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.
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.
Here are some suggestions to follow if you find fire ants in your area:
- Watch where you step when clearing debris in yards.
- When eating outside, keep all food and drinks covered while they are not being eaten.
- Dispose of food in garbage bags and trashcans.
- Keep trashcans covered and, preferably, away from your house.
- Indoors, do not leave food exposed on tables, counter tops, or floors (in the case of dry pet foods).
- 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!
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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.
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.
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!
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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.
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:
- Sanitation requires the reduction or elimination of conditions that attract insects; e.g., high moisture and ready access to food of some sort.
- Exclusion: Find the entry points used by both insects and spiders and seal or close these areas.
- Knocking down and removing webbing, or mechanically removing/killing the spiders.
- Vacuum the areas along baseboards, in corners and under and behind furniture.
- 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 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!
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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.
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.
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.
- Adjust or install tight-fitting sweeps or thresholds at the bottom of exterior doors.
- Install weather stripping around other parts of the doorframe.
- 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.
- Caulk around windows, doors, siding and fascia boards.
- 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!
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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.
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.
- General exclusion; e.g., sealing cracks, fitting door sweeps, window screens, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- Employ correct sanitation methods within the home to eliminate possible breeding sites.
- 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.
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.
SINISTER SUMMER STINGERS. They may not have been invited, but those sinister summer stingers are inevitable guests to summers most anticipated gatherings. These summer fun-stealers send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year and are especially active during the second half of summer when the colonies forage for food that will sustain their queens during the winter. It is during this time that most people fall victim to the physical and financial sting that these summer stingers pose.
Hornets live in large colonies and their nests are shaped like an inverted teardrop. While their venom is no more dangerous than other stinging insects, they are much more aggressive when disturbed and tend to sting repeatedly. This behavior adds to the potential for greater skin irritation or a serious allergic reaction.
Carpenter bees build their nests by drilling perfectly round tunnels into soft woods. Coarse, natural colored sawdust will often be present near the entrance to the nest. Over time, these tunnels can severely compromise the support structure of a building.
Here are some tips for protecting your health and property from those sinister summer stingers:
- Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
- Paint/stain untreated wood.
- Remove garbage.
- Keep trashcans covered.
- Do not swing/swat at stinging insects.
- Seek immediate medical attention if stung—reactions can be severe.
Due to the aggressive nature of those pesky and sinister summer stingers, homeowners should not attempt to remedy an infestation on their own. Contact us HERE. We can help!
THE ORIENTAL COCKROACH is believed to be of North African origin, despite its name. Oriental cockroaches are sometimes called “waterbugs” because they come out of drains, and “black beetle cockroaches” because of their smooth, dark bodies. They are known for their strong, unpleasant, “roachy” odor.
The Oriental cockroach feeds on all kinds of food, especially decaying organic matter and starchy foods. This species of cockroach can survive outdoors in freezing temperatures for long periods of time.
Outside, these cockroaches are often found in sewers and under debris, leaves, stones and firewood. They will enter structures through door thresholds, under sliding glass doors, along utility pipes and through floor drains. Once indoors, Oriental cockroaches find harborage in basements and crawl spaces.
Oriental cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. Their habit of feeding on filth means that they are likely to pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces.
ORIENTAL COCKROACH PREVENTION
The best advice for their control is to practice good sanitation. To prevent Oriental cockroaches from infesting your space, vacuum often, keep a spotless kitchen, seal all entrances around utility pipes and ventilate crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup.
If you see evidence of a cockroach infestation, contact us HERE at ClearDefense Pest Control. We can help!