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Pest Control - Common Pests

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Cluster Fly

The adult cluster fly may be mistaken for the housefly at first – but may vary in size, some larger and some smaller. They’re noisy and awkward. They fly into lights and windows, often colliding with objects (like lamps) --at times falling to the floor spinning on their backs buzzing loudly, until exhausted. This fly has a nonmetallic, dark gray color. The thorax has golden hairs, and stripes. It is also typical of the fly to occasionally overlap its wings when landing. The adults lay eggs in the summer on the soil of lawns, fields and gardens and completes the life cycle of up to four adult generations each year. The larvae of the cluster fly is an earthworm parasite, thus the cluster fly is found wherever the earthworm is found. Cluster flies are one of the most common pests to invade rural homes and estates. These pests live in treed and grassy areas in the summer and seek shelter in your home for the fall, winter and spring. They will usually get into your home very quietly, crawling through tiny openings in fascia, soffits, windows, doorways and roof vents. Several hundred, even thousands of flies may seek shelter in your home, especially in the attic and windows exposed to the warmth of the sun. They often “cluster” together. This is how the name “cluster fly” came to be known. The first warm days of spring cause cluster flies to reappear. This nuisance pest will stain walls, carpets and furniture and create discomfort in your home. The accumulation of dead flies in the walls and on the floor attract dermestid beetles (Larder Beetles) and small rodents which feed on their carcasses. Our “Home Care Program (HCP)” is highly successful and will eliminate and control your cluster fly problems. The HCP Program will also control invaders such as Pine Seed and Boxelder Bugs.


Ants – Carpenter, Field & Pharaoh

Ants are social insects and colonies may consist of up to 300,000 ants!  The ants need to protect their nest and community from enemies. Some ants bite with their jaws or sting and may spray a burning fluid into the wound. Ant colonies have three distinct orders: the queen, workers and males. The queen is the largest ant in the nest. The queen hatches with wings. When a female has been fertilized she becomes the queen of the colony. Only the queen can lay eggs. She lives in the center of the nest and there may be several in one nest. The worker ants are female and have no wings. The worker ants feed and guard the queen, take care of the young, collect food, clean and guard the nest and dig new tunnels. The male ants do not work. The male ants have wings but they are smaller than the queen. When winged ants swarm in the air, the male and female ants mate. The males usually die after they have mated. The female ant then tears off her wings and starts to look for somewhere to build a new nest. When ants inhabit areas in or near the home they can be a nuisance or destructive pest.

Carpenter Ants: The adult carpenter ant measures one-half inch long. They are predominantly black, grayish-black or brown. They nest in moist wood. In a building this is often a sign of a moisture problem. In natural areas, the ants nest in logs, stumps or dead trees. In constructed areas, they nest in wooden posts, beams, walls and joists. They tunnel through the rotting wood leaving honeycombed galleries. Carpenter ants do not actually eat wood. The sawdust like remains caused by chewing the wood is called “frass” and is a sign that these ants are nesting close by. The nesting habits of these ants can cause major structural damage to homes.

Field Ants:  The field ant is about one-quarter inch long. They are brownish-black in color, but they show considerable variation from one species to the next. This name is used for a large group of ants commonly found nesting in fields, meadows and lawns. Field ants are probably our most commonly observed ant. Field ants nest in the soil in moderately large colonies. They do not normally nest indoors but the workers frequently forage indoors for food and create an annoyance by their presence.

Pharaoh Ants: The pharaoh ant is very tiny, approximately one-eight inch long. They are light yellow to a reddish color. They cannot survive outdoors year-round. They are often found in dwellings, bakeries and restaurants. Colonies may be found outdoors in the lawn or garden areas. Indoors they can be found in-between walls, sub-floor, attics, cracks, crevices, behind wainscoting, baseboards, plaster, or mantles, and between flooring. Colonies have several queens. One of the smallest ant species, pharaoh ants are difficult to control because their large colonies divide at the slightest disturbance.

Ant colonies established in a home can be a problem all year long, especially carpenter ants as they cause structural wood damage. Ants living outdoors can be a nuisance in late spring to the fall. The “key” to eliminating nuisance ants is to kill the queen(s) to cease the life cycle and ultimately destroy the nest. There are a variety of safe and environmentally friendly methods to rid you of these pests. The type of intervention depends on the type of ant and the nest location. Nests may be in ground, under stone slaps or patios, under wood piles, in stumps or in your home. These different nests require different approaches.


European Earwig

The adult earwig is one of the most common pests in homes and gardens. Earwigs vary in size from approximately ½” to 1” in length, they are brown to black in color. Species may be winged or wingless. Only a few species are good fliers. The body terminates in a pair of forceps. These forceps or pincers are the earwig’s most distinctive characteristic. The forceps are used in capturing prey and mating. Although earwigs appear somewhat dangerous due to their forceps, they are practically harmless to man. In early spring, females lay about 60 round white eggs in small nests in garden soil. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs leave the nest in search of food. They reach the adult stage in about 70 days. Earwigs are omnivorous, feeding on a wide variety of foods. They will eat live or dead insects as well as live or decaying vegetation. Earwigs can cause damage to cultivated plants and can cause limited damage to flowers, fruit and vegetables. They are a nuisance when they migrate indoors. Migrations of earwigs numbering in the 100′s have been reported. Some species will emit a foul odor when disturbed. Earwigs are nocturnal. During the day they will be found in moist shady places, in cushions on patio furniture, under woodpiles, stones, boards, compost piles, flower beds, and other secluded locations. When earwigs migrate indoors, they hide in cracks and crevices around baseboards and other locations. They may be found in potted plants and cut flowers. The earwig typically invades homes and gardens from early summer to late fall. To enter the home, they crawl into wall voids, gaps in the siding, foundation, cracks and crevices and under doors. They create a very uncomfortable environment, however they do not bite, sting, feed, carry diseases or otherwise cause harm to people and pets. They cannot reproduce inside the house, as egg laying and development are restricted to the outdoors in soil. Our “Earwig Maintenance & Prevention Program” is highly successful and will eliminate and control your earwig problems. We service all types of structures; rural and residential homes, vacation properties, barns, trailers, industrial and commercial complexes. Completed during late spring and the summer months. The objective is to exterminate these pests in the most active periods.


Mice & Rats

The adult mouse and rat are characterized by two pairs of incisor teeth. The house mouse is smaller than a rat but can be differentiated from a young rat by a smaller head and hind feet and a tail longer than the body. They are pests because of the damage they can do to food and property and the diseases associated with them. These rodents can gnaw through electrical cables resulting in structural fires. Contamination of human food and animal feed with rodent droppings and urine is also a health concern. Parasites such as fleas and mites associated with rodents can also attack humans resulting in disease transmission.

The House Mouse:   The adult mouse is usually brownish grey with a grey abdomen. They are 6 to 7 inches in overall length, tail included. Maturity is reached in 6 weeks and life span is about 1 year. A female may bear as many as 8 litters of 5 or 6 young if food and shelter are plentiful. Mouse droppings are rod or spindle-shaped and ¼ inch long.

The Norway Rat: The Norway rat is usually has a brownish-grey back with a greyish-white belly. They are 12 to 18 inches long, tail included. A female reaches maturity in 3 months and life span is about 1 year. A female may bear 7 litters per year of 5 to 12 young. Normally, the rat lives at or near ground level. It nests in burrows, under buildings, in rubbish and under lumber. Rat droppings are ¾ inch long and one rat may drop 40 to 140 each day. The mouse and rat will live outdoors however, each fall many (especially mice) will make their way into homes and other structures where warmth and food are plentiful. The tell tale sign of infestations are: droppings, chewed paper, cardboard or plastic food containers and noises in the night. There are 4 primary methods of controlling mouse or rat infestations.

Our “Mouse and Rat Control Programs” are highly successful and will eliminate and control problems. The program selected will be based on a thorough inspection of your premises and based on your requirements. Baiting Programs are very popular and most effective. Mice or rats eat the strategically placed bait and eventually perish. Baiting programs ensure new rodent introductions are controlled. Snap Traps and Glue Boards are moderately effective, require close monitoring so dead mice can be discarded. Live Traps, as well, are moderately effective and time consuming, as traps must be checked regularly to remove trapped rodents.


Wasps, Hornets & Bees

The adult wasp, hornet and bee are in most respects beneficial insects. When they make their nests close or within homes or other human occupied structures, a hazardous situation arises. Wings consist of two pairs, with the hind wings smaller then the forewings. Wasps, hornets and bees have chewing mouth parts. The females of the species possess a stinger. Only honey bees have barbed stingers which can only be used once, other bees and wasps have barb-less stingers which enable them to sting repeatedly. Bees are characterized by their hairy appearance, each hair being branched (feather-like). The few hairs on the bodies of wasps and hornets are not branched but single hairs.

Yellow Jacket Wasp;:The yellow jacket preys on other insects. Their colonies can consist of up to 3000 wasps. Nests have many layers (combs) surrounded by paper (wood fibers). Nests can be located below ground or suspended from eaves, roof rafters and tree.

Bald-Faced Hornets: The bald-faced hornet is actually a paper wasp. They build large grey-blue soccer ball sized paper nests. Nests are usually suspended from tree branches, on or within structures. These wasps can become aggressive if disturbed.

Mud Daubers: The mud dauber is solitary. They construct mud nests which they attach to ceilings and walls. Nests can be built inside on roof rafters. An egg is laid in the mud tomb with food for the hatching larva. These wasps are seldom bothersome.

Bees: The adult honey bees are the most social of the group. They build nests in sheltered locations; attics, wall voids and hollows in trees. Due to their pollinating and honey making benefits honey bees should not be expelled unless they create a human hazard. Nests are gradually built in the summer months and colonies are established by late summer early fall. This is usually the time they create a problem. There are a variety of safe and environmentally friendly methods to rid you of these pests. The type of intervention depends on the wasp, hornet or bee and the nest location. Nests may be in ground, above the ground on a tree branch or on/within your dwelling. These different nests require different approaches and extreme caution must be taken to ensure safety.

Spiders – Orb Weaver & Cobweb

Spiders are familiar to almost everyone. Spiders hatch from eggs, which are bundled together in sacks. The female may carry the sack with her or tuck it away in a secluded spot. The young spiders (called spiderlings) are miniature replicas of adult spiders, and they grow through a series of molts. Most spiders live for 1-2 years. Spiders are cold-blooded invertebrates; their activity is greatly reduced by cold temperatures. Spiders differ from insects in several ways; as a group spiders are recognized by their two-segmented bodies, eight legs (insects always have six), and 4-8 simple eyes. In addition, spiders always lack wings and antennae. Hence, spiders are more closely related to ticks, mites and daddy-longlegs, than to insects. One interesting attribute of spiders is their production and use of silk. It is produced by a set of special glands located near the tip of the abdomen; it is secreted as a liquid, which hardens when, exposed to the air. Spiders use silk to capture prey (webs and traps), build shelters, wrap egg sacks, and for locomotion (draglines and parachutes). The danger of spider bites is greatly exaggerated. Most spiders are NOT dangerous to man under normal conditions, and only a few species are of public health significance. Spiders are beneficial to man. They are predaceous and feed on a variety of live prey including insects, centipedes and even other spiders. The 2 most common spiders that invade your home are: Cobweb Spiders -- The cobweb spider is one of the most common groups of indoor spiders. They are small (less than 1/2″), and pale yellow, tan or gray without any distinct markings. They build irregular webs in corners and around windows and curtains. The webs remain inconspicuous until they are abandoned and become dust covered. 

Orb Weaver:  The orb weaver is a very large, conspicuous spider that construct large orb-like webs for snaring their prey. These webs are usually constructed in open areas near gardens and homes where flying insects will blunder into the webs. Cottages and homes on or near lakes are very prone to orb weaver activity due the large number of insects hatching in the water.

Our “Indoor and/or Outdoor Spider Maintenance & Prevention Programs” are highly successful and will eliminate and control your spider problems. We service all types of structures: rural and residential homes, vacation properties, barns, trailers, industrial and commercial complexes. These programs are safe and environmentally friendly. The Indoor Program can be completed any time of year. The Outdoor Program is completed in the early summer (June – July) months. The objective is to exterminate these pests in the most active period.


Pine Seed Bug

The Pine Seed Bug…” The adult pine seed bug is also called the Western conifer seed bug. It is a common household invader found inside homes during the fall, winter and spring. The pine seed bug is about 1 inch long, elongate in shape and dull reddish brown in color. It appears pointed at both ends. The antennae are almost the length of the body and are obvious in living specimens. A faint, white zigzag line is more or less noticeable across the center of the back (depending on individual). The pine seed bug is in a small group of insects called the Leaffooted Bugs. This name refers to the flat, leaf-like expansions of the hind legs. Pine seed bug is a true bug. Consistent with all members of this order the insect has a simple life cycle (egg, nymph, adult) and sucking mouthparts. Pine seed bug nymphs and adults spend the summer on pine and Douglas-fir trees where they feed on sap from green cones and twigs. This sap feeding is of no consequence to otherwise healthy trees. In early fall adult pine seed bugs typically invade heated structures, similar to the better known cluster flies. They are attracted to the exposed south sides of houses where they bask in the warmth of the late summer sunlight. After sunset, they crawl into wall voids and attics through cracks and gaps in the siding, foundation, soffit, fascia and eaves, or around windows/doors. Woodpiles and stacked lumber are other typical hideouts. They do not bite, sting, feed, carry diseases or otherwise cause harm to people and pets. They cannot reproduce inside the house, as egg laying and development are restricted to the host plants during the summer months. This nuisance produces an unmistakable odor when disturbed or squashed. Indoors they may stain draperies, carpets, furniture or walls. They also create a very uncomfortable environment. Our “Home Care Program (HCP)” is highly successful and will eliminate and control your pine seed bug problems. The HCP Program will also control invaders such as cluster flies, and Boxelder Bugs.

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