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How to Identify Different Types of Ants

Filed under: Ant Control — admin @ 9:00 pm February 2, 2016

There are many different types of ants in New Jersey, most of which are harmless apart from the Pharaoh ant. Many New Jersey residents notice more ants in winter or fall, when the weather starts getting colder and ants are looking for a warmer habitat. Being able to identify the different types of ants you might see in the winter can help you better plan for their eradication.

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants are small and yellow-brown or black, and are able to bend their abdomen up and place it over their body and head, hence the name “acrobat.” These ants prefer to make their colonies outdoors, usually in the damp wood of rotting trees or wooden railings and fences.

Argentine Ants

Argentine ants are dark brown in color and appear quite slender compared to other ants. They build very large colonies by driving out other ants and taking over their nests, usually in loose leaves on the ground or mulch. These ants are rarer than others in the area, but are moving North and have already established themselves in states just south of New Jersey.

Citronella Ants

Citronella ants are much lighter in color compared to other ants and have a “citronella-like” scent that is emitted when they are crushed. Although these ants typically live outdoors in underground nests. They are often seen heading indoors in the later winter months and even in the early spring.

Odorous House Ant

Odorous House Ant

Odorous House Ant

These dark brown ants nest outdoors, also under loose leaves and mulch, but can set up their colonies in houses either under the carpeting or inside walls, especially near pipes that transport heated water. They have large nests and even have many satellite nests in the same building with multiple queens.

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are the most feared ants in New Jersey and are quite harmful to humans. Not only do they carry serious bacteria like Salmonella and Staphylococcus, but they can also contaminate food supplies and burrow into wounds to feed on blood plasma. They are tiny and red or yellow in color. They are sensitive to cold and are found only indoors in New Jersey.

Harmful or not, no one wants ants around their home or business. At Horizon Pest Control, we can help you protect your health and property by offering effective ant control solutions. Call today at 1-888-612-2847.

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Acrobat Ant Photo by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE (Acrobat Ants (Crematogaster sp.)) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Odorous House Ant Photo by Brian Gratwicke, used under CC BY 2.0/ resized from original

10 Facts About Assassin Bugs

Filed under: Bug Control — admin @ 4:16 pm December 24, 2015

Assassin BugsIf the name of these creatures isn’t enough to get your attention, some of the disturbing things that they tend to do surely will be.  Assassin bugs, or reduviidae, are found throughout the world, with over 135 species recognized in North America alone.  Here are ten facts about these insects that you couldn’t make up if you tried.

Assassin Bugs

Fact #1: Assassin bugs are also known as “kissing bugs.”  This isn’t because they’re sweet.  It’s because they like to bite the lips and eyes of humans while they sleep.  Gross.

Fact #2: These bugs not only bite, but their “kiss” can spread a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can cause damage to major organs, lead to heart failure, and even be fatal.

Fact #3: The appearance of these bugs can vary, from 4 to 40 mm in size and different colors and shapes. This depends on the species.

Fact #4: The mouths of kissing bugs are formed for the piercing and sucking of juices from its victim’s body.  Their beak has a tube inside that allows it to transfer its poisonous saliva.

Fact #5: A reduviidae can kill a cockroach in 3-4 seconds and a caterpillar in just 10 seconds.

Fact #6: The front legs of an assassin bug are also designed for its predatory activities. They provide a strong grip on its prey and have sticky pads on thousands of tiny hairs.

Fact #7: Females are the best hunters because they need more protein in their diet in order to lay eggs.

Fact #8: Assassin bugs can be devious hunters, using the bodies of dead prey to attract new victims.

Fact #9: When born, these bugs are wingless nymphs and have to grow and molt four times before reaching adult insect size.

Fact #10: Kissing bugs perform what is called external digestion.  They inject their toxins into their victim’s body, wait for the body contents of their prey to liquefy, and then suck out the contents with their straw-like mouth parts.

Kissing Bugs in Your Home

As if that list wasn’t disturbing enough, the final insult is that these guys are pretty prevalent.   Often, they will nest in the woods near rodents and other insects but they are also attracted to humans and the bright lights of houses at night.  As they work their way into your home, they’ll find a cool, dark place to hide during the day and then come out at night in search of food.  They’ve been known to hide between mattresses.

Keeping these bugs out of your home requires sealing up the home against pests and securing your perimeter.   Screens on doors and windows, as well as bug-safe light bulbs, are a help as well.  Pest control for these creatures is always recommended as their bite can dangerous.  Worried about assassin bugs? Call Horizon Pest Control at 888.612.2847 today!

Photo: Assassin bug by gbohne, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/resized from original

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Kissing Bugs Pose Serious Health Risks

Filed under: Bug Control — admin @ 4:08 pm December 22, 2015

Kissing BugKissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs, have made headlines recently as outbreaks have been reported all across the country. Everywhere you look it seems the insects have infested the news. They are dangerous and pose a serious risk to your health.

Kissing bugs bite both people and dogs, they are blood suckers and they get their name from the fact that they like to bite people around their mouth and eyes, specifically.

While experts at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) say the public health threat is low, there is reason to be concerned.

The creatures sometimes carry Chagas Disease, a parasitic disease that’s typically found in South America, and has a high mortality rate. Symptoms include swelling around the bite site, and the infection can affect the heart and cause digestive issues.

The bites are similar in appearance to mosquito bites and typically happen at night while you are sleeping. The bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale while breathing.

According to the World Health Organization, “Chagas disease presents itself in 2 phases. The initial, acute phase lasts for about 2 months after infection. During the acute phase, a high number of parasites circulate in the blood but in most cases symptoms are absent or mild. During the chronic phase, the parasites are hidden mainly in the heart and digestive muscles. In later years the infection can lead to sudden death or heart failure caused by progressive destruction of the heart muscle and its nervous system.”

Are you at risk? Eleven native species of the kissing bug exist in the Americas, most of which are capable of transmitting Chagas. But there are other ways, including a blood transfusion, to get disease.

Dr. Melissa Nolan Garcia, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine who has researched the disease, said newer active screenings at blood banks across the nation have drawn attention to the disease. “There haven’t been any cases of transfusion-transmitted Chagas disease since the introduction of blood donor screening, so the system seems to be working,” she told Wired.

Worried about kissing bugs? Call the NJ Pest Control Experts, Horizon Pest Control, today for a FREE INSPECTION!

Photo: Kissing Bug (Triatoma sp.) by  Glenn Seplak, used under CC BY 2.0/resized from original

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10 Facts About Kissing Bugs

Filed under: Bug Control — admin @ 11:58 am December 18, 2015

Assassin BugsAlso known as triatominae, kissing bugs are a subfamily of Reduviidae family and also go by the names, the assassin and conenose bug. Wondering if your home is plagued with these pests? Read the following 10 facts about kissing bugs to find out.

Fact  1: A plethora of species- There are approximately 140 species of kissing bugs in existence which all evolved from a Reduviidae predator.

Fact  2: They don’t kiss, they suck- They’re called “kissing bugs” because they are known for killing their prey by injecting them with highly potent toxins that liquefy the insides of the prey so they can be sucked out by the predator.

Fact  3: Only 2 species are most-known for infecting humans- There are only 2 species that most affect humans, the Triatomini and Rhodniini. These 2 tribes likely evolved from the same ancestor.

Fact  4: There’s a ‘kissing bug season’- The adults actually engage in migratory flight. ‘Kissing bug season’ begins mid-spring and continues on until the end of the summer. There is sometimes a second peak season, which occurs during mid-September. This is also the time in which they often invade homes.

Fact  5: The creeps come out at night- These bugs are essentially nocturnal. They come out for feeding and traveling at night.

Fact  6: They love it when you ‘leave the light on’– Given that these bugs typically fly out after dusk, kissing bugs are attracted to the brilliance of porch and window lights.

Fact  7: They hide under beds- These bugs often seek refuge between mattresses, daybeds, futons, and other tight spaces where potential prey frequent.

Fact  8: They can cause Chagas disease- A horrific disease that can cause damage to the heart and central nervous system, kissing bugs, bed bugs, and other blood sucking parasites are known for causing this disease.

Fact  9: Most humans are usually allergic- Most people have moderate to severe allergic reaction to the bites of kissing bugs. The most common culprit behind insect bites that result in the medical emergency known as anaphylaxis, people with severe allergies are often rushed to the hospital for treatment of low blood pressure and other unfavorable side effects.

Fact  10: They can remain undetected for a while- Depending on the size and composition of your home, these bugs can remain undetectable for some time. This is due the fact that only visibly seeing the bugs or the brown/black spots they leave from feces.

Overall, if you suspect that you have kissing bugs, steer clear of the area and contact an bug extermination expert that you can trust.

Photo: Assassin bug by gbohne, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/resized from original

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wolf Spiders

Filed under: Spider Control — admin @ 11:46 am December 11, 2015

Wolf SpiderThe wolf spider is a strong, agile hunter that often chases their prey at high speeds. Not only are these creatures intimidating to watch, but there are several interesting facts about them you may not know. The following are 10 things you didn’t know about these incredible and sometimes frightening spiders.

1. They Don’t Spin Webs

A wolf spider does not spin webs like normal spiders. Their primary activities include hunting and reproduction.

2. They Have an Interesting Courtship

Males often perform strange rituals before courting. This sometimes includes complex leg signals. Mating can also be dangerous as the females sometimes kill and eat the males after the process is finished.

3. They Have Many Offspring

These spiders carry egg sacs during their reproduction time that can hold up to 365 eggs.

4. They Were Mistakenly Named

Some people may believe they were named after wolves for their hairy, wolf-like appearance. The spider was named after wolves, however, because early scientists believed that they hunted in packs.

5. Finding a Wolf Spider

Many people may know these spiders have large eyes, but may not know that they reflect light. This makes them easy to spot at night.

6. There are Different Breeds

We may use the general name for all types of wolf spiders but there are different types. The South American species, for instance, has a bite that can cause serious medical problems.

7. Carrying Their Babies

This species of spider actually carries their babies around on their back. After a few weeks the baby spiders are on their own.

8. They are Fierce Hunters

These spiders are known to be ambush hunters. They eat a wide variety of prey, depending on their habitat. This can vary extensively since they live on every continent except for Antarctica.

9. They Run Quickly

These spiders can run very quickly. Some of them may even run fast enough to cover two feet in a second.

10. Seek Professional Assistance

Because of their speed, potential bite, and reproductive abilities, you’ll want to call professional pest control services to help rid your home and property of these spiders. Contact Horizon Pest Control for a free pest inspection and information on how you can keep your home pest free.

Photo: Wolf Spider and kids by Konrad Summers, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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Stink Bugs Bite – Literally and Figuratively!

Filed under: Stink Bugs — admin @ 12:16 am November 20, 2015

Stink Bug ControlStink bugs are prevalent in New Jersey during the winter. They migrate into homes to survive the extreme cold weather temperatures. Not only are the stink bugs foul smelling and scary looking, these bugs can bite humans as well. Their favorite thing to bite, however, is fruits and vegetables. Though these nasty bugs don’t often bite humans, the pain from the bite of the stink bug can be compared to that of a bee sting and may result in soreness for up to three days. The bite may produce puss and swelling, as well as cause itching. With the influx of stink bugs in New Jersey during the winter, it’s important for homeowners to know how to treat stink bug bites.

What to Do if Bitten by Stink Bugs

Fortunately there are many simple at-home treatments for stink bug bites. To combat itching and swelling, rub lavender or cedar essential oil directly onto the bite and allow the oil to absorb into the skin. Not only will the oil bring relief to the painful bite, but you’ll smell good too! If you don’t care for the scent of lavender or cedar, though, there are many other home remedies to choose from. All of the following items that you might find already in your bathroom medicine cabinet can be rubbed onto the bite to soothe the irritated skin: witch hazel, aloe vera gel, lemon juice, a paste made from crushed aspirin and water, white toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, or a cotton swab soaked in Epsom salt or calamine lotion.

Stink Bugs in Winter:  Home Remedies to Treat Bites

If you can’t find any of those items in the medicine cabinet, there is no need to rush to the store just yet. Move on to the kitchen and check for these items that can also be rubbed onto a sore stink bug bite: lemon juice, the inside of a banana peel, an onion slice, or a simple paste made with baking soda and vinegar. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can also combat the itching and swelling and works nicely with the home remedies. Of course, it’s always very important to monitor your body’s reaction to stink bug bites. Contact your doctor immediately if you suspect some type of allergic reaction or if your body does not respond to the at-home treatments within a few days. Most importantly, prevent stink bug bites in winter by having your home treated by a professional pest control company!

If you’re tired of dealing with stink bugs, let us help you! Call Horizon Pest Control today for effective stink bug control.

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How to Identify Different Types of Hornets

Filed under: Stinging Insect Control — admin @ 11:30 pm November 17, 2015

Two major species of hornets in New Jersey will likely require your attention as the weather gets colder. If either species of hornet gets out of control, it means a major nuisance for your household and possible danger for children, the elderly and pets. Here are the basics about the New Jersey hornets that give most people the most trouble.

Hornet ControlThe Yellowjacket

The yellowjacket is the common hornet that infests the household most often in the fall and winter seasons in New Jersey. Ranging from one to one and one-half inches, the yellowjacket is actually brown with orange stripes. When in flight, the insect can appear yellow or orange to the naked eye because of the speed.

How to Handle the Yellowjacket in the Winter and Fall Seasons

If you see one hornet, there are others close by. Hornets are very social animals, and it is likely that the yellowjacket is building or has built a nest in a cozy corner of your home with plenty of its colony members. Pay special attention to your chimneys, attics, barns and voids in the wall if you hear noise. If the nest is large, you risk losing control of the situation if you attack it without professional help.

Hornet ControlThe Bald Faced Hornet

The bald faced hornet is slightly smaller than the common yellowjacket. This type of hornet is not a true “hornet” in the sense that it is only a distant cousin of the yellowjacket. However, the similar striped markings and body shape looks like a hornet to the untrained eye. The bald faced hornet actually preys on the yellowjacket as well as other annoying pests around households. The hornet is called bald faced because of its white head markings.

How to Handle Bald Faced Hornets in Winter and Fall Seasons

The bald faced hornet infests homes much less than the yellowjacket. However, if you do see a bald faced hornet nest in your home, you should call professional help. The bald faced hornet is especially aggressive and territorial. They swarm on instinct and will sting repeatedly and without mercy. An active nest with bald faced hornets can have as many as 400 hornets. Prepare yourself with the right pest control.

Tired of dealing with hornets? Call Horizon Pest Control at 888.612.2847 today!

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How to Tell if You Have Bed Bugs

Filed under: Bed Bug — admin @ 11:03 pm November 13, 2015

If you’re waking up with red, hive-like bite marks on your body and you’re noticing dark spots on your mattress, you may have to face an unpleasant reality: bed bugs. These pests are more than just an annoyance. They can cause itchy, irritated bed bugs bites that can become infected.

By uncovering answers to the following questions, you can confirm whether you have an infestation and get help with bed bugs control.

Bed Bug ControlDo you have unexplained bites?

If you’re seeing little red bites on your skin and you can’t uncover the cause, they may well be from bed bugs. It’s rare to actually see bed bugs, since they emerge while you’re sleeping and only for short periods of time.

You’re also unlikely to feel the bite until later, making it harder to identify the culprit. And even most doctors can’t tell with certainty that a bite came from a bed bug. Bed bug bites can resemble those of other insects, including spiders and mosquitoes.

Bed bug bites will appear as red, itchy welts, typically on your upper body including shoulders and arms. The bites often appear in a straight line.

Do you have signs of an infestation?

Bed bugs are small and difficult to spot, and they’re excellent at hiding. But it is possible for your home to become infested with bed bugs in winter. With a little sleuthing, you can determine if you have them. Since bed bugs feed on mammals, you’ll want to inspect any places you use for sleeping or sitting.

Bed bugs create large amounts of waste, which will appear as dark spots on  your mattress. You also may find dark spots inside your mattress, in your box springs or in bed linens. Be sure to check everywhere the pests can hide, including inside and near the mattress, in curtains and in nearby furniture. Wall cracks, moldings and flooring also can harbor bed bugs.

Bed Bug ControlCan you catch bed bugs red-handed?

By keeping a flashlight beside your bed and turning it on an hour or so before the sun comes up, you may be able to spot bed bugs. This is the time the pests usually bite, but if you move too much, they’ll return to their hiding spots. Watch your sheets carefully for any movement indicating the presence of bed bugs.

Ridding your home of bed bugs

If you confirm that you do have an infestation of bed bugs in New Jersey, don’t attempt to eliminate them on your own. To ensure that bed bugs are gone for good, contact the professionals at Horizon Pest Control for quick and effective bed bug control.

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Photos

Attack of the bed bugs! by snowflakegirl, used under CC BY 2.0/resized from original

Bed bug by USDA, used under CC BY 2.0/resized from original

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Tips to Keep Cockroaches Out This Winter

Filed under: Cockroach Control — admin @ 10:26 pm November 10, 2015

Winter Cockroach ControlCockroaches are pesky insects that always manage to creep their way into homes. There are few things more displeasing than turning on the kitchen light one groggy morning to see a large cockroach scuttling across the countertop. Cockroaches, like all insects, need food and water to live, and maintaining a clean, dry home can help to minimize their presence. Nonetheless, somehow at least a few of these critters manage to bypass home security each year. Fortunately, there are some easy tips you can implement to avoid cockroaches in winter.

The kitchen is the area of the home most likely to attract cockroaches because they are attracted to lingering food odors and leftover crumbs. Fortunately, with a little extra effort, you can ensure you kitchen stays cockroach free.

Don’t leave dirty dishes

While we all have moments where we’d rather leave the dishes for later, this is the very behavior that invites unwanted guests into the house. Clean up all dishes as soon as possible to reduce any lingering odors in the kitchen.

Winter Cockroach ControlWipe down all counters

Even the smallest of crumbs or spills can beckon the bothersome cockroaches, so ensure you wipe down all countertops daily.

Sweep regularly

Small food particles often collect on the kitchen floor and throughout the pantry. By sweeping after every meal, you can reduce food crumbs and keep cockroaches out.

Store garbage in the garage

If possible, store garbage in the garage to reduce odors in the house. Alternatively, you can purchase a tight-lid garbage can that seals in odors.

Repair water leaks punctually

Cockroaches are attracted to wet areas, and repairing minor leaks as soon as they arise can reduce the potential for roaches.

SealedContainerStore food in sealed containers

Cockroaches will eat virtually anything, but they are particularly drawn to starchy and sweet foods. Keep all flour and sugar in sealed containers, and consider storing bread in a breadbox.

Seal all gaps and cracks

Cockroaches often hide in small cracks throughout the house. By ensuring all cracks or gaps in the flooring and walls are sealed, you can minimize the dark hiding places and create a natural cockroach deterrent.

 

Cockroaches are attracted to food, water, and small dark hiding places. Preventing cockroaches is as easy as eliminating these things in your home. In the event cockroaches do appear, diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled throughout cupboards to naturally repel them from the house.

For affordable, fast and effective cockroach control, trust Horizon Pest Control. Call us today and schedule your free appointment!

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Photo: Glass food storage container with Easy Find Lids by Rubbermaid Products, used under CC BY 2.0/resized from original

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Are Rodents Living in Your Home?

Filed under: Rodent Control — admin @ 3:41 pm October 30, 2015

Rodent ControlYour home is the place where you’re supposed to feel cozy and safe. Intruders and unwanted guests can take away that feeling of safety, leaving you feeling uncomfortable. The worst guests of all, are the ones that make your skin crawl – rodents. If you’re not sure if you’re sharing your home with mice or rats (or worse), check for any of these telltale signs:

Droppings and Urine Trails

The most obvious sign of all are droppings, and rodents are not shy about leaving them wherever they’ve crawled. Look for them in the back of your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and cupboards. Basically, anywhere they might find food. If you’ve got any kind of infestation, even just a few, you’ll see evidence. Rodents will also urinate on the go, leaving small puddles and drips along walls.

Squeaks and Smells

In the evening, as you lay in bed, turn off the television and listen. Rodents are nocturnal, and will be waking up as you’re going to sleep, and they are definitely not quiet. You might hear squeaks, rustling, and scurrying sounds behind walls, inside cabinets, and all over your basement. Mice also have an awful, musky odor. It’s an unusual and distinct smell, impossible to confuse with other household odors like a kitchen garbage can or spoiled food. Once you’ve smelled it, it’s hard to forget.

Rodent ControlNibbles, Gnawing, and Holes in Food Packaging

Another sign you never want to see – because it will be too late – is evidence of chewing. You may see it on food packaging, near where you may have seen droppings. Gnawing is a common rodent activity, done to grind down their teeth. They’ll chew on anything, but they prefer wood, which is unfortunate since that’s probably what your cabinets are made of. Occasionally, they will chew through electrical wire, which makes them a risk for fires.

Rodents chew, gnaw and nibble on anything they can smell, so you should check boxes and bags of food in your cabinets and pantry for evidence. Look in the back – way back.

Nests and Tracks

We all love a cozy place to sleep, and rodents are no different. They build nests anywhere they can be warm, like dressers, behind appliances, and even inside computers. They use anything soft, like fabric, quilting, shredded paper, grass and leaves, and they hide away in closets, walls, or the space between ceilings and floors.

You may see footprints or tail marks in dusty spots in your basement or closets, and you may be able to figure out what you’re dealing with based on the size of the tracks. Mice have the smaller feet, about 3/8 inch, and rats measure from 3/4 to 1 inch. You may also see a line between the footprints where the rat drags its tail.

Pest ControlRestless Pets

Finally, if your pets are acting strange, sniffing in corners and under the oven or refrigerator, there’s a good chance there’s something Fido knows that you don’t.

At Horizon Pest Control, we’re experts at NJ rodent control. Contact us today to help you with your unwanted guests.

 

 

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