Archive for the ‘Fall Pest Control Problems’ Category

Organic Pest Control Has Been Around for a Long Time

Friday, June 4th, 2010

If you walk into just about any store today you will most likely find either a section of green or organic products. You may even be in a store filled entirely with green and organic products. Everywhere we go we see ads for green and organic food, clothing, cleaning supplies and more. Since organic products have become the new everyday product, it is not surprising that organic products are being developed into other markets as well, like pest control. It’s not just fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, clothing, and cleaning products anymore that are available in an organic version. Many pest control companies offer many solutions to solving your pest problems using green and or organic materials. In fact pest control companies have been using greener methods for quite some time; it’s just that many people were unaware of it.

organic pest control

Making a good decision for your home would include never having to put a sign like this in your yard.

Now that people are so eco-savvy it isn’t surprising that they are realizing that the need for using traditional chemical pesticides are not necessary. Considering the fact that pesticides can be harmful to your health, your home, our environment and even your pet’s health, using a green pest control product is a very good choice. Also now more than ever before, people want to be making good decisions about their homes and what they put in and around them.

Another great thing about being more eco-conscious when applying pest control prevention to your home is that many of the things do not need any type of pesticide. One of the best ways to keep your home pest free is to ensure there are no openings for pests to get into your home through. These are classic prevention tips like filling any holes, filling any cracks, filling any crevices, sealing vents with screens, making sure screens don’t have any damage, and checking around your doors and windows for gaps. The scary thing is that an opening the size of a pencil in diameter is an entry point for a mouse, even though it seems impossible an averaged sized mouse can get into a home through a hole that small. Just imagine what can get into your house if there is a larger opening. Going around your home and checking the exterior is the best thing a homeowner can do. Some even say that a door sweep is one of the best products you can use to prevent pest problems.

organic pest control

Make sure to ask pest control companies if they are IPM accredited.

As mentioned before many pest control companies have been using greener methods for years now. There is a method in the industry known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which focuses on prevention methods that reduce toxicity of their products. By using this method many pest control agents are able to target the application of organic pesticides to ensure that it does not harm people and only kills the pests. Another thing that is actually beneficial is when they use a method where the pest takes the bait back to the nest, hive, or mound and is able to kill the colony rather than spraying lots of areas where pest do not go (even if they do go there they will die quickly and it won’t be an effective method to getting rid of the entire problem). The truth is, heavy chemical pesticides are not useful in solving pest problems, and nobody wants their home and yard drenched in chemical pesticides.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Ladybug: Information on the Ladybug

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Ladybugs are very cute insects. Unlike many other insects in the world, they do not make people cringe at the sight of them. A trait that ladybugs and insects do share is that they are pests and can be a nuisance to people. Even though people like ladybugs more than other insects they can still cause problems for people and their homes.

ladybug

Here is a ladybug that most people are used to seeing, the classic red and black ladybug.

There are over 5,000 species of ladybugs and almost 400 species just in the U.S. With so many species people often mistake the ladybug’s identity. People are used to seeing ladybugs as small insects, one to ten millimeters, with red with black spots. Many ladybugs do look like this, but there are also species with different amount of spots and some that are different colors like black, yellow, white, orange, and gray. Although the red with black spotted ladybugs are the most commonly recognized. Ladybugs also have a few names. Most people know them as ladybugs, but they are also known as ladybird beetles and ladybird. Ladybugs are actually a type of beetle.

ladybug

Here is one of the other species of ladybugs that is yellow.

Most often, people see these ladybugs in their yards or anywhere outside. An interesting fact about ladybugs is that they are actually beneficial to the outside world. The ladybug eats aphids which are bad pests for things like roses. By having ladybugs around outside it helps keep aphids and other bad insects away.

The problem that ladybugs cause for homeowners is that in the fall and winter they will be searching for a warm place to hibernate. Once the temperature hits 55 degrees, ladybugs needs extra warmth, which usually means warmth from a house, office building, restaurant, etc. Ladybugs even have specifics that they look for in a hibernation location like, light colored buildings and a place that will generate sunlight like a window. Like many other pests that hibernate in homes the ladybugs will make their new home within the wall voids and attics. Another thing when ladybugs hibernate is that they don’t just get into their new comfort spots and hang out solo for the winter, they hibernate in large groups; this being a problem of ladybugs hibernating within your home. While the ladybugs are inside your house they will not reproduce or lay eggs, which is a very good thing as they multiply very quickly. Also the ladybugs stay put for the most part, unless they find warm areas or sun soaked areas they might become a little active. The ladybugs can last a while being content though because they live off their own body fat during hibernation, which is actually a good thing for homeowners because then they won’t eat the house or anything in it.

ladybug

Imagine this many ladybugs, plus more, all in your attic hibernating for winter. Remember ladybugs hibernate in groups.

Even though the ladybugs might not physically damage anything inside a home while hibernating they can cause other problems. For one, ladybugs release a pheromone. This pheromone is known as a yellow blood, or to bleed yellow when releasing it. Often it is released when ladybugs feel they are about to be attacked, it has a bad odor and will scare off anything trying to eat it. The bad part for homeowners is that if ladybugs bleed yellow at all in the house the scent of it can last for almost a year. Even though people might not smell it and it will keep away other insects it actually still attracts other ladybugs. Another problem that can occur is that the ladybugs can become active while hibernating. It isn’t too bad of a problem, but more of an annoyance. Although if the building the ladybugs happen to be hibernating in is a business or worse yet, a restaurant, having ladybugs flying around could be very bad for business. In either of these situations of ladybug infestation this would be the time to call a professional pest control company to come in and handle the situation. If you have ever had ladybug problems and did not need to call a professional pest control company you may still want to have one come out as there could be dead ladybugs left behind. Some times they won’t make it through hibernation because they need some humidity in order to survive; it all depends on the environment in which they decided to hibernate in.

Overall ladybugs are not a harmful pest. If you do find them in your home and are not too bothered by them try to just get them back outside, without killing them. When ladybugs are outside they are very helpful insect killers. Ladybugs are omnivores and since they eat many bad insects they act like a natural outdoor pest control. The bad insects that ladybugs eat are aphids, mealybugs, and mites just to name a few. Outside you can usually find ladybugs in places like gardens, forests, trees, flowers, weed patches and fields.

ladybug

Here is a ladybug larva; it most definitely does not look like your typical ladybug yet.

Since there are so many different species of ladybugs it is hard to differentiate them from other insects. This makes it hard to know what are the real helpful insects compared to the unhelpful insects. Unfortunately unless you memorize every species it is a hard task to know what they all look like. Many times good insects may get killed for a mistaken identity. One of the most common mistaken identities of the ladybug is of itself during the larvae stage. Most other insects look similar to what they will look like as adults. The ladybug on the other hand looks completely different as a larva. The baby ladybug will only be in an egg for about a week before it hatches and turns into a larva. It will take anywhere from three to seven weeks to mature into an adult. During those weeks the larva is very active, getting its own food and moving around. Even at the larva stage they will bleed yellow to defend themselves. The larva is described as looking like an alligator, hence the mistaken identity.

ladybug

Here is another ladybug larva, again easily mistaken for another pests than a ladybug.

Of course there are things that we can do to keep ladybugs outside where they should be. A few things homeowners can do to prevent ladybugs from getting in their house include: seal any cracks, crevices, gaps by windows, doors, pipes, etc. Also add screens to any vent openings. If you already have screens on things like windows make sure they are properly installed and are in good condition. As long as you can keep ladybugs from getting inside your home they should not be a pest to you, just a useful natural pest control for the outdoors.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Wasps: Bald Faced Hornets Are Actually a Type of Wasp

Monday, January 25th, 2010

The bald faced hornet is actually a wasp, not a hornet. This variety of social wasp is similar to the yellow jacket. Like the yellow jacket, the bald faced hornets have a Queen whose entire purpose is to reproduce for the colony. The most obvious difference between the yellow jacket and the bald faced hornet is their coloring. The yellow jacket is bright yellow with black markings, while the bald faced hornet is black with white markings. The white markings are on the front of the head, and some at the end of the abdomen. The coloring alone makes the bald faced hornet stand out more than any other wasp. The body of the bald faced hornet is about three fourths of an inch long. Another similarity the yellow jacket and the bald faced hornet have is that they can sting a person repeatedly. Unlike most bees their stinger is smooth and will not break off, and can be used over and over again to sting people.

wasp bald faced hornet

Here is a bald faced hornet, notice the white markings on the body. There's no yellow on this type of wasp, so it confuses people.

The bald faced hornet colony is made up of the Queen, workers, drones, and new Queens. Their life cycle is also similar to the yellow jackets. Within the colony the workers protect the Queen, and work for her so she can reproduce. The workers are also in charge of foraging for food for everyone in the colony to eat. Bald faced hornets eat nectar, sap, honeydew, and over ripe fruit. Of course the worker bald faced hornet does more than watch over the Queen and find food, they are the busiest of all the bald faced hornets.

In most cases another duty that the worker usually has is stinging people, since the Queen stays safe inside the nest the workers are there to sting anyone or anything that may bother them. However, being stung by a bald faced hornet can for the most part be avoided. Bald faced hornets only sting a person when they feel threatened or their space has been invaded. The invasion of space usually occurs when a person tries to approach a bald faced hornet nest. They are very protective of their nests, and if a person comes within three feet of the nest the bald faced hornet will become defensive and start to attack. One job that a worker bald faced hornet has is to guard and protect the nest, so imagine how territorial they are. Not only that, but there can be up to 800 bald faced hornets in the nest at one time. You wouldn’t want to be the one to invade their space and upset 800 bald faced hornets.

The nest itself is made up of small pieces of wood particles that the bald faced hornets chew up; and a chemical in their saliva turns the wood into a paper like substance. The worker bald faced hornets then use the paper like material to build the nest. The nest can grow as round as a basketball while maintaining the shape of a football, it has up to four layers of combs, and one entry hole at the bottom. Often times the bald faced hornets nest are made within trees, shrubs, meadows, forest edges, and or gardens. Sometimes the nest will be made closer to people like in the sides of buildings, utility poles, under roof overhangs, under decks or porches, sheds, wall voids, and or crawlspaces. With these locations there is a higher risk of a person coming in contact with a bald faced hornet, so homeowners need to be aware of these spots as possible nest locations. Check these areas of your home; if you see any type of nest it is best to call your local pest control company out to handle the nest. Only professionals should handle the removal of the nest, it can be very risky to do yourself. No one wants to be the one to invade a bald faced hornet’s space and risk being stung multiple times.

wasp bald faced hornet

Yikes! This bald faced hornet nest was made under a roof hang right by an entry point to the house. This is extremely dangerous and should be taken care of right away by calling your local pest control company.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Stink Bug and Box Elder Bug are the Same Bug

Monday, December 21st, 2009

The box elder bug can be a very annoying bug to homeowners. It is actually known to be a nuisance more than a pest because the box elder bug does not harm things like other pests do. The box elder bug does not damage things within a home, does not bite people, and rarely damages things outdoors. The only slight damage that comes from having box elder bugs inside a home is that their excrement can leave a stain on items like carpet, draperies, and walls. Also, if a box elder bug were to be killed by being stepped on or crushed by something it would let out a foul smell. The box elder bug is also known as the stink bug due to the foul odor it releases if crushed. Those are about the only two negatives that a box elder can bring into a home. When the box elder is outside it doesn’t do much harm either. Of course it feeds off of trees and such, but it actually does not damage them. The only time the box elder bugs could damage a tree or plant they eat is if there were an abundance of box elder bugs feeding all at once. Considering the damage that many other household pests can cause the box elder bug is not a threat, rather just a nuisance.

stink bug box elder bug

Here is a close up of a box elder bug.

Spotting the annoying critter is easy. The box elder bug has very distinct physical traits. They are about half an inch long, are an elongated oval shape, have wings, dark gray to black coloring, have three stripes of reddish orange right behind their head, red lines along their sides, a diagonal line on each wing, their abdomen is bright red, and their legs and antennae are black. The only problem is that their darker features help them blend in with tree bark, so they aren’t always easy to see. When they are not on trees they are easier to spot. Many times box elder bugs can be found on plants, grass, or flowers and the contrast of colors will make them more apparent.

stink bug box elder bug

This is a box elder tree, a main food and shelter source for the box elder bug. If you see one of these trees there are box elder bugs near by.

While on plants, grass, or flowers the box elder is most likely eating, as these are some of the foods they eat. The box elder bug also eats low vegetation, seeds, new twigs, cherry trees, peach trees, apple trees, ash trees, maple trees, and female seed bearing box elder trees. The female box elder tree is a favorite food for the box elder bug, and provides as a place to live. Also the ash and maple trees can both be food and shelter.

Outside the box elder bug enjoys the warmth from the sun. Many times if the box elder bug is not on a tree or plant, homeowners can find them along the south side of the home enjoying the sun. The box elder bugs sun themselves, just as people lie out and sun bathe. While sunning on the walls of homes box elder bugs will look for entry points like cracks or crevices. Box elder bugs will need to get inside the home when it gets too cold out, and cracks and crevices are the easiest way in. There are easy tips to help homeowners prevent box elder bugs from getting inside their home to hibernate.

Even though the box elder’s food supply and home is outdoors they do go into homes, but not for food like other pests. The box elder bug hibernates in the fall / winter. They start looking for a place to take cover in the fall and will make their way into the home or building as the weather cools down. Box elder bugs really like warm weather, so while inside homes they may follow the warmth of the house or any sunny areas to hibernate. Most often they hibernate in walls and attics. Once they find their spot, box elder bugs will become inactive, for the most part. At times in the day some box elder bugs will leave their spot in search of more warmth or sun, they will then return by the evening. This does not always occur, but it is how most homeowners end up seeing box elder bugs wandering through their home. Unlike other bugs or pests, the box elder bug will not even reproduce during hibernation. Only adult box elder bugs will survive hibernation, and even then some box elder bugs will get trapped within the home after hibernation and die.

Since the box elder bug does not reproduce in the fall and winter it will start reproduction once it gets outside again, in the spring. Box elder bugs will create one or two generations a year. The female box elder bug will lay her eggs on tree trunks, tree branches, leaves, stones, and or crack and crevices of tree bark. The eggs are a yellow tone, and as the nymphs inside develop the egg will change into a red tone. About two weeks later the eggs will hatch. The nymphs are about one sixteenth of an inch big, bright red, and wingless. Other than the coloring and the wings the nymphs look like smaller versions of adult box elder bugs. In order for the nymphs to develop into adults they suck fluids out of seeds, foliage, twigs, and or fruit. Also, during their development they will molt. Once they have become an adult they are on their own, and will keep the cycle going.

stink bug box elder bug

These are box elder eggs, some are more developed than the others as they are already red. There is also a nymph crawling over the pile of eggs.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Stink Bug – Box Elder Bug Prevention Tips

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Prevention for the box elder bug needs to be focused on during the fall or in the late summer. The fall is the peak time of the year when box elder bugs are trying to sneak their way into people’s homes. Occasionally people will see box elder bugs crawling around inside their homes already and panic. Trying to catch and kill them is tricky because you don’t want to crush them and let out that awful foul odor. Many people will spray them with a pesticide or a water and soap solution. This does not always work because it has to be sprayed directly on the box elder bug. The best thing to do if you find box elder bugs in you home is to call your local pest control service out to your house. If you don’t think you have a box elder bug problem these tips will help ensure that a box elder bug problem doesn’t occur in the future. Like prevention for many other pests the steps are easy. Here are some of the basic tips to homeowners to help prevent box elder bugs from getting inside your home.

  • Go over the exterior of the home and look for any cracks or crevices, as those are the most popular entry points. Seal any if found.
  • Check all screens on doors, windows, and vents to make sure there are no tears. Repair or replace any that are damaged.
  • Seal any openings around windows.
  • Make sure all doors have thresholds and weather stripping. Also, make sure garage doors have a rubber bottom.
  • Seal any openings around pipes or cables.
  • Don’t leave piles of debris near the home, dispose of these properly.
  • Rake leaves and any seeds that have fallen, especially those from box elder trees.
  • Box elder bugs are attracted to light, so use yellow lights outdoors and at a minimum of use. Also make sure not to leave any windows open near your outside lights.
  • Vacuum the inside of your home frequently. If you find dead box elder bugs vacuum them dead or alive. Do not try to pick up, as there is a chance you can squish them. If that happens they could leave a stain, and will leave a foul odor.
  • If at all possible, remove any box elder trees, maple trees, or ash tress that are on your property. This is the most effective way to not have box elder bugs near your home.

Spider: The Yellow Sac Spider

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Yellow sac spiders can be found all across the United States. Not only is the yellow sac spider found all over the United States it also accounts for more spider bites than any other type of spider in the United States. That is a lot of bites to be caused by yellow sac spiders; unfortunately the number is so high because many times the yellow sac spider bites are misdiagnosed. The symptoms of the bite are similar to the bite from a brown recluse spider, but the yellow sac symptoms are not as severe. Therefore many times physicians diagnose the bite victim as being bit by the yellow sac spider; when in fact, it could have been a brown recluse spider, but the symptoms have not fully developed.

Since the yellow sac spider and the brown recluse spider bites are so similar it is important to know what to do in any case of getting bit by a spider. Read more about what steps to take if bitten by a yellow sac spider in our first aid for spider bites blog. Also it is important to know what a yellow sac spider looks like in order to help identify what kind of bite you may have gotten.

Often times people are bitten in the middle of the night, and may have no idea what really bit them. Other times when people get bit they see the spider, in this case it is best to try to catch the spider or bug that way the doctor can properly diagnose the bite. The yellow sac spider is about the size of a nickel, on average. The yellow sac spider has a body that ranges from one-fourth of an inch to three-eights of an inch long. The eight legs span about an inch in length, and the first set of legs are longer than the other six legs.

spider yellow sac spider

Yellow sac spider.

Another interesting fact is that the males are generally smaller than the female yellow sac spiders. Like most other spiders the yellow sac spider has eight eyes, and their eyes sit in two horizontal lines of four eyes. Also around their feet they have a darker looking coloring to them, it is actually dark dense hair. There is also a darker stripe down the abdomen. Considering the name of the yellow sac spider most people would assume the spider is yellow. Some are yellow tones, while others can range from an orange tone to a green tone. It has been said that the color of the yellow sac spider sometimes depends on what it has most recently eaten, but some do not think that is where the coloring of the yellow sac spider comes from.

The yellow sac spider eats many things, while it mostly hunts for small insects and other spiders. During the fall the yellow sac spider will usually migrate into homes in search of food. While in the summer the yellow sac spider has plenty of food outdoors to feed on, although that doesn’t mean they won’t try to go into houses.

For the most part, yellow sac spiders live outdoors. Outside the yellow sac spider can be found in places like trees, low vegetation and shrubs. Even though the yellow sac spider lives mostly outdoors it can be found within homes. No matter where the yellow sac spider is living it will always make itself a sac to rest in and spend its days. Being a sac spider, the yellow sac spider does not spin a web; rather they make silken sacs to reside in. The sac is also used as a place for them to sleep during the day and hibernate in the winters. Also, the yellow sac spider will spin a sac for its eggs to stay protected in, and for the spiderlings to molt in. The sac is also a way for people to identify that their home may be infested with yellow sac spiders.

If yellow sac spiders have migrated into a home they still will make their sacs to live in. Most often they will set up shop in corners or ceilings of walls. These spots make it easy for people to notice the sacs and proceed from there, the best plan being to call your local pest control company out to your home. Yellow sac spiders look for small places where they can be protected from predators. Many times these areas are the hidden areas inside a home; like the closet, basements, window sills, behind furniture, along baseboards, or in doorframes. The yellow sac spider can crawl up to high to places because they are good climbers. Also their silk can be used as a bridge from one object to a next, especially from high to low places. This tool comes in use both indoors and outdoors for the yellow sac spider. There are also places outdoors where the sacs may be hiding, like under foliage, leaves, stones, or wood. Many people may come in contact with these areas while outside doing yard work or gardening. So be aware of the yellow sac spider inside your home out outside of your home. Here are some tips for preventing yellow sac spiders from getting near your home.

Yellow sac spiders are nocturnal so homeowners won’t really see them running around in the day. Therefore the risk of being bit is higher at night when the yellow sac spiders are running around your house hunting for food. Sometimes the yellow sac spider may crawl into your bed or couch; this is when most bites occur. While people are in bed sleeping or on the couch watching TV or if the yellow sac spider is in your sheets or on your cushions it may panic and feel threatened by your body and therefore will attack or bite you.

The yellow sac spider creates about one generation a year. The female usually will lay her eggs in the summer. She will deposit them into a sac to keep them protected. In this sac will be anywhere from 30-50 eggs. During the process of the eggs developing the female will stay near the sac to protect it. Once the eggs have hatched they will become spiderlings and molt for about two weeks. After that period the spiderlings will set out on their own venture. From there the cycle will just repeat itself, and there will be more and more yellow sac spiders out in the world.

Picture courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Spider: Yellow Sac Spider Prevention Tips

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Preventing yellow sac spiders is just like preventing any other pest, the only difference is the damage they can cause. No one wants pests, more so yellow sac spiders, in their home. Nor does anyone want to take the risk of being bitten by a yellow sac spider. Follow these steps to help prevent yellow sac spiders from invading your home:

  • Keep all beds from touching the wall.
  • If you have a bed skirt either move it so that it doesn’t touch the floor or just completely remove it.
  • Before wearing any clothes that come out of your closet shake them out.
  • Keep closets, attics, basements, and other storage areas clean.
  • Vacuum regularly, don’t forget the undisturbed areas like behind furniture.
  • Keep clutter out of your house.
  • Place sticky traps behind furniture and other large objects that yellow sac spiders might hide behind, like appliances, credenzas, or armoires.
  • Make sure screens on doors, vents, etc. are installed correctly, and that there are no tears in them.
  • Seal any holes around pipes that go into the house, check basements and crawl spaces.
  • Install weather stripping on doors and windows.
  • Seal any cracks or crevices in the homes foundation.
  • Remove leaf litter, vegetation and spider webs that are adjacent to the house. A powerful hose should do the trick for the webs, etc.
  • Store wood piles away from the home.
  • Wear gloves when outdoors either gardening or working with things like wood or rocks.
  • Cut trees and shrubs back so they do not touch the roof or walls of the house.
  • Switch outdoor lights to yellow. As the yellow lights do not attract as many insects, i.e. yellow sac spider food.
  • Keep the use of outdoor lights to a minimum.

Spider: The Yellow Sac Spider Bite- First Aid Tips

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Getting a bite from a yellow sac spider sounds much worse than it really is, unless you are allergic. Any kind of bite seems to terrify people and for good reason, some insect venoms are very poisonous. Luckily, the yellow sac spider has venom that is not as poisonous as other insects or spiders. Many people confuse the bite from a yellow sac spider with the bite from a brown recluse spider, which is much more poisonous. The initial symptoms are very similar. The problem is that later on if the symptoms become more severe, you know it was a brown recluse and not a yellow sac spider. Many times because of the similar symptoms, the bite of a brown recluse spider is misdiagnosed as a yellow sac spider. This has resulted in the yellow sac spider being known for being one of the most common spider bites people get in the United Sates.

If you are bitten by a yellow sac spider there are some basic first aid steps to follow. Other than the symptoms that become apparent these steps can be used to help relieve the pain etc. in any occurrence of a spider bite.

  • Bites often occur in bed when the yellow sac spider gets stuck in the sheets. Also, when hiding in things like the couch, shoes, or clothes.
  • When a person gets bit they will feel a sharp pain, similar to the pain one would get from a wasp sting.
  • The bite mark will become red and filled with puss within eight hours of the bite happening.
  • Clean the bite with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Apply an antiseptic like iodine.
  • Ice the bite mark, and also elevate the area that has been bitten.
  • Other physical side affects symptoms people will start to have can be nausea, fever, skin necrosis, and stomach cramps.
  • If these symptoms are present go to a doctor as soon as possible, as there is a chance of being allergic to the yellow sac spider’s venom.
  • If at all possible take the spider that bit you to the doctor for a proper diagnosis.
  • The red mark will harden as it heals, and can take up to a few weeks to do so.
  • While the bite is healing make sure to keep it extremely clean. Clean it thoroughly on a daily basis so that it does not get infected. If necessary, go to your doctor for an antibiotic to help as well.

Ant: Tips for Preventing Carpenter Ants

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Carpenter ants can be a huge frustration to a homeowner. It can be time consuming to try to find the main source of the carpenter ants, the colony. Also there can be multiple colonies, adding to the frustration. The best thing to do is have your local pest control service come out and examine your home. Many times if there is a colony inside there is a larger colony outside. Like many other pests problems homeowners face there are some basic prevention tips to help keep carpenter ants outside of your home. Here is a list of things homeowners can do to avoid a carpenter ant invasion.

  • Eliminate any moisture sources. Correct roof leaks, plumbing leaks, and any other moisture problems.
  • Replace any damaged wood.
  • Get rid of anything that is wood to ground contact. If necessary elevate the wood with concrete pier blocks.
  • Stack firewood away from the homes foundation and elevate it off of the ground. Always keep outside in an open area, like the backyard.
  • Trim or clip any tree branches or vegetation touching the roof or siding of the house.
  • Remove logs, stumps, and waste wood near or under your home.
  • Add a gravel or stone strip around your house.
  • Make sure all window and door frames do not contact the soil of your yard.
  • Seal or caulk any cracks in foundation, openings in foundations, entry points on the house, and around electrical and water lines / pipes.
  • Check any crawl spaces, attics, and basements to make sure they are well-ventilated, and have no moist or damp areas.
  • Clean any clogged gutters to prevent water damage.

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.

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