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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs (picture on the left) likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation.

If you do identify bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of bed bug treatment.

Sprinkle grits on the counter to provide a barrier against ants.

FICTION. I suppose in the south, where grits are revered, they are considered good for most anything. However, in this case, you are better off saving them for your dining pleasure, as they are NOT a deterrent for ants. In fact, ants may enjoy them as much as you do! This southern staple will ATTRACT pests rather than DETER them.

Bait your mousetrap with cheese.

FICTION. Thanks to television, cheese seems to be the food lure most often thought of for mice. Remember the old cartoon where Tom the Cat frequently tried to attract Jerry the Mouse to mousetraps with cheese treats? Silly Tom. He might have been more successful if he knew that mice prefer peanut butter.

Use bay leaves to keep pests away.

FACT. To protect your cooking supplies, place a bay leaf in or around your flour, rice, and other dried pantry staples. Some people prefer to place the leaves directly in contact with the food, while others favor taping the leaves around the canisters. Caution: While bay leaves are a deterrent, they are not a substitute for properly cleaning the pantry of spilled products.

Put a penny in a bag of water to repel mosquitoes and flies.

FICTION. This notion is so wrong. In fact, it’s actually backwards. Research has shown that shiny pennies might actually do more to attract insects then repel them. Keep your change in your pocket.

Vinegar can eliminate fruit flies.

FACT. Have you heard of the expression “you can catch more flies with sugar than you can with vinegar?” Well, that adage is only half true when it comes to fruit flies! They are frequently attracted to your kitchen by the sweetness of rotting or decaying fruit; however, a cup of vinegar covered with plastic wrap (with a hole in it) is incredibly effective in combatting a fruit fly infestation.

Spraying peppermint oil on webs will eliminate spiders.

FICTION. Generally speaking, spraying anything that isn’t water on a spider web can cause them to abandon it…and construct a new one nearby. That leaves you with increased housing for spiders, which is never a good idea.

I could spend days and days exploring this topic. I will write again soon in the continuing effort to separate pest control fact from fiction. In the meantime, if you have any questions on natural remedies you’ve heard about, I’d love to hear from you.

Wasps, Bees and Hornets, Oh My!

Summer is right around the corner, which means wasps, yellow-jackets and hornets are more prevalent. Stings by these pests are not only painful, but for some, dangerous. According to this video by Pestworld, half a million people each year get hospital treatment because of stings.

Most of the time, pests will not sting unless they are provoked. However, some exceptions are the Bald Faced Hornets and Africanized Killer Bees, which are extremely aggressive. If you suspect an area has these insects, steer clear and notify a pest control company right away.

What should you do if you are stung by a honey-bee or wasp? First, look for the stinger. If the stinger is still there, remove it. Next, clean the area with soap and cold water and apply ice to help with the swelling.

It is important to remember if you find any type of insect nest near your home, call a pest control company. Do not attempt to take care of it on your own!

Beneficial Insect Species

In recent years, agricultural economists have put estimates on the values of some local insect services to human society. In one 2009 example, the total economic value of insect pollination of agricultural crops worldwide was $220 billion. A sizeable fraction of this pollination occurs in Australia by species such as the European honeybee, and many thousands of native bees and flies.

During the mid nineties, honeybees died in large numbers in Europe and the United States, a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). The cause of CCD is complex and not yet fully understood. But the effects were transparent. Profits from pollinated crops, such as almonds decreased. The prices of some foods increased significantly, because farmers had to pay more for disease-free bees, often importing them from CCD-free Australia.

Another good example is the service that introduced dung beetles provide. Australia’s cattle herd was estimated at 30 million in the 1970s, each animal producing 10 pats per day, covering over 2.5 million hectares of pasture each year.

Millions of bush flies (Musca vetustissima) also bred in the dung. Overseas these dung pats would have been recycled into soil nutrients by the local dung beetles that buried small chunks of the dung in the soil to rear their young. However, Australia’s native dung beetles are adapted to feed on and bury dry, fibrous marsupial dung, and avoid the much more moist cattle dung.

CSIRO introduced dung beetles from Europe and Africa in the 1970s and 1980s that buried cattle dung underground so that it became a fertilizer for use by grass and other plants. The burrowing activity of the beetles also aerated the soil. And it also provided another important service: controlling the bush fly plague by removing and burying the dung that bush flies were breeding in.

Australia’s outdoor café owners probably don’t know it, but they owe at least part of their clientele to the silent work of introduced dung beetles working tirelessly in the agricultural districts surrounding our cities, once the source of most of our bush flies.


The next time you think about getting creative in the sack with your partner keep in mind that there is very little you can do that hasn’t already been tried.  What’s more, when it comes to bugs, their ability to get busy is beyond human comprehension. An evolutionary battle to control fertilization has inspired rough, creative and down right freaky sexual practices among insects. For example, some male penises are covered in spikes, scoops, harpoons, and daggers, and females occasionally kill and eat their suitors.

According to Gwen Pearson, Outreach Coordinator for the Perdue Department of Entomology, one explanation for this seemingly barbaric copulation lies in the bizarre nature of insect vaginas. For one, they can actually store sperm. Some female insects can store male sperm for years before using it. In addition, females can eject sperm from males they don’t care for. A few species have the ability to divert sperm down dead end ducts.

The males, on the other hand, have their selective attributes as well. Male flies undergo what is called genital torsion. The male penis must contort or he would be upside down and dragged around behind the female. To solve the tricky situation, the genitals of flies twist between 90º to 180º before or during sex. Some species can contort an entire 360 degrees.

And while there are many more examples of bizarre and brutal insect sex, the question that comes to mind is what can humans learn from insect sex? Insect genitals are great examples of evolution in action. Many consider deer antlers or shiny tails to be examples of sexual selection and there are, but that same process also shapes the genitals of animals.

You can breed beetles to have more or less spiky penises, select flies based on the size of their sperm, etc. Over millennia nature has produced these shocking body parts that help or hinder the control of paternity and access to mates. That same process of evolution is perhaps why humans lost the penile spines common in other primates.


There are more than 700 species of ants in the United States. Some of the most common include argentine, carpenter, odorous house, pavement and red imported fire ants.

All ants are social insects that live in colonies. They can be identified by their three distinct body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. However, the biology and habits of each ant species is different and understanding these differences is necessary to effectively control an infestation.

Most species of ants are considered ‘nuisance pests,’ meaning that they don’t pose a significant threat to health or property, but are an annoyance when found indoors. In fact, ants are the number one nuisance pest in the United States.

Some species of ants, however, can pose threats to health and property. Carpenter ants, for example, excavate wood in order to build their nests, which can cause extensive damage to a structure. Fire ants, on the other hand, sting when threatened, resulting in painful welts that can be dangerous to allergic persons. These species should always be handled by a professional.

Regardless of the species all ants can contaminate food sources and small infestations can grow quickly, so any sign of an infestation should be dealt with promptly.

A trained and licensed pest professional is the best person to make a recommendation based on the proper identification of a particular ant species and the threats they could pose to health and property. Also, homeowners may have a preference as to which treatment is used, so it is important that they have a detailed conversation with their pest control company.  The cost of the treatments can vary depending on the size of the infestation and the property being treated.

There are as many ways to control ants as there are species of ants! Different species eat different things – making it almost impossible to inspect a single area and control the ant population.  The best strategy homeowners can employ when attempting to control ants is to clean, clean, clean. Wipe down counters, regularly remove garbage, clean up grease spills, rinse and remove empty soda cans or other recyclables and mop/sweep the floors. Homeowners should also keep food in sealed containers and keep pet food/water dishes clean. Outside the home, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water such as birdbaths or kiddie pools. Finally, seal cracks and holes around the home to close entry points.

What questions should homeowners ask during a professional termite inspection/treatment?


  • What type of treatment is recommended?
  • What chemicals are used? (Generic or Brand Name?)
  • How long will the treatment take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take to get rid of the termites?
  • What type of contract or guarantee is offered?
  • Are they a member of the National Pest Management Association?
  • What kind of reputation do they have in your community?
  • Are they rated on your local BBB website?


Earwigs in your garden can be a bad thing. But according to pest control professionals, Earwigs can infest many different areas in a home. Because of their ability to spread out, it may be necessary to use several insecticide products to control them effectively. A pest control professional will have the products and equipment you need to control earwigs effectively. But just what is an earwig?

Some have undoubtedly heard that earwigs burrow into your ears while you sleep. However, this myth is not founded in any scientific basis. Earwigs are somewhat frightening because of the pincers on the back of their abdomens. They use pincers for defense and for sparing with rival earwigs. There are more than twenty species of earwigs in the United States. Adults range in size from 5-25 mm. They are slender insects with two pair of wings.  Some species produce a foul smelling liquid that they use for defense.

Earwigs are primarily active at night. During the day they hide in cracks in damp areas. They live under rocks and logs and in mulch in flowerbeds. Earwigs eat plants and insects. Earwigs are attracted to lights  so they become a nuisance on porches and patios on summer evenings. In the morning they will be gathered under things like cushions that were left outside overnight. Earwigs move into homes in order to find food or shelter due to changes in weather.

Outdoors, earwigs spend the winter in small burrows in the ground. In spring the female lays eggs in the burrow. She tends the eggs until they hatch. Then she cares for the nymphs until they can find their own food. So when tye get into yur garden, here is a helpful tip from Garden Doctors to help you deal with unwanted guests. However, if the problem persists, contact a pest control professional.

Roll up a dampened newspaper with a little oatmeal or corn meal lined along the inside. Place it next to your trouble spot. The next day, discard the newspaper in the trash or submerge the newspaper into a bucket of hot water. Repeat this every night, but after a week or so you’ll cut down quite a bit of the population. If you feel you’re losing the war on earwigs, you can take some comfort knowing that they have a beneficial side as they eat aphids, caterpillars, fruit worms, spider mites, and thrips.



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