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?

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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.

 

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.

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.