Archive for January, 2009

January 31st 2009

How Do I get Rid of Black Ants? – Here are Some Solutions.

A Fighting Chance Against Ants In Your Home

No matter where you live in the United States, you have probably encountered ants in your home. In fact, with nearly 12,000 ant species roaming nearly every landmass on earth, there are few places ants have not been.

Like many insects, ants are not picky eaters. Most rely heavily on both plants and animals for food; some are especially attracted to sugary and greasy foods.

Ants can travel great distances foraging for the colony, making many foods in your home ripe for the taking. Though they normally nest outdoors, ants often enter homes searching for food, exploiting tiny cracks around doors, pipes and windows.

"All ant species are difficult to control because they’re highly adaptive and have great survival instincts," says Frank Meek, technical director for Orkin, Inc. "Unfortunately, the natural conditions in our homes-no matter how clean-provide the perfect environment for ants."

Ants perform complex social behaviors and are widely studied for their intriguing communication methods. For instance, once ants find food, they release chemicals called pheromones, which help fellow ants locate the feast.

Ants also use pheromones for self-defense. Fire ants, the reddish-brown species named for their fiery sting, emit alarm pheromones that signal nest mates to attack and defend their colony by delivering repeated stings to intruding insects, ground-nesting birds and other wildlife.

On humans, fire ant stings typically cause small blisters or pustules, which itch and burn and are prone to infection. Severe reactions can include breathing difficulty, swelling, aggravated skin disorders and sometimes death.

Fire ants are not the only ants that can disrupt health and home. Pharaoh ants, for example, can contaminate food and spread disease. Carpenter ants tunnel and nest in wood, which may cause structural damage in your home.

According to experts at Orkin, the following tips can help keep ants outdoors:

• Clean up spilled food and drinks quickly.

• Rinse drink cans before recycling.

• Store food in tightly sealed containers.

• Pick up your pet’s food at night. Don’t feed pets outdoors.

Identifying ant species is the first step in dealing with infestations, and homeowners should trust an experienced pest control professional for this difficult but critical process. A licensed company will customize treatment strategies to fit your specific ant problem.

By: Wade Gibson

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

For more information, visit www.orkin.com or call (800) 800-ORKIN. Fire ants defend their colony by delivering fiery stings, which can cause severe irritations on human skin.

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January 30th 2009

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants cause a lot of damage in homes due to them using wooden structures to build their nests in. Find out more about them here.

Carpenter ants are large sized ants, ranging in size from the queen being 19.1mm ( inch) to worker ants measuring around 6.4mm (1/4 inch). In fact, the winged queen can even be up to 1 inch in size. As for the color, they are usually black, although they can sometimes even be black and red.

what does a carpenter ant look like

The Habitat of the Carpenter Ant

Belonging to the genus Camponotus, they are called carpenter ants since they make their colonies in wood. In nature, carpenter ants build their nests in trees as well as rotting stumps of wood and logs. But, they also make their nests in wooden structures in the home and outside, such as telephone poles. Usually, carpenter ant nests in the home are found in windowsills, roofing material, porch pillars, and any wood that is contact with the earth.

The wood that is excavated while the carpenter ants make their nest is not eaten by them, and instead is deposited in small piles outside the entrance of their colony. The wood in which they make their nests is used only for their nesting requirements. They keep their nesting sites clean and smooth, and do not line them with moist soil like termites do.

The Physical Features of Carpenter Ants

Ants can be divided into various types, such as: queens, males, and workers. In the carpenter ant species, the workers are polymorphous, or that they occur in various sizes.

There are several other species of ants that are sometimes mistaken for carpenter ants. One of the best ways of distinguishing carpenter ants from other species of ants is by the following physical features: the upper surface of the thorax is evenly rounded; the waist has only a single petiole, or node. Also, unlike the carpenter ant, the other species of ants do not infest wood.

The Breeding Habits of the Carpenter Ant

The nesting colonies that carpenter ants make are usually long lasting. A single queen that is fertilized establishes each colony by setting up a nesting site in a hollowed out space in the wood. The queen then produces a brood of workers first, using her salivary secretions to feed them. During this period, the queen does not feed herself nor leave the nest. Once the workers grow, they have the job of collecting food in order to feed the other larvae that are younger. The population of the colony thus continues to increase rapidly, with the supply of food becoming more regular. It is only when a colony has 2,000 workers, or more, that it reaches maturity, and has the capacity to produce young males and queens, which can take about 3-6 years, or even more. After a colony does reach this stage, it will continue producing winged males and queens, which fly away from their nesting sites in order to mate and form new colonies, which usually occurs from May to July.

The Kind of Damage Caused by Carpenter Ants

Although carpenter ants do not usually structurally damage buildings, however, since they hollow out wood for their nesting sites, and since these are long-lasting, it leads to considerable damage to wooden structures over a period of time. According to recent evidence, it has been observed that they cause a significant amount of damage to even foam insulation.

How to Control Carpenter Ant Infestation

One of the main methods of controlling carpenter ant infestation is locating and destroying their nesting sites. According to recent studies, carpenter ants use distinguishable trails of scent to travel between the parent nest and satellite colonies. They also depend on these scent trails to provide guidance to their nestmates about food locations. Homeowners can keep track of this trailing characteristic of the carpenter ant to find and get rid of their nests, by using an insecticide spray meant for this purpose.

By Rita Putatunda
Published: 1/31/2008

Home Remedies for Carpenter Ants

Armed with effective home remedies, you can prevent carpenter ants from causing needless damage to your woods. To effectively deal this problem, you may want to identify the nests. These can be the moist areas of basement, leaking roofs, etc.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are half way through their dormant period. Soon you may see winged reproductives flying about your home. If this happens, you definitely have an infestation.

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January 27th 2009

Home Remedies for Carpenter Ants

How Do I Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

To get rid of carpenter ants, you need to first get rid of aphids. The reason is carpenter ants feed on aphids. Read on to know how to get rid of carpenter ants.

ant control precautions

Carpenter ants are aggressive destroyers of wood. They are as dangerous as the termites. One of interesting facts about carpenter ants is they do not eat the wood but create a cavity in the wood to establish or enlarge their nest. One of the reasons pest control industry is thriving is due to carpenter ants.

How Do I Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

There are many pesticides to get rid of the carpenter ants nests. If you happen to find them outside your home, you should treat that area and the surrounding areas immediately with ant killer pesticides. If there are trees or bushes close to home, clear them away. Drenching the nest with boiling hot water should destroy the nest of carpenter ants.

You need to find the nest of the carpenter ants first. If there is a large colony of carpenter ants, you could hear a crunching noise. Else you would have to set up sugar or honey bait.

If the colony is a small one, you could spray any of the aerosol pesticides into the entrance of the nest. This is considered as the first choice or the first step.

If there were a large colony of carpenter ants, then it would be wise to drill holes in the wooden wall to penetrate the nests and spray any killer over it. You could also dust the nest with boric acid or spray the nest with an aerosol insecticide.

One of the home remedies to get rid of carpenter ants is by mixing diatomaceous earth with boric acid and sprinkling it over the nest. Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and safe to use.

Mix white vinegar with garlic powder and spray it around the premises of your home. Though it may stink, it repels the carpenter ants. Another home remedy is to use powdered borax and castor sugar as bait and then sprinkle the mixture of diatomaceous earth and boric acid. Placing fresh mint leaves on the doorsteps and in the areas prone to carpenter ants would stop the carpenter ants from entering your house.

However, if the problem of carpenter ants still persists, it is advisable to get the help of a professional.

By Maya Pillai
Published: 10/18/2008

 Texas carpenter ants are lazy

Washington state, I learned, grows two things really well: slugs and carpenter ants. The slugs that fed on my garden tomatoes grew up to six inches long. The carpenter ants were everywhere.

Carpenter ant damage

They are making galleries where they can put their larvae and pupa until they hatch out into ants. This kind of damage is not found in Icynene Insulation. Carpenter ants certainly have the ability to chew Icynene,

How to get rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants cause millions of dollars a year in damage to houses throughout the country, but they’re not as well known as termites. If you live in an area that often has wet or damp conditions, or if there is a damp spot in your home

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January 21st 2009

The Best Way to Get Rid of Ants Outdoors

Do It Yourself Pest Control

Most of us have to deal with pesky critters that want to cohabit with us. Here are a few do it yourself pest control ideas that you can try out to keep them away.

Do It Yourself Pest Control

No matter how clean you keep your home or how new your house may be, pest infestation is bound to happen. Pests like roaches, termites, beetles, ants, ticks, spiders, earwigs, bees, and rodents are usually drawn to homes because of the warmth, shelter and food. While some pests may be merely annoying, some others, like rats, carry disease, while some others, like certain kinds of spiders, can be poisonous. And as for termites, these can devour through all your wooden structures, causing you thousands of dollars in damage. However, hiring a professional exterminator to get rid of pest infestation in the home can be an expensive affair, hence more and more people are opting for do it yourself pest control.

Before turning to insecticides, however, there are a few pest prevention methods you can use to limit infestation. One of the most important ways to reduce the populations of insects in your home is by cutting off the very things they come for, the food, shelter, and water. For example, see that you store your trash in containers that have lids which fit tightly. As soon as crumbs fall anywhere or there are spills, clean them up promptly. When you vacuum, make sure to do it thoroughly, particularly in cracks and crevices. If there are any leaks, fix them, in order to prevent insects seeking the moisture. Don’t stack boxes, wood, or paper near or in your home. If you have a garden, or plants in your house, keep the vegetation manicured and allow plenty of ventilation and sunshine. Seal all the cracks and holes around your house to prevent insects from getting entry inside. A cockroach needs just 1/16 of an inch of space to hide. When bringing in boxes, furniture and the like into your home, make sure that they are not harboring any insects.

Basically, you need to deal with the problem before it becomes unmanageable. Generally, people don’t do anything about pests until they begin overrunning the place. The more you procrastinate about pest control, the more difficult it will be to do it yourself. Also, it is a good idea to learn about the particular type of pest problem you have. For example, if it is cockroaches that are the problem, you need to find out what will work best to get rid of them. You will find a lot of resources on the Internet that will help you to formulate a good strategy and choose products to deal with your pest control problem. For example, there are many homemade, non-toxic organic pesticides that you can find out about that you can use. Many chemical pesticides are very harmful, hence it is always safer to opt for non-toxic remedies.

Given below are a few safe, natural pesticides that you can make at home which can work against just about anything, from getting rid of insects to killing fungus, mold or mildew, and exterminating pests:

Garlic is very good as an organic pest control ingredient in the garden, it is also a natural insect repellant and pesticide.

Garlic Spray: Put two tablespoons of mineral oil in a bowl and add 3 or 4 ounces of finely chopped garlic bulbs into it. Let it soak for a day. Dissolve one teaspoon of fish emulsion in one pint of water and mix this into garlic and mineral oil mixture. Strain this liquid and then store it in a glass container (do not use a metal container). When you want to use it, dilute one part of the solution to 20 parts of water. This kills mosquitoes, onion flies, and aphids.

Garlic as an insect repellant and pest control:

  • Planting garlic along with tomatoes keeps red spider mites away.
  • Borers will get repelled by planting garlic around fruit trees.
  • If you apply garlic spray on sweet potatoes it will keep the rabbits away from them.
  • Spray the garlic pesticide on ponds in order to kill mosquitoes.

Tomato Leaf Insect Spray: Crush some tomato leaves in a vegetable juicer and add 4-5 pints of water along with one tablespoon of cornstarch. Strain this liquid and store in the fridge, using it according to requirement.

Some of the best botanical pesticides are: Rotenone (extracted from cube and derris), Neem, Sabadilla, and Pyrethrin.

Garden pests can be controlled with insecticidal soap. It is very effective against aphids, flea beetles, spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, and thrips, and sometimes even leafhoppers and caterpillars. It becomes more potent when mixed with Rotenone. Insecticidal soap only works when applied directly, hence you need to spray it directly on the pest. It is also effective against powdery mildew, if it is combined with botanical or horticultural oils.

Mint and onion are excellent as repellants against bugs, fleas and beetles.

Pyola is a natural insecticide which contains canola oil and pyrethrins. It is effective against squash bugs, aphids, and beetles. Since most of the canola oil in the US is made from genetically engineered canola, growers of organic vegetables ought to check it out before using.

Boric Acid, also known as Borax, is very good against cockroaches, ants, ticks, fleas, termites, and many other insects. It is also an effective biocide and fungicide, especially when it is combined with hydrogen peroxide, and kills mold and fungus, including the toxic black mold.

Note: Be cautious when using broad spectrum pesticides. Try and target only pests, so that you do not kill beneficial insects.

By Rita Put 

Home Remedies For The Dog Owner

It’s effective on carpenter ant kill and pismires. For fire ants, cook boric acid into grits and dry, then spread around near mound. They take it to the queen and it kills the entire mound. Plant in pots within the house; replant outdoors. Decorative and they grow like weeds! Mosquitos Won’t Bite Four parts glycerine, 4 parts alcohol, 1 part eucalyptus oil. Or make a solution of equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and methyl phthalate. No more tangles 

Safe storage of firewood

So, I always keep my wood, split and un-split, outdoors and away from any building. There are carpenter ants in some of the logs when I split them. They’re either directly or indirectly responsible for killing the red oak trees in my yard.

Insects in Firewood

Firewood can harbor insects, from boring beetles to carpenter ants. Invasive insects transported in firewood can infest new areas, leading to the loss of thousands of trees.

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January 21st 2009

Basic Pest And Ant Control

Information About Basic Pest Control

There masses of vermin in this world, and at some heart each will find themselves battling an insect. Pest could invade our plot, our home, buildings; the register goes on and on. Pests can be bugs, plants or animals. Just the remark of vermin, cockroaches, dandelions, type, mice and rats can educe solid emotions. Pests current a strength hazard to your family, pets, and patch.

It is important to know how suitably to rule these rats that invade our lives. It is nearly impossible to eliminate mice, but it is imperative to check these insidious pests. There are numerous methods of controlling pests; these can occupy substance limit, biological dominate, mechanical methods, or a combination thereof.

Mechanical nuisance monitored is regularly the most rate effective and if implemented before an infinite infestation takes place can produce desired results. Mechanical methods involve hand option (such as pulling weeds) and traps (such as a mouse snare). Mechanical methods of vermin contain are mostly the most environmentally welcoming.

Biological mosquito running includes insecticides that are derived from plants or other genuinely happening substances such as microorganisms.

Chemical annoyance contained includes the use of more toxic unreal pesticides. Chemical mosquito powered is not environmentally gracious and is never considered as an organic system of direction.

"Integrated Pest Management is the coordinated use of insect and environmental information along with open vermin direction methods, counting cultural, biological, genetic and substance methods, to inhibit unacceptable levels of nuisance spoil by the most economical means, and with the least workable hazard to people, assets, and the environment." Integrated Pest Management stresses the use of complementary methods of mosquito restrict such as the introduction of organic predators. This method of insect manage is much more ecologically sound than relying on chemical methods.

The first action in mosquito command is to find the glitch. Particularly when plants are intricate, the difficult may involve indigent growing conditions instead of an attack from an invasive pest. Sometimes identifying the pest is clear, if you see a mouse scurrying across the baffle it is evident you have neediness for pest control. The next walk is to recognize how severe the infestation is, or is this just one mouse that has found its way into your home, or is there a family of mice that has full up habitation in your home. One mouse can regularly clearly be eradicated using a mouse confine or possibly the family cat. However, if you have a large infestation of mice, you may need to route to stronger chemical methods or find it essential to hire a professional exterminaton to rid your home of the pest drawback.

By: Jeanie Smith

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Learn about how to get rid of carpenter ants and argentine ants at the Facts About Ants site.

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January 21st 2009

What is Bad About the Carpenter Ant and Other Pests

Pests Woes Bedevil New Construction And Vacant Homes

The slowing U.S. economy coupled with stricter mortgage-lending criteria has dealt the real estate industry a one-two punch from which it is still struggling to recover. Houses and commercial buildings are sitting on the market longer before they sell. Many of these buildings, particularly new builds and foreclosures, may be vacant for months before a family or business moves in. Unfortunately, such prolonged vacancies encourage unwanted squatters to take up residence. Insects, rodents and other pests move in when humans move out. In vacant buildings their presence can go undetected for months, allowing these pests to become well established and creating serious problems for realtors and builders that can affect the sale of the property.

Owners expect a new home or commercial building to be in pristine condition and certainly pest-free. However, the very process of construction can leave a new building open to pest invasion. Building construction typically takes several months, although structure size, financial considerations and particularly weather conditions can lengthen that time considerably. Wooden structural components and wood framing can sit open to the elements for weeks or months. During construction, wood, gypsum board and fiberglass insulation absorb more moisture than air and sunlight wick away. It is not unusual for the structural components of a newly completed building to contain excess moisture that can persist over the next few years, often attracting insects that thrive in moist conditions.

Prolonged vacancy only exacerbates the problem. The real estate market is glutted with unsold homes. New home sales have reached a historic low, according to the National Association of Realtors. Nationwide, nearly a quarter of a million homes are in foreclosure, up 65% from last year, says research firm RealtyTrac, Inc. Homes left vacant due to foreclosure are often neglected and can easily fall into disrepair. Stagnant water collecting in backyard swimming pools, birdbaths and overflowing gutters creates an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes that can carry the potentially fatal disease West Nile virus. Overgrown shrubbery crowding a building provides insects and rodents with easy access to the interior. Bats, rats, mice, bees, wasps, spiders and all manner of crawling insects may seek refuge in vacant homes and buildings. Left undisturbed, rapid reproduction rates can create major infestations in a matter of weeks.

ant carpenter damage

Here are some of the more common pests to watch out for:

Wood, plaster, grain and fungus-eating beetles lay their eggs on damp wood, gypsum board or the paper backing on insulation. As larvae hatch, they may feed on the building materials themselves or eat the molds that grow on materials exposed to the weather. As structures dry out and the fungi die, these tiny beetles, less than 1/16 inch in length, will move through cracks and crevices into living areas.

Springtails, booklice and silverfish are small, whitish, almost transparent insects (1/16 to inch long) that breed in damp conditions. They typically feed on damp, moldy wood and paper. Silverfish particularly like starchy wallpaper paste. These insects often harbor behind brick veneers and stone facings or in damp basements and attics.

Long-horned beetles can be a problem in milled wood paneling. These multicolored beetles with long antennae lay their eggs in trees that are often milled for paneling. If the paneling isn’t heat-cured before use in construction, larvae may still be present in the wood. When larvae mature two to three years later, the adult beetles chew oval exit holes they emerge from the paneling.

Termite infestations can threaten the structural dependability of a building. Termites cause $5 billion in property damage a year, chomping their way through structural wood, flooring, carpeting and wallpaper. Difficult to detect, termites often remain undiscovered until damage is severe. Termites are attracted by moisture and construction debris left on new build sites. From there it’s a short march to the new food source a building provides.

Powderpost beetles are another wood-chomping pest that can affect a building’s structural integrity. The reddish-brown beetles lay their eggs in cracks in wood, including baseboards and floors. Named for the fine, powder-like dust their larvae leave behind as they tunnel through wood, powderpost beetles are second only to termites in their destructive capabilities.

Carpenter ants, large black ants ranging in size from to 2/3 inch long, are also attracted by the damp wood debris common near construction sites. Building their nests in construction gaps and cavities, they chew long galleries into structural wood to expand their nests. Voracious tunnelers, their extensive galleries can undermine building structures.

Minute red clover mites can migrate from sod into a home through tiny cracks in the foundation or window frames. As they are crushed by home visitors, the mites leave unsightly red stains and smears on surfaces.

Wood cockroaches and large, hairy wolf spiders may seek refuge in homes built in wooded areas. In cities, cockroaches can be a serious problem in vacant buildings.
Field and deer mice are common problems in new housing carved from farm fields or wooded areas. They can enter a home through cracks and crevices smaller than a dime. Chewing, feces and urine can contaminate and destroy cabinets and woodwork. In city settings, vacant homes can attract rats.

Vacant buildings may also harbor fleas, ticks and bed bugs from previous occupants. Although these insects feed on human or animal blood, they are capable of surviving for several months without a meal.

Realtors and buyers need to beware of potential insect and vermin infestations in new and vacant homes and buildings. A thorough inspection by a professional pest control company should be performed before a sale is finalized. Getting rid of a well-established pest colony or vermin population can be time-consuming and costly. A professional cleaning service may need to be engaged to clean and disinfect the building before it can be safely occupied. Buyers will want to factor these expenses into their negotiations. Realtors should be aware of potential pest issues and know how to identify signs of problems. Proactive pest management can ensure that you don’t lose a sale due to unexpected squatters.

By: Douglas Stern

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Douglas Stern is the managing partner of Stern Environmental Group and a bed bug extermination expert. His firm serves commercial and residential clients in New Jersey, New York City, New York, and Connecticut. His firm is located at 100 Plaza Drive in Secaucus, New Jersey. You can reach him toll free at 1-888-887-8376. Please visit us on the Web at www.SternEnvironmental.com.

Ant Pest Control

Carpenter ants are one of the natural destructive forces against wood. They destroy wood similar to how termites do, and cause a lot of damage to wood structures. Carpenter ants destroy the wood when they are building or expanding their nest.

How to determine if you have carpenter ants

Do you hear rustling in your walls? Is shredded wood accumulating around your house? You may have a carpenter ant problem.

Infestation of Carpenter Ants

An infestation of ants in any home is enough to cause unrest, especially if you are dealing with the kind that brings severe ruin to the structure of your house. To date, there are several species of carpenter ants known to wreak havoc.

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January 21st 2009

Do You Have Carpenter Ant Damage in Attic?

Do You Have A Carpenter Ant Problem?

Carpenter Ants can cause a great deal of damage to your home. These large brown or black ants live mainly in wooded areas but from time to time might try to enter your home. This article will help you identify carpenter ants and help you prevent an infestation.

There are many potential signs of an infestation that you can look out for.
1. Look for large winged ants. These are breeders and if you spot them, you probably have a colony nearby.
2. Examine your woodwork. Look for sawdust and small slits around and on your woodwork. This will show you where carpenter ant have been working.
3. Another sign of an infestation is clicking noises coming from your walls. The ants are so voracious that you can actually hear them working behind walls. it will sound like a quiet rustling noise.
borax to kill carpenter ants

So how can you keep from getting an infestation? There are several things that you can do.
1. Do not let wood become wet. Make sure that damp areas of your home have good ventilation so that they dry quickly. If you get a water leak, be sure to fix it promptly and dry the area.
2. Trim tree branches away from your home. A branch touching your house is a good way to give ants access.
3. Clear your gutters to keep them free of debris.
4. Lastly, set up a regular pest control program.

If you think you have an infestation be sure to call a local pest control service as soon as possible. You need to take care of the problem before they do major damage to your home. If you do not have a problem take action to make sure that these insects never get the chance to move in.

By: James C

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

For more information on pest control services visit the authors website.

Home Remedies for Carpenter Ants

An infestation of ants in any home is enough to cause unrest, especially if you are dealing with the kind that brings severe ruin to the structure of your house. To date, there are several species of carpenter ants known to wreak havoc.

Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are one of the natural destructive forces against wood. They destroy wood similar to how termites do, and cause a lot of damage to wood structures. Carpenter ants destroy the wood when they are building or expanding their nest.

Home Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a nuisance in the house as they can make cavities in the wood. All your wood furnishings can get badly damaged because of them. They do not eat the wood unlike termites, but rather drill into the wood to create hallways.

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January 21st 2009

Selecting a Company for Ant Pest Control

Selecting a Pest Control Company
 by: Aldene Fredenburg 7eb

If you have a problem with unwanted pests in your home, and you’ve exhausted all the self-help remedies you know, you may be considering hiring a commercial pest control company to deal with the problem. Hiring a professional might be exactly the right solution for you; but you need to do your homework.

First, how do you locate a company? Checking the yellow pages of your local phone book might be a good start; doing a keyword search on the Internet for your area could also work, and you have the added benefit of seeing what information the company provides, on itself and on pest control generally. Ask friends and coworkers for recommendations

After you’ve developed a list of pest control services, and before you call these companies, start asking more questions of your friends and coworkers. Have any of them used these companies? What was their experience? Did the company in question solve their pest infestation issues? Were there any problems dealing with the company? Any problems in the home after the company performed their services?

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few potential providers, call them on the phone, and ask some more questions: does the company offer a free home evaluation and estimate of costs? Does it give you advice on what you can do to deal with the problem yourself? Is the company willing to answer questions readily?

Specific questions to ask: what kinds of chemicals are used? (If possible, have them provide written information on the chemicals.) What sorts of side effects or potential dangers do these chemicals have on family members, adults and children, and on pets? Do your family and household pets need to vacate the premises during the pest control treatment?

Make sure you ask whether the company offers nontoxic, natural pest control. The company should be willing to at least discuss the options; if its representative just dismisses the notion of nontoxic pest control without intelligently discussing the pros and cons of the natural remedies available, but just wants to get into your house and spray, beware!

With written information (or your own notes) in hand, do your own research on any chemicals that will be used – their effectiveness, their possible side effects, their potential toxicity. (The Internet is a great place to start for this.) If you have family members with serious health issues, particularly asthma or other respiratory ailments, make sure you know what the potential effect of sprayed compounds could have on them.

Finally, if you have any questions about the company’s reliability, and you can’t find anyone you know and whose judgment you trust to vouch for them, contact your local or state Better Business Bureau or Consumer Fraud Division, to find out whether there have been any complaints lodged against them.

Once you’ve hired a company, make sure you know who is going to be showing up at your home and when. Make sure they have proper I.D., and ask if you can be there to supervise the process or if you have to leave, and for how long. And while you’ve got access to the professional treating your home, ask what you can do to avoid pest control problems in the future, particularly those involving destructive carpenter ants and termites. The guy (or gal) who actually does the work probably has insights into the subject that the office staff doesn’t have.

About The Author

Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics. She has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including business, education, the arts, and local events. Her feature articles include an interview with independent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and a feature on prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. She may be reached at amfredenburg@yahoo.com.

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January 21st 2009

Way to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants do not eat wood; they chew the wood to create a nest for the colony. The nests, sometimes called galleries, are made when the ant bites off the wood and carries the waste outside the nest. Finding out how to treat carpenter ants can sometimes be difficult. You can determine if you have carpenter ants rather than termites by examining the wood damage. Carpenter ants chew the wood across as well as with the gain, whereas termites chew with the grain. Termites also line the nest with mud whereas; the carpenter ant nest will be clean of any mud or debris.

Although carpenter ants are among the largest ant species, size is not a good way to identify the ant. Carpenter ants vary in size, even among the ants of one colony. Your county agent or a pest control specialist can tell you if you have an infestation of carpenter ants. You can also tell if you have a carpenter ant problem by the habitat and habits of the ants.

Carpenter ants usually emerge in the spring and forge throughout the summer and fall. They hibernate during winter in the nest to avoid the extreme cold. Outside, they can be found in hardwood trees, leaving the nest shortly after sundown in search of food. You can find them in small groups during the day, but the largest numbers are active at night. They use the same trails (semi-permanent) over and over again and often year after year if the nest has gone undetected. Carpenter ants also follow man-made guides such as concrete walls or along sidewalk edges if the trail leads to food.

Carpenter ants can establish a nest inside a home as well as outdoors. Inside your home, they tend to nest in moist wood. Wood can become damp from a leaky facet or from exposure to the elements. Damp wood can be found beneath a kitchen cabinet, in a bathroom behind the shower, or under a tub. Also, behind walls where a pipe might leak, around the dishwasher, hot water heater, or anywhere else that wood might come in contact with water in and around your home. Damp environments are suitable for carpenter ants because damp, moist wood is easier to chew than hard, dry wood. Outside, carpenter ants nest in hardwood trees, but some species will nest in wood or debris found lying on the ground.

If a nest is inside the home, you can watch and follow the ants. Eventually, the ants will lead you to a crack or crevasse where they are either nesting or entering the home from the outside. Near the nest site, you can find small particles of wood, which is the debris, created during nest building. You may also find parts of the dead insects they carried to the nest and devoured.

You may discover that the ants are nesting outside in a tree and only invading your home in search of food. To get rid of carpenter ants inside your home you will want to use gel baits and dust. Whether you use a spray, gel, or dust, you need not apply it to a broad area inside the home. Apply the gel where you see ants forging or entering the structure. The gel has a sweet odor, which attracts ants. Do not apply an insecticide over the gel because it will ruin the sweet odor. Do not use on counter tops or where you might wipe the gel off because it does not have a residual affect. Use it as bait in cracks, crevices, corners, and along baseboards, under the sinks, and anywhere you have visibly seen the ants travel. The gel often remains attractive to ants for a week or two. A dust has a residual effect and can be carried back to the nest, thereby eliminating the colony. If the dusting insecticide is not in a bottle suitable to reach into cracks, you may want to purchase a duster that can apply the product in hard to reach areas. With a hand duster you depress the container and shoot the dust into tiny crevices behind walls, under appliances, and around tiny cracks where the ants are entering the home.

Finding the nest can sometimes prove difficult. If so, you can still rid the area of the ants by placing baits (gels, powders, or granules) along the forging trails. Liquids, powders and gels are effective indoors and granular baits are effective outdoors. Granular baits can be set in small piles next to the ant trails where the ants have been seen. Once the ants find the granules, they will carry the insecticide back to the nest.

Perimeter treatments are used for keeping ants out of a structure. To treat the perimeter, use a water-based liquid insecticide. Create a barrier by spraying 3 feet up the wall of the structure and from the foundation 4 or 5 feet out, covering everything in that range, including plants, trees, and bushes. You may also want to spray the base of trees where the ants have been found. To keep the perimeter protected you will want to reapply the insecticide every 6 weeks or after a heavy rain during the warm seasons.

To keep carpenter ants out of your home, eliminate moisture by repairing leaks. Replace water-damaged wood and install a vapor barrier if you have a crawl space beneath your house. Clean rain gutters and spouts to keep water away from the structure. Cut tree limbs away from the structure to eliminate easy access from the tree to your home.

The carpenter ant infestation will continue and the colony will grow unless you eliminate the damp wood and apply insecticides. The key to effective treatment is to find the nest or at least place baits near the nest so it can be carried back to the colony. You want to inside a structure or in hardwood trees, because carpenter ants don’t build, they destroy wood whether it is you home or your favorite oak tree in the backyard. Needing to know how to treat carpenter ants? Contact http://www.pestproductsonline.com for your pest control products.

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January 21st 2009

How to Get Rid of Ants in the House – Understand Them First

Facts About Ants

As ants are social insects, they are unable to live on their own and need to live in an organized community or colony. Here are some interesting facts about those little insects…

Ants belong to the order "Hymenoptera," and are said to be closely related to sphecid wasps. It is believed that ants first appeared during the Cretaceous period and that they had evolved from the wasps that had come out during the Jurassic period. Scientists have also estimated that ants have been living on the earth for more than a 100 million years.

black carpenter ant

More Facts About Ants

  • Ants are mostly found in hot climates.
  • Over 10000 known species of ants exist in the world.
  • The average life span of an ant is 45 to 60 days.
  • The ant has very strong legs which help it to run very quickly.
  • Ants appear in shades of green, red, brown, yellow, blue or purple.
  • An ant is able to lift about 20 times its own body weight.
  • Adult ants are unable to swallow solid food. They depend on the juice they are able to squeeze out from pieces of food.
  • An ant uses its antenna for touch as well as smell.
  • Ants normally range from 2 to 7 mm in length. The carpenter ant is an exception to the rule, as it can stretch to 2 cm, or even an inch.
  • There is at least one queen in each ant colony.
  • An ant has two stomachs, in one stomach it stores food for itself and in the other it stores food that is to be shared with other ants.
  • An ant has the largest brain amongst insects. It is said that the processing power in an ant’s brain and a Macintosh II computer might be similar.
  • Some ants are able to sleep seven hours a day.
  • Ants are mostly omnivorous, that is, they eat other insects, seeds, oils and bread.
  • Queen ants are provided with wings at birth, they lose these wings after they fly off to start new colonies.
  • Black ants and Wood ants do not have a sting, instead they are able to squirt a spray of formic acid.
  • A Tropical Leafcutter ant uses its sharp outer jaw to cut leaves and make them into pulp. The pulp is later used to make fungus gardens. These gardens are looked after and harvested for food.
  • Worker ants are given the responsibility of taking the rubbish from the nest and putting it into the rubbish dump.
  • When a worker ant finds a source of food, it leaves a trail of scent to attract other ants in the colony to it.
  • The Slave-Maker ant (Polyergus Rufescens) is so named because it raids the nest of other ants and steals their pupae. Once the pupae hatch, they are made to work as slaves within the colony.
  • Around 700,000 members can be found in the colony of the Army ants (Ecitron Burchelli).

By Rachna Gupta
Published: 9/7/2007

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