Identification: The typical house mouse weighs a half an ounce to one ounce and is generally six to seven inches long from nose to tail. Their body fur is brownish grey while their belly fur ranges from white to dark grey. The droppings of a house mouse are usually three to six millimeters in length.
Habits: A house mouse only travels twelve to fifteen feet within its territory. They are nocturnal and primarily eat at night. Mice are omnivorous and feed off of grains and seeds, but they will eat foods they find in your house as well. In just six months, a pair of mice can consume four pounds of food. Mice are known for gnawing on food packages, furniture, wires, and stored items. Behind rats, mice are the second most destructive vertebrates. Fires listed with an unknown cause are often related to a mouse. The greatest concern related to mice is contamination. Mice spread diseases such as salmonella, bacterial food poisoning, and are carriers of ratbite fever and tularemia.
Control: There are a variety of techniques used to control mice. These include environmental alterations and services provided by Speed Exterminating. Two basic methods used for controlling mouse infestations are baits and traps. Preventative options for mice include alterations to buildings and houses and keeping sanitation a priority.
Environmental Alterations: Basic mouse control involves sanitation. Sealed food containers, covered trash cans, and debris removal are very important. To keep mice from getting into buildings and houses includes sealing openings in foundations that are as small at one half inch. Filling access openings with course grade steel wool, caulk, or cement is an excellent preventative measure.
Provided Services: Speed exterminating provides services for mouse problems. These include bait and traps. Rodenticide baits are strategically placed in areas where gnawing and droppings are evident to ensure mice are caught. Glue traps, mechanical traps, and snap traps are also effective methods for catching mice in unwanted areas.
Identification: Adult fruit flies can be identified by their small body and color. The body of an adult fruit fly is about 1/8-inch long and their color varies from light yellow to brownish black. The most distinguishing feature, however, are their red eyes.
Habits: Fruit flies have an extremely high reproductive rate. At one time, a female can lay as many as 500 eggs. Newly emerged adult males can mate in as little as two days. Fruit flies lay their eggs on the surface of fruits, vegetables, and damp organic decomposition such as bananas, potatoes, grapes, dirty mops and rags, and spilled pop and beer. The larvae feed on decomposing organic material. As adults are ready to pupate, they move to drier areas. The life cycle of a fruit fly depends on the temperature in which they live. At sixty-four degrees Fahrenheit, fruit flies can live eighteen to twenty days. When temperatures are at seventy-seven degrees, they can live eight to ten days.
Environmental Alterations: Sanitation is the highest priority when dealing with fruit flies. Cleaning or removing all possible areas where there may be breeding. These areas include damp or dirty surfaces and on organic decaying matter.
Possible alterations to a fruit fly infestation would include complete drying of counter top cracks and edges of garbage disposals, hang drying mops, daily cleaning of rags and sponges, cleaning of floor drain covers, daily changing and cleaning of garbage cans and liners, and hosing down of dumpsters and entrance areas. Overripe fruits and vegetables can attract fruit flies, so they should be removed. Fruits and vegetables that are kept for extended periods of time should be refrigerated or kept in tightly sealed containers.
Provided Services: Insecticides combines with sanitation is essential to solve a fruit fly problem. Liquid insecticides can be applied to breeding grounds while aerosol insecticides can be used to eliminate any lingering adult fruit flies. In addition, light traps and flypaper can be used to complete the fly programs.
Identification: Adults are about 5/8" long (17mm); Color is light brown, except for the shield behind the head marked with two dark stripes which run lengthwise on the body. Young roaches are wingless and nearly black with a single light stripe running down the middle of the back. Egg capsules are light tan.
Biology: German cockroach females, unlike most other roaches, carry the egg capsule protruding from their abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. The capsule is then placed in a secluded location with the nymphs emerging one to two days later. A female may produce four to six cases during her lifetime, each containing 30 to 40 eggs. Eggs hatch in 28 to 30 days, and nymphs develop in 40 to 125 days. Female roaches live about 200 days and males not as long. The German roach produces more eggs and has more generations per year (three to four) than other roaches, and only a few are needed to develop into troublesome infestations.
Habits: German cockroaches, Blattella germanica (L.), are the most common roaches found in houses and restaurants. German cockroaches have a flattened, oval shape, spiny legs, and long antennae. Immature stages are smaller, have undeveloped wings and resemble the adults. They eat food of all kinds. German cockroaches may hitchhike into the house on egg cartons, soft drink cartons, potatoes, onions, furniture, or people.
German cockroaches can develop into large populations and live throughout the structure but often move to kitchens and bathrooms. During the day, these roaches may be found hiding behind baseboards, moldings, in cracks around cabinets, closets or pantries, in and under stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers.
Roaches can ruin food, damage wallpaper and books, eat glue from furniture, and produce an unpleasant odor. Some people are allergic to roaches. These pests can contaminate food with certain bacteria that can result in food poisoning.
Control: Inspect bags, cartons and boxes brought into the house, and destroy any roaches. Sanitation is critical in roach control. Clean up spilled foods and liquids, avoid leaving scraps of food on unwashed dishes and counter tops, keep food in tightly sealed containers, rinse cans and bottles before putting them in trash and transfer garbage outdoors into receptacles immediately.
A combination of several different types of insecticides, including liquids, aerosols, dusts, baits and traps are helpful. Apply these products directly into cockroach harborage areas, such as behind loose baseboards or molding strips and around pipes which run along and through the walls. Roaches may hide around the kitchen sink, in cracks underneath cupboards and cabinets, inside the motor compartment of refrigerators, behind window and door frames, in radio and TV cabinets, and around closet and bookcase shelves. Surfaces where food is prepared should not be treated. Roaches in buildings with multiple dwellings usually require the treatment of other units as well.
Service: Proper usage of pesticides is essential! Visit our retail center (4141 Pearl Road), so we can provide you with the proper information. To insure a proper application, schedule an appointment with one of our licensed service technicians.
Identification: Yellow jackets are approximately 5/8 to 1 inch in length. They are black and yellow in color. Yellow jackets are wasps with a definite waist.
Biology: In late summer, yellow jacket colonies have attained their largest size. Thousands of yellow jackets can live in a single nest! Foraging workers may become serious pests as they search for food--usually food that is eaten or discarded by people. If a colony is disturbed, worker yellow jackets will aggressively defend their colony by stinging. A single sting to some allergic individuals may result in a serious reaction.
Habits: Like all wasps, yellow jackets prey on a wide variety of insects and other arthropods. Yellow jackets are unusual in that workers also forage on foods consumed by people, especially sweets and meats.
Control: Destruction of all yellow jackets in and around a recreational area is advised to reduce the possibility of a dangerous sting. Nests should be located during the day when the workers are coming and going regularly and the location of the nest should be marked. Return late at night to treat the nest with an appropriate insecticide. Effective control of a nest is achieved by treating directly into the colony. Aerosol insecticides work well as they flow deep into the colony while dust insecticides provide long lasting residual. Continue to observe the nest during the day and retreat again to eliminate those yellow jackets that were out of the nest at the time of treatment.
Effective management of yellow jackets can be achieved by rigorous sanitation and use of physical exclusion from a food source. The principle behind these practices is the denial of attractive food to the foraging worker wasps. If begun early in the summer and carried out through mid-autumn, proper sanitation will help to reduce the buildup of foraging yellow jackets in an area. Trash containers should be kept closed whenever possible; open containers should be emptied regularly. Use an aerosol insecticide to remove yellow jackets present around trash cans in order to empty them. Using traps can be helpful to reduce forging yellow jackets around picnic and patio areas.
Service: Products are available at Speed Exterminating Company’s retail store, 4141 Pearl Road, or appointments may be scheduled with a licensed service technician.
Identification: Pavement ants are small brown ants. Workers are about 1/16”- 1/8” long. Queens are about 3/8” long. The most distinguishing characteristics of pavement ants are the small grooves or parallel lines that exist on the head and thorax. These lines are visible under light magnification.
Biology: Pavement Ant Colonies are large, 3,000 – 4,000 workers may exist in a single nest. Reproducers swarm from the existing colony to create new colonies. These swarmers usually appear in late summer but can often be found in the winter if the nest is near a heat source.
Habits: Pavement ants commonly nest under sidewalks, driveways, or slab homes which is how they get their name. They crawl through cracks in concrete and foundations to make their nests. Nests also exist under rocks, bricks, logs, and other areas outside. These ants are often found in great numbers as they trail along seeking out food and returning to their nest. They feed on many types of food including: dead insects, honeydew, seeds, plant sap, meat and cheese while greasy and sweet foods are preferred. Workers forage up to 30 feet from the colony to find food.
Control: Location of the nest is helpful but often impossible. Residual treatment with an appropriate liquid spray to cracks and crevices, trails, and the exterior foundation is important. Dusts are very helpful when treated into foundation voids and other entry points. Gel baits are a good supplement to any control method. Small dots of bait can be placed along baseboards, near heat ducts and along other areas where ants are foraging.
Service: Products are available at Speed Exterminating Company’s retail store, 4141 Pearl Road, or appointments may be scheduled with a licensed service technician.
Asian Lady Beetle
Identification: Asian Lady Beetles are small multicolored beetles. Their colors range from yellow to red and may or may not have black spots on their wing covers. Lady Beetles are small oval bugs that are ¼-inch long. Most beetles have a distinct “M” or “W” shape on the white part by their head.
Habits: Originally introduced to the United States in 1916, the Asian Lady Beetles were used as protection for crops and plants as an alternative to chemicals. Ladybugs are very beneficial, they feed on aphids and mites that destroy crops, trees, and gardens. During the summer, Asian Lady Beetles live in trees, gardens, and crop fields where they can easily find food. As temperatures fall, ladybugs find warmer places to survive the winter. These winter hiding places include under debris, under leaves, behind tree bark, and in buildings. They find their way into attics and wall voids, huddled together to keep warm until spring. During winter, ladybugs do not reproduce and do not eat at all. While rare, lady beetles may bite people as they search for food on a surface, but they do not break skin or draw blood.
Control: Different methods are used to control Asian Lady Beetles. Environmental alterations are used as preventative measures to reduce the risk of ladybugs entering households and buildings during the colder months when they seek shelter. Pesticides and insecticides can also be used to control ladybugs.
Environmental Alterations: Control for Asian Lady Beetles begins outside. Gaps or cracks in windows, siding, and utility lines should be sealed with silicone caulk. All vents should be sealed with insect screens to keep beetles out. Garage doors and outside doors need to be fitted with weather stripping and tight fitting sweeps.
Provided Services: There are treatments that can be used both inside and outside of homes. Around the exterior, pesticide treatments are applied thoroughly to cover all points of entry. These are applied in late September or early October to prevent Lady Beetles entry before the cold sets in. Interior insecticides treatments are used in specific areas where the beetles are present.
Along with insecticides, sticky paper placed along windowsills is another effective method to removing these beetles from inside homes. The most effective method to interior beetle infestations is persistent vacuuming. After cleaning, bag the insects and throw them away outside.
Identification: “Big black ants” or carpenter ants can range in size- workers are 1/4 inch while a queen is 3/4 inch in length. Their color is black and can sometimes be red and black.
Habits: Carpenter ants nest in live or dead trees, stumps, and under logs. They will also construct their nests in houses in places such as hollow doors, under siding, in roofs, and under floor coverings. Most commonly, nests are found in porch pillars, window sills, and wood in contact with soil. Nests generally begin in deteriorating wood which has been exposed to moisture. Carpenter ants feed on honeydew from aphids, other insects, and plant secretions. Inside the house, these ants feed off of any meats, pet foods, sweets, sugars, jelly, syrups they can find.
Carpenter ants do not eat wood, they excavate it for nesting and lay eggs in the smooth and clean galleries they create. A carpenter ant colony is started by a single fertilized queen. The colony grows rapidly once it is established and have a constant food source. Once a colony reaches 2,000 or more workers, which can take years to accomplish, they start to produce males and young queens. Young queens and males are born with wings and fly off to mate May through July. Carpenter ants rarely cause structural damage to buildings, although they can cause significant damage over a period of years because nests are so long lived.
Control: Finding the nest(s) is essential to the control of carpenter ants. This is accomplished by inspecting or probing all possible nesting sites. Pyrethrin based aerosols should be injected into these areas. A liquid residual insecticide should also be applied to the foundation, windowsills, and doorways to stop foraging carpenter ants. Interior treatments can also be made to baseboards and other areas where ants have been seen.
Environmental Alterations: In order to keep carpenter ants from houses, several alterations that can be made. Firewood piles should be kept as far away from the house as possible, tree limbs that hang over houses and garages should be cut, gutters should be kept clean with water flowing away from the house. As for indoor alterations, dehumidifiers can be used to keep basements dry and houses should be properly ventilated including soffits and roof vents.
Provided Services: For professional help, technicians as Speed Exterminating can provide services to eliminate carpenter ant infestations. They will inject proper products into cracks and voids to find the ant colony. Residual barriers are thoroughly applied to the exterior. In the retail store products such as Cessco, Household RTU, and Permacide Concentrate can be purchased for do-it-yourself customers.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Identification: Stink bugs are small, shield shaped insects most identifiable by the odor they release when disturbed or crushed. They are a brownish grayish marbled color with a white underside. Stink bugs measure 3/4 inch in length and have six legs and antennae.
Habits: Originally located in Asia, the stink bug was first seen in the United States in 1996 and is most commonly found in the eastern half of the United States. They feed on various fruits, plants, and crops. Due to their growing population, stink bugs can pose a threat to the agricultural industry by feeding off of and destroying crops. Like other insects, stink bugs seek warmth in the winter and are often found inside in the fall and winter months. As the weather gets warmer, they re-emerge and become more active. Stink bugs are not harmful to humans, but they can be a nuisance when they are found indoors.
Control: A simple way to control an infestation is to vacuum both alive and dead stink bugs. Seal and dispose of the bag to avoid their pungent odor and to keep them from re-entering the structure. Pesticides and insecticides can be used around window sills and attics to control and prevent stink bugs.
Environmental Alterations: Stink bugs find their way inside buildings through cracks in windows, door frames, utility pipes, siding, and other openings. To prevent stink bug invasion, these cracks should be sealed with silicone caulk. Screens on open doors and windows will keep stink bugs from entering homes and buildings. These screens should be repaired if they have rips or holes. Garage doors and outside doors need to be fitted with weather stripping and tight fitting sweeps.
Provided Services: Speed Exterminating provides various services when it comes to dealing with stink bugs. Technicians can treat for stink bugs in the late summer and early fall months to prevent entry. If stink bugs are still active inside buildings in late spring, techs can treat areas such as window sills, attics, cracks and other harborage areas to eliminate the remaining bugs. Do-it-yourself products are also available in the retail store.
Identification: Cluster flies, commonly mistaken with house flies, are about 3/8 of an inch long. They have a dark gray, non-metallic color with golden hairs on their thorax and between the legs. Cluster fly larva are cream colored with an elongated wedge shape, eggs and larva are seldom seen, however, because they are laid in the soil.
Habits: In the fall, cluster flies seek warm places for winter hibernation, typically using the same structure every year. Cluster flies are the most problematic when they are seeking shelter. They occupy wall voids where they can get the most sunlight. Lamps, windows and other bright light areas are attractive to cluster flies and are where they can commonly be found during the fall, winter, and spring months. Once the weather gets nicer, cluster flies begin to leave. Most commonly, they are seen leaving wall switches, outlets, ceiling fixtures, window and door frames, or window pulleys.
Control: The ultimate prevention of cluster flies relies heavily on outside treatments. Residual insecticides can be applied along all vertical walls and adjacent overhangs. These treatments should be used in late summer before cluster flies enter homes for hibernation. For interior control, Pyrethrin-based products are directly applied to the hibernation areas. These areas include attics, false ceilings, and wall voids.
Environmental Alterations: Alterations can be made to prevent the entrance of hibernating cluster flies. Vents in roofs and overhangs should be screened with fine-mesh screening. Caulk should be applied around cable entrances, windows, doors, and overhangs. These applications can help keep flies out of buildings.
Provided Services: Technicians can provide services depending on the time of year. Retail purchases include Permicide Concentrate and Bonide Household Insect Control for exterior use, Cessco and Pyrethrin Foggers for interior use. These products are recommended for customers who prefer to do it themselves.
Identification: Adult bed bugs are small, about 3/16” long. Their color is brown to reddish brown, with a flat, oval shaped body. The body becomes larger and darker when engorged with blood.
Biology: Female bed bugs can lay up to twelve eggs in a day. Eggs are small, approximately 1mm long, and white in color. The eggs are deposited in cracks or crevices where they hatch in 6 to 17 days. The young nymphs can begin feeding immediately and must have blood meals in order to continue to grow. They also require a blood meal before they can lay eggs. They feed only on blood from birds and mammals. Bed bugs can live for several months without food.
Habits: Bed bugs feed at night when people are sleeping. They are crawling insects, which hide near places where their host will return. Cracks and seams of mattresses and box springs make great hiding places. They may also hide in nightstands, headboards, furniture, crown molding, doorframes, pictures or behind loose wallpaper. Bed bugs often bite people in rows of three. These welts become more irritated as they are scratched, often causing infections. No known disease is transmitted by bed bugs.
Bed bugs leave small red dots or fecal spots on bedding and walls. Bed bugs are most often found in buildings where people move in and out frequently. Bed bugs are transported on luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture.
Control: Bed bugs can only be controlled using a variety of techniques. Follow the list below to achieve control of bed bugs.
- Vacuum the mattress and surrounding areas putting the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag then discarding it outside.
- Wash all clothing, pillow cases, mattress covers, etc. in hot water.
- Use a hard brush to scrub the mattress and other hiding areas to dislodge eggs.
- Caulk and seal cracks in the walls and adjoining areas to eliminate hiding areas.
- Use sticky traps along baseboards, and under night stands to trap moving bed bugs.
- Use an appropriate labeled insecticide to treat all identified hiding areas. Mattress treatment should be limited to tufts and folds where people will not have direct contact. Carefully follow the directions on the label of any insecticide.
- Use insecticide dusts in electrical outlets or similar voids.
- Treat the area at least one more time after two weeks. Insecticides should only be treated as per labeled directions. Continue cleaning and washing as often as possible.