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What’s the Difference Between Bumblebees and Carpenter Bees?

Filed under: Bee Removal & Management — admin @ 10:00 am August 25, 2016

Although you’re likely to host a variety of different insects in your yard or garden, it’s important to be able to identify any that can pose a threat to people or property. You want to keep an eye out for bees in particular, since carpenter bees can cause structural damage to your home. However bumblebees, which are commonly confused with carpenter bees, are not as destructive. Here area few of the differences between them and ways you can identify one from another.

What do carpenter bees and bumblebees look like?

One of the reasons they’re confused is because both carpenter and bumblebees have large, round bodies roughly ½” to 1″ in size and similar wing shape. The easy way to tell them apart is to look at their bodies. Bumblebees are furry and have the typical bright yellow and black coloring. Carpenter bees, on the other hand, have more muted coloring and have a shiny abdomen that’s solid black.

What sort of habitats do they live in?

Even though they’re both bees, they live in very different habitats. Bumblebees are social, often living in colonies underground where they divide the “work” that needs to be done. In contrast, carpenter bees are more solitary, living by themselves and caring only for their own young. Rather than nesting in the ground, they bore holes in wood that can be 6″ to 10″ deep or more. The tunnels can branch into multiple “rooms” where they store eggs and food. These holes can sometimes be what homeowners notice before ever spotting a single bee. If you see dime-sized holes in your eaves or exterior beams, you could have an infestation.

What distinct behaviors do they have?

Besides being a nuisance and digging holes in your home, carpenter bees don’t usually pose a physical threat. They mainly spend their time doing normal bee activities like pollinating plants. Bumblebees, on the other hand, defend their nests aggressively and will chase and sting any threat. If you’ve ever been stung by one, you know that a bumblebee sting is especially painful and the pain and discomfort can last for days. One common behavior trait they both share is the ability to sting multiple times since their stingers are smooth, not barbed.

Being able to spot the difference between bumblebees and carpenter bees will help you identify the type of pest problem you have and aid professionals in determining the most effective plan for removal and prevention. Because of their different habitats and behaviors, each requires a specific approach for optimal results.

Garden Pests You Should Look Out For

Filed under: Pest Control — admin @ 10:00 am August 18, 2016

There’s no better time to turn your garden into a lush, vibrant sanctuary. However, summer is also the time for garden pests that can eat and destroy your plants. There are certain pests you should look for so you can get rid of them. Here is a guide on garden pests.

SlugSlugs

Slugs love dampness. Whenever you water your plants, this attracts slugs. Slugs feed on many plants and leave large holes in leaves, flowers, vegetables, and fruit. Fruits are some of their most favorite plants to munch on. To get rid of these pests, place copper tape around the perimeter of your garden to keep them out. Sprinkle salt over concrete and rocks. You can also purchase iron phosphate pellets to place in your garden to kill slugs that get past your barriers.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars are ravenous larvae of moths and butterflies. While they’re pretty to look at when they’re grown, the babies can devastate your garden. Caterpillars will eat leafy green plants and vegetables, fruits, and beans. You can use an insect control spray to prevent a caterpillar infestation. To kill caterpillars, add a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis to the soil. The bacteria doesn’t harm your plants, animals, or other bugs.

Bean Leaf Beetles

Bean leaf beetles can eat green bean plants, soy beans, and clover. They will create large holes in plants and can cause leaves to fall off. You can prevent a bean leaf beetle infestation by spraying young plants with soapy water daily. The best way to get rid of these beetles is to use an insecticide spray or to contact a pest control company.

AphicsAphids

Aphids are tiny bugs that can do major damage to plants. Their favorite things to feed on include flowers, fruits, vegetables, and trees. To repel these insects, spray your plants with an insect control spray, or make your own spray by mixing hot pepper or garlic sauce with water. You can also spray plants with dishwashing soap and water.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs feed on juice from flowers, fruits, and vegetables. These bugs are most prevalent in the summer. Stink bugs will cause fruit to mottle and dimple and distort plants. The best way to prevent an infestation is to get rid of weeds, which are nesting places for stink bugs. Other bugs including wasps and flies will prey on stink bugs.

If you’ve noticed any of these pests in your garden, contact a pest control company like Horizon Pest Control to prevent and treat infestations. A pest control company will know how to get rid of pests without harming your plants.

How to Check for Bed Bugs While Traveling

Filed under: Bed Bug — admin @ 10:00 am August 11, 2016

Bedbug Everyone knows that classic bedtime rhyme: “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” You might laugh or scoff at the idea of bugs in your bed, secure in knowing that your own bed is bug-free.

But can you be so sure when traveling? You don’t know how well your hotel room and bed were cleaned before you got there. A bed bug infestation could even be missed by regular cleaning staff if they don’t check certain places often. The best thing you can do to enjoy your hotel stay and avoid an encounter with bed bugs is to check the room and bed yourself. But first, what are bed bugs?

Knowing a Bed Bug When You See One

Bed bugs are technically public health pests, even though they don’t spread any diseases. They bite you and feed on your blood, resulting in itchiness and irritation. Some people have severe allergic reactions to the bite or develop secondary skin infections. They probably won’t kill you, but at the very least they are extremely annoying to deal with.

If you’re going to check for bed bugs, you should know what they look like. On average, they are five millimeters long (about the size of an apple seed) and are oval and flat, like a squashed football. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, but younger bugs are smaller and more translucent.

A Do-It-Yourself Bed Bug Inspection

Now that you know what bed bugs look like, it’s time to find them. They like to hide in and around beds, especially near the seams of the mattress and box spring. Pull back the covers and sheets of the bed so that you can inspect the mattress and its seams. You’ll be looking for a number of things:

  • Live bed bugs, as described above
  • Rust-colored stains from a bed bug being crushed
  • Tiny eggs or eggshells, or the translucent yellow skin that juvenile bed bugs shed as they grow
  • Fecal spotting, which looks like dots made by a ballpoint pen

Bed bugs also hide in the cracks of bed frames and headboards, so make sure you check those areas, as well.

It’s extremely important that you do this inspection the minute you enter the hotel room. Once you’ve encountered bed bugs, it’s difficult to get rid of them as they are very good hitchhikers—they latch on and follow you wherever you go. Not only do bed bugs affect you, they affect everyone you come into contact with. So do your part and stop the problem before it spreads. Check every hotel room for any sign of bed bugs, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you need help with bed bug control, call Horizon Pest Control. Our pest are trained to look for bed bugs and treat infected sites.

Bed Bugs May Be Growing Resistant to Pesticides

Filed under: Bed Bug,Pest Control — admin @ 10:00 am August 4, 2016

Bed BugCimex lectularius, the common blood-sucking bed bug, continues to plague New York City. The City’s bed bug infestation has not only spread throughout the city in the past years, but has now become so intractable and ubiquitous that the official complaints to the City have become to decrease. Official complaints fell from 7,760 in the first five months of 2012 to 3,950 in 2016. Rather than news of winning the war against the irritating menace, this instead demonstrates that New York City residents have moved from anger and annoyance and onto despair in their war on the tiny vermin.

People are not necessarily complaining to the city about bed bugs any more, but the problem is still there.  Theaters, restaurants, hotels, apartments, hospitals, schools, cabs and buses are all suffering their own widespread infestations and independent testing indicates that the bugs are still found found in high concentrations throughout the city.

Evolving Resistance

The compact nature of the city and the increased human activity of the summer months have both contributed to their continued spread. Apart from the fact that the biting insects are virtually everywhere, the use of weak pesticides has spurred an evolutionary reaction in the NYC bedbugs. In short, they have become resistant to the pesticides used, rendering them far less effective. Just as overuse of antibiotics is allowing resistant bacteria to thrive, creating new antibiotic-resistant bacteria, so too bedbugs are evolving a tolerance for the chemicals used.

The pesticides available to the general public for use against bed bugs are by now almost entirely ineffective. Already among the most chemical tolerant of insect pests, bed bugs in New York are not only developing a biological immunity but also evolving anatomical adaptations as well. Etymologists have observed that the exoskeletons of the pests have thickened to better protect them from contact with the chemicals meant to eradicate them. The misting pesticides in particular help build their tolerance and further the process of evolution first by exposing the bugs to smaller, sometimes nonlethal doses that allow them to build their tolerance to the chemicals and second, by leaving alive the strongest bugs with the thickest exoskeletons.

A recent study on the genetic code specific to the NYC bedbugs examined bed bugs at 1,400 sites. Louis Sorkin, a senior scientific assistant at the American Museum of Natural History, found that many bedbugs have a genetic mutation making them resistant to typically bed bug treatments. The academic paper goes on to cite just this phenomenon of evolutionary adaptation due to weak residential pesticides that has helped to guide their evolution, making them stronger in the process.

Direct contact with high doses of some chemicals will kill the some of the bugs, but this direct contact is very difficult to achieve for the average City resident because after a few minutes of the spray’s application, most chemicals have lost their potency and the bed bugs generally only emerge at night when they detect sleeping humans.

What To Do

Avoiding contact is ideal, but with so many infestation vectors now, from public transportation to a hotel room, from a package in the mail to even the entrance of the electric wires, keeping bed bugs out is nearly impossible. The infestation is expected to continue to worsen as City residents continue to accelerate their evolution without actually killing the bugs. Calling a professional bed bug exterminator and looking for effective alternatives to weak pesticides are what experts are recommending.

What Do Cockroaches Look Like?

Filed under: Cockroach Control — admin @ 3:00 pm July 26, 2016

It is important to know what cockroaches look like because they are a nuisance and can infest homes and businesses.  Cockroaches are insects that can spread diseases.  Thought of as dirty insects, and you want to be able to identify them for proper elimination.  There are about 4,600 different species, but luckily in the US there are only five major species.  Cockroaches can inhabit a variety of environmental temperatures, from cold to tropical heat.  Here are some tips to identify roaches.

cockroach controlGeneral Appearance

Cockroaches come in different sizes; from the size of a thumbnail up to about 40 mm long.  They have a small head and a broad flat body that is an oval shape.  The body is divided into three segments with the outer shell being tough to protect their organs.  The body is coated with wax to repel water and will feel oily.  Most roaches have a reddish-brown to dark brown color and the young roach is much lighter color and does not have wings.

Cockroaches may or may not have wings and not all that have wings use them to fly.  They can have two sets of wings; one set is bigger and tougher that flatten against their body for protection and a smaller set that is more delicate for flying.  Roaches have six legs, two attached to each segment of their body and the front legs shorter than the back legs.  Each leg has tiny spines they use for climbing most any surface and each foot has little claws to help them climb walls and ceilings.  The female cockroach tends to be larger than the male species and their young are similar in appearance with their lighter color.

Different Species

The five most seen species are each a little different in size and color but have the same basic features.  German roaches are tan and 13 to 16 mm long.  Brown Branded roaches are a dark-reddish brown and 10 to 13 mm long.  The American roach is reddish brown and at 40 mm is one of the longest species.  The Pennsylvania wood roach is about 20 mm and the males are tan.  Oriental roaches are dark brown to black in appearance, have a thinner body, are 30 to 40 mm long, and can grow much longer.

Roaches versus Beetles

Cockroaches vary in size and shape to a degree, and some may have an appearance close to the beetle. Beetles have smaller bodies than roaches, and their body is not flattened and much tougher than a cockroach’s.  Beetles are pests that, unlike the cockroach, eat other insects and considered human-friendly.

If you need professional NJ cockroach control, let us know and we’ll let you know your best course of action.

How to Prevent Fruit Flies in Your Kitchen

Filed under: Pest Control — admin @ 3:00 pm July 19, 2016

fruit flies

Summertime is a great time to know how to prevent fruit flies in your kitchen. A beautiful bowl of fresh fruit or vegetables on the kitchen counter looks amazing to people and fruit flies alike.  You want to enjoy the fresh seasonal fruits and veggies without pesky fruit flies. Here are some tips to help prevent and eliminate fruit flies.

Prevention

You can prevent fruit flies with these simple steps.  Do not keep fresh fruit or vegetables sitting out for extended periods of time.  It’s best to keep them covered and refrigerated.  Keep counters, sinks, and table tops clear of food, spilled sweet juices, and drinks. Rinse out glasses and pitchers when finished.  When cleaning up, remember to wash counter crevices and faces for possible splashes and cracks in flooring where decomposing food material may become trapped.

Use an all-purpose cleaner and paper towels or washable rags because sponges are another breeding ground for fruit flies. Take out the trash frequently and be sure to wash the sides and bottom where juice and drinks might spill.  Discarded food wrappers after eating and use a garbage can with a sealed lid.  Tightly seal compost containers in the home and locate the outdoor bin away from the home.  Keep kitchen areas dry and free of standing water by wiping out the sink after each use, turning over rinsed dishes, and watch for leaky faucets.

Elimination

fruit fliesA fruit fly problem can develop in your home even if you follow the prevention steps.  Fruit flies lay approximately 500 eggs at once and generally near the surface of ripening foods (including liquids), such as sink drains, empty bottles and cans, open garbage sites, and damp mops.  A fruit fly’s lifespan is about eight days, so you will want to act quickly if you notice them.

Leaving a saucer or bowl of cider vinegar with fresh basil leaves on the table or counter overnight will attract fruit flies.  The flies will fall into the liquid and drown, and you discard the contents in the morning.  Another option is to put some wine into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and poke a few holes in the top.  They will be attracted to the wine, climb in the holes, and become trapped for disposal.  You can repeat either option until the flies are gone.

Summary

Fruit flies are pesky and often come with the seasonal fruits and vegetables from the local farmers market.  You can use these simple tips to prevent them from infesting your home and use the easy elimination steps at the first sign of fruit flies.

If you find pest control issues in your home, let us know and we’ll let you know your best course of action.

The Top 7 Dangers of Mosquitoes

Filed under: Mosquito Control — admin @ 3:00 pm July 12, 2016

exterminator nj

Mosquitoes aren’t just an annoying pest, they spread many deadly and dreaded diseases as well. For that reason alone they are frequently listed as one of, if not the single most dangerous animal on Earth. People are often surprised to learn this but despite the fact that mosquitoes are not large intimidating predators, they remain among the world’s deadliest creatures for their unequaled ability to spread disease and their resistance to extremes in temperature. Here are 7 scientifically proven reasons why mosquitoes are a very serious problem.

Mosquitoes spread many deadly and dangerous diseases

Mosquitoes carry a host of communicable illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasites. Mosquito-borne illnesses include malaria, West Nile virus, elephantiasis, yellow fever, and dengue fever- but they can carry practically any communicable disease small enough to be passed through their needle-like proboscis.

Mosquitoes are very mobile

These tiny pests can travel without regard for national borders, barriers, and geographic locations. They have some ability to migrate if they find too few food sources, and they have the ability to breed almost as rapidly as they can move.

Mosquitoes broaden the range of a virus or parasite

Many parasites and infectious viruses use their host as a vehicle to find their next victims, but no animal offers better transportation to diseases than the mosquito. With their combined abilities of flight, durability, and low visibility- mosquitoes are like a high-speed railway transit system for disease.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes play favorites

Selecting their prey mostly by scent, some people are more attractive targets to mosquitoes than others. This may be good news for those whom mosquitoes like less- but for those who live in areas where infectious disease are rampant- being favored by mosquitoes puts a person at an extreme lifetime risk of contracting all the diseases mosquitoes can carry.

Mosquitoes cause permanent disability globally

Many of the diseases mosquitoes carry have long lasting or permanently debilitating effects if not properly treated. Some of the debilitating illnesses they can carry include:

  • Malaria
  • Chikungunya
  • Dog Heartworm
  • Dengue
  • Yellow Fever
  • St. Louis Encephalitis
  • LaCrosse Encephalitis
  • West Nile Virus
  • Zika Virus

Mosquitoes threaten children most

Sadly, children are frequently the preferred targets for mosquitoes. Presumably, it is children’s lower levels of toxicity and lesser body odors that make them more attractive to mosquitoes. This makes children more at risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases.

Mosquitoes are almost impossible to get rid of

Capable of living nearly anywhere humans can, mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to breed in. In cold weather, they can live dormant for long periods of time. Mosquitoes are able to spawn very quickly and are very resilient to extremes temperatures.

If you need reliable NJ mosquito control, let us know and we’ll let you know your best course of action.

5 Effective Ways to Protect Against Ticks

Filed under: Tick Control — admin @ 3:00 pm July 5, 2016

tick control

Ticks thrive in warm, moist conditions which is the reason they are so prolific from late spring through fall. While these months are considered “tick season”, most species can survive through the winter in temperatures over freezing, making them a year-round threat.

In order to reduce the risks involved with tick-borne illness, here the top 5 things you can do to protect yourself against ticks:

Create a chemical barrier between your home and the pests

There is a common belief that trap-setting is an effective way to deal with unwanted parasites; however that is the last thing you want to do. You are essentially inviting them closer with pleasant scents, while a chemical spray will both eliminate any existing tick and encourage other “visitors” to go elsewhere. If the chemical Acaricide is applied correctly, even once, it can kill up to 100% of the population.

Beware of wild and domesticated animals

While it may be nice to be in the company of a local deer during a barbeque or family outing, these are the large mammals that carry the highest risk of transporting one of the worst species of ticks. The deer tick is incredibly resilient and transmits Lyme disease up to 60% of the time.  It takes up to 48 hours for their saliva to inject the toxins into the blood stream so it is good practice to checkboth youself and any furry friend you may take care of right after being outside.

Create a chemical barrier between yourself and the wild

If you are leaving your house and plan to spend time outside for any reason, but especially in a wooded area, cover any exposed skin first with N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET for short. Any product that contains at least 20% concentration of this repellant will provide protection from ticks for hours. (For clothing, spray with permethrin which kills ticks and can endure through multiple washes)

Know the symptoms of Lyme disease

If you are one of the more than 300,000 unfortunate people infected with Lyme disease each year, the symptoms may present themselves similar to the common flu, often accompanied by a bulls-eye patterned rash. If this is the case, it is highly advised to visit a doctor who can prescribe the appropriate antibiotics as soon as possible. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause neurological problems including, but not limited to, facial paralysis and excruciating pain in muscles, joints, and bones. The disease can be completely eradicated with medication.

Avoid areas where ticks are most common

Ticks can be anywhere, but especially in wooded or grassy areas. Pay particular attention to leaves and shrubs as these are the flora which ticks can attach to until meeting with a host. Frost will not always kill all species of ticks, so continue to be aware of where you walk in the cooler months following the Fall.

If you need effective tick control in NJ, let us know and we’ll let you know your best course of action.

How Did These Ants Get Into Your Home?

Filed under: Ant Control,Pest Control — admin @ 9:21 am June 10, 2016

fire ants, carpenter ants
Ants may be tiny, but they are certainly pesky, and getting rid of them can be a challenging and frustrating process if you attempt to do it on your own. Before you begin the ant removal process, it is important to understand just how the ants got there in the first place.

One Ant Can Lead to Thousands

Ants operate with a hive mentality. What that means for you is that if one ant finds an entry into your home and a food source inside it, she will report the information back to the rest of the colony. So long as a viable food source is present, more and more ants will eventually find their way into your home, making it important to stop them before it becomes a full-scale infestation. The sooner you contact a pest control specialist, the more manageable the situation will be.

Stopping Ants From Entering Your Homefire ants

Ants are resilient creatures. Their tiny size coupled with their massive numbers make them a formidable pest to to deal with.  Even if you are able to find their entry point and seal it up, the odds are high that they will soon find another one. Keeping your home clean of any food lying around helps, but even the smallest crumbs are worthwhile to an ant colony and will keep them coming back for more. In order to stop an ant infestation, you have to attack them at their source–the nest. Thankfully, pest control experts are trained at finding the nest of the ants invading your home and eliminating it quickly and efficiently, saving you the trouble of having to painstakingly hunt the nest down and remove it yourself.

Get Rid of the Ants in your Home Today

Ants may not pose the same threat to your house as termites, or the same threat to you and your family as poisonous spiders, but they are a terrible annoyance that are not easily eradicated. If you have noticed one or more ants in your home, put a stop to the invasion before it ever begins by contacting the pest control specialists at Horizon Pest Control. Our knowledgeable pest control experts have the tools and training necessary to eliminate your ant problem for good, ensuring that you never have to deal with these pesky little insects ever again.

How to Identify Stink Bugs

Filed under: Bed Bug,Bed Bug Extermination,Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control,Pest Management — admin @ 10:37 pm June 3, 2016

stink bugs

While stink bugs are not typically dangerous to humans or pets, they can be a nuisance inside your home, especially during the fall and spring. Most stink bug infestations occur when it starts getting cold and when it begins to warm up, since the bugs are actively looking for ways into or out of your home at these times.

How to Identify a Stink Bug.

The most common characteristic that almost every variety of stink bug shares is the wide and flat design of its exoskeleton. To most people, it appears as though there is a hard shield on the back of a stink bug, with some specimens growing up to three-fourths of an inch long and wide. A putrid odor comes from the underside of the insect when it senses it is in danger, which can be another telling sign that you are dealing with a stink bug.

When and Where are Stink Bugs Usually Seen?stink bugs

Stink bugs do not tolerate cold weather very well and will try to get to a warmer, protected area before the weather turns too cold. This results in the bugs trying to get into your house around the middle of fall, when it starts getting fairly cold at night. The bugs tend to hibernate during the winter if they haven’t completely made it inside your house, but their hibernation mechanism does not kick in if they make it inside a living area. Once it warms up outside, they will usually try to exit your home, but may end up coming right into your living space instead.

They can usually be found in areas that do not see a lot of foot traffic, especially somewhere like an attic or behind drywall in on exterior walls. During the winter, you will probably see very few stink bugs, even if you do have an infestation, but during the spring you may see a lot of them coming out from any cracks in your drywall and ceiling, as well as from older HVAC vents that are not properly sealed.

What do Stink Bugs Eat?

Stink bugs generally stick to fruits and vegetables as they are an agricultural pest. In the summer, you might see them in your garden where they can do some damage by killing any growing vegetables. In your home, they typically do not eat anything as they are just trying to get outside in order to reproduce. As with most pests, if you see one or two of them in your house, you can bet that there are many times that number hiding just out of sight, requiring the services of an exterminator to get rid of them.

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