Archive for Pest Control

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?

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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.

 

What Is An Acorn Weevil?

Kaldari_Curculio_occidentis_01The acorn weevil is a member of a genus of weevils called Curculio. Related species include the pecan weevil, chestnut weevil and filbert weevil. Not surprisingly, the nut from the oak tree plays a prominent role in the life of the acorn weevil. This article will discuss how female weevils manage to lay their eggs inside the hard-shelled nut, and how the acorn benefits the weevil larvae as they grow.

Identification and Detection

A fully grown adult is typically about 3/8-in long and mottled brown in color. The specific coloring allows it to blend well into its surroundings.

A female acorn weevil has a particularly long snout or beak that is ideal for creating holes in acorns, thanks to the saw-like teeth at its very end. The snout has a hollow center which allows the weevil to feed on liquids and plant matter. In some cases, this protrusion is actually longer than the female’s body.

By contrast, acorn weevil larvae will be off-white in color, legless and quite robust. The presence of acorn weevil larvae is detected by examining acorns in the area and looking for holes. An infested acorn may have one or more holes in its shell. One can break open the shell to look for the C-shaped larvae and/or evidence of feeding.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Early in the growing season, an adult female will lay her eggs in a young acorn after she first gains access to the nut by drilling a hole in the shell. After the eggs are laid inside the acorn, the weevil plugs up the hole with her own feces. Just a few days later, the eggs hatch and legless, C-shaped grubs emerge. These larvae are typically 1/4 to 3/8-in long. They grow by feeding on the matter inside the acorn.

In the fall, a grub bores a hole in the acorn shell in order to escape into the surrounding soil. It will burrow down into the ground, and it becomes invisible to possible predators. Once the weevil has burrowed into the soil, it may stay there for as long as two years before it finally emerges as a mature adult.

Squirrels and Infested Acorns

Squirrels often ignore these infested nuts, because they appear to have an innate ability to gather only the “good” nuts. Children are often tempted to collect acorns and bring them into the house. If any of these acorns are infested by acorn weevils, the home’s occupants may be greeted by the sight of wiggly grubs on floors or counters.

There are both natural and chemical controls that may be employed to deal with acorn weevil infestations. To learn more about pest control and the acorn weevil, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Tell Me About Praying Mantis

1280px-Mantis-greece-alonisos-0aThe angelic-looking praying mantis, its arms folded as if in prayer, is actually one of the insect world’s greatest hunters, able to nab even a flitting moth in the blink of an eye. Preferring subtropical and tropical climes, several mantis species have been introduced in the United States as a form of natural pest control.

Appearance

Part of a larger insect group known as praying mantis, the various praying mantis species grow up to six inches in length. Their specialized front legs, folded as if in prayer, are actually designed for hunting, shooting out at lightning speed to capture passing prey, then gripping it tightly with the sharp spines lining its legs. Although they look a little like large grasshoppers, these insects are actually more closely related to cockroaches. Green to brown in color, they blend well with grasses and shrubs.

Habitat

This intriguing bug is found in a wide variety of habitats, although it generally prefers warmer tropical and subtropical regions, living in gardens grasslands, gardens, meadows, deserts and rainforests. Although there are about 1,800 species of mantis in existence, only are 11 are in North America and most of these are not native to the region, having been introduced for pest control. The female deposits eggs in the spring or fall, sealing them in a protective Styrofoam-like egg case for winter protection.

Diet

A voracious eater, the carnivorous praying mantis helps gardeners by eating a wide variety of pests including mosquitoes, roaches, caterpillars, flies, aphids, moths, lizards and even small rodents. This slow-moving insect is an ambusher, hunting by sitting on a plant or twig waiting for prey. Due to a flexible joint between the head and prothorax, the praying mantis is able to rotate its head a full 180 degrees, adding to its considerable hunting skills. This bug eating machine is the only predator known to feed on moths at night and the only one fast enough to catch flies and mosquitoes in flight, often staying close to street and porch lights after dark to catch these speedy insects.

Cannibalism

The praying mantis has some definite cannibalistic tendencies. Not only will this insect eat its own kind when no other prey is available, the mantis young will chow down on one another if they don’t immediately find other food. Part of the insect’s mating ritual includes the unusual practice of the female killing the male by severing his head, devouring him after the sex act is completed.

Nature’s Pest Control

Many farmers and gardeners use the praying mantis as a form of natural pest control. However, if these voracious bug hunters aren’t solving your garden pest problem, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

 

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

How to Avoid Spiders

Spider-Web-Image-WikipediaAvoiding spiders can be bothersome, especially after they get into your house. While not all spiders are dangerous, many are and become threats once they set up home in your house. If they lay eggs, your home could become infested with these crawly creatures. Spiders are naturally attracted to homes because they are dry, warm and offer plenty of dark places in which to hide. Thankfully, there are ways that you can discourage spiders from entering your home.

Regular Cleaning

Keeping your house clean might be your No. 1 defense against spiders. Cleaning your home every day and keeping it as dust-free as possible is a great way to keep spiders and other insects at bay. If you notice any spiderwebs in the corners of your home, you need to take them down right away. Try vacuuming around that area as well to get rid of any eggs that the spider might have laid. Also, vacuum under your furniture. Those are dark spaces, and spiders often nest where they can’t be seen.

Look for Cracks

While it’s impossible for you to find every hole or crack in your home, keep a look out for ones that are noticeable. If it’s noticeable to you, it’s going to be like a welcome invitation to a spider. Start by checking around your windows and doors. If you notice any little gaps, try sealing them with caulk if appropriate.

Light Peppermint Oil

Did you know that peppermint and lemon are natural insect repellents? While it doesn’t keep all insects away, lighting peppermint oil around the house every few days will keep most spiders away. You can also spray some lemon grass oil around your doors and windows. This deters spiders from coming in your house and is an all-natural repellent, so it’s not poisonous to you or other animals.

Professional Assistance

Keeping spiders away is no easy task. However, following the tips above can limit how often you come into contact with these insects. The best way to prevent spiders from getting into your house is to be proactive. Once you see them running around in your home, it becomes more difficult to get rid of them. If you need more information on dealing with spiders, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

 

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

 

What to Look for When Choosing a Pest Control Company?

CLEGGSlogoglowWhen your home becomes infested with pests, the last thing you want to do is hire a less-than-productive company to get rid of them. Choosing a pest control company to handle your needs can be a tricky task. To ensure you hire the right company to fit your needs, here are some things you should consider.

Do Your Research

Find out what services companies offer. Go to their website and learn more about their services.

Recommendations

Another great way to find reliable companies is by word of mouth. Thanks to the Internet, you aren’t limited to recommendations made by your friends and family. You can also find great customer reviews. Remember that no company will have perfect reviews from everyone. What you want to look for is a company that has generally positive feedback overall.

Ask for an Inspection

Good pest control companies offer free home inspections. This is good for two reasons. First, you can have the inspector come out to your home and correctly identify the pest with which you are having problems. Second, you can get an estimate from the company as to how much it will cost to take care of the problem.

Professional Assistance

By using the tips above, you can rest knowing that you hired the right pest control company to handle your infestation. Don’t waste your time with a less-than-reputable company because failure to take care of pests properly can lead to an even bigger swarm of insects. If these pests are left untreated, they can eventually lead to permanent damage in your home. If you need more information on dealing with a home infestation, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

What is an American Carrion Beetle?

1280px-American_carrion_beetleThe American carrion beetle is also known by its scientific name, necrophilia Americana. It gets its name from the prominent role that the flesh of dead animals plays in its existence. For example, it lays its eggs in or around carrion, and the larvae that emerge then feed on the animal remains. The beetles are also known to feed on fungi and rotting fruit. This article will discuss where these beetles live, what they look like and their life cycle.

Identification

The American carrion beetle should not be confused with the endangered American burying beetle. Both insects are part of the same North American beetle family known as Silphidae. The black larvae have an armored look to them.

The beetles themselves are black with a yellow shoulder area, although the coloring varies to a degree from northern to southern areas. The beetles can resemble bumble bees when they are in flight. By contrast, the larger American burying beetle features shiny black and orange-red coloration. Also, the burying beetle is about 1.0 to 1.4-in long, while the smaller American carrion beetle is 0.5 to 0.9-in long.

Habitat

American carrion beetles are found in most areas of the United States that are east of the Rocky Mountains. They more commonly reside in moist environments, and they will be more active on warmer days. As the beetles fly about, their sense of smell alerts them to the presence of dead animals.

Lifecycle

During the daylight hours of the spring, summer and fall months, American carrion beetles will arrive at the carcasses of dead animals several hours after the flies arrive. There, they mate and begin to lay their own eggs.

The emerging beetle larvae will feed on both the raw flesh and the other larvae within it. The adult beetles will often consume other feeding insects to eliminate competition for food. This makes it easier for the beetle larvae to adequately feed and survive. The larvae eventually burrow into the surrounding soil where they spend the winter. They emerge from their pupal stage the next spring, and they mature into adult beetles.

Mites Hitch a Ride

Mites are known to frequently attach themselves to the American carrion beetle as it moves from one dead carcass to another. At each stop along the way, the mites drop from the beetle to also feed on the dead flesh. Therefore, from a pest control standpoint, this type of beetle poses a dual challenge.

Professional Assistance

For more information about how to control the American carrion beetle, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

 

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

What health hazards do I need to be aware of when it comes to rodents?

Apodemus_sylvaticus_bosmuisIn North America, the black rat, the brown rat and the house mouse are the most serious of the disease carrying rodents that are able to infect humans. Approximately two-fifths of mammals are rodents and these pests represent real health hazards to humans. Rodents are unique in that they have a pair of constantly growing incisors in both the upper and lower jaws. To maintain their ability to open and close their mouths; rodents must continually gnaw on hard surfaces, food sources and to burrow out shelters in the ground or housing foundations.

How Rodent Diseases Are Spread

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are more than three dozen human diseases attributable to rats, mice, and the ticks, fleas and mites that live on or have fed on the rodents. Diseases are spread to humans by the handling of rodents without protective gloves and masks. Humans can also contract ailments by direct handling of or breathing in of rodent saliva, urine, and excrement. Other health hazards include: breathing in airborne dust that has been contaminated by rodents; eating or drinking contaminated food or water; and through the skin by the use of contaminated liquids. Infections can also result from direct rodent bites or scratches.

Types of Rodent Health Hazards

Some rodent transmitted health hazards are more serious in nature and may result in permanent disabilities or even death. Below are a few of the most dangerous rodent and rodent parasite transmitted ailments.

  • Bubonic Plague
  • Colorado Tick Fever
  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Lyme
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis
  • Murine Typhus
  • Rat Bite Fever
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Salmonellosis

Prevention of Rodent Health Hazards

The first method of defense in preventing rodent health hazards is to secure your property from potential infestations. Three available avenues are to: seal off outside entryways that rodents may find inviting; place traps in rodent desirable areas; and use masks and gloves when cleaning up rodent droppings, urine or bodies. Thoroughly wash your hands and clothes after contact with rodents or their remains.

Professional Assistance

The best protection against rodent problems for yourself, your family and your property is to call a pest control professional. Don’t wait for a problem to develop when you can be proactive. Contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

What Is Overwintering?

1280px-CathedralofLearningLawinWinterWinter can be a difficult time for anyone, but if you are an insect, it can be even more difficult. Though the climate doesn’t often get bitterly cold in North Carolina, most insects would not be able to survive the drop in temperature unless they used some sort of defense mechanism. Most use a form of hibernation known as overwintering.

How Do Insects Overwinter?

An insect can overwinter during any stage of its life from egg to adult. Most adult insects, like ladybugs or stink bugs, will overwinter in a fashion similar to a bear hibernating in a cave. They find an area where they will be comfortable and start the hibernation process. When insects are in the larvae stage, such as a caterpillar, they can also overwinter. In this case, they will bury into the ground or into mulch and leaves to get through the cold months. Insects in other lifecycles, such as nymphs, pupae and eggs will find that overwintering is easily done in the water or soil, but only a few young insect species do this.

Why Do Insects Overwinter?

The main reason that insects will overwinter is simply the instinct of survival. During overwintering, an insect will go into a state known as diapause where their growth and development stops. During this time, they do not need nutrition or any other sustenance. If all goes well, they will awake from this state and emerge in the spring no different than they were in before beginning the overwintering process.

How Does Overwintering Effect Homeowners?

One of the issues that many homeowners will face when insects overwinter is that these pests will often find themselves waking from their hibernation due to the warmth of a home. Many insects, for instance, will find shelter for the winter under eaves of the roof or around the foundation of a home. As the outside cools down, the inside warms up. Their instinct kicks in and they make their way indoors. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to stop this.

Prevention

The best way to prevent insects coming into your home is to do some work before winter hits. Take some time to caulk around windows, doors and any pipes that are coming into your home. You should also seal cracks and around the roof and eaves. Finally, check that all screens on windows and doors are free from holes.

Get Assistance

If you find that insects are still getting in during the winter and need assistance, contact Clegg’s online or at 888-672-5344.

 

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