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How to Identify Carpenter Ants and their Difference with Black Ants

A successful ant elimination does not just involve a simple spraying here and there or providing baits when they are seen. To eliminate the enemy it is also important to determine the species of the ant itself since their characteristic may help you understand their behavior. For professionals, the work of controlling these pests will require a five-step process such as inspection, identification, recommendation, treatment and evaluation. To better understand ant, let us discuss the one type of ant that is causing nuisance in homes, which are the carpenter ants.

Identification

Carpenter ants are one of the largest ants that can be found in North America with workers having sizes of ¼ to ½ inch long, but some species can even grow as large as a full inch. The workers can be found in variety of sizes. They have only one bulge at their narrow waist and an evenly rounded back. They come in a wide range of colors that includes black, red, brown, yellow and orange. The most common type of carpenter ants in the U.S. is the winged variety with a reddish-brown head and thorax and black body and abdomen. They are called carpenter ants because of their can create smooth tunnels and galleries on wood.

However, there is a black ant that resembles carpenter ants, which is the Allegheny mound ant. To be able to differentiate these two ants, a good eye is required just to observe these two look-alikes. These black field ants usually create large, low-profile mounds outside not like carpenter ants that like to establish their nests inside properties.

Behavior

Carpenter ants unlike its look-alike can bring total chaos to a home it is infesting. They will enter buildings in search of nesting sites or moisture and they go together with several thousands of ants. Commonly, the nests that they constructed inside a structure are an extension of a larger, parent nest just located not far away from the building it is nesting. The parent nest can be a live or dead tree, a woodpile, or landscaping materials.

Damage

The damage carpenter ants can bring to a structure is not the same as termites. Termites consume wood while leaving mud-like substance to cover the surface of the wood. Carpenter ants usually create an extensive galleries and tunnels without leaving any muddy substance. However, the galleries and tunnels that they create can compromise the structural integrity of a building, thus the need to eliminate them is necessary. Carpenter ants can also infest new buildings especially in locations where the colonies were disturbed that will cause them to move out into their old structure.

Successful Elimination

To better eliminate carpenter ants, better determine if the ants you saw are carpenter ants or just a black ant.

1. Search for them. Carpenter ants do not consume wood. They like to feed on living and dead insects. They mostly hollow out wood to build nests. Look for moist wood including dead trees, stumps, and logs that are left on the ground.

2. Search in the evening. You will not see them during the day since most foraging is done at night between sunset and midnight during spring and summer months.

3. Look for black or red ants. If possible, measure the two ants with a ruler. If this is not possible, do your best to assess the size and look if the ant has a distinct heart shaped head with huge jaws. This will indicate that you found a carpenter ant. Common fire and garden ants have ridged thoraxes.

Control

Once you have identified the right species of ant, you need to find and get rid of their nest especially if it is a carpenter ant that is now nesting inside a home structure. Getting rid of carpenter ant nest is difficult. This job should be given to experienced ant control specialist since they can easily do the five-step process of identifying the pest, providing recommendations, plans and actions for treatment and ongoing evaluation.

If you have an existing ant problem, contact Horizon Pest Control. To schedule a free appointment, go to NJ Pest Control.

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How the Local Pest Population in New Jersey is Affected by its Humid Environment

New Jersey is located nearly halfway between the equators and poles, this makes the state a battleground for air masses throughout the year. New Jersey is known for its humid climates, which makes the majority of insects to thrive in this area. During the hot, sticky summer months the insects become active and multiple more quickly while the cold, dry air of winter acts as a brake on the population of the insects. But, how are these pests affecting New Jersey as the years pass by? With the warming temperature progressing northward, insects that are not that common in New Jersey will also follow.

New Jersey - the Garden State

Three Types of Pests that are Increasing in Range

Ticks

Ticks are wingless, blood-feeding parasites that varies in color. These parasites are always looking for a host and if one is not available, they can survive up to a year even without feeding. However, female ticks need a blood meal before they can lay eggs. After the meal, she will drop off their host, then lays thousands of eggs. New Jersey commonly encounters the black legged tick also known as the deer tick, the American dog tick, and the lone star tick. According to the World Wildlife Fund, by mid-century, global warming will allow deer ticks and Lyme disease to spread over 68% of North America.

NJ Tick Control

Termite

Eastern subterranean termites are the most common type of termite found in New Jersey. They live in large colonies numbering in the millions for large infestations. They are 1/8 to ¼ inches long and have soft, white, oval-shaped, wingless bodies. They feed on cellulose from leaf litter, wood, soil and dung. They also create small mud tubes so that they can avoid exposure and the open air. In the past couple of years, the number of termite species has been increasing and has nearly doubled from 13 to 25.

NJ Termite Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are long-legged insect with wings that have three pairs of slim legs. They have long proboscis that can pierce the skin. Male mosquitoes don’t suck blood since they consume nectar. In order for the female mosquitoes to lay eggs, they need to suck blood. Having mosquitoes around can be dangerous since they have the potential to create various diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. It is even expected by the World Wildlife Fund that as global warming increases, these diseases will also increase to up to 60%.

 

Due to certain factors such as driving insect population dynamics and effects of climate change, it can be expected that their growth will further increase. For instance, fire ants that are now found as far north as Virginia, could soon arrive in New Jersey by the end of the decade. The increase in humidity in the state is also altering the distribution, incidence and intensity of animal and plant pests and diseases. However, these changes are not just happening in New Jersey since every state is affected by the changes.

 

Protect your property and your loved ones from pests! To get professional help, go to Residential Pest Control Services.

Inspection, Exclusion and Sanitation: Cockroach Control for Businesses

Filed under: Cockroach Control,Commercial Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 5:32 pm August 26, 2013

Business establishments are not immune to cockroaches since these pests will go anywhere. They do not care if the area is new or old. What matters to them is to find a home and survive. With this in mind, owners of businesses know the importance of proper sanitation and what they should do to protect their company. However, some businesses that were not able to equip themselves against cockroaches, led them to lose profit and some even end up in bankruptcy. If your aim is to keep your company in good shape, it is also necessary to maintain the cleanliness of your establishment so as not to lose the trust of your customers and the good name that you hold.

Cockroaches will eat your food!

The Threat of Cockroaches

Cockroaches are not only unpleasant, but they also pose a threat to the surroundings they are in. They are known to transfer disease pathogens like different bacteria that can create food disorders to humans. They contaminate food, food preparation surfaces, dishes and eating utensils. Such contamination may result to gastrointestinal disorder .They can also trigger asthma to those individuals who have one. This can happen when the cockroach nymph shed its skin or their exoskeletons along with bits of cockroach feces. When inhaled by sensitive individuals this may cause allergic and asthmatic reactions.

Managing Cockroaches for Businesses

Cockroach elimination does not rely in just only using one method of control. Using pesticide may kill a few dozen cockroaches, but would still not be able to eliminate the entire colony. To get rid of all cockroaches, it is necessary to follow this with continuous inspection and treatment. The goal here is to create a long-term management or elimination, where the principles of Integrated Pest Management or IPM is applied.

Proper Inspection

A thorough inspection of an establishment will begin with inspection. The use of a flashlight and a mechanic’s mirror may be used to inspect voids that are difficult to process. You could also use probing tools and a flushing agent to inspect roach activity. Signs of roach activities will include dark speckling, cockroach consumption of foods, and the presence of egg cases and shed skins. Cockroaches normally hide just a few feet away from their food source. Look for areas that provide food, water and shelter. Keep in mind that these pests prefer natural surfaces such as wood and cardboard.

Valuable Tools for Inspection

  • Flashlight
  • Probing tools
  • Mechanic’s mirror
  • Aerosol
  • Sticky traps

Keep Cockroaches out of your business

Proper Exclusion

To reduce their movement and hiding places, fill all gaps with materials such a silicone sealant or urethane foam. Roaches can also be excluded by sealing cracks, crevices and holes where roaches can easily go into. There are some cases where cockroaches live outside the structure. These places should also be inspected so that all points of entries are eliminated.

Proper Sanitation

Proper sanitation will include removing all possible food and water sources. Although these may be difficult to achieve especially in food establishments. However, every effort should be made to remove these items. While proper exclusion and sanitation  are still not a full guarantee of cockroach elimination, but these procedure will also help in enhancing the chances for cockroach removal. Proper removal of dirt, grease and moisture will result to the effectiveness of the sanitation. Two essential tools to cockroach removal are with the use of steam units and vacuums. These tools can kill and physically remove cockroach while sanitizing the area.

The Use of Pesticide

The use of pesticide is one of the easiest and practical ways to control roaches. Using these insecticides according to its label will also determine the success of cockroach control. Pesticides are now available in so many brands and formulations. These days, pesticides are not just the normal insect sprays, there are also gels that is applied by a syringe-type applicators, granular products, and so on. However, it is also important to use different products because cockroaches have the ability to avoid and resist baits over a period of time.

Cockroach Control Professionals

Although cockroach control can be done effectively even by the business owners and their employees just by the use of proper identification, exclusion and sanitation, and with continuous use of pesticides. However, for heavy infestation, getting the help of a professional will allow guaranteed result since they have unlimited number of products and the right equipment that is designed for cockroach control. If you need professional help, visit Commercial Cockroach Control.

Preparing the Indoor and Outdoor of Your Home from Stink Bugs

Filed under: Green Pest Control,Horizon Pest Control,Stink Bugs — Megan Howard @ 9:22 pm August 16, 2013

Stink bugs also known as shield bugs, are flying insects that can invade your house and create destruction. They are not an insect that originated from the U.S. This insect came from Taiwan, China, Korea, and Japan as an agricultural pest. Their presence brings a serious problem in the U.S. that started in the late 1990s.

Identifying Stink Bugs

This is what a stink bug looks like

To properly control stink bugs, better know how they look like first. These insects are a shield shape bugs that loves to invade gardens during the summer and then invade homes during fall. When you crush them, they will emit a stink where they got their name from. This odor also is what helps them come back from their favorite spots and let them stay there for a very long time. They lay their eggs in the garden, then find shelters at home especially during the cold months. They can hide in curtains, drawers, laundry or bedding, which makes them even difficult to eliminate. After the winter is over, these bugs will start to move around where you will finally see them coming out from the inside of your home.

Controlling stink bug is not an easy task just like controlling any other household pests. Stink bugs are just like large beetles that can range in color from brown and gray to bright green. Some individuals despise on killing them because they literally stink. Some prefer using a vacuum cleaner to remove them on walls and windows, but they will also discover that the smell can linger in the vacuum for some time, which can also be irritating.

Prevention in Your Garden

To stop stink bugs from even entering your home, better stop them from even infesting in your garden. They love to stay in your garden and they will stay there until they can. Here are some ways to stop them in your garden:

  • Protect your crops with covers so that stink bugs cannot eat them.
  • Do not plant sunflowers near your plants because stink bugs love sunflowers. You could use this flower however, to lure them in an area where they can infest on the sunflower and you can spray them with chemicals.
  • Pick as much stink bug as you can find and drown them in a can of soapy water. Although there is a chance that you will not be able to find every one of them, but this will be a good habit of just getting rid of them the safe way.

Prevention at Home

Here are a list you can do to stop stink bugs from entering your home:

  • Fill a half gallon or gallon jug with soapy water and use this to drown the bugs by putting them in.
  • Seal up all possible entries such as holes around windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Secure screens on doors and windows. These should be replaced if it becomes damaged.
  • Hang a damp towel outside your home overnight so that these bugs will blanket the towel. Eliminate them by putting the entire blanket into a jug of soapy water or use a vacuum.
  • Squish stink bugs outdoors so that they can warn the others not to mess in your home.
  • Keep the curtains and shades drawn at night since they are also attracted to light.

Stink Bugs

 

When Using Vacuum

Since using your vacuum can effectively get rid of dead and live stink bugs, this can cause a permanent stink bug smell in it. However, vacuuming is still one of the most effective ways to get rid of stink bugs even outdoors. To avoid the stinky smell, do not use your regular vacuum for this task. If possible use a shop vac. If your shop vac has a bag, be certain to change it right after you are done vacuuming these pests. Wash the shop vac thoroughly after using it to get rid of the smell.

To successfully eliminate stink bugs from your home, contact a professional. If you need immediate help or to learn more about stink bugs, visit New Jersey Stink Bugs.

The Dangers of Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Diseases

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Tick Control — Megan Howard @ 5:14 am August 7, 2013

How would you react if after a visit from the great outdoors, you started suffering from chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and even a swollen lymph nodes too. Could it be that you are in the early stages of Lyme disease? If Lyme disease is not treated right away with antibiotics soon after contact, you might suffer from arthritis and neurologic problems.

This disease has become one of the most common vector-borne illness in the U.S. and receives reports of about 25,000 cases a year. And, this is just about 10% of the total. The risk is higher for those who are living and visiting New England, New Hampshire, the mid-Atlantic states, and the upper Midwest.

About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is spread by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.  An infected tick (ixodes scapularis) transmits this disease to people and animals through bite. A tick that is infected with Borelia burgdorferi should stay on its host for twenty four to forty eight hours so that the bacteria will be transmitted. It is necessary to remove the these ticks to its host promptly after being detected so that the chances of infection will decrease. Once infected, the disease will progress through flu-like symptoms, commonly having an unusual bull’s-eye rash and then develops into painful swelling of the large joints. Leaving this untreated may even result to complications involving the heart, nervous system, and joints.

Rodents and birds carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. When a tick feeds on them, they will in turn get the bacteria with them. Ticks naturally use the blood meal to grow, and infestation will just be with them. Once the tick is full on the blood of its rodent host, it will fall off. The tiny nymph will then be picked by another host such as humans, wild animals or pets. In most cases, they feed on deer which is also a great way for them to travel in long distances.

Ticks are closely related to insects and spiders and they commonly live out their lives feeding on wildlife. Several species however, are known to bite people and domestic animals that is why this disease is transmitted. Ticks are commonly associated with natural areas such as grassy shorelines, wooded areas, or fields. They are rarely indoors unless they are brought in by domestic pets or on the clothing of people. They feed by piercing the skin with the use of their mouthparts.

Sizes of Ticks

Preventing Lyme Disease

  • Know where ticks can be encountered.
  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck pants into socks or boots when outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellents containing DEET, Picardin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus to cloths and exposed skin.
  • Ticks prefer shady, moist areas in wooded and grassy location. So when outdoors, always stay away from them.
  • When in tick-prone areas, stay on well groomed trails and stay away on overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter.
  • Remove ticks as soon as they are seen.
  • Seek medical care when illness occur.

 

Early Symptoms (3 to 30 days after exposure)

  • Headaches
  • Chills and fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Skin rash called erythema migrans (EM)

 

Late Symptoms (weeks or months after exposure)

  • Joint swelling especially the knees in one or both large joints
  • Nerve paralysis and meningitis
  • Irregularities of the heart rhythm

 

If you are at risk of ticks and the illnesses they can bring, it is important to always be prepared. Learn as well the other tick-borne diseases they carry and the treatment that goes after that since many of diseases can be quite serious and progress to hospitalization if not treated early.

Other Tick-Borne Illnesses

  • Tularemia
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Powassan virus

Early treatment is needed when a person is infected with Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases. This will involve antibiotics and probably a quinine drug that is similar to anti-malaria drugs. It is necessary to monitor your general health after a tick bite was seen. Any changes in your health, particularly if you are suffering from fever, rash, or muscle/joint ache may be an indication of tick-borne disease. Make sure that you go to a doctor and provide the necessary information about your recent tick exposure.

Make sure that your home is free from diseases carrying ticks. Act now before it’s too late! Call us or visit Residential Pest Control Services to request a FREE initial consultation.

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How Regular Ants and Carpenter Ants Differ

Filed under: Ant Control,Horizon Pest Control,Termite Control,Termites — Megan Howard @ 2:41 pm August 2, 2013

Ever wondered why there are so many ants crawling in your kitchen? And, why they are so different from each other? Most are even confused about the different types of ants they see and confuse whether it is a regular ant or a carpenter ant. Ants regardless of its species can still be disturbing. Well, not as disturbing as termites or as foul looking as cockroaches, but they can still bring great damage and embarrassment to a home especially if they become a permanent settler.

Before even making steps on eradicating these ants, better identify the type of ant you wish to get rid of first. In North America, black ants and carpenter ants are both quite common. The black ant, however, is more commonly found in areas such as in Europe, Asia, and parts of North America. So how would you know if the ant that you see are just nuisance ants or if it is the more notorious carpenter ants?

Difference Between Regular Ants and Carpenter Ants                  

Regular Ants

They are commonly the black ants. The worker ants are up to .2 inches and the queen is up to .4 inches in length. They usually have one queen per colony and the size of the colony is 4,000 to 7,000 workers. However, they can also contain 15,000 workers if their circumstances permit them. They commonly nest in soil such as in lawns, under paving slabs, or at the base of walls, but they do not usually make a nest in a house. They also form large, low-profile earthen mounds in the yard. For them to get their food, they will travel long distances in search for them, thus we commonly find them in our kitchen.

Carpenter Ants

There are approximately 10 species of carpenter ants and they vary in size and color. They are blackish in color and are usually large with ¼ to ½ inch in size. There are also some carpenter ants that are reddish-orange or reddish-orange and black. These ants can bring a lot of trouble especially when they forage indoors in search for food and water. They may not sting when threatened because they do not have stingers, but they can still bite. Their very sharp mandibles, which are used to excavate wood, can also be used when they defend themselves. They will use this by grasping the attacker with their mandibles, then spraying formic acid from the end of their abdomens into the wound.

Carpenter Ant

These carpenter ants can also be destructive since they like to nest in woods. They will damage wood by hollowing it out for a nest. Unlike termites, they will excavate galleries that have a smooth, sandpapered appearance. Your home may have signs of carpenter ants nesting if you find shredded fragments of wood that is the same with coarse sawdust or wood splinters are ejected from the galleries. This is together with some dead ants and bits of other insects that were eaten by the ants.

 

Formica Subsericea and Carpenter Ants

It is necessary to be able to distinguish the difference between regular ants and carpenter ants since they may closely resemble in size, color and in many of their characteristics. For instance, a relatively large black ant, which is the Allegheny mound ant that comes from the Formica species, is reddish-orange and black that resembles other carpenter ants. Carpenter ants have an evenly rounded thorax, which has its body segment just after the head. The Formica species have a thorax that in profile looks like ridged or uneven.

Carpenter Ants                                                                                                                                               

  • Has an evenly rounded thorax (body region behind the back)
  • Nest in moist wood in houses, but can also nest in dry wood
  • Usually have more than one nest site
  • May form satellite colonies in the home that do not contain the queen.
  • Can be destructive since they damage wood by hollowing it out for a nest

Formica Ants

  • Its thorax appears ridged or uneven
  • Has an indention in the thorax when viewed from the side
  • May enter a house in search for food
  • Build large, dome-shaped mounds
  • Efficient predators and eat other insects

This is a Formica Ant

Solution for Regular Ants

Use bait such as ant killing granules sprinkles around the mound to control the colony without affecting other organisms. You can also drench carbaryl, diaszinon or chlorphyrifos on the mound.

Solution for Carpenter Ants

The best way to control carpenter ants is to find and treat the nest directly since insecticidal baits are not that effective against them. Once the nest is located you can use boric acid in a ready-to-use “puffer”  or insecticides and treat the affected areas. You can also call a professional to effectively control ants since they have a different effective approach that can eliminate them easily.

Horizon Pest Control offers effective and affordable ant control services. To get help with your existing ant problem or to learn more about our treatment programs, visit Residential Pest Control.

Stinging Insect Classification: Wasps, Bees and Hornets

Filed under: Bee Removal & Management,Commercial Pest Control,Green Pest Control,Horizon Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 9:36 pm August 1, 2013

Controlling any pests starts by knowing the type of pests that are inside the premises. Stinging insects such as wasps, bees and hornets are some pest problem that can be experienced by many. However, the most common questions regarding insect classification surrounds the differences between the different types of stinging wasps, bees, and hornets.

Bees

They are fuzzy, flying insects with yellow and black stripes.

This is what a Bee looks like

 

Two Different Types of Bees

Bumble Bees. These bees are commonly seen buzzing on flowers. They help in pollinating plants and gather nectar to make honey. However, they do not make nearly as much honey as honey bees. They are also not aggressive as they go from flower to flower and they are more interested with the flowers than with the people around them. But, when it comes to their nests, they can be pretty aggressive and they will not hesitate to sting if they feel they are threatened. Bumblebees nests can be found anywhere such on dry grass clippings, piles of dried leaves, insulation, porch furniture cushions, discarded mattresses, and the like. They can also nest underground or on patios or sidewalks.

Honey bees. They are one of the most beneficial insects known to us since their role is to pollinate all different types of fruits and vegetable crops. And, because honey bees are important to our eco system, major precautions are also taken to preserve them. Honey bees that are found in a hollow tree or beekeeper’s box are alright, however, when they invade our home, this can be quite a nuisance. Their hives can create tens of thousands of workers and this can create a lot of problems when they nest inside a structure such as a home. If you find the crack or crevice that bees enter, do not seal the entrance hole shut first. Since honey bees are beneficial to man and the environment, every effort should be taken first to transport them into a suitable location. However, if this is not possible, the only last resort is to get rid of the bees and their nest.

Wasps

Wasps are about one-third inch to one inch long. All wasps are made as predator or parasite of other insects or are developed as scavengers. They also have a minor role in pollination and have much less “hairy” body than bees.

This is what a Wasp looks like

 

Categories of Wasps

Parasitic Wasps (Braconidae and Ichneumonidae). Parasitic wasps are non-aggressive creatures although they may have a long, scary looking stinger, which is used primarily to lay eggs. If they do sting however, they may just cause a little pain. They are called parasitic wasp because they lay their eggs in some insects. And, while their young develop on their host, their host will inevitably die in the process.

Solitary Hunting Wasps (Sphecidae and Pompilidae). To create a nest, the female will create rearing cells in some kind of nest, then hunts for a prey and paralyzes it and return it to the nests cell. When the cell is ready, it will lay its eggs together with the prey and seals it. Sphecid wasps hunt insects while pompilids hunt spiders. Some pompilipid wasps can create the most painful sting, while sphecid wasps have a mild sting.

Social Wasps (Vespidae). This group commonly encounters human contact and an unfortunate number of stinging incidents, with the overwhelming stinging incidents is caused by the yellow jackets. These wasps commonly creates a paper nest that is hidden to many. They also have a diverse taste and can feed on some insects, sweets and protein-rich foods. This group of wasp can be a complete nuisance in outdoor dining areas in late summer and around uncovered garbage.

Hornets

This is what a hornet looks like

Hornets commonly make paper closed nests in trees, shrubs and under eaves that may even surpass the size of a football. They create a paper-like nests out of wood fibers and their saliva. Hornets are more aggressive than wasps since they can sting anyone even without much provocation, and like wasps, they can sting anyone repeatedly. If your home has a bald-faced hornet, better call a pest control professional to remove its nest.

Horizon Pest Control can effectively remove wasp, bees and hornets in and around your home. Our qualified exterminator will make sure that these stinging insects will never go back to your place! To request a FREE initial consultation, click Yard Pest Control.