Pest control may include tackling infestations of a wide variety of crawling critters. Some of the most damaging pests in Louisiana, however, are carpenter ants, whose presence can range from annoying to structurally condemning. If this wood-destroying insect decides to establish its colony in the walls of your home, it is essential to address the problem as soon as possible.
Identifying Carpenter Ants
One of the first steps of preventing or eliminating carpenter ants is to correctly identify them. Pest control is only possible when the pest and its habits are known. Carpenter ants are the most common variety of ants found in the Baton Rouge area, and they are also the largest ant species in North America. Thus, if you can see ants crawling your home or yard, they are probably carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants come in different colors, depending on the colony. Many are black, but some are red, orange, or brown. They are noted for the small hairs around the abdomen, and for their large jaws, which aid them in chewing away wooden structures. Because they make their nests in damp and rotted wood, they are likely to be seen along the branches of trees and bushes, in tree stumps, around piles of firewood, around wooden door or window frames, along fences, near baseboards, and in the joints in walls with interior plumbing. As nocturnal insects, the ants are not as active during the day. Keep an eye out for crawlers during the evenings and mornings when you first turn on the lights.
Signs You Might Have a Carpenter Ant Nest
When dealing with pest control of carpenter ants, there are a few signs to look for if you suspect a nest in your home. These include the following:
If you live in a particularly moist area or are otherwise susceptible to the wrath of carpenter ants, you can prevent infestations with some effective Baton Rouge pest control tips, such as:
Carpenter Ant Bait
When you know you have a colony of carpenter ants in your house, pest control strategies recommend using bait to get rid of them. Bait is used as food for worker ants, who are attracted to a sugary compound laced with a chemical poison. The workers carry the bait back to the colony where other ants feed on it and die. The most effective way to distribute bait is to set it along the paths that the ants usually use for finding food. When using store-bought bait, be sure to select one that is water-resistant and targeted especially for carpenter ants. Otherwise, it might accidentally get washed away or eaten by some other critter, and your ant colony will never receive the sugary toxin.
Carpenter Ant Pesticide
Instead of bait, you may prefer to use pesticides. This can prevent ants from colonies that have inhabited your yard from entering your house. If you feel confident in your Baton Rouge pest control techniques, you may also consider using a foam, dust, or aerosol insecticide to attack an indoor nest at its source. To do this, be sure that you have properly and correctly identified the nest location and drill a few small holes in the wall at least two feet from where you see the ants entering the wall. Spray the insecticide around the holes as well as any other opening the ants are using. This should effectively wipe out the entire colony.
For those families that have children or pets at home and may prefer a less chemically toxic solution to carpenter ant extermination, there are some easy DIY methods you can also use. For natural Baton Rouge pest control, use boric acid, an affordable, natural, and relatively safe-for-humans poison, and combine it with 10 parts sugar water. Add this solution to any food you chose and set it out appropriately as bait. Boric acid can also be used as a pesticide by spraying it in or near the nest, or along the paths the ants travel. Diatomaceous earth is another natural product that is effective in pest control. DE is a sedimentary rock that insects cannot ingest, and dusting it over the nest kills off your carpenter ants.
When dealing with particularly large or aggressive infestations, consider calling a professional exterminator to get rid of the ants with strategic Baton Rouge pest control. The carpenter ant, as a wood-destroying insect, is one of the biggest threats to the stability of home. When you spot the signs, take action immediately.
A rolled newspaper, a flyswatter or even the palm of your hand can all be weapons in your battle for fly control. These tiny creatures are often a harmless nuisance, but there may come a time to consider a pest control service. Sometimes fly season just doesn’t seem to end.
When people think about flies, the first thing to come to mind is often the common house fly; however, there are many more species. Flies are classified as part of the order Diptera, which is estimated to have a million species, but only 125,000 have been described. The following are species you may encounter:
The Anatomy of a Fly
Flies are characterized by having a single pair of wings used for flight, while the hindwings have evolved into sensory organs. These sensory organs facilitate their ability to maneuver. If you’ve ever wondered why fly control can be so difficult, this added maneuverability is part of the reason. Flies have mobile heads and compound eyes that allow them to see information from a variety of angles. Depending on the species, flies can have a mouthpiece designed to pierce and suck in nutrients or to lap and suck in nutrients. These insects also have an ability to cling to smooth surfaces and walk up walls due to the claws and pads on their feet.
Because of the diversity of fly species, some have developed hardy adaptations to their environment. Shore fly larvae and a few Chironomidae can live in hot springs, crude oil, sulfur springs, glaciers, saline springs and septic tanks. The larvae of the Megaselia scalaris can incorporate shoe polish and paint into their diet.
A Bug’s Life Cycle
The life cycle of a fly consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The common house fly provides a typical example. House flies lay eggs that resemble grains of white rice. These eggs are often laid in dark, damp places. Compost, garbage and feces are popular sites for fly eggs. Up to 150 eggs can be laid in a single batch, with five or six batches laid over a period of a few days.
The eggs hatch within a day and become larva, also known as maggots, that feed on their environment for three to five days. When the maggots are ready to pupate, they find a dark place to form a protective shell, similar to a butterfly’s cocoon. The pupae grow wings and legs and emerge after three to six days as fully-grown house flies.
It only takes another two to three days for female flies to be ready for reproduction, thus starting the cycle anew. Moreover, adult house flies can live for two to four weeks, depending on conditions. This rapid life cycle can make fly control a difficult process.
The Ecological Importance of Flies
While flies can be both a nuisance and a danger, they also play an important role in the ecological community as predator, prey and parasite. Many animals rely on flies as a source of food, while at the same time, flies consume various organic matter. Some of these insects play an important role in helping to decompose matter in either their adult or larva stage.
In addition to aiding decomposition, flies play an integral role in the pollination of flowers. It’s estimated that 71 families in the order Diptera regularly visit flowers, and over 550 species of flower are routinely visited by flies. Depending on the local ecology, flies may be the only insect that facilitates a plant’s pollination, or they may share the role with another insect such as bees. Some flies go to flowers to feed on the nectar while others prefer pollen. A few types visit flowers to lay eggs or to seek shelter from the weather. Some flowering plants exercise fly control by tricking the insects into visiting their flowers by emitting scents that mimic decaying flesh.
The Risks Posed by Flies
Flies can pose serious dangers to the health and wellbeing of humans and livestock. Because many flies land on and feed on decomposing flesh, feces and other bacteria-laden garbage, they can quickly spread bacteria and disease. A common method of fly feeding involves vomiting and defecating on almost everything they land on, which further aides in the spread of disease.
One way to prevent the spread of sickness is to dispose of food that flies have landed on. A fly infestation could potentially facilitate the transfer of any of the following diseases:
Other flies such as the mosquito prefer a more direct approach by biting their victims. Mosquitoes are responsible for the deaths of 1 million people each year due to the diseases these insects can spread. The lack of fly control is a serious concern in all parts of the world though areas with large amounts of standing water can be more severely affected.
In the United States, one of the most serious diseases carried by mosquitoes is the West Nile virus. Since 1999, the United States has reported 44,000 cases. About half of those reported cases resulted in an infection of the spinal cord and brain, and 1,900 people died. West Nile can cause body aches, headache, rash, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea and joint pain. If you suspect you may have contracted an illness by a mosquito or other fly, contact your physician.
Prevention and Eradication Strategies
With so many different species of fly to contend with, fly control can be a difficult challenge. There are a few steps you can take to minimize your risk of infestations:
If these steps aren’t enough to address your fly problems, it may be time to call a Baton Rouge pest control service to professionally address the issue. Your hand or newspaper may end the annoyance of an individual fly, but professional services have the experience and equipment to deal with more comprehensive fly control issues.
You wander into your kitchen in the middle of the night to get a glass of water. When you turn on the light, you see cockroaches scurry to the shadows under the cabinets. When you open up your cabinets, you see unwanted pantry pests lurking within. While prevention is the best way to keep bugs out of your home and kitchen, you can still rid your space of unwanted pests once they have decided to invade. Follow these tips to take back your kitchen from meddlesome insects
1. Prevent Entry
Bugs do not respect a locked door, so you have to seal up any possible entry point from the outside. Armed with your caulking gun, seal up any visible holes on the exterior of your home. If there are cracks in your foundation, have them repaired. Test the doors and windows of your home to see if there is an air leak. If air can get in, so can cockroaches. Replace worn weather stripping to seal up the leak and keep bugs out.
2. Block the Inner Path
Once you have sealed the outside of your home, set up a secondary barrier on the inside. Inspect your walls, baseboards and cupboards for cracks and crevices. Grab that caulking gun again and make those cracks disappear. This is especially important if you live in an apartment building, as you have no control over the pest control efforts of your neighbors. Just because they have cockroaches, however, does not mean you have to resign yourself to that fate.
3. Fix Water Leaks
Pantry pests, particularly roaches, love water. If your kitchen sink or the pipes underneath it leak, bugs consider it an open invitation. Fixing the leak and drying out your cabinetry gets rid of their oasis in your home. It also prevents water damage that can weaken the cabinet’s structure, allowing for holes through which bugs can enter.
4. Cool It Off
If you are looking for another reason to crank up your air conditioner, you can always cite pest control. Cockroaches take advantage of the formidable heat of summer to spread their wings and fly. The warmer it is, the better their muscles function. Keeping your home as cool as possible may not kill them, but it probably will keep them from going airborne and might make them slower, easier targets.
5. Cover Items Up
If pantry pests invade your kitchen, they are going to go right for the snacks. Put pet food up at night in a sealed receptacle to ensure that it does not lure pests. Keep your pantry items in airtight, leakproof containers that keep bugs out and seal in freshness. Stay aware of the expiration dates of all your pantry items, as food tends to expand when it rots or goes stale, potentially leading to bursting packages that signal a smorgasbord for cockroaches. Keeping food sealed away leaves exploring insects nothing to find.
6. Keep It Clean
A clean kitchen is less likely to attract unwanted pests. Bugs have a built-in radar for food remnants left on dirty dishes. Wash dishes every time you cook or eat, and wipe down cabinets to remove any remaining food particles that are left behind. It is also a good idea to sweep the floor every night to clean up anything that has spilled from the countertops. A free meal signals welcome. Do not give the insects that long to infest your home the satisfaction of giving them a reason to stick around.
7. Dry It Up
As mentioned before, cockroaches love moisture and will seek it out any chance they get. If your pantry is not well ventilated, it could become just the sort of damp environment that pantry pests love. Make sure that the place you store your food has sufficient airflow to keep everything dry and pest free.
8. Centralize Food
Try to store and consume all food in a centralized location. It might be tempting to take a midnight snack to bed, but spreading crumbs out over the house makes it more difficult to keep everything clean and free of bug infestations. If food is only allowed in certain areas of your home, you do not have to worry about food becoming a temptation for cockroaches to enter through every window, crack and drain.
9. Use the Bait
If you do find bugs in your kitchen, it is time to go to war. Roach bait comes in a wide variety of applications and strengths, so it is easy to find a product to solve your particular problem. Putting baits near water sources and in corners can help curtail the problem. Several products also offer a gel-based substance you can squeeze into crevices if you want a treatment that is a little more discreet. If you have small children or pets, you can opt for a more natural solution, such as a sprinkling of boric acid, which is safe for humans and larger animals but toxic to cockroaches.
10. Call the Experts
Whether you are preventing pantry pests or treating an existing problem, it is vital to call extermination specialists to assist in the process. A regular perimeter treatment around the outside of your house can help discourage pests from getting near it. Most pest control experts are willing to set up a regular schedule so that you know when to expect them every month or quarter. They can also spray the perimeter of your kitchen. Be sure to follow preparation instructions closely prior to their visit so that they can spray for cockroaches without endangering your family’s health.
10 Ways to Win the Fight
There are many things you can do to fight against pantry pests. Ideally, your prevention efforts will be successful so that you do not have to contend with unwanted insects in your kitchen. If you discover that an infestation is already present, however, there are measures you can take to remedy the problem. If you see cockroaches scurrying across the floor or counters at night, you now have the tools to turn your kitchen into an inhospitable place for them.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.