Know Your Pest Archives - Casner Exterminating
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What’s The Difference Between Termites and Flying Ants?

How do you tell flying termites and flying ants apart? If you don’t know the differences, they may look quite a bit alike; however, there are distinct differences between them. We have put together the four most common differences to help you tell them apart. (more…)

Yellow Jackets are dangerous wasps found around homes and buildings

Habitat

  • Nests are often found below ground in an old rodent burrow, under a landscape timber, in the wall of a building or a rock wall

Common Methods of Extermination

  • If the can find the nest, apply a wasp spray very carefully into the nest opening
  • Use a hand duster to dispense several puffs of insecticide dust into the opening of the nest
  • Never treat a Yellow Jacket nest until late at night.
    • Locate the opening during the daytime
    • Approach the nest slowly
    • Direct the beam of the flashlight down and to the side for indirect lighting so you don’t startle the Yellow Jackets
    • Place the light on the ground when you try to treat the nest

Yellow Jackets are extremely aggressive if you disturb them. It may be in your best interest to call a professional pest control company for this job.

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a problem with Yellow Jackets. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Pacific Coast Tick

Where Found

  • One of the most commonly found ticks in California
  • Found throughout the state except for the very dry regions of the central valley and the southeastern desert region
  • Oregon and Baja, Mexico (Furman and Loomis 1984)

Diet

  • Three-Host Tick: Commonly feeds on rodents – especially squirrels – as sub adults; and on cattle, horses, deer, and humans as adults

American Dog Tick

Where Found

  • Widespread throughout the United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
  • In California, most frequently found along the coastal ranges along the length of the state; have been found in the central valley and along the eastern Sierra range (Furman and Loomis 1984).

Diet

  • Three-host tick: Feeds on rodents and lagomorphs during its sub adult life stages, and large mammals – frequently canids and humans – as adults

Diseases Carried

  • Most important carrier of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever rickettsia in the eastern United States
  • Also transmits the bacteria that causes tularemia (hunter’s disease)
  • Responsible for tick paralysis in some states

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a problem with Ticks. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • Form colonies which are ruled by small groups of queens or single queens
  • Even if only one queen survives, a colony can expand to thousands within a month or so
  • There may be multiple queens in some colonies

Habitat

  • Large mounds in open area
  • Mounds can reach heights of 40 cm (15.7 in)
  • Mounds can also be as deep as five feet
  • Nest in moist soil, near river banks and ponds, lawns and freeway medians
  • Nest not visible; built under landscaping timbers, rocks and similar objects
  • Dome-shaped mounds will be constructed if no cover; usually found in open spaces e.g. fields, parks and lawns

Diet

  • Young plants, seeds, and sometimes crickets
  • Often attack small animals; can even kill them
  • Bite only to get a grip; then sting (from the abdomen)
  • Inject a toxic alkaloid venom called solenopsin which produces a painful sting, similar to what one feels when burned by fire—hence the name “fire ant”
  • Venom can be deadly to some individuals

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a Fire Ant problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • Eggs laid by the queen can take just ten days to hatch.
  • Form colonies with multiple queens
  • Winged ants may fly away and start a new colony if the current colony is overpopulated

Appearance

  • Tiny
  • Shiny black
  • Workers: 1/16th inch in length
  • Queens: 1/8th inch in length

Habitat

  • Outdoors or in wood inside a home

Characteristics

  • Pests
  • Use recruitment to deal more effectively with large prey

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a problem with Little Black Ants. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • After the mating “dance,” Dry Wood Termites seek openings in nearby wood and chew a small tunnel which they close before digging a chamber where they mate
  • After three to four years, the colony may have as many as 1,000 members
  • Swarmers may leave the colony when it is approximately four years old
  • Swarming typically takes place about midday on warm (80°F) days
  • Peak of the swarm usually takes place after a quick temperature rise
  • Swarming typically occurs from September through October
  • Swarmers often stay in groups in the dozens and sometimes several hundred
  • Night Swarmers will be drawn in by lights

Appearance

  • Swarmers: about 1/2″ long including wings
  • Wings: 3/8″ long.
  • Head and first segment of the thorax: orange brown
  • Abdomen: dark brown
  • Front portion of the wing: three dark, heavily hardened veins
  • Soldiers: Forehead slopes down gradually from the top of the head
  • Head is flat to slightly rounded from a side view
  • Head: orange to reddish brown with a whitish eye spot
  • Jaws: unequal number of teeth on each pair
  • Antenna: third segment is greatly enlarged and club-like

Where Found

  • Southwestern states, from Sacramento down the coast of California

Habitat

  • Considered nonsubterranean termites because they do not live in or require any contact with the ground or build any mud tubes for shelter
  • Live in timber with moisture content of less than 12%
  • Gallery and tunnel walls are very smooth; no soil present
  • Generally, there are fecal pellets present
  • Pellets are hard, under 1/32″ long, oval-shaped with round ends
  • Distinctive signs of their fecal pellets: six concave sides
  • Live in small colonies compared to subterranean termite colonies
  • Colony usually numbers about 3,000 individuals after 10 to 15 years
  • Nymphs can fulfill all tasks usually handled by workers

Characteristics

  • Accounts for most of the Dry Wood Termite damage in California
  • Severe damage may be caused when you have multiple colonies in your house
  • Often move from one place to another being transported in picture frames and raw wood
  • Evidence of an infestation: Swarmers, shed wings, piles of pellets, termite plugs that seal all openings in infested wood, surface blisters caused by large colonies very close to the wood surface
  • Swarming termites fly into structures and directly infest wood
  • When swarming, often reinfest the same structure
  • First infest exposed wood, e.g., window and door frames, trim, eaves and attics
  • Find a protected crevice or other area, such as the joint between two pieces of wood or where shingles hang over wood or molding, and attack the wood

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a Dry Wood Termite problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • Prolific breeders, producing 6-10 litters continuously throughout the year

Where Found

  • Worldwide

Habitat

  • Well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments and other structures
  • Once established, they can be extremely difficult to control

Diet

  • Feed on a wide variety of food; prefer seeds and cereal grains
  • Fond of foods high in fat and protein such as nuts, bacon, butter and sweets (good to know when selecting bait for traps)
  • Mice are “nibblers” and may visit food sites 20 to 30 each night

Characteristics

Most people think mice are less dangerous than rats; however, the truth is, more people will find a mouse in their home than a rat.

  • More food is lost to the contamination mice leave behind than to how much they eat.
  • Many household items have to be thrown out after being contaminated by mouse urine and droppings.
  • Many large appliances are lost to mice gnawing through electrical wiring, causing fires and appliance failures.
  • Many diseases (e.g. salmonella) are transmitted when food is contaminated with infected rodent feces.
  • Mice roam at night. The most obvious evidence they were there are the droppings they leave behind (about 1/8” to 1/2″ long, dark color, pointed at both ends), or damage to stored food or materials they take to build their nests. You can also hear them running, chewing, and squeaking if you are awake at night.

Trapping Mice

Mice only roam short distances away from their nests (maybe 10 to 25 feet). As long as they have food and shelter, they may only travel a few feet. In order to trap them, devices must be placed where their activity is most obvious (follow the droppings). Mice travel close to walls and other edges, so be sure to place traps along the walls. Mice are curious fellows and will check out all new objects placed in their pathway. Don’t get discouraged. If you don’t catch them one night, move the trap to another location where you have seen evidence of activity. You will eventually catch them.

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a problem with House Mice. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • Female carries her egg until it is within 1 to 2 days of hatching
  • She deposits it in a sheltered area
  • Average: female produces about five eggs (range 4-8), averaging 30-40 eggs (range 18-50) each
  • Egg to adult: varies from 54 days to 215 days, with an average of about 103 days
  • Under lab conditions with a room temperature of 80 degrees F/27 degrees C and 40% relative humidity, only 50-60 days were required. This means one female could raise an average of 3 to 4 generations per year, but in warmer conditions, up to 6
  • Lifespan: 100-200 days (range 1-303)
  • Colonies are typically composed of at least 75% nymphs

Appearance

  • Adults: approximately 1/2″ to 5/8″ (13-16 mm) long
  • Light brown to tan except for two dark, almost parallel longitudinal stripes on the first segment of the thorax
  • Female darker color than male; broader abdomen as well
  • Nymphs: dark brown to black thorax with pale boundaries between the three sections of the thorax
  • Dark stripe located near each border
  • Eggs: Yellowish brown but usually two colors
  • Females have a paler end than the males
  • Eggs: approximately 1/4″ to 3/8” (6-9 mm) long, approximately twice as long as they are wide

Characteristics

  • Rarely glide or “fly”

Where Found

  • Worldwide

Habitat

  • Prefer warm (70 degrees F/21 degrees C) and humid places
  • Often found in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Infestations often occur in rooms where people eat as they watch TV (media room, bedroom, den)
  • Love cracks or wood joints located near food and water
  • Spend about 75% of their time in damp climates
  • To make entry, nymphs need about 1/32″ (1 mm); adults need about 3/16″ (5 mm) in width
  • Most commonly brought into buildings in something made of cardboard or secondhand appliances
  • Have been seen moving move from one building to another on occasion when it is warm
  • Although uncommon, they can survive outdoors during the warm months

Diet

  • Feed on almost anything edible, including toothpaste and soaps and glue!

Characteristics

  • Activity periods vary with age and physical condition
  • Reproducing females are quite active
  • Females who have mated are inactive beginning about five days after mating
  • Males spend most of their time in one place
  • Nymphs become immobile as they prepare to molt

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a German Cockroach problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

 

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