Adult beetles have two sets of wings.
Female beetles usually lay dozens or hundreds of eggs.
Most beetles only live for a year.
Beetles cannot see very well, so they communicate using pheromones, sounds or vibrations.
Some beetles are not considered pests. "Ladybugs" are beetles and are considered to be good luck in many cultures. "Fireflies" and "Lightning bugs" are also beetles. They glow in the dark to communicate.
There are 12,000 different kinds of beetles in the United States and over 300,000 species in the world. Beetles are found on land and in fresh water and can adapt to almost any environment. Beetles usually just live where they eat.
Beetles can both hurt and help the environment. Some beetle species destroy crops or property, while some species help get rid of garbage, eat dead trees or help pollinate flowers.
Find information on beetle pest control at the official NPMA website.
Varied carpet beetles get their name from the rainbow of color on their backs. It can take up to three years for them to grow from an egg to an adult. Adult beetles only live between 13 and 44 days!
Color: Black centers, with white, brown and yellow patches.
Common Name: Varied carpet beetle
Species: Anthrenus verbasci
Diet:Varied Carpet beetles mostly eat carpet, wool, dead insects, furs, hides, feathers, horns, hair, silk and bones.
Habitat:Varied carpet beetles are found in attics, wool carpets, tapestries and wall-to-wall carpeting.
Impact:Varied carpet beetles can ruin clothing, upholstery and carpet by eating it.
Since beetles are drawn to fibers, to protect your clothing keep your clothes off the floor, store un-used clothing in plastic bags or containers and dry clean clothing before storing it.
Powder Post Beetles
There are 11 species of Powder Post beetles in the United States. They have long, narrow, flat bodies. Adult beetles fly and are attracted to light.
Size: 1/8" to 1/4"
Shape: Narrow, oval
Color: Reddish brown to black
Common Name: Powder post beetle
Species: Lyctus brunneus
Diet:Lyctid Powder Post beetles usually feed on hard woods.
Habitat:Lyctid Powder Post beetles lay their eggs in cracks of wood. They are found in hardwood floors, timbers and crates, antiques and other things made of hard wood.
Impact:Lyctid Powder Post beetles dig holes in wood. They can kill or damage trees and things made from wood like furniture. There are even documented cases that powder post beetles have destroyed houses!
Inspect wood sources around the home.
Paint or seal any exposed or raw wood in your home.
Merchant Grain Beetles
These beetles have extremely flat bodies. This body shape allows them to crawl into packaged foods to eat, live and reproduce. It only takes them about 3-4 weeks to grow from baby to adult and an adult Merchant Grain beetle can live up to 3 years.
Merchant Grain beetles can be found all over the world and can live in cooler climates. Once confused with a kind of beetle that does eat grain, the Merchant beetle was scientifically re-categorized, but the name stuck. These beetles get their name because they were commonly found on merchant ships, hiding in organic cargo.
Size: 1/10" to 1/8"
Shape: Narrow, oval, flat
Common Name: Merchant Grain Beetle
Diet:Merchant grain beetles don’t really eat whole grain products. They are drawn to foods high in fat, such as cereals, cake mixes, macaroni, cookies and chocolate.
Habitat:Merchant grain beetles are found in pantries or in food processing areas or warehouses.
Impact:Merchant grain beetles can get into stored food and can contaminate food by laying eggs and leaving waste behind.
Discard infested packages.
Clean up spilled grain and food.Read more
If you have a dead animal in your house or building, the total cost will probably run between $150-$250 to find and remove the dead animal, and decontaminate the area. Some people charge more to cut holes to remove the dead carcass and seal the hole up afterward.
If you just have a dead animals outside that needs to be picked up, the cost will be lower, since the job is a simple matter of a service trip, containment, and incineration or other disposal.
Raccoons are usually classified as a pest species due to their habits of living in human dwellings. The most common complaints include the following:
Raccoons living in the attic
Raccoons living in the chimney
Tipping over garbage cans
Stealing pet food or bird seed
Sick, potentially rabid raccoon
Presence is alarming dogs/pets
For these reasons, many people wish to have this nuisance animal trapped and removed.
How to Get rid of them: The primary approaches are trapping, prevention, or repellents, as outlined and discussed below in detail.
Trapping: Trapping is always an option for wildlife removal. However, it's not always so cut and dry. Much of the time, simple trapping does not solve the problem. The majority of cases of do-it-yourself raccoon trapping have gone awry. It's common to catch the wrong animal - a stray cat, a skunk, or opossum, or the wrong raccoon. You want your raccoon problem to go away - if the coon is tipping your garbage can, pooping in your pool, killing your ornamental fish or birds, or whatever. But if you trap, you want to be sure to get the right animal, in the right way, and do it legally. It must be done correctly, with the right type of trap - one at least 12x12x32 to hold raccoons, and sturdy steel or solid-wall. Raccoons are very strong and crafty and have a way of breaking out of traps. Novices just get so many things wrong. It took me years of trapping to learn to always get it right. So many little factors go into successful trapping. For more information read my raccoon trapping guide. You have to be conscious of the safety and welfare of the animal, and relocate it at least ten miles away, in an acceptable location. It's probably against the law for you to trap and relocate raccoons if you are not licensed - it's illegal in most states. A properly licensed trapper, who knows wildlife and has experience, is vaccinated against rabies, and who can do it safely and legally, is the best option.
Raccoons in the Attic: PLEASE do not try to trap and remove if you have raccoons in the attic. Nine times out of ten, there's baby raccoons up there! If you trap and remove the mother, you will have a BIG PROBLEM on your hands, and you will likely cause further house damage, noise, suffering of cute little raccoons, and a terrible odor as the babies die and decompose. Click here for my special guide on How to Get Raccoons Out of an Attic, the most comprehensive guide to attic raccoon removal on the web. This is not a job for homeowners! Call a pro!
Prevention: Now here's something anyone can do. Secure your garbage can and strap the lid down with bungee cords. If you want to get rid of raccoons in your yard, don't leave out pet food. Lock your doggie-doors. If you want to get rid of raccoons in your house, make sure your house is secure, with no holes or openings into the attic. If they are getting under the house or under the deck, you can install an exclusion barrier of steel mesh. And remove whatever is attracting the raccoons - if they're pooping in the pool, put a board with spikes on the steps. If they're tearing their way into your screened porch to swipe at your pet bird, bring the bird inside! Common sense.
Top 10 Tips for How to Get Rid of Raccoons:
If the raccoons are in your attic, inspect your house to identify the entry points.
When raccoons live in your attic or any part of your house, it is almost always a female raccoon with a litter of babies. Be sure to remove the babies as well as the adult.
You can sometimes intimidate a female and it will leave on its own with the young. Accomplish this via physical harassment and the use of raccoon eviction fluid.
Remove the litter of baby raccoons by hand, place in a pillow case, and use them as "live bait" to lure the mother into a cage trap, in the back of a trap with a divider mechanism.
When trapping, use a large sturdy steel cage trap, at least 12"x12"x32". Always set the trap in the shade, to prevent overheating. Make sure the trap is on a solid, level surface.
Bait is not terribly important. Location of trap, and a sturdy set with proper tension matters more. However, avoid meat-based baits to prevent the capture of stray cats. Use marshmallows.
If a raccoon is tipping over your garbage cans, either bring the cans indoors, or strap the lids down with bungee cords.
If a raccoon is eating pet food or bird seed, you will need to temporarily remove these attractants from the outdoors for a period of weeks, until the raccoon gives up.
If a raccoon is pooping in a swimming pool or trampling a garden, a physical deterrent, such as a board with nails pointing up, fencing, water sprayer, or shock track can keep them away.
If it is legal for you to trap raccoons, and relocate them in your state, bring them at least ten miles away from the capture site to prevent them from returning.Read more
Pests are more than just ugly looking critters that chew through your wiring. Many can cause serious health problems for you and your loved ones.
A common pest in most rural areas, mice may be considered easier on the eyes than the other creatures we have on this list, but they are by far one of the worst offenders when it comes to health risks. Like most pests, mice will scour your house in search of a meal; however, even if they don’t get into your food they will still contaminate your kitchen area.
Mice constantly dribble urine, meaning any surface they come into contact with instantly becomes contaminated. This steady stream means that any diseases they carry such as salmonella or meningitis, both of which can severely affect humans, will be guaranteed to find their way onto your floors and countertops. What makes this even worse is that mouse urine dries fast, becoming invisible, so you might be placing your bread down on a pile of nasty, mouse-ridden bacteria without even knowing.
Roaches are a firm favorite for the most disgusting looking pests around, but while they are offensive to look at, the risks they pose to humans are even worse. Cockroaches live in sewer environments and come up into homes in search of food and warmth. While they scuttle about your countertops and kitchen cupboards they are leaving behind bacteria, parasites and pathogens, all of which can affect humans. However, roaches don’t need to contaminate a surface to harm you. They can do it simply by existing. Droppings, urine, decaying roach bodies and shed skin all break down and become air born particles— particles that can pose a serious risk to asthmatics, especially children. The floating roach dust gets into the lungs and causes allergic reactions, proving to be worse for asthma suffers than dog hair, cat fur or even conventional dust.
As it turns out, you really don’t want to let the bed bugs bite. While they are not carriers of harmful diseases or parasites, they can affect you in other ways. Not only can their bites cause rashes, scars and lesions, but they can have serious psychological effects.
Bed bugs are exactly that, bugs that live within the woodwork of your bed. Infestations are very hard to get rid of and can take a long time to destroy, leaving you to sleep in an itchy, pest-ridden bed for extended periods of time. The result of sharing your bed with these bugs can cause anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation and depression. Not only does it cause these psychological problems, but these bugs push their hosts to do whatever it takes to get rid of them. This often leads to property damage, inhalation of dangerous chemicals, and even fire hazards as sufferers resort to burning infested furniture and flooring in pure desperation.
Fleas are flightless, but they have powerful legs and can easily jump onto your pet’s fur when they are running through an infested area, such as long grass. These tiny blood drinkers will attach themselves to anything living, including you. While their bites can give you an allergic reaction, and even cause a severe and dangerous anaphylaxis in some people, fleas can have a nastier side if accidentally swallowed. Although this is rare, mostly occurring in children, the fact they are so small means it is easy for them to become ingested. The result of ingesting these minuscule insects is a far more disturbing and harmful infestation, a tapeworm. Tapeworms are large parasitic worms that live in the intestines, munching on your food and growing up to 50 feet long.
You’re not only living creature in your home that fleas, and their potential friends, can affect. While many pet owners use some kind of flea prevention, less commonly known is that animals acquire tapeworm the same way humans do, by ingesting “infected” fleas. Any flea that has eaten tapeworm larvae and is then swallowed by your pet, typically while grooming, can turn suddenly become a far more serious problem.
We saved the best for last. Rats are carriers of some of the most dangerous diseases on the planet and without these critters the bubonic plague might not have wiped out so much of Europe.
Rats have powerful teeth and can gnaw their way through pretty much anything, allowing them to reach food and water supplies resulting in contamination. Rat fecal matter and urine can also spread numerous diseases such as leptospirosis, a debilitating illness that causes liver, kidney and heart problems. You don’t even have to consume something contaminated to become infected; simply inhaling their evaporating and decaying waste is enough. Being a larger pest than most, rats also have more aggressive tendencies and are more likely to bite and scratch humans, which could result in other infections such as rat-bite fever.Read more
The fox is the smallest member of the dog family, although it also has many similarities with cats – such as vertical slit eyes and retractable claws. They also hunt like a cat, stalking their prey and playing with it before killing it. Keep reading to find more interesting facts about foxes.
• Fox species include the gray fox, red fox, arctic fox, kit fox and fennec fox. The red fox is the most common. There are 21 species of fox. The fox is the smallest member of the dog family. They have a lifespan of 2 to 5 years but some have lived to be 14 years old in captivity.
• The fox also has many similarities to a cat. They have vertical slit eyes and partially retractable claws. Foxes are excellent tree climbers, and they mark their territory by the scent of urine. They also hunt like a cat. They stalk their prey just like cats. They often play with their prey before they kill it. Foxes hunt mainly at night because they are nocturnal animals.
• Foxes live all over North America. They adapt very easily and can manage in a dense forest or a suburban neighborhood. They make their home under sheds, in the hollow of trees, in ground burrows, and in wood piles.
• Most foxes are about the size of a large house cat. Foxes can range in height from 35 to 45 inches and weigh approximately 15 pounds.
• Foxes are carnivores, which means they eat meat. Their diet includes rodents, rabbits, insects and small birds. If they live near a farm, they will raid the hen house and steal the chickens. They will also eat vegetation.
• Foxes breed between December and February. In the spring, the female may produce a litter of 4 to 5 kits. The kits have no fur and are blind. The mother has her litter in a den. She does not leave the den for the first two weeks after the cubs are born. The female nurses her kits. When the kits are about 4 weeks old they begin to venture out of the den. They will leave their mother sometime between 6 and 12 months of age. A fox can mate when they reach 10 months of age.
• The fox does not live in a pack. It lives and hunts alone. When a group of foxes are together it is called a “skulk.”
• A fox’s hearing is so sharp they can hear a watch ticking 40 yards away. They can also hear something moving underground. They also use a variety to sounds to communicate.
• The kit fox, or swift fox, can run up to 23 mph for short distances.
• Coyotes, wolves, eagles and the lynx are all natural enemies of the fox.
An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole as small as the size of a quarter.
Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.
Rats have strong teeth that allow them to chew through glass, cinderblock, wire, aluminum and lead.
Smell, taste, touch and sound help direct them to their food sources.
Rats are also responsible for spreading bubonic plague, also known as the "Black Death". Although fleas are primarily responsible for infecting humans, they were originally infected with the plague by feeding on the blood of rats.
Rats are scavengers. They have an excellent sense of taste and a good memory. A rat can identify certain substances, including rat poisons, after just a tiny taste of it.
To learn how to get rid of roof rats and other rodents, visit the official NPMA website.
The Norway rat is also called a "sewer rat". Norway rats tend to be larger and more aggressive to animals, humans and each other than Roof rats.
Size: 10" to 12" long
Common Name: Norway Rat
Species: Rattus norvegicus
Diet:Norway rats eat a wide variety of foods but mostly prefer cereal grains, meats, fish, nuts, and some fruits.
Habitat:When Norway rats invade buildings, they usually remain in the basement or ground floor. They also live in fields, farms, woodpiles and buildings. Their nests are usually lined with shredded paper or cloth.
Impact:These rats are known for the damage they cause by chewing on materials, urinating on food and eating stored foods. They have also been known to chew on wires, which can cause fires to start. They also carry disease and ectoparasites. Rats will also attack both animals and humans. Human babies and even adults have been killed in rat attacks.
Rats will eat almost anything, so keep your homes clean and don’t leave food out.
Make sure that your home and storage areas are clean and dry.
Make sure that you clean your sheds, crawlspaces, and garbage cans often.
Close up any small holes and cracks they can come in through.
Roof Rats are excellent climbers and get their name because they usually live high off the ground, like on the roof of a building. They have very poor vision and are color blind, but they have extremely strong senses of hearing, smell, touch and taste. Rats have four to six litters a year and each litter has 6 to 12 babies in it. These rats are only pregnant for about 21 to 23 days and they can start reproducing when they are three months old.
Size: 16" nose to tail
Common Name: Roof rat
Species: Rattus rattus
Diet:Roof Rats prefer eating fruits, berries, vegetables, cereal, pet food, nuts, grain, slugs, snails and rotten food.
Habitat:Roof Rats are excellent climbers and they usually live in spaces on the tops of buildings, on roofs or in attics. They also live in sheds, garages, boxes, ceilings, under floors, in wood heaps and in thick grass.
Impact:Roof rats cause damage to structures by chewing, eating stored foods and carrying diseases, such as Hantavirus. They are most famous for spreading the highly contagious bubonic plague in the Middle Ages. Rats will also attack both animals and humans. Human babies and even adults have been killed in rat attacks.
Rats like to eat, so keep your homes clean and do not leave food out.
Make sure that your home and storage areas are clean and dry.
Make sure that you clean your sheds, crawlspaces, and garbage cans often.
Close up any small holes and cracks they can come in through.Read more
Pests like cockroaches, ants, mice, and mosquitoes are annoying pests, but usually only during certain months of the year. However, thanks to this year’s heat waves and heavy rainfall, a lot of pests that usually go away come fall and winter will still be around looking for a home—your home.
How to Manage Your Winter Pest Problem
If you think summer pests suck, just wait until winter comes along. The only thing worse than a…
Recently, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released their Bug Barometer™ forecast for the upcoming seasons, and it does not look good for those who get the heebie-jeebies from all kinds of creepy crawlies. Entomologists and pest experts are expecting a lot more pressure from most of these critters than usual. Here’s a handy map from the NPMA:
via NPMA Pest World.
The Pacific Northwest will see increased rodent populations looking for water in residential areas due to heat and dryness. Along the West Coast and in Southwestern states we’ll likely see more cockroaches, ants, spiders, and stinging insects thanks to the lasting heat, and flooding will ramp up the mosquito population. In the Midwest, the mild spring and warm summer increased rodent populations that will be seeking food and shelter come cold weather, and more rainfall will mean more earwigs and millipedes seeking higher ground indoors. To the Southeast, mosquitoes will continue to terrorize anyone with blood left in their body, and termites, in addition to ants, will be active until winter. Lastly, the Northeast is expected to see a lot of stink bugs and ladybugs, along with more insects and rodents flocking indoors to avoid the cold than usual. Ticks will also continue to be a problem until the temperatures start to drop dramatically.
What to Do When Mice Have Invaded Your Home
Mice may look cute and fuzzy, but in reality, their presence means stress, chewed furniture, and a…
There’s more to this than just being creeped out by bugs and rats, though. As Jim Fredericks, Ph.D., and chief entomologist and vice president of technical and regulatory affairs for the NPMA, explains, it’s a matter of health:
“The extended summer pest activity, combined with the high pressure expected from fall pests, will make the upcoming seasons particularly pest heavy. There’s also an added health concern given that ticks, mosquitoes and rodents are all capable of transmitting diseases to humans.”
So prepare your homes for the upcoming invasion and stay vigilant. The more you can do now to prevent an infestation the better off you’ll be come winter.Read more
Rodents can carry a wide variety of diseases transmissible to humans. Learn how to get rid of mice using proven, organic and natural techniques.
Mice are important rodent pests that often enter homes and warehouses for food and shelter. These rodents eat any kind of food meant for humans, pets, livestock or other animals. They also contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat with urine, droppings and hair.
A very real problem with the infestation of mice is the Hantavirus which has been a threat in the arid southwestern part of the country. Another major concern is salmonellosis which is transmitted by mice and is a concern in food storage and preparation areas.
The common house mouse is brown to gray in color with the tail as long as the body. Adults are small and weigh only about 1/2 ounce. Their droppings are dark colored, 1/8 inch long and rod-shaped. These rodents have a very prolific reproductive system breeding year round and having as many as eight litters annually. Females can start having their litters at the age of 1-1/2 to 2 months old. Life expectancy is no more than one year.
5 Proven Methods of Mouse Control
Mice are tenacious in their ability to enter a dwelling and only need an opening the size of a dime. Thorough examinations need to be made periodically to assure that all points of entry (foundations, utility pipes and wires passing into the house) are secure.
In those areas that are not secure, wire mesh or quick-drying cement can be used to plug cracks around drainpipes and other small areas of entry. Also, galvanized window screening can be balled and stuffed into larger openings that are then finished with caulking or cement. Expanding-foam insulation can also be used for filling small to medium size openings.
A clean uncluttered home will make it hard for mice to find hiding places and food. Immediately sweep up crumbs and keep edibles and garbage in mouse-proof containers (metal or heavy-duty plastic with tight fitting lids), or in mouse-proof cabinets (including the refrigerator).
Early fall or winter is the time of year when rodents move in as part of their normal movement patterns. Mice can be humanely live-trapped and put back outside in their own environment. The use of snap and glue traps is also very effective. For best results, place them every 2-4 feet apart where rodents are seen or pest activity is suspected. High traffic areas include room perimeters (along baseboards), kitchen counter tops and behind cabinets and stoves.
Attractant: Place a small amount of cheese, bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, sunflower or similar seeds in/on traps. Peanut butter, oatmeal and gumdrops are also highly recommended.
Least-toxic baits work well when pests are plentiful. Agrid3 Bait is approved for use in organic production and contains no secondary hazards — will not harm pets or wildlife that catch/eat rodents poisoned by the pellets. Place a small amount of pellets (1-2 Tbsp) at intervals of 8- to 12-feet apart in infested areas. Use a tamper-resistant Bait Station to keep out of reach from children, pets and livestock.
Ultrasonic devices will keep mice out of a designated area. These products produce sounds that are inaudible to humans or pets and each unit provides up to 400 sq ft of indoor protection (one per room).
Non-toxic repellent place packs and organic granules use essential oils to keep rodents away from treated areas. Best of all, you don’t have to be concerned about finding dead animals in hard to reach places like attics, basements or behind walls.
Recommended ProductsRead more
The best way to get rid of groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, is with an integrated control plan that includes trapping, repelling and excluding. Below, Havahart® provides step-by-step instructions to help you get rid of woodchucks, along with other useful trapping and repelling information.
Groundhogs will enter your yard to find food and a safe place to burrow. It's important that you take some steps to minimize damage and make your yard less attractive:
Harvest crops like beans, peas and melons as early as possible.
Groundhogs prefer burrowing in areas that provide ample cover; remove piles of debris, rocks and/or wood where groundhogs may take shelter.
Trim back plants groundhogs may eat or use for cover.
Remove any tree trunks or other sources of wood that groundhogs can gnaw or grind their teeth on.
Use gravel to fill in any abandoned animal burrows.
Identify Areas of Damage
Becoming familiar with your groundhog's habits and where it spends most of its time will help you target a control method.
Common groundhog activities include:
damaging crops like peas, beans, melons and alfalfa
eating grasses and clover
gnawing/clawing on wood or woody vegetation
chewing through electrical wires/tubing
digging holes and burrowing under lawn or structures
Seek out any groundhog burrows on your property - you can identify these by locating their entrances/exits. Burrows generally contain 2-5 entrance holes, each about 6-8 inches in diameter. Groundhogs often hide these holes by digging them underneath vegetation and/or loosely covering them up with leaves and sticks.
Choose a Control Method
Once you've identified the general whereabouts of your groundhog and what kind of damage it is causing, you can select the best control method. The more methods you use, the better your chances are at getting rid of groundhogs and keeping them off your property.
Live Groundhog Trap
The most effective way to remove a groundhog is with a live groundhog trap. Groundhogs are cautious creatures, so keep in mind the following tips:
Prevent transferring your scent to the trap by wearing gloves when handling it.
Bait your trap in a way that forces the groundhog to fully enter it - this will ensure the animal cannot back out when the door comes down.
Prevent roll over and escapes after the groundhog is caught by ensure the trap cannot move. Place a brick on the top for extra stability.
Camouflage the inside and outside of the trap with leaves so that the groundhog feels more comfortable entering.
For more tips and step-by-step instructions, read How to Trap a Groundhog »
A spicy pepper-based repellent will aggravate a groundhog's heightened sense of smell and taste. Applying one throughout your yard will keep groundhogs from entering certain areas, stop them from chewing on plants and surfaces, and/or prevent destructive digging and burrowing.
Sprinkle a granular repellent to create a repelling barrier to drive/keep groundhogs out of problem areas.
Spray a liquid repellent onto surfaces like plants, wood, grass or mulch to discourage gnawing, eating and digging.
It's important to note that repellents are rarely effective in keeping a mother groundhog away from her young. You may want to determine whether there is a nest on your property before you try to drive a groundhog out.
For more information, read How to Repel Groundhogs »
Use highly effective electronic repellents to frighten groundhogs with bursts of water to condition them to stay out of any area. These motion-activated water sprinklers are virtually maintenance-free and can be used to protect:
Groundhogs are skittish and known to respond quickly to scare tactics, so electronics are a great alternative to traditional liquid and granular repellents.
For more information, read Why Electronics »
Although groundhogs are skilled climbers, a properly installed fence can make it more challenging for them to enter your yard. Follow these fence guidelines:
Fencing should stand at least 3-4 feet above ground level.
Use a strong wire fence with openings no larger than 3" x 3".
The fence should penetrate the ground at least 1 foot to prevent groundhogs from digging underneath it. Creating an "L" shape underground is most effective.
Make the fence more difficult to climb over by adding an outward angle at the top.
If not properly controlled, groundhogs can cause serious structural damage when burrowing. Their tunnels break apart building foundations, and they will often chew through electrical wires and irrigation systems that may be in their way. For best results, use multiple groundhog control products at once.
Groundhogs enter into deep hibernation in the winter, at which time they are underground and inactive. Because of this, groundhog control efforts will only be effective in warmer months.
The best time to try to get rid of groundhogs is early in the spring, before mating season. Once a groundhog enters gestation, it will be difficult to repel her. And once a groundhog gives birth, you'll have more groundhogs on your property to control.
Plantings, woodpiles and debris surrounding your home provide shelter for groundhogs, making them more likely to live on your property or burrow underneath the grass or foundation. Minimizing ground cover will prevent this type of destructive behavior.
Before operating a live trap, get to know your local laws regarding trapping and relocating groundhogs or woodchucks.
Prevent groundhogs from occupying abandoned burrows by covering openings with wired fencing. Dig each out about 1 foot deep, then cover the hole with 3' x 3' of wire fencing and bury the fencing securely. VERY IMPORTANT: first make sure that there are no groundhogs living in the burrow.Read more
It is a perennial moth like insect that is wingless and resides on a number of evergreen as well as junipers. It causes extensive damage to plants and trees.
Bagworms Scientific Classification
Scientific Name: Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis
Other names for this pest are Common Bagworm and Evergreen Bagworm.
What is a Bagworm like?
Adult males of this species of moths are dark and hairy in appearance with a wingspan of approximately 1 inch. Female bagworms look like maggots and are yellow in color. An average insect of this type appears similar to a tiny caterpillar.
This pest is a member of the family Psychidae and belongs to order Lepidoptera.
What does a Bagworm eat?
Bagworm food comprises of leaves of plants. They are parasitic in nature and reside in plants, feeding on them. Bagworm larvae feed on leaves and needles of evergreen plants. Young insects of this species eat the upper epidermis of hosts, which leaves tiny holes on the foliage of these plants.
The pest generally resides and feeds on Willow, Sycamore, Spruce, Maple, Bald Cypress, Boxelder, Oaks, Rose Plants, Black Locusts, Pines and other deciduous trees. It also attacks fruit trees, ornamental trees, perennial flowers and decorative shrubs.
Bagworms life cycle are differentiated into separate stages, much like any other organism. Here is a glimpse into the various Bagworm life stages –
The eggs of Bagworm moths hatch in end of May and beginning of June. Once the eggs hatch, the larva spins a silk strand that hangs down it. The larva is also transported to nearby plants by wind.
Once the larva finds a host, it starts to make a new protective bag around itself. It remains inside this bag sticking only its head out to eat from the host.
The larva continues feeding until it matures by the end of August. It then attaches the bag they are in to a branch with a strand of silk and starts developing into a pupa.
Adult male worms appear in September. These are tiny, grayish moth-like insects with fur on their body and transparent wings. Adult Bagworm females are wingless. They never leave the protective bag.
When fully mature, these pests mate and die immediately afterwards.
Mature male and female worms mate with each other to produce offspring. Strikingly, these pests die after mating. Male moths die outside the bag after copulation. Females die inside the bag and get mummified around the mass of several hundred eggs that they produce. The eggs hatch in end-May or beginning of June.
Only one generation of Bagworm eggs are produced every year.
These pests cause excessive damage to plants. Only deciduous plants can withstand the onslaught of these plants. In Deciduous plants new leaves arise every year. This is why the defoliation (loss of foliage) caused by the parasitic feeding of this insect does not kill these plants. All other plants are incapable of surviving Bagworm attacks. The worm is controlled with insecticides because of this reason.
For control of Bagworms insecticides should be sprayed on young larvae during late- June or early-July. This is the best time to apply insecticides for Bagworm control as feeding by these moths slow down by August. Naturally, chemical control during this time is not as effective.
Common insecticides used for controlling this pest include Carbaryl, Acephate, Cyfluthrin, Permethrin and Malathion. Affected plants must be thoroughly sprayed with any of these pesticides in June for Bagworm killing as soon as they start feeding on plants.
Bagworm Bags Pictures
Photo 2 – Bagworm’s Bag Image
Source – lifeandlawns.com
Protective bags of these insects hang from slender stems of plants and trees and are generally hidden by foliage. These Bagworm nests are usually brow or gray in color and look like small pine cones. Once spotted, these should be immediately cut away with garden shears, scissors or knife. Simply pulling away these bags will leave a silk strand behind that will encircle the twig while it is growing.
An organic pesticide that contains the bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis is often used on plants in early spring for controlling these moths. The chemical is safe to use in plants in areas where pets and children roam about. There are many other chemical sprays available to control these pests.
The insect can be managed by both chemical and non-chemical means. Chemical process of getting rid of Bagworms involves spraying insecticides and organic pesticides on the habitats of the pests. Non-chemical way of Bagworm removal includes cutting away the bags formed by these worms from plants they have infested. Bag removal should be carried out in early spring, late autumn or winter season before the eggs hatch. Proper disposal of these bags will help avoid return of these insects.
Are Bagworms Poisonous?
Bagworms are often mistaken to be poisonous creatures as they cause the death of plants. This is however, a non-poisonous bug that causes plant death due to feeding on their foliage. Insecticides used for Bagworm prevention often produce toxic effects when used in large quantities. Safety precautions and usage directions on labels of pesticides should be strictly followed to avoid damage to valuable plants. When used in excess, these can not only damage plants but also contaminate ponds or streams located nearby.
Ichneumonid wasps and parasitoid insects are two organisms that are natural enemies of this pest.
These pests can be naturally removed in two ways. Manually removing the nests of these bugs is one such option. It can also be controlled by planting daisy plants near plants where the pest is found to nest on. Research conducted by the University of Illinois has shown that flowering plants such as daisies that are members of the Asteraceae family can attract parasitoid insects to them. Naturally, Bagworms nesting on such plants have a high chance of being destroyed by parasitoids.Read more
The American black bear is the smallest of the three bears species found in North America, and are found only in North America. Black bears have short, non-retractable claws that give them an excellent tree-climbing ability.
Black bear fur is usually a uniform color except for a brown muzzle and light markings that sometimes appear on their chests. Eastern populations are usually black in color while western populations often show brown, cinnamon, and blond coloration in addition to black. Black bears with white-bluish fur are known as Kermode (glacier) bears and these unique color phases are only found in coastal British Columbia, Canada.
American black bears are omnivorous: plants, fruits, nuts, insects, honey, salmon, small mammals and carrion. In northern regions, they eat spawning salmon.
Black bears will also occasionally kill young deer or moose calves.
It is estimated that there are at least 600,000 black bears in North America. In the United States, there are estimated to be over 300,000 individuals. However, the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolu) and Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) are unique subspecies with small populations. The Louisiana black bear is federally listed as a threatened species and the Florida black bear is estimated to number 3,000.
The American black bear is distributed throughout North America, from Canada to Mexico and in at least 40 states in the U.S. They historically occupied nearly all of the forested regions of North America, but in the U.S. they are now restricted to the forested areas less densely occupied by humans. In Canada, black bears still inhabit most of their historic range except for the intensively farmed areas of the central plains. In Mexico, black bears were thought to have inhabited the mountainous regions of the northern states but are now limited to a few remnant populations.
Black bears are extremely adaptable and show a great variation in habitat types, though they are primarily found in forested areas with thick ground vegetation and an abundance of fruits, nuts, and vegetation. In the northern areas, they can be found in the tundra, and they will sometimes forage in fields or meadows.
Black bears tend to be solitary animals, with the exception of mothers and cubs. The bears usually forage alone, but will tolerate each other and forage in groups if there is an abundance of food in one area.
Most black bears hibernate depending on local weather conditions and availability of food during the winter months. In regions where there is a consistent food supply and warmer weather throughout the winter, bears may not hibernate at all or do so for a very brief time. Females give birth and usually remain denned throughout the winter, but males and females without young may leave their dens from time to time during winter months.
Mating Season: Summer.
Gestation: 63-70 days.
Litter Size: 1-6 cubs; 2 cubs are most common.
Cubs remain with the mother for a year and a half or more, even though they are weaned at 6-8 months of age. Females only reproduce every second year (or more). Should the young die for some reason, the female may reproduce again after only one year.Read more
Cockroaches have been around since the time of dinosaurs!
A cockroach can live almost a month without food.
A cockroach can live about two weeks without water.
Some female cockroaches only mate once and stay pregnant for life!
A cockroach can live for up to one week without its head!
Cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes!
Cockroaches can run up to 3 miles an hour.
Cockroaches have been around for millions of years, evolving into some of the most adaptable pests on Earth. There are approximately 4,000 living species of cockroaches in the world. About 70 of these species are found in the United States.
Cockroaches are commonly found in buildings and homes because they prefer warm environments close to food and water. Unfortunately, cockroaches can cause allergies and trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. They can also spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria.
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The American cockroach is the largest cockroach found in houses. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, but was likely introduced via ships from Africa in the 1600s.
Females can hatch up to 150 offspring per year. Cockroaches don’t get their wings until the become adults.
Color: Reddish-brown, with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head
Common Name: American cockroach
Species: Periplaneta americana
Diet:American cockroaches will eat just about anything, including plants and other insects.
Habitat:American cockroaches prefer to live in warm, dark, wet areas, like sewers and basements. They often enter structures through drains and pipes. Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are also common in larger commercial buildings, such as restaurants, grocery stores and hospitals.
Impact:Cockroaches crawl through dirty areas and then walk around our homes tracking in lots of bacteria and germs. They can contaminate food by shedding their skins. Their cast off skin and waste byproducts are allergens that can trigger allergic reactions, asthma and other illnesses, especially in children.
Keep cooking, eating and food storage areas clean and dry.
If you see cockroaches, it is best to call a pest management professional due to the illnesses they can spread.Read more
Termite swarming season will be ramping up soon as the weather starts to get warmer and the spring season approaches — with many termite species being particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In case you’ve never heard, termites are nicknamed “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without any immediate signs of damage. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year— costs that are typically note covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. That is why it’s extremely important to know what types of termite species are active in your area and to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
Here are five types of termite species to be aware of at the turn of the season if you reside in the southeastern United States: Subterranean Termites
This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two million members and are also found in moist, secluded areas above ground. They build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as "mud tubes," to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive termite species — their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. Over time, they can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner.
Largely found coastally from South Carolina westward to Texas, these types of termites form colonies of up to 2,500 members and primarily attack wood structures, frames, furniture and flooring, as they receive all of their nutrition from wood. Unlike other termites, drywood termites do not require moisture from soil. They typically swarm on sunny, warm days after a sudden rise in temperature and can be difficult to treat because they have the ability to create multiple colonies within a home.
Occasionally found in Southwest and Southern Florida, dampwood termites are attracted to wood with high moisture content and have a preference for decaying wood, areas with leaks and woodpiles. These termites create a series of chambers in wood, which are connected by tunnels with smooth walls, as if sandpapered, and are usually found in logs, stumps, dead trees, fence posts and utility poles. Dampwood termites do not usually infest structures because of their need for excessive moisture.
This species lives in huge underground colonies with an average of 350,000 workers and can be found in several Southeastern states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.
In addition to structures, they also infest trees, shrubs, utility poles, timber, railroad trusses and even boats. Formosans build intricate mud nests in the ground and can chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper. The average formosan termite colony can consume one foot of 2X4 wood in less than a month.
Originally called "tree termites," this species was renamed conehead termites to alleviate the misconception that this pest is only found in trees. These termites— most prevalent in the Broward County, Fla. region — build dark brown "mud" tubes and freestanding nests on the ground, in trees or in wooden structures. The nests can be up to 3 feet in diameter and have a hard surface of chewed wood. Unlike most termites, the conehead termite does not rely on underground tunneling to travel. Instead, they forage on the ground like ants, allowing them to spread quickly.
Termites are not a pest that can be effectively controlled with do it yourself measures. If you live in an area prone to termites, it’s important to have regular, annual termite inspections. Contact a licensed pest control professional or click here to view our top 10 tips for preventing termites and getting rid of a termite infestation.
Ants Seek Homes in Heat
Ants move indoors during hot weather in search of a consistent water supply. Find out how to keep them out.
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Your Bed Bug Prevention Checklist
Heading on vacation soon? Keep bed bug prevention top of mind, as peak bed bug season is the summer.
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The 411 on Powassan Virus
Learn about the symptoms, treatment and prevention of Powassan virus, a rare tick-borne disease.
Copyright ©2017 National Pest Management AssociationRead more
Looking for ways to get rid of gnats! No worries you are at the right place.
Gnats are often known as “nats” or “knats“. Gnats are small sized flies ranging in size from 1/8″ to 1/10″ in length. They have two wings and in terms of appearance they resemble more to a mosquito than to a fly.
As per Wikipedia, “A gnat is any of many species of tiny flying insects in the Dipterid suborder Nematocera, especially those in the families’ Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae and Sciaridae “.
Gnats are nuisance pests because they just lay eggs, annoy people, spread diseases, and die. Gnats are weak fliers but they torment people and become quite a distraction in the workplace.
Most species of gnats are attracted to carbon-dioxide just like horseflies and this is the reason you always find them flying around your mouth and nose.
In this article, we are going to see how to get rid of gnats, but before that let’s have a look at different types of gnats.
How to Get Rid of Gnats
Types of Gnats:
As we have already told that gnat is not a single species of flying insect, hence there are multiple types of gnats:
Fungus Gnats or Winter Gnats:
Fungus gnats are also called as winter gnats. As the name suggests these types of gnats are associated with microscopic fungi. And hence they thrive in a damp environment with decaying matter where fungi can grow.
Fungus gnats are attracted towards light and this is the reason why you mostly see them flying near windows.
Fungus gnats are often found at the places where humidity levels are quite high. The most common habitat for fungus gnats are ordinary houseplants where the soil is overwatered or the water cannot drain properly.
This creates a favourable environment for the gnats to thrive and feed on the decaying matter. Other possible breeding sources may include moisture conditions created by roof leaks or any other plumbing leaks.
Lifecycle of a Fungus Gnat:
Lifecycle of a fungus gnat can be divided into four stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult. Female fungus gnats deposit their eggs on the moist soil or decaying matter. These eggs hatch into larvae in about three days.
The larvae feed on the decaying organic matter, but in some species they also feed on the plant roots. Fully developed larvae (after about 10 days) then undergo a pupae stage. This pupae stage spans approximately 3 days. After about 4 more days in pupae stage adult fungus gnats emerge.
They cause annoyance to humans.
Some species of fungus gnats in larval stages feed on plant roots, which causes diminished growth in plants.
Eye Gnats or Grass Flies or Eye flies:
Eye gnats are known with many different names like Grass Flies, Eye Files etc. But they all belong to the ‘Chloropidae’ family of flies.
Eye gnats are very small flies which are attracted to fluids secreted by the eyes, nose, and ears in both humans and animals. And because of this these files are known to transmit eye diseases and conditions such as acute conjunctivitis (pink eye).
They prefer to live in areas with loose sandy soil but can thrive in many environments.
Lifecycle of an Eye Gnat:
Life cycle of an eye gnat is also divided into four stages. It takes 3 weeks from development of an egg to emergence of an adult during the summer season.
Female eye gnats lay eggs below the surface of loose soil. These eggs are pearlescent white and approximately 0.5 mm long. Eggs hatch into larvae in about 7 – 10 days. Larvae are 3 mm in length and are whitish in color. They feed on the organic matter.
After full development larvae undergo pupae stage. The pupae are just about 2.25 mm in length and reddish brown in color. After about 7 days in pupae stage adult eye gnats emerge.
Eye Gnats are known to spread disease causing organisms like – Streptococcal skin infection bacteria, vesicular stomatitis virus (rabies virus).
As they are attracted by eye fluids and hence they transmit eye diseases like acute conjunctivitis.
Buffalo Gnats or Black Flies:
Buffalo gnats are also known as black flies. These gnats are named so because of their humpbacked appearance. They are small sized with a size of one eighth of an inch. They typically appear in late spring and early summer.
Buffalo gnats (mostly females) swarm around birds, animals, humans and bite them to fulfil their protein needs. Males mostly feed on nectar and do not bite humans. Whereas female buffalo gnats feed on blood in order to get enough protein to produce eggs.
These gnats are attracted to carbon dioxide, perspiration, and dark moving objects, this way they can identify their prey.
Buffalo gnats are mostly found near lakes or streams because they prefer to lay their eggs near clean, fast-running water. Adult gnats can fly up to 10 miles in search of blood, but mostly they don’t have to do this, as they can easily find an easy prey near the water sources.
Lifecycle of Buffalo Gnats:
Buffalo gnats have a unique lifecycle. Female buffalo gnats lay several hundred eggs in running water streams. These eggs are yellow or orange in color. The eggs develop in running water and hatching can take from 4 -30 days.
When they develop into larvae, they find a stable surface to rest on. They have suction cup like small structure, attached to their abdomen that allows them to stick to such surfaces. Larvae are brown, gray in color with a light brown head.
Larvae then feed on other smaller organisms or organic matter and in about two weeks undergo pupae stage. Pupation takes place on stones or other stable objects in the water. Pupae period is 6 – 8 days after which adult emerges. Adult floats to the surface in a bubble of air and quickly flies away. Buffalo gnats typically live for three weeks.
They bite humans and animals to draw blood from them.
The bites are painful and often cause allergic reaction, causing them to swell and itch.
They also cause river blindness.
Sand Gnats or Sand Flies:
We have a separate article on these types of gnats. You can read it here.
Do Gnats bite?
If you are facing a gnat infestation then answer to this question must be very important for you. But actually there is no easy answer for this question.
As it totally depends on the type of gnat, some gnats like Fungus Gnats and Eyes Gnats do not bite. But there are others like Buffalo gnats and Sand Gnats which can bite and their bite is very painful.
In the following section, I am going to tell you how you can identify a gnat. After which you can decide whether your home or surroundings are infested by biting or non – biting gnats.
How to Identify Different Species of Gnats:
You can use the following table to identify different types of gnats:
Features Fungus Gnat Eye Gnat Buffalo Gnat Sand Gnat
Size 2 – 5 mm in Length 1.5 – 3.5 mm in Length 2 – 5 mm in Length 1.5 – 5 mm in Length
Physical Appearance They have blackish grey bodies with long gangly legs, multi segmented antennae. They have shiny black or gray bodies and yellow to orange-brown legs. They have black or greyish bodies, shiny thorax, short legs, and clear wings without scales. Yellowish or brownish in color with hair all over their head, thorax, abdomen, and legs.
Special Features Attracted to light Attracted to eyes Humpbacked appearance Hairy wings in vertical ‘V’ shape
Biting / Non-Biting Non-Biting Non-Biting Biting Biting
Now, after identifying that which gnat has infested your surroundings, you can proceed to the next step (i.e. gnat removal).
Recommended Reading: How to get rid of flies Indoors and Outdoors
How to Get Rid of Gnats: Call Complete Pest Control at (412) 318-4547Read more
The Ultimate Guide :
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in Your Attic or Home
Attics are great hiding places for many household pests like squirrels, rats, mice, bats, etc, and unfortunately, when animals move into your attic, your attic suffers extensive damage. The damages can range from a torn up book to destroyed electrical wires all the way up to broken furniture and such. And, one of the most common culprits are the squirrels in the attic, they can get inside your home with relative ease because they are mobile, agile, small, and can jump from one place to another quite easily. So, how does one get rid of squirrels in your home? First, you must learn how to prevent them from getting in and deal with the problem at hand before taking on much more.
To avoid major headaches which arise from unwanted pests taking refuge in your house, you must regularly check for symptoms, or indication that show they have been around. Symptoms are droppings, destroyed property, unwanted noises, etc.
And what’s one of the most common (and serious) pests found in attics across the United States?
The infamous squirrel.
The old ‘squirrel in attic’ distress call is an extremely common situation pest control companies have to deal with, so learn the best way to manage your squirrel problems before they get out of hand…
Squirrels belong to family Sciuridae (Latin for small or medium-size rodents), and this family has roughly 265 species spread throughout the world. They are extremely intelligent creatures which makes it a tough job to easily remove (and keep them out) of your attic once they have made it their home.
They may look cute and entertaining but don’t be fooled by the dangers they can bring to your house, and even worse, your family. More often than not, squirrels will take up residence in your house’s attic and if not discovered quickly, you’ll have a hard time dealing with the problem.
Your main concern: squirrels are EXPERT chewers
The following article will give you more important insights into squirrels in your attic, how and why they love to reside in your attic as well as the hazards they may pose. If your attic has been taken over by these pests, then you’ll need to know what to do to eradicate them, and more importantly, you will learn need to learn techniques on how to keep them out for good!Read more
June 4 (UPI) -- A worker at a Wisconsin archery range captured video of an unusual visit from a hard-working opossum mother carrying a dozen babies on her back.
A video posted to the Facebook page for NiceTargets, an archery range in Genoa City, shows the mother opossum walking past the business' office Tuesday while carrying her babies.
The filmer said the opossum family nearly walked through the open door into the business.
"So this just walked by the office window....I counted #twelve #goodmommy #stronglegs #dedication Almost walked right in the door I was filming from," the Facebook post said.Read more
CANONSBURG, Pa. — A raccoon is being blamed for a small power outage in Peters Township early Monday morning.
West Penn Power officials say the animal chewed through a power line cutting service to about 700 residents in Peters.
The utility says the power was restored by about 5 a.m.Read more
SUMMARY: Step-by-step guide for getting rid of bats in a house or attic:
Step 1 - Watch the house at dusk, and observe where the bats fly out of, and how many there are.
Step 2 - Inspect the entire house or building, and find any and all entry gaps, as small as 3/8 inch.
Step 3 - Seal all secondary areas with caulk or other sealant, but leave the main entry/exit gaps open.
Step 4 - Set one-way exclusion netting or funnels on the primary areas. This is very tricky to get right.
Step 5 - Observe at dusk to make sure all the bats are able to get out of the one-way devices, and that they are not able to fly back in. If it's not working, remove the exclusion material immediately.
Step 6 - If it's working, leave in place for at least three days, until no more bats come out at dusk.
Step 7 - Remove the netting and seal shut those last entry gaps and holes.
Step 8 - Clean bat guano out of attic, decontaminate and deodorize the space.
WARNING - Never attempt a bat exclusion during the summer maternity season, when flightless baby bats are inside the attic. It'll result in disaster, and it's illegal as well.
Need bat removal in your town? Now serving over 400 US locations - updated for 2017
Bat Info: There are a wide variety of bat species in the US, though it's usually the colonizing bat types that cause problems in buildings. Bats are not flying mice, or even rodents. They are more closely related to shrews or primates. Though bats often get a bad reputation, they are not aggressive, and are often very beneficial in eliminating pesky insects. Bats aren't blind. They can see just fine, but they also use echolocation as their means of navigating complex flight and finding
insects on the wing. A bat's wings are essentially the same as our arms and hands, thus the scientific name Chiroptera or handwing. The bones of the hand and finger are elongated and serve to support and move the wing. The hind limbs of bats are modified for landing and hanging upside-down.
After you read the below information, in the event that you wish to hire a bat removal company, you may want to see how much does bat removal cost?
Bats become a nuisance when they roost in large numbers in human dwellings. The rapid and smelly accumulation of guano (droppings) is unsanitary, and serves as a fertile breeding ground for a fungal disease called Histoplasmosis, which is transferable to humans who breathe in the fungal spores. Bats are also known to carry rabies, a viral disease that causes progressive paralysis and death in mammals, including humans. Learn about How to clean up bat guano inside a building
People are most likely to encounter nuisance bats when a roosting colony takes up residence in a building. Attics often make excellent habitat, as do barns. Read about How to Get Bats Out of Your Attic. Bats need only a half inch or less of space to crawl through in order to enter a building. Once inside, if the habitat is good, the colony grows until the homeowner notices the bats flying out of the building, notices the droppings in the attic, chimney, outside, or even basement (when the droppings fall down the walls). Sometimes a bat will get lost and find its way out of the attic and into the living area. Occasionally a transient bat may also fly into a house.
A professional bat removal system such as mine ensures that the colony will no longer use your home or business as a roosting area, and that no bats can get back in. We care for the welfare of these beneficial creatures, as do many environmental agencies, so we do not aim to kill any bats. A pro merely exclude them from the premises and make sure they can't get back in, while thoroughly cleaning the biohazardous droppings that they leave behind. Experience counts when working on bat jobs, and it takes a skilled eye to get the job done right the first time.
Wondering how to get rid of bats? There is no magic spray or device that you can use to make them go away. Some companies sell ultrasonic sound emitters, but they are completely ineffective, and the FTC has even issued a fraudulent product warning regarding these devices, which are worthless at eliminating bats. Some old wives' tales recommend the use of mothballs or ammonia-soaked rags to make them leave, but I've been to countless homes where these techniques failed - biologists know that these attempts won't work. The ONE AND ONLY WAY to take care of your problem is with physical exclusion of the animals. If you need to find a professional bat expert in your hometown, just click our comprehensive list of hundreds of wildlife removal professionals, and you can have your problem quickly taken care of!
LINKS TO SOME OF MY OTHER BAT REMOVAL ARTICLES I'VE WRITTEN
Some of the topics covered by my bat journal blog include bat exclusion techniques, a discussion on why bat extermination is a bad idea, a good photo of bats in the house, some advice on how to get bats out of an attic, some advice on bat guano cleanup, including information about histoplasmosis from bats, information about the ineffectiveness of bat repellent, which is often misspelled as bat repellant, a great photo and info on a bat colony in an attic, and bat trapping, advice, which really means bat exclusion advice, rather than info on how to trap a bat and other info on how to solve a bat problem. I've also got a nice baby bat photograph and story, and info about a big problem in Florida, bats in barrel tile roof that my bat removal company can take care of. Here are my general Bat Prevention Tips. Bats are mammals, and they are valuable animals. Of course it is often necessary to get rid of bats in order to preserve the sanitation and health code of a building, but please do not harm these flying critters. The professional bat control companies listed in this directory should do a good job of safely removing the bat colony from your home or building.
THE BOTTOM LINE OF BAT CONTROL Bat removal is often one of the most complex tasks in the field of nuisance wildlife removal. Getting rid of bats requires experience. I myself trained for two years on over 50 bat control projects with a professional in the field before I started my own bat removal company, and I continued to learn from there. Many bat exclusion cases are complex and unique. But bats are also unique mammals, and most state laws protect them, making the method of removal very important. Luckily, the country is filled with hundreds of true bat removal experts, and I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with several bat control companies nationwide, and many of them do excellent work, and properly remove all the bats permanently, without harming a single bat. I recommend the companies listed here on my directories, but before you hire any bat company, be sure to research the matter, and ask the right questions - be sure the company does not harm the bats during the summer maternity season, be sure that they seal the ENTIRE building so that none can get back in again, be sure that they inspect the whole house and attic, that they exclude the bats without confinement or trapping, and that they clean the bat poop in the attic afterward.
How To Get Rid Of Bats In Your Attic
For many people, bats are creepy, scary animals. Folklore and myths have done their share to give bats a bad name. However, if you have one in your attic, myth or no myth, you want that critter out of there. One reason you want to make sure you get the bats out is that they do carry rabies and a number of other diseases. Their droppings are also very high in acid and will start smelling after a short time. They are useful animals for keeping the mosquito and other insect population under control, but they need not do that by living in your attic. Since they are mammals that are extremely valuable to the balance of nature, bats are not to be killed but to be evicted from your home by exclusion proofing. This means that before the bats give birth to their young, or after the pups are ready to fly, you must permanently seal your home to bats. Sealing, or bat proofing, just means that you close off all exits where the bats may leave, except one. On that one exit which may be a vent for the attic, you place a one-way exit valve or netting that lets the bats out but they cannot get back in. In time, they all will have to leave to eat. Once they are gone, remove the valve or netting, and seal that last spot. Remember, the job will fail if you miss any tiny entry hole, even a half inch. Then you have to clean up the attic of all the droppings.
How To Get Rid Of Bats In Your Basement
A basement may feel like a cave to a bat, especially if it is a little damp. For the bat, that makes it a great home. Or perhaps you've got a colony of bats in the attic or walls, and one has accidentally crawled down. That happens frequently. Once it has found its way inside, it may be followed by other bats and soon you will have an entire colony living in your basement. What a scary thing that may be, to go into your basement and have a bat flying at you. The bat means you no harm, but the surprise of it alone would make anyone run. To remove a bat from the basement, you can wait for it to land then gently cradle it with a towel, use a butterfly net, or wait for it to land and then put a clear tupperware container over it, and then slide paper or cardboard underneath until you have it trapped in the container. Then you can bring it outside.
How To Get Rid Of Bats In Your House
Nothing will give you the heebie-jeebies quicker then walking up to the next floor and having a bat swoop down in front of your eyes. The natural instinct would be to run and scream. If you have something in your hand, the second thing you may be inclined to do is to swat at the bat. That would be a mistake because the bat's sonar indicator would tell it to swoop at you again, taking you perhaps for a predator. By swatting at it, you may actually touch it with a part of your hand or arm. This is dangerous because of the disease risk. So, the best thing to do when you have a bat in the house is to get rid of it carefully. You can use the same methods as discussed above: Wait for it to land then gently cradle it with a towel, or put a clear plastic container over it, and then slide paper or cardboard underneath until you have it trapped in the container. Then you can bring it outside.
But then you have to deal with the possibility that it was inside because there's a colony living somewhere in the structure. That's the most common reason a bat is in the living space of a house. Some, if not all, states prohibit the poisoning of bats because of their usefulness in keeping a balance in nature. Only one approved way to rid yourself of the bat that has mistakenly moved into your house, is the bat cone. The bat cone permits a bat to fly through it and out of the house. It has a valve attached that when the bat exits the cone, the valve closes and the bat cannot return to the house. Attention must be paid to the time of year so that bats are not excluded but their pups are still inside, unable to fend for themselves. Between June and August is when they young are born and getting ready to fly.
How To Get Rid Of The Bats In Your Roof
You may hear the noises of bats communicating or fighting for their places to roost. This is quite disturbing to say the least. However, other than the possibility of becoming infected with a disease, healthy bats generally do not harm people. In fact, they are very useful to the environment. This doesn't mean you want them in your roof. Bats should be removed promptly when you learn of them in your residence, because the colony will only increase with size over time, can corrode the wooden roof, and can leave behind millions of smelly droppings. Your choices of bat removal are limited if you want to obey the law and also be environmentally conscious, but really, there's only one way to get bats out of the roof: exclusion and sealing. Trapping and relocating them is very hard on the bat. Many of them die because they are not released from their traps quickly enough, and they can't be relocated - they just return. Poisoning is totally out because it is dangerous and could harm children and pets as well. It is also against the law in many states to poison bats. The safest way to have them leave the sanctuary of your roof is by bat proofing all entries and exits. At their main entry/exit portal, attach a bat cone. When they leave at dusk to feed on insects, they will leave through this one-way-valve cone that lets them exit the roof but blocks re-entry. If it's a barrel tile roof, then it's a very arduous process of sealing shut thousands of tiny entry holes, and excluding them with a wide area net, like a quarter inch polynet.
Most bats are insectivores and take care of a large number of insects that would otherwise be buzzing around your face. About thirty percent of them eat only fruit. Only a very tiny percentage will drink blood, yet that is the bat on which everyone focuses. For sanitation and health reasons, you do not want to cohabitate with bats. They carry rabies and other diseases that are communicable to humans. Bats are not to be poisoned because of their usefulness. Trapping is also a very risky way of capturing them. They often die being trapped. The only way that is not harmful to them is by bat proofing the basement and letting them escape through a bat cone, which is an exit with a one way valve. Once they are out, they will not come back into your home.
When bats get into a house, it can be a frightening experience and it is usually not easy to get them out again. The best option is to employ a professional to handle the situation for you, but you may also take it head on if you have time on your hands as well as the devices needed.
Follow this guide to become totally free of bats
It is better to avert a bat infestation by not allowing them to enter in the first case. This entails carrying out a detailed inspection of the whole structure and carrying out all necessary home repairs. A bat can enter by a hole as small as 3/8 of an inch, so you would need to scour the building very carefully.
The best time to inspect is at night or dawn. Bats leave to forage for food at night and sometimes return severally during the night but most will come back at dawn. Observing them will help you to correctly identify their entry and exit points without having to guess.
You would need a ladder to get to the roof, and a headlamp to see at night, as this is the best time for inspection. The roof has fascia boards, eaves gaps and other openings that the bats can use to enter a building. If you are not one for heights, then you should allow a professional check it out for you.
After successfully identifying your bats' entry and exit points, the next step is to seal up all the gaps save one or two that will be used for exclusion.
The two major things to know about exclusion is the right time for an exclusion exercise and the right devices to use. Exclusion cannot be done during the maternity period between April and August, as the baby bats cannot fly for about a month after birth and they depend wholly on their mothers. A live exclusion at this point will result in the babies dying as only adult bats will be excluded. It is against the law to carry out a live exclusion during this period, so you would have to wait.
In carrying out a live exclusion, the proper devices must be used for the right vents or holes. The devices have to be set in such a way that the bats can leave but cannot come back in. Exclusion devices include:
Â¼ inch poly netting: Most people use netting because netting allows for multiple bats to exit at once and a flap fitted across the bottom will ensure that bats don't get back in. this can be used on long gaps with clear exit routes.
Funnels: A funnel can be made of clear plastic to a Â¼ inch steel screening or even a water bottle cut at both ends. Funnels are best placed in an eave gap over the exit types and when the bats have to leave small holes.
Bat cones: These are special funnels that have a tapered body with attached wings.
Pipes: One way valve smooth pipes can be used so that the bats don't get stuck while going down the pipe. Once they exit, the valve closes ensuring that they can no longer get back in.
Window screen: Screening can be used on adjacent to flat surfaces. A duct tape or staple gun can ensure that there are no gaps along the edges that can let the bats back in.
The holes in exclusion devices must be at least 3/8 inch since bats can enter tiny areas and the devices can be left for several days to ensure that all the bats have left the attic.
Bat trapping must be done cautiously as they could be carriers of rabies. If you get bitten, you should keep the bat so that it can be tested for rabies as you seek medical attention.
Here are three major methods below:
Netting the bats - a box or cage mounted at the exit point of the bats so as to catch the bats as they come out. After trapping, most people might release them but the bats will only come back unless if the entry point has been sealed.
Home-made traps - these have a trigger and a trap door that shuts on the bat once they enter the cage. The problem with this trap is that you will need a lot since there is usually a minimum of forty bats in a colony.
Glue board bat trapping - glue boards are placed in the attic where the bats are roosting and a few get stuck to the board and starve to death. This is an inhumane method.
Remember, repellents do not work and killing bats through poison or glue boards are inhumane and illegal as they are an endangered species. Live exclusion remains the safest and best removal method.Read more
We witness ants at work virtually every day, but never pay much attention to where they come from. All ants live in colonies of nests, complicated systems of tunnels or rooms that house millions of ants. Each colony includes the Queen, who is responsible for laying all the eggs to grow the colony; female worker ants, who provide food for the Queen; soldier ants, who protect the Queen from outside enemies; and male ants, who mate with the Queen.
Ants can nest and develop colonies both within your home as well as outside, depending on the ant species. In theory, ants can be easy to track -- just follow their traveling path -- but in truth, it's difficult to actually find ant nests, since they're usually deeply buried within structures or underground.
Most ant nests are located outside the home. Who didn't kick in a couple of anthills found in the grass or sidewalk cracks when they were kids? But if you thought you were destroying an entire ant colony, you were mistaken. Ant nests develop very far underground, so disrupting what you see aboveground will not do much damage.
But while most ants are simply kitchen, bathroom and yard ants, there's one type of ant that can really ruin your day (not to mention, the structure of your house). Carpenter ant nests are often confused with termite nests, because they're both contained within the wood of homes. Carpenter ants don't actually eat the wood, but forming a nest requires the ants to chew and burrow into wood, causing severe damage. Carpenter ants prefer building nests in damp, damaged wood, including beams and foundations.
At the perimeter of your home, pavement ants build their nests along sides of garages and houses, or near any construction happening on concrete slabs. They enter dwellings through cracks in basement walls or concrete floors, or through basement windows and doors. It is possible for them to build their nest under a poured concrete slab if adequate access is found for movement.
Some ants have even learned to adapt their nests in certain weather. Pharaoh ants are a tropical species, and can't survive cold months outside. Over time, these ants have migrated all over the United States, even to cold areas where they build nests inside wall voids and behind kitchen baseboards and cabinets to keep warm.Read more
Tips and Techniques
Floods and Flooding
If you already have a mold problem - ACT QUICKLY. Mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows, the more damage it can cause.
Leaky window - mold is beginning to rot the wooden frame and windowsill.
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself, follow the Mold Cleanup Tips and Techniques. However:
If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document is applicable to other building types.
If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA guide Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building.
If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.*
Tips and Techniques
The tips and techniques presented in this section will help you clean up your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered in this publication. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. It may not be possible to clean an item so that its original appearance is restored.
Mold growing on the underside of a plastic lawn chair
Mold growing on the underside of a plastic lawn chair in an area where rainwater drips through and deposits organic material.
Mold on fragment of ceiling tile.
Mold growing on a piece of ceiling tile.
Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.
Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.
Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold. See discussions:
What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas
Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.
If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.*
Places that are often or always damp can be hard to maintain completely free of mold. If there's some mold in the shower or elsewhere in the bathroom that seems to reappear, increasing ventilation (running a fan or opening a window) and cleaning more frequently will usually prevent mold from recurring, or at least keep the mold to a minimum.
Floods and Flooding
During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home or office may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks. Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and mold. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after the flood.
To learn more about flood clean up and indoor air quality, visit: Flood Cleanup and Effects on Indoor Air Quality.Read more
Bagworms (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) are the insects that appear as "cocoons" on many different species of trees -- and inanimate objects -- at this time of year. They have been feeding since late May but do not become noticeable until they cause considerable damage and become quite large. They are very difficult to control at this point because they are well protected from insecticides by the dense bags they construct and because they are not feeding heavily at this point in their life cycle.
While many insects are very host-specific, bagworms are generalists. They feed on more than 100 species of trees and shrubs, including arborvitae, crabapple, honeylocust, juniper, maple, oak, pine, spruce, sweet gum and sycamore.
The damage to conifers takes longer to heal because most of them do not produce new growth from old wood. Recovery happens as they continue to grow from their tips, and eventually new growth will cover the damage. It can take years for them to regain their appearance.
These native insects overwinter as eggs in the bags of female adults. The larvae hatch out from mid-May to early June and immediately begin feeding and constructing bags from silk they produce and bits of leaves from their host plants. They are quite tiny when they first hatch and carry their bags upright, making them look as though they are wearing dunce caps.
Larvae continue to feed and grow through the summer months, sticking their heads out of their bags to feed and move about on host plants. They begin to pupate in August by securely attaching themselves to twigs and/or inanimate objects. Then they seal up their bags and re-orient themselves so they are facing downward. They are no longer feeding when they pupate.
Adult bagworms are moths, although females lack wings and remain grub-like; they never leave their bags. Adult males are nondescript, charcoal-gray moths with clear wings that hatch out of their bags and fly to mate with the females in late summer and early fall. Males die after mating and females die after laying 500-1,000 eggs in each bag.
They fact that females do not fly allows large populations to build up on host plants in a short period of time. Very tiny larvae can be blown in the wind, and they can crawl from tree to tree when plants are relatively close together. They are also spread on infested nursery stock.
Controls include removing the cases from infested plants by hand, especially between now and when they hatch next spring. Male cases can be left to weather off the plants because all the eggs are in female bags. It's easy to tell the difference: Male bags tend to be smaller than female bags, and the pupal case often extends out of the bottom of the bag where the male emerged as an adult. If in doubt, pick it.
Hand removal is the only effective option at this time of year. The silk bagworms use to attach themselves to twigs is very strong and usually has to be cut with scissors or hand pruners to remove it without damaging the plant.
If plants are too large for hand removal, spray applications are best directed at very small larvae. Because they are caterpillars, small larvae are well controlled with least toxic products such as Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt (Dipel, Thuricide, others) and spinosad (Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew, Monterey Garden Insect Spray, others). Larger bagworms can be controlled with carbaryl (Seven, others); cyfluthrin (Bayer Advanced PowerForce Multi Insect Killer); and malathion.Read more
Moles are small mammals that are found all over the world. They are often thought of as garden pests, mainly because of their intricate tunnel systems. And though they spend most of the time underground, they are not blind.
These rotund animals have a hairless, pointed snout, small eyes and no visible ears. On average, moles grow to 4.4 to 6.25 inches (11.3 to 15.9 centimeters) long from snout to rump. Their tails add 1 to 1.6 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) of length. They typically weigh 2.5 to 4.5 ounces (72 to 128 grams), according to the Mammal Society.
The American species is a little on the larger side. The North American mole species tends to get as big as 7 inches (17.6 cm) long, 1.25 inches (3.3 cm) tall and weighs around 4 ounces (115 grams), according to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.Read more
Once temps start warming, ants are the first pests to enjoy the sunshine. Don't let ants spoil your Mother's Day get-together. Even though they're social insects and live in huge families, you don't want them to be part of yours. You'll find them inside looking for sweet, protein-packed, or greasy foods and water to wash it all down. Applying an ant spray is counterproductive because it makes the ants spread out further. You can trust Complete for complete pest control solutions. And don't forget those other springtime pests like bees, wasps, spiders, crickets, mites and beetles. Call Russ 24/7 at 412.318.4547.Read more
Wasps aka “yellowjackets” become very defensive when their nests are disturbed. Using pesticides inappropriately (the wrong product applied at the wrong time) can make matters worse. These preventative steps will keep wasps in check.
When preventative measures don’t work or, worse yet, you have an underground nest or a nest in between your walls, call COMPLETE, that’s CPCS, 24/7, at 412.318.4547.Read more
Spring has sprung and so have these pests: ants, termites, flies and rodents. House flies take advantage of the warming weather and spread pathogens and bacteria. Although carpenter ants don't consume wood, they thrive in damp wood environments, chewing passageways for their home. During spring, colonies of pavement ants attack nearby enemy colonies, leaving thousands of dead ants in their wake. Swarms of termites occur when temperatures reach into the 70s. Mice can breed year-round but commonly breed in the summer and spring. Remember a female mouse can have 300 pups in her two-year lifetime.Contact Us Read more
These plug-in devices emit high-frequency sound undetectable to humans but supposedly confuse pests so they can’t feed, breed or communicate and flee the premises. But laboratory tests have shown that the majority of such devices do not work as advertised, in violation of Federal Trade Commission guidelines. What’s more, some scientists are concerned about the effect of ultrasound on humans. Ultrasonic pest repellers can also affect the signal of your telephone, burglar alarm and hearing aids. Also walls and other physical impediments diminish their effectiveness.Read more