Termites are a group of insects that feeds on dead plant material such as wood and leaf litter. In forests, this is a good thing since they help to break down dead trees and other plants, but in the suburbs, their preferred food source is a big problem for homeowners. The structure of many suburban homes is made out of wood, and wood is also used for siding, shingles, and other building elements. Every year, termites and other wood-destroying insects cause about $30 billion worth of damage. This damage ends up costing individual homeowners about $3,000. There is a lot of misinformation about these destructive pests; here are three myths that you shouldn’t believe.
Termites can eat through concrete
The myth that termites can gnaw right through concrete is widespread, but, fortunately, it isn’t true. Termites can easily eat through wood, but concrete will stop them. However, concrete isn’t always an impermeable barrier. As concrete ages, it dries out, and when it dries out, it cracks. Concrete can also crack when the soil beneath the slab settles and allows the slab to shift positions. Once these cracks form, termites can enter your house, and if you don’t know about the cracks in your concrete, you may think they chewed right through the concrete.
The cracks in your concrete don’t have to be large to allow termites to pass through. The cracks only need to be about as thick as a business card for a termite to squeeze inside! These cracks can be hidden by things like walls or flooring, so it’s really hard to find and repair all of them. Your best bet is to have your home inspected by a local pest control company on a regular schedule; that way, when the termites sneak inside, you can find the problem early.
Wood piles will distract termites
You’ve probably heard that if you leave a big stack of firewood beside your house, termites will be attracted to it and will leave your house alone. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. In fact, the opposite is true! Wood in your backyard attracts termites who are looking for an easy meal. If this wood is too close to your house, termites can easily travel from your wood pile to your house, and when they reach your house, they’ll continue eating.
If you want to store wood in your backyard, you need to keep it off the ground and away from your house. Termites may still burrow into the wood, but if it’s not directly beside your house, this isn’t much of a concern. Entomologists say that as long as you burn the wood immediately after bringing it inside you don’t need to worry about a termite infestation.
Termites will destroy your house overnight
Termites eat quickly, but it’s not possible for them to destroy your entire home overnight, or even in the first few weeks of an infestation. Even the most aggressive type of termites, Formosan termites, will take about six months to cause serious damage to a home. Other types of termites live in smaller colonies and will take even longer to destroy your home.
This myth probably got its start by the way that termites damage homes. They start eating on the inside of the wood and then work their way out, and this allows them to go undetected for a long time. By the time the termites eat through to the parts of the wood that you can see, they will have already damaged everything behind it. This can make it look like the destruction happened overnight, but in reality, they were eating for a long time without being noticed.
Not everything you’ve heard about termites is true, like these three myths. If you think you might have a termite infestation you need to call a pest control company or go to sites that offer pest control services for help and accurate information.
If you are like most homeowners, you might chalk up a brown, uneven lawn with a few watering issues. Unfortunately, after adding a little extra time to that sprinkler cycle and giving your lawn a few dietary supplements, you might notice that your efforts are in vain. Predators have overtaken that carefully installed grass—leveling it with that lawn down the street with the owners that don’t even fertilize. Fortunately, you don’t have to let a few rogue insects destroy your chances for winning that yearly lawn care award. Here are two signs of a lurking pest infestation, and how you can eradicate issues fast:
1: Loose Sod
When you think of damaging lawn insects, you might assume that pests are eager to get ahold of those crisp, green blades of grass. However, your turf infestation might go much deeper than you think. Believe it or not, several varieties of moths and beetles lay their eggs on the surface of the soil, so their growing larvae can munch away on your tender grass roots. After these pests have set up shop, they can actually eat away entire sections of your lawn’s root system—completely separating sod from soil. Here are a few pests that can cause this problem, and how to detect their presence before they obliterate your entire yard:
To detect root-chomping insects early, take the time to tug your grass every now and again. As you go through to pull weeds like dandelions, grab hold of some of your grass blades and give them a gentle pull. If you don’t experience a lot of resistance, take the time to dissect a section of your lawn to look for insects hiding under the roots.
2: Uneven Ground
Nothing is more frustrating when you are trying to mow or edge your grass than uneven ground. In addition to posing potentially dangerous trip and fall hazards for your family, little hills or valleys can also make it nearly impossible to make your grass look even and aesthetically pleasing. Although you might assume the issue stems from a poor sod installation, these burrowing pests might be the cause of the problem:
Fortunately, professional exterminators can get you more information and have an arsenal of weapons they can use against lawn-burrowing pests. While poisons and baits can be used to significantly reduce gopher and vole numbers, your pest control professional might be able to use gentler means to eliminate those frustrating pests. For example, by introducing neutral plants to the area, your exterminator can make gophers and voles a problem of the past.
Being able to recognize and treat lawn pest infestations might help you to fend off trouble before the damage is done—so that you can focus on your other landscaping needs.
Bees, especially honey bees, are a vital part of the food chain. These busy workers provide much of the natural pollination needed for food bearing crops to produce. Unfortunately, they do not always stay in their bee box. Sometimes when the queen decides to relocate her colony, it is to a property where she is not welcome. This may be the walls of your home, the corner of your storage shed, or in a dead tree, which is too close to your children and pets. If you have a colony of bees in need of being relocated, there are some steps you can take, making the move safer for you and them.
Know What You Are Doing
One of the most important things when moving honey bees is to know what you are doing. If you do not know how to move them, you run the risk of making them angry. Once this occurs, you will put yourself, as well as anyone else in the surrounding area, at risk of multiple bee stings. This is because once the first bee stings, it will release pheromones which in turn will cause other bees to attack. If you have an allergy to bee stings, even one sting may be enough to send you into an anaphylactic reaction, which could be deadly.
If you are unsure if you are allergic to bee stings, after you are stung look for signs of:
If you begin to experience one or more of these symptoms, immediately seek medical attention. Even if you are not allergic to the sting of a bee, always make sure you wear protective equipment and use the correct tools in your attempt to move them.
Call A Beekeeper
The easiest, and probably the cheapest, way to move a colony of bees is to call a local beekeeper and ask them to come do it for you. They will take the necessary steps to preserve the bees and will try to relocate them to hives they may already have in place.
Most beekeepers will welcome the opportunity to acquire new bees free of charge. Some of them have probably lost colonies of bees to colony collapse disorder; a phenomenon which causes the worker bees to abandon the queen, as well as the colony, and simply disappear. This disorder has caused a shortage of bees available for pollination.
Bee keepers will usually possess all the equipment they need to move the colony from one place to another. Depending on the size of the colony, they will know how to smoke the bees to calm them down, as well as how to move them to where they are going. In exchange for giving the beekeepers the bees, you may be able to negotiate a lifetime of free honey.
Call A Professional Exterminator
If you are unable to move your bees any other way, call a professional exterminator. If it is your preference, ask them if they have the ability to move the bees alive. Some will offer this option, and others may not. Being able to move the bees alive will often depend on several different things, such as:
If they are not able to move them alive, they will know the right pesticides to use to ensure the entire nest is destroyed. If you choose to kill the bees, always ensure that the entire nest is removed and the area is thoroughly cleaned. This will keep any honeycomb contained within the nest from attracting other types of pests. A professional exterminator will be able to review all of your options with you once they have inspected your specific situation.
For more information, contact a local company that specializes in bee removal, like ASAP Bee Removal.
American homeowners will often come across a variety of bugs and insects, and some creatures are more harmful than others. Centipedes are relatively common in North American homes, and while some people find these creatures fascinating, other members of the household will scream as soon as they see these bugs. Learn more about these curious creatures, and find out what you need to do to deal with a centipede infestation.
Appearance and physiology
Contrary to what you may think, centipedes do not actually have 100 legs, even though the name literally translates as such. In fact, centipedes can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs. Centipedes are not insects, and these unusual critters belong to a class of arthropods called Chilopoda.
In North America, the most common variety of centipede is the house centipede. These centipedes have thirty legs (one pair on each of 15 segments), and a dirty yellow body with three stripes.
All centipedes are venomous. Species like the giant desert centipede can inflict a painful bite, and the National Center For Health Statistics reported five ‘possible’ deaths from these bites in a ten-year period. Fortunately, house centipedes rarely bite people unless severely provoked. This species’ venom is less toxic, but can cause some pain.
Habits and diet
If you’ve ever seen a centipede, you will probably already know that these creatures can run pretty fast. In fact, it’s almost certainly this behavior that unsettles anyone who unexpectedly comes across a house centipede. At home, you’ll usually find them in dark, damp places like your garage or crawl spaces, but you’ll sometimes find a centipede stranded in the bathroom or kitchen because he or she is unable to get out of a sink.
Centipedes normally feed on insects and other bugs that live in your house. Popular dietary choices include silverfish, firebrats, cockroaches and spiders. Ironically, if you have a lot of centipedes in your house, it’s quite likely that you have another, more serious infestation of another bug that is attracting these predators.
Ideally, you should get rid of any conditions that will encourage house centipedes to live in your house. By taking some sensible precautions, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see many of these creatures.
Pest control experts recommend that you deal with any points in the home where centipedes can easily get in. Fill up cracks and crevices in concrete slabs or walls, and seal sump pump covers with screen and caulk. You should also install window screens in any basement floor drains.
Centipedes enjoy damp conditions, so it’s also a good idea to tackle any problems with humidity. Use a dehumidifier where necessary, and make sure the fan in your bathroom helps extract excess moisture. You should also clear the perimeter of your home of leaves and any other damp debris that centipedes may like.
Like many other pests, centipedes can also make their home where you have a lot of clutter. For example, old cardboard boxes and magazines can sometimes make an attractive habitat for these creatures. As such, it’s also a good idea to clear out attics and other spaces where you may have clutter that will attract centipedes.
Tackling an infestation
If you have a serious infestation, you may need to contact a pest control company. A pest control specialist can use a strong insecticide in cracks and other areas to kill off the centipede population. He or she may use a spray or dust. Dusts are more suitable in homes that have pets, as the boric acid content generally poses little risk to mammals.
A pest control workerr will also need to see if another pest is attracting centipedes to your home. You can leave sticky insect traps around your house, so you can then see if another type of bug is active. According to what you find in these traps, a pest controller may need to take other steps.
Centipedes are relatively common in North American homes. If you have a problem with these strange creatures in your property, contact a pest control expert for more advice.
Bats are nocturnal, and they’re the only mammals that can fly. They take refuge in sheltered places like caves, trees, or your attic during the day, and fly out at night to look for insects and fruit to eat. If you have a colony of bats living in your attic, you probably aren’t too happy about the situation, and want to get rid of them. Getting rid of them by yourself can be difficult, especially if you make one of these serious mistakes.
Killing the bats
Pesticides are an effective way to deal with many types of household infestations, like spiders and ants, but they’re not a good way to deal with a bat infestation. Bats are unwanted pests, but many of them are actually endangered, including bats like the Hog-nosed bat, the Indiana bat, and the Gray bat.
These bats are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is a federal law, so it’s effective in every state. The penalties for killing endangered animals are very strict, and can include fines of up to $50,000 and one year in prison.
The bats in your attic may or may not be endangered, but to the untrained eye, different species of bats are hard to identify. You should assume that the bats in your attic are endangered, since killing endangered bats is much more expensive than calling animal control.
Removing the bats by yourself
Some people think that trapping the bats in their attic and releasing them somewhere else is a good way to solve their bat problem. This is a bad idea since bats carry a wide variety of dangerous diseases and the risk of getting bitten by one of the bats that you’re trying to remove is high.
Bats carry rabies, a fatal disease that most people are already aware of. Rabies is spread by saliva, so if an infected bat bites you, you will be exposed to the virus. Bats spread less well-known diseases, too, like histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is a fungus that grows in bat droppings; its spores can become airborne and enter your body when you breathe.
If you have bats in your attic, you need to stay as far away from them as you can. Don’t climb up into your attic to try to trap them, since even the air up there can make you sick.
Sealing the opening to your attic
Swarms of bats fly out of your attic every night to hunt for food, and once they’ve flown away, it may seem like a good idea to seal the opening to your attic so that they can’t get back in. If the opening is sealed when the bats are out hunting at night, you may think that there’s no harm done, but this isn’t the case. Not all of the bats leave the nest, so some will be trapped inside, such as injured bats or baby bats that haven’t learned how to fly yet.
Baby bats are born during the summer months, and for the first several weeks of their lives, they can’t fly, and they feed on milk, just like other baby mammals. If you seal the entrance to your attic when their mothers are out hunting for food, the babies will die, and dead animals smell very bad. Sealing the attic at any time of the year can lead to a smelly situation, due to the potential for injured bats being trapped there, but it’s even riskier in the summer.
Bats are pests, but their protected status, potential to carry diseases, and nesting habits make them hard to get rid of by yourself. If you have bats in your attic, you should call a professional pest control company to help you get rid of them. Visit http://cavanaughspest.com to learn more about pest control services in your area.