As flowers begin to bloom, bees awaken from hibernation, collecting pollen and nectar from flowering plants. It is a commonly known fact that bees are in danger, but why are they so important to the environment?
Bees are essential to making our ecosystem flourish; the pollen they distribute among plants helps in the processes of fertilization and reproduction of plants. When bees collect pollen from one plant, the pollen attaches itself to the bee and falls off as they visit other plants. This process only works when the two flowers are of the same species, but the unintended consequence helps the environment to grow and reproduce.
In the beginning of a bee’s life cycle, the queen bee lays eggs inside of a honeycomb. The eggs that are fertilized become females, while the unfertilized become males. When the eggs hatch, they initially look something like a worm, but after other bees feed and take care of them, they begin to go through other stages of metamorphosis and form into what we know and see as an adult bee. Contrary to popular belief, not every bee has a stinger. Only the female, worker bees have a stinger that can penetrate skin. There are also some kinds of bees that have a stinger but cannot sting at all.
The most common type of bee found in Ohio is the bumblebee, which pollinates in cooler weather compared to other kinds of bees. They are mostly found in gardens and parks and seem to be one of the only bee colonies that are growing. These bees are only one of two types of highly social bees found in the state, nesting underground in rodent burrows. Bumblebees are not known to be aggressive, but they can be when provoked. Some may believe that yellow jackets are the most common bee in the state, but in reality, yellow jackets are actually wasps. You may see them more often, but they are not bees.
As bee season kicks into high gear, try to remember their importance to the environment and be cautious when handling them. If you have a bee, hornet or wasp problem that becomes unbearable, call Action Pest Control, Inc.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources website offers lots of information on common insects and other pests in Ohio. For more information on insects and other common pests, go to the website below. And, call Action Pest Control to exterminate Gypsy Moths and any other pests from your home and property.
The gypsy moth is one of the most destructive insect pests threatening the forests and ornamental plants of Ohio. Native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, the gypsy moth became established in North America in 1869 when brought to Massachusetts for an unsuccessful attempt to cross it with the silkworm. A few of the insects escaped, and the gypsy moth has gradually spread throughout the northeastern states ever since.
The gypsy moth was first detected and eradicated from Ohio in 1914 in a suburb near Cleveland. Since that time, there have been over forty eradication projects in the state. The present program was started in 1971 as a detection/eradication program.
The impact of gypsy moths include forest ecosystem degradation, economic losses to businesses, loss of recreational opportunities in areas severely defoliated, reduced private property values, and nuisance from gypsy moth caterpillars.
Due to increasing gypsy moth populations in northeastern Ohio, the State and Federal Departments of Agriculture established a quarantine in 1987 to limit the spread of this destructive pest. Gypsy moth populations first reached defoliating levels in 1990. Defoliation peaked in 1995 at nearly 35,000 acres. Increased gypsy moth damage is expected as the insect spreads into the State’s unglaciated oak-hickory forestlandsBiology and Identification
Gypsy moth caterpillars are dark gray or brown with five pairs of blue dots and six pairs of red dots down their backs. As they age, black hairs on their bodies grow longer. The oldest caterpillars can be about 2-1/2 inches long.
Adult male gypsy moths are gray-brown while females are whitish with brown markings. Males have feathery antennae that they use to detect the females’ pheromones.
Female gyspy moths lay eggs in masses ranging from 1 to 1-1/2 inches long. They do not make webs or tents. Larvae hatch in April and soon move to the tree canopy and feed on leaves. Defoliation and thus harm to the trees occur when moths are in this caterpillar stage. The moths pupate in early June and emerge as adults later in the month to mate and lay eggs.
Since 1990, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has been conducting gypsy moth suppression projects in the generally infested areas of the state, combined with pheromone trapping and eradication projects in areas not considered generally infested.
The purpose of these projects is to maintain gypsy moth populations below damaging levels in infested areas of Ohio, while identifying and slowing the spread of gypsy moth areas by eliminating isolated gypsy moth populations in the state’s uninfested areas. The projects have included many different tactics including insecticides, biological controls, and mass trapping.
There is good news to report in the fight against the gypsy moth. A new weapon has emerged. A fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga (Em), has emerged as a tool that can be used against this voracious feeder. This highly virulent and host-specific fungal pathogen of gypsy moth larvae, is known as one of the most important causes of mortality in Japanese gypsy moth populations.
The fungus was probably imported from Japan to areas near Boston, Massachusetts around 1910. This attempt to establish the fungus seemed to fail since extensive surveys did not reveal the pathogen. Em was not observed in North America until June, 1989 when dead caterpillars found clinging to trees in the northeastern U.S. revealed its presence. Ohio first documented the fungus in Trumbull County in 1993.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources website offers lots of information on common insects and other pests. See the link below for more.
The Asian longhorned beetle, also known as the Asian cerambycid beetle, was first discovered in the United States attacking maple and horsechestnut trees around New York City in 1996. Infestations were detected in Chicago, three New Jersey counties, and six Massachusetts cities. In 2008, the infestations of Chicago and Hudson County, New Jersey, were declared successfully eradicated.
In June 2011, the first Ohio infestation in trees was discovered near the village of Bethel in Clermont County. The insect was previously found associated with solid wood packing and crating materials in warehouses located in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Loudonville. However, an infestation of living host trees has never been detected in these cities.
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis, is native to Japan, Korea, and southern China. Experts believe that the beetle “hitchhiked” to the U.S. during the early 1990s in solid wood packing or crating materials on a cargo ship arriving from China.
ALB is a serious pest of hardwood trees in its native environment where it has few natural enemies. In the U.S., where no natural enemies exist, the insect is extremely destructive to our trees and forests. The beetle attacks many different hardwood trees, including maple (all species), horsechestnut, buckeye, poplar, willow, elm, birch, London plane tree, sycamore, mimosa, katsura tree, hackberry, ash, and mountain ash. Trees of any age may be attacked, however, trees 4 inches in diameter and larger are preferred. Beetles will attack both stressed and healthy trees, which makes them an even greater threat.
Biology and Identification
Beetles are 0.75 to 1.50 inches long (not including antennae), shiny black with bright white spots and blue tinted legs. Each adult has a pair of curved, black-and-white striped antennae that are even longer than the body. Adults emerge from trees during May, June, and July and can live for up to 66 days. They feed on plant shoots for a few days and then mate. After mating, females chew rough, oval pits in the bark of host trees, where they lay eggs.
When the eggs hatch, the white grub-like larvae bore into the wood. Larvae mature inside the tree until they become adults and chew round, 3/8 inch (nearly dime-sized) exit holes in trunks and branches, from which they emerge. This life cycle produces new adults every year, rather than every 2 to 4 years like most other longhorned beetles. Although ALB can fly up to 400 yards, they typically do not leave their host tree. In China, studies show that infestations generally spread less than 1000 ft/year.
Since an effective method for trapping this specific pest does not exist, areas must be surveyed for the presence of the beetle by carefully examining hardwood trees for signs of infestation. Large round exit holes with smooth edges, often oozing sap, are a strong indication of ALB activity. Frequently, piles of frass (insect waste and sawdust) are found at the base of infested trees and in branch crotches. Leaves of infested trees may also exhibit unseasonable yellowing or drooping. Eventually, larval tunnels sever the cambium (living part of the tree trunk), which disrupts the flow of water and other materials and kills the tree.
For help with Asian Longhorned Beetle infestations, contact us today.
In April and May, you might notice what you think are flying ants around your home. They are a nuisance but not a worry. But what you think are flying ants could very easily be termites, who can destroy wood in and around your home in no time. So when you see what you think are flying ants, call Action Pest Control exterminators immediately. We will have an extermination technician on your property quickly to assess the insects and possible damage and move forward with a plan of action.
How do I tell the difference and when do I call the exterminator?
If you see lots of wings in the area where the insects are swarming, it is a telltale sign of termites. Termites have very delicate wings that break easily, leaving a trail behind. Flying ants have strong wings that don’t break or fall off. No wings, no termites.
If you do have the opportunity to get up close to the insects, you will notice that Flying ants have three very distinct body parts, the head, body and thorax, with a small midsection. Termites have just two body parts, the head and body, and the body is much thicker through the middle. Termites have straight antennae and four wings of equal size. Winged, or flying, ants have four wings as well, but the front wings are much larger than the back, and have bends, or elbows, in the antennae. You might be able to tell the difference between the two in the photo above.
If you are noticing the insects inside the home, go outside to that very spot and you will likely see evidence of the termites there. Of course, if you have a woodpile in that spot, it is even more likely to be termites. Move that pile away from the home immediately.
The best advice is to call Action Pest Control exterminators as soon as you notice flying ants or termites. The faster we can get there and assess the problem insects, the faster you can get back your piece of mind.
As the temperatures begin to rise and the days get longer, it’s time to start cleaning up around your home. Here are some tips from Action Pest Control to prepare your property against insects and rodents.
- Rake all the beds removing old mulch, debris, branches and leaves. Replace with fresh mulch.
- If you have a wood pile next to your home for the winter, move it away from the premises.
- Inspect around your home’s foundation for cracks and repair as needed.
- Check your doors and windows. You may need to touch up the caulk. Repair any damaged screens or take them to the nearest hardware store to have them fixed. The repairs are simple and inexpensive.
- If you have a door mat, make sure it is in good condition. Some can rot and break apart, or hold dampness for insects to infest.
- Take a look at your gutters and downspouts. You may find some leaves and branches that will prevent water from rushing through properly and will attract insects.
You get the idea. Insects love dark, moist places to live, like rotted wood and wet leaves. And, no matter how tiny the opening, rodents can invade your home and garage. While you are performing your outdoor maintenance, make sure to check your kitchen for crumbs in cabinets that will attract unwanted visitors. Sweep under the refrigerator as well.
While you can do your part to get your home ready for the warm weather months, you may need a little extra help from Action Pest Control. We can assess your property for risks and discuss treatment options to not only rid your home of insects and rodents but to prevent them from ever moving in. Talk to Action Pest about recurring visits to keep you and your family pest free this season.
It seems like we are surrounded by bugs in the summer months, but they disappear come January and February. So, where do they go?
The answer is that different species of insects have different ways of handling the cold, and some don’t handle it at all. Monarch butterflies, for example, migrate south. Often species that are migratory head south, lay eggs then die. When those eggs hatch offspring fly north for the summer and start the process all over again. Other species, like some crickets, lay their eggs, which survive the cold temperatures, die, and then the eggs hatch in the spring. The only purpose these insects serve is reproduction. Once that task is complete, their life is over and the cycle begins again.
In another group of insects, the job is to keep the queen warm, content and well fed. These bugs live in colonies and can be found indoors or out, any place where they are protected from the elements. Some insects living in colonies are ants, bees and termites. Ants are able to seal off the entrances to their colonies and become dormant over the winter. And, bees flutter their wings enough to produce heat to keep everyone warm in the colony, especially the queen. Without the queen, the colonies can not survive so she is vitally important.
Finally, several species of insects hibernate in the winter. While ladybugs seem to like man-made structures to find enough warmth to make it through, most insects will hibernate in rooted logs or in the soil under rocks. Their systems go dormant during the cold temperatures. The wooly bear moth caterpillar, however, has a natural anti-freeze in its system, so its internal fluids keep moving throughout the winter.
So, with each species of insect, comes a different lifecycle and life expectancy. And, when the warm weather hits, they are all ready to start a new season.
Top Three Tips for a Pest-Free Home
With many areas of the country experiencing wintry conditions and the warm days of summer long gone, people are consumed with the hustle and bustle surrounding the holidays and may not be focused on preventing pest problems. But, the arrival of snowy weather doesn’t mean pest populations have disappeared and should be forgotten. Although several pests do die off or find a place to overwinter when the temperature drops, the National Pest Management Association advises homeowners that infestations are still possible throughout the winter months – especially during the holiday season as people bring Christmas trees indoors and rummage through decorations to hang around the home. As such, homeowners should follow these top three tips to ensure the holiday decorating is done right:
Check Greenery for Insects.
Remember the famous scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when a squirrel leaps out of “the Griswold family Christmas tree,” sending panic throughout the Chevy Chase abode? While comical, many people don’t realize a situation like this could actually happen in their own home. Spiders, mites, moths and other pests have been known to nest in live greens like trees, wreathes and garlands, which often end up being used to decorate the home during the holidays. Therefore, homeowners should inspect these items for evidence of pests and shake them out before bringing them indoors. This will help to minimize any chance of an infestation in your home.
Inspect Your Holiday Décor and Store It Properly.
To festively prepare for the holidays, people have begun to rummage through boxes of wreaths, ornaments, figurines and strands of twinkling lights to decorate their homes for the most wonderful time of the year. However, most of these decorations have likely been stored since last season in attics, basements and garages – all of which provide ideal habitats for pests. Before bringing decorations into the main living areas of the home, it’s important to unpack boxes outside and inspect them for signs of a potential pest infestation like gnawing marks and rodent droppings.
Once we ring in the New Year and it’s time to take down the decorations, make sure all items that you normally store in the garage, basement or attic are placed in a sturdy, hard plastic container with a secure lid. This quick tip will help to ensure rodents don’t find a way into the decorations and become an unwelcome surprise when it’s time to decorate the following year.
Keep Firewood Away From the Home.
The winter season is also a popular time to snuggle by the fireplace with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. But, if you are planning on bringing firewood into the home to start a fire, it’s important to inspect the pieces of wood for pests that can easily hitch a ride indoors like spiders, termites and ants. Outdoors, firewood should be stored at least 20 feet from the home on a raised structure, such as concrete blocks.
These tips should help reduce the possibility of encountering unwanted visitors in your home this season, but if pests do become an issue, contact a licensed professional to inspect and treat the problem.
Copyright ©2016 National Pest Management Association
Call Action Pest Control at 614-367-9500 to inspect your home or office.
By: Sara Miller
The arrival of spring melts snow, grows flowers, warms the weather, and brings baby animals – including raccoons. You might find adult raccoons and their young cute . . . until they move from their natural home into yours!
Why Woodland Friends Turned Foe
Raccoons are highly adaptable to urban and suburban situations, so your home can easily become a substitute den site. During spring the adult female will be looking for a safe place for her young to be born and grow. Your attic and wall spaces provide enough out-of-the-way nooks and crannies for a mother raccoon to hide her young.
Raccoons aren’t out to ruin your home; they just need a place to stay. And while there are plenty of natural options for raccoon den sites, your home may be an easy alternative. If your house isn’t secure against these furry intruders, it may become just what they were looking for – a place to rear young.
Signs of Raccoon Damage
There are some things that you can keep an eye out for when it comes to raccoon damage to your home, clues that let you know that you are in fact dealing with a raccoon and not something else. Knowing the signs will help you make the best decisions for reclaiming your home from animal intruders such as raccoons.
Signs of raccoon damage to your home include:
- Inside the attic you may find flattened insulation, flexible ducts that have been ripped apart, and chewed wiring. This means insulation that doesn’t insulate, and damaged wiring that can cause a fire.
Preventing Raccoon Damage
There are several preventative measures that you can initiate in order to discourage raccoons from choosing your home as a den site.
Food is a big reason raccoons set up shop at your house. If there is a constant food supply nearby, then the raccoons won’t want to travel far away from that food source. Sources of food around the neighborhood could come in the form of garbage, bird feed, and pet food. All of these foods are perfect wildlife attractants.
To reduce or eliminate food sources for raccoons:
- Metal flashing can be applied to wooden beams and house corners to prevent climbing.
You may also want to check around your home for aging construction and unsecured openings where a raccoon could create an entrance. Be sure that any repairs are sturdy. Raccoons are strong animals with very hand-like, dexterous front paws.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year with falling leaves and crisp mornings. It’s the time of year that we begin moving indoors for the winter. The same is true for rodents and insects. They are looking for a warm home as well. But these pests can do a lot of damage. So, it is important to take steps now to control pests and keep them away from your home for the winter. You can start outdoors.
While raking leaves this season, make sure that you get all debris away from the house. Trim any dead branches from shrubs and trees, and trim plant material away from the home, to ward off insect infestation. Make sure the gutters are clear of leaves, limbs and dirt. Make sure downspouts aren’t blocked. Look for rotten banisters and decking and repair if necessary: any decaying wood is an invitation for bugs. Inspect windows, roofing, doors, and wood trim for holes and repair, caulk or cover. Even the smallest hole can be an entry point for bugs and mice.
As you move to indoor spaces, the same principles apply. You want to check around windows and doorways for tiny openings and make the necessary repairs. If you are seeing water damage in the corners of the ceiling, you may need to go back out to the roof and inspect for leaks: bugs love damp areas. You might have dampness in the basement and the garage. The best defense is to keep as much up off the floor as possible.
Pet food storage is easily kept under control by using plastic or metal bins. Often the bags are kept on the floor in the garage or basement, making it accessible for rodents. Insects can populate a bag of dog food and take it over in no time, leaving a mess and making it difficult to clean up.
All of these measures will help keep insects and rodents away for the winter. If not, call Action Pest Control to alleviate the problem.
As summer winds down, stinging insects get busy. Action Pest Control can exterminate those pests with a single treatment. The most common stinging insects in Ohio are bees, wasps and hornets.
Bees are common in Ohio and build their nests and hives in hollow walls, hollow trees and logs, and under eaves. They are not aggressive, but will sting when provoked. The good news is that they sting just once.
Wasps sting more than one time. They build nests in the same spots as bees do, and can be found under decks, in vents and behind shutters, as well. Wasps are more aggressive than bees. They use paper for their nests and you will often see them flying around the outside of those nests.
Hornets are the most aggressive of the three, and can sting multiple times. Their nests are made mostly of paper, like wasps. Hornets will often build nests in shrubs, bushes and low hanging tree limbs, so they pose a danger to the homeowner when routine lawn and tree maintenance is performed. The homeowner may not even be aware of the nest until it’s too late.
Call Action Pest Control
Action Pest Control can help. We will spray or dust the site and remove the hives and nests. And, that treatment product, once dry, will continue to work to kill any stragglers. After just a few hours, the area will be available for use by family members and pets.
This time of year you want to be able to use your outdoor space as much as possible, before the cold weather months arrive. Don’t let stinging insects cut your outdoor activities short. Call Action Pest Control to exterminate bees, wasps and hornets from your home and get you back outside. Our experts will take care of the problem quickly and professionally.