April 30th, 2009 by BugGuy
When the temperatures start warming up people start using over the counter pesticides (you can buy them in home stores) for a variety of things including weed control, pest control and even pools. It’s important to use caution when handing these products because they are still chemicals and can be pretty toxic.
Here are some basic tips to keep in mind, yes, they seem like common sense but you would be surprised.
- Select the mildest product that will successfully correct the problem — Do you even need to use a chemical?
- Store pesticides away from kids, pets and even adults (pdf) — dogs and other pets may eat any poison (such as rat poison) if left within their reach
- Do not transfer the pesticides to containers that were once used to store food or may store food again. Keeping the chemicals in the original bottle, container, etc… is probably the best bet since the instructions and cautions are printed on the container
- Mixing bleach with ammonia or other chemicals can cause a toxic gas so avoid mixing anything that could have a chemical reaction
- Open windows, doors, etc… when working with pesticides in the home
- If you start to feel ill, leave the treated area and seek medical attention if necessary
And don’t forget, select a product that treats the problem at hand and don’t forget to follow the instructions, they are there for a reason.
For more information on pesticide regulation, visit the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Posted in DIY Pest Control | No Comments »
April 24th, 2009 by BugGuy
Bees are an insect that is often considered a pest but unless you’re allergic they probably provide more benefit than harm. In fact, not all bees sting and only female bees (in all species) have stingers. Bees are absolutely necessary for our ecosystem (there are over 80 species in California), and there’s even been some recent concerns about the declining bee population.
If you aren’t allergic, you may want to consider a bee garden. Having a garden allows the bees to cross pollinate our fruits, vegetables and other ornamental plants. Creating a bee garden isn’t difficult but it is important to use native plants and believe it or not, bees prefer some flowers to others. Other factors in the garden that will attract more bees is a wide variety (at least 10) of flowers, and bees seem to prefer gardens that are less manicured and tended to. You might want to consider including flowers in the bee garden that bloom at different times of the year to keep bees around for a longer period of time.
Did you know? Facts about bees:
- There are about 20,000 known species of bees around the world
- Bees are actually a specialized form of wasp
- Honey bees fly at 15 m.p.h.
- Bees have five eyes
- The first bee appears in fossil records dating 35 million years ago
If you aren’t trying to attract the bees and you suspect you have a problem, call a professional exterminator in California to treat the insects, especially if a hive is present.
Posted in Bees, Profiles of Common Pests | No Comments »
April 16th, 2009 by BugGuy
With flowers and warmer weather usually brings spring swarmers, also known as flying termites. There are two species of termites in Southern California that are often classified as swarmers, they include:
Both drywood termites and subterranean termites usually do most of their damage with out directly bothering humans or even being seen, but this isn’t the case during the spring. Once a year, both species will send out winged termites called alates. Unlike most termites, these special winged termites are created just to reproduce and expand the colony.
What to do? The alates don’t cause damage themselves but if left alone, the colony could create can a problem when the pests start looking for food. The most effective way to protect your home from these pests is to hire a professional pest control company, someone who can both inspect, find the source and treat the problem.
It’s important to note that while you may see swarmers in your yard, it doesn’t mean they are coming from your house. The swarmers could be coming from an old tree or other dead plant material; it’s still advisable to get a complete inspection.
Posted in Termite, Termite Prevention | No Comments »
April 9th, 2009 by BugGuy
There’s no doubt that the mosquito is one of the most annoying pests, they bite and they always seem to show up in large numbers. This is this time of year when mosquitoes start to come around and can easily get out of control. But there are some easy steps to take to control and reduce the number of mosquitoes around the yard and house.
- Clean gutters
- Change the water in bird baths every week
- Put fish in the garden pond…the fish will eat mosquito larvae
- Drain kiddie pools on a regular basis
The basic idea is to avoid stagnant water where mosquitoes could use as a breeding ground. It may also be helpful to hire a professional pest control service to treat shrubs and bushes around the house; mosquitoes most likely hang out in these spots during the day.
Controlling the mosquito population not only avoids annoying bug bites but it also helps prevent diseases from being spread; malaria, encephalitis and the West Nile virus can be spread by mosquitos.
- California is home to over 50 species of mosquitoes
- Mosquitoes can be found throughout California from the desert to the mountains
- Many species of mosquitoes in California don’t post a health threat to people but several species do
- The mosquitoes that cause problems in California belong to the Aedes, Anopheles and Culex genera
For more detailed information, read this overview of mosquito control practices in California.
Posted in Pest Control FAQ, Pest Prevention | 1 Comment »
April 1st, 2009 by BugGuy
The gypsy moth is an example of an insect that was introduced to the United States but soon backfired all around the country, including California. The gypsy moth
caterpillar (see picture to the left) is usually what is pictured when the insect is mentioned. These insects were brought to the United States in 1869 in an attempt to create a silkworm industry but has since become a major pest.
Tree damage is the major problem with the pests, especially when they are at the caterpillar stage of their life which is the gypsy moth larvae. As the caterpillars grow, they molt and their appetite increases each time they molt. A gypsy moth caterpillar may molt five or six times. Gypsy moths aren’t very picky when it comes to their food but they do prefer hardwood trees such as oak, elm and maple; other trees can be affected.
States across the country are trying to control this pest and even though there is an agressive attempt to eradicate the insect, the gypsy moth is still a major threat to the forests of California. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has taken steps to control the problem including spraying natural pesticides and even quarantining areas where the gypsy moths have been spotted.
Wondering what you can do to help? Gypsy-moth.com recommends a few tools to help protect the trees on your property.
- Destroy any egg masses by burning them or soaking them in water
- Use the TreeHelp Bug Band to prevent the gypsy moth caterpillars from reaching the leaves
- Use a gypsy moth trap to capture any adult moths
Here are some videos about gypsy moths from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Posted in Pest ID, Pest Prevention | No Comments »