What is an earwig?

March 31, 2016 | Posted in Insects | By

What is an EarwigAn earwig is a small, cockroach looking, insect that has a pair of forceps pinchers on their abdomen, and membranous wings folded underneath short forewings that they do not use often. Earwigs are mostly nocturnal and often hide in small, moist crevices during the day, and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants. Some damage to foliage, flowers and various crops can be blamed on earwigs. Mainly their presence in a home is disturbing. Earwigs are commonly attracted to light and can become a nuisance on porches and patios during the summer. When the weather tends to get colder they will move inside houses to search for food and warmth. If earwigs move into a home they are commonly found in places that have moisture, for example, bathrooms, kitchens, and/or laundry rooms.

The common name “earwig” comes from the old superstition that the insect enters people’s ears and ultimately feeds there. The superstition has not been proven to be completely true but some incidents of an earwig getting into someone’s ear have been recorded. Another superstition of an earwig is that their bite is like one of a mosquito or that they can sting like a bee. This has also been proven to be untrue. Although it has been proven that if an earwig feels as if they are in harm or have been irritated they will latch on with their forceps leaving somewhat of a pinch that could be painful.

Most humans that have an encounter with an earwig usually do not say it was pleasant. They are small, slimy-looking, fast moving and seem to pop out of dark places when you least expect it. It is important that if you notice an earwig infestation in your home that you contact a professional. An earwig female can lay over 50 eggs and usually guards her young until they are an adult making the population grow fast. If you have any questions or suspect that you have an earwig problem in your home call Western Exterminating at 817-834-3121 to set an appointment for a free estimate and evaluation.

The Top Three Signs That You Have Termites

March 24, 2016 | Posted in Ants and Termites | By

Top 3 Signs Termites

Homeowners rarely realize termites are causing damage to their home until the pests have permanently damaged their structure. Their activities are cryptobiotic, hidden from view, so it can be a surprise to home owners when they are informed that their house is infested. Termites consume the inner part of the wood but still leave the outside surface intact leaving people oblivious to the major damage that is happening to their home. With these three tips to help you spot termite damage you can catch it early enough to get rid of the problem and keep your home in the shape that it deserves.

  1. Found Wings? – Leftover termite wings can be found near closed windows and doors. When termites swarm out of their nest to try and start a new colony, they fly one at a time and only for a short distance. When they land the termite will twist their wings off because they will never need them again. The way to tell if they are in fact termite wings is by making sure that it is a duel pair and each wing is the same size as the other. If the wings differ in length you are most likely looking at a carpenter ant infestation rather than termites.
  2. Mud Tubes – Pen sized mud tubes can be found where the ground meets your house or in places like a tree or shed. Termites require a certain temperature and humidity level to survive. Their tunnels help block out cool and dry air turning a home into an environment where they can thrive. You can test the mud tube for termites by leaving the ends of a mud tube intact and removing a small section in the center. If termites crawl out or if the section is rebuilt within a few days, termites are still active in your home. However they may also choose to abandon the disturbed mud tube and build a new one in fear of the tunnel being disturbed again.
  3. Wood Damage – Wood damage from termites is most often below ground level and behind surfaces like walls, floors and ceilings. Termites chew through wood in search of cellulose, leaving behind long grooves. Over time these grooves weaken the wood creating structural damage. Looking below the surface damage is hard to do and it is recommended that it be done by and expert. A specialist has tools to test hollowed-out areas for signs of termite damage, often without having to cut through walls or ceilings.Unfortunately, even if you cannot see signs of term

Unfortunately, even if you cannot see signs of termites, that doesn’t mean that they are not there. Protect your home well into the future by calling Western Exterminating today (817) 834-3121 to schedule your termite inspection and prevention.

Termites or Carpenter Ants?

March 17, 2016 | Posted in Ants and Termites | By

Termite or Carpenter AntA common mistake that homeowners experience is mistaking a carpenter ant for a termite. While having carpenter ants is a problem, termites are a much bigger problem. To distinguish between the two you can look at a few different components, the physical aspect of the pest and the damage that the insect is enforcing on your home.

Physical Differences

To begin you have to know the similarities of the termites and carpenter ants. Both do in fact have wings. Most home owners will mistake carpenter ants for termites because they assume that carpenter ants do not have wings. By looking at three different characteristics of these pests we can distinguish them from one another:

  1. The Waist – While ants have a thin “waist” between the base and the abdomen, the termite has a broad waist making it harder to distinguish the abdomen from the base of the insect.
  2. The Antennae – The carpenter ant has an elbow shaped antennae while a termite has a straight antenna.
  3. The Wings – All ants have winged ants in their colony once they are established. Ants belong to the same insect group as hornets, wasps and bees. All of these insects share the same types of wings which has two pairs of membranous wings with the front ones being larger than the hind ones. This is a distinction in comparison to a termite who also has duel wings but their wings are equal in length.

While the physical aspect might help a home owner have an idea of what type of infestation they are having the similarities might be too much for one to come to a conclusion. To get a clearer idea of how severe their problem is we have to pair the physical appearances with the structural damage.

Carpenter Ant Infestation:

– Smooth and clean hollows

– “Swarmer’s” can appear in great numbers

– Presence of ants daily

– Presence of ants indoors during winter months

Termite Infestation:

– Hollow sounding wood

– Cracked wood (not as clean and smooth as aunts)

– Mud tubes on exterior walls

– Attracted to moisture-rich habitats

– Sheet Rock Flaking

– Small pin holes in ceiling or on walls around showers or other plumbing areas, with or without dirt at the opening