Almost everyone has heard nightmare stories about bed bugs. These minuscule insects can cause uncomfortable skin welts and even ruin furniture. Take the time to educate yourself on these tiny foes, however, and you might not find them so scary. Baton Rouge pest control experts have been eradicating bed bugs for a long time and have tried and true methods for making sure they won't return to your home or commercial property. Check out these five facts about bed bugs to prepare if you ever spot one crawling around.
1. They Reproduce Quickly
Bed bugs spread like wildfire. Just a few can reproduce into hundreds, making it impossible to inhabit a space. Two of the most common ways these insects spread are traveling and secondhand furniture. If you ever plan to stay in a hotel, be careful. Bed bugs tend to harbor in hotels, especially pet-friendly ones. They can attach to clothing or luggage, and thus are transported to your car or living space. Similarly, secondhand furniture should be scrubbed clean before being moved into a property. It's best to avoid purchasing used fabric couches, chairs or mattresses since bed bugs are especially partial to making these objects their home. It's impossible to predict how quickly an infestation can spread. Depending on access to food, female bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in two months, so it is vital you contact a pest control service as soon as you notice anything.
2. They Spread From Room to Room
Bed bugs are nocturnal travelers. They can spread to several rooms through cavity walls, ceilings, partition walls, cables, pipework, open doors and corridors. Because of their small size, they can easily fit in cracks by laying down flat and slowly crawling through. If an infestation is at a high level, they're especially partial to gravitating to food sources to complete their life cycle and reproduce. Attempting to prevent migration by sealing cracks is often not enough to eradicate them. Only a pest control company has the proper equipment and chemicals for effective bed bug treatment.
3. They Feed on Blood
Unfortunately, one of the major nutrition sources for bed bugs is blood. Many first realize they have an infestation when they wake up to itchy sores on their body. If you have pets, they can also be victims of bed bugs. Some people get allergic reactions to the bites, while others need to see a doctor because the sores begin to bleed from too much scratching. To prevent a lot of frustration, it's best to recruit a pest control company to make sure every last bug is eliminated.
4. They Live Up To One Year
Given female bed bugs' propensity to reproduce, many people are discouraged to hear that the average lifespan of a bug is one year. They reproduce through a process called "traumatic insemination" during which the male forcibly breaks a female's abdomen and inserts sperm. Once hatched, young bugs go through five growth stages before shedding their skin and becoming full-fledged adults. All the while, they feed off blood to survive. After feeding, a bed bug can grow to almost half its size. Only a pest control expert can determine how bad an infestation is and the most appropriate treatment.
5. They're Attracted to Certain Environments
Bed bugs thrive in certain environments. They tend to congregate in areas with little light. They enjoy red or black colors because they reassemble the colors of the bugs themselves, and hence give off a feeling that they're aggregating in herds. They tend to avoid green or yellow because they resemble light. There's little that you can do to prevent an infestation, however. Changing your wallpaper to yellow, for example, or putting more lamps in a room won't be a good deterrent. Consult with a bed bug pest control expert to discover the most effective removal method.
How To Remove Bed Bugs
Pest control professionals have several ways to tackle a bed bug infestation. Before deciding which method to use, they must carefully examine your property to determine the scope of the outbreak. It's useful to educate yourself about the different techniques so you know what to expect if you ever have to call the pros.
1. Heat Treatment
Since heat kills bed bugs, professionals sometimes opt to raise the temperature in infested rooms for roughly six to eight hours. Bed bugs and their eggs die in an hour and a half at 118°F and immediately at 122°F. The process usually involves careful monitoring of thermometers to make sure the correct temperature is reached. Keep in mind that the high temperature may affect items such as plants, food or art. Before a pest control expert begins a heat treatment, remove these sensitive possessions, if necessary.
Spraying insecticide takes less time than a heat treatment and can also be highly effective. Only a licensed pest control expert can decide which insecticide to use in your residence or business. There are many different brands to choose from, and three major categories of products:
● Fast-acting for surfaces people frequently touch, such as sofas or countertops
● Residual for underneath and inside furniture as well as cracks or crevices
● Dust for small spaces such as electrical outlets and baseboards
It's rare for all the pests to be killed in the first insecticide bed bug treatment. Usually, exterminators visit two or three times. They might also give you directions on how to prepare for a treatment. Follow these tips closely; otherwise, you might jeopardize the efficacy of the insecticide. You also shouldn't enter the rooms that are being treated before the experts say that's it's alright. Breathing in harmful chemicals is a health risk, and it should be the goal of every quality crew to put your safety first.
Hopefully, learning about these pests can aid in dispelling the myth that all is lost if they ever enter your property. Pest control experts have a wealth of knowledge about these insects and understand exactly what to do to keep them at bay.
Whether they're buzzing around your head while you read or chasing you down as you tend to your garden, flies are, at best, annoying. At worst, they are dangerous. Certain types of flies can bite and cause blisters, and even harmless houseflies aren't so harmless in the long run. Learn about the flies in Louisiana and how to go about fly control in this quick guide.
Types of Flies in Louisiana
Louisiana is home to hundreds of insect and arachnid species, including several types of flies:
● Bee-Like Tachinid Fly: These flies are lethal predators, but only to insects that most humans find to be problematic anyway. They mostly feed on moth species and often do it from the inside out. These flies are typically found in marshes and flowers.
● Deer Fly: Although related to the horse fly, deer flies are smaller. Even so, their bite is still painful and can cause welts. As the name implies, these flies usually feed on deer, but have no problem gnawing on a human if presented with one. Once they settle into a habitat, it is difficult to get rid of them.
● Fishfly: Large in size and seeming to be uncoordinated in the air, fishflies' jaws look like saw-like teeth. They are often found near the vegetation above moving water and are mostly active at night. They eat other aquatic insects, worms and algae.
● Yellow Fly: These flies look much like deer flies and are just as unwelcome. The females prefer to eat blood and will quickly target a human's head and ears. They also bother the backs, legs and faces of farm animals. Bites from a yellow fly become red and irritated and are often painful. Many humans are allergic and end up with painful blisters. These flies are most active around dusk in the months of May and June and a big reason for fly control needs.
● Common Green Bottle Fly: These flies are, as the name implies, common and likely to be found in and around your home. They eat dead animals and rotting foods. They not only carry disease, but also attack healthy sheep on occasion. These attacks can result in death if not treated.
● Flesh Fly: Like the common greenbottle fly, flesh flies feed on the skin and organs of dying animals, including humans. They may also eat feces and rotting foods. They are most active in spring and summer, and can be found anywhere from fields to parking lots.
Why Flies Are a Problem
When it comes to bacteria and disease, common houseflies are the biggest problem. These flies have always been known to carry diseases, but in recent years, researchers from the United States, Brazil, Germany and Singapore have discovered that flies are an even larger problem than previously thought. Not only do they transfer bacteria simply by landing on food or other surfaces, but they transfer many more types than previously thought. This means they are particularly problematic for businesses that rely on food production to survive. Fly control is an essential aspect of doing business for these companies.
Potential Diseases Flies Can Carry
The various fly species found in homes and businesses transfer a wide variety of bacteria. The most common bacterium in flies is Psychrobacter sp. Prwf-1. This bacterium is in about 25 percent of housefly samples. While normally existing in cold environments, the strain easily adapts to warm ones and is closely associated with food spoilage. A range of other problematic bacteria was found as well:
● Enterobacter cloacae: This bacterium is widespread and can cause a range of health problems, including lower respiratory issues, skin and soft tissue infections. It can also contaminate intravenous medical devices.
● Staphylococcus: Increasingly common, this bacterium is often found in hospitals, but can be in homes as well. It typically infects open wounds and may lead to more serious issues.
● Acinetobacter baumannii: Widely found in nature, this bacterium is known for causing urinary tract infections, secondary meningitis and several other health issues typically picked up in hospitals.
● Enterococcus faecalis: This is a normal component of the gut, but can cause serious issues when there is too much of it. Infections can be life-threatening due to the bacterium's resistance to antibiotics.
● E. coli: There are many types of E. coli, and six of them can cause gastroenteritis if you have contact with contaminated food or water.
● Salmonella enterica: Salmonella is a common cause of food poisoning and one of the most important reasons that fly control is important.
Other common bacteria found in flies includes Bacillus cereus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Helicobacter pylori.
How Flies Contaminate Your Space
Flies transmit bacteria in one of three ways. Most commonly, they contaminate food, humans and surfaces when they land. However, they also transmit bacteria when they regurgitate during feeding or via excrement. Their legs and feet are most commonly covered in the microorganisms.
How to Prevent Flies
It is nearly impossible to completely prevent houseflies. They tend to follow you in as you enter and exit your home or business. However, there are ways to keep them from multiplying and becoming a problem. The easiest way to prevent houseflies or fruit flies from taking over your home or business is to keep it clean. If you use a garbage disposal, keep it clean and run it often. Never leave organic material in the drain. Take the garbage out often, and use disinfectants to prevent bacteria from traveling throughout your home or business. Clean your garbage cans often, and never leave standing water, such as that in buckets, around for flies to land in.
When to Call Pest Control
No matter how hard you try to prevent flies, sometimes, do-it-yourself fly control simply isn't enough. If keeping food put away and cleaning often hasn't helped you to get rid of the housefly or fruit fly problem on your property, it is important to call a professional. Pest control companies have the tools, knowledge and experience necessary to remove the problem and help you find ways to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Without the proper fly control, these insects can easily take over your home or business, leaving you and your family sick, or your company unable to operate properly. When at-home remedies don't work, hire a reputable and licensed Baton Rouge pest control company. Doing so could mean the difference between saving your business and going bankrupt.
The Formosan subterranean termite is one of the most destructive species of termites in the United States. If you find evidence that a colony of these termites has infested your property, it is important that you call an exterminator and enact damage control as soon as possible to curb the amount of damage to wooden trees and structures. Formosan termites are the most aggressive and destructive type of termite in the world, so immediate, skilled Baton Rouge termite control is important to limit their spread and effect. Read on to find out more about Formosan termites and the extent of damage that they can do.
History of Formosan Termites
The Formosan termite is not native to the southern United States, having instead migrated to the area from East Asia. It is thought that the termite originated in southern China, and from there migrated to other countries by ship. It gets its name from Formosa, a former name for Taiwan.
The termite did not become widespread outside of Asia until the 20th century and did not make its way to the continental United States until the 1960s. Colonies of Formosan termites have been reported in 11 states, most of which are in the southeast. However, it is also well-established in Hawaii.
Formosan termites are rarely found north of the Mason-Dixon line since the eggs require a warm, humid climate in which to hatch. For this reason, it is likely that termite colonies will remain restricted to southern states.
Formosan Termite Colonies
Formosan termite colonies are made up of three different types of insects: workers, protector soldiers, and reproductive alates. Formosan workers do most of the venturing out from the colony to procure food, so these are the type you are most likely to encounter in your home.
Soldiers stay close to the nest to defend it. When disturbed, they excrete a white liquid that is used for defense.
Reproductive alates are relatively uncommon compared to the other types of termites. They are responsible for spreading the colony and establishing new reproductive caches of eggs.
In addition to these types of termites, each colony also has a king and queen who remain underground and will generally not be seen by the casual observer. The queen termite can live up to 15 years and produce up to 2,000 eggs every day.
How to Identify Formosan Termites
Each type of termite in the colony looks different. The worker termites tend to look quite similar to other species of termites. They are about half an inch long and tan in color. While most types of North American termites have square heads, Formosan termites have oval-shaped heads. However, this can be difficult to determine due to the small size of the termites.
Soldier termites are slightly larger than workers and generally darker in color. They also have larger, dark-colored mandibles in the front of their heads. These soldier termites can be extremely aggressive when defending their nests and may even swarm people who venture too close.
Alates are the easiest type of termite to identify, as they look considerably different from other species. They are about an inch long and light brown in color, with long wings that are covered in small hairs.
Formosan Termite Damage
Formosan termites infestations can be identified by the material used to make nests, as well as by the damage caused to wood. Nests are gray or brown in color and have a slightly rough texture on the outside. They are often found underneath floors or between walls, but they may show up under sinks or in cupboards that are not used frequently.
Termite damage is generally caused from the inside out. This means that termites hollow out wood structures and cause damage that is not always immediately visible on the outside. If you suspect a termite infestation, try tapping the infected area and listening for a hollow sound. You may also notice damage such as blistering or peeling around the affected area. If you are performing renovations to your house, you may notice smooth tunnels inside wooden walls or beams. This is also a sure sign of termite infestation.
Economic Damage Caused by Formosan Termites
Formosan termites are far more aggressive than other species and are one of the most destructive pests in the United States. It is estimated that they cause over $1 billion annually in the United States alone.
While a single Formosan termite does not consume more wood than a single termite of any other species, Formosan colonies tend to be quite a bit larger than native termites. Formosan termites also tend to dig more extensive underground burrows, allowing them to damage multiple structures that may be quite far apart from one another.
These termites primarily eat wood, including wooden homes and other structures, but they also attack trees, crops and plants. In addition to infesting homes, they may also attack wooden boats and other structures. In New Orleans, it is estimated that up to 50 percent of the city’s historic live oaks have been damaged by Formosan termites.
How to Control Formosan Termites
Due to the aggressive nature of the pests, Formosan termite infestations are best handled by professional exterminators. A good exterminator can ensure that the colony is completely eradicated so that the termites do not come back to do more damage. Termites are usually dispatched through the placement of barrier treatments and bait stations, though in more serious cases, fumigation may be recommended.
However, there are several steps that property owners can take to ensure termites are more likely to stay away from their homes. It is a good idea to keep wood piles and lumber away from homes and other buildings. Termites are also attracted to wet wood, so clean up any leaking plumbing or air conditioning condensate as soon as possible.
If you suspect a Formosan termite infestation on your property, don’t wait to contact a qualified exterminator. These termites can do devastating damage very quickly, so the longer you wait, the more danger your home and property will be in.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.