21
Apr

Are You a Good Bug or a Bad Bug?

For the past several weeks I have been working to complete a presentation to show that many bugs that are considered "bad", make a lot of helpful environmental contributions. For someone new to Royal Pest, they may think that to be in the pest industry, you must want to destroy all matter of insects and pests. But at Royal, working alongside knowledgeable entomologists, they realize that some insects should be protected.

While termites inside an individual's home can cause expensive damage and be dangerous, it is not necessary to crush every termite you may see as you take a leisurely hike through the forest. As termites break up wood and soil, they create rich mulch that aid in the growth of new vegetation. Additionally, as they travel through the soil, they help to aerate the earth to produce hearty growing conditions. Termites are very helpful in producing new growth.

Ladybugs are easily recognized by all. We are taught at an early age to recognize the beauty of the ladybird beetle (its "scientific" common name) and its wish-fulfilling properties. With the exception of the gardening community, few know that they are wonderful at eliminating harmful insects like aphids from from garden flowers and vegetables. While aphids feed on the sugars of plants and can ruin their productivity, the ladybugs eat them all up and protect the plant.

Taking this concept one step further, ladybugs are VORACIOUS predators - especially as larvae. They have immense appetites and will eat nearly any insect small enough to eat. I remember my early days of insect catching. I was not familiar with the appearance of the ladybug larvae and accidentally caught a live one in my vile. Before I knew it, nearly half of the other bugs had been devoured by the hungry critter! Most are not taught that, while beautiful, these small, red beetles have lion-sized appetites!

ladybug_larvae

 

7
Apr

Insect-Inspired Design: Honeycomb Humvee Tires

Humvee_NPT01

Despite a lack of consciousness, insects never cease to surprise me with regard to their nearly unfaltering programming. Insects are truly hardy insects that continue to evolve to withstand constant environmental changes. Their actions appear to have true purpose. The pattern and color on a butterfly's wing, the birth of an ant into a worker or a queen - each action is driven by a biological knowledge of what is best for the species.

As researchers grow to understand more about insect behavior, innovators are inspired by insects' efficiency. A simple Google search of "insect-inspired design" brings up a wealth of articles. Fashion designers are inspired by a tropical beetle's colors and an architect uses the structure of a dragonfly's wing to design a green building for a city landscape. However, I was drawn to a particular design by Resilient Technology, a Wisconsin-based polymer engineering company. In 2008, they designed an air-less wheel for Humvees, inspired by the structure and strength of a honeybee's hive.

Opening a beehive will reveal a beautiful display of hexagonal honeycomb. These wax structures are home to developing larvae and store pounds of honey and pollen for food. The use of hexagons, although often overlooked, should be recognized as having great purpose. Hexagons in this array are able to withstand great amounts of pressure without compacting. The strength of this design makes it desirable for other purposes.

These Humvee tires, while still in development, will be able to maintain the great weight of the Humvee while eliminating the need for air in the tires. Air-less tires, as the developers suggest, will create safer conditions for drivers and passengers in the vehicle. Traditional tires run the risk of blowouts which could leave service men and women in a dangerous situation, but a honeycomb design will enable the vehicle to continue to move regardless of circumstances. In fact, testing has indicated that even after the destruction of  large portion of the comb (about 30%) the tire can still function normally.

It is encouraging to see insects receiving the recognition they deserve for innovative and constructive behavior. Insects continue to inspire the work of artists, engineers and architects in ways that are streamlined and beneficial to all.

For more info: http://www.resilienttech.com/images/pdfs/Resilient-Tech-Airless-Tire_Diesel-Progress.pdf

27
Feb

SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES

The best method of subterranean termite control is to avoid water accumulation near the foundation of the home. Prevent subterranean termite access by diverting water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home, and keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation. Indoors, homeowners should reduce humidity through proper ventilation of crawl spaces, attics and basements to avoid attracting subterranean termite swarms.

Habits

Subterranean termites build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as "mud tubes," to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They use their scissor-like jaws to eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like other termite species, subterranean termites also feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring when groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies.

Habitat

Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two million members. They are also found in moist secluded areas above ground.

Threats

Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive termite species. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. Over time, they can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. If you suspect a termite infestation, contact a pest professional about subterranean termite treatment.

45_termite__e._subterranean_termite___473

PEST STATS
Color: Creamy white to dark brown/black
Legs: 6
Shape: Long, narrow and oval
Size: 1/8 inch long
Antennae: Yes
Region: Found throughout the U.S.
27
Feb

CARPENTER ANTS

Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. These are large ants ranging in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.

Habits

All species of carpenter ants mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these black carpenter ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.

Habitat

Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. Carpenter ants will enter the house through wet, damaged wood.

Threats

Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.

If you notice black carpenter ants, contact a professional immediately to discuss a proper course of ant control.

carpenter_ant

PEST STATS
Color: Usually red, black or a combination
Legs: 6
Shape: Segmented; oval
Size: 5/8"
Antennae: Yes
Region: Throughout U.S., most common in the North
27
Feb

Kissing Bug

Kissing bugs are a type of reduviid bug known to suck blood from their victim's face. Kissing bugs are sometimes referred to as conenose bugs, due to their cone-shaped head, or triatomine bugs because they belong to the genus Triatoma.

Habits

Primarily a nocturnal pest, kissing bugshide during the day and feed on the blood of mammals (including humans), birds and reptiles at night. Feeding typically requires 20-30 minutes, during which time they inject an anesthetizing agent in their saliva, similar to that of bed bugs, so the host is not aware that they are being bitten by a kissing bug.

Habitat

Kissing bugs are able to enter homes through open windows or tears in screens; however, they usually live in hollow trees inhabited by various small animals, such as raccoons, opossums and wood rats.

Threats

Kissing bugs occasionally bite humans in their sleep. People with certain skin sensitivities to the bug's saliva may exhibit signs of allergic reactions, such as itching, swelling, redness, etc., but the kissing bug bites typically do not result in a local reaction.

Kissing bugs also carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that causes Chagas disease, a potentially fatal illness that has afflicted millions around the world, especially in Mexico, Central America and South America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 300,000 people in the United States are infected with the parasite. Symptoms of Chagas disease include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, a rash where the parasite entered the body and swelling around the eyelids.

If you notice bites or kissing bugs, contact a professional immediately to discuss how to get rid of the infestation through a proper course of pest control.

kissing-bug

 

PEST STATS
Color: Light brown to black; some species have red, yellow or tan markings on the abdomen
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval and elongated
Size: Adults ½”-1” (14-24 mm) long
Antennae: Yes
Region: Various species have been found in the southern Unites States, Mexico, Central America and South America
27
Feb

Fleas

FACTS ABOUT FLEAS AND FLEA TREATMENTS:

  • Fleas bite and live on the blood of animals and humans.flea-1_web
  • Fleas live on pets and mammals for their food source.
  • Fleas can live without a blood meal for 100 days.
  • Fleas also live and hide mainly in carpets, but you will also find them in chairs, sofas, any household furniture
  • Female Fleas lay eggs that turn in to grub-like larvae. The larvae then develop into pupae and settle inside a cocoon. They wait for a host to start their life and suck blood. When something warm moves by the pupae, they unzip the cocoon and jump on the animal or human body. All this happens in three seconds and the flea can jump as high as four feet.
  • A female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.
  • Fleas are tiny: the adults average 1/8th of an inch in size. They have a flat body and a piercing mouths for sucking blood.
  • Fleas are reddish brown to black in appearance, and do not have wings. They are often confused with bed bugs, and ticks.
  • It is important to get rid of fleas by simple methods as these insects spread serious diseases.
  • Tungiasis is caused by the Chigger flea, and they can cause damage to the feet as the female species burrow into the feet and breeds there. Their feeding under the skin causes severe infection and irritation.
  • Fleas can transmit Tularemia and tapeworms to humans as well as pets. Other than these diseases, fleas also can cause allergies to both humans and pets.
  • Adult fleas go through stages including adults, pupae, larvae and eggs. Fleas in all stages should be killed to rid your house of them completely. Resistive pupae and larvae grow on to become adult fleas in a few weeks even though the adult fleas are killed. Fleas should be removed from all stages in their life cycle, to protect your family and pets.

 

fleas_biting_personRemoving fleas yourself involves the use of chemicals, or if the problem is severe and you are not comfortable with dealing with chemicals that may be toxic, call a pest control professional.

If your pet has fleas bring them to the vet for immediate treatment and let the pest professional know that your pet has been treated for fleas.

Royal Pest will advise you to remove your pet from your home during treatment to make sure your pet is NOT over-exposed to flea treatments.

27
Feb

Fly

Some examples of common pest flies are black flies, house flies, blow flies, fruit flies and midges. Flies can be identified by having only two wings, or one pair. Flies are solitary insects and do not live in colonies. Cluster Flies overwinter in clusters but are not a colony . Aside from being annoying, flies have a serious impact on humans. In fact, “No other animals, except perhaps people themselves, are responsible for greater loss of human life and economic lose then they are” Arnett Jr. (1985).

Why they are a problem:

  • Contamination of food
  • Transmission of human diseases and bacteria
  • Economic impact
  • Annoying or distracting

Finding the SOLUTION:

  • Eliminate breeding sites and food potential such as household trash, rotting fruits and vegetables, damp soil, fungi, pet droppings, standing water, lawn clippings, rotting stacks of firewood, dirty or clogged rain gutters, damaged sewer lines.
  • Mechanical exclusion on structures: caulking around windows and doors and maintaining screens of windows and doors, caulking the flashing on the tops of concrete walls (generally found on industrial/commercial buildings).
  • Do not overwater household plants, let the soil dry before watering again and clean saucers underneath pots.
  • Do not bring infested plants indoors.
  • Use only pasteurized container mix potting soil and store in sealed containers.
  • Clean cracks and crevices of tiles in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Install UV lights in strategic areas, on interior and not visible to the outside, to capture flies.
cockroach
CAMEL HOUSE FLY
QUICK ID:

Color:
Black/Grey depending on species may be brown/red or shiny green or blue
Legs: Six
Shape: Segmented
Size: Generally 8mm to approx. 2.5mm, varies depending on species.
27
Feb

Gnat

FUNGUS GNAT
Various

Identification:Adults are about 1/32 – 7/16” long. Color is mostly black, brown, or yellowish. The wings are typically smoke colored.

Lifecycle: Females lay eggs on larval food material. Eggs hatch in a few days.

Behavior:A fungus gnat infestation is nearly always associated with dirt from overwatered potted plants and atriums. Another source would be an area with water leaks or moisture problems. Outside, the source is most likely mulched area where sprinkler systems are present or in accumulated dead leaves, old wood, or compost.

Range: Found in the United States and Canada.

27
Feb

House Spiders

The common house spider is usually the spider most often encountered indoors. It is a nuisance pest, probably more because of its webs than the spider itself. This spider is found worldwide and is common throughout the United States and Canada.

Habits

The house spider randomly selects its web sites and creates a tangled web. If a web does not yield prey it is abandoned, another site is selected, and a new web is built. Survival is low in modern homes with low humidity and few insects, higher in garages, sheds, barns, warehouses, etc. because of more prey and generally higher humidity, and highest outdoors in protected places.

Habitat

Inside structures, house spiders are most likely to be found in upper corners, under furniture, in closets, angles of window frames, basements, garages, and crawl spaces. Outside they are often around windows and under eaves especially near light sources which attract prey.

Threats

House spiders are nuisance pests but pose no threats to humans.

common-house-spiders
House Spider Stats

Color: Yellowish brown, abdomen dirty white with a few dark spots (sometimes with a black triangular spot in the center) to almost black, with several dark stripes meeting at angle above tip of abdomen; legs
Legs: 8
Shape: Elongated abdomen
Size: 3/16 – 5/16“ (female) 1/8 – 3/16” (male)
Antennae: No
Region: Found throughout U.S.
27
Feb

House Crickets

House crickets get their common name from the fact that they often enter houses where they can survive indefinitely. They are known for their loud chirp- ing which is caused by rubbing their front wings together to attract females.

House Crickets are strongly attracted to light.

House crickets are active at night and usually hide in dark warm places during the day.

Why they are a problem:

  • Outside, they feed on plants and dead or live insects, including other crickets.
  • Indoors, house crickets will eat mostly organic material but have been known to feast on fabric, eating large areas, leaving holes.
  • They are attracted to clothes soiled with perspiration.
  • House crickets may also attack paper, damage silk, woolens, fruits, and vegetables all kinds of foods, and even rubber.
  • Unless large numbers occur, cricket damage is usually minor.

Finding the SOLUTION:

  • HABITAT REDUCTION: Clean out covered window wells
  • MOISTURE REDUCTION
  • SEALING OF CRACKS AROUND YOUR HOME
  • CRAWL SPACE VENTS: Crickets enter through crawl space vents. If you don’t have a screen over it put one on...or call Royal Pest and we’ll do it for you
  • CALL ROYAL PEST SOLUTIONS.
  • Royal Pest will treat the exterior or your home with a granular GREEN, bait that will kill crickets outside
  • Royal will also treat the interior crawl space where crickets cluster
Brown House Cricket
HOUSE CRICKET QUICK ID:
Color: Yellowish brown with 3 dark cross bands on head
Legs: Six
Shape: Long
Winged Size: 3/4–7/8 inches
Other:
Antennae.
 

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