Pest Control you can trust!

ROACHES

German Cockroach

German cockroaches are thigmotactic, meaning they prefer confined spaces, and they are small compared to other pest species, so they can hide within small cracks and crevices that are easy to overlook. In color, it varies from tan to almost black, and it has two dark, roughly parallel, streaks on the pronotum running from behind the head to the base of the wings, although it has wings, it can barely fly, although it may glide when disturbed.

In cold climates, they occur only near human dwellings, because they cannot survive severe cold. However, they would soon die outdoors on their own.

German cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers. They are attracted particularly to meats, starches, sugars, and fatty foods. Where a shortage of foodstuff exists, they may eat household items such as soap, glue, and toothpaste. In famine conditions, they turn cannibalistic, chewing at each other’s wings and legs.

The German cockroach reproduces faster than any other residential cockroach, growing from egg to reproductive adult in roughly 50 – 60 days.

Oriental Cockroach

The oriental cockroach, commonly referred to as “water bug or black beetle”, is a large species of cockroach It is dark brown or black in color and has a glossy body.

Oriental cockroaches tend to travel somewhat more slowly than other species. They are often called “water bugs” since they prefer dark, moist places. They can often be found around decaying organic matter, and in sewers, drains, damp basements, porches, and other damp locations. They can be found outside in bushes, under leaf ground cover, under mulch, and around other damp places outdoors.

To thrive, cockroaches need a place to hide. They prefer warm places and relatively high humidity; they also need a source of food/liquid. The optimum temperature for oriental cockroaches is between 68 and 84 °F. Female oriental cockroaches have reduced forewings and males have longer forewings. Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal. Oriental cockroaches can be elusive in that a casual inspection of an infested dwelling during the day may show no signs of roach activity.

American Cockroach

The American cockroach has the largest body size; molts 6–14 times before metamorphosis; and has the longest lifecycle, up to about 700 days. They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the pronotum, the body region behind the head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except they are wingless.

American cockroaches are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders that eat materials such as cheese, beer, tea, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, manuscripts, glue, hair, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, plant materials, soiled clothing, and glossy paper with starch sizing. They are particularly fond of fermenting foods. They have also been observed to feed upon dead or wounded cockroaches of their own or other species.

American cockroaches generally live in moist areas but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer high temperatures around 84 °F and do not tolerate low temperatures. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings. In residential areas outside the tropics, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather.

MOSQUITO

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Like other mosquito species, only the females require a blood meal to develop their eggs. Apart from that, they feed on nectar and other sweet plant juices just as the males do. In regards to host location, carbon dioxide and organic substances produced from the host, humidity, and optical recognition play important roles.

The search for a host takes place in two phases. First, the mosquito exhibits a nonspecific searching behavior until it perceives host stimulants, whereupon it secondly takes a targeted approach. For catching tiger mosquitoes with special traps, carbon dioxide and a combination of chemicals that naturally occur in human skin (fatty acids, ammonia, and lactic acid) are the most attractive.

Depending upon region and biotype, activity peaks differ, but for the most part, they rest during the morning and night hours. They search for their hosts inside and outside of human dwellings but are particularly active outside. The size of the blood meal depends upon the size of the mosquito, but it is usually around 2. Their bites are not necessarily painful, but they are more noticeable than those from other kinds of mosquitoes. Tiger mosquitoes generally tend to bite a human host more than once if they can.

The females are always on the search for a host and are persistent but cautious when it comes to their blood meal and host location. Their blood meal is often broken off before enough blood has been ingested for the development of their eggs, so Asian tiger mosquitoes bite multiple hosts during their development cycle of the egg, making them particularly efficient at transmitting diseases. The mannerism of biting diverse host species enables the Asian tiger mosquito to be a potential bridge vector for certain pathogens that can jump species boundaries, for example, the West Nile virus.

The control of Asian tiger mosquitoes begins with destroying the places where they lay their eggs, which are never far from where people are being bitten since they are weak fliers, with only about a 180-m (650-ft) lifetime flying radius. Puddles that last more than three days, sagging or plugged roof gutters, old tires holding water, litter, and any other possible containers or pools of standing water should be drained or removed. Bird baths, inlets to sewers, and drainage systems holding stagnant water, flower pots, standing flower vases, knotholes, and other crevices that can collect water should be filled with sand or fine gravel to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in them.

ANTS

Carpenter ant

Carpenter ants are large ants indigenous to many forested parts of the world. They build nests inside wood consisting of galleries chewed out with their mandibles, preferably in dead, damp wood. They do not consume the wood, however, unlike termites. Sometimes, carpenter ants hollow out sections of trees.

These ants are foragers that typically eat parts of other dead insects or substances derived from other insects. Common foods for them include insect parts, “honeydew” produced by aphids, or extrafloral nectar from plants. They are also known for eating other sugary liquids such as honey, syrup, or juices.

Pavement Ant

Its common name comes from the fact that colonies in North America usually make their homes under pavement. It is distinguished by one pair of spines on the back, two nodes on the narrow waist, and grooves on the head and thorax.

During the late spring and early summer, colonies attempt to conquer new areas and often attack nearby enemy colonies. This results in huge sidewalk battles, sometimes leaving thousands of ants dead. Because of their aggressive nature, they often invade and colonize seemingly impenetrable areas outside their native range.

In summer, the ants dig out the sand between the pavements to vent their nests. They will eat almost anything, including other insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts, ice cream, and cheese.

Acrobat Ant

Acrobat ants are characterized by a distinctive heart-shaped abdomen. Members of this genus are also known as cocktail ants because of their habit of raising their abdomens when alarmed. Acrobat ants acquire food largely through the prediction of other insects, like wasps. They use venom to stun their prey and a complex trail-laying process to lead comrades to food sources. Like many social insects, they reproduce in nuptial flights and the queen stores sperm as she starts a new nest.

Acrobat ants can be found either outdoors or indoors with great frequency in each case. Outdoors, and acrobat ants are usually arboreal, but they often live in many common areas in the wild. These areas are typically moist and are often dark. They can often be found in trees, collections of wood (like firewood), and under rocks.

Acrobat ants lay scent trails for many different reasons: communication, recruitment of workers, etc. The scents originate in the tibial gland and are secreted from the abdomen of the ants. The abdomen never actually touches the surface of what the ant is leaving the scent on.

Odorous house Ant

These ants can be found in a huge diversity of habitats, including within houses. They forage mainly for honeydew, which is produced by aphids and scale insects that are guarded and tended by the ants, as well as floral nectar and other sugary foods. They are common household pests and are attracted to sources of water and sweets.

This species of ant demonstrates a dominant hierarchy system, consisting of a queen and subordinate workers. The larger colonies themselves vary in size from a few hundred to tens of thousands of individuals.

Foragers collect food that is around the nesting area and bring it back to the colony to share with the other ants meaning that one colony has multiple nests because of this the odorous house ant is very good at foraging for food

The common names “odorous house ant” and “coconut ant” come from the odor the ants produce when crushed, which is very similar to the pungent odor of a coconut, blue cheese, or turpentine.

Pharaoh Ant

They are light yellow to reddish brown with a darker abdomen. Pharaoh ant workers have a non-functional stinger used to generate pheromones.

Pharaoh ant colonies appear to prefer familiar nests to novel nests while budding. This suggests the ability of colonies to remember certain qualities of their living space. However, if the novel (unfamiliar) nest is of superior quality, the colony may initially move toward the familiar, but will eventually select the unfamiliar. The colony assumes the familiar nest is preferable unless they sense better qualities in the novel nest. This decision-making process seeks to minimize the time the colony is without a nest while optimizing the nest the colony finally chooses

Pharaoh ants have a sophisticated strategy for food preference. They implement two related behaviors. The first is known as satiation. The workers will at first show a strong preference for a particular food type. However, if this food is offered alone, with no other options, for several weeks, workers will afterward show a distinct preference for a different type of food. In this way, the ants become satiated on a certain food group and will change their decision. The second behavior is called alternation. If given the continuous choice between food groups, pharaoh ants will tend to alternate between carbohydrate-rich foods and protein-rich foods. These satiation and alternation behaviors are evolutionary adaptive. The decision to vary the type of food consumed ensures that the colony maintains a balanced diet.

Citronella Ant

The citronella ants get their name from the lemon verbena or citronella odor they emit when threatened. It is most noticeable when the ants are crushed. They are subterranean insects that feed on the honeydew (excretions) of aphids and mealybugs feeding on the roots of shrubs.

Both the larger and the smaller yellow ants are found throughout much of the continental United States. They are very common in the eastern United States and are frequently confused with termites when they swarm into the living areas of homes. In both species, the swarmer (winged ants) may vary in color from the more common light yellow to a dark reddish-yellow or light brown. The workers are typically yellow with less color variation than the swarmers.

The swarmers are approximately twice the size of the workers and have dark, smoke-colored wings. Like the workers, they can also vary in color from light yellow to light reddish-brown.

Swarms may occur in and around homes at any time of the year. The most common swarming occurs in mid-to late summer, but swarmers have been collected from homes during late autumn and early spring. These early and late season swarms are possibly an abnormality created by the warmer soils under and adjacent to heated structures.

BEES, WASPS & HORNETS

Bees, Wasps, Yellow Jackets

Yellowjacket or Yellow jacket is the common name in North America for predatory social wasps. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side-to-side flight pattern prior to landing. All females are capable of stinging.

Queens are the only members of the colony able to survive the winter. In April or May, each queen selects a suitable location, constructs a small nest, and begins raising sterile daughter offspring. These workers take over the duties of enlarging and maintaining the nest, foraging for food, and caring for the offspring while the queen functions only to produce more eggs.

The queen bee lays all the eggs in a colony. The queen fertilizes each egg as it is being laid using stored sperm from the spermatheca. The queen occasionally will not fertilize an egg. These unfertilized eggs, having only half as many genes as the queen or the workers, develop into male drones.

The diet of the adult yellowjacket consists primarily of items rich in sugars and carbohydrates, such as fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap. Larvae feed on proteins derived from insects, meats, and fish, which are collected by the adults, which chew and condition them before feeding them to the larvae. Many of the insects collected by the adults are considered pest species, making the yellow jacket beneficial to agriculture. Larvae, in return, secrete a sugar material to be eaten by the adults; this exchange is a form of trophallaxis. In late summer, foraging workers pursue other food sources from meats to ripe fruits, or scavenge human garbage, sodas, picnics, etc., as additional sugar is needed to foster the next generation’s queens

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets (This species is a wasp, not a true hornet) are distinguished from other yellowjackets by their white and black coloring. It has a white or “bald-faced” head. These wasps also have three white stripes at the end of their bodies. They are notably larger than other species of wasps, as adults average about 19 millimeters (0.75 in) in length. Queen and worker wasps have similar morphologies. However, workers are covered by small hairs while the queen remains hairless. Queens are always larger than workers in their colonies, though size distributions can vary in different nests and workers in one colony might be as large as a queen in a different one.

The life cycle of a colony can be divided into the founding stage, the ergonomic stage, and the reproductive stage. Colonies show annual cycling. New nests are generally found during spring and early summer by a single queen, though temporal specifics vary depending on location. In Washington State, nest initiation occurs during mid-May, and workers emerge during mid-June. Large cell building starts in mid-July, and the first queens emerge during mid-August.

The colony terminates during mid-September, for a life cycle of approximately four months (122 days). Lower latitudes correlate with longer life cycles. In Indiana, colonies were observed to begin in early May and terminate in late September, a life cycle of five months (153 days), and in Central California nests are initiated as early as the end of March. These nests survive between 155 and 170 days. Active colonies have been observed in central Pennsylvania as late as mid-October.

Each spring, queens that were born and fertilized at the end of the previous season begin new colonies. A queen selects a location for its nest, begins building it, lays a first batch of eggs, and feeds this first group of larvae. These become workers and assume the chore of expanding the nest. They chew up wood, which mixes with starch in their saliva. They then spread it around with their mandibles and legs, and it dries into a papery structure. The workers guard the nest and feed on nectar, tree sap, and fruit pulp (particularly that of apples). They also prey on insects and other arthropods, chewing them up and feeding them to the larvae. They have been known to scavenge raw meat. In late summer and early fall, the queen begins to lay eggs which will become drones and new queens. After pupation, these fertile males and females fly off to mate. Fertilized queens then overwinter and start new colonies during the next year. Males and workers die at the end of the cycle. The old queen, if not killed by workers, dies with them around mid-autumn.

Mud Dauber

Mud dauber (or “mud wasp”) is a solitary wasp whose name is commonly applied to several wasps from either the family Sphecidae or Crabronidae that build their nests from mud. Mud daubers belong to different families and are variable in appearance. Most resemble long, slender wasps about 1 inch (25 mm) in length. The name refers to the nests that are made by the female wasps, which consist of mud molded into place by the wasp’s mandibles. Mud daubers are not normally aggressive but can become belligerent when threatened. Stings are uncommon.

The organ pipe mud dauber, one of many mud daubers in the family Crabronidae, builds nests in the shape of a cylindrical tube resembling an organ pipe or pan flute. Common sites include vertical or horizontal faces of walls, cliffs, bridges, overhangs, and shelter caves or other structures.

The nest of the black and yellow mud dauber is a simple, one-cell, urn-shaped nest that is attached to crevices, cracks, and corners. Each nest contains one egg. Usually, several nests are clumped together and covered in mud.

The metallic-blue mud dauber, another sphecid, builds mud nests, but occasionally refurbishes the abandoned nests of other species; it preys primarily on spiders. The two species commonly occupy the same barns, porches, or other nest sites.

All three species may occupy the same sites year after year, creating large numbers of nests. Mud dauber nests can last many years in protected locations and are often used as nest sites by other kinds of wasps and bees, as well as other types of insects.

Like most other wasps, mud daubers are predators. The females not only build the nests, they also hunt to provision them. However, pipe-organ mud dauber males have reportedly brought spiders to the nest, and they aid in nest guarding.

Black and yellow mud daubers primarily prey on relatively small, colorful spiders, such as crab spiders (and related groups), orb weavers, and some jumping spiders. They usually find them in and around vegetation. Blue mud daubers are the main predators of the black and brown widow spiders.

Adults of both sexes frequently drink flower nectar, but they stock their nests with spiders, which serve as food for their offspring. Mud daubers prefer particular kinds and sizes of spiders for their larders. Instead of stocking a nest cell with one or two large spiders, mud daubers cram as many as two dozen small spiders into a nest cell.

Bumblebees

Most are social insects that form colonies with a single queen. The colonies are smaller than those of honey bees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest.

Like their relatives the honeybees, bumblebees feed on nectar, using their long hairy tongues to lap up the liquid; the proboscis is folded under the head during flight. Bumblebees gather nectar to add to the stores in the nest, and pollen to feed their young. They forage using color and spatial relationships to identify flowers to feed from. Some bumble bees steal nectar, making a hole near the base of a flower to access the nectar while avoiding pollen transfer.

Bumblebees are active in conditions where honeybees stay at home. Bumblebees can readily absorb heat from even weak sunshine. The thick pile created by long setae (bristles) acts as insulation to keep bumblebees warm in cold weather; species from cold climates have longer setae (and thus thicker insulation) than those from the tropics.

The temperature of the flight muscles, which occupy much of the thorax, needs to be at least 30 °C (86 °F) before flight can take place. The muscle temperature can be raised by shivering. It takes about five minutes for the muscles to reach this temperature at an air temperature of 13 °C (55 °F).

Bumblebee species are not normally aggressive but may sting in defense of their nest, or if harmed.

Carpenter Bees

The common name “carpenter bee” derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo.

Many species in this enormous genus are difficult to tell apart; most species are all black, or primarily black with some yellow or white pubescence. Some differ only in subtle morphological features, such as details of the male genitalia. Males of some species differ confusingly from the females, being covered in greenish-yellow fur.

Non-professionals commonly confuse carpenter bees with bumblebees; the simplest rule of thumb for telling them apart is that most carpenter bees have a shiny abdomen, whereas bumblebee abdomens are completely covered with dense hair. Males of some species of carpenter bees have a white or yellow face, unlike bumblebees, while females lack the bare corbicula of bumblebees; the hind leg is entirely hairy.

Carpenter bees are traditionally considered solitary bees, though some species have simple social nests in which mothers and daughters may cohabit.

When females cohabit, a division of labor between them occurs sometimes. In this type of nesting, multiple females either share in the foraging and nest laying, or one female does all the foraging and nest laying, while the other females guard.

Carpenter bees make nests by tunneling into wood, bamboo, and similar hard plant material such as peduncles, usually dead. They vibrate their bodies as they rasp their mandibles against hardwood, each nest having a single entrance that may have many adjacent tunnels. As a subfamily, they attack a wide range of host plants, but any one species may show definite adaptations or preferences for groups of plants. The entrance is often a perfectly circular hole measuring about 16 mm (0.63 in) on the underside of a beam, bench, or tree limb. Carpenter bees do not eat wood. They discard the bits of wood or reuse particles to build partitions between cells. The tunnel functions as a nursery for brood and storage for the pollen/nectar upon which the brood subsists. The provision masses of some species are among the most complex in the shape of any group of bees; whereas most bees fill their brood cells with a soupy mass and others form simple spheroidal pollen masses. The eggs are very large relative to the size of the female and are some of the largest eggs among all insects. Carpenter bees can be timber pests, and cause substantial damage to wood if infestations go undetected for several years.

Honey Bees

A honey bee (or honeybee) is a eusocial, flying insect within the genus Apis of the bee clade. They are known for the construction of perennial, colonial nests from wax, for the large size of their colonies, and for their surplus production and storage of honey, distinguishing their hives as a prized foraging target of many animals, including honey badgers, bears, and human hunter-gatherers.

In cold climates, honey bees stop flying when the temperature drops below about 10 °C (50 °F) and crowd into the central area of the hive to form a “winter cluster”. The worker bees huddle around the queen bee at the center of the cluster, shivering to keep the center between 27 °C (81 °F) at the start of winter (during the broodless period) and 34 °C (93 °F) once the queen resumes laying. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold. The outside edges of the cluster stay at about 8–9 °C (46–48 °F). The colder the weather is outside, the more compact the cluster becomes. During winter, they consume their stored honey to produce body heat. The amount of honey consumed during the winter is a function of winter length and severity.

Of all the honey bee species, only A. mellifera has been used extensively for commercial pollination of fruit and vegetable crops. The scale of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars, credited with adding about 9% to the value of crops across the world. However, despite contributing substantially to crop pollination, there is debate about the potential spillover to natural landscapes and competition between managed honey bees and many of the ~20,000 species of wild pollinators.

Honey bees obtain all of their nutritional requirements from a diverse combination of pollen and nectar. Pollen is the only natural protein source for honey bees. Adult worker honey bees consume 3.4–4.3 mg of pollen per day to meet a dry matter requirement of 66–74% protein. The rearing of one larva requires 125-187.5 mg pollen or 25-37.5 mg protein for proper development. Dietary proteins are broken down into amino acids, ten of which are considered essential to honey bees: methionine, tryptophan, arginine, lysine, histidine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, threonine, leucine, and valine. Of these amino acids, honey bees require highest concentrations of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, however elevated concentrations of arginine and lysine are required for brood rearing. In addition to these amino acids, some B vitamins including biotin, folic acid, nicotinamide, riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenate, and most importantly, pyridoxine are required to rear larvae. Pyridoxine is the most prevalent B vitamin found in royal jelly and concentrations vary throughout the foraging season with the lowest concentrations found in May and the highest concentrations found in July and August. Honey bees lacking dietary pyridoxine were unable to rear brood.

Call (201) 852-2529 to
speak to a Pest Specialist.