What is a Bald-Faced Hornet?

Oosterse_hoornaar_Vespa_orientalis_(1)A bald-faced hornet is a wasp that is identifiable by its black and white face and body. The wasp is about 3/4 an inch in length, and is found in meadows, bushes and other natural areas. It can also invade homes and gardens, and may lay their larvae inside insulated areas of the home. Bald-faced hornets are considered beneficial insects because they eat a wide variety of other insects, such as houseflies. However, you do need to be careful because it does sting and it can be a health hazard when the nest is located near the home.

Identifying the Nest

Bald-faced hornets typically make a nest off the ground using woody materials, which are chewed and formed into a funnel shape. The nest is grayish in color, and can be found hanging from bushes or trees. In some cases, the bald-faced hornet builds its nest inside walls, attics or crawlspaces of the home. Nests that are found during the winter months do not usually pose a problem because the insects die out over the winter and do not reuse abandoned nests.

Behaviors of the Bald-Faced Hornet

Although bald-faced hornets reduce the populations of some pest insects, the hornets are also defensive and can be aggressive when the nest is threatened. The hornets live in colonies of 100 to 700 wasps. When disturbed, the wasps sting the intruder. Along with stinging when threatened, bald-faced hornets can squirt venom into the person’s, or animal’s, eyes, which can be painful and may cause temporary blindness.

Professional Assistance

Because bald-faced hornets are quite aggressive and can cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, it is recommended that a professional pest removal company remove nests located near populated areas. If bald-faced hornets are invading your home or garden, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344 for professional assistance.

 

Image via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hornet

Learn About the Mighty Aphids

Acyrthosiphon_pisum_(pea_aphid)-PLoSAphids, also called plant lice, are small,winged insects that live on the underside of leaves and eat plant life. Aphids can be black or brown, or the insect can be pink, green or yellow. At 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length, the insects are often easily missed until the infestation is severe enough to cause damage to gardens, crops and houseplants.

Habitat and Behavior

Aphids live in nearly all environments, including swamps, deserts and forests, and are found in most countries around the world. The insects are very lightweight, which allows aphids to travel for long distances on wind currents. Aphids are not active during the winter months, but are active during both the day and at night throughout the warmer months of the year. Aphid populations can remain in the same area for long periods of time as long as plant life is present to support the food requirements of the colony.

Males are not necessary for female aphids to reproduce. The female aphid lays female eggs when males aren’t present, and the colony can continue this method of reproduction indefinitely. Aphids are well-know for their ability to damage crops. The insects live along the plant stem and under leaves, and produce a sugar by-product called honeydew that remains on the plant. The sugar can draw ants and other insects to the area.

Damage Caused by Aphids

A single aphid can produce hundreds of larvae within a short period of time, which allows the insects to infest greenhouses and gardens very quickly. Because aphids are active 24 hours a day, the insects can quickly damage large quantities of plant life when the insect is left uncontrolled. The honeydew produced by aphids also encourages damage to plant life. Insects that eat the honeydew may unintentionally damage the plant in search of or while consuming the sugary by-product.

Professional Assistance

If aphids are damaging your lawns and garden, or eating valuable crops, contact Clegg’s online or by telephone at 888-672-5344 for assistance in controlling the pests.

 

Image via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphid

 

What Is so Interesting About the American Oil Beetle?

800px-Drawing-1The American oil beetle is a unique and fascinating insect often found throughout eastern portions of the United States. With its painful defense mechanisms and a bizarre life cycle, these small beetles have a very interesting story to tell. Unfortunately, they can also sometimes become pests. Here’s what you need to know about Meloe americanus, the American oil beetle.

Appearance

The flightless American oil beetle is easily recognizable due to its large body, which can grow to more than one and a half inches in length, as well as its dark coloring that produces a slight violet or dark blue iridescence. The body bulges slightly and features a segmented shell that looks like armor plating. American oil beetles generally appear during early Fall, at which point they begin their mating season. Their range extends throughout much of the eastern United States and portions of Canada.

The Blister Beetle

There’s a good reason the American oil beetle is one of several species referred to as “blister beetles.” The oil beetle produces a toxic chemical called cantharidin in its bloodstream, which it uses as a defense mechanism by secreting drops of oily yellow blood through its leg joints. Cantharidin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to science, and it can cause painful blisters and chemical burns on contact with skin. It’s also extremely poisonous to humans, horses, pets and other animals if consumed.

A Medical Marvel?

The most fascinating aspect of the American oil beetle, however, is that the chemical cantharidin may also have important medical uses. Topical application can help to treat warts, cutaneous leishmaniasis and other afflictions, and recent studies have suggested that it may have powerful anti-tumor properties. Though the chemical itself is far too toxic to be used as a treatment, the medical community is hard at work developing new compounds based on cantharidin that may play a role in the fight against cancer.

Pest Control

The American oil beetle is truly a fascinating insect, with unique defense mechanisms and a significant value to science. However, it can also become a pest to homeowners. Oil beetles typically produce as many as 10,000 young larvae, so populations can get out of hand if left unchecked. The toxic secretions they produce can pose a risk to pets and young children, and it can be difficult to remove a population once it has become a nuisance. If your yard or home is being overrun by American oil beetles, there’s no need to fret. Simply contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetle

What’s All the Buzz About the Bumblebee?

bumblebeeOriginally named the “humble bee”, the beloved bumblebee is a popular icon in young children’s drawings and a happy sight in gardens. Slow and gentle, this chubby winged insect bumbles drowsily from flower to flower with a lazy buzz, providing beneficial cross-pollination for healthy flowers and vegetables. There are about 300 species of bumblebee worldwide, with around 45 in North America, and each species has its own preference of flower and type of nectar.

Social Life

Social insects, bumblebees live in colonies with a single queen. There may be as few as 50 insects in a nest, far smaller than honeybee colonies. Colonies are commonly found in the garden under leaves, stones and logs and grow larger over the summer as worker bees defend the nest and gather pollen and nectar from flowers to feed their young. Though females are able to sting repeatedly, bumblebees pretty much avoid people and other animals and only sting when threatened.

Appearance

The bumblebee has thin wings and a round, plump body covered in soft black hair called pile which may have a few stripes of warning coloration. The bumblebee body consists of the head, thorax and abdomen. The thorax is really a box of muscles, with the largest being the flight muscles, while the abdomen incorporates the honey stomach, sting, wax glands and reproductive and digestive organs. Queens are generally the largest colony resident. Size varies considerably across the species, with the largest being the bombus dahlbomii of Chile, which is often referred to as the “flying mouse”!

Life of a Bumblebee

Like honeybees and wasps, bumblebees feed on nectar from flowers, lapping up the liquid with long, hairy tongues, and also bring nectar back to the nest for storing and to feed their young. Unfortunately, bumblebee populations are declining across North America due to pesticides, loss of natural habitats and the mechanization of agriculture. The bumblebee’s main natural predator is the skunk, a creature able to withstand the pain of repeated stings while chowing down on the fuzzy insects.

The Beneficial Bumblebee

Most gardeners and farmers welcome the bumblebee, whose efficient natural pollination increases production of crops including cucumbers, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, squash and various flowers. So, rejoice if your garden is full of these beneficial cross pollinating little charmers.

Professional Assistance

In some situations, bumble bees can be a nuisance or pose a health risk, particularly for those with bee allergies. If bees are entering the home or living near an outdoor work space, and you are interested in professional assistance, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

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

What Is A Blue Dasher?

Pachydiplax_longipennis_Blue_Dasher_1500pxA blue dasher is a dragonfly that is found in most regions of the United States and in some parts of Canada and Mexico. Typically, the blue dasher is considered a beneficial insect that can help control the population of pest insects. And the best part is that this insect does not bite or sting humans. Learn more about them below.

The Behaviors

Blue dashers, like other types of dragonflies, lay eggs in bodies of still or slow-moving water. Even small pools of water can become a breeding ground for these dragonflies. After the eggs hatch, the nymph lives in the water for a period of time before developing an exoskeleton. The nymph eats other insects, insect eggs or small fish living in the water. When the nymph is ready to leave the water, it sheds the exoskeleton.

The Features

Mature blue dashers are identifiable by their striking color. The dragonfly’s face and eyes are blue-green, the stomach is blue and the insect’s thorax is a combination of brown and yellow. The dragonfly can reach nearly 2 inches in length, and has large, clear wings that feature black or brownish veins. As the dragonfly ages, its wings may become tattered or broken. Blue dashers are also excellent fliers, and can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. They can also see 360 degrees around its body, an ability that helps the dragonfly locate prey easily.

The Benefits

Blue dashers are excellent insects to have on the property when mosquitoes and other pest insects are present. This is because they eat several species of pest insects, including mosquitoes and gnats, by grabbing the insects out of the air. The blue dasher is particularly helpful in reducing mosquito populations when water is present on or near the property, as the dragonfly nymphs eat mosquito eggs and the adult dragonflies eat mature mosquitoes.

The Professionals

Although dragonflies are very beneficial insects, there are some situations that may require controlling blue dasher populations. Dragonflies can become quite numerous around ponds, marshes, swamps and slow-moving bodies of water, which may lead to the dragonfly becoming a nuisance. If dragonflies are becoming a nuisance, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344.

 

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

Things You May Not Know About the Bed Bug

1280px-Bed_bug,_Cimex_lectulariusTravelers and homeowners alike are concerned with the possibility of unintentionally inviting bed bugs into their beds and upholstered furnishings. Since bed bugs can travel from place to place by hitching a ride on luggage, clothing or even pets, it’s vitally important to keep an eye on beds, furniture and carpeting to see if you need bed bug treatments. Most reputable hotels schedule regular inspections with a licensed professional exterminator to nip any infestations in the bud, but that does not mean a few of the little critters won’t escape detection and end up as uninvited guests in your home. Following are a few important tips for eliminating the nasty little pests and having a pleasant, bite-free sleep.

About the Bed Bug

As members of the genus Cimex, these parasitic insects were nicknamed for their tendency to favor habitats where humans sleep. Bed bug nymphs are lightly colored and molt six times before reaching adulthood; the clear, empty exoskeletons they leave behind are one of the tell-tale traces of an infestation. Fully grown bed bugs are between four and five millimeters in length and light brown in color. Their flat body enables them to sneak through tiny seams and narrow crevices.

Bedbug Bites

Not only are bed bugs unsightly and difficult to eradicate, they can also cause a host of health issues, including allergic reactions and skin rashes. You may wake up in the morning with bites on the neck, hands, arms or face along with associated swelling, itching and redness. Some people think they’ll be safe if they switch on a lamp before going to bed. However, although they are nocturnal feeders, bed bugs will also feed in daylight, so keeping the lights on at night will not deter their attacks.

Telltale Traces

If you’re waking up a little itchy in the morning, check your bed, upholstered furniture and carpets for signs of an infestation. Indications the little pests are in your furniture include tiny, dark-colored fecal spots, clear exoskeleton molts and smears of blood. To do a thorough inspection, you’ll need to pull back all linens, lift the mattress and look around all seams, tags, dust ruffles, sheets and pillowcases. They love to hide around mattress tags and bedposts. You may also notice an odor reminiscent of over-ripe raspberries.

What to Do

If you think you have a bed bug problem, call a licensed professional exterminator as soon as possible. It’s very difficult to rid your home of these pests on your own and the sooner you call for help, the more successful you’ll be. If you’re seeing telltale signs of an infestation, contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344 for a complete evaluation of your bedbug situation.

 

Image via: Bed Bug Image Location

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