Archive for the ‘Nest’ Category

Ant: Carpenter Ant Nests

Friday, December 4th, 2009

The nest of the carpenter ants can be very intricate. If you were to find one it could just look like a piece of wood has been carved out very nicely. Unfortunately, the carving is done by carpenter ants while they make their home. The cut outs are actually called galleries or tunnels. In a way the galleries almost look like a maze has been cut into the object.

ant carpenter ants

This carpenter ant nest was built in an old tree. It's hard to believe that carpenter ants made this carvings, galleries.

An important factor in the nest location for carpenter ants is moisture. Carpenter ants can make their nest in many different things that either have natural moisture to them or are near moist areas. Some of these spots are things like moist wood, firewood, near sinks or showers, under roofing, and or in wall voids. Once a location has been chosen the carpenter ants will get to work.

The nest of a carpenter ant may be found indoors or outdoors, although most often the main nest will be outdoors. Within the carpenter ant colony there will be a main nest, called the parent colony, and then there are smaller nests, called satellite colonies. A colony of carpenter ants can have up to 20 satellite colonies. The main purpose of a satellite colony is to have a place outside of the chaos within the parent colony to take care of the pupa. The workers take the pupa and transfer them from being with the Queen to a satellite colony where the workers will take care of them until they are adults. Often times the satellite colony can be found inside a home. Unlike the parent colony the satellite colony does not need as much moisture.

Many times homeowners will see carpenter ants in their home and do not know where they are coming from. This is usually because the carpenter ants are out searching for food. If the carpenter ants are inside the home they can either be passing through or coming out of their nest. The best way to determine where the carpenter ants are coming from is to find their nest. If you can not find the nest it could be outdoors, and the carpenter ants are just looking for food. If you do find the nest it is best to call your local pest control service to come remove the carpenter ants. Finding a nest can be trying. It is best to attempt to locate the nest at night when the carpenter ants are more likely to be out. Once you see them follow them, you don’t want to startle them so use a flashlight with a red film or lens on it. Carpenter ants can not see red light so they won’t see you following them. Hopefully they will be headed back to their nest and you can follow them. If they look like they are looking for food go ahead and lay some of their favorites out as a lure, then once they get their food they will head back to the nest. In the case that you do not see the carpenter ants out and about look around your home for frass, the saw dust looking stuff, as that is usually left near the nest.

ant carpenter ants

Here's an example of what frass looks like if you need to search for carpenter ants within your home.

Another option is listening for the ants. Check in any suspected areas where carpenter ants like to build their nests, and tap on the object or wall. Put your ear up to it and listen for a rustling sound, carpenter ants make this sound with their jaw and if they are disturbed, by tapping on the wall, the sound will get louder. If you locate the noise you have your nest location. At any time you find a nest call your local pest control service to come out and evaluate the colonies. The most important thing in controlling carpenter ants is that you destroy the parent colony, and not just all the satellite colonies. A professional pest control agent will be best at determining if the nest you have found is a parent or satellite nest.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Mouse: The Common House Mouse’s Nest

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

You can find a common house mouse nest in any of the areas where they like to live. Identifying the nest is easy; these mice use scraps of things or chew off pieces of objects to use as building material. Common household items can be found in the makings of the nest. Here is a list of some things you might notice missing or chewed on:

  • Rags
  • Paper
  • Pillows
  • Dry goods, like rice, seeds, or grains. Any food can be used.
  • Blankets
  • Cushions
  • Fabrics from furniture, towels or even clothing.
  • Insulation
  • Packing materials

All of these items can be found in the nest, they also use outdoor items. Twigs, pine needles, grass, and leaves can also be used to form the nest. It will depend on what the common house mouse has access to.

mouse common house mouse nest

Here is a nest made in the laundry room of a home, between some dog food storage boxes.

If you find a common house mouse nest within your home call your local pest control company to come out and remove the nest. One problem the nest can cause is the spread of the diseases the common house mouse carries. If the mouse has been living there, there will be fecal matter which needs to also be removed by a professional. Also by removing the nest, it will lower the homeowner’s chance of having the common house mouse moving back in.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org

Rats: Pack Rats Nests are Nasty

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

A “pack rat” kind of person is a person who holds onto everything and never throws things away. The real pack rats are similar to humans, but they actually steal what people have in their homes and use what ever it is to help them build their nest. Anything from cactus, branches, toys, garbage or what ever else a pack rat can get its claws on becomes material for the nest.

Like thieves, pack rats like shiny objects. If a rat was on its way to the nest with a material and saw something shiny, the rat would drop the original object to get the shiny object and would come back for what the original object at a later time. Generally, people discover they have pack rats by the bite marks the rats leave when tearing away household possessions. Some small objects that the rat can carry completely disappear. Imagine all the random stuff a pack rat uses to build its nest!

When a pack rat builds a nest outside it’s a completely different story. Most of the items they use to make the nest come from the wilderness, including items such as animal feces. Also, many times the nest will be built with in or close to cacti. Not only do the rats use cacti for food and protection but they also use it as a home front. Here’s a perfect example of what it would look like if you have a desert landscape.

rats pack rat nest

This is a pack rat nest, made within some cacti.

The unfortunate part about having a nest on or near your home is that the nest can become home to other animals.  Kissing bugs, also known as Mexican bed bugs, can habitate the pack rat nest. The kissing bug is harmful because its bite is seriously dangerous and painful; some people say it is worse than being bitten by a scorpion. Although the kissing bug is known for shacking up in the pack rats nest, more insects are sure to follow like mice, spiders, ticks, snakes, fleas or lice. These pack rat nests are definitely a home owner’s worst nightmare, especially if they are inside the home. Not only is their nest a nasty place to live, but the pack rat spreads diseases. Read more about the diseases pack rats carry on our blog posting.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org