What You Need To Know About Termite Swarm Season

TermitesIn the Spring, flowers are blooming, the trees are filling with green leaves and birds begin chirping at the first sign of dawn. Another sign that spring has sprung isn’t quite as nice, however, and can be an annoyance to homeowners throughout North Carolina. Yes, spring is the time when termites swarm and though this behavior may not last long, if you are like most homeowners, you aren’t pleased when these flying insects invade your property. What do you need to know about these pests?

Swarming Termites Can Settle In And Stay All Year

Some people know that swarms of termites are only temporary, so they won’t take the time to contact an exterminator. This, however, could be a mistake since the colony could feed on your home throughout the entire year, no matter how cold it gets outside. Any time there is a swarm of insects in or around the home, they should be identified, so try to capture a few of them in a jar or bag before calling the exterminator. This way, they can easily be identified.

Swarming Termites Are Only Part Of A Greater Whole

You should know that swarming termites are only part of a colony. There are other termites that stay underground forever and never take flight. So, just because you no longer see swarms of termites, that doesn’t mean they are no longer on your property. On the contrary, there could be thousands of them moving through the dirt just under your feet.

Swarming Termites Won’t Hurt You, But They Could Hurt Your Home

Swarming termites will not bite a human, but shortly after they take flight, their wings will fall off, and they will need to find retreats. Though many run for the soil, others could get into your home. Once they are inside, they have a full buffet of wood in front of them. Remember, even if you don’t see the termites themselves, you may see the wings that have broken off. Any sign of a termite swarm, even if it isn’t the termites themselves, is a sign that you should contact a professional exterminator.

For more information on termite swarms, and controlling your termite population, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Termite

Learn About the Imperial Moth

1024px-Imperial_moth_IllinoisThe spectacular Imperial Moth is found in forests, rural areas and suburbs throughout much of the eastern United States. Members of the giant silkworm moth family, imperials are some of the largest known moths in North America.

Appearance

Adult imperial moths are spectacular creatures with a wingspan from three to nearly seven inches and a yellow upper side adorned with pinkish brown patches, spots, bands and scattered tiny brown spots. Females are bigger, and males can be identified by their larger forewing patches. Adults do not eat, reserving all their energy for mating and producing eggs before they die. Imperial moth females lay their eggs at dusk either singly or in small groups of two to five on host plant leaves, bearing only one brood during the months of April to October in the south and June to August in the North.

Larvae

Giants of the insect world, imperial moth larvae hatch after two weeks and go to work munching on the leaves of a huge variety of both woody and evergreen trees. These large, spiky green or brown caterpillars have orange horns and eat voraciously to sustain themselves for their entire life cycle; once they become moths, they do not feed. The caterpillars prefer the leaves of trees including oak, maple, spruce, pine, hemlock, cedar, and go through five instars, or developmental stages, producing a silk cocoon each time they molt. After eating their fill, they retire to underground burrows to pupate.

Populations

There has been a marked decrease in the populations of imperial moths in recent years. It is suspected that the prevalence of high-wattage street lamps has contributed to this, as the glow makes them more visible to predators like birds. Insecticides and parasitoid flies introduced to help control nefarious gypsy moths have ended up harming other silk worm species including the imperial moth larvae, resulting in declining populations in the northeastern states.

Professional Help

A solitary feeder, the imperial moth caterpillar can eat a lot of foliage, but seldom devours enough of a single specimen to cause any serious damage and is not generally seen as a threat to landscaping or gardens. However, the leaf-eating larvae of several other moths can do extensive damage to vegetables, fruit trees and ornamental shrubs.

For more information, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eacles_imperialis

Did you know there is a hister beetle?

Hister.unicolor.-.calwer.17.02The hister beetle, better known as the clown beetle, are often found on or around decaying vegetation or dung. They are predatory feeders and often feed on the larvae of flies, but interestingly enough, there are some species of the hister beetle that feed on their own kind. Currently, there are almost 4,000 different species of the hister beetle, and they can be found worldwide, including in North Carolina. If your property has a lot of vegetation that is dead or dying, or livestock, such as chickens, it is quite possible that you may have a colony of them just steps away. These beetles are known to migrate from feeding spot to feeding spot, and they do so using their scent of smell. Though most homeowners don’t like the idea of a beetle colony on their property, hister beetles, like spiders, can perform a beneficial service. They do this by feeding on the larvae of pests, such as the common house fly.

The Hister Beetle Will Integrate with Other Species

Though not common or well known, the hister beetle has been known to integrate with other types of insects. For instance, they have been found living in colonies of ants when young. It isn’t known why they do this, but they have been seen being fed by ants, too, perhaps as a form of protection for their nests. The Hister, after all, is a predator, and as it gets older they tend to begin feeding on the ants themselves.

The Hister Beetle Prefers Dry and Decaying Locations

If you have land or areas of disrepair, such as an old shed, they may serve as a breeding ground for this beetle. But, they don’t stay there as they quickly spread out to the surrounding areas as they begin searching for sustenance. They are often found in areas that have been infested with termites, too. Why? As the termites breed, the hister beetle has an immediate food supply. They also make a point to inhabit locations where their prey feeds.

Is The Hister Beetle A Problem?

The hister beetle, though helpful in many ways, can become problematic as their colony size grows, as it may take a localized ecosystem out of balance.

For more information, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histeridae

How to Protect Your Home From Cockroaches?

EcdysisCockroaches can be a serious problem for homeowners, and not just because they are unsightly. Cockroaches can spread disease, and it is even possible to be allergic to cockroach droppings. Whether you are dealing with the oriental cockroach, the smokybrown cockroach, the German cockroach or the particularly large American cockroach, there are some ways to help prevent them from getting into your home. These tips can help keep cockroaches out and then help you deal with them if they do make it inside.

Find and Seal Any Exterior Holes

Rather than fighting cockroaches in your home nonstop, figure out how they are getting in and prevent their entry altogether. Search the exterior of your home for any cracks or holes. Fill these holes with caulk or an all-weather sealant. Even if a crack seems small, roaches can still surprise you and find their way inside.

Clean Your Kitchen Every Day

A clean kitchen can be a key way to help keep roaches out of the home. Never leave dirty dishes in the sink or uneaten food on plates overnight. If you have a dishwasher, make sure that it clicks closed at night, as cockroaches can still find their way inside otherwise. Scrub cabinets and countertops with a mixture of water and detergent to cut any grease and leave your kitchen completely clean. Invest in a special cleaning solution for stovetops and use it every two or three days if there is any caked-on food residue.

Get Rid of Excess Cardboard

If you have any old corrugated cardboard around the house, toss it out. Cockroaches can eat cardboard, but even more frustrating is the fact that cardboard boxes can serve as a shelter for the pests and are seen by cockroaches as an attractive place to lay eggs.

For more information, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockroach

What is So Great About the Great Golden Digger Wasp?

SphexPensylvanicusTypically the general public thinks of wasps as undesirable. As insects, they are often seen as both a nuisance and harmful. In some ways, this stereotype holds water, but the great golden digger wasp does quite a bit of good for the environment. The following are some of the central, positive characteristics of this species of wasp.

A Bit of Background

The great golden digger wasp falls within the genus of Sphex, and this particular wasp lives and thrives in North America. Essentially, this means that this particular wasp belongs to a broader genus of predators that effectively paralyzes other insects with its venom. Once these wasps have stung and paralyzed their prey, they then get busy digging a hole, where they will eventually place their prize. More often than not, the prey of these wasps are left alive and have just been shocked and paralyzed by their toxins.

How Do These Insects Impact Human Beings?

Most homeowners want to run at the sight of wasps; and, they are not to be blamed for this. After all, certain wasps are known to sting often and disrupt peoples’ outdoor activities. However, the great golden digger wasp is one that you will want to retain and actually keep on your property. Although its size and coloration look both foreign and scary, these wasps are notoriously gentle, and they are very rarely known to sting. In addition, because these wasps are known to trap and paralyze other insects, they are actually quite beneficial to your outdoor space. You may very well want to think about these wasps as a natural form of pest control.

How to Cope With the Great Golden Digger Wasp

Now that some of the benefits of the great golden digger wasp have been outlined, many people want to know how to handle them when found on their property. The main piece of advice that experts provide is to leave them alone. These wasps are incredibly curious, but they are also highly unlikely to cause you any harm. So, do not bat violently at them or provoke them. It is best that you let them go about their business. When you observe them crawling about the greenery of your garden, keep in mind that these wasps are actually doing quite a bit of good in eliminating pests from your green space. However, if at any time you feel as if these wasps are becoming a pest, it is best to contact a trusted pest control company.

For more information on the great golden digger wasp, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digger_wasp

If Milkweed Bugs Don’t Damage Flowers, What Do They Do?

Milkweedbug1Milkweed bugs are an odd pest. It was believed that milkweed bugs damaged plants, but recent research suggests otherwise. In the wild, the only plant that milkweed bugs eat is milkweed. This is often considered helpful since milkweed is poisonous to most creatures. However, just because they like to chow down on milkweed doesn’t mean that this is a bug that you want living in your yard.

Milkweed Bugs Everywhere

Not everyone has to deal with milkweed infestations. They are usually drawn to homes that have milkweed plants for them to eat. Homes that do have milkweed bugs will find them everywhere. These bugs have a habit of staying in large groups as a way to enhance their warning color, which is bright orange. They have also been known to make their way inside buildings to seek protection. Stepping or crushing one by mistake is a pain to clean because they leave behind their signature orange coloring.

Not Many Natural Predators

If you are thinking about waiting for another bug to come along and clear out your infestation of milkweed bugs, you better think again. Unfortunately, this bug does not have many natural predators. A lot of this has to do with the warning color mentioned above. There are few bugs or animals that will eat insects that are orange in color as it’s associated with bad taste.

Food

While wild milkweed bugs like to feed on milkweed plants, those in captivity like to feed on sunflower seeds. This means that even though the bugs prefer to feed on milkweed plants, they have the ability to live a full life eating the seeds of plants. This may be a serious problem for farms or gardeners who find milkweed bugs attracted to their yard by milkweed plants. Once the milkweed plant is all gone, the bugs may turn their attention to the seeds of other plants. In general, however, these bugs are not believed to be a threat to other plants.

Unless you grow milkweed plants, milkweed bugs aren’t going to be a huge problem aside from them hanging out in groups in plants, which isn’t always pleasing to look at. Some homeowners, however, might like having milkweed bugs around because they are one of the few insects that can tolerate eating the toxic compound that is found in milkweed.

To learn more about milkweed bugs or any other pests, contact Clegg’s online or by phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lygaeidae

Since St. Patty’s Day just passed, learn about the shamrock spider!

Irish_cloverWhen you think of St. Patrick’s Day, you probably picture shamrocks, leprechauns, parties and plenty of emerald green. Although bugs probably don’t pop in your mind, there is one creature that goes along perfectly with this holiday since it is called the shamrock spider.

What Is the Shamrock Spider?

The araneus trifolium, or shamrock spider, is part of the orb weaver family. These creatures are also sometimes known as pumpkin spiders. Even though its name might give you this impression, the shamrock spider is not actually green.

Since shamrock spiders are orb weavers, they create a new web each day. These spiders can be fascinating to watch, especially in the early morning hours. If you watch closely, you’ll see the spider first tear down the previous day’s web, and then create a new web. The new web will normally be placed in the same location.

Just like other orb weavers, you will usually find a shamrock spider sitting upside down in the middle of its web. However, these cunning spiders don’t always stay in their webs. In order to attract unsuspecting prey, they will hide nearby behind leaves or other natural materials after attaching a thread to their webs to feel movement.

What Does a Shamrock Spider Look Like?

Some people find that shamrock spiders are difficult to identify because they come in a variety of colors. Female shamrock spiders can be dark red, light yellow, dark yellow, tan, red-orange, purple, black or brown. However, the males are normally a combination of browns and yellows.

The shamrock spider is known for its bold black and white legs. These legs especially stand out on spiders that have brightly colored orbs. If you’re trying to determine whether or not you’re looking at a shamrock spider, it’s important to remember that its stripes will always be in threes.

Is the Shamrock Spider Dangerous?

If you’ve found shamrock spiders on your property, you’ll be pleased to know that these types of spiders are not dangerous. The shamrock spider’s bite is not poisonous to humans. In fact, they are a favorite among some gardeners since they can reduce the amount of smaller pests in your yard.

Of course, you want to have shamrock spiders outside of your home and not in its interior. If you are dealing with spiders or other pests inside your house, contact Clegg’s online or at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamrock

What Bugs Are A Common Problem In the Spring Time?

1024px-Colorful_spring_garden

For homeowners, the start of spring can mark a very unpleasant time. While there are a number of bugs that cause problems during the summer, many insects come out of hibernation at the start of spring when the weather becomes enjoyable again. Here are some of the pests that commonly become problems at the start of spring.

Hornets, Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Carpenter Bees

All of these pests have been lumped together because infestations of these types of insects usually happen in the same way. Having an infestation of bees during the spring is considered rare because bees are more active during the summer. However, these pests often choose to spend winter in the walls and attics of people’s homes. When they spend the winter in your home, they never have to deal with the frost that they would have had to deal with if they hibernated outside. As a result, they usually come out of hibernation early. Once awake, these insects quickly start to establish new colonies, most often within your house. Carpenter bees are a prime example of a flying insect that wakes up in spring to lay eggs. By summer, these newly laid eggs are ready to hatch.

Carpenter Ants

As soon as temperatures start hitting around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which typically happens in the spring in North Carolina, carpenter ants wake up and start seeking food and new places to nest. This types of insect can be seen both inside and outside the home in spring. The biggest problem with carpenter ants is that they love to create tunnels in the wood of homes. Over time, this starts to create serious structural issues for houses. The presence of carpenter ants is never good and is something that has to be dealt with right away.

Spiders

If you have other insects in your home, you can bet that spiders are there too. Just like other insects, spiders like to find shelter in your home during the winter. They often set up their homes on porches and other sheltered areas, such as basements and garages. The presence of spiders in your home is never a good sign. Along with the infestation of spiders, you have to consider what insects were in your home to draw the spiders there.

For professional help dealing with an infestation of spring pests, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_(season)

What are some common stinging insects?

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Insects can be more than a nuisance. Some species are genuine health hazards, and an infestation will ruin your garden, transmit diseases to your children and even kill your household pets. Here are just a few common stinging insects that you should beware for the protection of you and your family.

Bees

No one likes a bee sting, but they can turn downright deadly if the recipient goes into anaphylactic shock. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to hornets, honeybees and bumblebees, all of which have been known to sting if disturbed or provoked. They may look sweet on Hallmark cards, but they represent a big risk if allowed to build hives in your yard.

Wasps

Wasps aren’t bees, but their stings are just as painful. Take precautions when trying to rid yourself of nests or infestations. It’s a common misconception that wasps can only sting once before they die, so even a small swarm can send you to the hospital with dozens of stings.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can carry everything from malaria to the West Nile virus. They’re also extremely difficult to eliminate on your own; there’s only so much that bug lights can do. You’ll need to look into professional-grade insect repellants and misting systems if you truly want to keep your property bloodsucker-free.

Asp Caterpillars

Not all caterpillars are cute and fuzzy. The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) considers the asp caterpillar to be one of the most toxic insects alive, and their venomous hairs can cause a painful and even debilitating sting when they come in contact with human skin.

Fleas and Ticks

While not technically stinging insects, fleas and ticks operate by attaching their suckers to warm-blooded animals, and the results can produce the same effects as stings. You’ll need to be careful when it comes to brushing Fido. Disease-carrying insects can have devastating consequences for their hosts.

Fire Ants

Fire ants inject a venom into the skin of their victims. While a single sting might only cause itchiness or discomfort, people are rarely stung by just one fire ant, so the effects are usually a little more severe. They can be a particular concern among young children.

Protection

If you’re serious about keeping your family safe, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Learn About the Common Coneheads

640px-Coptotermes_formosanus_shiraki_USGov_k8204-7All termites are devastating pests for any homeowner. However, there are some species of termites that are more problematic than others. One example is the common conehead termite, which bears the scientific name nasutitermes corniger. Due to the extensive tunnels that these termites build, their presence can spell disaster for homeowners. When it comes to conehead termites, it can be beneficial to familiarize yourself with certain facts.

Characteristics

The conehead termite gets its name from its cone-shaped head, which is usually dark in color. Despite this being a defining characteristic of the species, only the termites bear the cone-shaped head. Termites make up a rather large portion of the termite nest, up to 20 to 30 percent of the settlement. Thankfully, the cone-shaped head is not the only characteristic that sets conehead termites apart from other species. While other termites are known for building narrow tunnels, conehead termites tend to build more extensive, wider tunnels. While this is an impressive feat for the termite, it translates to less structural stability for your home.

Diet

Conehead termites are often found in many southern states, reaching all the way up to North Carolina. It was first found in Florida in 2001 and is a drywood species of termite, like many of the termites found in Central America and the Caribbean. These termites feed on anything that contains cellulose. In the wild, they often infest roots, shrubs and trees. When they infest a house, they start to feed on fence posts, furniture and structural lumber.

Infestation Signs

Unfortunately, the signs of infestation can be hard to spot for the untrained eye. This is why many homeowners call in pest control experts when they fear that they are infested. However, homeowners may notice holes in wood of their property popping up in different areas. These holes are the entrances to tunnels that lead to the termite colony. Another sign is a visual confirmation of a conehead termite.

Reproduction

Once conehead termites set up a colony in your home, it doesn’t take long for them to spread. This is because these termites contain both males and females that reproduce. They also spread quickly around your yard since many conehead termites develop wings. This allows them to travel and mate. Once they mate, they can easily return back to their nest. This process is repeated often until your property is infested.

Professional Assistance

If you think your home is under infestation of conehead termites, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.