vital when battling against an infestation.

In most cases, you only notice that a moth is in your house when you are watching TV at night and one flies in front of or lands on the TV screen. One lone moth doesn't seem like much of a threat, but one moth can quickly turn into many if it can successfully lay eggs. Because moth infestations can be hard to manage once they have established themselves, you should always be vigilant and remove moths from your home — even if it's only one.

What Are Indian Meal Moths?

Indian meal moths are some of the most destructive pests in the United States. Their diets consist of practically any processed food that has vegetable origins, including candy bars, cereals, grain products, pet foods, spices, dried fruit, powdered milk, nuts, and occasionally a dried flower arrangement. With such a wide range of foods, they are widespread and can be found infesting the entire production chain. Indian meal moths often plague places like warehouses, restaurants, pet stores, mills, and seed companies.

Indian meal moths undergo full metamorphosis. They live in four stages: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. An adult female that has mated will lay as many as 400 eggs on or in a food source within a two- to three-week period. If they are left unchecked, Indian meal moths can produce up to eight generations in one year.

After the adult lays the eggs, it will die, having fulfilled its purpose. When the larvae hatch, they will immediately begin to feed. After some time passes and they are ready to pupate, they will leave their food source to find a suitable location to pupate and spin a silken cocoon. When they emerge from the cocoon, they will be adults.

What Do Indian Meal Moths Look Like?

Image via Flickr by dhobern

An adult Indian meal moth measures in at around ? inch long with a wingspan of about ? inch. The adult's wings are usually gray, but the rear half of the wings has a nearly bronze or rusty brown coloration. This unique pattern on their wings distinguishes Indian meal moths from all other moth species. Their larvae are cream colored, may feature pinkish or yellowish-green shades, and have dark brown heads. 

Where Do Indian Meal Moths Live?

Indian meal moths are found around the world and can survive in many different environments. In the United States, they are considered to be the most destructive and most common pest to ravage stored foods. They are more than capable of surviving out in the wild but prefer to infest any place where food is stored. This type of environment is ideal, as it provides them with a food source, safety, and shelter as the larvae develop into adults. 

Problems With Indian Meal Moths

Adult Indian meal moths do not eat, yet they survive long enough to mate and lay eggs. Their larval stage causes all of the destruction as they feed. They do not carry parasites or diseases, but while feeding, they leave behind a sticky webbing, fecal pellets, and cast skins. This can make for an offensive surprise when you pull out an infested bag of flour to make biscuits.

Foods stored in cardboard boxes or soft plastic bags are still vulnerable, making your pantry an open buffet for Indian meal moth larvae. The larvae are capable of eating through cardboard or plastic to gain access to food sources. When you find that they have invaded the food stores in your pantry, you will have to throw out all contaminated food. The cost of that can quickly add up, depending on how bad of an infestation you have. 

Indian meal moths also promote the growth of mold, adding another problem for you to deal with. If an Indian meal moth infestation is not adequately contained and preventative measures are not put into place following an outbreak, eliminating them can be a long, drawn-out process. When it comes to these pests, the best offense is a good defense.

Indian Meal Moth Control Solutions

If you fear that Indian meal moths have invaded your pantry, you should take the following steps:

  1. Inspect every food package from inside your pantry and any cabinets where you have stored food. All food that is contaminated must be thrown away. If you have ornamental dried flowers or plants, you must also check there and discard them if they are infested.
  2. After removing the contents of your pantry and cabinets, thoroughly clean all shelving, gaps, cracks, and crevices with a vacuum and soapy water.
  3. Seal off any holes that may be in your pantry or cabinets. You should also look for crawling larvae on the floor and for cocoons on the ceiling of your pantry to ensure that you leave no trace of the infestation.
  4. Restocking your pantry and cabinets with hard plastic containers and sealed glass containers to help prevent further infestations. Any pet food that you have should also be stored in airtight containers to protect it from the moths.

In severe cases involving Indian meal moths, you may need the services of a professional pest control agency to eradicate the pests. A trained technician can identify and neutralize the threat and implement a plan of prevention that will safeguard your home and your family. The time it takes to read up on Indian meal moths will be time well spent when you have them living and breeding in your home.

Mud daubers, commonly known in the south as dirt daubers, are fascinating insects. If you have ever seen a tube-shaped nest made with mud on the outside walls of your house or possibly inside your garage, then you know what a mud dauber is. They aren't very aggressive towards humans, and they help control other insect and spider populations.

However, with the good comes some bad, as their nests are unsightly and create a mess. Mud dauber nests are capable of growing to massive proportions if left unchecked, and the bigger they become, the bigger the mess they cause. Having an understanding of these creatures can be beneficial if you want to eliminate them from the exterior of your home.

What Are Mud Daubers?

Mud daubers are in the category of insects known as wasps. They are solitary wasps and do not form colonies. This makes them less volatile, and they rarely sting humans unless provoked. Adult mud daubers seem to be predatory creatures because they hunt and capture other insects and spiders, but the captured prey is procured for their young. Adults will feed on honeydew, plant nectar, and the bodily fluids of their prey. 

Mud daubers build their nests out of — you guessed it — mud. They can often be observed around puddles, where they collect mud to build their nests. A mud dauber nest is sculpted out of mud and often resembles a long narrow tube. These nests can be long and wide, consisting of multiple tubes with varying lengths, and can be constructed both horizontally and vertically. Mud daubers that build this type of nest are called the organ pipe group. However, other types do exist:

  • Some build nests with cylindrical mud cells, which are then covered with mud that is smoothed out. This type of nest will be about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.

  • Some build nests that resemble small clay pots. The mud daubers that are responsible for making this type of nest are called potter wasps.

Mud daubers go through four stages of life: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. All of these stages are lived out inside of their mud nest, with the exception of the adult stage. Adults mud daubers will continue the process as new females begin constructing their own nests.

While building new nests, the females will capture prey to place inside each cell. Though mud daubers will catch other insects, spiders are their primary targets. They will capture a spider and sting it, injecting venom into the spider that paralyzes and preserves it. The spider will then be placed into a mud cell while it is still alive. An egg will be deposited on it, and the cell will be sealed. This will continue until winter comes and the adult wasps die off. The typical life span of a mud dauber is one year.

In more temperate climates, mud daubers will remain active year-round. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will eat the spiders or insects that were left for them. Then they will spin cocoons and remain inside of them for around three weeks before emerging as adults. If this occurs during the winter months with harsher climates, the pupae will spend the winter in the nest and emerge as adults the following spring.

What Do Mud Daubers Look Like?

Image via Flickr by cricketsblog

The most common colors for mud daubers are metallic blue and all black. A few of the different species of wasps in this category can have yellow markings on their bodies as well. These wasps are generally longer than social wasps and range from 0.5 to 1 inch in length. They have a skinny waist and a smaller abdomen than other types of wasps as well. Their other physical characteristics include six legs, two antennae, and wings.

Where Do Mud Daubers Live?

Mud daubers can be found throughout North America. They tend to build their nests in sheltered areas, such as under the eaves of houses and buildings, on exterior walls, inside of barns and garages, or even on trees. In rare cases, they will also build nests inside of your home if they find their way in through structural defects.

Problems With Mud Daubers

For the most part, mud daubers are beneficial to have on your property. They help to control the populations of annoying insects and spiders. One of the most critical nuisances they take care of is black widow spiders, which can be deadly to humans.

The main problem that mud daubers cause is the unsightly nests that they make. The fact that these nests are aesthetically unappealing and detract from the beauty of your home is undeniable — not to mention the mess made when cleaning them off the side of your house. In some cases, the nests will leave stains on surfaces such as vinyl siding and metal trim. For this reason, they are viewed as pests and may need to be removed and controlled so they no longer threaten the curb appeal of your house.

Mud Dauber Control Solutions

In severe cases, it is prudent to contact a professional pest control agency to assist you with removing mud dauber nests and putting a plan into place to prevent further infestations. If you decide to eliminate them on your own, here are a few methods you can try:

  • Remove their nests. However, it is a good idea to first spray the nest with an insecticide specially formulated to kill wasps.

  • Relocate the nest at night while wearing protective gear.

  • Put a plan in place to control the spider population, and mud daubers will have to relocate due to a lack of food.

  • Use methods to attract birds that feed on wasps. You will want to draw in magpies, starlings, and blackbirds.

Other than the ghastly sight of their nests and the mess their nests can make, mud daubers are very beneficial to have on your property. They will help to control other annoying insects, such as house flies and even venomous spiders like the black widow. If you don't mind the location they choose for their nests, you won't have to worry about how to get rid of mud daubers. Let them be, and they will help protect you and your family from far worse threats in return.

Wasps can be a danger to humans, especially if you are allergic to the venom they inject during a sting. The sheer volume of stings that could be delivered by a large nest of wasps could prove to be fatal as well. Wasp nests are relatively easy to spot, so they can be easily avoided unless they have created nests your porch, attic, or other areas of your house.

Though wasps are generally viewed as a negative, they do offer benefits that you may not be aware of. Wasps help with pollination — not quite as much as bees, but enough that they can make a difference. They also hunt and kill other insects that are harmful to gardens and flowers. 

What Are Umbrella Wasps?

Image via Flickr by Michael Hodge

Umbrella wasps are a species of wasp in the United States that creates an upside-down nest. These nests are usually located under the eaves of houses, under covered porches, or even indoors if the wasps can find their way inside your home. They are aggressive and will defend their nest and from any perceived threat. Their sting delivers a potent venom that some people are highly allergic to, and one sting could be fatal under the right circumstances.

Umbrella wasps are social insects and live in a colony that ranges in size from just a few wasps to 800 or more per nest. The nest is constructed from wasp saliva, wood, and chewed cellulose and is attached to a surface by a small stem-like structure that is surprisingly sturdy. They also contain individual cells, large enough to be observed, where eggs are laid.

In the fall of the year, the whole colony of umbrella wasps will die out — except for females that have mated. They will find a protected location and hibernate through the winter. In moderate climates, umbrella wasp colonies don't die out, and if left undisturbed, they will continue to multiply and grow into massive colonies.

In less-than-favorable climates, fertilized females will come out of their protected location after winter and find a place to build a new nest. A popular belief is that old nests left over from previous years are reused, but this is not the case. The new queens will lay eggs and tend to the young until they reach adulthood. These sterile workers will then begin to care for the nest, the colony's young, and the queen.

Umbrella wasps have four stages of life: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult workers provide a steady source of protein for their young that consists of other insects. In the fall of the year, reproductive males and fertile females are produced and then reproduce. After the act of mating, the males will die, and the fertilized females will seek out a safe place to ride out the winter and then start the cycle all over again when spring arrives.

Adult umbrella wasps typically eat sugary foods such as plant nectar, honeydew, or soda when readily available. If these types of foods are left out in your home, they may be drawn inside when foraging for food. This can cause considerable problems for you and your family if an infestation is left unchecked.

What Do Umbrella Wasps Look Like?

Umbrella wasps come in a plethora of different colors that include yellow, orange, black, and reddish brown. They can measure up to 1 inch in length and have two pairs of wings, six legs, and two antennae. Unlike bees, umbrella wasps have a distinctive pinched waist and no hair on their legs. Though they are considered small in the grand scheme of things, they are quite resilient and will fearlessly defend their nests. 

Where Do Umbrella Wasps Live?

Umbrella wasps are found around the world and are extremely common in the United States. With the unique structure of their nests, they can live practically anywhere that is sheltered. You will often find them nesting under the eaves of houses or in covered porches, wall voids, attics, garages, or trees. Regardless of where they decide to live, they will aggressively defend their home from all intruders.

Problems With Umbrella Wasps

Umbrella wasps can cause havoc when left unchecked. When undisturbed, they have the potential to build reasonably large nests numbering close to 1,000 worker wasps. For people who are allergic to wasp venom, there is a real possibility of their stings being fatal. Those that are allergic to wasp stings can go into anaphylactic shock, which can be deadly.

Even if you aren't allergic to their defensive attacks, umbrella wasp stings are very painful and can hurt for 24 hours or more and then itch as they heal. Being attacked by wasps is no walk in the park. These stings can also cause your pets to suffer if they are unfortunate enough to disrupt a wasp nest.

Umbrella wasps are legendary for interrupting BBQs, picnics, outdoor parties, and swimming or just keeping you from relaxing on your front porch. They cause terror in kids and adults alike, and they can make an unsightly mess where ever they happen to be nesting.   

Umbrella Wasp Control Solutions

During the summer months, it can be a chore to keep these unwanted guests away from your home, but it can be done as long as care is taken to prevent yourself from suffering a vicious sting. Removing small nests may be more manageable for individuals who like to do pest control for themselves. The advisability of a DIY approach will also depend on the location of the nest and whether you have the proper means of reaching it. 

If you feel that you are not able to eliminate a wasp infestation without the possibility of being stung, you may want to have a professional pest agency take care of the problem for you. Trained exterminators have the proper training, tools, and equipment to eradicate umbrella wasps and remove their nest safely. Once the threat is eliminated, they can also implement a plan to prevent further infestations.

Although there are positives to having umbrella wasps on your property, it isn't wise to forget about the threat they pose to those who may be highly sensitive to their venom. Your goal should always be the safety of yourself, your family, and your pets when dealing with wasps. Learning how to get rid of umbrella wasps is an important step toward providing a safe and secure living environment indoors and outdoors.

If you happen to come across a velvet ant, let it be! These insects have one of the most intensely painful stings of any species around the world. When you encounter one of these little critters, the best thing to do is to go in another direction and stay out of its path.

Although velvet ants don't usually cause any significant issues on your property, if you or your family have the unfortunate experience of provoking them, it often doesn't end well. The sting of velvet ants has earned this ferocious insect the nickname “cow killer.”   

What Are Velvet Ants?

Certain creatures on this planet just shouldn't be messed with, and the velvet ant is one of them. This solitary creature has a vicious sting so painful that it weighs in at a No. 4 on the insect sting pain index, making it one of the most painful stings in the world. Needless to say, you definitely shouldn't try to handle them, and you should always watch for them in your yard during the summer months. 

The velvet ant is one of the most misidentified and misunderstood insects on the planet. In truth, they are not ants at all. They are solitary parasitic wasps that do not build nests or live in colonies. The female velvet ant is the one that most resembles an ant, as she has no wings and is a ground dweller. Females can be found traversing the ground in erratic motions as they forage for food. Male velvet ants are similar to females, but they have wings and can fly.

Due to their nomadic nature, the female ants use many defenses to travel long distances in search of food, a mate, and a place to lay their eggs. The bright colors that the female velvet ants boast are thought to be a warning to potential predators. Their exoskeleton is sturdy and has smooth edges to prevent them from being crushed in the mouths of predators. They are also able to make a squeaky noise as a warning. This is accomplished by moving different sections of their abdomen to drag a tooth-like projection over a file-like surface.

These ants can also stridulate, which startles predators that are trying to eat them and causes them to spit the velvet ant back out. If these defenses fail, the last resort is for the velvet ant to sting. This tactic has an almost 100% rate of success in terms of enabling the ant to get away from the predator that is attempting to eat it. With all of these defenses, female velvet ants are nearly indestructible.

Velvet ant females seek out ground-nesting wasps such as yellow jackets. They will infiltrate their nests and lay eggs inside the cells where the yellow jacket larvae are located. They do this by releasing chemical markers that allow them to sneak into the nests of other wasps species and remain undetected. The velvet ant's eggs will hatch, and their larvae will eat the larvae of the yellow jackets, spin a cocoon, pupate, and eventually leave the yellow jackets' nest as adults. Adult velvet ants eat nectar like other wasps and bees. 

What Do Velvet Ants Look Like?

Image via Flickr by JefferyTurner

Velvet ants are covered with brightly colored hairs that include colors such as yellow, orange, red, white, or brown coupled with black. Females have no wings and stingers that are nearly half as long as their bodies. As a result, they closely resemble ants. Not only do the females look like ants, but their colors mimic different species of ants depending on their geographic location. 

The males have wings and can fly. They have no stingers but look more like a wasp than an ant, and they are rarely seen. 

Where Do Velvet Ants Live?

Velvet ants are native to the eastern United States and can be found in the north from Connecticut to Missouri. In the south, they can be located anywhere from Florida to Texas. They live solitary, nomadic lives, are always on the move during the day, and have no need a nest to call their own. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of other unsuspecting wasps and bees.

Problems With Velvet Ants

Velvet ants don't usually pose any threat to humans unless they are stepped on or improperly handled. Though their sting is included in the top five most painful insect stings, the venom isn't very potent. Still, the pain from a sting can last for up to 30 minutes and is said to be excruciating.

When you feel that velvet ants may be a threat to your family or your pets, you can contact a professional pest control agency and have them eliminate the danger.

Trained professionals can determine if you really have a problem and then implement a plan to keep them out of your yard. Velvet ants are a rare species, and if there are no more than one or two on your property, they can be beneficial by helping to keep ground-nesting wasp and bee populations under control. If one happens to make its way into your home, you can remove it carefully from inside and place it back outside without worrying about it reentering.   

Velvet Ant Control Solutions

Due to their extremely tough exoskeleton, velvet ants are practically impossible to crush, and most stings come from accidentally stepping on them. The best control solutions for velvet ants include the following:

  • Educating your children about them and how to avoid them.
  • Always wearing footwear that can protect you from their sting. 
  • Using insecticide treatments for your yard to deter velvet ants from foraging around your house.

Pests can cause significant problems when they invade your property and home. You should always learn as much as you can about the various pests you may encounter. By gaining knowledge about velvet ants, you can be better prepared to protect your family and your pets.

You're getting ready to go out on the town, and you want to wear your favorite sweater — but when you pull it off the hanger, you notice that there are tiny holes eaten into the fabric. This is a sign that webbing clothes moths have visited your closet. These moths can cause significant damage to your wardrobe if you don't know how to get rid of them.

After discovering evidence that moths have eaten into one piece of clothing, you should thoroughly inspect all of your other garments for signs of damage and search the closet for adult webbing clothes moths. If it seems to be an isolated incident, the threat may not be high. However, if you find more clothing that has been damaged, you could have a serious problem. Being observant and cleaning your closet are vital to protecting your family's clothing. 

What Are Webbing Clothes Moths?

Webbing clothes moths are insects that feed on clothing, rugs, carpet, bedding, and upholstery. A common misconception about these moths is that the adults are the ones responsible for the damage they have caused, but adults don't have working mouthparts. The larval form of webbing clothes moths are the ones responsible for leaving behind a wake of destruction as they feed.

Unlike food-infesting moths, webbing clothes moths are more nocturnal and will avoid lights. They are not strong flyers, and the ones you see flying are typically males, as the females are weaker and prefer to crawl or hop along the ground. When webbing clothes moths are observed flying, they have a very unusual flying style and look as if they are injured or out of control.  

Females will find their way to favored food sources to lay their eggs. They are careful to place the eggs between the threads or inside cracks of the selected food source. The eggs can be laid one at a time or in groups, and a female will lay anywhere from 40 to 50 eggs. During the warmer summer months, webbing clothes moth eggs will hatch in around four days, but they can take as long as three weeks when conditions aren't ideal.

Upon hatching, the larvae will begin to feed right away. As they move about their food sources, they leave behind a silky residue that contains bits and pieces of the material they are eating as well as their fecal matter. As the larvae grow, they will molt and may do this up to 45 times before spinning a silken cocoon and beginning to pupate. Depending on the environmental conditions they find themselves in, it can take as little as 35 days or as long as two years for them to develop into adults. The adults will only live for around two weeks.

What Do Webbing Clothes Moths Look Like?

Image via Flickr by dhobern

Webbing clothes moths measure around 12 millimeters from one wingtip to the other. They have yellowish coloration with a distinctive golden sheen. They have hair on the top of their head that is reddish gold in color. When they are flying or attempting to fly, they are easy to identify by their disjointed and unconventional aerial acrobatics. 

Another identifying characteristic of webbing clothes moths is their aversion to light; they will retreat from it entirely. The locations where they are found will help confirm their identity, as they gravitate to the darkest areas of closets that contain suitable food sources.

Where Do Webbing Clothes Moths Live?

Webbing clothes moths can be found throughout the United States. Their ideal place of residence is in your closet or your pantry. Though fabrics rich in keratin are what they prefer to eat, they will sometimes feed on foods rich in grains. These moths are more active in warmer climates and during the summer months, but when living in an environment such as your home, they can thrive all year long. 

Problems With Webbing Clothes Moths

Webbing clothes moths can cause some rather expensive damage when living inside your home. The most common issues they have been known to create is the destruction of entire wardrobes. They can also destroy floor coverings, upholstered furniture, and bedding. This type of damage can become costly within a very short timeframe. 

Signs of an infestation will be the destruction that they leave behind and a sudden influx of adult moths flying around inside your home. When you encounter what can only be described as an invasion of webbing clothes moths, you may want to consider using a professional pest control agency. Trained technicians are capable of identifying and neutralizing the threat, implementing ongoing prevention plans, and ensuring that your wardrobe is protected from future infestations.

Webbing Clothes Moth Control Solutions

Even knowing that webbing clothes moths like to eat your clothes, you may not realize you have a problem until it's too late. As with all pests, prevention is the best way to control these moths. Laundering or dry cleaning your clothing will deter moths from eating it, as they prefer soiled materials. Maintaining a clean and organized closet will also aid you in defending your clothing from moths. If you are storing clothes, they will need to be kept in a tightly sealed container to prevent adult moths from gaining access to them.

Traps and insecticides are available to combat webbing clothes moths. Pheromone traps can be used to trap the adults, preventing them from reaching your clothing to lay eggs. Insecticides can be used to treat areas where you have observed webbing clothes moths or damage they caused. You can also treat dark, secluded areas where they might be hiding. Be sure to follow the instructions when using products such as the ones mentioned above.

Staying vigilant is the best course of action when it comes to protecting your home and family from pests of all kinds. Now that you have knowledge of how to get rid of webbing clothes moths, you can take the necessary steps to prevent or eradicate a webbing clothes moth infestation. By taking action now, you won't have to worry about your next favorite sweater being ruined.

If you have ever accidentally stumbled upon a yellow jacket's nest, you know firsthand how unpleasant the experience can be. Yellow jackets will fiercely defend their nests from potential or immediate threats. They attack in force and have the potential to be deadly, so it is important to take measures to protect yourself and your family. 

Though they are aggressive when defending themselves from threats to their nest, yellow jackets can be somewhat beneficial to have on your property. They feed their young insects that are known to damage ornamental plants and crops. If you grow vegetables and have ornamental plants as part of your landscaping, yellow jackets can offer you free pest control. However, finding the balance between the benefits and dangers that yellow jackets pose can be difficult, so you should proceed with caution.

What Are Yellow Jackets?

Image via Flickr by Robert Kocher

Yellow jackets are an aggressive species of wasp. They are very beneficial in the process of pollination and have a varied diet. They hunt and kill other insects, such as flies and beetle grubs, and bring them back to their larvae. In the larval stage of their development, they consume protein. Adult yellow jackets prefer sugary foods like fruit, flower nectar, and even soda when it is made available to them.

When hunting or scavenging for food, yellow jackets aren't apt to sting, but they are very territorial and will brutally defend their nests from threats. They can sting multiple times and have no fear despite their small size.

What Do Yellow Jackets Look Like?

Yellow jackets can be identified due to their small size and bright yellow and black coloration. They average 10 to 16 millimeters in length. Although the distinctive black and yellow coloration is most common, they can also be black and white. Their wings match the length of their bodies and are positioned laterally to their bodies when the wings are at rest.

Where Do Yellow Jackets Live?

Yellow jackets are dispersed throughout the world, with at least 16 different species in the United States alone. Variations in their black-and-yellow patterns allow for separate species of yellow jackets to be recognized. They are considered to be social insects and reside in annual colonies. In harsher climates, the queen is the only yellow jacket to survive the winter and will reemerge in the spring to create a new nest. The queen will then initiate the nest, and female workers will build the nest, forage for food, and care for the young. 

A yellow jacket nest can grow to contain thousands of female workers. During late summer to early fall, males will be born, and mating will happen. Once mating is over, fertilized queens will seek out a protected area where they can ride out the winter. In warmer climates, colonies can live through the winter and continue to grow in size. 

Depending on the species, the queen will either choose an underground or aerial location to nest. Nests that are located above ground are constructed of a paper-like material consisting of cellulose that has been chewed. These nests have a grayish tone to them and can be easily identified as a yellow jacket nest. They are often attached to trees, the eaves of houses, wall voids, attics, or bushes.

Problems With Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are attracted to meats, sweets, and leftover food. They can be a nuisance when they have taken up residence near outdoor social areas or open trash bins. They aren't known for causing structural damage, but they can chew through drywall as a means to enter your home, causing unsightly cosmetic damage. Once they have created a nest indoors, they can be hard to deal with, as they will aggressively defend their nests.

Although their sting is extremely painful, yellow jackets do not pose a severe threat to those who are not allergic to their venom. However, people who are allergic to a yellow jacket's sting are at risk of dying if they are not treated shortly after an attack. Also, those who are not allergic may gain a heightened sensitivity to their venom after being attacked, which could complicate things if they are ever stung again. Your best bet is to avoid being stung when possible.

Yellow Jacket Control Solutions

Keeping your home in order by cleaning up food, food crumbs, and other messes that may attract yellow jackets is one of the best steps you can take to prevent them from entering your home. You should also keep indoor and outdoor trash bins clean and covered to prevent yellow jackets from causing problems in those areas. If you choose to attempt eradicating a yellow jacket nest on your own, insecticide sprays and dust are available for use.

Treating the nest at night when the entire colony has returned from their daily routines will be the most effective approach. After using the spray, dust should be used to prevent any further activity in the area of the nest. If there is still activity at the nest the next day, you may have to repeat the treatment several times until you have killed all of the yellow jackets.  

Finding and eliminating yellow jacket nests earlier in the summer is best, as their colony won't be as big then as it will be near the end of the summer.  Another advantage of eliminating them sooner rather than later is that you will be able to prevent the production of males. This will prevent the yellow jackets from mating, helping to curb the number of fertilized queens in the coming year.

When contemplating how to get rid of yellow jackets, it is best to consult a professional pest control agency. Expert technicians can identify and neutralize the threat by utilizing methods that have been proven to eliminate yellow jacket infestations. They have the protective equipment and specialty training necessary to combat this aggressive species of wasp. 

Yellow jackets can be beneficial when it comes hunting down and killing other types of pesty insects, but they're not worth the risk if they pose a threat to you, your family, or your pets. Yellow jackets can be deadly under the right circumstances, so be vigilant when it comes to your family's safety.

Beetles are found worldwide and have adapted to survive in many different climates. They are of the most plentiful creatures on earth and seem to thrive when facing environmental change. The layman may view beetles as pests, but science has found that studying beetles can be significant. The presence of healthy beetle populations in an area can be indicators of regional biodiversity, freshwater quality, and ecological continuity.

Though beetles are generally good for the environment, they can quickly become a threat when introduced into human civilizations. They can threaten foods and other goods and can be very destructive. When beetles such as carpet beetles have infested your home, they can pose a threat to you, your family, and your home. This is why understanding how beetles survive can assist you in eliminating them from your home and property before they can cause severe damage.

What Is a Carpet Beetle?

The carpet beetle is a type of beetle that is known for causing extensive damage to carpets, bedding, clothes, and upholstery. It's the larvae of carpet beetles that do the dirty work of damaging your personal property, but the adults don't get off that easily since they are the ones that infiltrate your home and lay their eggs where food for their young is abundant.

Adult carpet beetles will fly into your home through open doors or windows and proceed to lay their eggs on any suitable source of food. A female carpet beetle will lay between 25 to 100 eggs in the spring, and these eggs will hatch within two weeks afterward. The time it takes for carpet beetle larvae to develop into adults depends on the availability of food and the humidity level of their environment. It can sometimes take a year or longer for carpet beetle larvae to develop into an adult.

The carpet beetle larvae mainly feast on materials made up of fabric such as fur, animal hair, felt, silk, wool, and leather. They will leave behind definite signs of an infestation that can include loose carpet fibers, holes in clothing, holes in upholstery, and shed brown skins, indicating that you may have a carpet beetle problem. Adult carpet beetles will feed on dead animals and insects and are considered beneficial to the natural process of decomposition, but due to the damage their young can inflict, having them in or around your home can be of significant concern.

What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Gilles Gonthier 

Carpet beetles have an oval-shaped body and can reach from 1 to 4 millimeters in length as they mature to adulthood. Colorations that they can have are yellow, black, orange, and white patterns. Carpet beetle larvae are usually light brown to black in color and have dense hairs covering their bodies. Sometimes the hairs can even be barbed.

Another identifying feature of carpet beetle larvae is three golden colored hairs that are very distinct and located on their abdomen. During this pupae phase of their development, they tend to be larger than some of the adults and can measure up to 2.5 centimeters in length. They will continue to shed their skins as they develop into larvae and then into adult carpet beetles.

Where Do Carpet Beetles Live?

Carpet beetles can be found throughout the United States but are more common in northern coastal states. This is due to these states having a more humid and colder climate. Adult carpet beetles can live outdoors or indoors. When living outdoors, they can live in bird nests or nests of other animals. Indoors, they can live in walls, crawl spaces, and chimneys. They prefer to lay their eggs indoors due to the abundant food sources that are readily available for their young.

Carpet beetle larvae are at home in carpet and tend to infest rooms and closets. Carpet provides them with plenty of food, shelter from light, and protection. They will venture from the carpet into bedding, clothes, and other fabric materials in search of food.

Problems With Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetle larvae can cause unsightly and costly damage if an infestation is left unchecked. They are always on the move and looking for their next meal. They can destroy carpet from the inside out, create holes in your favorite or most expensive clothing, destroy upholstered furniture, and much more.  

Carpet beetle larvae may also cause skin irritation as a direct result of you coming in contact with their bristly, hair-covered bodies. They will also leave behind shed skin and fecal debris in or on infested surface areas. If not kept in check, these little nuisances can leave behind big messes.

Carpet Beetle Control Solutions

When you suspect that you are dealing with a carpet beetle infestation in your home, enlisting the help of a professional pest control agency will be of great benefit. Trained exterminators will be able to identify and confirm the pest, work to eradicate the threat, and implement a preventative plan to reduce the risk of future invasions. This will incite peace of mind that your family, home, and possessions are protected from pests such as carpet beetles. 

When inspecting an area of your home that you feel may have carpet beetles and their larvae, you should look for signs such as damaged clothing, fabric, carpet, and furniture. You should also be on the lookout for shed brown skins and the actual larvae or adults. After you have confirmed that you are indeed dealing with them, you should take the time to vacuum and clean all carpet and surfaces where they could be hiding.

You can use insecticides to treat for carpet beetles as well. Once an infected area has been thoroughly cleaned and any infested items have been removed, you can then proceed to treat that area with an insecticide designed for controlling carpet beetles. Due to their small size and the potential for them to be anywhere in your home, it may be necessary to treat your entire home as an added precaution.

Managing pests can be a complicated process that takes research and due diligence. Your family will be sure to thank you for protecting not only them but their clothes, bedding, and home from unwanted and destructive pests such as carpet beetles. Knowledge can be your best ally when it comes to keeping your family and your home safe.

Centipedes are skilled hunters that work to keep other pest populations in check. These resilient creatures can be found worldwide and vary significantly depending on the climate they have adapted to. A centipede's aggressive nature brings them into conflict with people when they trespass inside homes. 

Centipedes are poisonous and can inflict moderately severe pain when provoked into injecting their venom into human tissue. People aren't their natural prey, but they will react in defense when necessary to protect themselves. This makes them quite a nuisance if you find that these feisty little creatures have infested your home.

What Is a Centipede?

Centipedes are classified as arthropods and are invertebrates that can live for more than five years in ideal conditions. The subphylum that centipedes belong to is Chilopoda, which includes somewhere around 3,300 different centipede species. This vast amount of species allows for diversity in size, color, and location.

Centipedes are carnivores and primarily hunt for their meals, but they have been known to scavenge from time to time. They will catch and eat insects, annelids, mollusks, spiders, and even other centipedes. Some of the larger centipede species that are located in tropical locales will consume small birds and frogs. When they capture their prey, they use their forcipules to inject venom and then wrap their bodies around the victim until the poison has taken hold.

A centipede's venom has a paralyzing agent that renders their prey motionless as they consume them. Their first set of legs are forcipules, which are fangs that inject venom from a special gland. This is a unique trait that only centipedes have. They also have maxillipeds, or large poisonous claws, that work in tandem with their mouthparts when they eat. The last set of legs of a centipede aren't used for moving. Instead, they serve for sensory perception, defense, catching prey, or courtship.

When centipedes reproduce, it is not uncommon for the female to protect her eggs until they hatch. Female centipedes lay between 15  to 60 eggs and will guard them against insects and male centipedes. Aside from female centipedes caring for their young, they are typically solitary creatures and will fight when confronting one another. 

Though centipedes are poisonous, some people do keep them as pets. They can be purchased from pet stores and are typically kept in a terrarium. Care should always be taken to ensure that a pet centipede is not capable of escaping their enclosure. 

What Do Centipedes Look Like?

Image via Flickr by A. Davey

Centipedes are elongated arthropods that have segments with one pair of legs per segment. They have a flattened body with long antennae and a varying amount of compound eye pairs. A centipede's head is made up of six segments and contains their mouthparts and a pair of maxillipeds that are poisonous. Depending on the age and species of a centipede, it will have a different number of body segments, and two of those segments contain its genitalia.

Most centipedes grow to be 10 to 100 millimeters in length, but some larger species can grow to be 4 to 300 millimeters long. Though the word centipede translates to "100 legs," these creatures never have 100 legs and can have significantly less or more. The number of a centipede's leg pairs are always an odd number, and that number can range from 15 pairs to 191 pairs. The number of legs that centipedes have will change throughout their lives as they shed or molt their skin, gaining another segment with a new pair of legs each time.

Centipedes are just as varied in coloration as they are in species. Rusty red, dark brown, white, reddish-green, bright red, and yellow only scratches the surface of the colors they can be. Some species are even multicolored, such as the giant red-headed centipede. This particular species has a black body, yellow legs, and a rusty-red head.

Where Do Centipedes Live?

Antarctica is the only continent where centipedes don't live. They have adapted to many different environments ranging from moderate to extreme climates. Centipedes thrive in tropical climates and have an array of different configurations and shapes. The majority of centipedes are well acclimated for living in leaf litter, in the soil, under tree bark, and beneath stones.

Most arthropods have a waxy covering that works to trap water and prevent dehydration, but centipedes do not have this luxury. They have to take refuge in damp and dark environments such as piles of leaves or wet, rotting wood. When seeking shelter in your home, they will typically live in humid basements or crawlspaces. They will enter your home most commonly at night to hunt for other pests that may be living in your home.

Problems With Centipedes

Centipedes are venomous and aggressive, making them a threat to people, notably children. When a centipede attacks and injects their venom into human tissue, it can cause bruising, skin damage, inflammation, and even gangrene if the wound isn't correctly cared for. This makes centipedes one of the most unwanted type of pest to infest your home.

Some people will allow one or two centipedes to roam free in their home or garage to help control other pest populations such as spiders, but this choice comes with its inherent risks associated with the threat centipedes pose to humans. Sometimes they can even go unnoticed by homeowners since they are primarily nocturnal.

Centipede Control Solutions

Preventing centipedes from infesting your property and home can be as simple as reducing areas of moisture that come into contact with your home, or you may need to deal with more complex problems like humidity issues within your home. Not allowing mulch or other landscaping materials to come into contact with your home and keeping shrubs and tree limbs from causing overshading can be of enormous benefit when it comes to keeping these pests out of your home. If you feel that you aren't able to handle centipedes on your own, a professional pest control agency can be a lifesaver.

Centipedes are fascinating creatures but can pose a severe threat to your family and your pets if they have invaded your home. The best way to defend against centipedes is prevention, but in some cases, you may have to go on the offense, and this is where an expert can come in handy. Learning how to prevent centipedes from encroaching on your personal space can help you to protect your home, family, and pets. 

Mites are everywhere on earth, yet some of them are so small that the human eye never sees them. There is no substantial evidence of how many species of mites there are in the world, but a million or more species would be a good guess. They live everywhere: in the ground, in trees, on animals, in bodies of water, in human hair, or just about anywhere else that you can imagine.

These tiny little creatures do serve a purpose and contribute to the environment far more than most people realize. Mites can make crops grow healthy or sick, soil turn over slower or faster, and decomposition slow down or speed up. They impact the world beyond what is scientifically understood. When mites such as clover mites have invaded your home, they can quickly become pests. Understanding how clover mites survive can help you determine how to get rid of clover mites.

What Is a Clover Mite?

Clover mites are in the arachnid family and are closely related to ticks and spiders. They are common in the spring and fall months but lay dormant through the summer and winter months. They can be a nuisance during the seasons they are active and are known to invade homes and other structures during this time.

Clover mites feed on the juices of plants commonly found in your lawn, grass, and clovers but do very little damage as they feed. They are known to infest over 200 different types of plants. If necessary, they can survive by eating mold and algae. No matter what their food sources may be, clover mites live relatively close to or on them.

Houses and other structures that have well-fertilized, healthy lawns and shrubs are the areas that will have the densest concentrations of clover mites. During the spring, early summer, and fall, homes that fit these criteria are likely to be invaded by clover mites in search of breeding grounds. They can become a real pain once they have successfully infested your home. They can be found throughout your house but are typically drawn to the southern side of your home due to the warmth.

Female clover mites will each lay around 70 eggs during the spring. They will lay these eggs under siding, in crevices of buildings, under bark near the base of trees, and in any other well-protected area. The temperature must be between 40 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit for clover mite eggs to hatch. If weather conditions aren't right, the eggs and other stages of clover mites will hibernate through the winter or become dormant during the summer until environmental conditions permit them to hatch. 

Once they hatch, the immature clover mites are immediately on the move in search of food. The young will pass through two nymphal stages before becoming adults, and they will crawl into sheltered areas to molt as they develop.

What Do Clover Mites Look Like?

Image via Flickr by abbynormy

As with most mites, clover mites are tiny, but as far as mites go, they are one of the larger species. Clover mite adults measure 0.75 millimeters in length. Clover mite adults have an oval-shaped body and are about the size of the head of a pin. Clover mite young appear to be a brighter red, but adults are reddish-brown and a little less bright in color. Their abdomens are sparsely covered with feather-like plates. 

Like all other arachnids, clover mites have eight legs. Their two front legs are extremely long and are often confused as antennae. Their other six legs are considerably smaller. Despite their small stature, they can move around relatively quickly.

Where Do Clover Mites Live?

Clover mites live throughout the entire United States and can be found in your front yard. With over 200 confirmed types of plants that these small critters feed on, they can be found just about anywhere. They thrive in well-maintained landscapes found around homes, gardens, businesses, and other structures.

Problems With Clover Mites

Clover mites are not harmful to humans and do very little damage to the plant life that they feed on. They don't cause damage to clothing, furniture, or food items either. Though they don't naturally cause any issues, they become an unwanted pest when they infest your home. When they invade your house in numbers, they can be very annoying and cause red stains if they are crushed. These red stains are not blood but the pigment that gives the clover mites their color.

The sheer number of clover mites that can make their way into homes, medical facilities, and other structures are enough to cause concern. Once they have made their way indoors, they will soon die due to the lower humidity levels. This lower humidity will cause them to die from dehydration.

Clover Mite Control Solutions

If you find that clover mites have infested your home, there are steps you can take to remove them and prevent future invasions. Using a vacuum or a damp sponge is a great way to remove immediate threats, but don't stop with just vacuuming up the ones you can see. You will need to vacuum all of your floors, windowsills, and walls. This will not only remove visible clover mites but will also remove their molted exoskeletons and eggs. 

Once you have finished vacuuming, you will need to properly dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag to prevent the clover mites from escaping back into your home. You should also check any pets for mites and brush or bathe them to remove the mites.

Prevention is the best way to discourage clover mites from infesting your home. Preventative measures may include keeping vegetation trimmed away from the exterior foundation of your home, sealing off exterior cracks or crevices in your house, and using insecticides on your lawn. If you have an excess of clover mites, a professional pest control agency can assist you.

All mites, such as clover mites, aren't bad. Even so, having clover mites in your home as an unwanted guest can be an issue. Taking the time to put preventative plans into motion to prevent clover mites from infesting your personal space can save you the headache of dealing with these tiny pests.

Confused flour beetles are a nuisance when it comes to stored foods and grains. They are known to infest areas where they have access to these stored goods. Confused flour beetles are often misidentified and have a striking resemblance to red flour beetles, and these two species can usually be found infesting the same areas.

When in your home, confused flour beetles will infest your pantry in search of stored foods. After they gain access to your home and food, they will multiply and contaminate your food stores in the process. Learning how to store dry foods and grains properly will help to prevent confused flour beetles from invading your pantry.

What Is a Confused Flour Beetle?

Image via Flickr by Ian Sane

Confused flour beetles are one of the most common pests to infest stored food products. They feed on the dust and broken bits of flour, grains, pasta, and cereal. They usually originate in warehouses where these types of products are produced. The supply chain then introduces confused flour beetles into grocery stores, and they make their way into your home inside the packaging of these stored goods.

Once confused flour beetles have made their way into your pantry, they can quickly move to other foods. If left unchecked, they can ruin all of your stored goods by making them unfit for consumption. Farms and warehouses can suffer catastrophic losses due to the destruction that these pests can dish out during an invasion. When the damage they cause is severe enough, it can cause economic hardship for the farmers and businesses involved.

The extent of foods that confused flour beetles will eat isn't isolated to just flour and grain. They have been known to eat spices, beans, dried flowers, nuts, chocolate, dried pet food, dried museum specimens, and seeds. This makes them a threat to many different industries, and they can be hard to control after they have established themselves in an area. If you think that you might have a confused flour beetle infestation in your pantry, knowing how to identify them will help you determine the best course of action to take to remedy the situation.

What Do Confused Flour Beetles Look Like?

Confused flour beetles are a reddish-brown color and range from 3 millimeters to 6 millimeters in length. They have an elongated and flat body with a head, six legs, and antennae. They also have wings that are covered by a protective shell.

Confused flour beetles have earned the “confused” in their name by being commonly confused with red flour beetles. These two separate species are so similar that distinguishing between the two may require a microscope. The main difference that distinguishes the confused flour beetle from the red flour beetle is their antennae. The confused flour beetle's antennae have four clubs and gradually increase in size. The red flour beetle's antennae only have three clubs.

Where Do Confused Flour Beetles Live?

Confused flour beetles originate from Africa, yet they are found worldwide in cooler climates. The northern United States is home to these destructive pests. They are naturally occurring where grains are grown, but they will quickly move into the silos and warehouses the grains are stored in and begin to breed in these well-protected places.

Females are capable of laying up to 450 eggs and will lay them in loose food materials or broken kernels. The eggs will then hatch in 12 days or less, and the young begin to feed immediately. After about four months they will have developed into adults and have an average life span of a year, but they have been known to live up to three years.

Problems With Confused Flour Beetles

Confused flour beetles can cause significant damage to grain crops, food stores, and other types of dried goods. When they have infested farms and businesses, they can cause the losses of entire harvests and disrupt any food production that requires the use of grains. Once they have established themselves within the supply chain, they can be unknowingly transported to grocery stores, restaurants, and your home.

When they have successfully made it into your home and pantry, they can contaminate and destroy all of your food stores. This can be financially distressing, since you will have to restock any food that has been lost as a direct result of having confused flour beetles infesting your home.

Confused Flour Beetles Control Solutions 

Eliminating a confused flour beetle invasion starts with removing all contaminated food products from your home. Inspection of your food stores will need to be done to determine the extent of the damage and to ensure that you have removed the threat of another infestation. It's also a good idea to learn how to properly store foods in your pantry and cupboards. Doing so will help to minimize the risk of having confused flour beetles spread when or if they are introduced to your home by contaminated products.

A critical step to take when you are battling against confused flour beetles is to thoroughly clean pantries and cupboards by vacuuming and wiping down all surface areas that were exposed to an infestation. This is to ensure that you have removed as many of the pests or all of the pests from the affected areas. If you can avoid using insecticides to treat against confused flour beetles, that would be best, but as the last step using them in crevices and cracks will work to kill any of the pests that are laying in wait for new food sources.

Confused flour beetles can leave you confused as to how and why all of your pantry items have been ruined. Finding that you have a confused flour beetle infestation can be overwhelming and may require the services of a professional pest control agency. Expert exterminators can provide you and your family with peace of mind when it comes to protecting your home and food stores from pests.

At some point in time, you may have heard about earwigs and the superstitious nature of their names. They have been demonized as insects that will enter people's ears to eat their brains, but this is no more than an urban legend and has no scientific basis. These odd insects are of great benefit to their natural environments.

Earwigs help in the natural process of decomposition by eating decaying plant matter. It's when earwigs find their way into your home, garden, or greenhouse that they become a force to be reckoned with. Learning how earwigs survive will allow you to effectively prevent them from causing havoc on your property or in your home.

What Is an Earwig?

An earwig is an unsightly insect that is misunderstood more often than not. Human brains aren't on the menu, but this doesn't mean that they should be left to run amuck. Earwigs are mainly nocturnal and will hide out in secluded areas in wait for nightfall. Lighting, such as porch or patio lights, can draw them in, and they may gather under outdoor seat cushions.

An earwig's diet consists of decaying animal matter, other insects, and dead or live plant matter when in its natural habitat. When found inside of your home, their diets can be adapted to eat oily or greasy foods, indoor plants, and sweet foods.

Earwigs excrete a yellowish-brown, foul-smelling liquid from their scent glands as a defense mechanism. This liquid isn't necessarily dangerous but can be irritating. They also have pinchers on the back of their abdomens that can be used to inflict a "bite" when threatened.

When reproducing, the female earwig will lay between 20 to 50 eggs that are oval-shaped, smooth, and white in color. Unlike other insects, female earwigs tend to their young and show an incredible motherly instinct. Before they lay eggs, they will run the male earwig out of the nest and clean the nest. After the mother lays the eggs, she guards them. To prevent mold growing on the eggs, she will periodically move the eggs around in the nest to keep them clean.

Once the eggs have hatched, the female earwig will feed and care for her young until they have grown and developed enough to defend and provide for themselves. This includes protecting them against other insects and other earwigs. This motherly instinct is rare among insects.

What Do Earwigs Look Like?

Image via Flickr by tom_bullock

Earwigs are rather frightening at first sight with the large pinchers that are positioned on their abdomens. They are commonly black or brownish in color and have two sets of wings, with their back wings folded underneath their front wings. They use their pinchers to fold or unfold their back wings, capture prey insects, defend their nest, or probe narrow crevices.

Though most species of earwigs have wings, not all of them fly. The ones that can fly don't do it that often. When their habitat is ideal, earwigs have little to no reason to fly. If they do decide to fly, they are rather clumsy in the air and will typically only fly in short bursts. 

Where Do Earwigs Live?

With more than 20 species of earwigs living in the United States, you are sure to have seen them on your property, especially if you have a garden or greenhouse. When conditions are right, earwigs will thrive. They prefer cool, undisturbed, and wet areas. Their natural habitats are usually in a well-sheltered area that has adequate, easy-to-access food sources . 

Due to a pheromone that earwigs give off, they are found to live together in large quantities. Areas that earwigs frequent as nests when outside are under landscape mulch, in tree holes, exterior building cracks, and under other ground covering objects. When inside, they will seek out damp areas to camp out and will travel throughout your home along the baseboards. 

They are agile on their feet and can often evade you with ease. As long as your home doesn't have humidity issues, earwigs won't be able to survive for more than a few days in the typically drier air that most homes have. If you have a large population of earwigs living on your property, in a garden, or a greenhouse, you may see these pests regularly inside your home.

Problems With Earwigs

Earwigs aren't known to cause any significant damage to the interior, exterior, or structural areas of your home, but they can wreak havoc on a garden or inside of a greenhouse. They will eat live vegetation, and a well-kept garden or greenhouse is a paradise for earwigs due to the moisture and abundant food sources they provide. They do eat dead or decaying plant matter and can benefit the forest floor, but when exposed to your indoor plants, greenhouse, or garden plants, they can cause remarkable damage to seedlings and mature plants alike.

Though earwigs aren't a direct threat to humans, they do excrete foul-smelling liquids from scent glands that can irritate your senses. They can also use their formidable pinchers to inflict the semblance of a bite to protect themselves, but these pinchers don't spread disease and aren't poisonous. These two defenses are also used against other earwigs when defending their eggs and young.

Earwig Control Solutions

Prevention is the best play when it comes to controlling earwigs. Outdoors, you will want to reduce moist soil by keeping any landscaping cover — such as mulch or natural debris like dead leaves — away from your home's foundation. Creating a dry area that extends between 6 to 12 inches away from the foundation will deter earwigs from entering your house.

Another preventative measure is to remove any large debris that covers the ground and can provide shelter for earwigs. This can be logs, landscape timbers, firewood piles, and decorative stones. You can also help eliminate earwigs and other pests by trimming any shrubs or tree limbs that are touching the side of your home. Doing so will prevent them from creating overly shady and damp areas where pests can gather.

In extreme instances where you feel that you are overwhelmed by the number of earwigs you are dealing with, a professional pest control agency can provide you with the help you need. Having peace of mind makes it well worth reaching out for some expert advice.

As with many types of beetles, weevils do serve a purpose to the environment but are pests in regards to stored foods and other kinds of goods. Weevils can be used as a biological control mechanism against invasive plants. They are also noted to help with the natural process of decomposition.

It's when weevils, such as granary weevils, invade your home and begin to take up residence in your pantry that they become a nuisance. Granary weevils will enter your home through open doors, windows, or through infested foods bought at the grocery store. Equipping yourself with knowledge of what these critters are and how to keep them out will help you avoid costly losses of stored foods.

What Is a Granary Weevil?

Image via Flickr by Sleepy Claus

Granary weevil is their common name, but in actuality, they are wheat weevils. These weevils are known for contaminating food stores. They prefer to eat grains and products such as corn, wheat, oats, macaroni, Kaffir seed, sorghum, buckwheat, and barley. This wide range of foods that they like to eat contributes to their ability to infest grocery stores and homes, as they start in places where these grains are stored and then travel through the supply chain within the infested products.

Female granary weevils can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. She will eat a hole in a grain kernel, lay a single egg inside, and then seal it closed with a waxy substance. In 14 days or less, the eggs will hatch. In the larvae stage, they will eat the meat of the grain from the inside until they are ready to pupate. 

Once the weevil has developed into an adult, they will eat their way out of the grain kernel. Newly developed females will release pheromones, and males will respond to begin the mating process. The timeframe in which all of this takes place within a warmer climate is four to six weeks. In cooler climates, the same process can take up to 21 weeks. The life cycle of the granary weevil averages between seven and eight months.

What Do Granary Weevils Look Like?

Adult granary weevils have a moderately cylindrical body and measure from 2 to 5 millimeters in length. The head is extended and has a distinguished snout that reaches down from its head. This protrusion is roughly one-fourth as long as a granary weevil's body. Adults range from a reddish-brown to black in color and have oval pits in their thorax. Though this weevil has wings that are protected by ridged wing-covers, they are not capable of flight.

The granary weevil larvae resemble a grub. They are white, legless, soft, and somewhat fleshy. As they mature, they will develop into pupae and eventually adults if the process isn't interrupted.

Where Do Granary Weevils Live?

Granary weevils are found wherever stored grains and wheat are found. They won't be found in the fields but will make their home in silos, warehouse, packaged foods, and your pantry. When they have infested a grain or wheat farm's stored products, they can be tough to eliminate.

Due to the fact that they lay their eggs inside of grain kernels, the grain itself is their homes. When there is adequate food, they have no reason to move to another location. Granary weevils can't fly but can travel long distances if necessary to find a fresh supply of grain to call home. Granary weevils can go for a month without food, giving them time to travel when necessary for survival.

Problems With Granary Weevils

Granary weevils are notorious for the potential agricultural destruction they can cause. They have made a place for themselves in history by earning the title of being among the most formidable pests on the planet. They can be devastating to farms that produce, store, and sell grains. The damage they cause can be near catastrophic to those whose livelihoods depend on successfully harvesting, maintaining, and providing quality grains.

The main problem with granary or wheat weevils is that once they have infested grain stores, they are often distributed throughout the supply chain to grocery stores and ultimately to your home. Granary weevils can wreak havoc on all of your stored foods and contaminate your entire pantry if they are left unchecked. This can cost you time, money, and the inconvenience of having to eradicate a granary weevil infestation from inside your home.

If both granary and larvae weevils are present, the damage they cause will be expedited because they both eat stored grain foods. Signs that there is a healthy weevil population in your stored foods are the insects themselves and the heat and moisture they produce as they feed and process foods. Help from a professional pest control agency may be necessary if you have a severe enough granary weevil infestation in your home.

Granary Weevil Control Solutions

Taking preventative measures to avoid having issues with granary weevils invading your pantry is suggested. You will need to be sure that you have correctly stored your grains and other foods in your pantry to prevent weevils from gaining access to them. This includes using storage containers that are made specifically to prevent granary weevils and other insects from potentially infesting your pantry.

Sometimes you may unknowingly introduce granary weevils into your pantry by bringing infested products into your home from the grocery store. If you find that this is the case, you will need to remove all contaminated products and thoroughly clean the affected areas to ensure that you have entirely removed the eggs, larvae, and adult weevils. As a final precaution, you can use insecticides in the crevices and cracks of your pantry and cupboards to eliminate any weevils that may be in hiding.

Granary weevils are one of the most common grain infesting pests for a reason, and that is because they are resilient and hard to eradicate when they have established themselves. As with many unwanted pests, taking the time to learn how they are brought into your home and how to get rid of granary weevils will pay off in the long run. Granary weevils are just one of a long line of pests that are best left outside.     

Grasshoppers are fairly large insects that are easy for most people to identify. Though they come in many shapes and colors, their signature lines and long legs set them apart from other insects. Though interesting, grasshoppers can be very problematic if there are too many of them in an area. If you have these insects hopping about, it's helpful to learn more about their habits, so you can decide if it's time to explore how to get rid of grasshoppers.

What Are Grasshoppers?

Image via Flickr by functoruser

Grasshoppers are medium to large-sized insects most notable for their ability to jump great distances. A grasshopper can leap as much as 20 times its own body length. These insects can also fly, moving up to eight miles an hour. Grasshoppers are troublesome when they appear in large numbers. One study revealed that just six to seven grasshoppers per square yard spread across 10 acres will eat as much as one cow. If you're dealing with a high grasshopper population, you may need a professional's help.

What Do Grasshoppers Look Like?

Grasshoppers are typically between one and three inches long. The females are larger than the males. They can be green, brown, or black with colorful markings on their wings in shades of blue, orange, yellow, or red. It is typically the male of the species that has these bright markings as a way to attract females. There are about 18,000 species of grasshoppers, so you might find these insects in many different variations.

Grasshoppers have two pairs of wings which sit over the abdomen in a roof-like fashion. The front wings are long, narrow, and tough while the hind wings are wider and more flexible. Their hind legs are very long, allowing them to accomplish their great jumping feats. Males may rub their hind legs along specialized structures on their wings to make audible noises.

Where Do Grasshoppers Live?

Grasshoppers live around the world. The only areas that they cannot inhabit are those with extreme cold at the north and south poles. These insects will live anywhere they can find an abundant source of food. A grasshopper can eat up to 16 times its own body weight. Leaves, grasses, and cereal crops are among their favorite foods.

These insects are most common in the middle of the United States, ranging from Minnesota and Montana to Texas and New Mexico. They enjoy the semi-arid, sub-humid climate.

Problems With Grasshoppers

There are many natural defense mechanisms that a grasshopper will use against predators, but these are ineffective with humans. When touched or captured, grasshoppers can spit a brown liquid known as “tobacco juice” at the attacker. This can help them distract other insects or predators to make a quick escape. Some grasshoppers also eat toxic plants and store the toxins in their bodies, so they themselves are poisonous.

The primary problems caused by grasshoppers relate to their impact on crops. Problems with grasshopper outbreaks usually last from early summer until the first frost of the year, but this varies by climate and species. When grasshoppers are present in peak numbers, they can wipe out entire fields. Gardeners and farmers often count grasshoppers among their top enemies.

Grasshoppers enjoy a wide range of crops including alfalfa, rice, cotton, soybeans, clover, lettuce, carrots, onions, corn, beans, and tobacco. These insects usually avoid tomatoes, squash, and peas.  

Pest Control Solutions for Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are a difficult insect to control. They're extremely mobile, so you cannot poison a nest as you would with ants. There are several organic measures that you can take to try and control grasshoppers.

If you're wondering how to get rid of grasshoppers without using chemicals, begin by tilling the ground in mid to late summer. This will disturb the areas beneath the soil where females would lay their eggs. Though not a solution for an active infestation, it will prevent future problems when these eggs would hatch in the spring. In early spring, tilling will destroy eggs laid the previous summer.

You can discourage grasshoppers in a garden by covering their preferred plants with cheesecloth. Eliminate weeds anywhere on the property, as these provide food for newly hatched grasshoppers. Predators like birds will help keep grasshopper populations under control. Encourage birds in your area as a way to keep grasshopper numbers down.

If you have a major infestation, you can work with a professional exterminator to control grasshoppers. There are biological and chemical products that will help prevent grasshopper populations from exploding. Insecticides are also available which will kill off grasshoppers more quickly. It's best to have a professional assess the population, species, and damage to come up with a plan that's safest for your area and personal situation.

Other Grasshopper Facts

Grasshoppers are an interesting type of insect when not invading in great numbers. Check out these facts.

Flies Are Their Enemy

As grasshoppers are fairly large, you might think that they have little to fear from other bugs. However, this isn't the case. Flies are one of the greatest enemies of the grasshopper. Flies will lay their eggs on grasshopper nests, where the flies will then feed on the grasshopper eggs after hatching. Some flies will even lay eggs directly on the grasshopper. In these instances, the newborn flies will consume the grasshopper itself when they hatch.

Locusts Are No Different

Many people wonder about the difference between grasshoppers and locusts, but there is none. The pests famous for causing the biblical plague are one and the same with grasshoppers. Locusts are simply a type of grasshopper with short horns.

If you have grasshoppers in your area that are causing notable damage to plants and crops, it's time to speak with an exterminator. We can help you decide how to get rid of grasshoppers on your property and reclaim your garden for yourself.

House centipedes are intimidating little critters that can send chills up and down your spine. They are extremely fast, making them hard to catch or kill without the use of insecticides. They are also poisonous and can inflict a pretty nasty wound if given a chance. All negatives aside, they are carnivorous and hunt other household pests. In their natural habitats, they help to control the populations of other small creatures and bring balance to the ecosystem.

If you find that you have house centipedes in your home, you may have more of a problem than you think. House centipedes need a steady source of food and adequate moisture, which could indicate that you have other unwanted pests and a possible moisture issue in or around your home. Understanding house centipedes will help you determine the best course of action to protect your family and home.

What Is a House Centipede?

Centipedes are elongated invertebrates that have individual body segments containing one pair of legs each. Unlike millipedes, centipedes have long-jointed legs that cradles their bodies higher off the ground and allows them to move rather quickly. House centipedes are a particular species that is commonly found inside homes. These creepy looking creatures are skilled predators that hunt, kill, and eat other small critters such as roaches, flies, insect larvae, and spiders. In this regard, they could be considered allies in the fight against all the small unwanted pests that could infest your home.

House centipedes are poisonous. They incapacitate their victims by injecting venom with a paralyzing agent into their prey before having them for their next meal. Though they prefer to hunt, house centipedes will scavenge for a meal if necessary. They are always on the move and in search of their next meal. House centipedes are known for being faster than their prey as well as their natural predators, and they can often escape from people by sheer speed alone.

During spring and early summer, female house centipedes lay eggs. They can lay anywhere between 60 to 150 eggs at a time. House centipede larvae have considerably fewer segments and legs than their adult counterparts and must go through several successful molts before reaching adulthood. Molting is the process by which they shed their skin and add segments, gaining one segment with one pair of legs with each successful molt.

House centipedes have incredibly long legs, with their legs being just as long as their body. When they capture prey, they outmaneuver them with their speed, pounce on them, and then wrap them up with their long legs as if they were a rancher lassoing a calf. House centipedes are capable of capturing several unfortunate victims at once and will begin eating one while detaining the others until ready for them.      

What Do House Centipedes Look Like?

Image via Flickr by brian.gratwicke

House centipedes are some of the most creepy looking critters on the planet. They are made up of segments and have one pair of legs per segment. They can grow up to 2 inches in length and have 15 pairs of legs. They have three dark stripes running the length of their yellowish-brown colored body. They have well-developed eyes that are reasonably large. House centipedes' legs are long, slender, thread-like, and have white and black banding. On the last segment of female house centipedes, the legs are twice as long as its body or longer.

Where Do House Centipedes Live?

Centipedes are found on every continent except Antarctica and are common throughout the United States. They are well-adapted to many different climates, and they thrive where moisture is abundant and food is readily available. When in nature, they can be found under logs, landscaping timbers, rocks, or any other protected and damp locations. The house centipede is the most common species of centipede found inside homes. When in your home, they can be found in closets, laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchen sinks, crawl spaces, and basements.

Problems With House Centipedes

House centipedes are poisonous, and though it rarely happens, they can inflict a rather painful bite to humans. In most cases, they aren't able to penetrate human skin but may be more of a risk to children and small pets. Other than the risk of a painful bite or an unexpected encounter in the middle of the night, house centipedes do not cause any damage to your property or your home. They don't make nests, spin webs, or leave any signs of their presence.

The primary reasons why homeowners are fearful of house centipedes are their solitary nature, darting motions, and their creepy appearance. If you are concerned about house centipedes infesting your home, you may need to reach out to a professional pest control agency for help. An expert can diagnose the problem and implement a plan to eliminate the threat of having house centipedes in your home.

House Centipede Control Solutions

The best way to control house centipede populations is prevention. There are several actions you can take to reduce or eliminate house centipedes from your home and property. Inspect your home and property for areas that are ideal for house centipedes to live, feed, and reproduce. Place glue traps in and around your home to determine if you have a problem with house centipedes and other types of pests. 

If you are dealing with house centipedes, removal of landscape timbers, rocks, or other prime habitats that are close to your house can help to reduce their populations due to their need for shade, protection, and moisture. In the majority of cases involving house centipedes in your home, there is an abundance of food sources available that has drawn them in. To eliminate the chances of a house centipede invasion, you should focus on killing off all other pests that could be considered as a food source for them.

House centipedes can startle you and potentially cause a painful bite, but they aren't a direct threat to you, your family, your pets, or your home. They are beneficial for keeping other pest populations in check but can be an unsightly and unwanted house guest. By taking the time to understand how house centipedes survive, you will be in a better position to protect your family and home.

When most people think of millipedes, their skin begins to crawl. The fact that these creatures are virtually harmless to humans doesn't take away from how creepy they are. Millipedes are worth more than just a good scare, though. They also benefit their natural habitats.

Millipedes move rather slowly through the soil while eating dead and decaying plant matter. The slow, deliberate way they move helps to rejuvenate the soil, while their diet helps the natural process of decomposition. When millipedes migrate from outdoors into your home or garden, they can quickly become a nuisance and have you scrambling to get them out of your personal space.

What Is a Millipede?

Millipedes aren't insects; they belong to a subphylum of arthropods. These invertebrates have a long body that is made up of many segments. Each segment has two pairs of legs each. The majority of millipedes are herbivorous and shy away from light, choosing to live in the soil or under stones and logs. Their primary diet consists of decaying wood and dead leaves, but they will eat live vegetation when necessary to survive. Millipedes vary in size. When they shed their skin, which is commonly referred to as molting, they add new segments and legs.

Millipedes can live up to eight years and reproduce by laying eggs. They will lay 20 to 300 eggs in the soil yearly, during the spring. In ideal conditions — when there's excess moisture and ample food sources — millipede populations can become quite large. When millipedes find that their natural habitat is no longer suitable due to weather conditions such as flooding or seasonal changes, they will migrate. These migrations can consist of a large number of millipedes, and they often end up invading homes and other buildings to find refuge.

What Do Millipedes Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Mick E. Talbot

Millipedes are nocturnal, and the most common species are either black or brown in color. There are other species that can be red or orange. Millipedes typically grow to be 1 to 2 inches in length and bear a striking resemblance to that of worms but have two pairs of legs per segment. The name millipede translates to “thousand legs,” but they don't actually have that many legs. Their average number of legs is usually somewhere between 80 to 400.

Millipede's legs are somewhat captivating when you watch them walk, as their legs move in a wave-like pattern. When they are startled or resting, millipedes curl into a small tight coil as an effort to defend their more vulnerable underbellies.

Where Do Millipedes Live?

Millipedes live in every U.S. state, including Hawaii and Alaska. They are found in the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as well. Millipedes will typically live in outdoor habitats that are damp such as underneath dog houses or storage buildings, grass clippings or dead leaves, and mulch. They will find their way inside your home if their natural environment has become dry and hot.

Once millipedes have made their way into your home, they will hide under stored boxes, furniture, or other stationary items that provide them with cover. They aren't known to cause property damage, but due to their appearance, the sheer numbers they can have, and the odorous chemicals they release, they can be quite a nuisance when left unchecked. When millipedes die, the chemicals in their bodies can stain indoor surface areas and outdoor patio floors.

Problems With Millipedes

Though millipedes can excrete a combination of irritating chemicals that have an unpleasant odor and can cause skin rashes, they are otherwise harmless to humans. They do not bite or sting and, other than leaving a stain on surfaces when they die, they cause no significant damage to structures, furniture, or stored foods. Small animals may be adversely affected by the chemicals that millipedes excrete when they are startled or handled.

These unsightly pests are just that: unsightly. If millipedes have invaded your home and you are moving stored boxes or furniture around, they can give you quite the scare. They migrate in numbers, so depending on the conditions of their natural environments, you may find that they have taken refuge in your home or business. Due to the potential quantities of millipedes you could discover infesting your home or business, it is of the utmost importance to gain control of these pests sooner rather than later.

Millipede Control Solutions 

As with many unwanted pests, taking the time to inspect your home for areas that allow easy access is beneficial to preventing millipede infestations. If you find cracked foundations, openings around windows or doors, or damaged wood, taking measures to seal off these areas and repairing any damage can go a long way in preventing millipedes from entering your home or business. Keep in mind that millipedes need moisture to survive. If your home is having issues with humidity, correcting those issues can deter them from entering your home and will kill them if they can't find their way outside.

It is recommended to seek out a professional pest management agency if you feel that you cannot handle a millipede infestation on your own. The company will be able to assess the situation, devise a preventative plan, and eradicate the current invasion. Professional help from trained pest management technicians can give you the added peace of mind that your family, home, and pets are well protected from the threat of unwanted pests.

Millipedes may be beneficial to the natural habitat, but they can't be useful if they are inside your home or business. Prevention, though not wholly successful at all times, is the best place to start when battling against millipedes. Learning how millipedes survive will allow you to have a better understanding of how to control their populations on your property and help to keep them out of your home and in their natural habitats. 

You've probably seen pill bugs more than a few times. The curious way they roll up into a ball makes them fascinating to kids, but many don't realize that they can pose a threat to your yard, garden, or indoor plants. Let's go over everything you need to know about pill bugs to keep your greenery safe and your home pest free.

What Are Pill Bugs?

Pill bugs are part of a scientific family called Armadillidiidae and technically a subset of woodlice. As the scientific name implies, these insects are known for having a hard shell of linked plates, flexible enough for them to roll up for full protection, like a tiny armadillo. Pill bugs are often called rollie pollies, potato bugs, or doodle bugs. The common pill bug that most Americans have to deal with is Armadillidium vulgare, or the common pill bug.

The average lifespan of a rollie pollie is about two years, during which the adult body will molt its shell many times. Pill bugs primarily survive by eating decomposing matter from animals, plants, old wood fibers, feces, or even dead insects. However, they can also eat live plants, which makes them a problem for crops, lawns, or gardens if they get overpopulated.

What Do Pill Bugs Look Like?

Image via Flickr by ljguitar

When unrolled, pill bugs look very similar to sowbugs. As you'd expect, they have a pill-like shape, oblong with rounded ends. Their color ranges with the species, from black to brown or gray. They have seven pairs of legs and large antennae that fan out or back from the head. Compared to other insects of similar size, such as ants, rollie pollies are very fast walkers.

Where Do Pill Bugs Live?

Pill bugs will live anywhere with moisture, such as a watered garden or crop field. The reason for this comes down to their ancestry. You may look at these little, quick-crawling bugs and immediately compare them to tiny beetles or other insects. But, oddly enough, rollie pollies are crustaceans, like crabs or shrimp, and the only land-based crustacean in the world.

The main similarity between pill bugs and other crustaceans is that they breathe through gills, unlike other insects that breathe through tiny holes in their abdomens. This means that pill bugs need moisture to breathe, and for this reason they'll usually stay in places with water, such as a damp basement or the lowest, flooded part of the ground after a rainstorm. If the gills on a pill bug's underside dry up, they won't be able to breathe and will die.

Problems With Pill Bugs

For the most part, pill bugs are decomposers and should not pose a threat as long as there is enough dead, decaying matter to eat. However, they can eat living plant matter, consuming any plant they reach. For this reason, pill bugs are an occasional pest in agriculture or gardening. This is especially true of areas prone to rainfall.

However, the consumption of dead plant matter makes pill bugs useful for gardens and the overall ecosystem. Not only do pill bugs serve as food for animals like birds, but they are capable of consuming heavy metals, gradually taking them out of the soil until they die. This can make them useful indicators of whether an area has too many heavy metals in the soil. When not controlled, however, they can become the bane of a garden or field, consuming valuable and slow-growing crops like corn and strawberries

Pill Bug Control Solutions

If you're having trouble with rollie pollies in your yard or garden, or wondering how to get rid of pill bugs, chemical extermination will not be necessary in all but the most extreme cases. Here are a few things to consider for preventing them and dealing with them:

  • Avoid moisture indoors: The average indoor environment is too dry for pill bugs to survive. If you water plants too much, this could turn the soil surface into a place where they can live. Apart from watering more carefully, you can also move your plants out of moist areas such as a basement and into areas with dry air. You could also add a dehumidifier to your indoor grow area.
  • Add mulch to gardens: In flowerbeds, gardens, etc. mulch serves as a great source of food for pill bugs to nibble on for years, keeping them away from living plants. Keep mulch away from the foundation of your home, however, so that they don't transition to eating the wood there.
  • Remove sources of decaying matter: If you have a compost heap, keep it away from your home or garden. Similarly, stack any firewood away from the place you want protected.

If you ever have questions or concerns about pill bugs in your home, or even if you're unsure what kind of pests you're dealing with, fill out our home assessment. The experts at Bulwark will contact you as soon as possible and help get things back to normal.

Common Pill Big Questions

Where Did Pill Bugs First Come From?

Although pill bugs are quite easy to find in the Americas, the critters originated in Europe. They were referred to as woodlice, since they were usually found under logs and other bits of dead wood.

Why Do Pill Bugs Roll Into a Ball?

Pill bugs, like some millipedes, will roll up when they sense danger, to protect themselves from predators or physical harm. This is why simply touching one gently, before it has noticed you, will cause it to roll up in response to the pressure. This also makes them more difficult to grab. Another purpose for this ability, however, is to better preserve the water in their gills and stay hydrated.

Pill bugs range from being amusing occasional sights to annoying pests, although they pose little risk compared to other pests and are easily dealt with. Don't worry if you are seeing an unusual number in parts of your home, because with a few changes and some intervention from a skilled exterminator, the creatures have no chance of surviving, let alone thriving.

One of the tiniest insect pests and a bane for farmers, rice weevils can ruin your day when you find them in your pantry or cellar. Take a look at our thorough guide on how to get rid of rice weevils and everything else you should know about them.

What Are Rice Weevils?

Rice weevils are a species of weevil from the Sitophilus genus, which includes several weevil species that feed on dry food. Unlike many similar species, such as the granary weevil, rice weevils can fly. While they are not pleasant to have around, you can at least be relieved that they are not dangerous or harmful. They do not bite or sting, they do not spread diseases, and they do not damage other things besides obvious food.

What Do Rice Weevils Look Like?

Rice weevils are fairly distinct insects, but don't expect to easily spot their features without a magnifying glass. They are very small, only reaching up to an eighth of an inch. Their dark bodies are reminiscent of a tiny beetle. They have six evenly-spaced legs and a long, curved extension from their heads called a rostrum, which is like a sealed beak with mouthparts at the tip. They have two short antennae splitting laterally from the rostrum bent in front of the eyes. 

One interesting aspect of rice weevils is their color. While they look brown from afar, this color blends in with four reddish-orange patches on their sides. However, rice weevils are so small that adults can burrow inside a single grain of rice, so the human eye usually can't see this exact coloration without a microscope.

Where Do Rice Weevils Live?

Image via Flickr by Charles Haynes

Rice weevils are distributed through all warm parts of the world, with less frequency or no populations in colder climates. Most colder areas, such as northern Europe, have wheat weevils instead, which are more cold tolerant. Specifically, rice weevils will look for any large, consistent source of food, such as bags of rice. They will stay in this one source, similar to an established ant colony.

Rice weevils are particularly fond of rice because of how the grains act like tiny habitats for their larvae. A weevil can chew a hollow space in a single grain, lay eggs inside, and then the hatched larvae can eat their way out as they grow. For these reasons, they also enjoy dry corn and seeds.

Problems With Rice Weevils

Because rice weevils need dry, starchy food, they are primarily a stored product pest. They are an issue in warehouses, grain silos, farms, processing plants, and storage facilities. However, they can grow fond of the average home if it has dry starch in easy reach. What's more, their short life and breeding cycles mean that they can populate quickly.

When females chew holes in food and insert an egg inside, they also seal up the hole with a gelatinous secretion. This can make it much more difficult to detect infestations before they've become obvious and distressing.

Rice Weevil Control Solutions

Fortunately, a rice weevil larva takes about one month to develop. It then takes several more days for the pupated weevil to mature and eat its way out of its food. This gives you some time to take care of these pests if you catch them early, before a population explosion.

  • Find the source: Not many people have large bags of dry rice or corn laying around, but consider what else in your home could be serving as their food. Dry beans, nuts, birdseed, ornamental corn, dry pasta, and even dry pet food can attract them.
  • Throw out infested product: Take any bags of flour, dried corn, etc. with weevils and throw them out, along with any dry products that were nearby. For the future, keep all such items in airtight containers.
  • Clean your home: As with any pest, cleaning up will discourage them. In particular, empty out and clean any places that you saw them that didn't contain food, such as dresser drawers.
  • Pre-treat suspected food: If you're worried that some food might be infested with rice weevils and you want to be especially cautious, you can heat the food to 140 Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or as long as you wish. This will kill all the weevils in all their stages, from eggs to adults, if there happened to be any inside. Doing this for a while with any new grains you buy can also help protect you from bringing in new infestations from the grocery store.

Because rice weevils stay near food, only professional pest controllers should be involved in any chemical treatments. Otherwise, there is a risk of chemicals reaching food that wasn't infested. The experts at Bulwark are ready to hear your situation and will handle any weevils and other insects in a sensible, effective way, guaranteed.

Common Rice Weevil Questions

Do Rice Weevils Only Eat Rice?

No, despite their name, they can eat various dry grains, and also beans, nuts, and even fruit such as grapes, although they prefer dry over fresh. Other species of weevil in the Sitophilus genus have more specific diets, such as only the acorns from oak trees. The tamarind weevil is only known for eating tamarind.

Are Rice Weevils Fragile?

If you give a bag of weevil-infested rice a hard shake, you might mistakenly believe that you've killed them all through blunt force. This is not the case. Several weevil species will feign death when disturbed, folding up their legs and not moving, until they decide it's safe to move again. The only guaranteed way to kill rice weevils without chemical control is to expose them to extreme heat.

Because rice weevils are so small, it might be difficult to know for sure if those are the insects you're dealing with. Fill out our online home assessment form and describe the problem as best you can. Our team will contact you to diagnose your pests and find the best solution ASAP.

Silverfish are an annoying indoor pest, while firebrats are a similar insect, and people often get them mixed up. If you've had it with silverfish or firebrats in your home, check out our guide. You'll learn the difference between silverfish and firebrats along with how to get rid of them.

What Are Silverfish and Firebrats?

Silverfish are wingless, long-bodied insects named for their silver bodies and somewhat wavy walking patterns, reminiscent of a fish. Unlike many pests, which serve as decomposers first, silverfish are pickier and prefer a diet plentiful in sugar, starches, and other carbohydrates. Firebrats are in the same family as Silverfish, only their bodies are usually a darker color.

What Do Silverfish and Firebrats Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Nick Goodrum Photography

Silverfish, as their name implies, have a silver color and a long, narrow body. If you look closely, you'll see dark lines running down the length of their tops. Both insects have exceptionally long antennae for their size, plus three long appendages at their rear end that serve a similar function. For these, their order of insects is often called bristletails.

Both silverfish and firebrats are quite small, with adults ranging from a half-inch to one inch long. Firebrats are more consistent at one-inch long. Because of their thin, minimalist appearance, some find silverfish more unnerving to look at compared to other insects, although they are one of the less problematic insects you could see in your home.

Where Do Silverfish and Firebrats Live?

Silverfish and Firebrats typically live outdoors anywhere they can find food and are distributed through most of the world. Because they can survive on old vegetation and dead wood, they're commonly found under rocks and in rotting logs. Indoors, they can eat paper goods, already-damaged and rotting building materials, or garbage.

Silverfish like mildly damp but cool places the best, making them especially common in bathtubs and sinks. Firebrats, on the other hand, usually prefer higher temperatures and humidity. For this reason, you'll more often see them in restaurants or near other sources of heat and moisture, such as boilers and furnaces. Both silverfish and firebrats prefer to come out and feed at night, and they're not seen as often during the day.

Problems With Silverfish and Firebrats

Both insects shed their skins many times as an adult, and in excessive indoor populations, this can leave unpleasant scales. It's technically possible for these insects to contaminate food by carrying and spreading diseases, although it is not nearly as likely as cockroach contamination. In some cases, their residue can stain clothing as well, and they are known to eat natural clothing fibers if available. This can cause them to eat old clothes stored far away from regular activity, like in attics or deep in the corner of a closet.

Firebrats are arguably worse than silverfish. Their preference for heat means they often infest attics, leaving many dots of feces and chewing small holes in any old wood. While not as threatening as termites, firebrats can make a trip to the attic far less pleasant.

Silverfish/Firebrat Control Solutions

  • Moderate Temperatures and Humidity: Silverfish prefer cooler and slightly moist locations, whereas firebrats prefer warm and fully humid locations. Neither enjoys cool and dry places, like the average room temperature environment. Adding a dehumidifier to bathrooms and other places could help, as will letting steamy bathrooms fan out quickly after a shower. Don't leave any standing water as well, such as pet bowls or overfilled plant pots.
  • Do Your Laundry: Silverfish are attracted to the smell of human sweat and perfumes. Don't leave your clothes lying around unwashed longer than necessary. Do the laundry as often as you can and store the clean clothes in a place with more light and activity, such as the very front of your closet. Avoid shoving clothes into drawers and leaving them there.
  • Seal Up Cracks: Both insects are quick, thin, and agile, able to move their flat bodies into tiny cracks. Sealing gaps in window frames, installing door guards, and otherwise removing entrances from outside will all help keep silverfish and firebrats out.
  • Airtight Containers: Silverfish are particularly fond of dry foods like cereals and grains. Keep these, and especially dry powders like flour and sugar, in airtight containers. Also, keep your counters and other surfaces clean of flour, sugar, etc.
  • Keep Your Home Clean: Silverfish will look anywhere to find food; even along your floor to find crumbs. Vacuum and clean up regularly to limit their options.

Silverfish and firebrats are difficult to remove entirely. They are usually so infrequent that you almost never see them, however. If you're seeing them too often, some form of professional chemical control may be more effective.

Common Silverfish and Firebrat Questions

What Can Silverfish and Firebrats Eat?

Both insects prefer food that has plenty of carbohydrates while also offering protein. This can lead them to dry dog food in particular, as well as human foods found in the garbage or left lying around. They can also survive on paper, fabrics, and even glue.

How Old Are Silverfish and Firebrats?

The order of insects, Zygentoma, is one of the oldest, and silverfish are believed to have come first, about 100 million years before dinosaurs. While many other insects developed winged flight since that time, silverfish have remained crawlers.

Do Silverfish and Firebrats Have Any Use?

Silverfish and firebrats commonly eat dead wood and other plant materials. Because of this, both insects, along with termites and other wood-eaters, are being researched for use in biofuel production. Their stomachs are well-designed to process cellulose into fuel, so some scientists are trying to mimic how their digestive systems function on a grander scale to more efficiently produce biofuel.

If you're having trouble figuring out how to get rid of silverfish in your home, or if firebrats are the issue, the pest control experts at Bulwark are here to help. Our team will hear your story and find the solution that makes the most sense for you, your family, and your property. Try our home assessment page now and fill us in on the silverfish or firebrats in your home.

Sowbugs may not be as unnerving and hated as cockroaches, but these critters have no place in your home. If you see them anywhere, it's natural to wonder what's happening and how to keep them out for good. Let's go over everything you need to know about sowbugs, including how to get rid of them.

What Are Sowbugs?

Sowbugs are a wide group of crawling pests in the same family as rollie pollies, or pill bugs. They are decomposers, meaning they primarily eat dead plant or animal matter, and this makes them important cleaners in the wild. However, sowbugs can also eat living plants, which can make them a nuisance to the plants in your home or garden. They are also known as woodlice, but this is just a common name, and lice are a completely different branch of insects.

Sowbugs are technically crustaceans, just like crabs, crayfish, and barnacles. They belong to the only group of crustaceans that live on land, shared with pill bugs. Although they live on land, they require plenty of moisture to survive and will avoid dry places.

What Do Sowbugs Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Fyn Kynd

Sowbugs are medium-sized insects that reach up to a half-inch in length. Their bodies are dark gray and they have two short, jointed antennae, plus two smaller antennae underneath. Sowbugs have seven pairs of short legs, and their backs are covered in ten overlapping plates that provide protection while keeping the body flexible.

Although Sowbugs are closely related to pill bugs, they have one key difference: sowbugs do not roll up into a ball for protection. Another, more subtle difference is two short tail-like growths at the back of the body, which pill bugs lack.

Where Do Sowbugs Live?

Sowbugs will live anywhere with enough moisture to keep them alive. Outdoors, they will usually live in dark places with lots of dead matter, such as in old fallen trees or under a mulch layer. Indoors, they'll usually inhabit basements, sunrooms, greenhouses, crawlspaces, enclosures, etc. Because of their fondness for decaying food, they are particularly common in woodpiles or compost heaps, hence the common name of woodlice.

Problems With Sowbugs

Because these insects have such flat bodies, they can rather easily enter your home through door thresholds, window gaps, and other small entrances. If you see lots of sowbugs in your home, it could mean that a large population is breeding close to or within the foundation of your home. In general, sowbugs pose little threat or issue. They cause little damage and do not sting, bite, or spread diseases. When overpopulated, however, they can be an annoying and disheartening indoor pest.

Sowbugs Control Solutions

Although sowbugs are not a common or problematic pest, they can get annoying if they appear in your home. However, if they are becoming a frequent visitor, that is usually the sign of a large outdoor habitat nearby. First check to see whether any sources of decaying material, such as woodpiles or compost heaps, could be moved farther away from your home's foundation. Apart from that, other sowbug control options include:

  • Eliminate moisture and standing water: Sowbugs invading the home could be a sign of moisture issues. Remove any constant sources of available water, such as pet bowls, when not in use. This applies outdoors as well. Make sure any gutter downspouts pour away from the foundation. You may want to use a dehumidifier in perpetually moist areas like basements, or invest in waterproofing.
  • Seal up your home: Do not leave doors open, including doors to a garage or enclosure. Seal up any potential passageway with door guards, caulk for window seals, etc. For areas with ventilation, such as crawlspaces and vents, it may help to keep them cleared so sowbugs can't comfortably live there.
  • Prevent foundation access: Keep as little dead organic matter near your home as possible. Don't stack logs or junk like old boards against your foundation, and clear out any easy hiding places such as stones. If you have flowerbeds or other areas with mulch or dead vegetation, try to move it away from the outer walls. Give the sowbugs no good reason to try and shift from outside to inside. It may also help to trim tree limbs and shrubs so that they don't put too much shade or rainfall on your home.
  • Clean up: Because sowbugs are decomposers, they are fond of garbage. Consider getting sealed trash cans for your home instead of open ones, and when it's time to take out the trash, seal up the bags properly and keep them in closed outdoor cans.

In the more extreme cases, where you aren't sure what has invited so many sowbugs into your home, chemical or other professional pest control options might be more effective. Every home and pest issue is unique, so don't listen to pest controllers who don't ask questions before offering a treatment. The experts at Bulwark can diagnose and solve your problem with sowbugs and leave you 100% satisfied, guaranteed.

Common Sowbug Questions

Where Did Sowbugs Come From?

Sowbugs are so old that they are believed to have originated in the ocean as a completely marine species, later transitioning to land in the Carboniferous period, between 360 million and 300 million years ago. There are still some sowbugs that live exclusively in marine environments. Their breadth of species, survivability, and age makes them a frequent topic of scientific study.

How Quickly Do Sowbugs Reproduce?

The female sowbug may produce several broods per year, each with a batch of 25 eggs. Each female has an organ called a marsupium, an underbelly pouch that lets them provide water, nutrients, and oxygen to the developing eggs before they hatch.

Sowbugs are a useful part of the outdoor circle of life, breaking down old and dead materials to support new plant growth. That said, you don't have to accept these tiny creatures where they don't belong. Contact us today directly or with our home assessment form and tell us your story.

Are you afraid that fleas have gotten into your home? Before you jump to conclusions, there's a good chance you're dealing with springtails, another tiny jumping pest. Let's go over how to get rid of springtails and everything you need to know about them.

What Are Springtails?

Springtails, also known as collembolans, are six-legged omnivores that usually feed on decaying plant material, algae, and fungi. Despite their tiny size and bug-like appearance, springtails are not technically insects. They break down dead plant matter and spread fungal spores, which helps keep plants healthy, and since they eat fungi as well, they are good balancers for the ecosystem.

These creatures are named for a forked, tail-like body part called a furcula, which extends from the tip of the abdomen under the body toward the head. The purpose of the furcula is to make the springtail leap away when threatened, hence the name. Some species can jump as high as six inches in the air. However, they only use this to escape a perceived threat, because they cannot accurately control where to spring. This is important to their survival, however, as they have poor eyesight and cannot move quickly with their legs.

What Do Springtails Look Like?

Image via Flickr by AJC1

Springtails are very small, no longer than an eighth of an inch as adults, with most closer to a sixteenth of an inch. Depending on the species, their appearance varies wildly, but all specimens have long, rice-grain-shaped bodies or fatter, tick-shaped bodies. Their coloration ranges from black to gray, brown, yellow, or even white. Unlike fleas, they have two long antennae and lay flat to the ground.

Most people don't recognize springtails based on their individual appearance. Instead, you are more likely to notice a mass of them near a water source. From afar, people sometimes mistake springtails for tiny ants, until disturbing them and seeing them leap in all directions.

Where Do Springtails Live?

Springtails prefer moist conditions and will live near dead plant matter, such as decaying logs near rivers or ponds, or in moist leaf mold. Compared to other pests, they are fairly tolerant of cold. They are sometimes called snow fleas, as they can be found on melting snow cover in early spring. They will usually go toward the easiest source of water, such as swimming pools, and can appear in vast numbers within days.

The main issue with springtails is if they move into parts of your home, as this likely indicates a consistent source of water that you need to deal with. Homes that suffered flooding and water damage often develop a springtail infestation if the moisture isn't completely removed.

Problems With Springtails

In some cases, springtails are believed to cause allergies and dermatitis. They are also a common farm pest, as some species are fond of eating fresh plants. By and large, however, springtails are not dangerous or problematic. Instead, they are a nuisance and a sign that your home has a moisture problem. While tiny, their colonies grow rapidly and can number in the thousands, leading to a nasty mass of hopping, tiny flea-looking pests.

Springtail Control Solutions

The most important solution for killing off a springtail infestation is by curbing the easy water sources in your home. Anything that is perpetually moist should be removed or addressed.

One common source of springtail infestations is moist mulch or soil beds in direct contact with the outer walls of your home. If possible, try to create a barrier between this moist material and your home's foundation. Keep leaf litter, old wood, etc. away from your home's walls and keep your rain gutters clean. For pipes that enter your home from outside, make sure they aren't leaking water.

As for indoors, you'll most often see springtails near consistent water sources, like under sinks or in bathrooms. If you see springtails under baseboards or from under the floor, your home's foundation could have a moisture issue that needs addressing.

In the case that these solutions don't fix the problem, or you don't have time to fix moisture issues promptly, professional chemical treatment may be the final step to evict springtails from your home. The experts at Bulwark are able to address troublesome and tiny pests like these in a way that suits your home and family.

Common Springtail Questions

Do Springtails Have Any Other Unusual Body Parts?

As noted before, Springtails are also called collembolans. This comes from Collembola, a combination of the ancient Greek words for "glue" and "peg". The name comes from an organ on the middle underside of the springtail called a collophore, which was believed to help it stick to surfaces. Today, scientists believe the collophore is for balancing water intake, absorbing or excreting water as needed.

Is It True that Springtails Can Jump Off of Water?

Yes, Springtails are so small that some species can not only walk and maintain surface tension on still water but leap off of it with the furcula. Some species have shorter furcula with weaker leaping capability, however, so this doesn't apply to all springtails.

Are Springtails Parasites That Feed on Humans?

No, there is no clear scientific evidence supporting the idea that springtails feed on humans. This is likely a misunderstanding caused by their scales irritating human skin, or people mistaking fleas for springtails. There are even unsupported claims that the U.S. government used them as a biological weapon, but this makes no sense as they do not carry harmful diseases. Although contact with them may cause a rash due to their scales, they do not bite, suck blood, carry dangerous diseases, or otherwise pester humans.

Springtails may not be as dangerous or troublesome as cockroaches or ants, but you shouldn't have to tolerate them where you live. If you think you're dealing with a springtail problem, complete our easy home assessment form to describe what you've seen. Our team will get back to you as soon as possible to diagnose and resolve the pest problem, guaranteed.

Nothing ruins your day like seeing a dead cockroach under your sink and wondering how long it lived in your house. Finding a living one crawling around is even worse. If you want to learn what American roaches are, and how to get rid of them, check out our guide on these unacceptable house guests.

What Are American Roaches?

American cockroaches are a prevalent species of cockroach and one of the largest. In the southeast, they are often called palmetto bugs. However, this is a mistake, and palmetto bugs are a different species called the Florida woods cockroach, which looks different, stays outdoors more often, and emits a foul odor when threatened, while American roaches do not.

Despite their name, American roaches came from Africa on ships due to the Atlantic Slave Trade, around 1625. Due to global distribution, American roaches can be found almost anywhere in the world.

What Do American Roaches Look Like?

Image via Flickr by edward_rooks

American cockroaches are a lighter brown with yellow markings on its back near the head. They have long antennae and six legs with spiky growths. They also have a distinctly thin shape, unlike palmetto bugs, which are broader and more pill-shaped. American roaches are also lighter and more consistent in color, whereas palmetto bugs are dark brown with black stripes down the body.

Where Do American Roaches Live?

American roaches are spread throughout the world and will live anywhere with reasonable humidity. They are most often seen near the equator, but they still live in dryer or colder places, especially if they can reach the warmth and water in a human home.

The vast majority of American roaches live outdoors, but they will move into any human structure that seems worthwhile. They are particularly likely to infest basements, bathrooms, and crawlspaces due to their darkness and water.

Problems With American Roaches

No one enjoys seeing a roach on the kitchen counter in the middle of the night. However, these insects aren't just unpleasant; they can be dangerous due to contaminants. American roaches carry and spread diseases, contaminating surfaces through their feces and corpses. They can contain dangerous bacteria inside and outside of their bodies that spreads to anything they touch, and their fecal matter can be a source of allergic reactions.

American Roach Control Solutions

  • Keep Your Home Sealed: To keep these pests out in the first place, seal up gaps in windows or doors with caulk or guards, and do not leave doors or windows open longer than necessary. Never leave food or beverages sitting out.
  • Clean Your Home: Cockroach feces contains a hormone that attracts more cockroaches to the area. Frequently cleaning your home's surfaces in general, and adding natural aromas to your home, will all help counter this. In particular, cockroaches hate herb smells like mint and eucalyptus, along with citrus. If it smells fresh and clean, cockroaches probably hate it.
  • Take Care of Your Lawn: Oddly enough, the disruption and noise caused by mowing your lawn and performing yard work will send a clear message that your territory is not quiet or safe, encouraging the roaches to go elsewhere. If your lawn is overgrown, by contrast, roaches will see it as just another part of the woods.
  • Bait Stations: Poisoned or trap bait stations are a common way to deal with the odd cockroach or two. Granted, in more severe cases these will probably not completely solve the problem.
  • Keep Your Home Clean: Take out garbage frequently and remove clutter, especially paper clutter such as junk mail or newspapers. Consider switching all of your cardboard storage boxes out and using airtight plastic totes instead. The outside of your home is just as important. Leave junk, garbage, firewood, and other potential roach habitats far away from your house.
  • No Standing Water: Pet dishes, cooking pans, plant pots, and anything else that holds water out in the open should not have standing water all the time, especially near the floor.

Many of these solutions work primarily for prevention, rather than curing a present infestation. In those cases, some form of chemical control will probably work best, and if you need to know how to get rid of American roaches, Bulwark team members can work with you to find what works best for your home and family.

Common American Roach Questions

How Do American Roaches Reproduce?

Females form an egg case on the tips of their abdomens. Once ready, a female uses its saliva to glue the egg case to a surface where the eggs can develop. An adult female produces a range of six to fourteen egg cases in a lifetime. Each egg case has ten capsules containing 15 eggs on average, so even a single pregnancy will lead to hundreds of new cockroach nymphs. Fortunately, the eggs take about 45 days to hatch, and each roach needs anywhere from six months to a year to reach adulthood and reproduce.

Thanks to the relatively long life cycle, thorough extermination can deal with American roaches before they populate further. If you're concerned about American roaches in your home, contact us immediately through our home assessment form or get a quote by describing your problem.

What Do American Roaches Feed On?

American roaches will eat just about anything and will go after whatever's in easy reach. They can easily feed on any discarded organic matter, like human hair or fingernails. They have no problem eating paper products such as cardboard, but they're also known to consume old building materials, plants, cosmetics, soap, and even beer.

How Old Are American Roaches?

It is unclear when exactly American roaches appeared. Cockroaches in general, however, are even older than dinosaurs, first appearing an estimated 359 million years ago. They are the very first living things to fly, and many modern pests, including termites, are descended from early cockroaches.

American roaches are a terrible pest that no one wants to see in their home. With so many effective treatment options, no one should have to suffer the stress and health risks of a roach infestation. If you need American roaches or other pests evicted for good, contact the pest control experts at Bulwark today.

Have you been seeing cockroaches that have bands higher up on their bodies? If so, you could be dealing with a brown-banded cockroach infestation or the early signs. Take a look at our complete guide on these pests to diagnose, understand, and eliminate them from your home.

What Are Brown-Banded Cockroaches?

Brown-banded cockroaches are a species of cockroach with the scientific name Supella longipalpa. Although fairly small, they have several traits that make them more troublesome than other species.

  1. They don't require much moisture and prefer dry places, making them more likely to be found in common living areas.
  2. They are highly active and quick movers, which makes them more unsettling to find.
  3. They prefer high places and are eager flyers, making them harder to reach and kill.

Before attempting pest control, be certain that you are dealing with brown-banded cockroaches and not another species. Many strategies that work on most cockroaches will be ineffective against brown-banded roaches, due to their behavior and habitat differences.

What Do Brown-Banded Cockroaches Look Like?

Brown-banded cockroaches are a smaller roach species, with the biggest adults reaching a half-inch in length. They are unique among their family of insects because of how different the males and females look. Adult males are longer and light brown with wings that pass over the entire body, whereas adult females are shorter, broader, and have wings that only partially cover the abdomen. Also, males are more yellow-brown compared to the females' dark brown. All specimens have two thick stripes running across the thorax and abdomen, hence their name.

Where Do Brown-Banded Cockroaches Live?

The brown-banded cockroach is distributed throughout the United States, particularly the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest. They have also spread to Europe, and are common pests in Britain.

Unlike other cockroach species, the brown-banded type is particularly fond of the indoors. This could be because they thrive in habitats that consistently stay between room temperature and moderately warm. They will inhabit dry places such as kitchens or closets, but dryness isn't a deal breaker, and they can survive just about anywhere in your home. Like most roaches, they will hide in cracks or other tight spaces and come out in search of food and water at night, when you're most likely to spot one.

Because brown-banded cockroaches prefer warm and dry places and dislike light, they'll often live near upper cabinets, inside pantries, and near refrigerator motors. Any dry place they can hide, though, is a possible home for the insects.

Problems With Brown-Banded Cockroaches

Image via Flickr by siamesepuppy

Like any indoor cockroach, these pests can spread diseases through their corpses, fecal matter, or through direct contact when walking over food or surfaces. Their presence in a home is stressful and unpleasant. What's more, they are one of the least picky eaters, capable of damaging furniture, drapes, and building material.

Perhaps the most distressing fact about brown-banded roaches is that they are more willing to fly than other species. Adult males, in particular, have a good chance of trying to fly away when disturbed, which is not a pretty sight for most homeowners. Combine that with their tendency to live above ground, and it's easy to see why brown-banded roaches are so strongly hated.

Brown-Banded Cockroach Control Solutions

Because these roaches are one of the most difficult species to control, you may need professional chemical treatment to fully remove them. However, there are several additional options that can help prevent them from appearing in your home and curb a potential infestation.

  • Clean Up: Since brown-banded roaches don't need much moisture, removing water sources and adding dehumidifiers will not be effective like with other species. However, keeping your home clean, free of clutter, and smelling fresh will help discourage them from entering your home and sticking around. In particular, cockroaches hate herbal smells and citrus smells, with mint being one of their most hated odors. Never leave food or spills lying around and clean and put away dishes as soon as you've used them. Empty your garbage every evening and keep the bags in tight-fitting containers.
  • Seal Up Your Home: As with all insect pests, you can limit your chance of them staying in your home by barricading them out. Sealing window frames and door gaps and keeping doors and windows closed will help. You may also want to check your HVAC vents and clean them out because clogged vents have weaker air flow that won't be able to push insects away.
  • Survey the Problem: Just seeing the occasional roach doesn't give a clear idea of how many reside in your home. It's a good idea to gauge how many there are by placing sticky traps at key locations, such as in corners or by shelves. Use these traps for at least one week. In less serious cases, this can catch all of the roaches and fix the problem entirely. If not, and you still see them afterward, it may be time for thorough and professional pest control.

Common Brown-Banded Cockroach Questions

What Can Brown-Banded Cockroaches Eat?

Like most roaches, the brown-banded species will eat any organic material it can find, including paper products and even glue. It can also survive on color dyes, making them fond of old book bindings, draperies, and wallpaper. They can also gain nutrition from the residues of skin and body oils from sweat, which can lead to them chewing clothing or furniture.

Do Brown-Banded Cockroaches Bite?

No, they do not bite or sting and are not aggressive when threatened, preferring to run or fly away. However, their sanitation concerns still make them threatening to your home's health.

If you're trying to find out how to get rid of brown-banded cockroaches and enjoy your home without them, contact the pest control experts at Bulwark. Whether you're concerned about roaches or other pests in your area, we'll listen to your situation and find control options that make sense and erase the problem, guaranteed.

Cockroaches have earned a bad reputation by invading our homes, distributing diseases, and creeping into our nightmares. Though they seem to be all bad, they are beneficial to the environment. They eat decaying organic matter, which helps in the natural processes of decomposition. Cockroaches play a vital role in the nitrogen cycle, helping to keep forests healthy.

All of the good that cockroaches do for the environment isn't enough to outweigh the bad when they have infested your home. If left unchecked, they can quickly overrun an area and cause severe problems for homeowners. Learning how to get rid of German cockroaches is crucial to defending your family and home from the ill effects they can cause.

What Are German Cockroaches?

German cockroaches, despite their name, are thought to have originated from Southeast Asia, but this theory isn't conclusive. They are the most successful species of roach to invade homes, businesses, and other structures. Though they are naturally suited to thrive in tropical and warm environments, they prefer to live indoors.

The success that German cockroaches have with infesting homes in such high numbers is contributed to its ability to reproduce very quickly. They are capable of laying 40 eggs at a time, and it only takes about two months for the egg to hatch and the young to develop into mature adults. This allows them to overrun a house in a matter of months, making them nearly impossible to eliminate. 

German cockroach females produce an egg capsule or ootheca that houses the individual eggs which average between 30 and 48 eggs per egg case. The females' average lifespan is between 20 and 30 weeks, and they can produce up to eight oothecae during this timeframe. If you were to take into consideration that at least two generations developed per year, this would mean that over 10,000 descendants could be produced in a year.

German cockroaches need abundant moisture and only minimal food to thrive. Once they take up residence in your house, they will nest within a few feet from their food source. When one of these critters finds food, they will release pheromones to attract other German cockroaches. When referring to a German cockroach nest, it isn't a structure of some kind but a gathering of them living in one place, laying eggs, and tending to their young.

What Do German Cockroaches Look Like?

Image via Flickr by rockyjvec

German cockroaches vary in color depending on where they are in development. The German cockroach nymphs or young are almost black and have black stripes directly behind their heads. Adult German cockroaches are easy to recognize due to tan or light brown color in combination with the black stripes behind their heads. 

German cockroaches typically grow to 13 to 16 millimeters in length. Though adults have wings, they rarely choose to fly as their primary method of locomotion is to run. As with other species of roaches, German cockroaches have antennae, eyes, mouths, and legs.

Where Do German Cockroaches Live?

Geographically, German cockroaches live throughout the United States. They are well adapted for tropical and warmer climates but are not limited to where they can be found due to their ability to survive inside homes, businesses, and other types of structures. They are of the most difficult pests to deal with once they have infested your house and cause a whole host of issues.

The two most likely places that German cockroaches can be found infesting your residence or business is in kitchens and bathrooms. Once they have established themselves and have access to moisture and ample food supplies, they are unlikely to leave. Signs of an infestation are feces on surfaces that look like black pepper flakes and an identifying pungent odor in the area of the infestation.

Problems With German Cockroaches

The odorous secretions of German cockroaches can alter the smell and flavor of food, and this becomes more likely as their populations grow. Organisms that produce diseases such as protozoans, bacteria, and viruses can be found living on German cockroaches' bodies. As German cockroaches travel through an infested home, they spread these organisms to the surfaces and foods they come in contact with.

Dysentery, food poisoning, diarrhea, and related illnesses that affect the gastrointestinal tract are the most common diseases that German cockroaches are known for spreading. Not only are these types of diseases carried on their bodies but German cockroach feces and shed skins can cause allergic reactions. Allergies triggered by German cockroaches include watery eyes, congestion of nasal passages, sneezing, asthma, and skin rashes.

German Cockroach Control Solutions

German cockroaches can be a nightmare to deal with once they have invaded your home. Their elusive nature and ability to rapidly reproduce is the perfect combination when it comes to creating an infestation of phenomenal proportions. If you have identified German cockroaches as the pest you are having trouble with, it is recommended to seek out the services of a professional pest control agency

Professionally trained exterminators can confirm the type of pest, create a pest specific plan to eliminate the threat, and put preventative measures into place to reduce the possibility of the pest returning in the future. Two key factors that you can address that will deter German cockroaches from moving into your house are to eliminate moisture issues and maintain a sanitary living environment. Any water leaks from the roof or plumbing should be repaired quickly as German cockroaches can't survive without adequate water. Food should be stored safely, and any crumbs should be cleaned up immediately.

Due to their natural tendencies to reproduce at an alarming rate, German cockroaches are the most feared roaches when it comes to a home invasion. They are nasty critters that can contaminate your home, spreading severe health risks to you, your family, and your pets. Knowing the facts about German cockroaches will better prepare you to combat against this pest and to protect your home.

Cockroaches are the fuel for nightmares. They are nocturnal, fast on their feet, and downright menacing. Where there is moisture and food, cockroaches will be too. Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches are incredibly beneficial to the environment. Cockroaches play crucial roles in the natural processes of decomposition, work to aerate the soil, and help to maintain healthy forests by contributing to the nitrogen cycle.

Just by uttering their name, cockroaches incite feelings of fear and disgust. Humans have such disdain towards cockroaches, but it's because we often worry about the cleanliness of our homes. Even the cleanest homes in the world still have the occasional cockroach as a visitor, but it's when they have invaded a home and have been left unchecked that they become a problem. Learning how to detect, eliminate, and prevent cockroaches from using your house as a breeding ground will help you protect your family from disease.

What Are Oriental Cockroaches?

Oriental cockroaches are just one of the many cockroach species that are bugging people around the world. They are considered as one of the filthiest cockroaches on the planet due to their association with garbage. Oriental cockroaches are well known for their taste for waste. They feed on filth, decaying materials, and trash in general. Oriental cockroaches can survive up to a month without food but can only survive without water for around two weeks.

Male and female oriental cockroaches are incapable of flight, and they are typically slower-moving than other roach species. Their average lifespans vary for the males and the females. Male oriental cockroaches live between 110 and 160 days on average. 

Females live an average of 35 to 180 days. Like other species, the female oriental cockroach produces an egg casing, known as an ootheca, housing individual eggs that can number around 16 per casing. An ootheca is dark, and reddish-brown in color can measure from 8 to 10 millimeters in length, and have the appearance of being inflated. One female will produce up to eight oothecae in their lifetime. After the female produces an ootheca, she will place it in a protected spot around 30 hours after it is produced.

Depending on the season, development of the oriental cockroach from egg to adult varies. During warm weather, it can take around 200 days for an oriental cockroach to develop into a mature adult. When the weather is colder, it isn't uncommon for it to take as long as 800 days for them to mature into an adult.

What Do Oriental Cockroaches Look Like?

Image via Flickr by treegrow

The adult oriental cockroach male and female are very different in appearance. Females measure a maximum of 32 millimeters in length. They don't have wings but have large wing pads covering the first few segments of their bodies. They are dark reddish-brown or shiny black in color. 

Male oriental cockroaches grow to a maximum length of 25 millimeters. They have three-quarter-length wings, and only the last few segments of their abdomen are exposed. They are also a dark reddish-brown or shiny black color.

A cockroach has a mouth, eyes, salivary glands, brain, antennae, heart, reproductive system, colon, legs, mid-gut, gastric caecea, fat bodies, esophagus, and malpighian tubules. That is a lot of stuff packed into a small body. With more than a thousand lenses in their eyes, a cockroach can focus on and see more than one object at a time. Their legs are extremely sensitive, and they smell through their antennae. 

The two small appendages located on their abdomen are known as cerci. Cerci act as a warning system of approaching predators by sensing the slightest movement of air around the cockroach. As you can tell cockroaches are very complex creatures.

Where Do Oriental Cockroaches Live?

Oriental cockroaches can be found in the Midwest, Northwest, and Southern United States. They are well suited for their outdoor environments and are often referred to as water bugs due to their attraction to cool damp areas. Outside they can be found near decaying organic matter such as leaf litter, mulch, or other wet areas. They are also prone to live in storm drains, sewers.

If they can gain access into your home, they will take up residence in wall voids, damp basements or crawlspaces, and underneath porches. If left unchecked in such areas, they can become a significant nuisance.

Problems With Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches should have their picture in the dictionary beside the word filth. They are the epitome of filth and will eat just about anything from trash to decaying organic matter. When in a home they can be found living in sink drains that aren't used very often, under cabinets where plumbing is, garbage disposals, or bathroom voids. Being subject to all this filth enables them to spread some pretty nasty bacteria that can cause disease to the foods and surfaces they come into contact with.

Oriental cockroaches have been known to spread food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella, E.coli, and other disease-causing pathogens. These pathogens are carried on their bodies and legs and spread to cleans surfaces as they forage for food and water. As if the spread of disease isn't bad enough, a large population of oriental cockroaches can taint food by changing its flavor or smell from the odors they secrete from their bodies. Having these critters living in or around your house is a threat that will need to be dealt with.

Oriental Cockroach Control Solutions

You may be wondering how to get rid of Oriental roaches once they're in your home. Oriental cockroach elimination is better left to the professionals. Having a professional pest control agency deal with an oriental cockroach infestation allows you to have the confidence that your family and your home are protected from disease. Though having expert exterminators is best, you can help to deter oriental cockroaches from taking up residence in your home by reducing or eliminating excess moisture in and around your home. You can also take measures to ensure that your home is clean and clear of any garbage or decaying organic matter that would attract oriental cockroaches.

Your home is your place of solitude, and having oriental cockroaches living with you will completely disrupt that solitude. Taking preventative measures and hiring a professional to deal with the threat that oriental cockroaches pose. Your family and home will benefit by learning how to get rid of oriental cockroaches.

Roaches are a massive part of the ecosystem. They contribute to the food chain for other animals and even humans in some regions of the world. The most significant benefit that roaches provide to the environment is their contribution to the nitrogen cycle, helping to maintain the health of forests worldwide.

For most people, the word “roach” incites pure terror. Roaches are synonymous with the word filth. Roaches also evoke such a sense of disgust that if they happen to be seen in an eating establishment; often people won't go there to eat in the future. When you find these creepy critters in your home, you should learn all you can about their behaviors and implement a plan to eliminate them and prevent future infestations.

What Is a Smoky Brown Roach?

Smoky brown roaches are some of the most resilient creatures and can thrive in just about any environment, including your home. They are nocturnal and are capable of hiding in tiny places. They will stay protected throughout the day to avoid predators and humans. Though they can breed inside of a residence, they prefer uninhabited structures such as nurseries, gardens, and greenhouses. Other places that you can find them living are around gutters, soffits, eaves, or other areas where moisture problems are inherent.

When night approaches, smoky brown roaches will venture out from their hiding places in search of food and water. Their food of choice is decaying plant matter, but they are very opportunistic feeders. Smoky brown roaches are not picky, eating whatever food sources are available to them at the time such as fecal matter, starches, dead insects, meats, and sweets.

Environmental conditions factor into the developmental timeframe of smoky brown roaches. The timeframe that it takes for them to mature from an egg to an adult varies greatly. It can take anywhere from 160 days up to 716 days for them to hatch and develop into adults. The average life span for adult smoky brown roaches is 218 days for females and 215 days for males. These averages aren't set in stone, as ideal conditions may allow them to live up to two years or longer.

Adult smoky brown roach females are capable of producing up to 32 egg cases, known as an ootheca, in their lifetime. Each ootheca has an average of 20 individual eggs inside. The females will produce this egg case and attach it to what they consider to be a protected surface within a day.

What Do Smoky Brown Roaches Look Like?

Image via Flickr by t-mizo

Smoky brown roaches are a rather large breed of roaches and can grow to 38 millimeters in length. They are shiny in appearance and have a uniform color of mahogany and black. In their early nymph stage, they have a colored stripe on their thorax and the tips of their antennae are whitish in color. In later nymph stages, smoky brown roaches have a coloration that is similar to the adults. Their smoky brown coloration seamlessly blends with mulch and leaf litter, providing them with active camouflage from predators when in their natural habitats.

Smoky brown roaches have two pairs of wings that extend beyond their bodies, and they are considered to be strong fliers as adults. Nymphs are incapable of flight. Adult males and females can fly, and they often exercise this ability if their habitat is threatened. They will fly in search of abundant food sources, moisture, and temperate climates. Though the ability to fly is possible for smoky brown roaches, outside of their natural habitat and in more domestic areas, their primary form of locomotion in search of food and shelter is crawling.

Where Do Smoky Brown Roaches Live?

Geographically speaking, the smoky brown roach is typically found in the southeastern United States. That said, they have been reported in North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, and Southern California. Major metropolitan areas such as Houston and New Orleans are a favorite stomping ground for these elusive pests.

Outdoor areas that are prone to warmth, high humidity, and have plenty of wooded sections are where smoky brown roaches like to live. It is not uncommon to find them under mulch or in tree holes. They are very susceptible to dehydration and prefer moist areas that are well protected from the elements and provide plenty of shade from the sun. Wet and humid areas are vital for smoky brown roaches to survive. When indoors, smoky brown roaches tend to breed in attics and can go unnoticed while their populations grow to astonishing numbers.

Problems With Smoky Brown Roaches

Smoky brown roaches are attracted to your home by stacks of wood, sewer openings, standing water, leaky roofs, or exposed trash. They can enter your home by squeezing through even the tiniest openings and will fly through open windows and doors.

With all of their positive attributes aside, they are large and their appearance can startle those who aren't used to them, especially when they are in flight. Proteins found in their saliva and skin can also cause allergic reactions and can trigger asthma. Needless to say, smoky brown roaches are an unwelcome house guest. Once inside your home, smoky brown roaches will contaminate every surface they come into contact with and will spread bacteria that are capable of causing severe illnesses.

Smoky Brown Roach Control Solutions

If smoky brown roaches have been breeding unnoticed inside your home, your best course of action would be for you to enlist the help of a professional pest control agency. They will be able to diagnose the problem and put a plan in place to eradicate the threat to your family and prevent future infestations.

If it seems as though you only have a few individual roaches bothering you, you should take measures to seal off any cracks and holes in your home where pests can gain access. You can also discourage them by repairing leaky roofs, water leaks, and other areas with moisture issues. Cleanliness will also help in preventing smoky brown roaches from infesting your home.

Smoky brown roaches and similar pests can be of great concern when they have invaded your house. Doing your homework when it comes to protecting your family and home is imperative when it comes to pests of any type. Learning all you can about how to eliminate and prevent smoky brown roach infestations will be of great benefit.

Based on their name, ground squirrels may not sound like a common household pest, but they can be a major threat to both outdoor areas like gardens and your home itself. Take a look at the complete Bulwark guide on what these rodents are, why you don't want them around, and how to get rid of ground squirrels.

What Are Ground Squirrels?

Ground squirrels are part of Sciuridae, a group of mammals that covers all squirrels. Specifically, they include all species that live on or under the ground instead of trees, of which there are many. They are omnivores with a preference for non-animal foods. They will seek out seeds, acorns, and fruits but will also eat mushrooms or insects if they find them. Some species are even known to eat eggs or smaller animals.

Ground squirrels are active during the day, although they still spend most of their time in their burrows, digging to expand the area they can travel underground. The average ground squirrel lifespan is three years in the wild, although they can live much longer in captivity.

What Do Ground Squirrels Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Tambako the Jaguar

Ground squirrels can be fairly large depending on the species, although they usually fall somewhere between chipmunks and prairie dogs. One trait common to ground squirrels is that their tail is shorter than the length of their bodies. As for color, their pelts range from dark brown to light gray, and their bellies are usually lighter in tone. Their tails are covered in long hairs that lie flat, unlike the bushier tails of tree squirrels.

Where Do Ground Squirrels Live?

Ground squirrels have species thriving on all contents excluding Antarctica and Australia. Antarctica is too cold and devoid of food, and Australia has too many predators and competitors. Species deliberately introduced to Australia by humans went extinct due to the native wildlife.

As you'd expect, ground squirrels generally live underground or as low as they can, often digging burrows in the soil. They are more social than most squirrel types, often staying together in groups.

Problems With Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels may not invade your home, but they can be a serious pest for your garden. They will take bites out of the stalks of any edible or ornamental plants nearby, causing the plant to die. They will also ruin fruits such as tomatoes by eating large portions of them. If ground squirrels burrow near river levees, they can cause them to collapse through tunneling, increasing the risk of floods. Ground squirrels also breed rapidly, and if grown out of control, they can even start to invade parts of a human home, such as garages or dirt-floor basements.

As if these issues weren't enough, ground squirrels are also unsanitary, known for carrying fleas that can spread to pets or even people. They are also dangerous carriers for bacteria and various diseases.

Ground Squirrel Control Solutions

Ground squirrels are a challenging pest to control. Not skittish like rats, they will not be bothered by changes to their habitat or repellant strategies. Trapping, however, is fairly effective if done early, before the population has grown too large.

As noted earlier, these rodents can spread disease. Never handle ground squirrels, live or dead, with your bare hands, and ideally don't touch them at all. Disinfect traps that killed or trapped squirrels before resetting them.

In many cases, a ground squirrel problem will need professional pest control measures to curb population growth and keep ground squirrels away. If your garden or general property is facing damage from overpopulated ground squirrels, don't hesitate to contact the team at Bulwark pest control. The experts at Bulwark have dealt with all manner of rodent infestations, including squirrels, and can figure out the solution that best matches your home, property, and situation.

Common Ground Squirrel Questions

How Do Ground Squirrels Reproduce?

While many pests birth young in the spring and mate earlier, ground squirrels breed in the spring, producing up to one brood per year of six pups on average. Because ground squirrels tend to stay in communal groups, they are likely to breed as much as possible, causing their population to grow overwhelming.

Can You Tell From Afar if a Squirrel Is a Ground Squirrel?

One helpful way to judge whether a distant squirrel is a ground squirrel is by watching how long they stand up on their hind legs. Ground squirrels can comfortable stand up like this for long periods of time.

Which Ground Squirrel Is the Biggest?

The largest ground squirrel species is the alpine marmot, or Marmota marmota, reaching nearly 18 lbs (8 kg). They are well-adapted to cold climates, able to dig more effectively than an ice pick and hibernate for around nine months of the year. They are believed to have evolved during the Pleistocene ice age.

Is It True That Ground Squirrels Helped Spread the Bubonic Plague?

While the average person probably associates the bubonic plague or Black Death of the medieval era with rats, squirrels likely had a role in transmitting the disease. Any animal that serves as a host for fleas likely carried the plague back then and could still carry it today. With that said, people in North America have little to worry about regarding the plague, since modern medicine and human antibodies are far more powerful than back in medieval times.

How Old Are Ground Squirrels?

Based on fossils, ground squirrels are believed to have originated at least 30 million years ago, making them quite young compared to insect pests like cockroaches. It is uncertain where they first evolved, but one theory proposes Europe or Greenland, and that they traveled across what would later become the Bering Straits to North America.

Ground squirrels can wreak havoc on your garden, yard, shed, enclosure, and even your house. If you start to see these pests where they don't belong, be vigilant and take early action before they multiply. Contact Bulwark pest controltoday and take the first steps to identify your pests and evict them.

Mice may not have the same bad reputation that rats do, but they have many unfortunate similarities. Just like with various kinds of rats, the house mouse can damage your home, overpopulate quickly, and contaminate food. If you are having problems thanks to house mice, check out the complete Bulwark guide on these pests. You'll learn how to get rid of mice in house areas like garages and basements, as well as what to do if the problem has spread to other areas.

What Are House Mice?

The house mouse is a common rodent species with a wide distribution throughout the world. They have grown so common and so connected to human civilization that the average person is more likely to find them as pests or as pets than in the wild. True to their name, house mice often find and eat food meant for people or their pets. They particularly enjoy sweets and nuts, but will also eat grains, such as bags of rice or dry dog food. The common signs used to detect them are droppings, tracks, and fresh gnawing on nearby objects or walls.

What Do House Mice Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Dunleavy Family

Like with most mice, these animals are smaller than rats, usually less than 7 inches from the nose to the end of the tail. Their fur is smooth and a mix of gray and light brown. Their ears are large and mostly hairless, and their tails have a bald and scaly texture or are slightly hairy. Compared to field mice, their hind feet are fairly short.

Where Do House Mice Live?

House mice are well-distributed throughout the world wherever humans build shelter. Because they tend to rely on human shelter, they can even survive in climates that would normally kill them, such as hot and dry deserts. Unlike rats, which are very cautious rodents that don't venture very far from their nests, house mice will explore and do not settle in one place. They create nests out of shredded material, especially paper.

Problems With House Mice

The house mouse has an unpleasant, musky odor that becomes more pronounced as the population grows. The issues with these rodents go far beyond smell, however. House mice are dangerous and costly household pests for two key reasons:

  1. House mice gnaw on anything in sight, causing damage to walls, furniture, and even important pipes or electrical systems. Damaged wires could even lead to a fire.
  2. House mice are carriers for fleas and mites, which in turn spread diseases like rickettsial pox and typhus. Both a mouse and its droppings can potentially spread salmonella and other dangerous bacteria or viruses, as well as parasites like tapeworm eggs. Their exploration could spread dangerous pathogens to your entire home.

What's more, the house mouse is one of the most prolific home pests, breeding frequently. A homeowner should take pest control measures at the first sign of these pests, which usually means mouse droppings. Otherwise, their population could burst and controlling them will be much more difficult.

House Mice Control Solutions

The most important way to control a house mice problem is through keeping them out. They are skilled at slipping through narrow crevices or holes, so take a thorough look at any potential entrances into your home through the foundation, damages latticing, improperly sealed windows or vents, and other places. 

Because house mice are naturally curious, traps are an effective way to curb their presence. Be sure to put traps anywhere you see signs of them, not just where you saw the mice themselves, and put the traps in covert places that they have passed over, such as inside a sink cabinet or in the corner of a closet.

It may be best to contact pest control experts early if you suspect or know that you are dealing with house mice. The team at Bulwark have the experience needed to diagnose your pests, what caused them to get inside, and how to keep them out for good.

Common House Mice Questions

Why Do Mice and Rats Gnaw on Things?

Mice, rats, and other rodents have teeth that constantly grow. In the wild, these animals would chew on old wood or other tough materials as a way to whittle their teeth down. If they didn't do this, their teeth would grow too large and interfere with eating and drinking. Gnawing also helps with their nests, providing material and chiseling a space to build if they cannot burrow a hole in the ground.

How Do House Mice Reproduce?

One of the reasons why house mice breed so quickly is their brief pup stage. Adults reach sexual maturity after only two months, and gestation after mating takes only three weeks as well. Each female gives birth to a litter of four to seven pups. House mice also live fairly long for rodents, around two to three years. In that time, a single female house mouse can give birth to eight litters.

How Agile Are House Mice?

Although the house mouse isn't known for being especially quick, it has excellent agility. They can climb rough surfaces such as concrete walls with ease, even when completely vertical. They also have excellent balance and are able to run along a thin rope or wire cable without falling. They can leap up to 13 inches in the air and can slip through cracks as thin a half an inch. Combine that with their extremely good hearing, and they are quick to detect threats and escape.

Were Pet Mice Bred From House Mice?

Yes, the house mouse was selectively bred into the fancy mouse, the most common pet mouse, in the same way that Norway rats were bred into the fancy rat. Laboratory mice are also a separate species bred from the house mouse.

If you ever see what you think might be rodent droppings, let alone a mouse or rat, contact Bulwark and get a thorough assessment from an expert. Knowing what kind of pest you are dealing with will help you fix the problem early and with minimal damage.

Also known as the brown rat, the Norway rat is one of the most common pest rodent species around the world and the most successful mammal in the world after humans. If you've seen even one of these rodents, you could have a serious problem that needs to be controlled as soon as possible. Learn how to get rid of Norway rats as well as useful information for identifying them and keeping them out.

What Are Norway Rats?

Norway rats have many names, including sewer rat, brown rat, street rat, common rat, water rat, Parisian rat, Norwegian rat, wharf rat, and Hanover rat. They are muroids, a very broad group of animals that includes rats, mice, hamsters, voles, and gerbils. They are omnivorous and opportunistic, consuming any wild or human food available. This makes them common in places with human garbage, such as garages. Their life expectancy averages to about one year. They can weigh up to just over one pound but are usually much smaller and lighter.

What Do Norway Rats Look Like?

Image via Flickr by jans canon

Norway rats are a large species, with adults reaching 16 inches from the nose to the end of the tail. Their bodies are fairly broad, though not as thick as some rat species. Their tails are mostly hairless and have a scaly texture. Like all rats, they have small eyes and ears compared to mice, but their nose is medium size. Their fur has many variations, from different shades of gray to light or dark brown.

Where Do Norway Rats Live?

Believed to have originated in China, Norway rats are extremely prolific and thrive on all continents excluding Antarctica. It is the dominant rat in Europe and most of North America, particularly in urban areas.

Norway rats have a strong preference for living underground, hence their association with sewers. In the wild, they will often dig underground burrows. However, they can also live just about anywhere that humans live. They are especially fond of wet, dark, and low areas such as basements, slaughterhouses, docks, and cellars. Lower floors of homes or multi-story apartments are the most likely places to find Norway rats, although they are known to climb to higher places occasionally.

For the most part, Norway rats are nocturnal. They are also homebodies, choosing a place to live and only traveling about 20 to 30 feet away from that location in search of food and water.

Problems With Norway Rats

While Norway rats are not the main cause of disasters associated with rats, such as the bubonic plague, all rats have the potential to spread disease and are a sign of unsanitary conditions. The other and more pressing issue with a Norway rat infestation, however, is home damage through chewing. Rats can gnaw on all sorts of objects, including walls, wooden beams or paneling, electric wires, and even metal pipes. Over time, this can cause serious damage or interfere with home systems.

Norway Rat Control Solutions

Dealing with Norway rats comes down to the following:

  • Discern their exact location. Because they do not travel very far from their nest, finding its location will help you decide where to set traps.
  • Sealing up entrances in your home will also help with all rats. Because they are bigger than mice, rats have a harder time entering your home from outside and have fewer options.
  • All forms of sanitation and de-clutter tips will help discourage Norway rats. Along with human food, rats can also eat cockroaches and other insects that thrive in unsanitary conditions. Do not leave food or garbage readily available in your home and clean everything regularly. 
  • Be patient with traps. All rats are neophobic, which means they are suspicious of changes in their environment. For the first few days, rats will probably ignore any traps you set, but over time they will lose their suspicion. Do not stay in rat-infested areas or move things around too much, or they may stay hidden and cautious.

The occasional rat that wanders into your home can often be dealt with through these strategies. However, if you missed the presence of Norway rats until they bred into a large population, professional pest control measures should be taken immediately. If you've seen multiple rats in a short span of time, contact Bulwark and let professionals diagnose the exact species and the best solution.

Common Norway Rat Questions

How Do Norway Rats Reproduce?

Females give birth to litters of about eight pups on average. Despite the rodent's short lifespan, a female's pregnancy is short, so one female could have multiple litters throughout her life.

Is It True That Norway Rats Were Bred for Human Use?

While Norway rats themselves are wild animals, it is true that humans have bred them into distinct species over time. Through selective breeding, humans created the fancy rat, a pet species with more distinctive fur patterns and the most common pet rat. Humans also bred Norway rats to create white rats, the most commonly used organism for laboratory experiments.

Why Do Norway Rats Gnaw on Inedible Objects?

People might assume that rats chew on things simply because they believe them to be food, although in reality, they are more intelligent than that. Actually, rats gnaw on objects to control the growth of their teeth. By nature, a rat's teeth will grow constantly and could eventually interfere with eating if they grow too large. By regularly chewing on hard objects, rats can wear their teeth down and keep this growth in check.

While you don't necessarily have to worry about Norway rats spreading a dangerous disease, they are still unsanitary, and the damage they can cause to your home over time could add up. Don't allow these rodents to shack up where you live. At the first sign of a rat or even rat droppings, take countermeasures and contact Bulwark pest control to get a head start. The sooner Norway rats are dealt with, the less damage there will be and the easier it will be to get rid of them.

People with gardens, whether for food or decoration, are terrified of the damage that gophers cause. Though gophers as a whole are destructive when it comes to gardening, they are beneficial to the natural environment. They contribute to the health of soil as they carry on with their instinctive behaviors. 

Gophers are responsible for increasing the fertility of soil by mixing plant and fecal matter into the soil. The burrows that they create aerate the soil and break up compact soil. The formation of new soil is sped up by gophers as they bring minerals up to the surface. The soil that gophers live in is also able to soak up more water. Gophers are also a staple meal for predators such as weasels, coyotes, snakes, and owls.

It's when gophers move onto your property that they become a nuisance. They can devastate crops and ornamental flowers, making them the arch-enemies of farmers and hobbyists alike. Learning how to get rid of pocket gophers can help to protect your prized garden from destruction.

What Are Pocket Gophers?

Pocket gophers are named due to unique fur-lined pouches that are located in their cheeks. They use these pouches to carry food and materials for building nests. Pocket gophers are digging machines and spend the majority of their lives underground unless they have a hankering for a plant that they can't get to without surfacing. They burrow relatively deep in the ground and create elaborate tunnel systems as they develop nests and forage for food.

A pocket gopher's burrow is made up of the main tunnel that can be from 4 to 18 inches below the surface and lots of lateral tunnels stemming off of it. The main tunnel can sometimes be as deep as 6 feet underground. All of the tunnels of a pocket gopher's burrow averages to around 3 inches across. The majority of the lateral tunnels end in a mound of soil at the surface. Pocket gophers prefer light-textured and fertile soil to call their home.

Pocket gophers remain active all year long and pretty much all hours of the day. They are herbivores and can cause significant damage to crops, flowers, and ornamental plants. They usually feed on the roots of plants and in some cases will pull an entire plant down into their burrows to feed.

Pocket gophers are considered to be solitary animals and have been known to attack humans, cats, and other gophers when their territory is encroached upon. They use their impressive incisors to inflict fairly nasty bite wounds. Their first instinct is to run, but they will defend their nests, especially when they are raising young. There have been cases where a male and a female pocket gopher will share nests and burrows that border on each of their territories but they tend to inhabit their private tunnel systems.

Depending on the species, pocket gophers can have a specific breeding season and only breed once a year or they can breed multiple times throughout the year. The typical litter will have between two and five young but can be higher depending on the species. All of the young are blind at birth and must be cared for by their mother until weaned after about 40 days. Pocket gophers are commonly mistaken for moles or ground squirrels, but they are easily identified when you know their behaviors and what they look like.

What Do Pocket Gophers Look Like?

Image via Flickr by regexman

Pocket gophers grow between 5 and 10 inches in length. They have soft, fine fur and are usually dark brown in color. They have specialized front feet with enlarged claws that are perfectly designed for digging and tunneling through soil. Their tails are short and hairless. Pocket gophers have small eyes and small ears in relation to their bodies.

Their whiskers are highly sensitive and well suited for helping them travel underground. Pocket gophers have enlarged incisors used to help to loosen compacted soil, and they can even close their lips behind these incisors to ensure they won't get dirt into their mouths. The fur-lined pouches in their cheeks are used for carrying nesting materials and food.

Where Do Pocket Gophers Live?

Pocket gophers, all 30 something species of them, are endemic to North and Central America. They live underground in intricate and often expansive tunnel systems that can be as deep as 6 feet in places. Some of their tunnels end at the surface in visible mounds of soil. The location of their burrows is determined by the presence of ample food sources and a lack of natural predators.

Problems With Pocket Gophers

Not only do pocket gophers make unsightly mounds of soil, but they are notorious for destroying entire crops, flowers, and ornamental plants. Pocket gophers are capable of inflicting wounds on other animals and humans when threatened but will retreat when they can. Outside of the realm of garden and plant devastation they can cause, sprinkler and irrigation pipes and underground cables are often damaged due to their tunneling activities. It is suggested to create a barrier around such hardware with 6 inches of coarse gravel.

Pocket Gopher Control Solutions

There are many ways to control a pocket gopher population but none so effective as obtaining help from a professional pest control agency. Highly trained professionals can diagnose the situation, ascertain the threat, and implement a plan to remove the pest from the equation. Preventative measures will also be set in place to reduce the risk of further infestations.

Other means of controlling a pocket gopher infestation are traps, flooding their burrows, and gopher blasting (this is exactly what it sounds like and involves specialized equipment to cause an explosion in the burrow). If you prefer a more natural remedy and have barn owls living close by, you can encourage natural predation of the pocket gophers by putting up nest boxes for the barn owls. These are just a few methods proven to help eliminate pocket gophers from your property.

If you have identified pocket gophers as the pest that is disrupting your gardening aspirations, you should take action to eradicate them and prevent them from returning. Though they are great for the natural environment, they need to be regulated in developed areas. Learning all you can about pocket gophers will better prepare you for keeping them off your property.

Rats are some of the most hated and feared pests in the world. Though they have a bad reputation that they have rightfully earned, they are beneficial to the natural environment. A few ways that they help the ecosystem is by spreading seeds, aerating the soil, and distributing fungus.

As long as rats stay out of your home and off of your property, they are out of sight and out of mind. Once they have invaded your property and infiltrated your home, they become a severe threat that will need to be dealt with. If left unchecked rats can quickly overrun an area, destroying personal property and spreading deadly diseases.

What Are Roof Rats?

Roof rats are aptly named because of their affinity for heights. They can be seen traveling along power lines or tree limbs as a means to reach the roof of your house. They can infiltrate your home through holes as small as one-half of an inch in diameter. If there are no clear entry points for them to enter into your home, they can make their own by chewing out a hole. Other places they will seek to enter your house are through damaged vent covers, cracks, and gaps in shingles.

Roof rats are food hoarders. They will store up food like nuts and seeds for later consumption. These rats are often referred to as citrus rats or fruit rats due to their preference for eating fruits. They are omnivorous and eat a plethora of foods, including grains, nuts, tree bark, meats, seeds, and fruits.

Adult roof rats that are between two and five months can be sexually mature. Females can produce up to six litters in a year with each litter consisting of six to eight young. The average life span of roof rats is around one year in length. When an area is heavily infested with roof rats, they will create a hierarchy where dominant males will mate more often than subordinate males. They are exceptional breeders, and one mature female has the potential to have up to 40 young in a year.

These rats are nocturnal and will bed down in their protected nesting areas during the day. Roof rats' feet are specially designed for climbing. Their pads have developed in such a way as to provide the support and grip necessary for them to climb bush limbs, small trees, overhead power lines, branches, and telephone lines. They are the envy of freestyle climbers everywhere. This climbing ability gives roof rats the advantage over other rat species when it comes to finding nesting areas.

Roof rat nests can be found in piles of wood, vegetation that has grown over fences or utility lines, in piles of trash, in the tops of trees, and thick palm trees. If they can find access, roof rats will invade your home through the attic looking for a nesting area. Houses that have tree limbs hanging over the roof are prime targets for roof rats. When they have gained access to your home, they will seek out the spaces created by soffits, wall voids, and any other spaces that are above the ceiling.

What Do Roof Rats Look Like?

Image via Flickr by bert_m_b

Roof rats, also known as black rats or ship rats, are sleeker and smaller than Norway rats but can grow up to 40 centimeters or more in length. They can be black or brown in color. Roof rats have large ears, pointed noses, large eyes, and long tails. Their fur is smooth, and their tails are hairless. A roof rat's tail is scaly and is longer than their head and body combined.

Where Do Roof Rats Live?

Geographically, roof rats can be found in the lower half of the East Coast and the entire length of the West Coast of the United States. They are also prevalent in the Gulf States. They aren't as adaptable as other rat species and prefer tropical and semitropical climates.

In their natural habitats, roof rats live in vine-covered fences, trees, citrus groves, sugarcane, and rice fields. When invading your home or an industrial location, they still prefer to nest as high as possible but will make their nests in other places if necessary. They have been found living in buildings, rafters, attics, garage storage spaces, roofs, and wall voids.

Problems With Roof Rats

As with all rats,  a roof rat's beneficial traits for the environment pale in comparison to the hazards they can produce. The primary issue they cause is the potential spread of disease. Though they indeed contaminate the surfaces they travel on with urine and feces and transfer disease through bites, physical contact, and by coming in contact with food, they can spread disease indirectly through fleas, as well. Fleas that have been feeding on these rats can spread the rats' diseases to humans and pets.

Roof rats can spread the plague (still reported in the United States and around the world), trichinosis, food poisoning, rat bite fever, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, to name a few. Another problem associated with roof rats is the destruction of personal belongings, food, electrical wiring (sometimes starting fires), clothing, furniture, and much more. They also create an unsanitary living environment due to their urine, feces, and the odors they cause.

Roof Rat Control Solutions

Removing tree limbs that hang over your home and keeping shrubbery next to your home trimmed to a moderate height can help to reduce the risk of a roof rat infestation. With modern residential codes requiring that power to the home be run underground, this will also help to limit a roof rat's ability to reach the roof of your home. You should also be aware of any cracks in the foundation or holes in the roof, soffit, or even the walls of your home, and promptly repair them to prevent roof rats from gaining access into your house.

If you find that you are facing a roof rat infestation beyond your ability to defend against, you may want to consider the expertise of a professional pest control agency. A trained professional will be able to diagnose the problem by identifying the pest, implement a plan to eradicate the pest, and put preventative measures into place to help you avoid future intrusions. This can give you confidence in knowing that your family and home are protected from the problems associated with roof rats.

Tree squirrels have an important role in the ecosystem, but they have no business damaging your lawn, garden, or home, and they pose more dangers than you might expect. Take a look at the complete Bulwark guide on tree squirrels. You'll learn how to keep squirrels off your bird feeder in the trees and out of your property in general.

What Are Tree Squirrels?

Tree squirrels, as you'd expect, are all members of Scirudae, the squirrel family that live primarily in trees, as opposed to ground squirrels. They are broken down into over 100 different species, so there is a fair amount of variety in behavior and appearance.

Tree squirrels are omnivores with a diverse diet. They mainly eat plant foods such as fruit, nuts, seeds, berries, and flowers. Occasionally they will eat insects, eggs, or other animals smaller than themselves. They can also survive on the tender, younger bark of some trees. Unlike rats, tree squirrels are active during the daytime and sleep at night. They also live very long lives for rodents, usually between three and seven years but occasionally up to 12 years.

What Do Tree Squirrels Look Like?

Image via Flickr by David Meurin

With so many species of tree squirrel, their appearance will vary, especially when it comes to size. The smallest species reach about 10 inches from the nose to the tip of the tail. Gray squirrels, one of the largest species, reach up to 22 inches. In general, their bodies are longer than those of ground squirrels, and their tails are bushier as well. Their fur can be gray, reddish brown, or dark brown, and most species have white or gray bellies. Unlike chipmunks, tree squirrels have smooth fur with no vertical stripes, spots, or other patterns.

Where Do Tree Squirrels Live?

There are multiple tree squirrel species thriving on all continents excluding Antarctica and the geographic region Oceania. They are fond of high places, and at the first sign of trouble they will hurry up the nearest tree or wall. Although they prefer to nest in trees, they can build a nest anywhere above ground, making them well adapted to urban environments. They will either take advantage of a suitable space, such as a tree trunk cavity, or build a nest that can house them and their young through gathered materials.

Problems With Tree Squirrels

In places where tree squirrels are overpopulated, they become a traffic hazard, as drivers might instinctively veer away from a squirrel running into the road. They are also an issue for homeowners, as their curious nature makes them frequently enter attics and other parts of a human house. They tend to gnaw on anything they see, including wires, which could lead to costly repairs or even a fire.

Tree squirrels can be a major pest for gardens and agriculture, eating immature plants before harvest time and eating fruits. They may also dig and store collected food in garden soil or grass, which involves repeatedly digging and damaging young plants or leaving bald spots in the lawn. They can even hurt trees by gnawing through the bark to eat the soft inner layer. Tree squirrels will repeatedly pursue any source of food, making them a major annoyance for people setting up bird feeders.

Finally, tree squirrels carry fleas, mites, and other blood-suckers, which spread diseases and parasites such as tularemia and ringworm. They will enter homes out of curiosity, putting people and pets at risk. 

Tree Squirrel Control Solutions

For squirrels that have entered structures such as sheds or, even worse, the home itself, trapping may be necessary. Peanut butter is an effective bait, along with fruit, nuts, and seeds. Oddly enough, tree squirrels seem to enjoy vanilla as well, so a bit of vanilla extract can make the bait even more attractive. Do not touch living or dead squirrels that you have trapped.

To keep tree squirrels away from your garden, bird feeder, or other outdoor areas, there are various feeder poles and other deterrent strategies that discourage them. However, professional pest control measures might be necessary if the population has grown too much.

Exclusion is very important, so check your home's exterior to see if there are any cracks, loose window seals, or other places for rodents to slip through. Most of all, never feed squirrels, as this only desensitizes them to humans and makes them more willing to invade your property.

Common Tree Squirrel Questions

How Do Tree Squirrels Reproduce?

A female tree squirrel can have up to two litters each year, with up to six pups each time. These litters are usually born in the very early spring or in the later winter months. Combined with their long lifespan, a tree squirrel population can grow quickly over a single year.

Do All Tree Squirrels Hoard Nuts?

Most tree squirrels do hoard nuts continuously throughout the year. They will eat their fill of whatever food they find and then carry leftovers back to their den. However, new studies indicate that tree squirrels don't store all of their food in one place. Instead, they cache foods of the same type in different locations, which the squirrels remember and return to based on their preference.

Why Do Squirrels Gnaw on Things?

As with most rodents, squirrels have teeth that constantly grow. To curb this growth, they must gnaw on tough material, or else their teeth would grow too much and interfere with eating.

Can Tree Squirrels Talk to Each Other?

Since many tree squirrels live in groups, and some species even store food in communal caches, it makes sense that they would have some ability to speak to others in the group. Tree squirrels can communicate through chirps, expressing various emotions such as playfulness or alarm.

Be sure to contact Bulwark's team or fill out the easy online home assessment form if you know or suspect that you have a tree squirrel problem. Bulwark's professionals are experienced at handling any pest species and finding the best solution for your home.

Have you seen one or more scorpions shuffling around your home or other parts of your property? While these wild arachnids aren't as common a pest as ants or roaches, they make up for it with their distressing appearance. Those big, crab-like claws and curved, stinging tails are sure to alarm anyone, especially when they mostly come out at night. Let's go over how to get rid of scorpions and all the information you'll ever need on these fearsome-looking creatures.

What Are Scorpions?

Contrary to what people often assume, scorpions are not insects but arachnids, like spiders. They belong to the order Scorpiones and are predatory, meaning they pursue, kill, and eat prey such as smaller insects. Unlike other pests, such as weevils, they do not feed on material or stored goods inside a person's home. Most species are solitary, nesting and hunting only for themselves.

In general, scorpions use their stingers and the venom inside to subdue their prey, although some species evolved to catch and kill prey with their claws. Depending on the type of scorpion, either the claws or tail will be used for hunting, while the other feature will be used for defense. Scorpions also live quite long, some up to six years.

What Do Scorpions Look Like?

Image via Flickr by M Hedin

Like spiders, scorpions have eight legs. Their bodies are long with the segmented tail in the back and two claw appendages in the front. In terms of size, they can vary dramatically, with species ranging from 1 inch to over 7 inches in adult length. As for color, scorpions range from light yellow or even whitish to a dark brown or black. If you look at their heads, scorpions also have two small movable jaw appendages, or pedipalps, just like with spiders.

In general, you shouldn't assume that a larger scorpion is more dangerous. One of the most potent species is the striped bark scorpion, which is not particularly large. It has a slender, pale body with two dark stripes.

Where Do Scorpions Live?

Due to their adaptation and wide variety of species, you can find scorpions just about anywhere. Scorpions most likely originated in arid regions before getting indirectly distributed through ship trade. Still, scorpions are mostly associated with deserts. There are stories of travelers in the Old West shaking out their boots while out on the road before putting them on, just in case a scorpion made its home inside overnight.

Problems With Scorpions

For the most part, scorpion venom is mild toward large animals and humans. While a sting may be painful, the venom is unlikely to be dangerous to people except for small children, the elderly, and those with immunity problems. The main reason scorpions can be found in the home is due to their preference for tight, dark spaces. Once a scorpion wanders into the home through a crack or an open window, they will make their way into shoes or other suitable nests.

Scorpion Control Solutions

Although only about 30-40 species of scorpions are dangerous to people, that doesn't mean you should let them move into your home. If you're dealing with scorpion control problems, the first thing you should do is discourage them from entering by removing possible entrances. Foundation cracks or poorly-sealed windows should be fixed, and the members of your household should try not to leave windows and doors open when not necessary. Scorpions only hunt at night and will normally avoid bright places such as homes, so keeping the lights on throughout the night may also help repel them.

If scorpions have made a stubborn presence in your home, or you suspect they may have, then professional pest control methods may be the best option. Unlike pests that use the house and its resources for food, such as ants, scorpions like houses for the dark and secure areas. For that reason, pest control might be best focused on basements, attics, garages, and other areas that are darker and have less foot traffic. Contact Bulwark pest control today to get an assessment for your specific home and situation.

Common Scorpion Questions

How Many Different Types of Scorpions Are There?

There are over 2,000 known species of scorpion across the world divided into 13 distinct families.

What Is the Biggest Scorpion Species?

Currently, the largest known scorpion species is the giant forest scorpion, or Heterometrus swammerdami. Adults reach up to 9 inches in length and can weigh up to 56 grams. It is found in Sri Lanka and India. Despite how imposing it may look, its venom is not very strong. The species hunts primarily through catching and crushing prey with its claws, rather than relying on a paralyzing sting.

How Do Scorpions Reproduce?

Unlike many insects and arachnids, scorpions do not lay eggs but give birth to live young instead. A female can birth up to 100 young. The young nymphs do not have any sort of larval stage and have the same claws, stinger, and other body parts that they will have as adults.

Is It True that Female Scorpions Eat Males After Mating?

While sexual cannibalism can occur sometimes, it isn't especially common with scorpions. It only really occurs with species that prey on each other to begin with. What's more interesting, however, is that scorpions enter a kind of "dance" in order for the female to judge the male's suitability. During this dance, the male and female lock claws and the female tests the male's strength. If the male impresses the female, she relents, and the male deposits his sperm on the ground, pulling her over to it.

Scorpions are an important part of the ecosystem, preying on many small insects to keep their populations in check. However, scorpions are no welcome sight in anyone's home, shed, or other places, and the prospect of getting pinched or stung can make them more unsettling than ants, roaches, or other common pests. If you know or think you are dealing with a scorpion infestation, fill out our easy online home assessment form and our team will contact you to find a permanent and smart solution.

You might think that all scorpions are mostly the same, only varying in size and color, but that is far from true. Some families of scorpions are quite unique, including the unpleasant-looking family of whip scorpions. If you've been seeing these creatures around your home or property, check out the Bulwark guide on how to get rid of whip scorpions and everything you should know about them.

What Are Whip Scorpions?

The label "whip scorpions" covers any scorpion that belongs to the family Thelyphonida. Sometimes they are also called vinegaroons, taken from vinegar, because they are able to spit a weak acid mist from their tail ends. The term whip scorpion is sometimes mistaken as the name of a singular species. In fact, there are many species that can be called whip scorpions, each with unique names and traits. Like all scorpions, they are not insects but arachnids, which are eight-legged creatures that share their category with spiders, ticks, mites, and harvestmen.

Whip scorpions are a useful term that distinguishes them from "true scorpions," a term for all scorpions that have the traditional appearance of broad claws and a segmented, barbed tail. Like all scorpions, whip scorpions are predators and survive by catching prey with their pincers, usually smaller insects. While the idea of a whip-like tail may sound scary, their whip-like tails do not have a stinger and are not used aggressively. Their tails are sensory organs that alert them to nearby prey or threats.

What Do Whip Scorpions Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Oudus

Whip scorpions are one of the smaller species of scorpion, with adults generally reaching up to 3 inches long. Their color ranges from light brown to black. Their chief distinguishing feature compared to other scorpions is their tail, which is very thin and straight.

Like other scorpions, their large pedipalps serve as claws for grasping prey or for defense, although compared to other scorpion families, their claws are relatively small. Also, while true scorpions have a more continuous abdomen, whip scorpions tend to have two distinct body halves: the cephalothorax with the legs and the abdomen with the tail.

Where Do Whip Scorpions Live?

While traditional scorpion species are often associated with deserts and other arid climates, whip scorpions tend to live in tropic and subtropic regions. One exception is the giant whip scorpion, Mastigoproctus giganteus, which is native to arid regions. They are least common in Australia. Europe, and Africa. 

Just like all scorpions, whip scorpions are nocturnal and will hide somewhere dark during the day. This can cause them to enter a human home and hide in small, dark places. They can be unintentionally found, however, under debris, in woodpiles, or in cluttered storage areas where they might be resting.

Most whip scorpions prefer to burrow a home of their own in the ground. They will then hide in this burrow during the day, hunt at night, and drag their prey back to the burrow to consume it there. Other species are less picky and might use an object or tight space in a human home as a burrow.

Problems With Whip Scorpions

Since whip scorpions do not have a stinger on their narrow tails and do not sting at all, you don't have to worry about them being venomous like with some true scorpions. They also do not bite and will usually flee from people rather than trying to pinch them. However, some species pounce on prey and perceived threats, including humans. While this can pinch slightly at most, it can be very startling and upsetting.

If you see a whip scorpion, however, back away and do not try to kill them or remove them, as they can spray acid from their tail ends. This acid can only cause mild skin irritation or blistering, but it smells very unpleasant and may be difficult to remove from clothing.

Whip Scorpion Control Solutions

The best way to keep whip scorpions out is to discourage them from entering your home. Keep any outdoor objects that could serve as insect habitats away from your home's foundation, such as rocks or firewood piles. You should also ensure that your home's walls, doors, and windows are sealed and secure to keep whip scorpions from wandering inside. Adding a concrete floor to basements or crawlspaces may also help if whip scorpions are burrowing in the dirt floor.

Common Whip Scorpion Questions

How Do Whip Scorpions Reproduce?

Unlike true scorpions, whip scorpions generally lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. The pregnant female digs a special burrow with plenty of space. In the burrow, the female deposits the eggs and guards them. When they hatch, they do not look like miniature versions of the mother, like in the case of true scorpions. Instead, they emerge from the eggs as larvae and attach themselves to their mother's body with clinging mouthparts. This nymph stage is very brief. After their first molt, they will have the same body structure as an adult, growing as they age.

What Do Whip Scorpions Usually Eat?

Whip scorpions mostly prey on smaller insects, especially crickets and cockroaches, of which they are essential for population control. They also eat millipedes, other scorpions, and terrestrial isopods such as pill bugs. One thing that sets whip scorpions apart is how they eat. They actually have teeth on the inside of the second segment of their pedipalps, which they use to crush their prey into small pieces that fit into their mouths. 

While whip scorpions might startle you from how different they look, the truth is that they are not as threatening as true scorpions, which by themselves are not very threatening or troublesome pests to begin with. With that said, whip scorpions can become a household or property pest, and that's when it's important to find a long-term, professional solution. Bulwark pest control experts are ready to hear your story and find the best solution for your home.

The black widow spider is well-known and feared for its poisonous bite. While typically encountered outdoors, they can grow fond of mailboxes, sheds, and even parts of a human house. Don't let these arachnids grow out of control in your home. Take a look at the complete Bulwark guide on how to get rid of black widow spiders, along with useful information about these creatures.

What Are Black Widow Spiders?

The black widow is a species of spider and is thus an arachnid rather than an insect. Like most spiders, males and females build webs by spinning silk in corners or other fitting places. They use these webs as homes and to capture prey, which can consist of flies, crickets, moths, and even small reptiles such as lizards. Once their prey gets entangled in the web, the black widow bites it and injects digestive juices that both kill the prey and liquefy the flesh for easier consumption.

The spiders are technically part of a scientific group called Latrodectus, or widow spiders, which contains brown widow spiders as well. There are 31 species of widow spider in total and five species of black widow in the United States.

What Do Black Widow Spiders Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Care_SMC

Black widow spiders are fairly small, with adults typically reaching a half-inch in length. It's important to note that while females often have a red hourglass pattern on their abdomens, this only applies to females of certain species. Other versions of black widow spiders have mixes of brown or mottled brown with white and don't even have the red hourglass. Point being, if you see a small spider that doesn't have a red hourglass, don't assume it isn't a widow spider.

Where Do Black Widow Spiders Live?

Black widows are well-distributed through all relatively warm parts of the world. There are specific species that dominate on different continents, such as the southern black widow in North America, the Mediterranean black widow in Europe, the redback black widow in Australia, and the button spider in Africa.

Black widows are unique in that they tend to build more hectic and less organized webs compared to other spiders. They also build them close to the ground, such as near rocks and logs outdoors or around toilet seats. They do not usually venture far from their webs, and they can be found hiding upside-down, which can show whether they have the red hourglass on their abdomens.

Problems With Black Widow Spiders

Although black widows are feared around the world for their bite and venom, they only bite when threatened. Although fatalities are rare, the black widow bite is still the most poisonous of any North American spider, however, and it results in extreme pain and cramping at the least. The neurotoxin in the venom is what makes the spiders dangerous, as it can hamper with breathing.

Apart from the risk of bites if they overpopulate, black widows are a normal part of the environment and seeing one every so often, especially in dark or infrequently-visited places, shouldn't be a problem. Only in cases where they have gotten out of control should control solutions be used.

Black Widow Spider Control Solutions

In most cases, a black widow problem can be addressed by simply removing places for the spiders to live on your property. As with all spiders, reducing clutter is extremely helpful. Cleaning up and organizing places like sheds and garages will reduce their hiding spots and force them to build webs elsewhere. Keep outdoor organic material, such as firewood piles, away from your home and on a raised structure if possible.

When clearing spiderwebs, be very careful and check that no live spiders are in the web. You should wear gloves and use a long object, such as a broom, to tear up and gather the webbing from afar.

In some cases, a person's home may be severely infested with black widow spiders, and professional control will be necessary. If you think this might apply to you, the experts at Bulwark can study your home and figure out the best solution.

Common Black Widow Spider Questions

Just How Strong Is Black Widow Venom?

Black widow venom is 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. Keep in mind that black widows are smaller than rattlesnakes and deliver less venom per bite. All the same, you should be extremely careful around any spider that you suspect may be a black widow.

Why Can't Black Widows Get Stuck in Their Own Webs?

Technically, spiders could get stuck in their own webs. However, black widows, like all web-building spiders, secrete an oily substance on their legs that lets them stay gripped to their web while moving along it.

How Do Black Widow Spiders Reproduce?

Black widows are quite prolific, with a female producing up to nine egg sacs, each with anywhere from 300 to 400 eggs. Once the spiderlings hatch, they remain near the sack for a few days. The hatchlings will eat one another for energy. After a few days, the remaining spiderlings learn to move on their own by releasing a strand of silk that catches air or electric currents, pulling them along and allowing them to move to other locations. This is called ballooning and will be the spiderlings' main source of movement until they grow larger.

Is It True that Black Widow Females Eat Their Mates?

Although black widows are known for the females eating the males after mating, this rarely occurs. In fact, sexual cannibalism between black widow spiders has never been observed in the wild. It has only been seen in laboratory conditions.

Although there are good reasons to be cautious around black widows, they are one of the less common or troublesome pests you may encounter. If you are facing a black widow spider problem, however, contact the experts at Bulwark and get a thorough view on the situation. Bulwark can find the best pest control solution for your home as soon as possible.

Are you spotting more and more long-legged, hyperactive spiders in your basement or in even more common parts of your home? It's easy to diagnose these pests incorrectly, but if they are in fact cellar spiders, there are a few signs that will prove it. Bulwark is here with everything you need to know about these pests, including how to get rid of cellar spiders.

What Are Cellar Spiders?

Cellar spiders belong to an order of spiders called Pholcidae. Due to their long, narrow legs and small bodies, they are often confused for harvestmen, also known as daddy longlegs. These are different creatures, however, as harvestmen are not spiders and do not spin webs. Cellar spiders are a broad group with over 1,800 species and many names, including skull spiders, carpenter spiders, and vibrating spiders. As with all spiders, they are predators that catch insects or even other arachnids.

When prey gets entangled in its sticky web, the cellar spider binds it in fresh-spun silk and then bites, sucking out its fluids. Afterward, the cellar spider cuts the desiccated insect corpse loose. This is why you will often see a little pile of dry insect bodies underneath a cellar spider's web. Cellar spider webs are also very messy, catching dust or debris in the nearby air.

One thing that makes cellar spiders more unsettling is that if their webs are disturbed at all, they will shake and bounce on the web or immediately jump off of it and run away. They are one of the most active and quick types of web-building spiders.

What Do Cellar Spiders Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Ivan Radic

Cellar spiders have very long and thin legs and relatively small and thin bodies. Their legs can reach 2 inches long, and they are usually yellowish brown in color. For the most part, cellar spiders have two sets of three eyes set closely together. Depending on the species, they can have hairy, prickly legs and bodies or smooth ones. A few species, such as Artema nephilit, have bigger, rounder bodies. Many species also have colored markings near the joints of their legs, such as black markings on brown legs or brown markings on tan legs.

Where Do Cellar Spiders Live?

Cellar spiders can be found on all continents except for Antarctica, and there are a variety of species someone could encounter in any single habitat. Cellar spiders usually live in damp and dark places such as caves, abandoned animal burrows, and hollow logs. They are also fond of human habitats such as sheds or basements. They can survive in other areas such as garages, pantries, and — of course — cellars, from which they get their name.

Unlike many other types of spiders, most cellar spiders live in close proximity to their mates. While they do not share a web, a male and female that have mated will usually have two webs very close by.

Problems With Cellar Spiders

While cellar spiders do not bite easily and do not have venom, the main issue they cause in households is webbing. Once a cellar spider's web has gotten old and the silk has started to weaken, the spider leaves it behind and spins another one. In a rarely-visited location such as an attic, this can leave cobwebs everywhere, which are a pain to clean up. 

Cellar Spider Control Solutions

In most cases, a homeowner can deal with cellar spiders by clearing out places where they are likely to build webs. Removing clutter from basements or cellars is helpful, and reducing the moisture in certain areas could also encourage the spiders to leave. This could mean fixing a leaky pipe or adding a dehumidifier.

Other helpful tips include:

  • Use a vacuum to remove webs. This may also catch any females carrying eggs.
  • Make sure your heating and ventilation systems are up to par and are not leaving areas too humid.
  • Consider switching outdoor light bulbs to warm-color LEDs. Fluorescent bulbs attract the most insects, which in turn will attract spiders.
  • Seal up potential entrances to your home and remove any matter that could attract house spiders, such as yard waste and wood piles. Keep these things away from your home's foundation.
  • Use proper pest control measures to reduce their food sources in your home.

If these measures don't evict the cellar spiders, professional pest control measures may be the best choice. The team at Bulwark has plenty of experience in dealing with spiders of all kinds and with finding the most thorough and efficient solution based on your home, the infestation's source, and your needs as a homeowner.

Common Cellar Spider Questions

How Do Cellar Spiders Reproduce?

Unlike most spiders, which produce tens if not hundreds of eggs after mating, the female of each cellar spider species usually produces a single egg mass with about a dozen eggs inside. The female does not store the egg mass elsewhere, opting instead to hold it under her jaws until the eggs hatch several weeks later.

Is It True That Cellar Spiders Have Dangerous Venom?

No, cellar spiders rarely bite and do not have powerful venom. Most species have no venom at all, as their fangs are too small to effectively deliver it through human skin. This is likely a result of people confusing cellar spiders for daddy longlegs, also known as harvestmen. However, that is still a myth, and harvestmen do not have a poisonous bite at all. The similarity in appearance between dangerous spiders, harmless spiders, and harvestmen likely caused the misconception.

Is It True That Cellar Spiders Eat Black Widows?

Yes, cellar spiders are known to trap other spiders of all kinds in their webs and eat them, and this includes feared species like black widows and brown recluses.

While cellar spiders rarely bite people, their constant web production and tendency to live in groups can cause them to get annoying and take over the darker parts of your home. Contact Bulwark with any questions or concerns, and the team will find the best solution for your home.

Harvestmen, also known as daddy longlegs, are not as common a pest as roaches or ants. However, they can still invade moist areas of the home, such as outdoor decks, swimming pools, basements, or bathrooms. If you've been dealing with a swarm of harvestmen where you live, there are a few things you need to know before you fix the problem. Check out the Bulwark guide on daddy longlegs and how to get rid of them.

What Are Harvestmen?

Harvestmen are a group of small arachnids, putting them in the same category as spiders, scorpions, mites, and ticks. They belong to the taxonomic order Opiliones and are sometimes called daddy longlegs or harvesters. They are an extremely wide order of arachnids, with roughly 6,700 known species that are currently alive. However, scientists suspect that there may be as many as 10,000 living species, so many are yet to be discovered.

Harvestmen got their name because farmers first encountered them during the autumn harvest season. They are hunters that feed on a wide variety of insects, from flies to caterpillars, as well as worms, mollusks like snails and slugs, and other arachnids. Because of their eight narrow legs extending over the body's height, people can mistake harvestmen for spiders. Most species only live for about one year.

What Do Harvestmen Look Like?

Image via Flickr by roman.chukanov

Harvestmen are divided into five distinct suborders with their own traits. In general, they are small, reaching only a half-inch in body length and 2 inches in leg span. They are known for their long legs, which are also extremely thin and light, so much so that they can walk on water by maintaining surface tension. They have a single body segment from which the legs extend and are usually dark brown in color. A common sight for those who spot harvestmen is a group of the insects on tree trunks with their legs interlaced together.

One interesting trait of harvestmen that sets them visually apart from spiders is that the tips of their legs appear to be rubbery or bendable rather than stiff. This is because the ends of their legs consist of tarsomeres, or many small joints. This is why, up close, it looks like the tips of a harvestman's legs are curved instead of straight.

Where Do Harvestmen Live?

All five suborders of harvestmen have species living in all continents except for Antarctica. As for habitat, most species need moisture to survive and to bury their eggs, so they will group together in any places with consistent water, such as outdoor puddles, the bottom of a rotting wood pile, or under leaf litter. In the case of homes, they are fond of any water-damaged or wet areas.

Problems With Harvestmen

Although they are close cousins to spiders, harvestmen do not create webs, do not bite or sting, and do not have any sort of venom. The only real issue harvestmen pose is their presence. They require a regular source of water to live, so they will often inhabit neglected swimming pools or hot tubs. They can also infest water-damaged materials in a home or damp areas such as basements.

Harvestmen are capable of releasing a foul odor to ward off predators and protect themselves, which is all the more reason to not let them take over your home or property. Because they usually breed during the winter, you can also be caught by surprise in the spring when their population explodes.

Harvestmen Control Solutions

The number one control solution for getting rid of harvestmen and making sure they don't return is to remove all easily-accessible sources of moisture. If you have any water-damaged material in your home or its foundation, such as from flooding or a plumbing issue, getting that material replaced is crucial. Adding dehumidifiers to basements and other damp areas will help as well.

Keep in mind that harvestmen are also very sensitive to cold and will usually die during the winter. The trouble is that human homes have plenty of the water they need and stay at a livable temperature throughout the seasons. If your winter gets cold, you may want to ensure there are no easy entrances for the pests to get inside your warm house.

Common Harvestmen Questions

How Old Are Harvestmen?

Like cockroaches, harvestmen are extremely old. Based on fossilized remains, they are believed to have originated in the Scotland region around 400 million years ago. Even these extremely old fossils do not look very different from the harvestmen you can see today, indicating they have changed very little over time.

How Do Harvestmen Reproduce?

Part of the reason why harvestmen need moisture is for raising their young. Females lay eggs in moist soil, injecting them there with a needle called an ovipositor. This allows the eggs to survive the cold of winter and hatch in the spring. Females lay a single batch of eggs each year, and usually it is the only batch they lay before dying naturally.

Are Harvestmen Poisonous?

No, harvestmen do not have venom and do not bite or sting. There are urban legends of harvestmen having a venomous bite, but this is most likely the result of mistaking them for spiders.

What Defense Mechanisms Do Harvestmen Have?

Harvestmen have a wide range of defense mechanisms depending on the species. Some will camouflage with their environment, others will mimic the behavior of dangerous spiders, and others will make noise or play dead. The most commonly shared defense mechanism is spraying a foul-smelling chemical.

If you've spotted harvestmen in your home, or even seen a large colony of them, it's best to deal with their presence before they reproduce. Taking care of moisture sources will help, but professional assistance may be the best way to efficiently and reliably evict these pests from your home. Contact Bulwark today or fill out the easy online home assessment form and take the first step to being pest free.

Hobo spiders are one of the most unique types of spider and can be distinguished by their unusual webs. While many spiders pose little to no threat to people, hobo spiders can be more complicated. Get the answers you need with this handy Bulwark guide for these unconventional arachnids. You'll also learn how to get rid of hobo spiders if they've taken over parts of your home.

What Are Hobo Spiders?

The term hobo spider refers to a genus called Eratigena agrestis, also referred to as funnel web spiders or house spiders. Instead of creating a flat, kite-like web, a hobo spider creates a funnel of thick webbing that is wide at one end and narrow at the other. They are hunters with a varied diet, eating any invertebrate that touches their web, from flying insects to other arachnids.

Unlike with common spiderweb silk, the hobo spider's thread is not sticky. The hobo spider waits at the narrow end until prey mistakenly lands in the webbing. The web is spun in an oval shape with strands that stick out to trip any walking insects that start to explore the funnel.

Because the webbing is not sticky and its eyesight is poor, the spider will react immediately when it feels something disturbing its web, pouncing and biting to subdue the potential meal. This makes hobo spiders startling, as they can rush out and bite a person who bumps their web unintentionally.

What Do Hobo Spiders Look Like?

Image via Flickr by tristanloper

As far as size, hobo spiders reach about a half-inch in length with a 1.5-inch leg span. Different species will have their own appearance, but many seen in North America have grayish-brown bodies with dark stripes that zig-zag across the abdomen. Most species have hairy bodies and prickly legs, as opposed to widow spiders with smooth, glossy exteriors.

Where Do Hobo Spiders Live?

Although they're more common in Asia and Europe, hobo spiders are still found in North America. For most species, hobo spiders prefer fields or other outdoor places with consistent shelter and shade. They won't usually take over human homes because of competing spiders, which they try to avoid. In the absence of these competitors, however, hobo spiders may start to enter your home and populate in less-trafficked places, such as attics and garages.

Because of the funnel shapes of their webs, they will take advantage of any relatively constricted space, such as the open end of a pipe or the space between two objects on a shelf. Although they're well-distributed, with species in most parts of the world, hobo spiders are particularly common in the Pacific Northwest, and they are the most common spider to bite humans in that region.

Problems With Hobo Spiders

Unlike the majority of spider species, hobo spiders are notoriously aggressive, biting humans with little provocation. Their venom may be irritating or cause swelling, but the myth that hobo spider venom is dangerous to humans has been largely disproved. While their bite may not be extreme, it could still be problematic for very young or elderly people or for those with compromised immune systems. For the most part, however, hobo spiders are undesirable simply for their tendency to bite and roam through your house.

Male hobo spiders will usually enter a human home around the late summer or fall in search of females. Around that time of year, you are most likely to see them, and they are unfortunately very impulsive when it comes to biting. Avoid a freely-roaming arachnid if it looks at all like a hobo spider. Beware of places where they tend to build their webs, too, such as in crawlspaces or other places that are low to the ground.

Hobo Spider Control Solutions

Hobo spiders need a tight and shaded spot to build their web funnels, so removing clutter and keeping darker places organized will discourage them from nesting. Adding more bright lights or sun exposure to such places could help as well. Hobo spiders are not skilled at climbing and will usually enter homes through lower places, such as a crack in the foundation. Sealing up and removing lower potential entrances will help prevent hobo spiders from coming back.

For those dealing with a serious hobo spider problem, professional pest control may be necessary. The team at Bulwark has experience handling troublesome pests of all kinds and can find a solution that fits with your home situation and needs.

Common Hobo Spider Questions

How Do Hobo Spiders Reproduce?

Unlike with other pests, where the male and female meet by chance, the female hobo spider stays in her web at nearly all times. A male must exit his web and search for a female's web in order to mate. The male must carefully tap and strum at the entrance of the female's web in a specific pattern, and if his signals are unclear, the female will interpret the vibrations as prey and kill the male. If the female recognizes and accepts the male, however, then he approaches her slowly. After mating, the male leaves to find other females.

A female hobo spider can produce up to four egg cases, with each holding between 50 and 100 eggs. Females live much longer, about two years, compared to a few months for a male.

Is It True That Hobo Spiders Run After Humans?

Although hobo spiders are very defensive and will bite anything they suspect to be a threat, it's important to remember that their eyesight is very poor. In some cases, a person mistakenly disturbing a place where a hobo spider was resting could cause it to rush out of that area and then indirectly come into contact with the person, biting on impulse before fleeing. It's easy to see why hobo spiders have a reputation for charging and attacking people, but their behavior is partly misinterpreted.

While having a few hobo spiders around may be normal and help control other pest populations in your home, you must not let them get out of control. Contact Bulwark or fill out our easy home assessment form to describe your pest issue and get started.

Jumping spiders are one of the most unique and diverse types of spiders. Despite their small size, many can look very frightening. While they are not dangerous and do not spread disease, an overwhelming jumping spider population is a pest control issue you'll want to resolve. Take a look at our guide on these varied arachnids to learn what makes them different from others and how to get rid of jumping spiders.

What Are Jumping Spiders?

Jumping spiders comprise more than 6,000 species in the group Salticidae, the largest family of spiders. Today, 13% of all documented spider species classify as jumping spiders, so their appearance and behavior can vary significantly. Instead of building their webs in open areas to catch flies or other passing creatures, jumping spiders explore and hunt for their prey. Like most spiders, though, they use their silk to build webs and to leave a dragline as they explore, which they can use to retreat if they get stuck or are in danger.

Jumping spiders are generally slow-moving but have extremely powerful vision and can jump far and accurately to capture prey or escape threats. They can leap both laterally and up to 20 times their body height. Most species eat insects and other arthropods, and they hunt during the day, often along walls or floors.

What Do Jumping Spiders Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Schristia

Jumping spiders are small, only reaching about half an inch long, and they have an unusual appearance. Unlike the typical spider with a small body and long, high legs, jumping spiders are short and stubby. They have four pairs of eyes, with the middle pair being quite large for their bodies.

Jumping spiders are nothing if not distinct. They are covered in lots of bristly hairs, which can vary in color, especially on the abdomen, where they'll look orange, yellow, red, or even white. Their jaws can be bright blue or green. Some species have very large front legs that look like scorpion claws. Jumping spiders are so diverse that a few species have evolved to imitate their prey.

Where Do Jumping Spiders Live?

With such a distinct and broad group of species, jumping spiders live in nearly every part of the world. Most species live in tropical climates, but every continent other than Antarctica has jumping spiders adapted to the local environment. Scientists have even found a species living on the slopes of Mount Everest.

Jumping spiders prefer living in enclosed areas, which makes them fond of houses and apartments. You'll usually find them in places where other insects are likely to be, such as near windows and outer doors.

Problems With Jumping Spiders

Because jumping spiders aren't nocturnal and will hunt during the day, they are easy to spot. Although their venom is powerful enough to incapacitate insects that are much larger than them, they rarely bite out of self-defense and their venom poses no threat to humans. The only real concern jumping spiders pose is an aesthetic one. Seeing them frequently in your home can be annoying or distressing, especially when they jump suddenly.

Jumping Spider Control Solutions

The first issue to address with a jumping spider problem is how they are getting inside your home. Check the building's exterior for any issues with window sealing, open pipes, foundation cracks, or other possible pest entrances. Keep in mind that jumping spiders are very small and can access the tiniest of openings. Store dead natural material such as firewood away from your home, if possible. Do not store it in a garage or shed if you can keep it outside on a raised platform.

Excessive spider populations are signs that your home has a lot of insects and other pests that spiders feed on. Keeping your home clean and pursuing pest control measures for insects might help prevent jumping spiders from moving in.

If you know or suspect that you are dealing with any kind of spider infestation on your property, fill out the easy home assessment form. The experts on the Bulwark team will contact you and help diagnose the exact pest and how to remove it.

Common Jumping Spider Questions

How Do Jumping Spiders Reproduce?

Like many animals, male jumping spiders typically have prominent color patterns to attract females. Their species have unique and complex courtships, with the males performing a dance to show off the iridescent hairs on their bodies. Males also show off their agility, performing various sliding, leaping, and vibrating movements. If impressed, the female stays still and allows the male to breed with her. The number of eggs she produces, gestation time, and other factors vary depending on the species.

How Can Jumping Spiders Jump So Far?

Unlike the average spider, which has thin and twiggy legs that allow it to climb over a web, a jumping spider's legs are small and strong, able to build pressure with body fluids and kick off a surface. Also, while most spiders only breathe through specialized lungs in their abdomens, jumping spiders breathe through their mouths, as well. This gives them the extra oxygen necessary to carry out sudden, intense activity such as jumping away from danger.

How Good Is a Jumping Spider's Eyesight?

Jumping spiders are some of the sharpest-visioned arthropods in the world. They can see prey clearly from up to 18 inches, which is 32 times their average body length. This would be similar to a 5-foot-tall human being able to clearly see someone's face from 180 feet away.

While these little arachnids are amazingly diverse and important to the ecosystem, they can reproduce out of control and make your home less welcoming. Contact the pest control experts at Bulwark to get a thorough, professional look at any pest problem. The sooner you find and address a potential pest population, the easier it will be to control.

How Big Are Violin Spiders?

Though they can vary in size, violin spiders are typically about the size of a US quarter.

What Do Violin Spiders Look Like?

Violin spiders, also known as brown recluse spiders, are light to dark brown spiders with very long legs and short hairs covering the legs and body segments. On the top of the body there is usually a pattern that resembles a violin.

What Do Violin Spiders Eat?

The violin spider is a hunter and comes out at night to search for insects.

What Do Violin Spiders Do?

The violin spider uses its silk only for lining its retreat and for covering its eggs. It does not use the web to catch its prey. It spins a loose, irregular web of very sticky, off-white to grayish threads. The violin spider is very capable of biting humans, and its cyto-toxic venom causes tissue death at the bite site, which can lead to a large, infected, and lingering wound. The violin spider commonly lives inside structures, hiding within clothing, behind furnishings, and in attics and wall voids. They prefer to remain in areas of low activity and are not aggressive, biting only when provoked and threatened.

How Do Violin Spiders Reproduce?

Females lay about 50 eggs that are encased in a silken sac. Each female may produce several egg sacs over a period of several months. Spiderlings emerge from the egg sac within a month. It takes an average of one year to reach the adult stage. They live about one to two years.

Interesting Facts About Violin Spiders:

Violin spiders can survive up to six months without food or water. The lesion from its bite is a dry, blue-gray or blue-white, irregular sinking patch with ragged edges and surrounding redness - termed the "red, white, and blue sign."

Wolf spiders are one of many kinds of spiders you can spot crawling around in your garage or other parts of your home. Their tendency to roam, move quickly, and bite can make them one of the most unpleasant types of spider to deal with. If too many wolf spiders have set up residence in your home, take a look at this comprehensive guide. You'll find everything you need to know about these critters, including how to get rid of wolf spiders.

What Are Wolf Spiders?

Wolf spiders are part of a very large family of spiders called Lycosidae, containing almost 3,000 species. They do not spin webs but still produce silk, which they use to line their flat nests and to protect their eggs. They become problems for homeowners if they get out of control, mainly due to their curiosity and aggression. Wolf spiders are known for being fast. In fact, the smaller species can run across the surface of water, such as a swimming pool.

Like many spiders, wolf spiders are nocturnal and look for prey at night, chasing it down and pouncing. If startled by something bigger than them, such as a human, they will usually run for the nearest tight space to hide, such as under furniture. In the process of searching for food, wolf spiders can easily wander into homes, garages, sheds, and more.

What Do Wolf Spiders Look Like?

Image via Flickr by Lennart Tange

Wolf spider adults range in size depending on the species but usually don't have smaller than a half-inch legspan. The largest species, Hogna carolinensis, reaches the size of the average adult human hand. Wolf spider bodies, especially their legs, are coated in short, sensory hairs, which can be gray or different shades of brown. Their color patterns usually feature dark stripes.

Where Do Wolf Spiders Live?

Lycosidae species live all over the world, except for in Antarctica, Greenland, and the northernmost parts of Russia and Canada. What's more, they often enjoy living in human homes for their numerous hiding places. They do not usually climb very high, preferring instead to wander and nest at ground level.

Problems With Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders don't actively attack people, but they can bite as a way to dissuade threats. Their bites are mild and typically cause swelling, itching, and dull pain. However, seek medical attention if one bites you, just to be safe. If you see a wolf spider, try to frighten it away with a long object such as a broom. They should flee without trying to bite.

While wolf spiders aren't very dangerous, seeing one where you live can be startling and distressing. What's more, growing spider populations often indicate growing populations of pests that serve as their food, so you might have other small pests to deal with.

Wolf Spider Control Solutions

If you encounter a wolf spider, do not try to squish it. If the spider happens to be a female with eggs or hatchlings, they could spread rapidly. Instead, consider glue traps or catch-and-release methods. Also, as with most spider pest control issues, prevention is very effective. These spiders can wander into any open space, so look outside for cracks in your home's foundation and other possible entrances and seal them.

Yard care and organization will also help keep wolf spiders away. Keep items such as brick piles, firewood, or old junk off the ground, if possible. Otherwise, keep them 5 feet or more from your home's exterior walls. Trim trees that are close enough to shade your roof so lower branches don't provide a bridge to the roof.

With extreme infestations, you might need professionals with experience and advanced control methods to deal with a spider population. If wolf spiders have made an unwelcome visit to your home, tackling the problem with professional methods might be the best choice. Contact Bulwark or fill out the home assessment form to get an accurate and thorough diagnosis of the problem.

Common Wolf Spider Questions

How Do Wolf Spiders Reproduce?

After mating, the female lays eggs and wraps them in a sac made from her silk. This silk is softer than usual and designed to insulate and protect the eggs. She uses this sac to conveniently carry her eggs at all times, securing it with stronger silk to her abdomen. Once the spiderlings hatch, they remain on the female's back for a period.

Once the spiderlings learn to shoot web, they create strands of silk they use like kites to catch wind or electrical currents. Using that silk strand, they can float along with their relatively small and lightweight bodies. This is called ballooning, and many spiders use this method of movement before they have matured.

How Do Wolf Spiders Hunt?

Unlike most spiders, which build webs to trap prey, wolf spiders venture out from their nests to find meals. They have very sharp vision; once they spot prey, they will chase it down, leap on it, and turn over on their backs, keeping the prey constricted within their legs. They then bite and inject their venom to incapacitate or kill it.

Are Wolf Spiders Useful?

Like various other spiders, wolf spiders control the populations of other small pests by eating them. This can make them very useful for farmers and even homes. Their presence can also discourage other, more dangerous spiders. The problems people have with these spiders typically stem from them overpopulating.

Many people with spiders in their homes don't realize they have unwelcome visitors until the issue has gotten serious. If you regularly see any kind of arachnids in frequented areas of your home, you could be dealing with an overpopulation that will only grow. Contact Bulwark to address these concerns and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a pest-free home.

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Kob Raleigh, NC
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John arrived within the scheduled service window. He was very pleasant and did a great job. He double checked to see what issue I was having to ensure he put down the correct treatment type. He treated the inside, garage and outside perimeter of the house. In addition, he did a granule treatment on the shrubs per my request. John also took the time to explain how dampening the granules will activate them.?
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