9 Tips for Identifying and Eliminating Pests
Is your home a pests-breeding nest? Do you have any idea that what kind of pests are responsible for attacking your plants or damaging your furniture? Let’s have a look around your house and sort out ways to get rid of these creepy beings to get you a healthier home. Identifying a pest can be a time-taking task. You need to observe their activity closely or figure out who can be responsible for certain damages in your house or garden.
Recognize your enemy. Examine their color, their legs, shape, mouth and whether they hop or fly. These findings can help you in getting to the right pest and use appropriate methods to do away with it.
We think that the damages are easily noticeable and you will not need to take as many precautions as in the case of scrutinizing pests. This is why would like to guide you about some common pests, the damages done by them and how to control them.
Termites look like ants, but indented at the waist and straight antennae. Termites feed on wood and paper products such as books. They have an average colony reaching about 300,000 in size. They lose their wings when mating and sometimes these scattered wings can help in indicating that termites are present in your home.
Damage: Wood and structure damaging pests. If not caught timely, they can cause serious damage to structures.
Control: Keep all exposed wood dry. Cover dirt floors with a plastic or concrete vapor barrier. Guarantee a system of proper ventilation and drainage for your house. The structural damage to wood is incurred by re-infestation. Some exit holes can portray that a certain wood is structurally which may look normal otherwise. Wood can be structurally damaged even if it looks normal except for some exit holes. A professional pest control company must be consulted to control the termite problem.
2. Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are black and larger than most other types of ants. Carpenter ants like to nest in wall cavities, between floors, under siding and where wood is in contact with soil. Other nests can also be found in the ceiling, near roof and in gutters.
Their colonies can grow to almost 20,000 and they can cause major structural damage to the frame of a house or building if not eradicated.
Damage: The carpenter ant is also considered a wood destroying insect that prefers moist decaying wood.
Control: To treat the problem, after confirming they are in fact carpenter ants, find the main nest by following the ants back to their nest. As they use the same trails over and over and are highly active at night. If you are unable to make the necessary inspection, then it is advisable to call a professional pest control service to tackle this problem. To prevent the problem from recurring, replace or repair any damaged timbers and work on moisture problems. Maintain dry conditions with the proper construction and maintenance of the house.
If ants show up between winter, treat them with borax-based liquid ant bait laid out on masking tape, in very small drops, but make sure that kids and pets do not step on it as it can stick to them. This will kill ants, but not the nest, which is still mostly sleeping. Treatment during the winter is nearly impossible and tends to be useless. Spraying down any holes may cause the nest to move, resulting in more wood damage. Next spring and summer, after cutting your vegetation, perimeter spray should be used to cure this problem.
Earwigs are huge pests. They are harmful for flower, fruit and vegetable gardens. Earwigs have antennae, an elongated, flattened body, and are approximately 2 cm long, with forceps-like appendages on the end of the abdomen. They might have wings, but they hardly fly. Their color ranges from light red-brown to black, nymphs are white with no wings. They move very quickly and may emit a foul-smelling liquid from their scent glands.
Earwigs are active at night, and are usually found around lights. Throughout the day, they hide in cool, dark places like mulch, flower beds, crawl spaces and woodpiles. Earwigs and their eggs can live over winter, and they can dig up to six feet underground to escape the winter cold and once the warm weather begins they come out.
Damage: They feed on decaying vegetation and decomposing animal matter. They stay in cool, dark places like crawl spaces.
Control: Reduce lighting on the outside of your house. Eliminate damp, moist conditions in crawl spaces under the house, around faucets and air-conditioning units, and along house foundations. Make sure rain gutters are carrying water away from the house. Ensure that the landscaping creates a clean, dry border around the foundation wall; for example, you can use gravel or ornamental stones along the wall rather than flower bed or mulch.
4. Bed Bugs
Bed bugs, also known as “vampire“, feed on warm blooded animals including humans. They are brown or reddish-brown in color with a size ranging from ¼”-3/8” (4-5mm). Having a flat and oval shape, without any wings. They take 3-10 minutes to feed on humans’ exposed bare skin, at night; but will also feed on other mammals during the day if hungry enough. Bed bugs thrive in or near beds, mattresses, bed frames and really almost anywhere that they can obtain access to blood.
Damage: They are more than a simple nuisance as they bite people leaving itchy, red sores. They can live for two weeks or till a year and a half, depending on favorable temperatures and food availability.
Control: Consultation with a professional pest control company is compulsory, as bed bugs are infestations are very difficult to control.
This wingless insect with two long antennae is barely seen because it only comes out at night. These are an inch long and is said to be over 300 million years old. Silverfish like moist areas, this is why it hides in the walls that contain hot or cold water systems, drain pipes or electrical conduits that are shared in multiple dwellings. So, they do have many routes to travel throughout a building.
Damage: Silverfish attacks paper, glue, starch and cereals.
Control: As silverfish hides behind the walls, it can be difficult to eliminate them from a building. Moreover, re-infestation, especially in a multiple dwelling, is very common. If they are few then kill them as you see them by stepping on them or spraying them. If you have found some in a drawer or any such place, then you can put a spoonful of moth crystals in it to discourage their presence. But if you get to see them every day, call a professional. The problem will get worst if it is not taken care of, and the application of appropriate pesticides will significantly reduce the problem. To eradicate the problem in multiple dwellings, all suites in the building must be treated.
6. Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles eat almost anything and can be very destructive if not dealt with in-time. Adult carpet beetles are 2 – 3mm long. The pattern on their back is white, while they are gray-black in color; they have wings and they are able to fly. Their larvae look like yellow-white aphids. Adult carpet beetles live on the pollen of outdoor plants, and may come into a home with cut flowers or may fly in. These beetles will remain in the home if they find a suitable breeding spot. Usually, they will breed in an old nest of a wasp or bird stored in the attic.
Damage: They eat organic fibers and products in and around the house or business. The carpet beetle is known to spread diseases like anthrax.
Control: To rid a home of carpet beetles the primary food source for the larvae needs to be located and removed. This will involve a thorough survey of your house, including the attic and basement, in cupboards, storage boxes and under furniture. The food source may be difficult to locate as it can be anything from a trunk full of woolens to accumulated lint behind baseboards. Once the source is discovered and removed, the surrounding area should be thoroughly vacuumed. Their eggs must be removed to eliminate the problem. If the problem persists even after a thorough vacuuming then it is time to contact a professional pest management company.
There are two types of moth, one is food moth which damage various food products including pet food; and the other type is a clothing moth which damages fabric. Food moths typically have gray-brown wings, and are about a centimeter long and they can fly. While, clothing moths have dark gray, golden yellow or brown wings, and are about 12mm long. Clothing moths do not fly.
Damage: Food moths attack food and clothing moths damage clothes.
Control: Locate and throw away the source of the moths. It is expected that you will find at least one item that has a large number of the worm-like larvae. This item should be removed or thoroughly cleaned.Until the source is discovered and thrown away it will be impossible to completely do away with this problem. Kill the adult moths as you see them. Usually, the moths do not like light and they tend to remain in the corners where the walls meet the ceiling. Since moths are able to deposit eggs anywhere, a thorough vacuuming is necessary. Once the job has been completed, the vacuum bag should get properly disposed of. Washing cupboards and counters is not helpful as it serves to push eggs more deeply into the cracks where they will continue to develop.
It is possible to lower the risk of moths spreading in your house by keeping dry food items in sealed containers rather than boxes. You can also put food products for three to five days in the freezer to save them from pest infestation, as freezing will kill any eggs that could be in the food. Eliminate any old bird, rodent, wasp or insect nests in or around your home. These old nests are excellent breeding places for clothing moths. Do brush or dry clean susceptible clothing; clearing away lint accumulations; and vacuum regularly and occasionally moving furniture and rugs to disturb potential nesting sites.
As of the huge number of eggs involved in the moth life cycle, it can take a long time to get through this problem. If the problem continues for more than a couple of weeks after removing the source, killing adult moths, and conducting a thorough vacuuming – you should then call a professional pest control company.
8. Sow Bugs
Sow bugs are found worldwide and become a nuisance when they infest vegetation or enter the home. Adults grow up to about 16 mm long, and are dark to slate gray in color. Sow bugs have 7 pairs of legs, 2 pairs of antennae, and their body is round on top and flattened on the bottom, having 2 appendages projecting out from the body at the rear end. When disturbed, they roll up into a very loose ball. They are nocturnal, but during the day, they can be found in decaying vegetation, under trash cans, rocks, flower pots, flower bed mulches and in piles of grass clippings. They enter buildings and homes through doors at ground level, which typically means there is a large population outside the building. And they live only in areas of high moisture because they are unable to close their respiratory system and have no outer waxy layer to prevent excessive water loss. Consequently, they do not survive indoors for very long unless there is moisture and food present.
Damage: Sow bugs are scavengers. They feed on decaying organic matter, usually a plant substance.
Control: Reduce or remove the moist areas that makes it possible for them to survive. Vacuum your crawl spaces regularly and provide them with adequate ventilation.
Aphids are small green or brown insects which gather on flower buds, shoot tips and the undersides of young leaves. They are very common in all types of plants.
Damage: A major plant pest, as they suck the sap of many plants. They deposit a sticky honeydew on which disease spores can stick, and leaves may twist or turn yellow.
Control: Aphids should be tackled as soon as they are spotted. Greenfly killer insecticide can be sprayed to kill them. And an organic option can be spraying them with a diluted washing up liquid, this will clog their skin and cause them to suffocate quickly. For outdoor plants, try to encourage birds with seeds placed nearby the aphid infected plants as the birds will feast away on them.
You can’t escape the pests, they will reach out to you somehow, but what you can do is to reduce the chances for certain pests to inhabit your territory. There are plenty of pests, these were just some common ones to help you recognize them and prevent you from constant and repetitive damage. Now, just keep a better eye on the strange movements around your house and save yourself from further harms.
Source: BC Pest Control
Photo Credits: BC Pest Control