Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. Because they work from the inside out, infestations are often not found until significant damage has already been done. Spring marks the beginning of the termite swarming season and these destructive pests are found in most of the United States (except for Alaska). What do you need to know before swarming season starts to help control termites? Find out the answers to many of your termite questions below.
What Time Of Year Do Termites Come Out?
Termites swarm as the weather begins to warm, usually at the beginning of spring or summer and usually after a rain event. Termites swarm when they go in search of a location to establish a new colony. Colonies typically don’t produce a swarm until they have been established for at least 3 years.
Do Swarming Termites Mean An Infestation?
If a swarm happens inside your home, most of them will not survive to establish a new colony but it does mean that your home is likely infested. If a swarm happens outside your home or if you notice just a few stragglers inside, your home is most likely not infested but a colony (or multiple colonies) are present nearby.
Do Swarming Termites Cause Damage?
Swarming termites have one purpose – to reproduce and establish a new colony. In fact, they don’t have biting or chewing mouthparts to cause damage to your home. Several hundred swarmers are produced by each colony but only a small percentage of these actually survive to start the new colony.
What Is The Difference Between Swarming Termites And Flying Ants?
Termites have straight antennae and wide bodies without pinched waists. They are usually black or dark brown in color. Swarming termites have wings that are the same length and clear in color. Termites are found in decaying stumps, trees, wood debris, lumber, and other wooden structures. They cause structural damage by eating wood and other cellulose-based products like paper.
Flying ants (also known as carpenter ants) have elbowed antennae and pinched waists. They can be black, brown or reddish in color. They have 2 pairs of wings that differ in size and are tinted brown in color. Carpenter ants also inhabit wood and wood structures; however, they don’t eat wood and therefore do not usually cause any structural damage. They do eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and food debris in and around your home.
The main attractant to termites is food. Termites love to eat anything wood or cellulose-based including lumber, firewood, newspaper, and more. They also like warm, dark places that are undisturbed such as your crawlspace. They also thrive in moist soil, especially around your foundations.
What Is The Most Effective Termite Treatment?
While there are some do-it-yourself options you can do around your home, these are more suitable for termite prevention rather than termite control. Getting rid of termites is a job best left to the professionals. Some things you can do around your home to help prevent termites include:
Getting rid of decayed lumber and firewood and moving wood products away from your foundations.
Reduce moisture in crawlspaces.
Repair leaky faucets and pipes.
Divert excess water from foundations with properly functioning gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks.
Position sprinklers to spray away from foundations.
Liquid termite treatments have been around for years. Their purpose is to provide a long-lasting barrier in the soil that keeps termites from entering and infesting buildings. This treatment also helps eliminate termites that are already inside structures as it prevents them from getting back to the soil for supplemental moisture.
Bait termite treatments use a cellulose-based food product combined with a slow acting pesticide. The bait stations are installed below the ground where termites eat the bait and share it with other termites in their colony. This leads to a gradual decline in the termite population infesting the structure.
The climate of Georgia (and the southern United States in general) provide the ideal environment for several species of spiders. The humidity and subtropical conditions provide just the right setting for these pests to thrive. Almost all species of spiders found in the United States pose no threat to humans. In fact, of the 38 known species of spiders in Georgia, only 2 are harmful to humans. Here are 10 of the most common spiders found in Georgia and the threat they may pose to you and your family.
Black widow spiders are black and shiny in color with a prominent red hourglass shape on their back. They are most often found around woodpiles and can easily access your home by hitching a ride inside on your firewood. They are also found in common places around your home where they can be undisturbed like eaves, empty boxes, and even shoes that are stored away and never worn. Black widows can be harmful to humans if bitten. While males rarely bite, females have been known to be aggressive especially when they are guarding their eggs. Black widow bite symptoms include fever, elevated blood pressure, nausea, and sweats. Death is uncommon after a black widow bite, especially if treatment is received quickly. In fact, there has not been a black widow related death in the United States in over 10 years.
Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown in color (hence their name) with a signature dark brown violin shape on their backs. They are commonly found outdoors in debris and woodpiles. If they are found indoors, they are usually found underneath furniture, inside storage bins, and in dark recesses like baseboards. They are often found hiding out in closets, attics, and crawlspaces. Brown recluse spiders will bite when on the defensive. These bites are very painful and often leave an open, ulcerating sore that must be treated by a medical professional. Other symptoms include fever, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping.
Common House Spider
House spiders vary in color but most are yellow to brown in color with elongated abdomens. They are most often found inside homes (hence their name) usually in ceiling corners, under furniture, and inside closets, basements, garages, and crawlspaces. When outdoors, they are often found around windows, under eaves, and near light sources. While they can be a nuisance to have in your home, they don’t pose any threat to humans. Because of the low humidity and fewer insects in modern homes, house spiders are becoming less common in houses and more likely to be found in garages, sheds, barns, and warehouses.
Wolf spiders are typically dark brown in color with pale markings or stripes. Their legs are long and spiny and most have hair on their bodies. When indoors, wolf spiders typically stay on or near the floor, especially along walls and under furniture. They often come inside on firewood. When found outside they are usually found under firewood piles, leaves, yard debris, and stones and will often hide in these places during the day. While wolf spiders can bite, these incidents are rare and they don’t pose a significant threat to humans. Wolf spiders are unique in that they don’t capture their prey in webs but rather by chasing them down using their speed.
Crevice spiders have similar shapes and coloring as brown recluse spiders and are, in fact, often mistaken for them. While they do have the same light to dark brown coloring and similar body shape, they do not have the signature violin-shaped markings that the brown recluse has. They are often found in corners and crevices which is where their name comes from, typically located in ceiling corners, along baseboards, and in window frames. They can be beneficial to homeowners as they eat common household pests like flies, roaches, beetles, and wasps. While they can bite if threatened, this is very rare and they do not pose a significant threat to humans.
Yellow Garden Spider
The yellow garden spider is a large, black and yellow spider that is known for spinning large circular webs. Females are black with bright yellow patches on their abdomens. Males are smaller with less yellow coloring on their abdomens. They are typically found outdoors in sunny areas with plants on which they can anchor their webs (hence their name). Garden spiders don’t pose a threat to humans (other than the chance of walking through their sometimes significantly large webs) but they do produce venom that is harmless to humans, but helps to immobilize prey like flies, bees, and other flying insects that are caught in the web.
Orb Weaver Spider
Orb weaver spiders can vary in size and coloring but are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They are known for creating distinctive sheet webs with an escape tunnel at the rear. These webs can be up to 3 feet in diameter. Many orb weavers are brightly colored, have hairy or spiny legs and a relatively large abdomen. Orb weavers are typically nocturnal spiders and many species will build or do repair work on their webs at night. Orb weavers do not pose a threat to humans. They will bite if cornered but the bite is comparable to a bee sting.
The lynx spider is bright green in color, resembling the color of a plant leaf. They will also sometimes have orange on their legs and black dots, as well. Their legs are covered in long black spines. They are very quick in movement and are able to jump large distances to capture their prey. They are often found in open fields, especially those with tall grass surroundings. The lynx spider can be quite useful in agricultural management. They will bite if on the defensive but they do not pose a significant threat to humans.
The trapdoor spider is a large, hairy spider that can range in color from yellowish brown to reddish brown to black. They have powerful jaws and sharp fangs. Trapdoor spiders get their name from the burrows they construct with a cork-like trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk. They spend most of their lives underground and usually hunt at night. Trapdoor spiders are not aggressive and, in fact, are often timid when confronted. They can bite but this is rare. They do not pose a significant threat to humans.
The hobo spider is light to medium brown in color with a down the center with an oblong abdomen. Hobo spiders build funnel webs that open at both ends with one end expanding outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet. Mating season is from June to October and the wandering of males in search of a mate brings them in to much more contact with humans than females. Therefore, male hobo spiders are responsible for more bites than females because of this increased contact with humans. Their bites, however, do not pose a significant threat to humans. Hobo spiders can be found in almost any habitat. They are commonly found in places with holes, cracks, or crevices. They are terrible climbers and are rarely found above ground level. They prefer dark, moist environments like basements, crawlspaces, and window wells.
Contrary to popular belief, Granddaddy Longlegs are not, in fact, spiders; they actually belong to a group of arachnids known as harvesters or harvestmen. The predominant feature of harvesters including the granddaddy longlegs is legs that are exceptionally long in relation to their body size. Harvesters are usually seen around harvest time – hence their name. Just in North America alone there are about 150 species of granddaddy longlegs. They use their extremely long legs to catch their prey rather than building webs. Granddaddy longlegs are not poisonous or venomous and do not pose any threat to humans.
Whether they are dangerous to humans or not, most people would prefer to keep spiders out of their homes as much as possible. The best way to prevent spiders from taking up residence in your house is to get rid of any areas where they can hide. Spiders are more common in the fall and winter as they make their way indoors in search of food and warmth. Keep your garage, attic, and basement clear and decluttered. Try not to leave shoes and clothing on the floor. Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Consider enclosing your crawlspace and sweep down any cobwebs that appear. As always, if you suspect you have a spider problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of spiders you have and provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment and prevention plan.
With the increase in travel during the upcoming Spring Break season, the incidence of bed bugs will be on the rise. Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of; notorious hitchhikers that can travel with ease from place to place. They also don’t discriminate – bed bugs have been reported in accommodations ranging from 1 star motels to 5 star luxury resorts and everywhere in between, and have been reported around the world. Most home bed bug infestations occur after travel or are brought in by guests. So what can you do to make sure these pests don’t arrive uninvited after your spring break travels?
Do Your Homework
There are several resources out there that provide reports of bed bug infestations at hotels and other lodging facilities. The Bed Bug Registry is a free public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Established in 2006, the Bed Bug Registry has mapped more than 12,000 hotels based on over 20,000 reports from travelers. Other user-generated sites like TripAdvisor also offer reviews that include bed bug reports.
Know What To Look For
Bed bugs are small, only about 4 to 5 mm in size. They are the size of a standard pearl. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies that are red or brown in color. Before traveling, download the EPA’s wallet-sized bed bug identification card for reference.
Check Your Accommodations
Where do you look for bed bugs? Bed bugs are excellent hiders. They are nocturnal so finding them during the day can be a challenge. Always check your room thoroughly before unloading your luggage. Bed bugs are usually found within 20 feet of a host (usually a bed). Bed bugs are commonly found in the seams of mattresses, in the cracks of headboards, in baseboards, and in the folds of upholstered furniture. They can also be found in drawers and closets and even in the fabric of luggage rack straps. Be sure to check each of these places thoroughly and use a flashlight if possible. Leave your luggage outside the door while you check for bed bugs. Be sure to also check the sheets and mattress for small brown spots sometimes tinged with blood. This is a tell-tale sign of a bed bug problem.
Know What To Do
If you find evidence of bed bugs in your room, notify the front desk and hotel manager immediately. Request to be transferred to another room that is not above, below, or adjacent to the infested room as bed bugs can travel through cracks in the ceiling, walls, and floor. If you aren’t comfortable, request a refund and find other accommodations. Request that the hotel launder your clothes immediately. Place all your garments in a sealed bag and put them in the dryer again when you get home. Steam your luggage, as well.
Prevention Is Key
One way to avoid bed bugs is to take steps to prevent them in the first place. Pack a large trash bag with your luggage and store your luggage in it while in the room. Don’t leave any clothes, purses, or computer bags on upholstered furniture in your room. Keep all bags closed when not in use. Double check your bags and clothing before you repack. Once you return home, immediately unpack your dirty clothes directly into the washer and then dry them on high heat. Store your suitcases away from any living areas such as in the garage or the basement.
Call A Professional
Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to get rid of. If you suspect you have a bed bug problem, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and the appropriate treatment plan for your situation.
For the first time in fifty years, the U.S. has its first known invasive tick.
The longhorned tick, first discovered in November 2017, has been found in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas. Professionals have had unsuccessful attempts to exterminate this particular species, leading it to be classified as an invasive species.
Normally an animal-attracted pest, the longhorned tick has been known to carry and transmit diseases like Lyme, spotted fever, and Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia (SFTS). SFTS symptoms include fever, vomiting, multiple organ failure, along with many other symptoms. Fortunately, of the ticks tested here in the U.S., no human diseases have been detected.
As always, use the normal precautions towards tick exposure:
Utilize EPA-approved insect repellent.
Wear clothing that covers skin, leaving as little as exposed as possible.
Always check for ticks when hiking or walking through tall grass.
The winter months can bring wildlife indoors as they search for food and shelter from the cold weather, causing property damage by chewing through the wood, insulation, and wiring in your home, and can also carry diseases that threaten the health of you and your family. What critters should you be concerned about? Most wildlife control services include the exclusion, removal, and control of animals such as squirrels, rodents, raccoons, snakes, bees, and birds. Safe removal of the nuisance critter is always the first priority when it comes to wildlife, but what can you do to prevent these animals from getting into your home or property to begin with? Keep reading for tips on wildlife prevention and bird control.
Install door sweeps on exterior doors.
Repair or replace any damaged window and door screens.
Replace loose mortar around foundations and weatherstripping around windows and doors.
Inspect the exterior of your home including the siding for damage, holes, and leaks and repair them immediately.
Repair any holes under exterior stairs, porches, balconies, etc. to keep animals from taking up residence underneath them.
Install chimney caps.
Cover the openings to exhaust fans, soffits, attic vents, and utility pipes.
Inspect your roof annually for water damage and loose or damaged shingles.
Keep your attic, basement, and crawlspace well ventilated and dry.
Clean eaves and gutters regularly to prevent debris from building up.
Don’t leave your garage door open for prolonged periods of time or overnight.
Keep tree limbs cut back at least 6 to 8 feet from your roof line.
Store your firewood off the ground and at least 20 feet from your home.
Keep your grills or barbecues clean and grease-free.
If you have fruit trees make sure you pick or dispose of ripe fruit and clean up any spoiled fruit that may collect at the base of the trees.
Clean up leaves and brush and don’t leave them in piles around your property.
Store your birdseed in secure containers and don’t leave birdseed in your feeders overnight.
Bring in your pet’s food and water dishes at night.
Store food in airtight containers.
Dispose of your garbage regularly and use cans that have secure lids.
If you suspect a wildlife problem, contact a professional wildlife control company. A wildlife removal expert will inspect your home to identify the animal nuisance, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the wildlife from getting into your home in the future. They can also inform you of any existing damage or contamination and provide you with a recommendation for repairs or clean-up.