Ants

Ants

Ant infestation is the most commonly reported pest problem. These tiny scavengers will enter your home or business looking for moisture and an accessible food source. Rotting or damp wood that is moldy can attract ants. Ants also feed on sugar, cheese, meats, vegetables, grease, peanut butter, and dead insects. Ants often enter a home through cracks around windows or doors, but they can find numerous entrances to your home or building. Once inside, the growing ant colony can become a problem quickly, as ants mature from juveniles to adults within a matter of days.

It is necessary to properly identify the ant species that you have in order to effectively eradicate them. Of the thousands of species of ants, the four listed below are the most commonly found in the United States.

Carpenter Ants: are about five eighths inches long. They tend to burrow in damp wood but have also been known to damage solid wood. They do not eat the wood, but simply remove it in order to build a nest.

Red Imported Fire Ants: vary in size from one-eighth to three-eighths inches. They construct large mounds for nests and administer painful stings.

Pavement Ants: are about one-eighth inch long. They generally make their nests in pavement cracks and are also capable of infesting a building.

Pharoah Ants: are about one-sixteenth inch long. These ants are commonly found in hospitals and nursing homes, where they are are capable of transmitting Staphylecoccus and Psuedomonas infections. Pharoah Ants also invade restaurants, apartment buildings and similar dwellings.

Ants with wings can easily be mistaken for termites, which may lead to a wrong treatment. In comparison, ants have a very narrow thorax (mid-section), while termites' bodies are more uniform.

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Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have largely been thought of as being a problem of the past. Unfortunately, we are now experiencing a widespread recurrence of bed bugs in the United States and abroad. The most significant factor that explains their return is the increase in international travel. Bed bugs easily get into clothing or luggage and are brought home. Even the finest hotels are not immune.

A bed bug does not actually live under your skin, but will simply drink a few drops of blood while you are sleeping. You cannot feel its bite, even though it is actually piercing the skin. Although some saliva will get into the bite, bed bugs are not known to pass on any diseases to humans.

While many bed bugs hide in mattresses, some may also hide in a sofa or chair, or behind wall paper or pictures. Thoroughness is the only real way to get rid of Bed Bugs. Every corner and crevice needs to be searched. As you might guess, this means that simply getting rid of an infected mattress will not completely solve the problem.

Bed Bug bites often cause redness and some swelling. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be given to help relieve the itching. Approximately 50% of Bed Bug victims do not show any evidence of bites. These tenacious pests are about 3/8" long and are visible to the naked eye. Amazingly, they are able to go without food for as long as a year. After getting their fill of blood, the females will lay eggs in batches of up to 200 at a time.

Since their reappearance, researchers have found that the new Bed Bugs are much more resistant to chemicals that have previously been in use. Insecticides that are often used for roaches and similar insects are ineffective on Bed Bugs. Bed Bugs, in particular, require professional pest control management.

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Beetles

Beetles

Beetles make up the largest category of insects in the world, accounting for approximately 25% of all life forms on earth. In fact, there are more than 5 million different species of beetles.

Beetles are easily identified by their hard outer shell, which covers their wings. Their wings are exposed only during flight. A beetle's body consists of three sections: a head, a thorax, and an abdomen.Adult beetles do not eat wood, only the beetle larvae do. When you see holes in either structural wood or in furniture, it is because the larvae have already left and you are seeing the exit holes. This could be an indication of a nearby infestation. Generally, beetles are attracted to the same type of wood from which they were born.

Some beetles, such as the common Ladybug, are actually advantageous to have around. They are known to keep down the population of other insects, so you should not attempt to destroy them or any other beneficial beetle species.

Treating for beetles requires proper knowledge of the type of beetle species you are trying to eliminate. Wood eating beetles, for instance, cannot be effectively treated using sprays because they are located deep within wood. If you think you may have a beetle infestation, your local pest professionals will have the knowledge,resources and solution to the problem.

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Centi & Millipedes

Centipedes & Millipedes

Millipedes and centipedes are similar pests. Though they may be unusually repulsive, they are not a major threat to people or animals.

Centipedes in the south tend to be the largest. They can grow up to six inches in length. A centipede can be easily distinguished from a millipede because it has fewer legs; specifically, one set for every segment of its body. Millipedes have two sets of legs for every segment, and when they move, their legs appear to be moving in a wave-like motion. A millipede's legs are also shorter and, in general, a millipede cannot move very fast. A centipede, with its fewer legs, can travel considerably faster.

Both centipedes and millipedes are generally hatched from eggs, but some varieties are born live. Some centipedes may live as long as six years.

Centipedes actually have the ability to bite, and are poisonous. The poison from their fangs, located behind the head, is used to kill insects, which are their primary food. To a human, a bite feels like that of a bee sting, and can be dangerous,especially if there is an allergic reaction in response to the bite. Children will be more sensitive to a centipede's bite.

Millipedes are not poisonous and do not have fangs, but they can emit an obnoxious fluid to defend themselves. Some varieties can spray this fluid several inches. The fluid can cause irritation to the skin in some people and should be removed right away. Additionally, it may take some scrubbing to get rid of the odor.

Millipedes feed on decaying plant matter and sometimes living plant roots. Millipedes can damage those roots if there are too many of the pests in the soil. Some varieties are known to be especially bothersome to greenhouse plants. If this occurs, you may need to contact a pest control agency to eliminate your millipede infestation.

House centipedes are an indoor variety. They can move quickly and do not require the moisture that the other varieties need. Centipedes are beneficial to the control of other insects, which may be a good reason to keep them around. The most likely time of year to see centipedes in your home is in the spring or fall.

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Flies

Flies

Flies, typically considered a nuisance, exist in all regions of the United States. There are more than 240,000 different species of flies in the world. Approximately one third of them, including mosquitoes and gnats, can be found in the United States.

A true fly has only one set of wings. All flies are known disease carriers, many of which can be transmitted to humans. Flies typically breed in garbage, excrement of animals and humans, sewers, compost piles, and any other place where matter is decaying. This enables them to pick up various kinds of diseases which can be transmitted to people by biting or by landing on food, where the bacteria and viruses are released. Since flies are able to transmit disease so easily, it is necessary to seek insect control quickly. The diseases that they can carry include malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, dengue fever, and more.

All flies have a rapid rate of growth and go from egg to adult in about seven days. Maggots are just one stage in the early development of a fly. Maggots of some fly varieties, such as the Carrot Rust fly, can be a problem because they eat the roots of some vegetables. The most common flies are the Fruit fly, the House fly (which have four stripes on their abdomen), the Cluster fly (which is dark gray in color), and the Garbage fly (which has a metallic color that is either green or blue). Another kind of fly, the Stable fly, typically exists around livestock. The Horse fly and a few other varieties of flies actually have mouth parts and can bite humans. Most other flies have a sponge-like mouth and can only drink up their food.

One benefit of flies is that they help reduce the population of other pests. They also help to break down carcasses and other decaying matter faster by preparing it to reenter the ground. Properly controlling flies includes not only killing the adults, but also destroying their eggs and larvae. Call a pest professional to manage any fly problems you encounter.

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Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes

Nearly everyone is affected by mosquitoes during the warmer months of the year. These pests swarm at outdoor events and breed prolifically in stagnant water--from bird baths to discarded tires--even puddles from the latest rainfall. Certain land features, such as swamps, reservoirs and retention ponds are virtual breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And, all it takes is one tenacious pest to infiltrate your home and make everyone inside miserable.

Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes do not require blood to live, as they actually feed on nectar. The males are not blood drinkers; however, the female of the species requires it in order to lay eggs. Once she lays her eggs, a female mosquito will seek more blood in order to produce more young. She will continue this cycle during her short life span of about two weeks.

Though some may consider them an unpleasant nuisance, mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths than any other insect. Mosquitoes feed off both humans and animals, thereby easily infecting host upon host.

A single mosquito bite can transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and encephalitis. The well-known and well-publicized West Nile Virus (an Encephalitis virus) first appeared in the Western hemisphere in 1999 and quickly spread to infect people in every state in the US.

As a result, mosquito control is vitally important to human health and well-being. There are many varieties of mosquitoes, some of which carry more deadly diseases than others. Mosquito insecticide is often used on a wide-scale basis to combat mosquitoes and is generally very effective. If your property is prone to attracting and breeding a mosquito population, contact a professional pest control company to assess and manage the situation.

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Termites

Termites

Termites are often called the “silent destroyer” because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your home or yard without any immediate signs of damage. All termites consume cellulose-based plant materials. Unfortunately, all homes, regardless of their construction type, can provide cellulose food for termite infestation.

Termites are detritivores, or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees as well as dead parts of living trees, including wood and wood in the soil. A termite’s mouth is capable of tearing pieces of woody material. This ability is what causes concern in human dwellings: while termite workers only measure approximately 1 cm to a few millimeters in length, their feeding habits are capable of causing costly damage to property. House foundations, furniture, shelves and even books are all possible feeding sites for termites.

Subterranean termite homes are usually formed in soil. Within these mounds, termites build elaborate tunnel systems and mud tunnels through which they access above-ground food sources. Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture.

When a colony has matured, winged, swarming termites can be seen around windows and doors. Winged termites are highly attracted to sources of light and are most active in springtime. After mating, these termites locate a new breeding site and create another colony, spreading infestations throughout multiple locations in the case of drywood termites.

Termites are an integral part of a fully functioning ecosystem, converting decaying organic cellulose material into fertile soil, out of which new generations of flora flourish. Today, the same biological traits that make termites ecologically beneficial also make them costly pests in suburban and urban environments.

In these areas, the termite’s need to feed on cellulose causes considerable damage to homes and other structures. Termites will consume wooden floors, support beams, foundations, furniture, books and many other materials found inside.

Termites swarm, and soldiers are known to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their colonies. Soldier termites are equipped with enlarged mandibles, which they use to defend their colonies against enemies such as ants and other termite colonies. Worker termites are pale in color and are blind. Subterranean termites nest underground, while drywood termites establish their colonies within the wood on which they feed and do not need the soil.

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Fleas

Fleas

Adults are parasites that draw blood from a host. Larvae feed on organic debris, particularly the feces of adult fleas, which contain undigested blood. Fleas commonly prefer to feed on hairy animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice and other domesticated or wild animals. Fleas do not have wings, although they are capable of jumping long distances.

Eggs are not attached to the host. Eggs will hatch on the ground, in rugs, carpet, bedding, upholstery or cracks in the floor. Most hatch within two days. Read more about the life cycle of fleas.

Fleas depend on a blood meal from a host to survive, so most fleas are introduced into the home via pets or other mammal hosts. On some occasions, fleas may become an inside problem when the host they previously fed on is no longer around. Then fleas focus their feeding activity on other hosts that reside inside the home. An example of such a situation is when a mouse inside the home is trapped and removed, the fleas that previously fed on the mouse are then forced to feed on pets or people.

Employing exclusion practices is important for many pest problems, but exclusion does not have a major, direct benefit for flea control. However, sealing cracks, gaps and holes to help keep rodents or other potential hosts from gaining access into the home is an important indirect way to keep fleas outside. The most effective ways to keep fleas from getting inside the home is to eliminate outdoor flea habitats and outdoor hosts, plus using area-wide flea control chemical products and veterinarian-approved flea control products on pets.

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Bats

Bats

Most bats are insectivores, feeding on insects at night. Bats will also frequent outside lighting where insects will be flying in warmer weather. They may also be found near swimming pools, as insects might be attracted to these areas. There are some species that prefer other foods such as fruits, but most of these are not usually found in the United States.

Bats can be either colonial bats, living in colonies, or solitary bats, living alone or with just a few other bats. There is no queen bat in colonies; the bats just aggregate together.

Bats emerge in the early days of spring and leave their overwintering sites for summer homes. Typically, the first to establish nesting areas are the females ready to give birth. Because of their impending maternity, these new colonies are known as maternity or nursery colonies.

Baby bats are usually born during the summer months. The infant bats breastfeed until they’re ready to fly and hunt food on their own. The bats remain in this roost until the fall when it’s time to overwinter. Prior to leaving for winter residence, males begin arriving at these colonies in large numbers, ready to mate with the female inhabitants.

Winter hibernation is an instinct felt by all domestic bat species. Some travel less than 100 miles, while others travel thousands of miles from their summer roost. Equally fascinating is that some species winter in small groups, while others choose to gather in large numbers for their winter rest.

Homeowners may detect bats in several ways. As bats enter and leave an opening, the oils from their fur get deposited and can result in a brown to black stain. Bats can cause noises inside the home from their routine activities. Their droppings are another indicator of bat activity. The droppings are segmented and full of insect parts, which helps differentiate them from mouse droppings. The bats themselves are a sign and may be observed exiting from the home in the dusk to early evening hours.

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Roaches

Cockroaches

Just about everyone knows what a cockroach looks like; they are everywhere. While it is often jokingly stated that if anything could survive a nuclear war, it would be a cockroach, the idea is clear - they are real survivors.

Once there is a cockroach infestation, it can be very hard to get rid of them. Cockroaches multiply very quickly, and they also adapt quickly, too. It is important to contact a pest control agency quickly if you see them in your home or business.

There are over 4,000 different varieties of cockroaches, but only about thirty of them can comfortably live with humans. This number can be further reduced to include only four varieties; the main species that cause problems in homes and businesses in America.

The four main species are the American, German, Asian, and Oriental cockroaches. These vary in size from about 1/2" (German), up to 2" (American). In America, the species that is most common in homes would most likely be the German variety.

Cockroaches increase in population at a very rapid rate. The German cockroach female lives about 200 days. Each egg case that she lays includes thirty to fifty eggs. In her lifetime, she will produce between four to six egg cases. German cockroaches are clearly able to thrive.

Once cockroaches infest a home, they are rarely seen. Cockroaches are nocturnal and can live up to a month with little or no food. They can also survive by eating book bindings, furniture, glue, soap, dead insects, shoe linings, and more.

The presence of cockroaches can lead to a definite impression of uncleanness- especially if your guests see them. Contrary to popular belief, a cockroach infestation is not necessarily an indication of poor hygiene. However, an untidy environment will make it all the more difficult to get rid of them. The presence of cockroaches can also lead to health problems, including asthma in children. If you spot a cockroach at home or work, there are likely more of them concealed nearby. Contact a pest professional to avoid letting an infestation get out of hand.

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Rodents

Rodents

Mice and rats are a problem when they find their way into your home. They like to be near humans so that they have a ready supply of food. This has earned them the term "commensal," which means "to share one's table."

The class of creatures called "rodents" actually encompasses a much more than just mice and rats. It refers to any animal whose incisor teeth continue to grow, so they must continually gnaw in order to keep them serviceable.

There are more than 2,200 different rodents. Together they make up more than 40% of all mammals. In this group you will find: mice, rats, squirrels, capybaras, nutria, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and many more.

Removing rodents can sometimes be as easy as setting a mouse trap; but a larger infestation (especially with rats or larger rodents) can be larger issue. Rats, especially, are smart and can learn to avoid traps.

Rodents can carry up to thirty-five diseases that humans are susceptible to, which is another reason to eliminate them as soon as possible. Cleaning up after a rodent infestation also requires a great deal of caution. This is necessary because of the possibility of fleas or mosquitoes, which may transmit their own diseases to you, your children and pets. There is also risk involved if you inadvertently stir up the dust of their nests; it can be hazardous to breathe in the bacteria contained within.

Rodents can also do physical damage your home or business. They easily chew through some types of siding and other building materials. They are also known to chew on electrical lines, thereby increasing the possibility of fire. They damage other materials as well, creating holes and gnawing on numerous objects, especially food or food containers.

Removing rodents can be difficult. A professional pest management company will identify nesting areas and feeding grounds and know how to completely eliminate them. Proper cleanup is also performed, ensuring that you and your family are safe from allergies, illness and possible future infestation.

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Spiders

Spiders

Spiders are generally good to have around, as they help minimize the population of harmful insects. The problem arises, however, when they negatively affect humans. The mere sight of a spider can be a real scare for some people. Aside from that, many spiders do bite humans and are poisonous, so it is a good idea to have a pest control company address your spider infestation.

Several spiders pose a serious threat to humans. The two that are the deadliest to humans in the United States are the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Since a few people die each year from the bite of either of these two spiders, it's extremely important for any person who is bitten by one of these spiders to seek treatment immediately. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

The Black Widow spider can be easily recognized because she is black with a red hourglass on the underside of her abdomen. The male is considerably smaller than the female, and he has a body up to half an inch long. The Black Widow typically remains outdoors.

The Brown Recluse spider has a darker brown hourglass on its back. The Brown Recluse loves to be indoors and generally stays out of sight. It may never be seen until you startle it by reaching into a dark spot where it is hiding. Then it will bite.

There are plenty of other spiders in the United States, such as the Grass Spider, Wolf Spider, Hobo Spider, and the Saint Andrew's Cross Spider, just to name a few. These spiders do not have the same strong venom in their bite, but all are painful and treatment may be required.

If you have noticed spiders in your home, contact a pest management company. They will know the most effective, safest way to eliminate the spider problem, and make recommendations about keeping them away in the future.

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Stinging Insects

Stinging Insects

A bee or wasp problem in or your home or yard can disrupt daily life and put both you and your family in danger. If a family member is allergic to a bee and is stung, the reaction might be serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. A bad reaction can occur even if the allergy had previously been non-existent or mild. Also, an individual's allergy can worsen after repeated exposure to bites. Multiple bites can be quite dangerous, especially with regard to the elderly or small children. Regardless, bee stings hurt even without an adverse reaction. If you want to make sure that bee or wasp stings do not pose a danger to you or your family, let a professional exterminator address the problem.

Exterminating bees or wasps on your own can be difficult and even dangerous. Sometimes a homeowner will attempt to exterminate pests alone, using chemical sprays from a hardware store or supply center. If these sprays are not applied in the correct locations, most of the bee or wasp colony will survive. The most challenging nests to control are those that located deep inside the walls of a home or in the attic. Often, a homeowner does not even know where the actual colony is located. He or she only sees where the wasps are flying back and forth through a crack or hole in the home. If there are bees or wasps anywhere in your home, extreme caution is advised. A professional exterminator will know exactly where to spray in order to eliminate your bee or wasp problem for good.

Outdoors, bee and wasp nests near human activity can pose a potential problem. Some wasps may become aggressive scavengers around human food and are attracted to outdoor activities where food or drinks are served. Most bees and wasps will not attack if left alone. However, some people are curious to observe a nest or unknowingly surprise a member of a hive. If provoked, a bee will sting in defense of its nest or itself. Insect sprays should be used with caution. Some of the more caustic over-the-counter sprays on the market can cause harm to children and pets. A professional exterminator knows which sprays to use that will not harm any of your loved ones.

If you attempt to exterminate pests yourself, you could literally spend hours shopping for costly pest control sprays or trapping devices. You could then spend even more time trying unsuccessfully to kill the wasps or bees, putting yourself or your family at risk in the process. A professional exterminating service can take care of your pest problem efficiently. Exterminators train or apprentice before they begin working independently and know a great deal about insects and insect removal. Contacting a professional exterminator can save you both time and money. The sooner you call a licensed exterminator, the sooner your family's home and lives can return to normal.

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Ticks

Ticks

Ticks can be found year-round but are most prevalent in the warm summer months. They are parasites, and as a result, are on a continual quest for a host. If a host is not available, a tick can survive up to a year without feeding.

A female tick must have a blood meal before she can lay eggs. After feeding, she drops off her host and lays thousands of eggs. A female tick lays one batch of eggs, after which she dies. A male tick also dies after reproducing.

There are two established families of ticks: hard ticks and soft. A tick matures from egg to adult in stages. Depending on the family, some reach maturity in only a few stages of growth. Other varieties may take as many as eight stages to develop. The length of time to reach maturity also depends on factors as temperature, humidity and availability of food. With regard to physical characteristics, an immature tick has six legs; a full-grown adult has eight.

Ticks transmit a number of diseases as a result of feeding off both human and animal hosts. Examples include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Q Fever, Tularemia, Tick Paralysis and Meningoencephalitis.

Ticks often prefer certain hosts over others, resulting in names as Deer Tick, Cat Tick, American Dog Tick, Bat Tick, Bird Tick, etc. The family pet is a popular carrier of ticks, which unfortunately results in a tick entering a home. After feeding for a few days, a female tick will drop off of her host to lay eggs. Ticks seek out tiny crevices in which to store their eggs, which can result in a full-blown infestation of your home. Attempting to rid your home of the tick infestation can be difficult and frustrating, as eggs can hatch months later, long after you think you have the situation under control. For the best results in combating an tick infestation, contact a professional pest control company.

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Wildlife

Wildlife

Many common wild animals have long been making themselves at home in our suburbs and cities. Some animals come and go among us. They discover food in abundance in our gardens, trash cans and pets' food dishes. They learn easy routes in and out of our towns--through underbrush, along streams and railways, and even through sewers. But when these animals find their way into your home or garage and decide to stay, they quickly become a nuisance. Raccoons, opossums, rats, squirrels, bats, and many other animals cause millions of dollars in property damage every year. Some carry diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to you or your pets.

Wild animals are attracted to areas that have easy access to food sources such as vegetable gardens, bird feeders, or unprotected domestic animal feeds. They tend to look for areas that provide a warm shelter that will protect them from the elements such as attics, basements, walls and chimneys. If there are easy access points such as loose siding, broken windows or missing foundation vents, animals will be more likely to set up residence.

Ignoring the problem will not encourage it to go away. Most invading rodents settle in and decide to stay. Unfortunately, the longer an animal remains undisturbed in any particular area, the more difficult it will be to remove. The animal will build a nest, produce offspring and attract others to shelter in your home. Confronting a trespassing pest on your own is never a good idea. A wild animal is unpredictable and dangerous no matter how small or innocuous looking. Calling a professional exterminator is always recommended when dealing with nuisance wildlife. Professional wildlife control technicians have the equipment and knowledge necessary to safely remove the animal from your property without injuring it or themselves. They will then relocate the captured animal to a more appropriate location. Wildlife control technicians are also up to date on regulations involving species that may be protected by law and require special handling. A professional exterminator will also be able to assist with cleaning up the animal's nest, droppings, and food remnants in order to prevent the spread of disease and bacteria.

The best thing you can do to protect your home from nuisance animals is to prevent them from setting up residence in the first place. But, if despite your best efforts to thwart a determined pest, you find that one has moved in, don't hesitate to contact a wildlife exterminator. The sooner you get rid of your unwanted guest, the less chance it will have to cause extensive damage to your home or your health.

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