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How to Handle Ticks

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — Megan Howard @ 2:48 pm May 25, 2012

Statistically speaking, tick-borne diseases are one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in America. Ticks are a form of ectoparasite, meaning that they must feed on the blood of a host to survive. Ticks are a transmission vector for numerous infectious diseases, the biggest of which is Lyme disease. Other tick-borne diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Colorado tick fever.

A man lawn mowing

There are thousands of different species of tick worldwide, but in America there are only a few species that we need to worry about. Of those few, the one species that primarily carries Lyme disease is the Black-legged tick, also known as the Deer Tick. Ticks often lay eggs on the ground, and can lay up to 5000 eggs in their lifetime. They are active in warm weather, like in the summer months. Ticks travel from one place to another by climbing up on tall blades of grass and attaching themselves to passing humans or animals. They then travel with the host, feeding on it’s blood and can move to another host when finished. Ticks often find their way into your home via pests like mice, specifically the white-footed mouse, and can attach themselves to pets like dogs and cats.

Tick on a leave

Checking for ticks in your yard can be a difficult thing to do because of their size. Full grown ticks are difficult to spot with the naked eye and the larva are next to impossible to detect without the use of specialized tools. Since they attach themselves to tall blades of grass, it’s best to cut grass short, especially around the edges of your lawn. Insecticides that kill ticks are also available and can be used on lawns, but usage of these chemicals are controlled. They tend to thrive in unkempt areas, like uncut fields with overgrown vegetation. If you or your pets visit places like these regularly, you should inspect your clothing regularly for ticks, and have your vet conduct a tick-check at every pet examination. Insect repellent for ticks can be applied to clothing, but care should be taken when using it on pets.

If you need help determining if your lawn or home is infested with ticks, contact Horizon Pest Control for assistance. You can call us or visit Horizon’s Yard Guard Service to set a FREE tick control consultation with one of our skilled technicians.

Carpenter Ant Basics

Filed under: Carpenter Ant Control — Tags: — Megan Howard @ 10:56 pm May 23, 2012

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are one of the more common species of ant found in America. They are known for their tendency to destroy wood by tunnelling into them, and along with termites, account for much of the wood damage done by pests in America. They are often mistaken for termites due to their largely similar appearances, but can be distinguished by the shapes of their bodies.

Carpenter Ants Features

Carpenter ants have waists narrower than those of termites, and they have three distinct body segments. Despite appearances, they do not eat wood. The remains of their drilling and tunnelling are known as “frass”, and consist of sawdust mixed with fecal matter. It is dumped outside the tunnels, and are a telltale indicator of carpenter ant infestation.

Destroyed wood made by carpenter ants

Carpenter Ants Colonies

The tunnels and galleries they create form colonies, of which there are two  kinds: the parent and the satellite colony. The parent colonies are usually built in damp, decaying wood, since both the queen and the eggs require a certain level of humidity to survive. Satellite colonies are usually built nearby, and are staffed with worker ants that provide food and water.

These satellites can be found in areas with less moisture, since they don’t house any eggs, although they may house pupae that grow into mating females. The tunnels and galleries they create are very unique since they are so smooth, well-sanded, and very clean. Worker ants travel from the satellite to the parent colony through these tunnels, carrying food and water.

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ant swarms are generally active at night, usually immediately after sundown, and are attracted to a variety of foods. These foods typically include sweets like honey, or the dew produced by aphids, and certain protein-rich meats as well. They follow the chemical trail left by certain foods, and create well-beaten paths to food sources that are used repeatedly.

These patterns are often observed in carpenter ants that have infested a home, but are not always an indicator of carpenter ant infestation. If you believe that your home has been infested with Carpenter Ants, go to Horizon Pest Control Home Services to set a FREE consultation.

Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

Filed under: Pest Control,Termites — Tags: , — Megan Howard @ 4:28 pm May 15, 2012

Every homeowner’s worst fear is a termite infestation. For some, the very thought that your home is being destroyed from the inside out by a swarm of insects is terrifying. Termites cause several hundred thousand dollars worth of damage each year, and can cost thousands more to treat an infestation, depending on how severe it is.

Carpenter ants

Carpenter Ants and Termites

Carpenter ants, however, are often mistaken for termites and it is important to be able to distinguish between the two. Carpenter ants and termites both prefer different climates. Carpenter ants are often found in cooler climates such as those in coastal cities, whereas termites favor warmer climates, especially in areas where the annual average temperature is higher than 50 degrees.

Both insects are similar in appearance, but with a few crucial differences. Both species have winged variants, however, carpenter ants are often pointed, with the hind wings that are shorter than the front wings. Termite wings are paddle shaped, of equal length, and are much larger than their bodies. Physically, carpenter ants have a narrow waist and have 3 distinct body segments, while termites have broader waists and only two distinct body segments.

One interesting fact about carpenter ants is that they do not eat wood. They eat things rich in sugars and protein, and only tunnel through the wood to make galleries. Termites, on the other hand, feed on substances rich in cellulose, not just wood. They have been known to eat paper, carpet, and even certain plastics used in construction once they have finished feeding on the wood

The galleries built by carpenter ants are usually smooth and tunnel-like, and are often surrounded by piles of ‘frass’, a substance consisting of sawdust mixed with insect parts. Worker termites require a certain level of humidity to survive, so their “galleries” are often covered in mud, and take on a rough, jagged appearance.

Consumed wood made by termites

Finally, termites do not actually live in the wood, they only eat it. They travel towards the wood via custom built shelter tubes made of mud and various organic materials. The presence of either of these two, shelter tubes, or frass, will often determine the type of pest that is infesting your home.

If you believe that your home or business is suffering from a termite or carpenter ant infestation, contact Horizon Pest Control today! For more information, visit our Termite Control page .

Identifying Stinging Insects

Filed under: Pest Control,Pest Management — Tags: — Megan Howard @ 4:26 pm


Stinging insects are one of the toughest types of pests to deal with. Anyone who has ever been stung by a wasp, hornet, or bee can tell you it is quite painful, and can even be fatal for those who are allergic to it. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common stinging insects, how to identify them, and what to do if you have them.



Bees are very common in America, and there are several different species of bees, all of which are capable of stinging. Carpenter bees and bumblebees are the most commonly encountered, but they are very docile compared to hornets and wasps. They will only usually sting if the nest is threatened, or if they are confronted directly.

Bees, hornets, and wasps tend to vary in color, but you can differentiate them by where they tend to fly. Bumblebees are often found near flowers, since they require pollen, and are usually more interested in the pollen then they are in you. They build their nests just about anywhere, and prefer to nest in ‘loose’ material, like piles of dry grass clippings.

Their nests are more like colonies due to the somewhat small size of the nest cavities. The nests usually last only a few months, and they don’t bother preserving them for the winter. Bumblebees are docile, and generally don’t bother anyone. If their nest is getting in your way, you should seek professional assistance before trying to move or destroy it.



Wasps are a category of insect that can be described as anything that isn’t an ant or a bee. They vary in size, shape, and color but share a number of common characteristics that are easy to spot. First, most wasps have two pairs of wings. The female wasps always have stingers, which can deliver powerful venom and makes wasp stings one of the most painful stings out there.

There are many species of wasp out there, each of which with their own preferences as to nesting sites and building materials. They can be built anywhere from holes in the ground, to under a house, or higher up in lofts or trees. The nests they build tend to be large, shaped like upside-down footballs and are made of paper pulp.

The type of wood used varies with species, and tends to give each nest a unique color and look. They also incorporate materials found in the nesting site into their nest, for example, bits of plastic pool for a nest near a house. The nests start out small, about the size of a walnut, and have been known to grow as big as beach balls.

Wasp nests should be dealt with very carefully, as wasp stings are more painful than bee stings thanks to the high concentration of venom present in their stings. It causes intense pain and swelling, and can even be fatal if a person is allergic. When dealing with wasp nests, special protective gear should be worn to minimize risk.




Hornets are also part of the wasp family, and are some of the largest wasps around. They feed on substances rich in carbohydrates, such as tree sap, and prey on other insects as well. Of the three present, hornet stings are the most painful, and unlike the other two, they are capable of stinging you more than once.

Their nesting habits are similar to those of other wasps, but they favor outdoor places for their nests. They build on trees, high in the leaves, and under porch decks as well. Hornets are very aggressive, and will not hesitate to attack if they feel that the nest is threatened, and can call out the entire nest to attack by releasing a special “attack phermone”

Hornets are also physically powerful, and can sting through several layers of protective clothing. They can even squirt venom through protective visors if they hit hard enough. Care must be taken when dealing with wasp nests, especially hornets, since the combination of powerful venom and the threat of an entire hive attacking you can be fatal.


It’s easier to identify bees, wasps, and hornets by their nesting habits and flight patterns, rather than by looking at physical characteristics. Dealing with an infestation by any one of these three is best left to professionals, as protective equipment, and special chemicals are required to handle the nests properly. If you need help in dealing with stinging insects, call us or visit New Jersey Residential Services to schedule a FREE appointment with one of our qualified technicians.