ODOROUS HOUSE ANTS – CONTROL

odorous house ants

ODOROUS HOUSE ANTS – As their name suggests, odorous house ants, when crushed, emit a smell of rotting coconuts. They tend to build nests both inside and outside. Common places to find odorous house ant nests are in wall crevices, near heaters, under carpets, and beneath floors.

This small ant that goes by the common names odorous house ant, sugar ant, stink ant, and coconut ant. Their colonies are polydomous (consist of multiple nests) and polygynous (contain multiple reproducing queens). Like many social insects, it employs complex foraging strategies, allocates food depending on environmental conditions, and engages in competition with other insect species.

HOUSEHOLD MENACE

These ants can be found in a huge diversity of habitats, including within homes. They forage mainly for honeydew, which is produced by aphids and scale insects that are guarded and tended by the ants, as well as floral nectar and other sugary foods. They are common household pests.

MANAGEMENT

Quick control is crucial, because the larger the population becomes the longer it will take to control the infestation. You should be on the lookout for these ants in late winter and early spring (particularly after rain), because is when they most commonly appear. Taking these steps should help:

  1. Standing water should be eliminated: odorous house ants are attracted to moisture.
  2. Plants should be trimmed back so they cannot be used to get inside.
  3. Cracks, holes and joints should be sealed with polyurethane foam or caulk, especially those that are near the ground.
  4. Firewood, rocks and other materials should not be stored next to a home because it encourages nest building.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We’ll be happy to help!

Want to learn more about odorous house ants? Click HERE.

PAPER WASPS – PEST CONTROL

paper wasps

PAPER WASPS gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material. Some types of paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests.

WHERE TO LOOK

The nests of most true paper wasps are characterized by having open combs with cells for brood rearing, and a “petiole,” or constricted stalk, which anchors the nest. Paper wasps secrete a chemical that repels marauding ants, which they spread around the base of the nest anchor to prevent the loss of eggs or brood. Nests can be found in sheltered areas, such as the eaves of a house, the branches of a tree, on the end of an open pipe, or on an old clothesline.

ATTACK WHEN THREATENED

Unlike yellow jackets and hornets, which can be very aggressive, paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened. Since their territoriality can lead to attacks on people, and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals, nests in human-inhabited areas may present an unacceptable hazard.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We’ll be happy to help!

Click HERE for more info about paper wasps.

FIRE ANTS – PEST CONTROL

fire ants

Adult red imported fire ants are reddish to dark brown. They are “polymorphic,” meaning that a colony will contain ants of different sizes ranging from 1/16” to 3/16”. The workers perform different jobs such as tending the queen and “brood,” maintaining the nest, and gathering food. Some of the workers serve as “soldiers” which protect the colony. At certain times of the year (mostly spring and summer), you will find winged males (hich are small and black in color) and winged females (about 1/3-inch long).

THEY WILL ATTACK YOU

Fire ants are small but highly aggressive. They inject a necrotizing, alkaloid venom when they sting. The stings result in painful, itchy, and persistent pustules, and sometimes in severe allergic reactions. Five million people are stung each year in the southeastern United States. About 25,000 of these people require medical consultation. When a fire ant mound is disturbed, workers boil to the surface, run up any legs, arms, etc., in the vicinity, grab the victim’s skin in their mandibles and sting synchronously in response to the slightest movement. The attacks are coordinated and dozens or even hundreds of workers sting in unison.

GIGANTIC COLONIES

Fire ants live in colonies that may have 100,000 to 500,000 ants. The queen of the colony can lay from 1500 to 5000 eggs per day, never leaves the nest and can live for many years. Worker ants take care of the queen and her eggs, build the nest, defend the colony, and find food. Preferred food of fire ants consists of protein-rich sources such as insects and seeds. Winged male and female ants fly from the colony in the spring and summer to mate in the air. The males die and the females become queens that start new colonies.

OFTEN COME INDOORS

While fire ants are typically an outdoor problem, disturbances during/after severe weather may bring them indoors in search of food or even “dry land” and, unfortunately, into closer contact with people. Worker ants forage for nearby food sources by traveling through underground tunnels that extend out from the mound and then onto the soil surface.

MANAGEMENT

Here are some suggestions to follow if you find fire ants in your area:

  1. Watch where you step when clearing debris in yards.
  2. When eating outside, keep all food and drinks covered while they are not being eaten.
  3. Dispose of food in garbage bags and trashcans.
  4. Keep trashcans covered and, preferably, away from your house.
  5. Indoors, do not leave food exposed on tables, counter tops, or floors (in the case of dry pet foods).
  6. Keep shrubs and other vegetation pruned away from buildings so that ants can’t use them as a “bridge” to avoid treated areas.

Give us a call—The crew here at ClearDefense Pest Control will love to treat your property and help you control these little mobile fire bombs!

Click HERE for more information about fire ants.

CLOVER MITES – PEST CONTROL

clover mites

Clover mites often become pests indoors after heavy rain, excessive heat or a change in the season, which stimulate massive numbers to enter buildings. To the naked eye, the mites appear as tiny moving dark spots crawling around walls, windows and doors. Crushing the mites to kill them leaves a reddish spot. Fortunately, the mites do not reproduce indoors and will die within a few days from dehydration.

FAVORITE ABODES

Clover mites can be especially abundant in heavily fertilized lawns, but have many host plants including certain lawn grasses, ornamental flowers, clover, dandelion, shepherd’s purse, strawberry, daffodil, salvia, alyssum, and primrose, to name only a few.

MANAGEMENT

Prevention is the most effective way to control populations of clover mites. Remove all lush vegetation from the house in an 18-to-24-inch band around the perimeter of buildings. This plant-free zone will discourage mites from movement into building and will also provide an easily treatable area. Treating and sealing cracks and holes on buildings in which mites may have crawled can also be very helpful in reducing the problem.

Large populations can also be reduced by providing supplemental watering to areas where clover mites develop, such as dry areas at the base of sun-exposed walls and around evergreens. Also, planting flowerbeds with plants that are not attractive to clover mites might be helpful, such as: geranium, chrysanthemum, zinnia, marigold, salvia, rose, petunia or shrubs such as barberry, juniper and yew.

We’d like to help! Please contact us at ClearDefense Pest Control right HERE and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

Click HERE for more information about those pesky little clover mites.

SPIDERS – PEST CONTROL

spiders

Encounters between people and spiders are usually accidental and bites are a response by the spider when its web or nest (or the spider itself) is disturbed. Most spiders produce venom therefore, they could be considered “poisonous.” The venom is stored in glands that empty into the spider’s fangs or chelicerae. For the most part, spider bites are insignificant. However, just as bee and wasp stings may trigger allergic reactions in some people, the same can be true for spider bites. Young children, the elderly and hypersensitive individuals are more likely to react more strongly to a spider bite.

WHERE THEY HIDE

Web-building spiders are most likely to show up in areas where insects are abundant; e.g., woodpiles, around porch lights, windows or water sources (such as water spigots). On occasion, you will find spiders on objects or in areas that have been left undisturbed which may include sandboxes or even children’s toys. Check these items periodically for signs of spiders.

MANAGEMENT

Finding a large number of spiders indoors usually means that there is an ample supply of insects and other “spider food” in the area. Any real attempts to get rid of spiders should focus on eliminating the insects upon which spiders prey:

  1. Sanitation requires the reduction or elimination of conditions that attract insects; e.g., high moisture and ready access to food of some sort.
  2. Exclusion: Find the entry points used by both insects and spiders and seal or close these areas.
  3. Knocking down and removing webbing, or mechanically removing/killing the spiders.
  4. Vacuum the areas along baseboards, in corners and under and behind furniture.
  5. Clean bookshelves periodically.

If you’re concerned that more spiders will show up or hatch from an unseen egg sac (they probably will), then—if you know what you’re doing—you could carefully apply an insecticide along baseboards, in corners, and inside storage closets.

CRAWLSPACES

Crawlspaces are often attractive environments for spiders. Simply setting off foggers (“bug bombs”) is not likely to be effective and can be hazardous particularly if you contaminate your air-conditioning system. Crawlspace treatments are best left to pest-control professionals.

If you’re concerned, call us at ClearDefense Pest Control!

Click HERE for some more information about our arachnid neighbors

STINK BUGS ARE INVADERS

stink bugs

STINK BUGS ARE REALLY STINKERS – The stink bug feeds on a variety of hosts in the landscape. They also attack fruit trees (ornamental or otherwise). They may inflict leaf and fruit damage by feeding with their needle-like mouthparts.

HOME INVASION

Perhaps the biggest problem for homeowners is when hordes of the little stinkers seek shelter in homes and structures, similar to the behavior of the multicolored Asian lady beetle. Stink bugs don’t harm people, but can give off a very unpleasant odor when crushed or vacuumed.

MANAGEMENT

Barrier exclusion is very important. Seal and caulk areas that may give access to the wall or house. If this is not completely successful and stink bugs are still entering your home, seal or caulk around baseboards, windowsills, and any points where you see them invading your castle. When vacuuming up the little devils, some people use a dedicated shop vac to avoid stinking up their household vacuum cleaners.

EXCLUSION CHECKLIST:

  1. Adjust or install tight-fitting sweeps or thresholds at the bottom of exterior doors.
  2. Install weather stripping around other parts of the doorframe.
  3. Seal utility openings where air conditioner pipes, phone, cable TV and other wires enter the foundation and siding. Holes can be plugged with caulk, cement, urethane foam, or copper mesh.
  4. Caulk around windows, doors, siding and fascia boards.
  5. Keep window screens in good condition and install insect screening behind attic gable vents.

Contact us HERE—the crew here at ClearDefense Pest Control will be happy to treat your property and help you control these little mobile stink bombs!

Click HERE for more information about this troublesome little pest.

HOUSEFLIES – PEST CONTROL

houseflies

Houseflies, to say the least, are not the neatest of insects. They visit such places as dumps, sewers, and garbage heaps. They feed on fecal matter, discharges from wounds and sores, sputum, and all sorts of moist decaying matter such as spoiled fish, eggs and meat. Nasty. They are a pest control challenge.

HEALTH RISKS

Houseflies are strongly suspected of transmitting at least 65 diseases to humans, including typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, poliomyelitis, yaws, anthrax, tularemia, leprosy and tuberculosis. Flies regurgitate and excrete wherever they come to rest and thereby mechanically transmit disease organisms.

MANAGEMENT

  1. General exclusion; e.g., seal­ing cracks, fitting door sweeps, window screens, etc.
  2. A moist compost bin will be a breeding site for houseflies. Create dry compost by scattering it around the bin so that it will dry rapidly. Flies will not lay eggs on dry manure.
  3. If dogs or horses are part of the family, clean up fecal material in timely fashion and dispose of properly. Planting flowers and bushes may attract predators and parasites that can help manage flies.
  4. Employ correct sanitation methods within the home to eliminate possible breeding sites.
  5. Outside gar­bage cans and dumpsters should have tight-fitting lids and be emptied and cleaned regularly. All gar­bage receptacles should be located as far from build­ing entrances as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact HERE us at ClearDefense Pest Control. We’ll be happy to help!

For more information about houseflies, click HERE.

Ticks Transmit Harmful Diseases

ticks

When ticks feed, they take up whole blood, extract the water (about 70–75% volume) and inject the water back into the host. For this reason, they are efficient vectors of a variety of disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, spirochetes, rickettsia, protozoa, viruses, nematodes, and toxins. A single tick bite can transmit multiple pathogens as well as creating secondary infections and allergic reactions. Ticks are the most common transmitters of vector-borne disease in the U.S.

LIFECYCLE

During their lifecycle, ticks frequently drop off the host then climb up walls and vegetation and reattach themselves to a passing host. Larvae can survive as long as eight months and adults as long as 18 months without feeding.

PREVENTION

  1. Regularly inspect pets for ticks. Remove any ticks from your pet with forceps or eyebrow tweezers. Apply gentle pressure slowly to allow the tick to loosen its mouthparts. Do not use an irritant such as alcohol or nail varnish. Afterwards wash with soap and water and apply a dry dressing over the wound.
  2. Frequently mow your grass short.
  3. Remove leaf litter, brush and woodpiles around houses and at the edges of yards.
  4. Clearing trees and brush to admit more sunlight into the yard reduces the amount of suitable habitat for deer, rodents, and ticks.
  5. Clearing trees and brush to admit more sunlight into the yard reduces the amount of suitable habitat for deer, rodents, and ticks.
  6. When hiking, avoid tall grass and shrubs, wear white or light-colored clothing (makes hitchhiking ticks are more visible) and tuck pant legs into socks.
  7. Occasionally some repellent lotions can also be used.

If you are concerned about ticks on your property, please contact us at cleardefensepest.com.

For more tick facts and prevention tips, please click HERE.

FRUIT FLY HATES CLEANLINESS

fruit fly

The fruit fly ranges from light tan to reddish orange and brown. Fruit flies have a taste for too-ripe fruit (other produce, too!) and thrive on high-fructose substances.

WHY IS THERE ALWAYS MORE THAN ONE FRUIT FLY? 

The female fruit fly lays its eggs on the surface or inside fruit that’s overripe, rotting, or decaying. Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, so it’s important to take action as soon as you spot the first fruit fly. After hatching, the larva feast on their surroundings (like a past-ripe banana) for a few days, before evolving into fully formed adults. Overall, their life cycle is pretty quick—fruit flies are capable of mating just two days after they reach the adult stage—which means your clean-up clock starts ASAP.

HOW DO I STOP FRUIT FLIES FROM BREEDING?

 The fruit fly hates clean surfaces, so keep those countertops as clean as possible. When you spill some fruit juice or other sugary substance, don’t wait until your favorite TV show is over to clean it up. Keep those sink drains free of food particles and eradicate all of the gross residue in and around the drain. If you don’t, they’ll become the perfect destination for fruit flies to breed. You don’t want that.

If you’re having trouble with a fruit fly invasion, contact us at HERE. We can help!

For everything you’d like to know about the fruit fly (and more), click HERE.

ANTS – ANT PROOFING YOUR HOME

ants

When the flowers bloom and temperatures rise, ants often march indoors in search of a consistent food and water supply, making pest-proofing the home an important spring task.

Our kitchens are particularly vulnerable to a nasty infestation. Not only are ants attracted to the crumbs and spills we leave behind, but they are also drawn to the moisture that sinks provide. Keep that kitchen clean!

We recommend implementing these tips to keep those pesky ants at bay:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around your home using a silicone-based caulk.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  • Ensure downspouts and gutters are functioning properly so that water flows away from your home’s foundation.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed away from the home.
  • Wipe down counter tops and sweep floors regularly to remove crumbs and residue from spills.
  • Store food in sealed containers and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator.
  • Routinely check under sinks for areas of moisture and repair any leaky pipes.
  • Dispose of garbage on a regular basis.
  • Keep pet bowls clean and wipe up any spilled food or water around them promptly.
  • Store dry pet food in a sealed plastic container rather than the paper bags they often come in.

Some brave homeowners attempt to address an ant problem on their own, but eliminating ants can be a challenge, so if ants are invading your home, please click HERE, we can help!

An interesting tidbit: Ants communicate with each other mainly by releasing chemicals called pheromones. Each scent indicates different signals, such as warning, danger, attack, etc. Ants detect released pheromones through their antennae. For instance, if an ant finds a piece of candy laying on top of your kitchen counter, it will leave a pheromone trail to the candy so other ants can find it and then it’s Katy bar the door! For some more interesting facts about our neighbors, the ants, click HERE.