Origin: Many species of these ants are native to North America, with several species seemingly the most likely to invade structural wood members. There are many destructive species in the Pacific Northwest states, as well as from Florida to the northeast to the southwest and in Hawaii.
Biology: The usual habitat of a colony of carpenter ants is within wood, often wood buried or partially buried in the soil. They also commonly establish “satellite” colonies that may be in a structure, maintaining contact between the two colonies with the workers who travel to and from over well-defined trails. Generally there is a single queen in the colony but often supplementary queens as well. Colonies typically are around 15,000 workers when mature, but potentially could be over 100,000 workers. Foods are both carbohydrates and protein, with insects a major part of the diet. These are single-node ants without a stinger, although they are capable of biting. As they expand their colony they eject “frass”, which is wood chips and other debris such as leftover insect parts. This frass is often seen in structures before the ants are, as they are primarily nocturnal in habit. Carpenter ants are also typically polymorphic, with various sizes of workers in the colony.
Identification: Worker ants are easily identified to the genus Camponotus by the single, large node and the evenly rounded profile of the top of the thorax. It has no dips or spines on it, but is an even, curved line from front to back. There is a circular fringe of hairs around the anal opening and the antennae have 12 segments. Colors range from tan to black to reddish to orange to black/red combinations. Workers vary from 6 to 13 mm in length.
Characteristics Important in Control: Finding and treating directly into the nest with a residual insecticide will result in effective kill of the ants there, and a dust insecticide may be most effective. Satellite colonies in structures may be treated directly, or with applications into voids the ants travel through. Bait products seem to be accepted readily as well. Reduction of excessive moisture in the structure and removal of unnecessary wood materials outdoors will reduce the attraction of an area.
Pest-Proof During National Pest Management Month
It’s National Pest Management Month! As a part of the NPMA and as a local provider for pest control services we’re excited to celebrate this month of commitment in protect homeowners and the general public from household, health, and pest problems.
This April, the National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to take precautions against common pests.
“Whether it’s rodents, ants, termites, bed bugs or cockroaches, pest professionals play an important role in preserving our quality of life,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “We’d like to recognize these men and women for all they do to keep our families and homes safe from unwanted pests not just during National Pest Management Month, but year-round.”
Pest Season is right around the corner and April is the time to begin preparing. We all know that the warmer weather will bring unwanted pests along with it and there are a couple things you, as a homeowner, can do to proof your home this year.
Some recommended tips include:
-Store all garbage in containers that are sealed and make sure to dispose frequently
-Give your lawn shrubbery and trees a trim and keep them away from the side of your house
-Take the time to repair any roof shingles that may be rotted
-Inspect your home for any cracks or holes that could be an entry point for pests
-Campfires are great, but make sure to keep your firewood at least 20feet away from the house and five inches off the ground
-Keep an eye out for standing water around the house that will attract insect activity
-Try not to leave your pet’s food dishes out for prolonged periods of time
-Try to keep any crawlspaces, basements, and attics dry and ventilated
-Always keep food in sealed containers and off your kitchen counters
“As the weather continues to get warmer, pests will begin to emerge from their overwintering sites and look for food indoors. National Pest Management Month comes at the perfect time to make pest-proofing a priority to prevent an infestation during the spring and summer seasons,” added Henriksen.
Thanks to all our technicians for keeping our homes and workplaces safe!
We keep talking about the warmer weather and the potential pests that are coming our way. But in these transition months between the dead of winter and the dog days of summer, we have some present pests that are still dying to get into our homes even though we are itching to get out. Rodents are attracted to structures for warmth and food during the colder months and continue to be a problem long after.
It’s true that nobody wants to share their home with a rodent or worse, a family of rodents (who after 30 days of age can reproduce a litter of 5-6 young) but what a lot of people aren’t aware of are the health hazards these pests pose. When it comes to rodents, there are more than 35 diseases they are known to spread. The spread of these diseases can reach humans directly from contact with rodent urine, saliva and feces, through bites, and through handling them alive or dead. Indirectly, they can be spread through mites, fleas, and ticks that have fed on an infected rodent. Allergies and airborne illnesses like salmonella can be caused by droppings alone. To put it in perspective: one rodent can excrete up to seventy times a day…
I know, not something any of us want to think about. But the truth is, 21 million homes are invaded every year by these vermin and their welcome sign can be as small as a nickel.
Have a rodent issue and this it’s not a big deal? Think again…
Some of the most common and dangerous diseases rodents carry include tularemia, plague, hantavirus, and lymphocytic choriomenigitis.
Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Rabbits, hares, and other rodents are especially susceptible and often die in large numbers during outbreaks. Humans can become infected through several routes, including tick and deer fly bites; skin contact with infected animals; ingestion of contaminated water; and through laboratory exposure or inhalation of contaminated dusts or aerosols.
The signs and symptoms of tularemia vary depending on how the bacteria enters the body. All forms are accompanied by fever, which can be as high as 104 °F. Although tularemia can be life-threatening, most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
The most serious form of tularemia is oneumonic infection. Symptoms include cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. This form results from breathing dusts or aerosols containing the organism. It can also occur when other forms of tularemia (e.g. ulceroglandular) are left untreated and the bacteria spread through the bloodstream to the lungs.
Plague is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages. It is a disease that affects humans and other mammals and is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Humans usually get plague after being bitten by an infected rodent flea or by handling an animal infected with plague.
Plague bacteria are most often transmitted by the bite of an infected flea. If an infected rodent dies, hungry fleas will seek other sources of blood – including humans., although dogs and cats may also bring plague-infected fleas into the home. Flea bite exposure typically results in bubonic plague.
Pneumonic plague typically develops after a person breathes inbacteria-containing droplets. Patients develop fever, headache, weakness, and a rapidly developing pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough. The pneumonia may cause respiratory failure and shock. Pneumonic plague is the most serious form of the disease and is the only form of plague that can be spread from person to person
Plague is a very serious illness, but is treatable with commonly available antibiotics. However, without prompt treatment, the disease can cause serious illness or death. The earlier a patient seeks medical care and receives treatment that is appropriate for plague, the better his or her chances are for a full recovery. Close contacts of patients with pneumonic plague may need to be evaluated and possibly treated as well.
People become infected with Hantavirus through several routes, but rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk. The virus is mainly transmitted to people when fresh rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials are stirred up, become airborne and are breathed in by people. In addition, if an infected rodent bites someone, the virus may be spread to that person. Researchers also suspect people can become sick if they eat food contaminated by urine, droppings, or saliva from an infected rodent.
Typically, symptoms of Hantavirus develop between one and five weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents. Infection with Hantavirus can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a severe respiratory disease which can be fatal. Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches in the thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. The infected person may also experience headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal complaints, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Four to ten days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of Hantavirus infection develop and HPS may appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath and progression to respiratory distress and failure. HPS has a mortality rate of 38 percent.
LYMPHOCYTIC CHORIOMENINGITIS (LCM)
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, or LCM, is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease caused by lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The primary host of LCMV is the common house mouse. It is estimated that 5 percent of house mice throughout the United States carry LCMV and are able to transmit the virus.
Transmission of LCMV infections can occur after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, saliva, or nesting materials from infected rodents. Infections are more common in the colder months when mice enter homes seeking warmer winter habitats. Transmission may also occur when these materials are directly introduced into broken skin, the nose, the eyes, or the mouth – or presumably, via the bite of an infected rodent. Person-to-person transmission has not been reported, with the exception of vertical transmission from infected mother to fetus, and rarely, through organ transplantation.
Most patients who develop neurological disease due to LCMV survive. However, as in all infections of the central nervous system, particularly encephalitis, temporary or permanent neurological damage is possible.
Women who become infected with LCM during pregnancy may pass the infection on to the fetus. Infections occurring during the first trimester may result in fetal death and pregnancy termination. Infections in the second and third trimesters may result in serious and permanent birth defects, including vision problems, mental retardation, and hydrocephaly (water on the brain).
The good news? Pest management professionals, like Seitz Brothers, are qualified to treat and remove rodents and their diseases your home. If you’re having an issue, don’t wait for the problem to get worse, call us today for a free estimate 888-467-1008.
Paradise or a Nightmare?? For many, spring break is here and the travel plans have been set. As you’re packing the sunblock and swimsuits the one thing you’re not thinking about is what may be in your luggage when you get back…bed bugs. The more traveling you do, the more likely you are to come in contact with them and the more likely you are to bring them all the way home. They can be anywhere, especially in your hotel room and especially on your trip back.
The truth is, bed bugs are no longer an uncommon pest that we hear about from time to time. They can be found just about anywhere and although not a seasonal pest, prime bed bug time appears to be during the summer months with nearly half (49 percent) of respondents saying infestations occur most often then and least often in the winter.
In a recent survey by the NPMA, 75% of pest control professionals indicated that they have encountered infestations of bed bugs in hotels and motels. So when traveling this spring break and this summer, follow these safe tips to make sure you’re just bringing back a sunburn and souvenirs!
Prevent Bed Bugs When You Travel:
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs. If any pests are spotted, change rooms/establishments immediately.
- Before you inspect your room, keep your luggage off the floor and consider either using the bathtub or the luggage rack
If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.
- Consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
- Remember: bed bugs travel by hitching rides. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing away. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride home.
- Wash all of your clothes – even those that have not been worn – in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet.
Seitz Brothers offers over-the-counter luggage spray to help deter the spreading of bed bugs, call our office for more information or stop in today to pick some up! If you are concerned that you have an infestation after traveling, we also offer free estimates and would be more than happy to help 888-467-1008
References: www.pestworld.org, www.uky.edu