Archive for April, 2011

Carpenter Ant Pest Removal | MN Ant Pest Control | Carpenter Ants

Are You Sure Those Are Ants?  Ant or Termite?  How Can You To Tell The Difference?

Entomologists refer to winged ants and termites as alates. The alate is simply the adult, sexually mature stage in the ant or termite life cycle. Alates develop in the colony from immature stages prior to the flight season. When the alates receive the proper cues (warm temperatures, bright sunlight, low winds, for example) they will leave the colony and fly away to start their own colonies. The exodus of alates from a colony, known as a dispersal or nuptial flight, is commonly referred to as swarming; so alates are often referred to as swarmers. Male and female termites shed their wings and will pair up when a suitable mate is found. Then they will search for a suitably damp piece of wood or soil where they will start their new colony. Swarming in ants is different. Male and female alates leave the nest and after the female is inseminated, the male dies. The newly fertilized female then searches for a suitable nesting site – the choice of where to nest depends on the species. (more…)

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Ant or Termite? How To Tell the Difference

Winged ants and termites look similar and are often mistaken for each other. Both are black, with six legs, and are approximately half an inch long. The pest control methods required to deal with ants and termites are quite different so it helps to know the main differences between them.

  • Ants’ bodies have three distinct sections with a narrow neck and a narrow waist.
  • Termites’ bodies are roughly the same width all the way along.
  • Ants have longer legs than termites.
  • Ants’ antennae are bent in the middle; termites’ antennae are straight.

If the insects you see in or near your home are winged termites, it is likely to be a swarming termite looking for a new nesting area in which to establish a colony. You should call your local pest control services right away for advice. If they confirm a termite problem, they can destroy the old colony, remove any termites that have begun to nest in your home, and help protect your home against future termite colonization.

If you do not want to destroy the ants’ nest, just keep them out of your home, you should try:

  • Store food securely, clean up crumbs, and wipe surfaces so that ants are not attracted into your home.
  • Put talc or salt under doors and around windows to deter ants from entering your home.

Outdoor nests can be very difficult to eliminate without chemicals. Using water to flood nests is usually not effective. Use of gasoline also is ineffective and dangerous and causes environmental pollution. Repeated drenchings of a nest with an insecticidal soap solution is sometimes effective in forcing an ant colony to relocate. There is no scientific evidence that spearmint gum, red pepper, orange peels, or various herbs repel ants effectively. Remember you must kill or relocate the queen to manage an ant colony.

Minnesota Ant Pest Control

Call a Minnesota pest control expert if your pest control methods don’t work; that ant could be a termite.

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Carpenter Ants Mark The Spring Season

Pest Control – Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in Minnesota. There are several species of carpenter ants that may be found infesting homes and other buildings. Normally workers are black or red and black in color and range in size from 3/8 to 1/2 inch. Winged queen ants may be as large as one inch. However, size is not a reliable characteristic to identify carpenter ants. The workers of one species in Minnesota are no larger than 3/16 inch.

Ants are divided into different castes, i.e. workers, queens, and males (figure 1). Some ants, including carpenter ants, have polymorphic workers, which means that within one species the workers occur in different sizes. The best method to separate carpenter ants from other ants is by the following characteristics: 1) a waist with one node (petiole) and 2) a thorax with an evenly rounded upper surface (figure 2).

There are other ants that appear similar and are occasionally mistaken for carpenter ants. They may have one or two nodes. However, they can be distinguished from carpenter ants by the uneven profile of their thorax (figure 3). These ants are usually not wood-infesting, so it is important to correctly identify the ants before control is attempted as control strategies vary with different ant species.

Figure 1. Carpenter ant castes, from left to right: queen, winged male, major worker, minor worker

Figure 2. Carpenter ant worker

Figure 3. Typical non-carpenter ant worker

Ants or Termites?

Carpenter ants differ from termites by having dark-colored bodies, narrow waists, elbowed (bent) antennae, and if present, hind wings shorter than front wings (figure 4). Carpenter ants are very common and are frequently seen in the open.

Figure 4. Winged carpenter ant

Termites are light-colored, have no waist constriction, have straight antennae and, if present, wings are of equal length (figure 5). Termites are much less common. They avoid light and are rarely seen outside of their colony.

Figure 5. Winged termite

What They Eat

Carpenter ants feed on sources of protein and sugar. Outdoors, carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects. They are also very attracted to honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Aphids and scales feed on trees, shrubs, and other plants. Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood. They remove wood as they create galleries and tunnels.

Most foraging is done at night between sunset and midnight during spring and summer months. Sometimes workers travel up to 100 yards from a nest in search of food.

Where They Live

Carpenter ants nest in moist wood including rotting trees, tree roots, tree stumps, and logs or boards lying on or buried in the ground. They can also nest in moist or decayed wood inside buildings. Wood decay may be caused by exposure to leaks, condensation, or poor air circulation. Nests have been found behind bathroom tiles; around tubs, sinks, showers, and dishwashers; under roofing, in attic beams, and under subfloor insulation; and in hollow spaces such as doors, curtain rods, and wall voids. Carpenter ants may also nest in foam insulation.

A parent carpenter ant colony sometimes establishes one or more satellite nests in nearby indoor or outdoor sites. Satellite nests are composed of workers, pupae, and mature larvae. A satellite nest does not require moisture because the workers do not tend eggs (the eggs would dry out without sufficient humidity). For this reason, satellite nests can be found in relatively dry locations, such as insulation, hollow doors, and sound wood. The workers of satellite colonies move readily between their nest and the parent colony. In late summer, winged reproductives (i.e. queens and males) may emerge from pupae transported into satellite colonies. They may appear in structures in late winter and early spring as they swarm from a satellite nest.


Carpenter ants damage wood by excavating and creating galleries and tunnels. These areas are clean, i.e. they do not contain sawdust or other debris, and are smooth, with a well sanded appearance (figure 6).

Figure 6. Ant Damage

The damage to wood structures is variable. The longer a colony is present in a structure, the greater the damage that can be done. If structural wood is weakened, carpenter ant damage can be severe.

Carpenter Ant Pest Removal

The best method to control carpenter ants is to locate and destroy the nest, replace damaged or decayed wood, and, if they exist, eliminate moisture problems. Eliminating a carpenter ant nest is a difficult and challenging task. It is possible for a homeowner to control carpenter ants on their own. However, in most cases, control should be performed by an experienced pest control expert. They have the experience and a wider array of products to more effectively control a carpenter ant problem. Homeowners can still play an important role in control programs by providing information to a Minnesota pest control expert, such as when, where, and how many ants were seen.

Source: Uof M http://www.extension.umn.edu

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Win The War Against BED BUGS!

Identifying Bed Bugs

Maybe your family stayed in a hotel and wound up with suspicious itchy marks on their arms. Or you noticed your mattress seemed unusually dirty last time you changed the sheets. Maybe you found some red/brown spotting on your sheets. Perhaps you found some kind of tiny bug in your bedroom and aren’t sure what it is.

You’ve heard news lately of a bed bug resurgence. So chances are that if you’ve seen possible signs of bed bugs, you are a little suspicious. The next thing you probably want to know is: what do bed bugs look like?

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs usually find dark places to hide. If you can’t seem to find one and inspect it directly, you’ll have to rely more on other signs of bed bugs. But if you do manage to catch hold of something you think is a bed bug, here is what you need to know.

  • Bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped and very small in size.
  • Bed bug hatchlings have been compared in size to poppy seeds.
  • Adults can grow to 1/4 of an inch long.
  • Bed bugs have 6 slender legs along with medium-long antennae at the top of their head.
  • Bed bugs do not have any wings.

In recent years there has been a tremendous increase in the number of bed bug infestations reported. Research suggests that this new influx of bed bugs is in large part due to the increase of international travel and immigration. Many countries around the globe are reporting higher levels of bed bug infestation. It would appear that these insects have hitched a ride back with visitors and citizens of the United States where they have found comfort in hotels, apartments, dormitories and yes, even your home. This is not by the way, an indication of being unclean; bed bugs are equal opportunity pests.

Okay, we have determined that the bed bugs are here and that we need to deal with them. As with any foe, the first step is to educate ourselves about our enemy. The more you know about bed bugs, the better the chance of being able to take back your home. As a starting point, here is the bed bug life cycle.

Adult Bedbug bedbug at actual size, and magnified for a closer look

OK…Are You Ready Soldier?

How Do You Get Rid Bed Bugs?

The answer to this can be quite simple. To rid your house of bed bugs you need to have determination because you will need to be patient. It can also be quite costly to clean the house of these bed bugs. The best way to rid yourself of bed bugs is definitely to go out and hire professional help from a pest control company. Extermination companies will get rid not only of bed bugs but also their eggs and other house transients, other insects and pests. Because it can be quite expensive, pest control professionals will have invested in expensive equipment. Extermination is now very sophisticated and you may be amazed at the level of technology used.

Understanding The Technical Aspects Of Bed Bug Extermination

To be effective, pest control professionals will use an array of chemicals. These come in the form of insecticides or pesticides.

Because these chemicals are so harsh and if miss-used can be deadly, it is strongly advised you leave the handling of them to professionals. Pest control experts will know what they need to do since they will have been doing so for a long time. Trust them and then let them get on to do their job. Step aside and only return to your home once they tell you it is safe to do so.

They will also brief you as to how to deal with furnishings and furniture which might contain residues from the pesticides. Listen carefully to any instructions otherwise you will run the risk of poisoning yourself.

Bed Bugs Control Treatments MN

It can happen to anyone!

Eliminating bed bugs can be expensive and requires a pest control strategy known as an Integrated Pest Management Plan. A treatment can take weeks to several months. Several treatments may be necessary for complete success.

For Bed Bug Removal Guarantee, call a bed bug experienced Pest Management Professional IMMEDIATELY to exterminate all the pests, ensuring they will not return! Do not try and treat this problem yourself.

Bed Bug Report.pdf Bed Bug Report.pdf

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Are Bed Bugs A REAL Problem?

The National Pest Management Association Inc., along with the University of Kentucky, conducted a Comprehensive Global Bed Bug Study in 2010. The study focused on responses from pest management companies. Some of the survey results included:

1. Companies reported remarkable increases in the amount of calls about bed bug infestations; in the last five years, calls have been up 57%.

2. Urban and suburban areas, with more and more populations of people living closer together, experience a greater bed bug problem. Companies made bed bug treatments in 80% of suburban areas and in 71% of urban areas compared to 52% in rural areas.

3. “Bed bugs are THE most difficult pest to treat, according to 76% of survey respondents, more so than cockroaches, ants, and termites.” Where exactly has pest management companies treated for beg bugs? According to survey respondents,

  • 89% have treated apartments & condos for beg bugs,
  • 88% have treated single-family homes
  • 67% have treated hotels/motels
  • 35% have treated college dormitories
  • 9% have treated various transportation modes
  • 5% have treated laundry facilities
  • 4% have treated move theaters

Bed bugs are a parasite, needing to feed on the blood of a human or other warm-blooded host to grow and reproduce. The creatures only feed for about 5 to 10 minutes; bed bugs then hide for 5 to 10 days to mate and lay eggs. Although they are nocturnal, bed bugs will feed during the day in a heavily infested area. Looking for bare skin, bed bugs typically bite the head and neck region, but will also feed on exposed hands, arms, and legs. Bed bug bites often occur in a linear pattern of three to four bites, which is referred to as the “Breakfast, lunch, dinner” pattern.

Are your wanting to run home to check your sheets? Wondering what you can do to prevent a bed bug infestation? All homes are vulnerable to bed bug infestation. An ounce of prevention can save thousands of dollars and six months of lost sleep. Protect your home now, before it is too late!

Bed Bug Symptoms

Today bed bugs have become an epidemic with new cases having increased 500% over the past few years. International travel hubs such as New York, Miami and Los Angeles are having major issues controlling new bed bug populations. Hotel rooms, cruise ships, airplanes and shelters are now breading places where bed bugs can hitch a ride home with you.

Many people with infestations are completely unaware that their home has these uninvited guests. This is because bed bugs are nocturnal nesting parasites in that they emerge 1-2 hours before dawn, feed for 5-15 minutes and then return back to their hiding place.

Due to the fact that bed bugs are great at hiding, many cases rely on investigating your bedroom for signs of these blood sucking insects. Most bed bugs reside within 10-15 feed of your bed, which makes that a good place to start looking. Below are some tell-tale indicators that you may have these unwanted pests.

  • Burning Bed Bug Bite Marks ~ Waking up in the morning with a row of red welts that burn and itch could be bed bugs. The burning and itching sensation can be reduced by running hot water over the infected area, using hydrocortisone or taking an antihistamine.
  • Blood Stains on Sheets and Furniture ~  Bed bugs often expel some of their blood meal, which is a great indicator that they may be present. This could be found anywhere on your sheets, on the walls, curtains, carpeting, etc.
  • Black Feces Droppings ~ Feces droppings are normally left behind by bed bugs, which look little black or brown large grains of salt. This can be found in places where they like to hide including by the seams of a mattress, between the box spring and mattress and even on your sheets. Bed bugs shed or molt their waxy skins as they move through the five stages of development. This clear skin with a tint of brown can be easily seen by the naked eye. This is another great indicator that they may be present.
  • Visually Identifying Actual Bed Bugs ~ Knowing what bed bugs look like can help diagnose an infestation. Please see our picture to the left.

Bed Bugs Pest Control Treatments MN

Bed bugs can quickly become a serious pest problem. Chances are if you have bed bugs, you brought them into your home while traveling. These pests do not travel on humans or animals, but on luggage, clothing, pillows, and other items you bring when you leave home.

Luckily bed bugs do not spread any diseases, but they do bite!

For Guaranteed Bed Bug Removal MN, contact a Minnesota pest control expert as soon as possible!

bb_travelers_online.pdf Wallet size bed bug card for travelers pdf Download

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