Notable Ants: Mycocepurus Smithii

Part two of our notable ants from around the world highlights the Mycocepurus Smithii ant.

The Mycocepurus Smithii ants are native to South America and are reputed to exist in colonies made up of only females. They reproduce asexually. The ants cultivate gardens of fungus within their colonies on foraged green matter dragged to the nests. They can also grow this fungus on dead insects that they bring to the colony. As of current research, these ants have no known effects on humans, be it positive or negative. They live in grasslands and rainforests.

More about Mycocepurus Smithii:

  • Only the queens reproduce.
  • Build nests made of leaves and caterpillar droppings.
  • Queens will leave the nest, carrying fungus on her wings to start new colonies.

Notable Ants: Pharaoh Ants

More than 12,000 known species of ants exist in our world.  Because of their diversity, many interesting ants have become popular throughout globe.  Some are scary, some are harmful, some are just plain interesting to observe.  Some stand out because of their conquering ways, feeding habits, economic impact, and geographical distribution. This is part one in our series on a few notable ants in our world:

The Pharaoh Ant

pharaoh ant
Pharaoh Ant – courtesy Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org
No, the Pharaoh ant (monomorium pharaonis) was not the insect that invaded Egypt just before Moses led the children out of Israel, but it was mistakenly named the Pharaoh ant because scholars once thought that it was. While it does not deserve any credit for helping free God’s Children from slavery in Egypt, the ant is native to Africa and has made its mark all over the world.  

Its colonies vary in size — up to several hundred thousand individuals. It is an indoor pest and has remarkable resistance to many pesticides, so controlling its population can be difficult. They like fatty, sweet, or oily foods, so they are a very serious danger since they carry disease-causing microbes that contaminate animal and human food.

Regarding Pharaoh Ants:

  • Colonies multiple queens, making it easy for them to form multiple colonies.
  • The males die within five weeks of mating.
  • Often referred to as “sugar ants,” they also eat other insects.
  • The ants have been known to be carriers of salmonella and other diseases. They can spread infection, especially in medical facilities.
  • Can lift three times their body weight.

Centipedes and Millipedes: They’ve Got Legs, and Know How to Use Them

House Centipede
House Centipede, courtesy Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. . .” Like the Addams family, centipedes too are creepy — they’re even poisonous! They prompt homeowners to call a pest management professional immediately. However, they’re not dangerous. Their claws have difficulty penetrating the human skin, and when they do, it usually results in minor swelling. Their numerous long legs intimidate many people, but they are no real threat.

Similar, the multi-legged millipede looks like a worm with small legs. An old Sicilian proverb says, “We keep an eye on snakes and serpent, but we do not see the millipede.” The proverb is a warning that we should look for “hidden dangers.” However, the typical house millipede is no danger at all — just a nuisance at times.

They’ve Got Lotsa’ Legs, But Here’s The Difference

House centipedes are very common in the houses in the United States. Their bodies are flattened with striped legs. They are often found in moist basements, bathrooms, and other areas. They can also be observed rapidly crawling along the walls and scurrying away when boxes and other storage items are moved.

Millipedes are usually brown to blackish in color. They often coil up just like pill bugs or sow bugs when disturbed. Unlike the flat body of the centipede, the millipede’s body is round. They live in organic matter, such as mulch in and around the house.

Another major difference between the two is the number of legs each each has. Centipedes have one pair of legs for each of its body segments, while millipedes have two legs per body segment. The centipede has longer legs, while the worm-like millipede has shorter legs, often unnoticed until closely observed.

The Invasion

In late summer, the adults of centipedes and millipedes overwinter in garden soil. When favorable temperatures arrive, they lay eggs under the surface of the soil in clusters. When the young millipedes hatch from eggs, they start feeding on dead organic matter and live for 2 to 5 years in that immature stage. As millipedes grow up, the number of their body segments as well as leg pairs increase. In the case of centipedes, a few young ones are born with a complete set of legs and body segments and they just grow in size. Centipedes are reported to live for 2 to 3 years in the immature stage, and then they become adults; until then, they feed on a wide range of insects. Centipedes can live for almost 6 years.

Millipedes
Millipedes have two pair of legs per body segment.

Centipede bites cause only itching and swelling; no more than a bee sting. Other than that, centipedes and millipedes cause no harm to clothing, pets, furniture, buildings, food, or other household items. They are beneficial outdoors as they help in increasing soil fertility and aid in decomposition as well. Millipedes do not bite. Instead, they produce a defensive liquid that, when disturbed, causes irritation or burns the eyes of a predator.

Management of Centipedes and Millipedes

Management of centipedes and millipedes may become necessary when they become a nuisance as their numbers increase.

Exclusion practices help reduce the number of centipedes and millipedes inside the home. In late summer, centipedes and millipedes may enter homes in search of shelter. Therefore, caulking and sealing off entry points will help prevent them from entering. Removal of decaying / rotting material from the landscape next to the house will help keep populations down.

Non-chemical methods indoors may involve using vacuums to suck them up, or placing glue traps to catch them. Since they hide in boxes and bags, managing clutter will help prevent infestation, giving them fewer places to hide. Dehumidifiers help in that the removal of moisture in the home, making the house an environment that is less conducive to infestation.

As far a chemical management for centipedes and millipedes is concerned, there are many insecticides and pesticides available on the market which are labeled for treatment of the pests. Pyrethroids will kill centipedes and millipedes.

Reminder: always carefully read and follow label instructions when applying insecticides. Otherwise, you may be in violation of the law. A qualified professional pest management professional knows best how to apply these materials and can offer more insight on how homeowners can reduce or eliminate infestations of centipedes and millipedes.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

BMSB – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Don’t smash it! Don’t ever try to squish it. If you do, your nose will know; it is called a stink bug for a reason. The stink bug, when threatened, releases a liquid. This liquid has a strong smell and is used to discourage predators, but is not dangerous.

BMSB - Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Stink Bug photo by Paul Redwine

In the United States, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB for short; Halyomorpha halys) has become a major agricultural pest. Similar to the Southern Green Stink Bug, the BMSB was first reported in 1998 in Pennsylvania, first found in Allentown. It came from (like many other insects) Asia. It did not come into our country legally, and because of westward expansion and its desire to travel this great land of opportunity, the brown marmorated stink bug is now present in at least 41 states. It plans on visiting more states in the land of purple mountains and fruited plains.

As far as its lifecycle, the pest has shield-shaped morphology. Adults measure a half inch in length. They lay eggs under the leaves in masses of about 25-28 eggs in late spring / early summer. The eggs are pale green in color and barrel-shaped, or elliptical. In the north, females continue to lay eggs until late September with only one generation per year. In the south, however, multiple generations are observed. Nymphs (2.4 mm) emerge from the eggs within 3 to 7 days and are orange to red in color which remain clustered around the egg mass. These nymphs lack wings and have a tick-like appearance. The nymphs undergo four moltings and become adults after five instars. This instar molts to appear as a winged, dark-colored adult. The adult female lays up to 400 eggs during her lifespan.

BMSBs Suck!

BMSB - Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Photo courtesy of Mohammed El Damir ~~ Bugwood

The BMSB is a pest of many garden vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. It has been found to infest flowers of hibiscus, celosia stems, malabar, apple, cherry, citrus, fig, mulberry, peach, pear, soybean, and others. It becomes quite a nuisance to homeowners as the stinkers enter homes when the weather gets colder, usually in the fall. Its purpose in doing so is to simply overwinter until the weather warms up again.


See also Coming Attractions: How to help keep out the stink bugs that are attracted to your home.


The BMSB has piercing and sucking mouthparts and inserts its thin needle-like beak into the plant pith or fruit and sucks the sap, causing damage to plants. The sucking leaves the plant unhealthy and the produce inedible. It also affects the beauty of ornamental plants, leaving them weakened and withered.

Control of the BMSB

The pest is very offensive if it enters the house. To carefully manage the pest infestation in your gardens and homes, the following control measures should be taken:
Pesticides are available to control the pest. It is important to contact a pest control professional when dealing with the BMSB, as pest management professionals know best how to apply the materials.

Advise from a pest management sage: Don’t let them in.  This ingenious advise may sound a little simplistic, but it is certainly true. The best thing a homeowner can do to help prevent the stink bug from entering the home is to seal off cracks and other openings. This can be done using silicone caulk. Check around doors, windows, and other openings for potential entry spots. Larger areas may need more work to seal out the BMSB. Windows and doors of houses should be kept closed. Since stink bugs are attracted to light, the homeowner can help prevent them by turning off exterior lights.

Stink bug traps are also available. The traps typically contain lures or lights to attract the stink bug, where it gets trapped inside the device. They can be used inside and out, but if the stink bugs are not inside the home, it is best to use them outside only.

BMSB Facts:

  • Stink bugs are eaten around the world, as they are edible and provide a high amount of protein.
  • “Brown Marmorated” refers to the marble like brown coloration of the bug.
  • “Stink Bug” refers to its characteristic of emitting a very pungent and offensive odor from its abdomen when it is disturbed.
  • If the bug crawls on your body or skin, it can cause redness and itching.
  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is attracted to the color yellow.
  • “Marmorated” means having a marbled or a streaked appearance.

An Appetite for Destruction

It’s nighttime and you walk into your kitchen with the intention of having a late night snack. You flip on the light just to notice insects scurrying back into the cracks and crevices of your cupboards, under the sink and behind the appliances.  

Most likely, you have encountered a german cockroach infestation.  “Forget the snack,” you think to yourself.  “I don’t have an appetite.”

An Epicurean Appetite

German roaches always have appetites. They will eat anything that is organic, including crumbs, grease, sweets, and other insects — including other German cockroaches.  They will also eat soap, glue and paper.  They scavenge around, spending much of the evening and early morning hours eating and drinking.  Because their diets are so versatile, they easily adapt and are found everywhere humans lives.   

Not only do German cockroaches have a healthy appetite for food, they also have a healthy sexual appetite as well, as they multiply very fast. The female emits a pheromone, while the male detects the

German Cockroach
German Cockroach, courtesy Sarah Camp.

A female produces between four and six egg cases in her entire lifetime. Each case contains anywhere between 30 and 48 eggs. This case is carried on her body until just a few days to the time when the nymphs emerge from those eggs. This happens when the egg case is about 28 to 35 days old. The lifespan of these pests is about 100 to 200 days, with females living a little longer than males.

Their appetites for both food and sex leads to large infestations of these insects.  Moreover, these disease-carrying roaches are one of the most common reasons people call pest control professionals to evict them from their homes.  

Identification

German cockroaches, blattella germanica, differ from other cockroach species in that are about half an inch in length, light brown in color and have two distinctive stripes running down from the back of their heads, right up to the wings. They have wings, but do not fly.

These cockroaches are very secretive and nocturnal by nature. It is very hard to see them during the day since they hide away from daylight and motion. When cockroaches are present during the day, it is usually a sign of a large infestation because their numbers have increased so much that they are now competing for hiding places. They spend the daytime hours hiding in crevices, cracks and other hiding places that are close to their food sources. In fact, German cockroaches rarely roam beyond five feet from their food and shelter points.

German cockroaches prefer to live in places such as kitchens, bathrooms, garbage bins and behind toilets. In short, any atmosphere providing warmth and moisture can be a haven for these creatures.

Signs of Infestation

The obvious sign of infestation has already been described:  sightings at night time when someone flips on a light switch, just to see them scurrying around.  Carcasses and body parts may be found lying around, as well as empty egg cases and shed wings.  Dark smudges of fecal smears on surfaces will be present where they have been moving the most.

Why They Are A Problem

German cockroaches cause concern because their droppings contaminate human and animal food. They carry an array of disease-causing germs such as those causing food poisoning, allergies, dysentery, diarrhea and asthma. German cockroaches can also cause a lot of damage to walls and household items such as books.

Control Measures

All control measures begin with a careful and inspection. A good inspection makes it easier to identify nesting sites, which leads to quicker control of the roaches.  

Perhaps one of the most important methods of control is sanitation. Sanitation helps deny German cockroaches of shelter and food, helping them to die out. It is therefore important to keep trash cans and dumpsters empty, promptly wash all used dishes, pick up pet food leftovers and keep all kitchen appliances such as toasters very clean at all times. Degreasing and sanitizing, particularly in and around appliances helps to reduce the roach’s food source.

Baits, by far, are the best insecticides to use in order to control German cockroaches. Aerosols, traps, dusts and insect growth inhibitors also help eliminate roaches.  However, when trying to eliminate cockroaches, it is important that certain types of insecticides are not used simultaneously.  For example, combining baits with other control methods such as aerosols may render the bait ineffective.  

This is where a well-qualified pest management professional can provide the best results, as he or she knows not only the best methods, but also knows which specific products will get the job done.   Furthermore, insecticides can be harmful to humans if not applied correctly, per the label instructions.  

Interesting Cockroach Facts

  • Cockroaches cannot form any memories in the morning hours. Could that be another reason why they are inactive during the day?
  • The nerve cells of cockroaches can actually kill germs! This special ability may be because the roaches need to defend themselves against the germs that they live in close proximity with.
  • A cockroach can survive for a week without its head. It only dies because of thirst since it can’t drink water without its head.
  • Cockroaches can survive without food for a month, but they can’t exceed a week without taking water.
  • Cockroaches can feed on anything because they get vitamins and amino acids from the bacteria that live in their bodies.
  • While cockroaches take up to six weeks to mature, a newly born cockroach can run as fast as an adult on the very day it emerges from the egg.

Pantry Pests

Imagine pouring yourself a bowl of cereal, just to witness a small, moth-like insect fly out. It could be an Indian meal moth, a common insect that infests kitchens and pantries. Many common insects that infest food in kitchens and pantries are known as pantry pests, or stored product pests.

Pantry pests are commonly found in and around kitchens, infesting stored grains, flour, dried fruits and spices. These insects can be observed crawling in kitchen cabinets or flying near well-lit areas such as windows. Not only are these pests disgusting and annoying, but they can destroy food as well. Some of the most common stored product pests are:

The Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctata)

Indian Meal Moth
Indian Meal Moth – courtesy John Carr, Cropped

The Sawtoothed Grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis)

The brown, slender and minute adults of the sawtoothed grain beetle can be identified best by using a hand lense or microscope. The beetle received its name because of its six saw-like teeth located on its thorax. The adult lays up to 300 eggs on the host and larvae feed on either grain powder or grain embryo. The full-grown larvae pupates itself in the cupboard crevices and cracks. It emerges into adult within a week. They complete a life-cycle in only three weeks. Considerable damage can result in cereals, bread, pastas, nuts, numerous grains and more from sawtoothed beetles.

The Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum)

This beetle is commonly found in kitchens and stores. As its name suggests, it infests and ruins flour, but also infests grains, nuts, peas, spices and fruit. This reddish-brown beetle is about three millimeters long, and can lay up to 1,000 eggs throughout the flour. The cream-colored larvae feeds on grain dust or damaged grains. The total life-cycle may take up to 1 month in summer.

The Rice Weevil (Sitophilus oryzae)

The adult weevil is about 1/8 long with a snout and club-like antennae on its head. Female lays up to 450 eggs. Eggs are laid in whole kernel grains by chewing up a depression in kernel, laying egg and then plugging it with gelatinous secretion. These eggs hatch into legless larvae which consume the inside of kernel. The larvae pupate within the grain. When adults emerge out of the grain, it eats up the grain and makes “exit holes” which is a characteristic sign of damage. The adults are good fliers and can be observed in the other parts of the house other than the kitchen.

The Drugstore Beetle (Stegobium paniceum)

drugstore beetle
Drugstore Beetle, courtesy Jean-Raphael Guillaumin

The drugstore beetle received its name because it was discovered infesting areas that contained medicines and herbs; it was also found in drug stores. They commonly infest grains, flour, bread, dried foods and spices. The head of the adult is covered by pronotum and thus not visible from above. It is short-lived and can undergo several generations per year. The adults are good fliers and fly towards light. They can be observed flying or sitting near lighted areas such as windows.

Controlling Pantry Pests

The first step in controlling stored product pests is to first identify the pest. Not all stored product pests are controlled the same way. A pest management professional can help identify the insect. Additionally, most pest control companies offer free inspections and identification.

Second, try to identify the source of the infestation, then remove the source. Someone with an Indian meal moth infestation may find the source of the problem in dog food or bird seed. However, because finding the source is not always easy, a pest management professional can help in this area as well.

To help prevent further infestation of stored product pests, one might place food in tightly sealed containers to prevent the insects from infesting the food. Control methods may involve the use of pheromone traps, sanitation or chemical control. This is when consulting with a pest management professional is necessary, as they know the best control methods for each of the various pests.

Interesting facts:

  • The Indian meal moth is also known as “North American highflyers,” and is also It a cousin of almond moth.
  • Drugstore beetles are known as the “biscuit beetle” in the United Kingdom. It is named so because the drugstore beetle was found to infest medicinal herbs used in drugstores.
  • The rice weevil is native to India but is now found everywhere in the world because of commercial trade.
  • The Latin name of saw-toothed grain beetle “Oryzaephilus surinamensis” comes from the word “Suriname” which means “rice loving”.

Cockroaches in Cincinnati

People always get disgusted when they see cockroaches and what to do when they show up. So what are some facts about these pests and why do they show up and what to do about it?

Cockroaches are a year-round pest but are most likely to show up inside in the colder months because it’s a time of hibernation, and inside is the right environment. Because the presence can be year-round, the constant monitoring and treatments need to be done on a continual basis. Chemical resistance can develop so understand the risks.

Any treatments must consider the structure being treated; whether it be residential, industrial or commercial.

There are 4,000 species of cockroaches in the world, and many can live 2 – 4 years. Yet, only 1 percent of all cockroach species invade homes and businesses and can be a danger to humans and pets. They reproduce year-round so checking is required, even though reproduction numbers go down during colder weather. Cockroaches can come into your home with groceries, open doors, or with other deliveries of packaged or unpackaged materials.

There have been comments that cockroaches are called water bugs. This isn’t true. Many say that because it doesn’t sound as bad. Water bugs can be more solitary and be found around liquid water sources. Cockroaches are not solitary and congregate together in small or large numbers.

So what are some of the differences in cockroaches we may see in North America?

The most common cockroaches in the Midwest are Oriental cockroaches, German cockroaches and American cockroaches.

Oriental cockroaches – mostly dark brown, larger (3/4” long) and heavier and like to live mostly in lower level areas like basements and crawl spaces.

German cockroaches – mostly lighter brown, smaller (1/2”) and like to live mostly upper levels of structures like kitchens, baths, garages and around restaurants

American cockroaches – Can be smaller or larger depending on species, and live mostly in sewers and sewer pipes so keep an eye on basement drains and drain covers.

A scary factor is about cockroaches is how fast they can multiply. Different species multiply at different rates, but all reproduce at astounding rates.

Oriental cockroach females produce an average of eight capsules, each containing 16 eggs that hatch in about 60 days under room temperature conditions. Nymphs molt from seven to ten times; nymphal stages usually take 24 to 130 weeks to complete. The life span of an adult female is 5 to 26 weeks with approximately 200 offspring

The German cockroach has three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Females produce a light brown, purse-shaped egg capsule that is less than 1/4 inch long and contains two rows of eggs. Each capsule contains up to 35-45 eggs, and adult females usually produce from four to eight egg capsules during their lifetime. At room temperature, one capsule is produced about every 6 weeks. Egg capsules are carried, protruding from the abdomen, until hatching time when they are deposited into crevices and other sheltered locations. The life span of the adult female varies from 20 to 30 weeks. In one year over 10,000 descendants can be produced, assuming two generations per year.

Responsible treatment must happen to stop the multiplication.

So what can be done to rid cockroach presence or infestation? First, it has to be done by a professional. There needs to be a determination of the kind of cockroach, the location of where they are, what to attraction is, how many of them are there, and the correct treatment options due to human occupation, pet presence, or special health considerations of certain employees.

Another factor of cockroaches is the side effects like allergies and diseases. Cockroaches produce proteins on their bodies that can be allergenic. There are possibly over 10 million people who may be allergic to cockroaches. Since cockroaches are in constant contact with filth, waste, and decaying materials, they can bring that into dwellings and businesses. There can be severe adverse reactions to what they drag into any environment.

There are large infestations that are troubling. And large means that there are hundreds and hundreds of cockroaches present. Hooper Pest Control has had to begin by first going in with an industrial vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and suck these huge quantities of roaches up first. These large infestations can require relocation of families. And infestations aren’t in just dwellings that are not kept up. Even neat-a-holics can have these nocturnal invaders, and be undetected for some time.

Topical treatments many times miss the where majority of roaches are. 75% of the time German Roaches are in cracks and crevices, and deep voids behind cabinets and appliances, Roaches prefer to rest in tight opening, 25% of the time venturing out looking for food.   Many pest control companies miss the cracks and crevices where females hide. Repeat treatments are sometimes required because if some egg capsules hatch you can have anywhere from 35 to 1,000 new nymphs.  Treatment with Baits, Pheromone traps, Dusts, and sometimes materials are necessary to flush the roaches out of the cracks and crevices so they can be vacuumed with a heptavac and removed from the premises. This will remove not only the roaches, but the egg capsules, containing thousands of nymphs.

Rodents and Warmer Weather

Rodents can be a real issue in homes and businesses. Not only is there a potential destruction of raw and finished material in the business, but there’s a fear with many people just for seeing a rodent, which affects employee state of mind and ability to focus on their tasks. No one wants to work where the possibility for a rodent to run past their feet at their workstation. Preventing rodent presence also keeps the potential for diseases out of the home or workplace.

Some may want to know why they have these rodent issues anyway. Why are they there?

First, don’t overlook the obvious signs that mice, rats, squirrels, or other intruders are present. We’ll focus on rats and mice for now, but keep a sharp eye out for anything.

What would attract rodents anyway?  These exert crawling and climbing intruders are always on patrol for food and water. When they find a good source, they hang around and create a colony, if allowed to.

Look around dumpsters for possible overflow or lack of removal / dumping. Look for where there may be bird feeders, outside pet feeding stations, garbage or trash bag piles, or food scraps that employees or family members may be putting out to feed wildlife.

Some businesses that are located near restaurants may have a greater chance of seeing rodent presence or infestation. Also careless trash collectors can spill refuse while making their pickups and that could also contribute to attraction.

When anyone reports a presence of rodents inside the building, the first reaction would be to find out how they’re getting in.

Rodents of many varieties are very flexible. They can adjust to openings in any structures. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as a nickel, and rats can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter. So look for cracks in mortar joints in block and brick, and open cracks in metal building sheet metal. Other entry points would be poor seals around overhead doors where they contact the ground, entry doors with rusted out bottoms that can’t close properly, doors actually left open during pleasant weather.

Another consideration is that in older sections of cities, sewer pipes can be close to the surface. Whether large or small, pipes can be rough inside from years of scale and rust, can be split with jagged edges, and can be caved in exposing quick vertical exposure to the outside. Rodents have been known to creep up through old drain pipes and pop off the grating covers that sits on top of the pipe. So make sure grate covers are properly secured.

When someone sees gnaw marks on wood products or baseboards, there is a rodent presence. When rodents run, they stay close to walls, so look for greasy streaks along the side along the bottom of walls on baseboard moldings. In a business, look for claw marks, opened food containers in the corners that have been gnawed open. And rub marks will be visible because rodents like to travel the same way all the time, so a clear path will be visible if it is well used. If the surface is dusty, you will not only see the paw prints but as the rat travels along the edges its tail is dragging along the floor surface leaving a distinct line on the floor.

So what can a home owner or business owner do to prevent rodent infestation?

  • Find water leaks and fix
  • Find sources of food and eliminate accessibility, put barriers up to adjacent properties
  • Check and repair cracks and structural damage/openings
  • Set traps of correct size. If the greasy trail is about 1” off the floor, it’s probably a mouse issue. If the greasy trail is 1 ½” to 3” off the floor, it’s a rat problem.

There are many remedies for rodent problems, and consulting a professional is the best recourse.

The Swarmers: Termites and Ants

Inside swarming insects are normally ants and termites. Other flying insects may appear in your house, but more on an individual basis like lady bugs, Brown Marmorated Stink bugs, wasps and mosquitos. But inside swarms indicate an active termite or ant colony infestation that must be taken care of. Swarms appear during the spring mating stage of these normally wingless insects.

By June 1st, most termites have already swarmed. Ants can swarm in both in the spring or fall, and these swarms gather predominately around windows and other sources of natural light.

If you don’t know the difference between flying ants and termites are, here are a couple ways to tell the difference. Wings and antennae tell the difference. Winged ants (both large and small) and termites both have two wings on each side of their body.

Termites have all (4) wings of equal length.

Ants have the (2) front wings of equal length, and the (2) back wings are shorter

Termite antennae are straight.

Ant antennae are elbow shaped.

Many of us have experienced infestations of different levels during our lives. They might be at our home or at our business. Open windows, doors, large overhead shipping dock doors, loosely sealing sliding doors can all provide entry points for insects to come in and find a suitable location to nest and multiply. Treating these infestations works but greater success results from minimizing the entry points.

Insects also need moisture for survival so look for areas that are perpetually damp or wet. This could include dripping faucets, condensation around air conditioning units and climate control units, and roof leaks, flashing leaks, caulking failures around wall openings like windows, vents, air intakes, and skylights.

In industrial buildings, incoming freight or product can come into a building with pallets made from contaminated, and infested wood components.

Ants are attracted to damp or wet wood. Termites actually nest in surrounding damp dirt but venture out for food in damp media and wood. This extraction of wood weakens structures and can result in high repair costs.

Termites and ants most often work in hidden areas, signs of termites are damage to wood are termite tunnels on the surface of walls, ants can excavate soil or sand from beneath slabs insulation behind walls.

But there are insects that can leave visible larger holes in wood, and these aren’t ants or termites. These would be carpenter bees. These are bees that can be seen hovering around wooden structures like a hummingbird or mini-helicopter. They are watching over their specific hole where they’ve burrowed and deposited an egg into a nearly perfect round hole, and are protecting that opening. The burrowed tunnel goes straight in about ½” to ¾” and then turns typically to one side. Treatments are specific, so discuss with your preferred pest control contractor.

What about ants and termites outside your home? Does this automatically mean they are inside when you see them outside? Sometimes people see termites in mulch products around the structures, but termites don’t survive that well in mulch alone since they need dirt to nest in. It’s just that mulch lays on top of dirt in close proximity. But if there is a perimeter treatment program in place, there shouldn’t be any issues. Hooper Pest Control recognizes the need to treat perimeters as a priority. This provides a chemical barrier heading off the ants or termites before they come in.

Hooper also treats with a “non-repellant” chemical; termites that cross this barrier transfer the material to other termites it comes in contact with. They end up taking the chemical back down into the nest and begin to eliminate the colony from the inside. Colony elimination is three months or less, and lasts for ten plus years.

Springtime Pests

“Hope Springs Eternal” as novelist Alexander Pope once penned, and we know that hope will never go out as long as seed catalogues keep arriving in the mail. Spring time is when life appears to be rousing out of a winter’s sleep, ready to start anew. March is when spring officially starts, and insects and rodents begin higher levels of activity. So treating these emerging pests before they become nuisance is important.

 Some home and business owners begin spring treatments on their own, Do-it-yourself measures sometimes cause problems like the scattering of the bugs, or even worse can actually be dangerous because of misuse of pesticides. If you try to do it yourself, make sure the product is labeled for the intended pest and read the label completely.

 Success Story:

Hooper Pest Control received a call on Ants on the interior of a Home; the Homeowner said she saw ants on the floor and on the living room window sill. We identified the Ants as Carpenter Ants, during an inspection we observed Carpenter Ants under landscape rocks in front of the window, next to landscape timbers, across the drive around a stack of firewood, and navigating up & down trees close to the house. Treatment; Drill small holes next under window sill, inject non-repellant foam/residual to control ants in wall void, treated perimeter of home with non-repellant, used granular baited perimeter of house, around firewood, beds around trees. One treatment controlled Carpenter Ants. Received A Rating on Angie’s List for this Service.