Ants have become one of the primary pests infesting homes in recent years and can be difficult to control. Infestation control takes skill that is gained through knowledge of ant behavior and experience in dealing with these types of insects.
At least 700 species in the United States, ant identification can be quite a challenge. One place to start is by looking for trails. Ants rarely travel alone and are usually spotted when hunting as a colony along paths that have been well established. When a trail is located, look at the size of the ants. Do they vary in size or do they appear to be about the same?
Observe when the ants are active—during the day or at night?
Look for nests at the end of trails—especially in areas with soil. Soil nests have distinct shapes or patterns depending on the ant species.
Ant infestations tend to happen fast. Regardless of whether your ant problem is an annoyance or an all-out infestation, you may be surprised to learn how fascinating these little creatures actually are.
- Ants can be hard to kill
- Ants farm aphids
- Some common ants are new to the U.S
- Ants live in complex cultures
- There are more than 12,000 types of ants
Ants are social insects that live in colonies and have several different types or castes of individuals. Each caste has a different function or job in the colony.
Workers forage for food, construct the nest and care for the young and the reproductives.
Reproductives include the original queen and the swarmers. The original queen’s job is to lay eggs. Swarmers are winged males and females that fly out to start new colonies and spread to new areas. These swarmers mate during the swarm, and the male dies soon after. The queen then locates a suitable nesting site, sheds her wings and begins to set up a colony.
Ant Life Cycle
The lifespan of ants depends on the caste. Males live for only a few weeks and die after mating. Workers usually live for several months. Queens can live for decades under the right conditions. Ants are active all year long in more tropical climates. In cooler climates, such as ours here in the midwest, they survive the winter by going into a state of dormancy or inactivity known as diapause.
To get rid of ants, it is important to identify the ant species before attempting ant control. To get rid of ants successfully, it is usually necessary to follow them back to their colony and treat the colony directly.
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Spiders are voracious predators, feeding on insects, other spiders and even small mammals and reptiles.
They differ from insects in that they have two, rather than three, body regions. These two regions are the cephalothorax – which contains the eyes, mouthparts and legs – and the abdomen.
Spiders have four pairs of legs, while insects have three pairs of legs.
Most spiders have eight simple eyes, but some spiders have fewer eyes. The arrangement of these eyes is often used to distinguish between various species of spiders.
The abdomen is unsegmented and contains the genital structures, spiracles and the spinnerets used to spin silk.
Many types of spiders spin some type of web, and the shape or type of web is often as distinctive as the spider itself. Other spiders are active hunters that move about looking for prey, but they do not spin webs.
Methods to Help Rid Your Home of Spiders
- Some spiders may be harboring outdoors in piles of firewood and debris, under items lying on the ground or in voids in hollow blocks
- Others may live in attics and crawl spaces or other areas throughout the home.
A thorough, professional inspection will reveal these hiding spots and allow us to help eliminate spiders from your home.
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Cockroaches can be found infesting everything from homes to restaurants to ships and even airplanes
They may follow water pipes and electrical lines through walls from one room to another and even from one apartment to another
Most cockroaches prefer to rest on wood rather than on metal and other surfaces. That’s why you’ll often find them living in wood cabinets or in cardboard boxes. German cockroach fecal material contains a pheromone that tells other cockroaches that the area is a good place to harbor. Large numbers of cockroaches may congregate in areas where fecal material has accumulated. These areas are called aggregation points.
Cockroaches are accomplished hitchhikers. In fact, German cockroaches usually first get into buildings by riding in boxes, in furniture, and in other items brought into the building
Most other cockroach species invade from the outside or from sewers or drains
All dishes and food items should be removed from shelving before treating for cockroaches
Good sanitation helps put stress on a cockroach population by making them more susceptible to treatments and baits
Managing Cockroach Infestations
Begin by inspecting and treating available hiding places in which cockroaches might live. This includes electric motors, electronic equipment, false ceilings, wall voids and accessible cracks and voids
A variety of application techniques and methods may then be used to provide a comprehensive cockroach treatment, including crack and crevice treatments, void treatments and baits.
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Many pests primarily live and breed outdoors. For this reason, the source of an infestation is almost always from the outside. However, outdoor pests sometimes travel inside, either by accident, or in search of shelter or food
Outdoor pests that sneak inside can become a nuisance to homeowners. Some may bite, secrete foul odors or cause damage to fabrics and furniture. Common invaders in this section include centipedes, box elder bugs, crickets, and stink bugs
Control Methods, To prevent outside pests from being attracted to your home, you should
- Clear harborage. The removal of debris, leaf litter, firewood, etc., in which the pests are living will reduce the number of pests living near the building. This is by far the best strategy for long-term control of occasional invader pests
- Seal exterior cracks and holes and weatherproof doors to keep pests out of buildings
- Keep exterior lights off at night or replace bulbs with bulbs that are not attractive to insects (e.g., yellow lights)
- Remove excess vegetation. Keep grass and other plants cut back from the foundation of the building. Grass should be cut to a height of 2 to 3 inches
Treatments are an essential part of ongoing pest control. Exterior treatments can be applied around your home to help prevent outdoor pests from entering the home and causing an infestation
Common Pests that fall under this service offering include:
- Boxelder Bugs
- Lady Beetles
- Stink Bugs
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Stinging and Biting Insects
Warm weather tends to bring everyone outside, including stinging pests
While the stings from wasps, bees, hornets, or yellow jackets may hurt, they can also cause more serious health issues like painful swelling, infections, nausea, and in rare cases can even cause death
Not only do you need to worry about the stinging pests themselves, but also about locating and removing their breeding and nesting places
In the warm months, stinging insects buzz around your home, often building nests inside attics and gutters, or under decks or eaves
It is important to find and seal cracks and crevices to keep these pests from migrating indoors.
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