Carpet Beetles Love to Eat Carpet and Other Things
Carpet beetles are a common pest that infest upholstery, carpet, pillows, and clothing to feed on animal-based items like pet hair and carpet fibers. While carpet beetles are best known for damaging carpeting and fabrics, they can also be a pest in the kitchen and pantry by eating and damaging food products.
There are two main types of carpet beetles: black carpet beetles which are oblong, black beetles that range from 1/8″ to 3/16″ and varied carpet beetles which are oval-shaped with a mottled color pattern on the wings. The common or varied carpet beetle can be up to 0.14 inches long with a rounded body and white, brownish, and yellowish patches of scales.
Adult carpet beetles can infest a wide variety of materials like wool, comforters, pillows, clothing, upholstered furniture, and carpet. These pests do not feed on synthetic fibers in most cases, but they can still damage synthetic items with food, oil, and perspiration. When outdoors, carpet beetles feed on nectar and pollen. The larvae of the beetle may eat seeds and animal food left outside or in the pantry. While adults can thrive indoors, the female carpet beetle still prefers to lay eggs outdoors where larval food sources are plentiful. Adult carpet beetles are capable of flying which allows them to rapidly infest an entire home.
Carpet beetles may go through their entire life cycle within 2 months to many years. Female carpet beetles usually lay their eggs outdoors, but they may lay eggs indoors or in the nests of birds and mice. Adults mate near a light source before the female lays up to 100 eggs that hatch into larvae in 7 to 35 days.
Controlling a Carpet Beetle Infestation
A carpet beetle infestation can quickly spread throughout your home. Carpet beetles usually get indoors through windows, doors, and tiny openings, but they may be brought in on flowers as well. An infestation can become widespread before it is discovered as the larvae and adults prefer to remain hidden in dark areas. Professional pest control is the recommended course of action to completely eradicate a carpet beetle infestation in your home. Carpet beetle infestations may be eradicated through a combination of freezing, scent traps, and insecticides. Contact Pest Defense Solutions today for a custom treatment plan to get rid of your pest problem.
Carpenter Bees Typically Don’t Sting
Carpenter bees are large bees that are up to 25 mm long, depending on the species. In the U.S., there are two genera of carpenter bees: small carpenter bees (Ceratina) and large carpenter bees (Xylocopa). Large carpenter bees are the type most likely to become a pest.
Small carpenter bees are less than 8 mm long while large carpenter bees are up to 25 mm long. Large carpenter bees look similar to bumble bees although they do not have visible hairs on the abdomen. Carpenter bees come in many colors such as black, metallic blue, or purple-blue. The males have yellow sections on their face while both genders have hair on the abdomen and legs. The small carpenter bees are usually darker in color. Bee pest control in El Paso can and will be important if you come in contact with a large group of bees.
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Carpenter bees are solitary bees, which means they do not live in colonies. These bees eat plant pollen and nectar, but they can damage woodwork because they excavate dry, weathered wood on doors, windowsills, roof eaves, decks, fences, and wood lawn furniture. Carpenter bees are usually fond of oak posts in rail fences. While this bee prefers Cyprus, oak, fir, and pine, they will damage other types of wood.
While female carpenter bees can sting, they rarely do so unless they are directly threatened. The male bees are often found near the nest, but they do not have a stinger.
Unlike most bees and wasps, carpenter bees are solitary creatures. Some species of carpenter bees do create small nests in which mothers and daughters live. Despite the fact that they do not form colonies, it’s common to find many carpenter bees nesting near each other. The founding bee is responsible for foraging, building the nest, laying the eggs, and guarding the nest.
Carpenter bees may employ one of two mating strategies. Among species in which male bees have large eyes, the male searches for a female then pursues. Among species in which males have small heads, the males release a pheromone as they fly to attract females. Some species of small carpenter bees are capable of producing without males.
Do You Have a Carpenter Bee Infestation?
Carpenter bees leave very recognizable entrance holes when they bore into wood. Female bees chew round entrances into flat wood surfaces. These holes are usually about 1/2″ wide, or about the diameter of the bee’s body. The holes are perfectly circular and look like they were drilled with a drill bit. Upon inspection, you may see that the hole goes into the wood perpendicular to the grain for an inch or two before turning sharply. You may notice pollen or bee droppings near the entrance.
Carpenter bees are beneficial insects as they are pollinators. They can be a pest, though, and it is possible for the bees to cause structural damage to furniture, posts, and roof eaves. If you have a problem with carpenter bees on your property, contact Pest Defense Solutions to discuss population control options.
Carpenter Ants Pest Control, Can Destroy Wood
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the United States and they are found throughout the country. Carpenter ants are a major pest problem because they destroy wood in your home to make tunnels and galleries.
Carpenter ants range in size from 1/4″ to 1/2″ long, among the largest ants in the country. The queen carpenter ant is usually 3/4″ long. While most are black, some carpenter ant species are red or yellowish in color. The most common color variant is the black carpenter ant with reddish legs. Carpenter ants have large mandibles that are used for chewing through wood grain.
While carpenter ants do not eat wood like termites, they can cause extensive damage to woodwork in your home. Carpenter ants live in hollow or dead wood, and they will cut galleries and tunnels into wood to form nests and passages. Carpenter ants build two types of colonies: a parent colony and satellite colonies. The main colony is home to the queen, a brood, and workers. Satellite colonies are comprised entirely of worker ants, older larvae, and pupae.
A queen carpenter ant will lay anywhere from 9 to 16 eggs during her first year, and she can live up to 25 years. Eggs mature into adult carpenter ants after 6-12 weeks. Mating season for carpenter ants occurs in the spring or summer when a colony produces swarmers or winged carpenter ants. These swarmers mate, at which point the female sheds her wings and the male dies. The female ant establishes a new colony and lays eggs that first become worker ants. The worker ants are responsible for foraging for food, building passages, and creating the colony. It can take 3-6 years for a carpenter ant to establish a stable colony. After another two years, the queen will begin to produce swarmers to start another colony.
Signs of an Infestation
- Worker ants. You may see worker ants moving around your home, especially during the spring as they forage for food. Carpenter ants in your home do not necessarily indicate an infestation; the ants may be foraging for food in your house while living outdoors.
- Swarmers. Flying ants or swarmers emerge from a mature colony when it’s ready to start a new colony. Flying carpenter ants can resemble flying termites, and they swarm at the same time. Carpenter ants have pinched waists and bent antennae.
- Debris. Carpenter ants leave debris of wood shavings mixed with ant parts as they cut through wood. Rough shavings mixed with ant parts are a good indicator of carpenter ant activity in your home.
If you are seeing more and more activity from ants in general, then there is a good chance that you need some type of ant pest control in El Paso. You will want to contact a professional pest control company for this.
If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation in your home, contact Pest Defense Solutions El Paso Texas right away. It’s important to find the nest and remove or treat it to control the infestation. When treated early, carpenter ant infestations rarely cause significant damage. If they are allowed to continue, carpenter ants can eventually cause structural damage to your home.
Brown Recluse Spiders Have Painful Bites
The brown recluse or fiddle-back spider is a species of Loxosceles. There are 11 species of Loxosceles native to the U.S., and four can be harmful to people. Brown recluse spiders are found in 15 states in the United States, including many parts of Texas. While the bite of a brown recluse spider is very rarely life-threatening, the bite can produce very painful symptoms.
The adult brown recluse spider is a dull yellow or dark brown color with no stripes or spots on the abdomen. Most brown recluse spiders are 6 to 11 mm in length with a body that can be as wide as a quarter. Juvenile spiders are light in color. The classic characteristic of the spider is a dark brown violin-shaped marking on the dorsum of the light brown or yellowish cephalothorax. The neck of the violin shape points toward the abdomen. Other spiders do have a similar violin pattern like the cellar spider. The best way to identify the brown recluse is to see the eyes as well. Most spiders have 8 eyes, but the brown recluse spider has 6 eyes in pairs with one median pair and two lateral pairs.
As their name implies, brown recluse spiders are shy. They usually live in dark places in basements, barns, and homes. These spiders rarely bite people unless they are provoked. Brown recluse spiders are venomous and the bites may not be painful. Someone who has been bitten may not notice until symptoms develop. While most bites become red and fade, it is possible to develop tissue damage or necrosis from a bite.
Brown recluse spiders may make their way into your home in search of food or if they are brought inside in a box. This species usually makes messy nests that are built at ground level. The web is not used for catching prey as the spider hunts for insects like cockroaches and grasshoppers.
A female brown recluse spider will create anywhere from 1 to 5 egg sacs during the spring that may contain a few dozen or up to 300 eggs. These eggs hatch after one month and the spiderlings take about one year to develop to adulthood. Spiderlings grow slowly and take about 11 months to mature.
Control Brown Recluse Spider Infestations
If you have brown recluse spiders near your home, it’s important to take action. Brown recluse spiders can be dangerous to pets and small children, and a bite can produce serious side effects in adults as well. If you see recluse spiders near a woodpile or anywhere on your property, stay away. They will usually avoid people and only bite when they are threatened. Contact Pest Defense Solutions for an inspection of your home and custom pest control solutions like insecticide spray treatment to control the population.
Brown Dog Tick Pest Control
The brown dog tick is found throughout the world. This species gets its name for the brown color and the fact that it is usually found on pet dogs. While brown dog ticks do not usually bite humans, they may do so if the dog host is no longer available. Brown dog ticks are known carriers of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and several other tick-borne diseases like canine babesia and canine ehrlichiosis.
Brown dog ticks are about 3 mm long unengorged or up to 1/2″ when engorged with blood. They are usually reddish brown but their color can be a gray-blue when engorged. As larvae, brown dog ticks have six legs. Nymphs and adults have eight legs. Adults have an oval-shaped, flattened body.
Brown dog ticks usually infest dogs. While they usually attach close to the ears or between the toes, they can be found anywhere on the dog at various stages of life. Unlike most species of ticks, brown dog ticks can go through their entire life cycle indoors. These ticks thrive indoors in dry, warm conditions such as a kennel, which has earned this species the nickname “kennel ticks.”
This type of tick is referred to as a three-host tick, which means it drops off the host after a meal but before each developmental stage. It is possible for a brown dog tick to remain on the same host for its entire life.
A tick infestation in the home is usually introduced by a pet dog. Sometimes the infestation is not apparent until ticks are visible crawling on floors or walls. When the problem has become this apparent this is when you are going to need professional help and flea and tick pest control is what you need by a pest control company, call us today at (915) 591-2847
After a blood meal, a female brown dog tick will lay up to 3,000 eggs on a flat surface. These eggs are usually found on window casings, baseboards, furniture, the edges of rugs, and curtains. The female dies shortly after depositing the eggs, which hatch in 20 to 60 days. The tiny larvae will attach to a dog as soon as possible, but they can live up to 8 months without blood. After attaching to a host, the larvae will become engorged and leave the host to molt in one to three weeks and transform into a nymph. The nymph will once more find a host and engorge over a period of 4 to 9 days. The nymph will detach and molt into an adult flea in 12 to 29 days, then seek a dog again. Adult ticks can survive for up to 19 months without food. After engorging on blood for up to 50 days, the adult will mate, drop off the dog, and lay eggs.
Ticks can produce up to 4 generations per year under ideal conditions.
Managing Brown Dog Ticks
Brown dog tick infestations can be difficult to control, especially a large infestation in the home. A large-scale infestation requires professional pest control and a four-stage process that involves sanitation of the home, treatment of the dog, indoor treatments, and outdoor pest control. If you are dealing with a brown dog tick infestation on your dog or in your home, contact Pest Defense Solutions today for help. Call us at (915) 591-2847
Boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) are a type of tree bug found mostly on boxelder, maple, and ash trees. While they are not harmful or destructive, boxelder bugs can be a pest when they move into your home.
Boxelder bugs have a distinctive appearance. Adults are about 1/2″ long with a dark brown or black color with reddish-orange veins and markings on the thorax and sides. Boxelder bugs have flat red wings. Nymph boxelder bugs are a bright red color. Nymphs develop black markings and black wing pads as they mature.
Boxelder bugs live in boxelder, maple, and ash trees while the weather is warm, but they move into homes for shelter when the weather gets chilly. During the spring, adult boxelder bugs mate in the tree leaves and deposit eggs. This insect feeds on the soft parts of the tree, eating flowers, new growth, and leaves. These bugs are usually easy to spot in large numbers on branches.
They can make their way inside through tiny cracks and stay inside to hibernate through the fall and winter. They can remain active inside walls and house siding even while the weather is cool. A home’s heating system can make the bugs falsely believe it’s summer and revive them from hibernation at which point they will move inside the home for food.
Boxelder bugs do not cause damage inside a home, but they do leave droppings and stains. They usually do not do much damage to the trees on which they feed, but they can become a nuisance during the fall.
In the spring, boxelder bugs deposit reddish-brown eggs that are well hidden in the boxelder tree. The eggs hatch into gray and red nymphs after a few days. The nymphs grow larger and eventually develop into adults by the summer, at which point they mate and lay eggs. Adult and nymph boxelder bugs may periodically migrate in large groups to cover the side of a home, the ground, or a tree trunk.
Eliminating a Boxelder Bug Problem
Once boxelder bugs establish themselves in a home, they can be difficult to remove. The best way to eliminate the problem is prevention during the fall. Pest control spraying can prevent boxelder bugs, ladybugs, and similar pests from entering the home during the fall. Sealing cracks around utility service openings, in the foundation, and around doors and windows can also keep the pests out. If boxelder bugs are becoming a nuisance on your property, contact Pest Defense Solutions El Paso today so we can develop a custom treatment plan for you.
Black Widow Spiders Can Hurt Humans
The black widow is the most venomous spider in the United States and one of the few spiders in the country capable of hurting a human. Black widows, part of the Latrodectus genus, thrive in the temperate climate of the south, but they are found throughout North America.
The female black spider has a very distinctive appearance: a shiny black body and a red or orange hourglass-shaped mark on the underside of the abdomen. Female spiders are about 1.5″ long. Males are about half the size and light in color with red or pink spots on the back. Black widow spiders have characteristic comb feet, or short, strong bristles on the hind legs.
All black widow spiders are reclusive. These solitary spiders only socialize to mate. Black widow spiders spin webs during the day and become active during the night. Like other spiders, black widows eat anthropods like caterpillars, ants, beetles, roaches, and scorpions. After prey is caught in the web, the spider injects it with digestive enzymes. The prey is consumed once it has liquefied.
Black widows build very irregular and tangled nests that may be located at ground level or under a protected ledge under wood piles or even under a porch. The female can often be seen hanging upside-down in the nest with the hourglass visible.
It is only the female black widow spider that is dangerous. Black widow venom contains latrotoxin and it may cause muscle pain, cramps, tachycardia, and hyperhidrosis. Black widow bites are rarely fatal, but the symptoms can last for weeks. Antivenom treatment can be used to relieve the pain.
Black widow spiders mate during the spring and early summer. Female black widow spiders are known to consume the male after mating, but this does not always happen. The female can produce many egg sacs throughout the summer. These sacs are protected until they hatch. Black widow eggs are gray, tan, or white and up to 15 mm in diameter. Each egg sac may have hundreds of eggs, but only a few dozen will survive. Spiderlings are cannibalistic and they will consume their siblings.
The spiderlings will go through several molts and spend the winter immature before maturing fully over the spring. The spiders look like adults except smaller and orange or white in color. Black widow spiders usually survive for up to 1 year, but they can live for up to 3 years.
If you have black widow spiders building nests around your home, contact Pest Defense Solutions today for a custom treatment plan to protect your family.
Bed Bugs Today More Resistant to Treatment Than Ever Before
The United States is currently experiencing a bed bug epidemic. These pests — once nearly eradicated after WWII — have re-emerged with a vengeance. Bed bugs in the United States are now resistant to oneonicotinoids, the most widely used insecticide, and resistance is on the rise. Bed bugs are the worst nightmare of travelers everywhere, who often pick up the bugs and carry them home in their luggage or clothing, only to experience a bed bug infestation in their own home. While they are not known to spread disease, bed bugs are a major pest problem in all areas of the world.
Bed bugs are tiny, flat, reddish-brown insects that may be up to 5 mm in size, or the size of an apple seed.
Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices, usually on and near beds. They may be found in mattress seams, sheets, behind baseboards and electrical outlet plates, and inside drawers. Bed bugs are known to live for up to one year without blood. These insects are usually active at night. While they cannot fly, they can move very quickly.
Bed bugs are very skilled at hitching rides on luggage and clothing. This is their primary means of spreading.
A female bed bug can lay up to 5 eggs a day or up to 500 over its life. Bed bugs may live for up to 300 days in ideal conditions. Bed bugs reproduce using traumatic insemination. Rather than using a genital tract, male bed bugs pierce the female’s abdomen with their genitalia and inject sperm through the wound. The sperm migrates until it reaches the ovaries. After mating, female bed bugs will attempt to avoid mating again and move farther away. This process of traumatic insemination increases the likelihood that bed bugs hitching a ride on luggage and people are pregnant females.
Females will carry sperm and produce eggs for up to 6 weeks. The female will lay eggs almost continuously as long as she has access to blood. A single pregnant female bed bug that makes its way into your home can lead to 5,000 bed bugs within 6 months.
Signs of an Infestation
- Bugs. You may see adult bugs about the size of an apple seed on and near the mattress. Search corners and seams of the mattress and box spring as well as cracks in the headboard.
- Case skins. Juvenile bed bugs shed their skin as they grow.
- Droppings. Bed bugs leave brown or black stains on porous surfaces after they feed.
- Stains on the mattress.
- Bites. You may notice bite marks that indicate a bed bug infestation. This is not the best indication, as the bites resemble bites from other insects. Some people do not have a reaction to bed bug bites.
The best way to eradicate a bed bug infestation is to work with a pest control professional. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and it’s necessary to combat them with a multi-stage strategy. Contact Pest Defense Solutions El Paso for a customized treatment plan to eliminate bed bugs from your home.
Zika Virus: How concerned should El Paso residents be?
We have all heard the news surrounding Zika virus, and you’re probably wondering what type of risk this could pose to you and your family here in El Paso, TX. The simple answer is that this is more of a tropical disease, carried by mosquitoes, that is affecting other parts of the world, particularly tropical Central and South America. However, states in the southern US, including Texas, are at risk in the coming months. Florida and other parts of the Gulf Coast may very well have an epidemic waiting to happen, and we might as well educate ourselves about the virus should it decide to affect El Paso.
Zika virus is spread primarily through Aedes aegypti, a species of mosquito that is common in tropical areas.
Spread to the United States
“I believe all of the conditions where they’re present in Latin America and the Caribbean are also present in Texas and other Gulf Coast states,” said Hotez, who predicted the number of Aedes aegypti, which already reside in this part of the U.S., could start multiplying in March, when the weather warms up. “Which means we have time [to prepare]— and now’s the time to do it,” he said.
But controlling the main mosquito that carries Zika may prove more challenging in the U.S. than in Latin America, where governments are going into homes and spraying walls with pesticide, Hotez and Conlon said. Unlike other common mosquitoes in the U.S., they like to feed on humans during the day, which means people who live in homes without window screens would have a high infection risk, Hotez said.
“This is a day-biting mosquito, and that gets to be problematic because if you’re spraying when children are out playing … we’re going to have to make a better assessment of that,” Hotez said.
Conlon said standard mosquito control practices in the U.S. won’t work on the Aedes aegypti.
“Down in Central and South America, they’re using these thermal foggers— that can work and knock down the mosquito, but in the U.S, they’re not going to allow federal and state folks to allow them into their homes to do that,” Conlon said. “It’s not something that mosquito abatement will do, but public pressure may make them do that. People might demand something like that of their own volition.”
We must all be vigilant to prevent the spread of this disease. Make sure to carefully consider any travel plans you have this year, and avoid affected regions of the world. Pregnant women need to be especially careful, considering this is a disease that has a most serious affect on the developing fetuses. Make sure to install screens as soon as possible, before the weather warms up any more. Keeping mosquitoes out of your home is one of the most important things you can do. Be sure to remove any standing water around your yard. And be sure to call us if a mosquito problem persists despite you best efforts. We offer residential pest control service and termite inspection in El Paso that is very effective at controlling mosquito populations around your yard.
Yellow jackets are a common sight throughout the U.S. These wasps get their name from their black and yellow bodies, although there are a few other color variants. While these social wasps are important for controlling other pest insects, they are aggressive in the defense of their nest and they will sting. The bites are painful but usually harmless except to people who are allergic.
Yellow jackets are wasps about 5/8″ to 1″ in length. Most yellow jackets have a yellow and black body (Saxon wasp and Eastern yellow jacket), but some are black and white (bald-faced hornet) or red and black. All species of yellow jackets have white or yellow on the face.
Yellow jackets are often mistaken for other insects like honey bees, hornets, and paper wasps. Unlike honey bees, yellow jackets do not have tan hair on their bodies.
Yellow jackets are social wasps that live in colonies with up to thousands of wasps. These nests are usually built on the ground under a porch, in the cracks of a sidewalk, or near trees. Sometimes yellow jackets will build nests hanging from tree branches or in the corners of buildings.
Yellow jackets are pollinators and they eat pests like flies and beetles which makes them useful in most cases. These wasps are also scavengers and they will eat fish, meat, and sugary food. They often swarm around trash outdoors.
Yellow jackets have thick barbs that can be used to sting repeatedly, unlike a bee. It is possible for this stinger to become lodged and pull out of the wasp’s body, however. The venom of a yellow jacket is only dangerous to people who are allergic or stung very many times.
A yellow jacket colony begins when a queen builds a small nest and lays eggs. Once the eggs hatch, they are fed until they mature worker wasps. By autumn, a yellow jacket nest may have 1,000 or more individuals. Some large nests can reach up to 5,000 individuals, but some types of yellow jackets in the south can build perennial colonies with many queens and tens of thousands of workers. All worker wasps are sterile females and all are capable of stinging. Male wasps do not appear until the late summer, at which point they mate with females that become queens in the spring. Fertilized females hibernate through the winter while the males and female workers die in the cold.
Because yellow jackets are beneficial insects, pest control is typically reserved for cases in which they pose a risk to pets or people. At Pest Defense Solutions, our exterminator in El Paso will help you customize a treatment program that eliminates yellow jackets from your home. Contact us today if you have a yellow jacket nest on your property and you or someone else may be allergic.