Archive for Pest Control

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

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

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

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)