Do carpet beetles sting?

First of all, what is a carpet beetle? These are little beetle like insects (in fact they are a type of beetle) from 2 to 4 millimeters in size, that like to live and feed off of dead organic matter, like the natural fibers of wool blankets, feathers, animal hides, carpets, or the carcasses of preserved animals. This makes them a pest in their own right as they can eventually destroy many household items and stored clothing, this is especially true of the larval stage of the insect which is the the one that causes most of the damage these insects produce.

 

Now, the short answer to the question that titles this article, is no, carpet beetles don’t sting or bite, but there is a longer answer to that question which follows. They don’t bite or sting, still that doesn’t mean they don’t produce a reaction that looks a lot like a sting or bite in some people that have developed an allergic response to these insects. Apparently the allergic response is triggered by small hairs in the larval stages of the insect, or even the contact with some shed skins of these larva. People that suffer the allergic reaction report getting multiple itching red welts that can look like a rash on different parts of their skin during sleep, making them believe that this has been some kind of bite or sting, and the most commonly invoked culprit turns out to be another common household pest, the bed bug. Bed bugs do bite as they need to feed off of your blood, just like mosquitoes do, and they do also produce red itching welts caused by the allergic reaction to the saliva and other fluids they inject into the bite. Both bed bugs and carpet beetles are attracted to you while you sleep, by the warmth and CO2 that you expel, so due to the similarities in their habits and reaction by some people they tend to get confused many times.

 

There are important differences between bed bugs and carpet beetles, the most important one being that the method required to eliminate carpet beetles can be a lot lighter on the wallet, while bed bugs usually require some form of professional pest elimination and the professionally hefty price tag that goes with it. Bed bugs are larger in size and easy to detect on or around an infested bed, while carpet beetles are more shy and much harder to find, this is a giveaway of a carpet beetle infestation. The solution for getting rid of carpet beetles usually just requires the thorough cleaning, vacuuming, dry cleaning, etc. (although sometimes just putting the suspect items in full sunlight for a couple of hours can do the job) of the probable sources of food for them, like carpets, blankets, bed sheets, pillows, teddy bears, clothing, animal skins, or animal carcasses or parts that have undergone preservation or taxidermy. The bad news is that carpet beetles actually fly, unlike bed bugs, so they can come flying back in and infest a house again. Vigilance and good housekeeping and regular cleaning is the key. Nevertheless, in a case of heavy infestations the use of pesticides may be necessary.

 

Daniel Barsa

This document is licensed for commercial use with modification.

How can you Protect Yourself against the Ghost Ant?

Ghost ant is small in size and it has a pale bottom and black head. It is also known as black headed ant because it has a black head. Ghost ant is mainly found in places with moisture. These ants enter the house through trees which are in contact with the house. Open areas around the house are also helpful for ghost ants to enter the house.

There are many ways through which these ants could be eliminated. Different types of sprays are available in the market which can be used for elimination of these ants. These sprays are made by using chemicals and mixed with water to use on ghost ants.

Working of sprays

Working of sprays is to make sure that the ants are eliminated. These sprays have elements which are killing the ants slowly. Some ants get infected with the sprays and take the poison with them to the colonies. In this manner all the ants in the colony are affected and killed in some time period.

These sprays are not quick killing as the quick killing is not good for ghost ants. Quick killing sprays are only killing the ants on which the spray is used. It is good to use slow killing sprays so that the poison could be taken by some ants to the colonies and all the ants could be eliminated.

Baiting to kill ghost ants

Baiting is a process in which slow killing items are used for elimination of ants. Baits are using sugars and proteins in order to attract ants. Slow killing items inside the baits are helpful to transfer the poison to the whole colony. Fast killing items are not good in baits as these will not transfer the poison to the whole colony. You can check the working of baits. If the ants are not visiting the bait then you must change the baits in order to make them effective.

If the ants are visiting the baits and killed without transferring the poison to the colony then you must use a reliable slow killing poison. When you are using a reliable slow killing poison then the ants will take the poison to the colony and help in elimination of the whole colony. It is important to make selection of effective items to be used in baits. You must understand the nutritional needs and requirements of ghost ants.

You can use the items inside the bait which will attract the ghost ants. These ants will be fed on the items inside the baits and take the poison to the colony. In this manner all the ants inside the colony will be eliminated. You can place the baits in places which are liked by ghost ants. Those places which have moisture are used and liked by ghost ants. You can place the baits in kitchen and baths in order to target many ants and kill them.  

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The Basics of Ant Control

When going into battle it is important to know your enemies and ants are no different! As children you have seen these tiny creatures featured in your favorite cartoon or in a book carrying off your favorite picnic food, but in real life these nuisances are anything but cute.  Like they are cutely depicted, ants are social insects working together in a colony much like a platoon. To win the war you must kill the queen ant.

There are different types of ants. Carpenter ants unlike termites chew the wood to make homes but do not use the wood for a food source. Carpenter ants tend to lurk in humid locations with damp wood in beams and foundation. Tiny black ants, when found inside homes are commonly found in kitchen and bathrooms.

The ants want to bring sweet, fatty foods to their dear queen so that they will seek out these foods in our homes. Some make their nests outside of our homes and travel inside for a quick bite like the small black ants or sugar ants as sometimes called. Others, will take up residence in our homes like carpenter ants. Ants leave trails of pheromones to find their trails back to their nest as well as to return to the food source.

There are steps that you can take to prevent an infestation in your home. Keeping surfaces clean and food in airtight containers is very important, because once you have an ant infestation it is very difficult to remove them entirely. Although difficult it is not impossible to rid yourself of these pests. Creating a barrier around pet food that is left out. Rinsing out food containers before throwing them away. Trimming trees and shrubs so that they do not touch your home will help to prevent carpenter ants from entering.  Repairing, caulking and sealing cracks and crevices to block all entry points. Cleaning the entry points with chemicals to prevent the ants from following their pheromone trails. After the entry points are blocked and clean you should spray a non-repellent residual insecticide around the perimeter and entry points. Ant baits are also successful for the ants that have colonized inside of your home.

Finding the ants nests is an important step in ridding yourself from the ants infestation completely. Following the ants trails should assist you in locating their home. You may also set out desirable food to entice the ants. Placing ant baits closest to their ant colonies for the best results in eliminating the queen and killing the colony.

In the event of a major infestation contacting a professional pesticide company is the most important!!

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How long can ant pheromone trails remain active?

Ants are social little creatures, and this means ants need a way to effectively communicate with the other ants in their colony. Like many other insects, one of the key ways ants communicate is through pheromones.  When a forager ant finds a good source of food, it will head back to the nest and create a special pheromone trail along the route. The pheromone trail ensures other ants know exactly where dinner can be found, and exactly how to get back home after picking it up.

Some ants species leave pheromone trails that last for just a few minutes, while other species can create trails that last for days. Beyond the ants themselves, the time of year, temperature, humidity, and nearby plants and animals all influence how long a pheromone trail will remain active.

Although finding and eradicating carpenter ants is a notoriously difficult goal for humans, carpenter ants are experts at finding and eradicating sources of food. This is because carpenter ants produce pheromone trails that remain active for several days. In contrast, the pheromone trail of a pavement ant only lasts about 10 minutes, and the pheromone trail of a fire ant lasts about 10 minutes.

Pharaoh ants (sometimes called ‘sugar ants’) have one of the most complicated systems, as they can mark trails with long-term pheromones, short-term pheromones and special negative pheromones. Pharaoh ant foragers mark the main part of a trail with a long-term pheromone that remains active for several days. When a tasty source of food is found along the main route, pharaoh ants release a short-term pheromone which lasts for about 20 minutes. When a food source is depleted or an area becomes dangerous, pharaoh ants quickly shift gears by releasing a negative pheromone by the undesirable trail. These negative pheromones last about two hours, and tell other pharaoh ants to avoid an area.

Although ants will sometimes target the tidiest house, keeping things clean is an important way of keeping away ants. In particular, because pheromone trails signal “food!”, deactivating pheromone trails makes your home desirable to ants.  You can remove pheromone trails by wiping floors, counters and walls with warm water mixed with a household cleaner (read the directions to ensure your cleaner is safe for different surfaces), vinegar (the vinegar will deodorize as it tries) or baking soda. Make this a daily habit if you suspect you have an ant infestation.

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Is there a sustainable product for killing ants and cockroaches?

Ants and cockroaches are causing different types of problems for people in routine life. Ants and cockroaches are found in every house and these are attracted due to food items spilling in home or on the floor. Those places which are not clean have many types of ants and cockroaches. It is important to keep the places clean in order to avoid ants and cockroaches.

There are many types of products in the market which can be used for elimination of ants and cockroaches. Different types of things could be made at home in order to eliminate ants and cockroaches. You can make things and use tips at home to eliminate ants and cockroaches in a natural manner.

Soapy water

Soapy water is good for killing ants and cockroaches. You can mix some soap in water in order to make a solution. This solution must be used in a spray bottle so that the ants and cockroaches could be targeted and killed on the spot. This type of spray can be made easily as you can use any type of soap for making this spray.

You can place this spray in a small bottle to make sure that you are able to use it when needed. When you see ants and cockroaches then you can use this spray directly in order to eliminate them. You can also spray soapy water on places which are hidden so that ants and cockroaches could be eliminated.

Cucumber slices

Slices of cucumber are good for providing resistance to ants and cockroaches. You can place slices of cucumber at different places so that ants and cockroaches could be avoided. It is good to use bitter cucumbers as these will provide more resistance and you will notice that ants and cockroaches are not able to enter your place.

This simple method can be used at any place and it will provide resistance for entry of ants and cockroaches. If you have ants and cockroaches at any place then this method will help in their elimination in a natural manner.

Sprays

Different types of sprays are available in the market, which are able to eliminate ants and cockroaches. These sprays must not be used near food items as these could be poisonous. These types of sprays are providing instant relief from ants and cockroaches and kill them on the spot.

You can use sprays of your choice and use them on ants and cockroaches to eliminate them at any time. If you are suffering with problems of ants and cockroaches and you are looking for a reliable and instant solution then you can try sprays from the market.

Garlic

Pieces of garlic are working well for elimination of ants and cockroaches. You can cut some slices of garlic and place them in different places where ants and cockroaches are present. These will work naturally and resist ants and cockroaches.

You can use this method at any place and get instant relief from ants and cockroaches. Slices of garlic can be used safely and provide resistance for ants and cockroaches for any place.

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Top 5 Effective & Versatile Mosquito Control Solutions

It’s no secret that mosquitoes are a hazard, no matter how old you are or where you live. Especially with the current outbreaks of the Zika virus, it is even more important for people to protect themselves and their loved ones from these pests. Of course there are professional solutions, but you can up your chances of escaping their wrath with a few simple steps:

  1. Control Water  – Unfortunately, mosquitoes need water just as much as we humans do. They use it to breed, and before you know it, a few can turn into hundreds. While we can’t get rid of our pools and water sources, we can help protect them. This includes dumping/flipping anything unused that can hold still water: planters, dog dishes, kiddie pools, and anything else that can water can sit in. If there is an area in your yard with sitting water, you can fill it in with dirt or hire a professional. Also, with pools and garden ponds, use filters and clean often so that they can’t breed. And ALWAYS cover everything you can!

  2. Become a Fan of Fans – Like their favorite water supply, mosquitoes prefer still air, as well. The more air circulation, the less likely they will hang around. Though it may sound a little crazy, placing fans outside will help deter the mosquitoes from even landing. And the bonus is a nice breeze to cool you and your guests!

  3. Red Cedar Mulch – According to Tractor Supply, spreading this particular mulch around your garden/home not only improves the aesthetics, it also helps to deter mosquitoes from coming close. Simply spread the mulch in planted areas, but they also suggest brewing some in water to make a spray for cemented areas.

  4. Pinion Wood – We all know that citronella candles help ward off the little critters, but they also suggest burning pinion wood in a pit or fireplace too. If you combine the candles with the smoke from the pinion wood, they won’t stand a chance!

  5. Common Household Items – With a little bit of luck and some simple mixing, you can create your own mosquito repellants. Tractor Supply recommends spraying your lawn and garden with equal parts: stale beer (⅓), epsom salt (⅓), and mouthwash with alcohol (⅓). In addition, many, including my grandma, swear by Avon Skin So Soft. You can spray it all over your body, with little chance of having a reaction, and it’s safe for kids and pets! Finally, to capture any that have managed to make it past all your barriers: set containers with lemon scented dish soap away from the populated areas in your yard. The mosquitoes will be drawn to the lemon scent, thus away from your loved ones!

 

(Source: Home Remedies to Get Rid of Mosquitoes, Tractor Supply Co. 2016, http://www.tractorsupply.com/know-how_outdoors_outdoor-living_home-remedies-to-get-rid-of-mosquitoes)

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How to Overcome Problems associated with Traditional Ant Bait Delivery.

Getting the type of bait correct

Ant bait is designed to be carried back to the colony, ingested by all the ants, thereby removing the infestation problem. As such, it is necessary to choose the correct type of bait. Not unlike humans, ants really enjoy sweet, high-protein and greasy foods; make this your bait. The next concern is what type of poison to use. The trick is to have an ant return to the nest intact so that the bait can do its job as effectively as possible. Killing the carrying ant is a good start but not the goal. Non-repellent insecticide has been shown to work. Slow-acting is the superior choice.

Location, location, location

Now we need to position the bait in a place that will most likely be found by an ant. For this, it is necessary to observe the paths and trails the ants usually take from the colony and put it as close to the colony as possible. Too far away and the ant may not successfully return it back. Too close and it will be consumed outside of the colony. Feel free to bait a few trails, the more bait returned the better. Do not put the bait in a high place, the ant may not discover it. Also, do not put the bait where other food sources are close by, the any may favor these foods over the bait (like trash-cans, pets’ dishes etc). Avoid wet places, this makes the food less appealing to the ant. Finally, be mindful of other odors or chemicals that may be present, that to an ant, might discourage it from taking the bait.

Other tips

You can also ‘bait the bait’, by leaving a trail of crumbs like potato chip pieces to draw ants in closer to the bait.

If placing it outside, use a protective covering like a ‘bait station’ – a covered container that has entrance ways for curious ants who don’t know what happened to the curious cat.

It may take a while for an entire colony of ants to perish. If you notice ants are taking the bait but still showing up a few days or a week later, just know that the process can take time – the bait may be working fine, the colony just requires a few administrations.

There may be more than one colony! This is why it is important to bait many trails instead of just relying on one location.

Happy hunting!

What is an effective way to manage the Tawny Crazy Ant, Nylanderia fulva (Mayr)?

The Tawny crazy ant or Rasberry crazy ant is originally from South America.  The name comes from the erratic movement patterns of the ants. They get their Rasberry name from an exterminator, Tom Rasberry, who first discovered them in Florida.While they are mostly located throughout South America, they can be found in 27 gulf states in the USA.

The crazy ant is much smaller than the red fire ant, though they appear fairly physically similar. These ants cover their bodies in formic acid. This acid is used for two specific reasons: the acid protects them from the venom of fire ants and as weapon to use against attackers. While it is common for ants to use this acid when biting aggressors, using the acid as an antidote is unique to this species.

This is the first discovery of the technique of an insect using acid as an antidote. It was also the first discovery of the use of ionic liquids in nature.  While there are a few theories as to how this works, the truth is currently unknown.  

They are a tremendous pest in some South American countries.  Several cattle herds and chicken flocks in Colombia have been severally damaged because of ant attacks.  These ants also cultivate the growth of insects, so that they can feed.  Unfortunately, the insects that they cultivate dry out grasslands and kill plants.

They are often found destroying or living near electrical equipment  While scientists are not certain why these ants do this, it makes them an extremely annoying and destructive pest.

There are a number of ways to get rid of theses pests. The first step is to detect the nest. Because of the movement patterns of these ants, it helps to set out some honey or peanut butter based bait for the ants. Be sure to check under rocks or rotting vegetation, as these ants do not create their own mounds or hills.

The second step normally involves some kind of insecticide. It is important that you use a non-repellent insecticide. Non-repellent poisons are not detectable by the ants and they will spread when an ant walks over, and onto any of the other ants once they interact. While there are number of different brands of insecticide, it is recommend that you use, Taurus SC, FUSE, or Dominion 2L. Each brand has different instructions as to how you should go about spraying the insecticide.  

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Top 10 termite Hotspots for 2016

Termites pose a significant threat to the value of your home by targeting its wooden infrastructure; if they aren’t detected and eliminated early, irreparable damage can be done. Prevention and early detection are key to protecting your home, so it’s critical for you to be at least one step ahead of this destructive insect. The following list presents the 10 highest profile targets and access points termites will be looking for around your home:

  1. Foundation cracks: Any opening along your foundation that gives termites an easy access route to the wood they seek should be addressed immediately
  2. Water damaged/rotten wood: Termites will take the path of least resistance if possible, and old soft wood is much easier to chew.
  3. Eaves and overhangs: There can be gaps where the wall meets the roof; weather might not come in because the roof covers the opening, but termites don’t need much space to get through.
  4. Wood that touches the ground: Wooden siding, beams or supports that make contact with the ground are likely to absorb moisture and provide a softer target for termite jaws.
  5. Crawlspaces: We might not like to go into them, but they can be a treasure trove of wood debris to attract termites.
  6. Landscaping: Untreated wood chips and mulch can make an attractive base of operations for termites as they plan their next attack on your home.
  7. Moisture from leaks, floods, or foundation issues: Not only does water damage make wood easier for termites to consume, but sources of water are also needed for their colony…excessive dampness can make your home attractive to them.
  8. Plumbing: Look out for entry points wherever you have pipes coming out of your exterior wall, such as garden hose spigots. Termites might be attracted looking for water, and discover a way inside.
  9. Windows: Even a tiny crack will allow termites access, and it isn’t your living room they’re after but the wooden framework inside your walls. Look for cracks around the outside of the window frame where it meets your siding..
  10. Woodpiles: Everyone loves a nice fireplace, but don’t stack wood against the side of your house, as it could both attract termites and conceal their point of entry into the house proper.

Use this list as a starting point for planning your defense against these invasive pests. The cost of protecting your home is much cheaper than the cost of repairing the damage termites can cause, or the loss of resale value on your family’s biggest investment.

Copyright © 2016 David Winkler-Groschen CC-BY-SA-4.0

5 Steps to Ant Management Success

 

Ants are one of the world’s most common household pests. Despite their tiny stature, the total weight of all the ants in the world is greater than the total weight of all humans on the planet. Considering how outnumbered we are, it’s no surprise that often ants end up invading our homes, offices, and other personal spaces in an attempt to find food, shelter, and water. Although it is inconvenient, many times ants are a potential sign of other issues in the home or local ecosystem, and their presence should not be ignored. There are a number of ways of successfully managing ant populations to ensure they don’t become a nuisance in your daily life. The most important things to remember are identify, inspect, sanitize, and bait.

The first step in managing an ant infestation is identification–figuring out exactly what kind of ants you are dealing with, and learning about their eating habits. There are over 12,500 species of ants that have currently been identified. Each species has different living, eating, and travel habits. Once you’ve identified the species you’re working with, it will make it easier to come up with a prevention plan that works best for your home. You can utilize the internet to identify the ant; type a description of the creature into a search engine and there should be a fair number of photos and text descriptions to help with positive identification. For instance, one might type “ants with stripes” in order to learn that their infestation is being caused by carpenter ants, which do not eat wood as their name suggests, or “red furry ant” to learn about velvet ants, which are not ants at all, but wasps.

Once the ant species is identified, the next step is inspecting your space to find the entry point. The best way to do this is to find a line of ants, and follow the line until you discover the weak spot. Alternatively, you can find a straggling ant who is searching for a food source, and monitor its movements until you find the original line. Typically infested areas include moist, dark spaces, areas under sinks and around plumbing, cracks in walls, and windows with small open spaces that are convenient for the ants to explore. Household plants that produce sweet honeydew are also very attractive to ants. Make sure to keep any such plants in the ground a few inches from the foundation of your home. If you keep them inside, check the pots regularly for ant life.

The next step is the most important: Sanitize your space to make it unappealing for any future ant explorers. Caulk cracks and crevices around building foundations, and especially in food storage and service areas. Make sure there is no pet food open. Try not to throw partially eaten food in the trash without properly sealing the package. Wash all soda cans before putting them in the garbage or recycle bin. Once you’ve figured out where the ants are forming a nest, remove the nest and item they are creating it on or in. Clean the item with insecticide, and clean the area where it was with warm, soapy water. Check the area around the item to make sure there are no weak spots where ants can get in, and if you find any, clean then caulk them.

Finally, the last step in managing an ant infestation is baiting the ants in order to poison and eliminate them. Bait is the best proven method in removing significant ant populations. The scent attracts worker ants, who then bring the bait to the rest of the colony, where it is passed around and eventually kills off the queen. There are a number of reusable bait stations that can be refilled with appropriate bait. There are also gels, pellets, and liquid solutions that work. To make the bait more effective, keep the area where it is being used free of any crumbs or items that might also attract ants.

With a combination of these four steps, you should be able to manage any ant population that attempts to invade your home, office, or any other space.

Copyright © 2016 Jessica Snider CC-BY-SA-4.0