How to Tell if You Have Fire Ants

 

Not all reddish ants are “red ants”

Not all reddish ants are “red ants”

 

As a child, you’re told to look out for red ants. It’s believed that red ants are the ones that bite, and the ones that can cause the most damage. In some ways this is true. The only problem is that:

  • Other ants bite, and these bites can cause reactions.
  • Not all reddish ants are “red ants.”

You do want to watch out for red ants, but you specifically want to watch out for “red imported fire ants” – a type of “fire ant” that bites with a severe sting and tends to be more aggressive than other types of ants.

Warning Signs of Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA)

To the untrained eye, RIFA do not look that different from other types of ants. While they’re red in color, the red is not a “deep red.” It is a reddish brown, not unlike other types of ants.

The easiest way to tell if you have RIFA is by their nest. Unlike other ant nests, RIFA nests rarely have a hole in the center of a dirt mound that looks a little like a gopher hole. It is mostly just a lump of dirt. If you bother the nest, you’ll find that dozens of these ants move quickly up the surrounding grass. This is them preparing to attack.

Other signs include extreme variation in ant size. Most ants are uniform in size, but RIFA tend to have a lot of variation in size between them with ants between 1 and 4mm. Their midsection (abdomen) also tends to be darker than the rest of their bodies.

Call a Red Ant Exterminator

The best way to figure out if you have a red ant colony problem – besides getting bitten – is to contact a red ant pest control company. While all of these ants are small in size, there are some key, minuscule differences between red ant types that can help you discover when you have a RIFA problem, and when you simply have an ant problem.

But as we all know, all ants can quickly become invasive pests when left untreated. For those that have any type of ant problem, contact Green Pest – a skilled ant control company in the Pennsylvania Tri-State area that provides free ant inspections and discounts of ant exterminating services. Contact us now to find out more.

4 Common Spring Pests

Pests are a problem during every month of the year. But the types of pests that invade often differ depending on the season. For example, the late fall months are a common time for home millipede and rodent invasions, since millipedes and rodents move inside of the home to get away from the cooler weather.

Spring, however, is often one of the worst times for pests. It’s not that pests necessarily move indoors for any specific reason. It’s that spring is when eggs hatch, we first begin to see swarms, and the pests that hid in winter start to come out and play.

What Are the Most Common Spring Pests?

There are many pests that seem to take over in spring, and when left unchecked they can make for a very bug-filled summer. Some of the most common spring pests include:

  • Termites – Termites are a very common and invasive spring pest problem,
    Closeup of termite on wood (North America)

    Closeup of termite on wood (North America)

    because termites tend to swarm in spring and are most likely to start attacking thewood in your home. Keep an eye out for even a single termite, as if you see one you’ll often see many more.

  • Wasps – Wasps also tend to
    Paper Wasp

    Paper Wasp

    come out of hibernation in spring and start setting up roots around your home. Because wasps are aggressive insects and may take up space by your windows and doors, even a single wasp can quickly become a serious problem.

  • Fleas – Fleas are actually active all throughout the year. But some areas of the country seem to run into fleas more often in specific months. In Pennsylvania and the surrounding states, fleas are most active starting in April.
  • Ants – The biggest problem with ants in spring is that they tend to come as a
    Carpenter Ants

    Carpenter Ants

    huge surprise. Out of nowhere, without any indication, ants can seem to pop up everywhere, and often immediately need some type of ant removal assistance.

While there are dozens upon dozens of insects that start popping up in Spring, some are more common than others, and all can benefit from spring pest control services. If you’re in the Pennsylvania Tri-State area and need spring pest control or year round extermination services, make sure you call Green Pest today.

 

Warning Signs for Termites

Closeup of termite on wood (North America)

Closeup of termite on wood (North America)

Termites are a frustrating and frightening home pest. While they may not be poisonous or affect your life on a daily basis, they do drastically eat away at your home’s value in swarms, and may cause serious damage to the wood around your home in a way that may affect property value. Last week, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) educated the country with Termite Awareness week. Their goal was to educate the public about property threats posed by termites. Annually, this voracious pest generates $7 billion in home structural home repairs due to damage.

Because termites are hidden, they often go undetected. In fact, it’s often a good idea to ask a termite control expert to come and evaluate your home for termites – especially if it’s been a long time, or you’re about to put your home on the market.

Can Termites Be Spotted?

Termites can often do an incredible amount of damage before you notice them in your home. Without a trained expert, it may be months before you learn of any termite infestation.

However, the following are some warning signs to look out for:

  • Mud Tubes – The most common warning sign of termites is their distinctive mud tubes. These tubes may be found anywhere on or near your building, and look like long, thin mounds of mud. On trees, they may blend in enough to look like a part of the tree trunk, but they are raised enough that they are very noticeable. If you cut open on of these mounds, you’ll often see termites running up and down the path.
  • Discarded Wings – You should also keep an eye out for discarded wings. During certain times of the year, termites flock to new nests. After they’ve found the right location, their wings are discarded. Homeowners may find numerous discarded pairs of wings both inside and outside of your home. Look for wings on spider webs as well, and inspect the outside of your home where you believe termites may reside.
  • Paint/Wood Distortion – Areas that have been attacked by termites often change shape. You may find that your paint or wood appears hollow or indented. Tapping on it should also reveal whether or not that wood is weaker than normal.

Found early, these warning signs can help you prevent further damage to your home and ensure that your property is kept safe from termites. But inspects are best left in the hands of experts, who know not only how to spot termites, but also where to look for them and how to remove them.

If you live in the Pennsylvania tri-state area and need a termite control inspector to evaluate your home for termites, make sure you contact Green Pest Solutions today. We’ll provide you with a free inspection and $100 of your first termite control service. Contact us today to find out more.

 

How to Seal Your Home Against Cockroaches

German Cockroaches

German Cockroaches

Cockroaches will seem to appear in your home out of nowhere, and once they get in, they are near-impossible to get out using DIY methods. Whether you have neighbors with cockroaches or have just exterminated cockroaches from your home, the following steps will help your home to reject future roach infestations.

Fill Cracks in the Walls

The hardy household cockroach can live outside nearly as easily as it can live inside, but will generally come inside if it has the chance. Cracks in the wall even 1/16 of an inch wide can provide an entryway for these pests, as they are extremely versatile in build and can squeeze through even the tiniest cracks. Buy some caulk and closely examine wall edges. Turning the lights off, looking for light from outside and feeling for drafts will help you to find and seal the less noticeable cracks.

Clear Space Around Vents

Vents bring you warm air in winter, but can also bring you cockroaches if you live in an apartment building that roaches find their way into. The convenient tube system makes for easy transport for roaches, which is even easier when they find that they can clamber down from the vent directly onto a household plant or hat stand. Get rid of any furniture or materials that may be leaning against vents in your home to encourage roaches to exit the tube elsewhere.

Keep Food Covered

Food should be kept carefully sealed if you live in an area where there is a high risk of cockroach infestations. Avoid leaving bread, fruit or other food items sitting on counters, leaving unfinished meals, snacks or dirty dishes lying around, or keeping food compost in a container without a tight seal. Keeping food sealed in the refrigerator is best, but if you must leave food on the counter, be sure to seal it in a plastic container with a tightly fitting lid.

Plug Drains and Cap Bottles

Water is like food to cockroaches—they can survive on water and only water for a surprising length of time. Ensure that cockroaches have as little access to water as possible by plugging up drains in sinks and showers, wiping up spills and splashes, and remembering to cover juice and water (or drinking out of bottles with bottle caps).

Check for Hitchhikers

Cockroaches may try to hitch a ride on people and enter your home that way. Checking yourself in a mirror for bugs, as well as making sure your family and friends are roach-free upon entry, will prevent these unwanted guests from sneaking their way inside. If you are careful about sealing your home, you can significantly reduce the risk of cockroach infestation and not have to worry about having to get them removed.

If it’s too late for your home and cockroaches have already found their way inside, call Green Pest Solutions today to get $50 off your first cockroach removal treatment. We specialize in cockroach removal across the Pennsylvania tri-state area.

It’s Termite Awareness Week!

Termite Awareness Week

Termite Awareness Week

That’s right, it’s termite swarm season. And with swarms comes disgruntled consumers seeing mounds of termites in and around their precious property. Termites pose a significant threat to your home’s property value. If there is ever a time to see if you have termites, the time is now! Call today for your free termite inspection!

Here are a few clues that termites may be present in a home:

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint
  5. Small piles of feces that resembles sawdust near a termite nest
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home

Termite Facts

  • Termites are wood-destroying insects whose presence dates back to the dinosaurs.
  • Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected.
  • There are about 2,000 known species of termites in the world.
  • The most common termite species found in the United States are subterranean termites, Formosan termites, dampwood termites, drywood termites.
  • Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species of termite as they eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage.
  • Termite colonies can have upwards of 2 million members.
  • Termites are present in 70 percent of countries across the world and their population outnumbers human beings on a ratio of ten to one.
  • The queen termite can lay up to 40,000 eggs per day.

Termite Prevention Tips

There are many steps a homeowner can take to help prevent termites from infesting their property. Most importantly, a homeowner should eliminate or reduce moisture in and around their home, which termites need to thrive. Here are some other tips:

  • Divert water away from your home’s foundation by installing properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation.
  • Trim vines, hedges and other vegetation to prevent them from blocking vents.
  • Remove old form boards, grade stakes, tree trunks and roots near a building, as they may attract termites.
  • Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and and 5 inches off the ground. Check it for pests before bringing it indoors.
  • Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.

 

Don’t Feed the Cockroaches – How to Keep Cockroaches Hungry

house kitchen cockroach

house kitchen cockroach

 

Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers, which means that they eat virtually anything they can get their mandibles on. They are also highly resilient insects, being able to live for months with a minimal food supply and go weeks without water. When attempting to rid your home of cockroaches, it is therefore crucial to keep both their food and water supplies to the absolute minimum by following the steps outlined below.

  • RefrigerateAny food in the house should ideally be kept in the refrigerator. The refrigerator is a self-sealing environment, and a cold one. As cockroaches prefer warm to cold and can fit through cracks as small as 1/16 of an inch wide, the freezing and thoroughly sealed space inside the fridge will effectively keep them from surviving on your groceries.
  • SealAny food that you do not wish to keep in the refrigerator should be kept in tightly sealing plastic containers. This goes for bread, fruit, and any other food product that you might otherwise leave sitting on the counter. Though you may not see roaches going for these food sources during the day, roaches (being nocturnal creatures) will happily creep out at night to munch on them as a midnight snack.
  • Vacuum – Keeping your floors free from food particles and the other insects that such particles attract subtracts both crumbs and bugs from the cockroaches’ potential menu.
  • Wash – Washing dirty dishes and wiping down surfaces with anti-grease solutions after meals is essential in keeping cockroaches from thriving in your home. The fact that a cockroach can survive for up to a week on a single greasy fingerprint is a good incentive for keeping your dishes, tables, chairs and counters clean.
  • Dry – Water (and juices that contain water) are better than food for a cockroach, as cockroaches can survive with water but no food for months on end, while given food but no water they can only survive for about a week. Drying up spills, toweling off the sink and/or tub after you shower or bathe, and plugging up the drains will keep roaches from finding the water that they need to survive.

If you are successful in keeping both food and water entirely inaccessible to your roaches, they can be dead within a week. However, because cockroaches are so resilient and require so little sustenance to survive it can be highly difficult to be vigilant enough to exterminate them yourself.

If your roaches have persisted despite your best efforts to eliminate their food and water supplies in your Philadelphia tri-state area home, you can save $50 on roach extermination treatment by calling Green Pest Solutions today.

Should You Be Worried About Hantavirus in Pennsylvania?

Mouse-eating-bread

No one wants to deal with mice invading their property. Mice carry serious diseases, like rabies, and the idea that these rodents could be running around inside of your home is a scary one.

But it’s not just bites that humans are at risk for. Mice also carry diseases in their saliva and urine, and if you come into contact with these fluids in any way, you could be at risk for catching those diseases.

Hantavirus: A Deadly Mouse Urine Disease

Hantavirus is a potentially fatal disease (actually two diseases that are closely related) that can lead to severe shutdown of the kidneys and/or potentially fatal lung disease. Both diseases start with flu-like symptoms, but quickly become more severe, and if left untreated may be fatal.

Hantavirus also incubates for 2 to 4 weeks after exposure, which makes it harder for doctors to diagnose the disease and treat it accordingly. Human beings can also catch Hantavirus by simply breathing in particles of mouse droppings or coming into physical contact with mouse urine.

Hantavirus in Pennsylvania

There have been reports of Hantavirus in Pennsylvania, and in many of those cases the results have been fatal. Hantavirus is a very real problem. So if you live in Pennsylvania and may have been in contact with mice, how nervous should you be?

Thankfully, the answer is “not very.” Hantavirus is a very rare disease. Since 1983, only 585 people have been diagnosed with Hantavirus in the entire United States, and Pennsylvania (along with New Jersey and Delaware) are some of the least common states for this type of diagnosis.

Mice Control With Green Pest

Still, even though Hantavirus isn’t prevalent, you should still exterminate mice when you believe they’re on your property. Mice may be infected with numerous other bacteria and diseases, and one of the reasons that Hantavirus hasn’t spread is because of the diligence of those that contact rodent control companies like Green Pest Solutions.

Contact us today to get $50 off of your first treatment for mice (excludes one-time service), and keep you and your family safe from any type of rodent disease.

Did You Know You Can Be Allergic to Cockroaches?

American Cockroach

Cockroach invasions are a nightmare. These pests are oversized and overabundant, and as soon as you see one it’s not uncommon to find dozens more – many of them scurrying across your carpet or lying upside down by your food.

Cockroaches are not simply an invasive pest either. They may also be a dangerous one. Cockroaches can trigger what’s known as a cockroach allergy – an allergy attack that can affect your skin and your lungs, and in some cases may require hospitalization.

Allergies to Cockroaches

Cockroach allergies are uncommon, but they’re not rare. Contact with any part of the cockroach, including its sweat and feces, can be enough to trigger a reaction. Cockroach particles are also easily bothered, and may float up into the air and get into your nose and throat simply by rubbing your shoes across the carpet.

It seems that those most prone to cockroach allergies are those that seem to suffer from other forms of allergies. Cockroach allergies can cause:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Skin rash
  • Red eyes

But perhaps most importantly, cockroaches can trigger asthma – in some cases that asthma may be severe. Asthma and allergy symptoms also increase depending on the number of cockroaches inside of your home, so the worse your infestation the more dangerous it can be.

If anyone in your family has allergies or asthma, and they appear to be worse when cockroaches are present, it’s possible that they’re having a reaction the cockroach presence and only by eliminating the roaches can you hope to give your family relief.

Cockroach Extermination for Asthma and Allergies

There are many different cockroach control strategies that are effective for ridding your home of roaches, and if you’re someone that suffers from asthma, removing the roaches may be an important way to avoid triggering a dangerous attack.

Cockroaches almost never invade alone and breed quickly. If you live in the Pennsylvania tri-state area and need cockroach control services, contact Green Pest today. We’re happy to inspect your home for free and give you $50 off your first treatment. Contact us today to find out more.

DIY Anti-Roach Potions

German Cockroaches

Cockroaches are highly persistent bugs. They can survive for months on nothing but water, weeks on food alone, and cannot easily be crushed or killed due to their resilient exoskeletons, not to mention their ability to regrow lost limbs.

Though cockroaches are notably difficult pests to exterminate yourself, the following anti-cockroach solutions that you can mix up at home may help you at least to cut down on their numbers, and potentially drive them away completely.

  • Catnip – Cockroaches seem to be as repelled by catnip as cats are attracted to it. Scattering dried or fresh catnip leaves around the house, or boiling the leaves for tea and using it as a spray are safe and environmentally friendly methods of working towards exterminating roaches.
  • Rosemary Oil – Rosemary oil added to water and sprayed around your home is another herbal and non-toxic way to drive roaches away. Pay special attention to the kitchen and dining area, and wherever else you see them most often.
  • Water and Alcohol – Mixing water and alcohol in a spray bottle and applying it directly to a roach can effectively kill it. Be careful to spray each roach plenty of times – a cockroach that flips onto its back is not necessarily dead yet.
  • Diatomaceous Earth – Diatomaceous earth is an organic powder made from seashells whose rough granules cut up the exoskeleton of a roach, eventually causing it to die. Sprinkle it thoroughly around your home to ensure that the cockroaches are forced to walk through it. When working with diatomaceous earth in close quarters it is important to wear a mask to avoid breathing too much of it in yourself.
  • Baking Soda Dough Balls – Tricking roaches into eating baking soda makes them dehydrated. Since water is the substance that roaches rely most heavily upon to survive, dehydrating them can significantly shorten their lifespan. Mix baking soda into a combination of flour, sugar and shortening and place it anywhere you frequently see roaches.

Killing roaches can take time and quite a bit of effort when doing it yourself, but can be worthwhile once you stop seeing these nasty insects scuttling around in unexpected places. If you want them gone faster and with less effort on your part, you can also call Green Pest today to get $50 off your first cockroach extermination treatment.

Rat Urine: More Dangerous Than Rat Bites?

Rat-in-Home

When you see a rat in your home, it’s a good idea to try to avoid their bite. Some rats carry diseases, like rabies, and it’s important that you stay away from rats as best you can to avoid any risk of series infection.

But rats are also very scared of humans, and the chance of them carrying diseases – like rabies – is slim. Rat bites may lead to infections, but those infections can generally be treated with generic antibiotics.

The problem is that staying away from rat bites isn’t enough. You also need to avoid rat urine, and unfortunately it’s not uncommon to come into contact with rat urine even when you don’t realize it.

The Disease of Rat Urine

Within rat urine there is a bacteria known as Leptospira, and if you come into contact with the urine in any way, you catch an infection known as Leptospirosis. Rat urine is filled with these bacteria, and the bacteria is a strong survivor. As long as there is still a bit of moisture left, the bacteria can continue to thrive. Leptospirosis causes:

  • Flu like symptoms, including fever and chills.
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Afterward the disease actually goes away temporarily, and then comes back and causes more significant symptoms including severe vomiting, muscle aches, jaundice, abdominal pain, fatigue, and even renal and liver failure. Because of the similarities to other serious diseases, Leptospirosis can be hard to diagnose. Because it could be deadly, the difficulty of diagnosing the illness can be very dangerous.

Dogs come into contact with rat urine from licking grass or puddles where a rat has urinated. Human beings generally come into contact accidentally, from splashing water or getting a small amount of dirt in their mouths while gardening. When rats are in your home, contact with rat urine is at higher risk.

Get Rid of Your Rat Problem

Leptospirosis is a serious problem, and one that makes it harder to live with a rat infestation. If you have rats in your home, make sure you call your local Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey exterminator. At Green Pest, we service the entire Tri-State area, and are happy to provide you with $50 off of your first rodent control treatment. Contact us today to find out more.