June 30th, 2009 by BugGuy
No one wants to invite pests into the home but unfortunately that’s often the case, especially with rodents. Mice may be cute to some but the effects of the rodent’s presence can actually be quite detrimental. Rodents including mice often cause physical damage to properties and structures and can even carry diseases including salmonellosis.
There are often obvious signs that mice are present; these signs include mice droppings, shredded paper, cardboard, etc… and gnaw marks.
According to the CDC, one of the best ways to prevent a rodent infestation is to seal up holes inside and outside the home. Some of the most common spots for gaps include around the fireplace, around pipes under sinks, attic vents and dryer vents. See the CDC’s site for preventing rodents to see an extensive list of common entrances.
To fix these gaps, fill the holes with steel wool and then caulk around the holes. Don’t forget to seal garages and sheds too! It’s also beneficial to practice good sanitization when trying to prevent a rodent outbreak; mice are looking for food and shelter so avoid giving them what they need.
If you already have a rodent infestation, you can set baits or traps yourself. Traps are effective for a small number of mice or rodents but it is time consuming. Baits also work but take care because rat poison and rodent baits can be very toxic to pets and humans. But as always, call a professional exterminator when you are unsure or have more rodents then you know what to do with.
Posted in Pest Prevention, Rodent Prevention | 2 Comments »
June 9th, 2009 by BugGuy
Like many pests, the fire ant was accidentally brought to the United States via cargo ship. In 1929, a ship carrying soil from South America arrived in Alabama but the imported fire ants soon spread to many of the states in the south and now the ants can be found as far north as Maryland and as far west as California.
What you need to know about fire ants:
- They look similar to ordinary ants but…are much more aggressive and their head is a lighter color than the rest of the body
- Fire ants (and all ants) are strong! They can lift fives times their weight
- The ants build large mounds (see picture to the right) that can be over a foot high, a foot wide and several feet deep into the ground
- Fire ants will eat just about any plant OR animal material…it’s no wonder they’ve been able to take over so quickly
- Researchers believe the ants wont be able to make it much further north since it’s thought that the ants can’t live in ground that drops below freezing for 2-3 weeks
But believe it or not, fire ants do have their benefits. These aggressive pests will feed on other pests such as cockroaches, ticks, etc…
The USDA has been working to control the fire ants with natural insect enemies and most of these insects target just fire ants so the population of other insect wont be affected. Two enemies that are being used in particular include the decapitating fly and the fire ant disease. Fire ant disease is in fact a protozoan disease that weakens the entire fire ant colony which slows growth.
Store bought fire ant baits are effective for controlling the fire ants mounds in your yard. The granular bait is usually sprinkled on the mound, doused with water and let sit. But for best results, follow the instructions on the fire ant bait and when in doubt, contact a pest control company.
What to do for fire ant bites?
Posted in Pest ID, Pest Maintenance | 1 Comment »
June 4th, 2009 by BugGuy
Did you know that there are more than 30,000 different species of insects that call California home? While that number may seem large, there are actually insects in California considered endangered.
First it’s important to remember that California has the most diverse terrain and climate in all of the United States so the diversity of insects is correlated. But as the state continues to develop, the delicate balance of the ecology continues to change. On the other hand, because of California’s varying climates, many unusual species of insects, plants, animals, etc…reside strictly in the state. There are numerous species that can only be found in California, the California Timena Walking Stick is one example, and the famous redwood trees are another as they can only be found on the West Coat of the United States.
According to a Berkeley University website, there are 20 species of insects considered endangered in California and another 150 species still being reviewed. It’s interesting to note the majority of the insects on the threatened list are winged insects such as butterflies.
There is also a list of insects that have already become extinct. These species could not adapt to the changes in their habitat.
It’s obviously that the best way to prevent these species of insects (or any creature) from going extinct is by preserving their habitats. There are national parks and preserves that can help protect their homes but it’s not enough with the rapid development that is taking place in California and all over the country.
Posted in Pest Control FAQ, Pest ID | No Comments »