Ants

How do I get rid of Carpenter Ants?

Although carpenter ants are capable of causing significant damage to structures, such cases are rare and are usually the result of long-term infestations. Most homeowners take steps to control carpenter ants soon after ants are noticed inside so little damage has usually occurred. Also, carpenter ant main (parent) colonies require a constant moisture source (like a leak that results in wet wood) to live indoors. Most parent colonies live outdoors in trees and landscape timbers, and they often set up satellite colonies indoors. An experienced professional takes time to identify as many nest locations as possible and then treats those directly. Control is achieved by finding as many colonies as possible and treating each directly. Treating the parent colony is required to prevent new invasions of satellite colonies. Carpenter ant infestations can be difficult and often costly to eliminate or control due to the number of satellite colonies they may establish.

How do I know if I have swarming carpenter ants or swarming termites?

Colonies of ants and termites both produce winged reproductives that fly out to start new colonies. Carpenter ant swarmers are quite large – about 3/4-inch in length. Termites and other ant species are usually 1/2-inch in length or larger. The key way to distinguish winged ants and winged termites is by examining the wings. Termite swarmers have wings that are all the same size. If the hind wings are much smaller than the front wings, you have ants. Collect a few and have them identified by a professional if you want to be sure.

How do I get rid of fire ants?

Fire ants can be difficult to eliminate totally because they can reinvade from neighboring properties. Individual fire ant mounds should be treated using a fire ant bait or a residual contact product labeled for fire ants. The yard can then be treated with fire ant bait to help control unseen mounds and colonies foraging from neighboring properties. Regular fire ant services are necessary to keep ants to a minimum.

How do I get rid of Argentine ants?

Argentine ants are one of the more difficult ants to control because the colonies consist of innumerable sub colonies that can be located on neighboring properties. The key to minimizing this ant is through regular inspections to find and treat as many colonies as possible on your property. Ants from colonies on other properties may reinvade, which is the reason for regular ant control services. Reducing the potential sites where ants could nest on your property is helpful – heavy ground cover (ivy) and piles of bricks, flagstones, lumber, etc. Sealing exterior cracks and holes is also helpful in limiting the number of ants seen inside.

What's the best way to get rid of pharaoh ants?

Any residual treatments applied to control pharaoh ants only make the problem worse. Such treatments cause colonies to split into two or more colonies. Pharaoh ants can only be controlled by use of ant baits. It normally takes the experience of a professional to achieve elimination of this ant due to its cryptic habits and biology. This ant commonly uses the electrical wiring and plumbing pipes inside walls as “highways” to travel from room to room.

My kitchen is inundated with small- and medium-sized ants. They cluster in my dishwasher. I've used ant traps and boric acid and nothing works. What should I do?

It is important to identify the ant involved before trying to control it. Some ant species can be controlled using ant baits, while others cannot. The key to success is following the ants back to their colony and treating the colony directly (except when dealing with pharaoh ants).

Cockroaches

How effective are bait traps for controlling cockroaches?

Bait stations may be effective in controlling cockroaches if placed properly. Baits, however, rely on every cockroach in a population to feed on the bait before the infestation can be eliminated. Bait stations should be combined with other control efforts such as crack and void treatments to ensure the infestation is eliminated. Knowing where to apply each product effectively is where the experience of a professional is helpful. In addition, your professional will also look for any conditions that might contribute to cockroach infestations and make recommendations for correcting such conditions.

Is it possible to get rid of cockroaches and keep them from coming back?

Cockroaches can be eliminated from a home, but reinfestation can occur depending on the particular species involved and where the home is situated. Outdoor cockroaches, like the large smoky browns in the Southeast or Oriental cockroaches in the Northeast and Midwest, may continually try to enter a home from the outside. Regular exterior service in addition to sealing outside cracks and holes in walls can help limit such invasions to a negligible level.

Conducive Pest Conditions

I live by a field, and I have a problem with field mice every year. Is there anything I can do to eliminate them and keep them out for good?

If you live by a field or in the woods, it is likely that you will always have to deal with mice every fall and winter. Your best strategy is to seal as many openings and holes in the exterior walls as possible and to put weather strips on the bottom of all doors, especially the garage door, to prevent mice from entering. If you can stick a pencil through a crack or hole, a mouse can squeeze through it. Place live traps inside the garage on either side of the doorway to catch mice and rats as they enter. Check the traps often. Make sure all foundation and attic vents have 1/4-inch hardware cloths tightly fitted over the opening and do the same for any turbine vents in the roof. Trim all tree branches at least 10 feet from the roof.

I have moths in my clothes, and have indoor pets that may get into mothballs. What are my alternatives?

Clothes moths are best controlled by first cleaning the affected clothing and other clothing items that were stored with it. Clean items according to the clothing manufacturer’s instructions. Next, thoroughly clean the closet, dresser, or storage area. Cracks in these areas may also be treated using a properly-labeled indoor pest control product. Pheromone traps are available for clothes moths to monitor for moth activity.

I have discovered a small worm-like bug, tan colored that tapers at one end to a darker brown color. They are living in the carpet and area rugs. What are they? How can I remove them?

The description sounds like carpet beetles or cabinet beetles. These beetles feed on woolen items as well as dead insects, pet and human hair trapped in carpets, and food items in pantries. They can be very difficult to control so it is recommended you consult a pest management professional.

Could you tell me the best way to eliminate cellar spiders?

Cellar spiders are thin, pale-colored spiders with extremely long legs that are typically found hanging upside down in large webs. They are best controlled by regular removal using a vacuum or brush.

How is the best way to handle a brown recluse spider infestation?

Brown recluse spiders are one of the most difficult pests to eliminate, and therefore require an experienced professional. When hiring a pest control company, ask them for references of customers with whom they successfully assisted in controlling this spider. Treatments need to be quite extensive throughout the home and may take several hours to complete resulting in additional costs for the service than generally occurs for standard pest problems.

What can I do to keep spiders out of my home?

You can take the following steps to minimize spiders in your home or apartment: seal all cracks around window and door frames and around light fixtures, vents, ceiling fans; seal all openings around pipes under the sink and behind appliances; place sticky traps designed for cockroaches inside near doorways (along walls under and behind furniture and appliances); and regularly remove webs and spiders via vacuuming.

I have Carpenter Bees. Does you treat them? What would I use?

Yes, we offers pest control services for carpenter bees. Carpenter bees chew tunnels in wood to make a nest cavity in which their larvae can grow. To prevent the bees from making the holes, the surfaces being attacked may be treated using a residual liquid product. If the holes are already present, a dust product may be applied into the holes and then the surrounding wood treated with the liquid product. Such treatments may need to be repeated after a couple of months to further deter the bees. You can consult a professional for a comprehensive inspection and treatment plan.

What is the best way to treat a flea-infested home?

Flea control requires thorough vacuuming, treatment of pets, and treatment of the infested premises. Vacuuming removes soils and debris that might interfere with the treatment, removes adult fleas and some flea eggs, and opens carpet fibers so the treatment can penetrate to flea larvae and pupae. An insect growth regulator (IGR) should be used together with a product targeted at the adult fleas. The IGR affects only the flea larvae and prevents them from molting into adult fleas which do the biting. The IGR, therefore, helps prevent future infestations while assisting in stopping the current problem. Vacuuming every day stimulates adult fleas to emerge from cocoons so they will contact the treatment and die more quickly. Although the number of adult fleas you see quickly drops following treatments, it may take two weeks or a bit longer before all fleas are gone from the premises. It is important to treat pets the same days as the home is treated.

Are there really such things as bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, oval, reddish-brown insects about 1/4-inch long as adults. They live in cracks in beds and walls as well as in furniture near beds. At night, they will crawl into the bed and bite a sleeping person. The bite is usually not painful and, fortunately, bed bugs do not transmit any diseases. Bed bugs can prove difficult to control so a professional should be consulted.

I absolutely hate scorpions, and I found one in my yard last night next to where my dog was laying. What can I do to prevent them, and if it's too late, what can I do to be rid of them?

The numbers of scorpions in a yard usually corresponds to the amount of potential harborage they can find. All items lying in contact with the soil should be removed. Also, landscaping that is edged with stacked timbers or stacked flagstones provide considerable shelter for scorpions and the insects they feed on. Changing to edging that doesn’t have cracks reduces the potential harborages for scorpions as does eliminating heavy ground cover (ivy) in landscaping. Cracks and holes in the home’s exterior need to be sealed to prevent scorpions from entering. You may want to have a professional come out at night with a UV black light to look for where scorpions might be on your property and to provide possible treatments. Scorpions glow blue-green under UV light.

We have several small, almost microscopic bugs around our windows and sliding glass door. They are reddish brown and when killed, make a tiny red dot that looks like blood. What are they, and should we be concerned if they are increasing?

The description sounds like clover mites that live in the grass outside and invade homes during the spring. During the fall, the adults will deposit eggs in cracks in the outside of buildings. When these eggs hatch in the spring, the tiny, red mite “larvae” crawl up the foundation and find their way inside. This problem is usually remedied by treating the exterior foundation and the ground several feet out from the house. You may want to consult a professional to apply this treatment.

I seem to have these bugs with multiple legs - bodies long and thin, like worms. They move slowly but they're still creepy. What are they and what should I do?

These sound like they are millipedes which are related to insects. They live in moist areas outside and feed on organic matter in mulch, lawns, and leaf litter. When it gets too hot, too wet, too dry, etc., millipedes may try to enter a home, sometimes in large numbers. You will need to seal cracks and holes in the home’s exterior walls. Keep mulch to a thickness of 2 inches or less and try to keep it 10-12 inches from the foundation. You may want to treat the foundation and ground around the home with a product labeled for exterior use around homes. Follow the label directions. Otherwise, you can call in a professional company to do a treatment and provide recommendations.

How do I know if I have house centipedes?

If they have very long legs, they are likely house centipedes that can breed indoors and feed on spiders and insects. Homes with house centipedes usually have a crawlspace or basement underneath where the centipedes harbor. You may want to consult a professional to inspect and advise you for the best course of action.

What harm can Earwigs cause, and how can they be eliminated?

First of all, earwigs do not bite and are not dangerous. Earwigs control requires the treatment of cracks inside where the insects are seen, cracks in the home’s exterior, and likely harborage sites (woodpile, landscape timbers, etc.) outside. A residual aerosol or dust insecticide labeled for indoor crack and crevice treatment should be used indoors. Outdoors, a suitable exterior household insecticide can be applied to areas where earwigs might live. Many people seek to hire a professional, when dealing with a significant infestation of earwigs due to all the areas that must be located and treated.

I have seen Lady Bugs in the house, alive and dead. What kind of damage do they do, and what should I do about them?

Lady bugs, also known as lady beetles, are more common now than they used to be, possibly due to mild winters in recent years, or organic gardeners buying and releasing them to control plant pests. In the fall, lady bugs may be attracted to buildings where they crawl into cracks and voids to live for the winter. During warm winter days, beetles may “waken” and then crawl into the living spaces of the home. Once inside the walls the beetles are very difficult to eliminate. Caulking cracks around window and door frames and around ceiling fixtures (lights, fans) can help keep the beetles inside the walls and out of the rooms of the house. Prevention is the best course of action for the following year. Seal up as many exterior cracks and holes as possible and install tight-fitting screens on all foundation and attic vents.

What are Firebrats and how do I get rid of them?

Firebrats are related to silverfish and prefer very warm areas such as furnace rooms, heat ducts, boiler rooms and fireplaces. Cracks and voids in areas such as these should be treated using a residual dust pest control product labeled for indoor use. This pest often proves difficult to control so you may want to consult a professional.

I've heard that silverfish are extremely difficult to control. Is this true? If so, what should I do?

They are difficult to eliminate, not because they are resistant to treatments but because they often hide deep within walls or attics where treatments are difficult to apply. Apply a residual pest control dust product into all cracks and voids where activity has been seen. You may need to treat the attic beneath insulation where silverfish are found. Silverfish do not respond well to feeding on insect baits so crack and crevice treatments are the best options. Persistence in inspecting and treating new areas of activity over several months is also helpful. Experience has shown that homes with wood shingle roofs typically have the most difficult of silverfish infestations.

What can I do to keep crickets from taking over the exterior of my home and office?

Crickets are attracted to buildings by bright exterior lights. Changing commercial lighting to sodium vapor lamps and home lighting to yellow “bug light bulbs” greatly reduces the numbers of crickets attracted. In addition, heavy ground cover (such as ivy) should be minimized in landscaping, especially next to the building. Sites where crickets could harbor, such as piles of lumber and bricks, should be removed. Also, seal as many exterior cracks and holes and make sure all doors have tight-fitting weather strips on the bottom.

Is it possible to have Root Weevils in the house?

Two types of root weevils may be encountered: the black vine weevil and the strawberry root weevil. These black, 1/4-inch long beetles feed on vines, ivy, wild strawberries and “yew” shrubbery outside. When populations grow large enough, wandering beetles may come indoors. To control them, seal exterior cracks and holes, and treat the perimeter and foundation for the home. Long-term control includes removing the vine, ivy and other vegetation that the weevils target for breeding.

How do I get rid of moths? They are all over my ceiling and in my food cabinets.

Based on this description, it sounds like you have Indian meal moths which are a food pest. This is why you are seeing so much activity in the kitchen cabinets. To control these moths, you need to examine all dried food products and pet foods, bird seed, etc. Infested products need to be discarded. Clean and vacuum the pantry very well. Look for the cocoons of the moths in corners, under shelves, etc. and destroy them. Store all dried food products and pet foods in plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids.

In the summer I get these little bugs in my kitchen. They are about 1/8-inch long, they are reddish brown, thin and long shaped like a grain of rice. They get into dry foods, and the dog biscuits, also get in my cabinets. What are they? Can I get rid of them?

This description sounds like flour beetles or saw-toothed grain beetles. If you have a dog, you may be bringing them into your home inside dog food, dog biscuits, etc. The beetle population in these infested products then grows, and they move outside the bag where you see them. Go through all dried food goods and inspect for dead or live beetles. Throw out all infested foods. Store all such foods, including pet foods in plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids. If you do bring home infested product, the infestation will be contained to that one item making it easier for you to tell the origin.

Can you tell me how to rid my home of fruit flies?

The small brown, red-eyed fruit fly is usually carried inside homes in fresh fruits and vegetables, most often bananas. The items in which the flies are breeding must be found and discarded in the outdoor trash. To deal with the remaining adult flies, create a trap by pouring a few ounces of vinegar into a cup and covering the cup with a plastic wrap secured with tape or a rubber band. Poke a hole about 1/8 to 1/4 inch through the plastic. Place the trap in rooms where the flies are seen. The flies enter through the opening but have difficulty exciting, eventually drowning in the vinegar.

I think I have a gnat problem, but I'm not sure. What should I do?

It is very important to identify these flies or gnats. The type of fly/gnat is critical in providing useful advice for control. If the fly is tiny and black, it may be a fungus gnat that lives in the wet soil of potted plants. Small tan flies with red eyes are fruit flies that breed in fresh fruit – especially bananas – and garbage. Other types of flies breed elsewhere. Please get the gnats identified, and we can help you with control solutions.

I have a problem with flies in my house during the fall and winter. They are black and 1/4-inch in size. What kind of fly is this, and what can I do about them?

If they hold their wings flat over their abdomens, then they are likely cluster flies. These flies enter the walls and attics of homes in large numbers to survive the winter. On warmer days, they may crawl into the living spaces of the home. Once inside the walls, they are difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate. You need a professional to inspect the home and make recommendations for sealing cracks where flies could enter. Treatments can be applied that can greatly reduce the numbers of flies seen inside.

I discovered the remains of what looks like a wood-boring insect. It ate through the wood and left an oval-shaped hole with a pile of powdery substance. What could this be?

Since the gallery is more oval than round, it could be from a flat-headed borer or round-headed borer. The larvae make a gallery or channel in the wood of dead trees, and are packed with frass (partially-digested wood) from digested wood. The frass is the powdery substance you found. The tree is cut into lumber and the larvae continue to grow inside. Except for the old house borer, none of these beetles reinfest wood in structures after they have emerged. Consult a professional to look at the situation.

Do I need to worry about pine bark beetles attacking my home?

Lady bugs, also known as lady beetles, are more common now than they used to be, possibly due to mild winters in recent years, or organic gardeners buying and releasing them to control plant pests. In the fall, lady bugs may be attracted to buildings where they crawl into cracks and voids to live for the winter. During warm winter days, beetles may “waken” and then crawl into the living spaces of the home. Once inside the walls the beetles are very difficult to eliminate. Caulking cracks around window and door frames and around ceiling fixtures (lights, fans) can help keep the beetles inside the walls and out of the rooms of the house. Prevention is the best course of action for the following year. Seal up as many exterior cracks and holes as possible and install tight-fitting screens on all foundation and attic vents.

I have new construction, and I keep my house cool with air conditioning. I have been noticing increasing numbers of a small, reddish brown beetle, which I was told is most likely the Foreign Grain Beetle. Is there anything that I can do to get rid of this bug, besides wait for the cooler seasons, which, I understand, is when the problem will cure itself?

The foreign grain beetle feeds on molds that sometimes occur inside walls of newly built homes. During construction, moisture invariably wets wood and becomes trapped in walls thereby allowing molds to grow. The beetles find this mold and begin breeding, then months or even a year later, the adults start emerging, sometimes in large numbers. Eventually, the walls dry out, the molds die and so do the beetles. In the meantime, treatment beneath baseboards and the voids behind electric outlets using a dry residual dust product can reduce the numbers of beetles seen. You may wish to hire a professional to positively identify the beetles involved and to make treatment recommendations.

How can I eliminate lizards?

Lady bugs, also known as lady beetles, are more common now than they used to be, possibly due to mild winters in recent years, or organic gardeners buying and releasing them to control plant pests. In the fall, lady bugs may be attracted to buildings where they crawl into cracks and voids to live for the winter. During warm winter days, beetles may “waken” and then crawl into the living spaces of the home. Once inside the walls the beetles are very difficult to eliminate. Caulking cracks around window and door frames and around ceiling fixtures (lights, fans) can help keep the beetles inside the walls and out of the rooms of the house. Prevention is the best course of action for the following year. Seal up as many exterior cracks and holes as possible and install tight-fitting screens on all foundation and attic vents.

I have squirrels in my attic. What should I do?

Squirrels of any kind must either be excluded from reentering once they leave the attic, or they can be trapped and relocated. The site where they entered must be located and sealed. Squirrels can be difficult to trap in attics and you may want to consult a wildlife animal removal company for assistance.

Preventing Pest Infestations

Is there anything I can do to help prevent pests in my home?

Your service professional will inspect your property during your service and provide a list of recommendations for correcting conditions that contribute to pest infestations. He or she can show you these areas and may even suggest a course of action. For example, your firewood pile may need to be moved away from the house. There may be cracks around the windows and doors that need to be sealed. Or, you might not be aware that the screen is missing or damaged on your foundation vent that could permit mice to enter. Making recommended modifications will help prevent new infestations.

Rats and Mice

How do I get rid of mice?

Mice are best controlled by using traps, either snap traps, live traps (e.g., Tin Cat) or a combination of the two. When using snap traps use different baits (chocolate, peanut butter, etc…) on the traps and place them where the mice are active – but where children and pets can’t get to them. Also, seal exterior cracks and holes and put weather strips on doors to prevent new mice from entering. Mice only need a hole 1/4-inch in size to enter. Numerous mice indicate a more serious problem and should be dealt with by a professional.

Is it possible to get rid of rats?

Yes, it is possible, but it takes a lot of effort. Traps are best for control because the bodies may be removed. With baits, you run the risk of the rodent dying inside a wall or in a place where you can not remove it, and it may cause an odor. In some cases, you need to use both traps and baits. Rodent bait should be used only in tamper-resistant rodent stations. Baits should NEVER be placed unsecured where children or pets could access them. It may be better to hire a professional. Contact us to get a free estimate of the cost for mouse/rat services in your area.

What is the best mouse/rat bait and how should I use it in my traps?

Contrary to popular belief, cheese is not a good bait for mice. Peanut butter and chocolate work well as long as you don’t put too much on the trap. Work the bait onto the trap’s trigger so that it is hard for the mouse to get it off and it will be forced to climb onto the trigger.

What type of program or treatment do you recommend to insure we keep the house pest-free?

We believe that the most effective way to control pests is to prevent them from crawling inside in the first place. If they’re already inside your home, we’ll get them out and make sure they don’t come back. CiMIX backs our service up with the most comprehensive guarantee in the business. Your CiMIX service professional will provide a three-step program: 1. Your service professional will look for the sources of pest infestations and then apply pest control materials where they will be most effective. The appropriate control methods will be selected for the situation at hand. 2. Because the exterior of the home is where most new infestations originate, likely pest harborages next to or near your home are inspected for pest activity and treated accordingly. 3. Finally, your service professional will provide you with any recommendations that you can follow to minimize pests around your home and thus assist in preventing pests inside the home.

If it rains, will outside treatment materials wash away?

Once a liquid residual product has dried following application, the solvents and emulsifiers evaporate, leaving a durable residual that adheres to surfaces and is resistant to being washed away by rain. Insect baits, however, are placed in protected areas to keep excess moisture from possibly reducing their effectiveness.

Will I still see pests after treatment?

Following an initial service, it is likely you will see a few pests for two weeks or so but the number will greatly drop after the service. Of course, after your original infestation has been eliminated, pests living outdoors will continue to try to enter the home so an occasional pest may be seen. This factor is why regular exterior services are important — to find and intercept pests outside before they have a chance to enter. If you have more than an occasional sighting of pests inside, please call us. We’ll be happy to schedule a service call at no additional cost to you.

How effective are electrical pest control systems that are on the market?

Ultrasonic devices have been tested by entomologists at major universities and have been found to have little to no effect on insects and other pests. Some devices may be beneficial in some situations for rats and birds, but even these have their limits and usually do not produce the desired results.

 

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