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 world’s 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!
Click HERE for more information on springtails.
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.
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.
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:
- Standing water should be eliminated: odorous house ants are attracted to moisture.
- Plants should be trimmed back so they cannot be used to get inside.
- Cracks, holes and joints should be sealed with polyurethane foam or caulk, especially those that are near the ground.
- 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.
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.
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.
As the warm weather rolls in, many homeowners will find themselves dealing with unpleasant springtime allergy symptoms such as runny noses and itchy eyes. What remains a little known fact is that pests like cockroaches, dust mites and rodents can be behind those springtime allergy symptoms. The tips listed below can help you and your family to keep from sneezing your way through spring.
Most aren’t aware that over 20-million people are allergic to a tiny, microscopic pest called a dust mite or that dander from rodents and shed skins from cockroaches can exacerbate symptoms. Fortunately, pest-proofing your home to reduce exposure to allergens can be done in a few simple steps and will help control your springtime allergy symptoms.
Here area few best practices to keep out spring pests known to cause springtime allergy symptoms:
- Seal cracks and crevices around the home with caulk, steel wool, or both, paying attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter the structure.
- Keep basements and attics clear, storing boxes off of the floor.
- Eliminate moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
- Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Wash blankets, throw rugs and bedding in hot water, preferably at 130-degrees F, or take them to be dry-cleaned.
- Vacuum and dust frequently.
- Maintain a clean kitchen, free of crumbs and spills.
- Keep pet food sealed in a tight container and wash food bowls.
Springtime allergy symptoms are not a lot of fun. The above tips are just a few ways to help prevent pest allergens and reduce your springtime allergy symptoms. It’s also important to understand that properly removing allergy-inducing pests is the best way to help keep any issues from arising in the future. If you find yourself dealing with a pest infestation in your home, please contact us HERE. We can help!
Click HERE for more information from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) concerning allergies and pests.
Many people may connect the mosquito season to the irksomely itchy welts that accompany mosquito bites. But, there are far worse associations to make with these blood-sucking pests, such as the health threats they pose to you and your family.
There are harmful diseases including the Zika, West Nile and chikungunya viruses present in the U.S. that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Your knowledge about this and general mosquito prevention is important.
Ways to avoid mosquito bites and better protect against mosquito-transmitted diseases include:
- Applying insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus or IR3535 when outdoors and use as directed on the product label. Apply repellant over top of sunscreen, and reapply every four to six hours.
- Minimizing outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, though it is important to note that mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya are active throughout the day.
- Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors.
- Eliminating areas of standing water around the home including clogged gutters, birdbaths, flower pots, tires and kiddie pools or untreated pools. Mosquitoes need only half an inch of water to breed.
- Screening windows and doors, and patching torn screens.
If you are concerned about these little invaders where you live, please contact us HERE. We can help!
It’s natural in the springtime to have concerns about pests that can impact health, from mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus and West Nile virus, to ticks that can transmit Lyme disease, and more. But what about pests that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms that commonly arise this time of year? Many are surprised to learn that cockroaches could be to blame for sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses.
Cockroaches are known to fuel allergy symptoms, especially in children, through the allergens found in their saliva and droppings. Cockroaches love warm, moist areas, so the spring is an ideal time for homeowners to take the time to cockroach-proof their homes and, in turn, help reduce potential household allergy triggers for themselves and their families.
To help prevent cockroaches from moving in, we recommend that you take note of the following cockroach prevention tips this spring:
- Keep the home – especially the kitchen and bathrooms – free of crumbs and debris.
- Disinfect counters and food surfaces.
- Do not let dirty dishes pile up in the sink – the food leftovers attract cockroaches looking to feed.
- Take out trash frequently, and store it in a sealed receptacle.
- Transfer open boxed food items from cardboard into sturdy, sealed containers.
- Keep pet food in a sealed container and wash pet bowls frequently.
- Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Dust hard surfaces frequently with a dust rag or damp cloth.
- Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces. Consider running a dehumidifier in these areas to prevent moisture buildup.
Be sure to keep homes as clean as possible since cockroaches love filthy environments, but if they do find their way into your home, contact us HERE. We can help!
SPRING AND SUMMER TEMPS WILL BRING OUT THOSE PESKY INSECT NEIGHBORS OF YOURS. They want to visit! Pest proof your home!
Now is the perfect time for you to be proactive and complete simple home improvements to pest proof your home. Spring is when we begin to notice an increase in pests, such as ants, termites, mosquitoes and other stinging insects. Expect to see more bugs, lots of them! It’s best to get ahead of what’s coming!
We recommend the following tips to assist you to pest proof your home this spring:
- Eliminate sources of standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters to help reduce biting mosquito populations.
- Seal any cracks on the outside of the home with a silicone-based caulk, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
- Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house. Overhanging branches can act as critter highways into the home.
- Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles.
- Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
- Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
- Avoid leaving pet food out in dishes for long periods of time.
We can also help control those pesky little fellas before they move in and make your house their home. Please contact ClearDefense Pest Control at https://bit.ly/2JVSIOc
As you dig through your pantry in search of ingredients to bake pumpkin pie, cookies and other goodies for the holidays, you should keep your eyes peeled for pests that could be hiding in the bag of flour, chocolate or spices. These pantry pests gather around food products stored in pantries and cabinets. Be wary: They can take over your pantry!
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to encounter merchant-grain beetles, Indian meal moths, flour beetles and other pantry pests this time of year with holiday baking is in full swing. These pantry pests are often brought into the home unknowingly in items stored in paper packaging and unsealed bags. Inspect all items for signs of damage before bringing them indoors!
The following tips will help homeowners control pesky pantry pests:
- Seal items: Proper food storage can go a long way in preventing an infestation. Once packages are opened, move ingredients into sealed glass or Tupperware-type containers with secure lids before storing them in the pantry or cabinet.
- Check dates: Remember to check expiration dates on ingredients before use. Periodically sort through old items in the pantry and toss out anything that has been stored for a long time.
- Clean often: Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves. Occasionally empty the cupboards and clean them with soap and water to get rid of residue and anything that may be hiding inside.
If you spot pantry pests in your food, immediately dispose of them in a sealed trashcan. Contact ClearDefense Pest Control HERE for assistance in eliminating a full-blown infestation. We want to help!
WINTER INVADERS. When mornings and nights turn cooler, it’s likely you’ll see more and more critters of all shapes and sizes heading for warmer temperatures—like inside your home.
Stink bugs, kudzu bugs, lady beetles, boxelder bugs and many, many other winter invaders will try to get into your home to avoid colder weather. You’ll find these hungry little guys mostly in corners, or by windows and doors—near wherever they manage to enter your home.
The best way to keep winter invaders out is to get your home and property treated before it’s too late. You may be out of luck once you start to notice the insects inside. Once they’re in, they’re in, there’s not much a homeowner can do without professional, pest-control help.
Often during seasonal changes like spring and fall, many people tend to leave windows and doors open. This gives those nasty winter invaders easy access to your home and hearth.
Experts say that the best thing is to maintain your preventative treatments when it starts to get cool outdoors. If you already have a service, keep it up. Your goal should be to keep those winter invaders out during seasonal transitions and to focus on exclusion by sealing cracks and crevices where these insects and pests will otherwise sneak in.
As temperatures drop, food and shelter sources also become less available for pests like spiders and ants, too—so it also becomes harder for them to survive outdoors. You can be sure that they will be working overtime to move into your home and start feeding on food sources there. Not a pleasant thought.
We recommend maintaining a perimeter treatment around your property to create a barrier to kill pests as they try to enter your home. Getting a treatment like this doesn’t mean you will never see an ant or spider again, but it can greatly reduce their numbers and make it much harder for them to take hold and start nesting in your home.
Contact us HERE! We can help.