One of the first insects to become active each year is the irritatingly persistent ant. When warmer weather arrives, ants can begin invading our homes. A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) revealed that this pest is everywhere. In fact, ants have been deemed the #1 nuisance pest in America.

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that this pest can also pose health and property risks – from food contamination to costly property damage.

Understanding Ants – What Are Ants?

Ants are social insects and typically live in large groups or colonies. Depending on the species, ant colonies can consist of millions of ants. Their structured nest communities are commonly constructed with soil and plant materials and located underground. However, depending on the type of ant species, nests can also be found in mounds built on the ground level or even in trees.

There are three kinds of ants in a colony, divided into classes by the type of job they perform: the queen, male drones, and the female workers. The queen heads the colony and lays thousands of eggs to ensure the colony’s survival. Depending on the ant species and the nest community size, there may be one or more queens in the colony. The fertile male drone ants often have only one role – mating with the queen. They usually die within a few days after mating. The worker ant (the ones typically seen in your home) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead forage for food, care for the queen’s offspring, build and repair the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties to benefit the colony.

Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets as they supply a large amount of energy to the relatively small ants. Depending on the species, ants can range in size from 1/12 to 1 inch and are usually red or black in color. Ants are close relatives of bees and wasps and can be identified by their three distinct body regions: the head (including antennae), the thorax, and the abdomen. Ants have a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, while a termite’s body is not constricted and they have a broad waist. Like other insects, ants have six legs, each with three joints. Ants also have large heads with compound eyes, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws. They can live from several weeks to several years.

Winged forms of ants are often mistaken for termites. In warm weather, both species “swarm” and leave the nest in large numbers to mate and establish new colonies. However, shortly after their flights, both ants and termites lose their wings, so wings usually aren’t present.

Common Types of Ants You Can Find At Home / Ant Infestation

While most ants are considered harmless, an ant infestation can be a major nuisance and may be difficult to control. There is the common myth that seeing one ant indoors does not equal a full-blown infestation. Although this can be true, ants cooperate by leaving an invisible chemical trail (pheromones) for other ants to follow once they locate a promising food source. If that food source is in your home, you can count them quickly entering your home through the smallest cracks and crevices. Ant colonies can be found anywhere in and around your home. Although they typically won’t harm you, there are those – such as fire ants (that sting) and carpenter ants (that damage wood) – that can actually pose a threat to your family’s health and property.

There are more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., although only about 25 species are known to commonly invade homes. Many have been given nicknames based on their distinguishing characteristics:

Acrobat ants get their name from their ability to acrobatically raise their abdomen over their thorax and head as if they were performing a balancing act. It is common for acrobat ants to enlarge cavities formed by other insects such as old galleries of termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-infesting insects

Argentine ants are native to the Paraná River basin in South America, which spans across northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. Argentine ants are common in urban areas and can nest in diverse types of habitats. They can produce large numbers of offspring and survive on a wide variety of food.

Big head ants get their name from the appearance of the major workers – they have very large heads in relation to their bodies. Big head ants can quickly move into new areas to establish nests and kick out other ant populations.

Crazy ants get their name from the worker’s habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food – the trail it leaves behind is highly irregular. They also have the potential to change the ecological balance in the southeastern U.S. largely because the ants can wipe out colonies of fire ants, widely considered the insect villain of the region.

Fire ants were first brought to the U.S. from Brazil in the 1930s and without any natural predators in the U.S., have been able to spread relatively quickly throughout the Southern U.S., from Maryland to Texas, as well parts of California and New Mexico. The bite and the sting that these ants deliver give them their name. Although not common in NW Arkansas, there have been sightings as far north as Gravette.

Florida carpenter ants (aka red and black carpenter ants) are largely found throughout Florida with colonies that may contain up to eight thousand individuals. They do not eat the wood they remove during their nest-building activities but can severely damage it, digging smooth tunnels inside the wood causing structural weakening. Florida carpenter ants are considered one of the most serious structural pest species.

Ghost ants get its name from its incredibly small size (less than 1/16 inch long) and pale color of its legs and abdomen, which make it difficult to see.

Pharaoh ants (aka sugar ants) are possibly named from the mistaken tradition that it was one of the plagues of ancient Egypt during the time of Pharaohs although it is more commonly referred to as the “sugar ant.” It is one of the more common household ants, and carries the dubious distinction of being one of the most difficult household ants to control.

Rover ants are native to Argentina and Paraguay, and were introduced relatively recently to the U.S. They may be seen excitedly running up and down vertical objects in yards, such as blades of grass, chairs, and fence posts, accompanied by larger winged individuals. Rover ants have been known to destroy an acre of Fire Ants as they are very aggressive.

At Home Prevention / How To Get Rid of Ants

If you have an ant infestation:

Determine what the ants are attracted to and remove the food source. For example, keep your kitchen clean. Seal food items properly, clean counters, do the dishes, fix leaky pipes, and general maintain your household. Doing so will ensure you can more easily avoid persistent ant problems.

To help reduce the amount of ants currently in your home, put out bait stations or apply gel bait at entry points. Baits, purchased at hardware and grocery stores, can be effective for a bit. However, ants are highly adaptable and able to change their diets. If they see that consuming something like bait isn’t advantageous to their colony, they will simply stop eating it. Baits may only be a temporary solution.

The main tactic in effective prevention plan is to create a less inviting environment for pests around your home. This includes eliminating access and removing suitable sources of food and water. Exclusion is the process of keeping pests outside of your home. This involves caulking or sealing cracks, holes, and any other potential entry points such as cable entry points as well as doorways and other entrances that aren’t completely sealed like window and sliding glass doors. and trees at least 4 feet away from your home – this prevents easy access for pests into your home. However exclusion can prove difficult to the untrained eye and covering every entry point is virtually impossible. The most effective method is for a trained pest control technician to apply a chemical treatment around the exterior of your home that is safe for pets and humans.

Reduce moisture content around the exterior of your home in surrounding flower beds and other landscaping. Reduce the watering times and increase the frequency of your irrigation system. Direct the downspout flow as far away from your home as possible; add downspout extensions if needed. Also, reduce the depth of mulch around the exterior of your home to no more than one inch – the deeper the ground cover, the more moisture will be trapped, creating an ideal breeding area for all pests.

Many times DIY efforts do not totally eliminate the ants — especially the nest, where the queen lays her eggs. And since ants are not at the top of the pest food chain, so they may invite other predators like roaches into your home. Some species are particularly troublesome to get rid of. For example, Sugar ants often have more than one queen. A professional pest control company is the most effective method for eliminating an ant colony. They have access to professional level insecticides that are not available to the general public, and are very effective at getting rid of colonies inside a structure.

A Ladybug pest control professional can treat your home regularly to not only get rid of any bugs that may lay dormant within walls or hard to reach places, but also keep new pests away. Our ant treatment program treats the both the inside and outside of your home, further reducing the risk of future infestations. A professional has the expertise and experience to find and eliminate the source of the infestation. Having your Truly Nolan pest control specialists eliminate the ants in your home can save you time, money, and a huge headache.

Ant Bites and Treatments
There is a wide range of ant species in the world. Most ants are usually just a nuisance; however, a few varieties are capable of biting people. Red imported fire ants can both sting and bite. Carpenter ants and acrobat ants are also capable of biting – these two types of ants will bite and inject venom into their victims but this is rarely dangerous, and may commonly result in a mild itch.

Most ant bites cause itching, which may last from a few hours to a few days.

 

Articles You may be interested in:

  1. How to get rid of Fire Ants
  2. How to get Rid of Yellow Jackets
  3. Common Occasional Pest Invaders

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Winter

 

Just like us, bugs and pests are looking for warmth during the winter. And of course, they usually head indoors. Attics, garages, and basements may seem like the perfect places to store summer clothing and boxes, but rats, mice, and moths love nesting and feeding in those areas. The best thing to do is seal up all entry ways and store natural fiber clothing items in plastic bags. Below are several bad guys to look out for and tips to control for each one.

 

CARPET BEETLE

Your NWA Ladybug  service professional can quickly and easily rid your home of carpet beetles, but there are a few steps you can take to protect your clothing until the problem is taken care of:

 

  • Do not store boxes of clothes in the attic, garage, or basement.
  • If clothing must be stored in boxes, thoroughly clean the boxes before storage, and seal all corners and openings with tape.
  • Prior to storage, clean woolen and natural fiber clothing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In closets, store natural fiber clothing by covering it with individual plastic covers.
  • Consider storing clothing in large zippered plastic units.
  • Use mothballs to help deter fabric pests, but be aware that they may leave an odor that could require dry cleaning.

 

 

HOUSE MOUSE

The best way to avoid invasions of mice is to remove harborage that might attract them and seal holes and cracks on the outside of the home. Follow these recommendations to help keep mice from entering your home:

 

  • Keep firewood stored as far from the home as possible and store it off the ground. During the winter, store only enough wood next to the house to burn every couple of days.
  • Remove any piles of debris – such as stones or bricks – near the foundation of the home, as they can attract rodents.
  • Do not allow piles of leaves to accumulate next to the home’s foundation.
  • Seal any hole or crack larger than ¼ of an inch. A good rule of thumb is that if a pencil can fit into it, a mouse can too. Large holes or cracks should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam; otherwise, rodents can chew through to enter.
  • Install good, thick weather-stripping on the bottom of all doors to prevent rodents from entering. The garage door may prove difficult to seal completely, so the door from the garage to the house must be sealed extra tightly.
  • The installation of one or two wind-up mousetraps in the garage can catch many mice as they enter. These traps can catch up to 15 mice with one setting. Ask your NWA Ladybug service professional for more information.

Remember, your pest control service includes coverage of commensal rats and mice. And your NWA Ladybug professional will be sure to inspect for signs of rodents—particularly in colder months.

 

NORWAY RAT

The best way to avoid invasions of rats is to remove harborage that might attract them and seal holes and cracks on the outside of the home. Follow these recommendations to help keep rats from seeking food and shelter in your home:

 

  • Keep firewood stored as far from the home as possible and store it off the ground. During the winter, store only enough wood next to the house to burn every couple of days.
  • Remove any piles of debris – such as stones or bricks – near the foundation of the home, as they can attract rodents.
  • Seal any hole or crack larger than ¼ of an inch. Large holes or cracks should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam, otherwise rodents could chew through to enter.
  • Install good, thick weather-stripping on the bottom of all doors to prevent rodents from entering. The garage door may prove difficult to seal completely, so the door from the garage to the house must be sealed extra tightly.

Remember, your pest control service includes coverage of commensal rats and mice. And your NWA Ladybug professional will be sure to inspect for signs of rodents – particularly in colder months.

 

ROOF RAT

The best way to avoid invasions of rats is to remove harborage that might attract them and seal holes and cracks on the outside of the home. Follow these recommendations to help keep rats from seeking food and shelter in your home:

 

  • Keep firewood stored as far from the home as possible and store it off the ground. During the winter, store only enough wood next to the house to burn every couple of days.
  • Remove any piles of debris – such as stones or bricks – near the foundation of the home, as they can attract rodents.
  • Seal any hole or crack larger than ¼ of an inch. Large holes or cracks should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam, otherwise rodents could chew through to enter.
  • Install good, thick weather-stripping on the bottom of all doors to prevent rodents from entering. The garage door may prove difficult to seal completely, so the door from the garage to the house must be sealed extra tightly.

Remember, your pest control service includes coverage of commensal rats and mice. And your NWA Ladybug professional will be sure to inspect for signs of rodents – particularly in colder months.

 

WEBBING CLOTHES MOTH

Your NWA Ladybug Pest service professional can quickly and easily rid your home of these pests, but here are a few steps you can take to protect your clothing until the problem is under control:

 

  • Do not store boxes of clothes in the attic, garage, or basement.
  • If clothing must be stored in boxes, thoroughly clean the boxes before storage, and seal all corners and openings with tape.
  • Prior to storage, clean woolen and natural fiber clothing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In closets, store natural fiber clothing by covering it with individual plastic covers.
  • Consider storing clothing in large zippered plastic units.
  • Use mothballs to help deter fabric pests, but be aware that they may leave an odor that could require dry cleaning.

 

 

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

  1. Rats & Mice
  2. 6 Tips to Prevent Pesky Pantry Pests
  3. Tips on hiring a Green Pest Control Company

 

 

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  • nwa ladybug pest control eco-friendly pest control,
  • nwa ladybug pest control in Bella Vista

 

 

 

Oh, I know, you are seeing those pesky web worms back all over NW Arkansas. I am getting calls almost every day.

BUT NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TREAT FOR WEBWORMS.

Counter intuitive isn’t it since you are just now starting to see them. But you should have prepared for these little buggers long before now.

Webworm Treatment: Tips For Controlling Webworms

webworm-nest1-400x266

Many people wonder what to do about webworms. When controlling fall webworms, it’s useful to analyze what exactly they are. Webworms, or Hyphantria cunea, usually appear on trees in the fall (while tent worms[1] appear in spring), causing unsightly nests and severe leaf damage. Let’s learn more about fall webworm control.

Fall Webworm Info

Webworms are caterpillars[2] that weave loose webbing around the tree’s foliage whilst munching on leaves, resulting in plant stress and leaf loss. This larval “nest” may cover single leaves or leaf clusters, but more often entire branches covering several feet across.

Webworm treatment options have to do with the life cycle of the critter. Webworms overwinter as pupae in cocoons found in the bark of the tree or amongst leaf litter. In the spring, adults emerge and deposit eggs, often creating large numbers of these caterpillar laden webs in a single tree. These caterpillars may go through as many as eleven growth stages (instars) before leaving the web to pupate and multiple generations occur per year.

The webworm caterpillar is about an inch long with a black to reddish head and light yellow to greenish body with a mottled stripe of two rows of black tubercles and tufts of long whitish hairs. Adults appear as white moths with dark spots on the wings.

Tips for Controlling Fall Webworms

What to do about webworms? There are several schools of thought on the best way to kill webworms. Fall webworm control runs the gamut from insecticides to burning the nests. Yes, webworm treatment may extend to the lengths of burning the nests, but read on.

Controlling fall webworms may be difficult due to their sheer large numbers and the variety of trees which they attack. Damage to such cultivars of hickory[3], mulberry[4], oak, pecan[5], poplar, redbud[6], sweet gum, willow[7] and other ornamental, fruit and nut trees may require a specific webworm treatment as the best way to kill webworms.

What to Do About Webworms

A webworm treatment for control of fall webworms that is highly recommended is the use of dormant oil. The best way to kill webworms with dormant oil is in the early spring while the tree is dormant. Dormant oil is preferable due to its low toxicity and easy availability; any local garden supply store will have it. Dormant oil attacks and kills the overwintering eggs.

The control of fall webworms also includes the more toxic varieties of insecticides, such as Sevin or Malathion. Sevin is a webworm treatment which kills the webworms once they are outside of the nest. Malathion works in much the same manner; however, it will leave a residue on the tree’s foliage. Orthene is also an option for fall webworm control.

And last but certainly not the least dramatic method, is to burn them out. Some folk’s utilize a propane torch attached to a long pole and burn out the webs. I can name a couple of sound reasons for the insanity of this method of fall webworm control. Controlling fall webworms via this route is dangerous due to the flaming webs one must dodge, the probability of making a conflagration of the entire tree and not least, the difficulty in hanging onto a stepladder with a flaming 20 foot pole! However, to each his own.

The safest and most effective method of what to do about webworms is as follows: Prune the tree in the spring and spray with a lime-sulfur and dormant oil spray. As buds begin to break, follow up your webworm treatment by spraying Sevin or Malathion and repeat in 10 days. Also, make sure to clean up any leaf debris to remove overwintering pupation populations.

RELATED ARTICLES:

  1. Mosquito Facts: Mosquito Lesson 101
  2. How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
  3. Fall Webworms in NWA

 

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This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host.

This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host.

 

It’s the beginning of mosquito season and time to start treatments to prevent populations from getting heavy and ruining your outdoor enjoyment. NWA Ladybug Pest Control. provides a safe, comprehensive mosquito management program that targets the adult mosquitoes and their larvae. We also provide information on mosquitoes and ways to help further prevent the chances of getting bitten. Below are some answers to our most frequently asked questions about mosquitoes:

 

 

What do we need to know about Zika in the US?

The mosquito species capable of spreading Zika are common in the southeastern states. This includes the Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). There have been several cases of Zika reported in the U.S. but so far these cases involved the person traveling overseas. For the most up-to-date information on Zika, visit the Center for Disease Control website.

What is the mosquito life cycle?

Adult female mosquitoes lay eggs in or near stagnate water, or in low-lying areas that may eventually flood. The larvae (called “wrigglers” because they are the little wriggly things you see in small pools of water) hatch and develop underwater. They feed on organic material in the water and eventually pupate (go into the pupa stage). The pupae are sometimes called “tumblers” because they tumble around just under the surface of the water. The adult mosquitoes develop inside the pupae and emerge on the surface of the water and fly away but stay close to the breeding sites. This whole process can take less than a week to complete. Adult males and females mainly feed on nectar from flowers, but females need to obtain a blood meal to produce her eggs.

How are mosquito bites different for a human vs. other animals like pets?

Although some animals have thick fur and hair, mosquitoes still can bite them in areas that are not protected by hair, such as the nose, ears, stomach and other areas. And similar to you, your cat or dog also finds mosquito bites very itchy and the bitten area may swell and get an infection if it is constantly scratched and not treated properly. Mosquitoes can also transmit dog heartworm.

Consult your veterinarian for ways to treat mosquito bites on your pets and for medication to prevent contracting heartworm.

 

NWA Ladybug Pest Control provides this FREE website to keep you informed on pests in your area. You can help keep this free site alive simply by sharing and leaving your comments. Thanks

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

  1. How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
  2. How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets
  3. Risks of Pesticides

 

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