Springtails are one of the most common pests in the environment, although they are inconspicuous and are often overlooked. When suitable habitat occurs, they can develop tremendously large numbers and are one of the most abundant insects. You may find millions of springtails naturally in about 2.5 acres of land. Springtails can be a nuisance when they occur in and around homes and other buildings.
These critters are very small, commonly between 1/16th- and 1/8th-inch long. They have moderate length antennae and are usually slender, elongate insects, although there is a group of springtails that is round and stout. Most springtails are dark-colored, brown, grey or black although some species are white, and some are even iridescent and brightly colored.
Springtails are wingless and do not fly but they can jump, using a specialized forked appendage called a furcula, located underneath the abdomen. When not in use, the furcula is tucked under the body, set like a mouse trap. When it is released, it extends down rapidly propelling the springtail forward, jumping up to several inches.
Springtails are associated with damp conditions and organic debris and are found outdoors in soil, leaf litter, lichen, under bark, decaying plant matter, rotting wood, and other areas of high moisture. They are found in many different habitats, feeding on fungi, pollen, algae, or decaying organic matter. Springtails are also commonly found in the soil of houseplants. However when conditions are suitable, you can also find springtails indoors, especially in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens.
There are several reasons why springtails may be found indoors. They are commonly found in areas of high moisture; e.g., around plumbing leaks, areas of condensation and damp basements.
If excessively moist conditions occur near a structure, that can encourage large numbers of springtails which may move indoors. High springtails numbers can be associated with mulch. It is also possible when it is excessively dry outdoors that springtails may move indoors to find moisture. Springtails can also be found in the soil of overwatered houseplants.
If you are finding just a small number of the critters, just ignore them or physically remove them by hand or with a vacuum. However, if you are seeing persistent number of them, they are associated with a moisture problem. The best management is to dry out these areas with a fan or dehumidifier, because springtails do not tolerate dry conditions. Also remove any wet wood, especially if it is moldy. Make any structural changes to correct the moisture problem.
If springtails are moving indoors from the outside, check around the house for moisture problems. This could include rainspouts that do not carry water far enough away from the foundation, landscapes that slope towards buildings, excessive irrigation, or non-functioning drainage systems around the building. It could even be a moisture problem with the roof. Correct existing moisture conditions to decrease the number of springtails. When necessary, remove or reduce the amount mulch that is around the foundation of your home. If you have a problem with them in houseplants, let the soil dry out and water less frequently but more deeply.
If you have questions or concerns about springtails or other pesky bugs, contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We can help!
Mosquitoes are one of the most important insect pests that affect the health and well being of humans and domestic animals worldwide. If environmental conditions are favorable, vast populations can develop. Female mosquitoes require a blood meal for egg production, and they produce a painful bite as they feed. While feeding, they can transmit a number of disease-causing organisms to humans and animals. The diseases these organisms cause include: West Nile fever, encephalitis, dengue fever, filariasis, yellow fever, and malaria. Encephalitis, dengue and West Nile virus (caused by different mosquito born viruses) are potential threats.
Here are some things to consider:
- Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle, so remove all possible water sources. Check flowerpots, birdbaths, pet watering bowls and other containers for excess water. Store boats, canoes and other objects so that they do not collect rainwater. Keep rain gutters free of leaves and other debris that prevent water from draining. Correct drainage problems in yards and playing fields to prevent rain and irrigation water from pooling for prolonged periods. Fill holes or depressions in trees. Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets. Correct or report drainage problems in ditches along public or private roadways.
- For water or structures that cannot be removed, mosquitoes can still be eliminated from them by careful maintenance. Replace water containers for pets, birdbaths and fountains every few days. Maintain swimming pools correctly. For ponds, Gambusia (mosquito-eating fish) can be introduced.
- Keep mosquitoes out of the home by installing and maintaining tight-fitting window and door screens.
- Some personal protection from mosquitoes can be achieved using insect repellents.
- Mosquitoes also transmit heartworm in dogs. Heartworm can cause severe circulatory problems and produce symptoms such as coughing, labored breathing and general loss of vitality in advanced stages. Because of the impracticality of protecting dogs from mosquito feeding, the most effective means of controlling heartworm is to prevent worms from reaching the adult stage inside the dog. Veterinarians can prescribe excellent drug treatment to protect pets from heartworm.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at ClearDefense Pest Control HERE. We’d like to help!
Carpenter bees are very active from early spring through summer around houses and other wooden structures. These insects bore one-half inch wide holes that appear to be perfectly round on exterior wooden surfaces of house siding, eaves, window trim, fascia boards, shingles, decks and outdoor furniture. For a successful carpenter bee pest-control strategy, several tactics must be employed.
CARPENTER BEE BOMBERS
Homeowners are often frightened by these pesky black bees that fly erratically around their homes. The male carpenter bee is very territorial and protects its nesting sites by hovering and attacking intruders. Although the male is aggressive, it does not have a stinger, making it harmless. The female does have a stinger, but rarely stings.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Fine sawdust caused by the adult bees excavating activities during the spring of the year will normally be found lying on the ground beneath the gallery entrances. Repeated boring activities may result in unsightly stains caused by falling bee waste around the entrance hole. Homeowners often notice a buzzing or burrowing sound coming from within the wood this time of year. The excavating bee will bore directly into the wood with her mouth parts for about an inch, then turn sharply and bore at a 90-degree angle usually along the grain of the wood. Normally, the gallery will extend about four to six inches, but with repeated use galleries have measured ten feet long. Nest sites by a single bee results in slight damage, but repeated colonization over several years may result in considerable destruction.
HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS FOR CONTROL
Unpainted, exposed wood is especially attractive to carpenter bees. A helpful deterrent to carpenter bee activities is a painted (oil-base or polyurethane) surface. Wood stains provide little repelling action. Nail holes or exposed saw cuts should be filled in with wood putty or dowels and painted. If practical, remove severely damaged wood and replace with chemical pressure-treated wood to deter nest construction. To further discourage carpenter bees looking for potential nesting sites, a homeowner should secure all doors, windows, and other building openings during the spring. Non-wood surfaces such as vinyl siding are not damaged by carpenter bees.
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We may still be in winter, but you can’t go wrong with proper planning for spring. Part of that plan should include an audit of your current pest control efforts to ensure warming weather doesn’t equal free room and board for nasty pests.
While dozens of pests can be problematic during springtime, here are four pest families to be acutely aware of:
While honeybees provide mostly positive benefits to lawns and gardens, some next of kin can be dangerous to your home and health. Wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets are common in the Southern United States, often nesting in trees, gutters, and even home attics. This proves to be challenging and expensive, as nest removal / relocation can be complicated to prevent painful stings.
Few things cause more uneasiness than knowing your home is infested with fleas. As your cats and dogs enjoy more time in the sun, so grow their chances of picking up parasitic hitchhikers. Fleas are hard to spot due to their small size (roughly 3mm) and can cause widespread havoc if they’re given the opportunity to breed indoors. Female fleas can lay up to 5,000 eggs during their lifespan, which is only a few months.
Having an ant problem is no picnic. There are an estimated 22,000 species of ants in the world, of which a few (namely fire ants and carpenter ants) are particularly problematic for the Southeastern United States. Ants a hearty and resilient — queens can live up to 30 years or more, and worker ants can live a few years to boot. Fighting an ant infestation requires proper perimeter protection as well as thorough detection and treatment of problem spots and ant mounds.
As the winter cold starts melting away, spiders will stretch their eight hairy legs and mobilize to find places to hunt and nest. Problem spots include cluttered areas, damp indoor spots, and dark corners. North America is home to 3,000+ spider species, a few of which are particularly venomous. Just clearing cobwebs won’t do the trick!
Want to ensure your home is ready and protected for spring? Contact ClearDefense Pest Control HERE for a free consultation.
Though pests come and go with varying frequency throughout the year, there is no such thing as a “season” for pest control. Pests, like cockroaches, are ever-present; lurking, waiting for an opportunity to build a home on your property.
Wintertime brings about an influx in rodent activity indoors simply because mice and rats favor the warmth and safety of a cozy house over brutal cod. Depending on region, you’ll likely also see more stinkbugs, ladybugs, and select other critters.
As Mother Nature begins to thaw, ant populations will begin stirring. With blooming flowers come bees, wasps, and spiders. You’ll also see an influx in flies and mosquitos, particularly if you live in damp areas or near a body of water. Any and all of the above can result in major problems (including potential health risks) if left untreated.
One important takeaway is to remember is that pest control is a year-round exercise. Proper prevention for springtime pests needs to begin in the winter unless you want to deal with a potential infestation when temperatures rise. Further, you can’t forget to continue home maintenance to ensure proper wintertime pest control.
It can be a juggling act if you’re not careful, as each season brings about its own challenges and requirements. While you won’t be constantly monitoring for cobwebs in the dead of winter, you’ll need to actively maintain your home and clear clutter to ensure spiders won’t have an easy transition inside as spring rolls about. The same holds true for rodents in that winter stowaways will become more active in search for food, and therefore more apt to scurry around.
To ensure you’re ready for all seasons, it’s recommended to have routine preventative maintenance on your home:
- filling gaps
- fixing cracks
- sealing leaks
- clearing clutter
For active prevention, we also recommend an ongoing pest control arrangement with a professional team like ClearDefense Pest Control. This will include regular inspections, monitoring, and assistance should a pest issue arise.
Contact ClearDefense Pest Control HERE today for a free consultation to discuss your home or office needs. It’s never too late to consider a pest control solution!
PEST CONTROL RESOLUTIONS – At ClearDefense Pest Control, we invite you to join us in a New Year’s pledge to prevent pests from invading your home or office. The pledge is simple and straightforward, and might help save your home from unwanted guests.
This year …
I promise to keep my yard clean and protect my perimeter
It’s an acquired taste to enjoy mowing the lawn, clearing brush, and trimming overgrowth. The reality though, is that a clean yard minimizes chances of unwanted pests. A disheveled yard provides ample hiding and a safe haven for pesky critters. Keep hedges trimmed, clean up the wood pile (or rotting trees), and monitor for unsolicited activity.
I promise to check my home quarterly for cracks, loose siding, and entry gaps
Your home is only as safe as your siding. A single crack can be a welcome sign for various pests of all sizes — rodents, bugs, snakes, and more. Ensure gaps are sealed and paths to entry are minimized. Regular maintenance can mitigate long-term damage and improve property value to boot.
I promise to minimize clutter in my garage every month
When’s the last time you used those golf clubs? Do you really need to have those old tools piled in the corner? Clutter is home sweet home to spiders and other creepy-crawlies. Keep everything clean and dry with preventative maintenance and the chances of infestation reduce drastically. For extra protection, lay down bug or mouse traps in high-risk areas such as under workbenches or dimly lit areas.
I promise to stay proactive with routine inspections
While ClearDefense Pest Control offers thorough home inspections, we want you — the homeowner — to stay alert too. You don’t need a professional exterminator to check spackling or caulking, nor do you need an expert to identify a hole in the roof. Mark your calendars and take an hour out of your day to ensure your home is not susceptible to risk. If you need us, we’re happy to help!
I promise to ask for help if I need it
It’s not always easy to ask for help, but sometimes you must. In this case, we’re pest control specialists who alleviate infestations and keep your home and yard protected around the clock.
Want to schedule preventive maintenance? Contact us today at ClearDefense Pest Control today HERE for a quote.