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What You Should Know About Carpenter Bees

There are two types of carpenter bees that can be found within the United States. The large carpenter bees (Xylocopa) and small carpenter bees (Ceratina). The common name “carpenter bee” derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. The large carpenter bees are the ones mostly responsible for damages known to property owners.

What do they look like?

What You Should Know About Carpenter Bees

en.wikipedia.org

The main difference between the two are their sizes. Large carpenter bees range from being 12-25 mm long while small ones are less than 8 mm long. Xylocopa don’t have hair so they look somewhat glossy, while Ceratina are darker in color and look metallic.

Both of them can have some yellow markings on their body and face that make them look like bumblebees.

Also, they leave yellowish combinations of pollen and excrement near their shelters. These species are among the most complex in shape of any group of bees; whereas most bees fill their brood cells with a soupy mass and others form simple pollen masses, Xylocopa species form elongated and carefully sculpted masses that have several projections which keep the bulk of the mass from coming into contact with the cell walls.

The eggs are very large relative to the size of the female, and are some of the largest eggs among all insects.

Two very different mating systems that appear to be common in carpenter bees, and often this can be determined by examining specimens of the males.

In the other mating system, the males often have very small heads, but a large, hypertrophied glandular reservoir is in the mesosoma, which releases pheromones into the airstream behind the male while it flies or hovers.

How do they affect us?

What You Should Know About Carpenter Bees

doyourownpestcontrol.com

Aside from stinging you, carpenter bees are also capable of damaging your wooden structures. These bees don’t actually eat wood, but they do excavate them if they need shelter or chambers to rear their young.

They particularly prefer wood that is dry, unpainted, or weathered down. Examples of structures that can interest carpenter bees are doors, window sills, railings, decks, and lawn furniture.

If you see nearly perfectly round holes (approximately ½ inch in diameter) on your wooden structures, then carpenter bees can be one of the culprits. These drillings can leave piles of sawdust around the structure, which can be a nuisance to clean up after.

How do I manage them?

What You Should Know About Carpenter Bees

pestkill.org

Check the infested wood and apply insecticide into the holes. To avoid possible stings, apply the insecticides at night as bees are still asleep.

Also, it’s advisable to wear protective clothing that fully covers your skin. Do not plug the holes immediately! The bees should be able to pass freely through the nest entrance where they will contact the dust and distribute it inside the tunnels.

Also any new matured bees will emerge through the openings and contact the dust placed there. It is a good idea to treat in the spring, again in mid-summer to kill any bees which may not have acquired a sufficient treatment when they emerged, and a third time in early fall to contact any over-wintering bees occupying the tunnels. In the fall, the holes should be filled with wood putty or wooden dowels and the entire wood surface painted or varnished. Stained wood is not usually protected from attack.

Handling bees can be dangerous because they are highly aggressive once provoked. There are also risks in handling pesticides, so leave it to a pest professional for a more efficient and safe treatment.

How to Identify and Control Aphids

Aphids are tiny, light bugs; but when put together in large numbers, they can become a huge destructive force against your crop or garden.

How to Identify and Control Aphids

                 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphid

Aphids feed usually on the soft parts of the plant, such as the tips, flowers, and leaves. They are typically green, but they can also be black or grey.

What to Look For

  • Aphids live together in large numbers, so look for masses of them
  • They leave a sticky and sweet honeydew (which can attract other garden insects like ants too)
  • Their husks, sometimes white or grey, litter the soil

How to Control Them

Treatment is simple. If you don’t wish to use chemicals, here’s another way to control them:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with warm water mixed with small amounts of liquid soap – just enough that foams up the bottle.
  2. Spray in large amounts. Make sure you target the Aphids specifically.

If you’re looking for something stronger, look for chemical products that contain permethrin or malathion. Make sure you check if the chemical is compatible with your plant, because some react more sensitively than others.

Aphids are also similar to termites in the sense that they are both tiny, yet when there are a ton of them, they can really cause some HUGE damage to your home.

giphy.com

                                                                                  giphy.com

Because of the mild winter we’ve seen in Ohio this year, unfortunately, termite & aphid counts will be high. It’s important to make sure you always have your eye out for potential termite damage & to give us a call immediately if you fear you may have an infestation.

What to Look For

Here are different ways to detect signs of termites in your home→ Inspecting Homes for Termites

How to Control Them

So, how can you protect your home from the threat of termites?

First… Call for your FREE INSPECTION and estimate in writing by a licensed professional at A1 Able Pest Doctors.

Make sure you ask about our various treatment plans especially our exclusive TERMIPEST total protection programs!

Termites cause over 2 billion dollars of damage each year to homes in the USA. More than fires and hurricanes combined!

So protect your home today by calling 1-800-737-8189 or CONTACT US NOW!

 

Watch Out for These Common Spring Pests!

Spring brings nature back to life after months of the cold and snow. Those that come back aren’t limited to bright flowers and green grass! It’s also the best time for critters to flourish and follow their instincts.

For us humans, it’s always a little annoying because these spring-time pests are going to wreak havoc this season since our winter was fairly mild.

Here’s a list of common spring pests, and how to deal with them:

Mosquitoes

Watch Out for These Common Spring Pests!

Here’s a disease carrier that’s always getting the spotlight. Mosquitoes are present everywhere, except for Antarctica and a few places that have very long and cold winters. This insect can host a variety of diseases, like dengue, West Nile and Zika. Good news, the instances of these diseases compared to the number of bites per year is incredibly small, so if you do get bit by one, it’s likely not serious.

How to deal with them

Time and time again, prevention is the best medicine. Avoid having stagnant water in your house, because this is where mosquitoes can breed and grow.

If you’re outdoors, this tip still holds true. Rivers and lakes also have still water that mosquitoes can use.

If you’re camping near these spots, be sure to wear clothing that covers most of your skin – such as long sleeves and pants. Another option is to use repellents, like DEET (diethyltoluamide), citronella candles, or an outdoor repeller lantern.

If you get bit, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion on the spot to relieve itchiness. If you start experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever within 2 days of the bite, visit your doctor.

Ticks

Watch Out for These Common Spring Pests!

thebuggeek.com

Ticks are found almost everywhere in the U.S., especially in wooded areas. These creatures can be a serious concern for outdoor enthusiasts because they can carry Lyme disease – symptoms of which includes chronic rash, joint pain, and lethargy.

Ticks are small bloodsuckers that prey on exposed skin (or fur, if you have a pet companion) without you even noticing. The longer it stays attached, the higher the risk of infection, so immediate removal is crucial.

If you live in the woods or plan on going on a hike at one of Dayton/Springfield’s nature parks, make sure you’re taking the proper precautions –>

How to deal with them

For preventing the bites in the first place, the best way is to wear long-sleeves and pants whenever you’re going for a hike in the woods. Another thing you can do is use a repellent, like BiteBlocker.

You can refer to our previous article on what to do if you get bit here.

Horse Flies

Watch Out for These Common Spring Pests!

getridoffliesguide.come

Once Spring kicks in, flies of all kinds swarm for places to lay their eggs. Most kinds are a simple nuisance, but there are also some that can leave painful bites, such as horse flies. Horse flies in particular are significantly larger than the common housefly. Also, the females are aggressive when it comes to blood feeding.

How to deal with them

Flies, in general, sleep from night until sunrise. So if you’re an early morning outdoorsman, then you have nothing to worry about.

For prevention tips, wearing clothing that covers most of your skin is still the best way to avoid getting bit.

A blend of citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint can also act as a repellant for a wide range of flying insects that include horse flies.

If you get bit, don’t panic. It may be painful, but rarely can it be serious! Cool the area with a cold & wet washcloth, then disinfect it with soap and water. If it remains swollen after a few days, use an over-the-counter insect bite treatment.

Bees and Wasps

Watch Out for These Common Spring Pests!

Spring is the best time for bees and wasps to build their hives to last for Summer. They sting differently, and it’s important to know the difference:

Bees use all their venom at once before they lose their stinger and die.

On the other hand, wasps retain their stinger, so they can sting you with smaller amounts of venom several times.

Bee venom and wasp venom are also different, so a person can be allergic to one and not the other. The effects are similar though – pain, itching, and swelling at the sting area.

How to deal with them

Some bees are less hostile than wasps, but it’s safer to avoid all of them. If you’re going outdoors, avoid wearing cologne, perfume, bright colors, and floral patterns on your clothes. These, and sweet food & drinks, can attract those nasty stinging insects.

If a bee or wasp lands on you, stay very still. It will most likely fly away. Swatting aggravates them, which is something you don’t want. If you do get stung and begin experiencing side effects, such as dizziness and trouble in swallowing, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

Mild stings can be treated by just washing with soap and water, and using a cold pack. If you still have swelling after several days, you need to see a doctor so he or she can recommend the best treatment. Usually, it would be a steroid cream.

We discussed the simple things you can do to avoid these spring pests, but what happens when it’s an infestation? There are too many to handle on your own, so it’s best to contact a pest professional.

Watch Out for These Common Spring Pests!

Don’t hesitate to contact us when faced with an infestation problem. We have the knowledge and expertise necessary to handle your pest problems in a safe and efficient manner!

How to Safely Remove a Tick

Ticks are pesky critters that live by feeding on the blood of other animals, notably a nuisance for us humans. Tick season begins in early spring and continues through fall.

via GIPHY

Black-legged deer ticks that carry Lyme disease, can remain active throughout the year, so it’s important to treat a bite as soon as possible!

How to Safely Remove a Tick

pestworld.org

If there’s a tick burying itself on your skin, there’s no need to panic!

All you need is a set of fine-tipped tweezers and you’re set to remove the tick effectively. Before we get to the step-by-step guide, here’s some rules to follow:

DON’T crush a tick with your fingers

DON’T twist or jerk the tick – this may make some parts to break off and remain in your skin

DON’T use nail polish or petroleum jelly on the tick

DON’T heat the tick

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a helpful step-by-step guide to removing a tick:

How to Safely Remove a Tick

cdc.gov

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to clasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, then…
  2. Pull upward with steady pressure.
  3. After removal, thoroughly clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  4. Submerse the live tick in alcohol and place it in a sealed bag, or flush it down the toilet.
  5. Lastly, do visit your doctor if you experience rashes or fever within several days of the bite. It’s important to know if the tick that bit you carried an infection.

THAT’S ALL!

Short and simple, once you get past the point of fear and disgust (if you’re not a fan of bugs!).

If you have a tick infestation in your household or in your business, then that’s a different problem altogether.

If this is the case, we strongly advise that you seek a pest control expert for infestation problems. We have the professional knowledge and expertise to efficiently solve your problem!

A Recollection of the Rocktober Purse Drive

The temperature is still dropping as we take on February, which most of the time seems like the longest part of the year.

That means it’s time for us to reminisce on an amazing event we supported this past October and give you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside, even though it’s chilly out there!

I’m sure everyone who saw the “Purse Drive” back in October/November can’t forget it. For a recap, the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Springfield were in need of purses, be it used or new. Their organization provides much needed assistance to homeless families in the Springfield region. They do this by providing assistance with finding permanent housing, as well as job and education services.

A Recollection of the Rocktober Purse Drive

The 2-week donation drive from October to November flew by pretty fast. Contribution was in no way mandatory, and as a company born in Springfield, we wanted to really get  involved in the community in which we live, work, and serve.

The Interfaith office is always in need of used clothing, blankets or sheets, shoes, and coats for men, women, and children. So why not donate what we no longer need or use?

A Recollection of the Rocktober Purse Drive

We’ve managed to collect items that someone else may cherish, and package them to give to the Interfaith office. It was a good thing that there were enough people to help carry all the bags & boxes!! There was so much to give!

A Recollection of the Rocktober Purse Drive

The donated items storage is just beside the Interfaith office. This particular location provides assistance to women and children, and across the street is a partner facility that provides the same assistance for homeless men.

A Recollection of the Rocktober Purse Drive

The Interfaith storage was looking so lively during the drive. It goes to show that Springfield has a community that values involvement and solicitude.

A Recollection of the Rocktober Purse Drive

We all have our own daily struggles, and it’s always important to recognize that things could be worse. It’s such a wonderful feeling to give back to the people of your community.

If you see another charity drive, stop and think if you have anything you can give. No donation is too small for those who are in need. Or even if you’re in the Starbucks drive-thru and someone pays for your coffee, pay-it-forward and pass it along! There’s no better feeling than giving back.

We, as a community are strong because of our compassion for one another. It is a gift that has no cost, but it’s value immeasurable.

A New Year’s Resolution for Every Homeowner

If there’s ever a good time to start something, it’s the start of a new year. Maybe you’ve planned a workout routine, or valuing more ‘me’ time, or maybe saving up money to organize your finances better. Whatever the plan is, it’s best to keep doing them and never give up! Pest-proofing is no different. The resolution every homeowner should make as soon as possible is to pest-proof their homes for the months ahead. Here are 4 tips to get started:

  1. Set aside your decorations and other holiday objects properly

Check out this article from honeyandlime.co –>

A New Year’s Resolution for Every Homeowner

It may be a chore, but don’t be lazy on packing them. Any durable container, especially made of plastic, with tight lids is recommended to keep critters from infesting them while in storage.

  1. Tidy up the kitchen

A New Year’s Resolution for Every Homeowner

cleanandscentsible.com

Food is one of the main reasons why pests invade homes, and the kitchen is the prime place to be for that reason. Clean the kitchen after every meal and dispose of garbage every time the indoor trash can is full. Also, keep food in airtight containers. Consider food items in the pantry too.

  1. Seal any openings and crevices

A New Year’s Resolution for Every Homeowner

conservationmart.com

Inspect your house for any gaps that pests can use to invade your home, and consider measures in sealing them. For exterior doors, installing door sweeps should seal the gap between the floor and the door. This helps eliminate the space for insects and rodents to enter the home. Don’t forget about areas where utilities and pipes enter too.

  1. Keep your immediate outdoors orderly

A New Year’s Resolution for Every Homeowner

express.co.uk

Although it’s still cold outside, there’s a way for pesky critters to stay near your home. Accumulation of fallen leaves and branches is a sanctuary for most insects and raccoons, so consider sweeping and cleaning the yard once in a while.  If you store firewood, remember to keep them at least 20 ft away from the house.

These are some ways to pest-proof your home and is a good start for the new year. If you need help, contact a pest professional for a more in-depth process of pest-proofing your area.

 

Fruit Flies and Gnats in Winter

Fruit Flies and Gnats in Winter

Almanac.com

Every Winter, predictable things happen. The temperature drops, snow starts covering the ground, and a lot of insects hibernate.

One unpredictable insect surprise, however, could come in finding you still have a swarm of gnats and fruit flies inside your home. There are several reasons why this could happen, so let’s look at some facts about these pesky gnats:

  • Gnat is the common name for various small winged insects in the fly group. Most of the time, what people call gnats are usually fruit flies or fungus flies. Gnats are not into blood like mosquitoes are, but they do eat algae, fungus, fruits, and various plants.
  • It may be winter outside your house, but inside the temperature is usually warm enough for these pests to feel comfortable for active breeding and feeding.
  • You may have brought something home that was infested with gnat eggs, such as fruit. It’s hard to notice if the fruit is infested, but if the food begins to rot, the fruit flies will become more visible.
  • Your home has a lot of resources for fruit flies and gnats to thrive and reproduce. One splotch of ketchup on a dirty dish in the sink, or a stain of something sweet in your trash can provide a swarm of gnats enough food to live.

Fruit Flies and Gnats in Winter

flickr.com

Fruit flies and gnats are very resourceful when it comes to surviving. Even if you only have a single rotting fruit in your home and everything else is sealed, that alone is enough for them to produce swarms.

They are hard to get rid of, especially if you don’t know their breeding sites. To manage these pests, consider calling a pest professional and have them inspect your home.

At A1 Able Pest Doctors, we provide inspection, identification of causative or conducive conditions, identification of pest species, identification of mechanical and sanitation corrections needed, and a straightforward approach to eliminating current, as well as future pest problems.

Don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 737-8189 for a consultation!

How to Prevent Animals from Invading Your Home This Winter

We aren’t the only ones looking to get indoors when it gets chilly! Pesky rodents are also eager to find refuge in warm shelters that have easy access to food and water.

Here are a few common nuisance species:

  •             Squirrels
  •             Raccoons
  •             Opossums
  •             Skunks

Some are more likely to appear and vary by the numbers depending on where you live. To help you ensure no sneaky critters can get inside your home, here are some of our pest prevention tips!

Cover the trash cans

How to Prevent Animals from Invading Your Home This Winter

Pestworld.org

Squirrels and raccoons are known to scrounge for food on garbage disposals, so it’s important not to tempt them. Covering your trash will help ensure that these little guys won’t see your property as a potential food source!

Screen vents and openings

How to Prevent Animals from Invading Your Home This Winter

Highschimney.com

Many rodents find their way into homes by going through openings along the roof, such as chimneys and vents. Make sure these structures are fully screened to prevent nuisance wildlife from getting inside!

Keep the yard clean

How to Prevent Animals from Invading Your Home This Winter

whatsinmyyard.wordpress.com

Aside from making sure that firewood is stored at a distance from the house (at least 20 feet), it is also recommended to clean up the yard regularly. Letting debris collect in the area can make an ideal sanctuary for small animals.

Cut back branches near the house

How to Prevent Animals from Invading Your Home This Winter

hankeyandbrown.com

Squirrels and other small animals can gain access to your rooflines by using tree branches. Make sure to cut back the tree branches on your property from hanging too near to the walls of the house. An unwritten rule is to keep plants and trees at least 6 to 8 feet from the roofline.

 

If they’ve already settled inside, nuisance animals are hard to get rid of and can pose serious health risks by carrying rabies and other diseases.

If you encounter them on your property, it’s important to contact a pest control professional because it is dangerous to attempt to remove them on your own.

Give us a call ASAP if your home or business is in need of rodent removal! (800)737-8189

Stay safe this winter season and for more winter pest prevention tips, check out our other blogs!

Tips for Bed Bug Prevention

Tips for Bed Bug Prevention

bedbugs.org

When you’re asleep, it’s very easy for bedbugs to feed on you. Their bites would most likely leave you with rashes in the morning. But most importantly, you would feel uncomfortable in your own home, knowing that a particular area is infested while you’re having a good night’s rest.

While bed bugs are hard to deal with, there are simple steps you can take to prevent their spread. Here are a few to get started:

Examine your area regularly

Tips for Bed Bug Prevention

(Business Insider)

A routine inspection of your bedroom and surrounding areas can help you catch bed bugs before they start an infestation. They are visible to the naked eye and often leave behind stains. Be sure to check the folds of your sheets and blankets, plus the creases of your bed for any signs.

Also, depending on the environment, mature bed bugs can survive for over 10 months without a meal. In this case, leaving the area alone for days or weeks will not solve the problem.

Travel a lot? Here’s a great “How To” on Business Insider: “How To Check Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs.”

Keep your things clean and organized

A lot of pests thrive in hiding places, and bed bugs are no exception. The more things you have lying around, the more welcoming the area is to bed bugs.

Tips for Bed Bug Prevention

!Woman’s Day)

It’s recommended to reduce clutter in the area and clean it regularly. Another tip is to vacuum the place at least once a week.

For disposal of infested items, it’s recommended to destroy the item and label it “infested with bed bugs”. This is to prevent other people from having the same problem.

Do NOT use foggers

Also known as “bug bombs” – this kind of treatment is not recommended for a bed bug problem because it’s not effective. To be specific, the fog can’t get deep into the nooks and crannies of furniture where bed bugs largely thrive.

Quick trivia: Did you know the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are in apartments/condominiums (95 percent), single-family homes (93 percent), and hotels/motels (75 percent)? (Source: 2015 Bugs Without Borders Survey)

Get professional help

If you can’t get rid of them on your own, go to a professional for help. We are experienced in different treatment methods and will use chemicals that are effective and safe.

If you think you need the help of the Pest Doctors, give us a call at (800) 737-8189 and get a FREE consultation!

Prevent Unwelcomed Pests for the Holidays

Prevent Unwelcomed Pests for the Holidays

(giphy.com)

Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town this winter! Now that we know where pests go in the winter, how can you avoid them?

“Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter,” says Missy Henriksen, an NPMA spokesperson. “But with many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests.” (businessinsider.com)

Prevent Unwelcomed Pests for the Holidays

(Lindsay Wildlife Experience)

Yes, it’s great to leave your chimney open for Santa to leave presents on Christmas night, but these pests are not coming for the cookies and leaving on their sleigh afterwards. Nope! They’re coming to STAY!

Prevention is our first line of defense!

Prevent Unwelcomed Pests for the Holidays

(www.redbubble.com)

Here are a few tips on how YOU can help prevent pests from joining your holiday parties:

  1. Keep items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than cardboard boxes. This goes for boxes of food especially! So make sure you store your food in airtight containers.
  2. Get rid of garbage regularly.
  3. Install screens over chimney vents and openings. (Sorry Santa!)
  4. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, paying close attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. These pests will find any nook or cranny to get into your warm home from!
  5. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
  6. Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
  7. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.

Check your insulation, wires and walls for any gnaw marks. If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, then you are past the point of prevention. Unfortunately, these pests are there to stay once they get in.

To get rid of these unwanted pests, you’ll need to contact a licensed pest professional.

Have a Happy Holiday season!