Are Moths Eating Your Woolens?

February 15, 2017 | Posted in Moths | By

The webbing clothes moth can be found worldwide, and is easily the most common fabric moth in the US. “Fabric moths” are just what they sound like: moths that feed on (and, therefore, damage) fabric.

What’s interesting is that the adult moth isn’t the one doing the damage to your fabrics. The larva is actually the culprit.

In the pictures, the larvae have eaten a portion of a wool carpet. We don’t see this as often nowadays because wool carpets aren’t as popular as they once were, but carpets aren’t the only things these pests will destroy. They’ll feed on everything from clothes made of leather or wool to animal fur and human hair that’s been shed (they’ll even infest hairbrushes!).

The larvae will destroy more fabric than they consume. They eat one fiber at a time, biting off a little bit, chewing until they’re almost at the end, and then they’ll toss the end and start all over. In the wake of their grazing, they leave patchy holes and sometimes a silk webbing.

So how can you tell if you have an infestation of webbing clothes moths?

Well, if you have moths flitting around your lamps and other light sources, odds are you’re looking at a different species of moth. For one thing, webbing clothes moths prefer the shadows.  You’re more likely to find these moths congregating in the back of your closet than near a light source. For another thing, these moths aren’t strong fliers. In fact, only the males and small females can fly voluntarily (the other females have to run or jump to get around).

What Can You Do?

If you have an infestation, the best thing you can do is let professionals take care of it. You can call us at (817) 834-3121 and have us come take a look. We’ll determine if there is an infestation, how bad it is, and the best way to move forward.

If you don’t have moths and want to keep it that way, there are some steps you can take to help protect your fabrics.

First, it’s important to understand how the larvae get to the fabrics they destroy in the first place. Female moths tend to lay their eggs on different types of fabric. For loosely-woven materials (think of carpets, wool, yarn, etc.), they lay their eggs within the threads. If they lay their eggs on a tightly knit fabric (like cotton or silk), they lay their eggs on top of the threads.

That being said, vacuuming on a regular basis (once a week works great) can help to remove the larvae and eggs from your carpet fibers. Laundering your wool coats before packing them away in an airtight container for the summer will help, too.

Again, if these pests are damaging your belongings, we can help! Call Western Exterminating today at 817-834-3121 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained technicians.

Possums and House Mice and Rats, Oh My!

September 8, 2016 | Posted in Rodents | By

rodents_1Some people may think these furry critters are cute and cuddly, but when they’re infesting your home, they are anything but. Today we’re talking about three common rodent pests you can find in North Texas and what you can do about them.

House Mice

Did you know that the word “mouse” is derived from the Sanskrit verb meaning “to steal”? These furry creatures have been living up to this reputation for thousands of years, and today, you can find this kind of mouse almost every region of the world. In fact, in most parts of the world, the house mouse is the #1 rodent pest.

Although they prefer grains and cereals, these mice will eat almost anything, including other house mice. It really depends on the food that is readily available, and if they’re able to find a solid source of food, they won’t travel far away unless their circumstances change. You have quite a few options when it comes to dealing with these rodents, and one of our technicians can help you determine the best option for you and your home.

Roof Rats

This creature is known by many names, including black rat, house rat, and ship rat. These rats first arrived in the United States back in the 15th century and can be found along the West Coast and in Southern states from Texas to Virginia. Unlike the ground-dwelling Norway rat, which can be found almost everywhere in the States, the roof rat prefers dwelling in roofs and treetops. Because of this, the roof rat is less dependent on human foods than the Norway rat. But that doesn’t mean the roof rat is a good houseguest. These rodents pose another threat: gnawing damage.

The word “rodent” is from the Latin word meaning “to gnaw.” Rats need to gnaw in order to file down their incisors (their four long front teeth), and they’ll chomp on anything from electrical wiring to wooden beams. Like when dealing with mice, you have lots of options on how to deal with roof rats, and different solutions work better for different situations.

Opossums

You’ll be able to find these creatures in crawlspaces beneath buildings, like underneath porches, or in the attics of houses. If you truly want to protect your house from these creatures, “opossum-proofing” your house is your best option. That means locating the holes where they’re getting into the house and sealing those openings off when the opossums are gone. To get the opossums out in the first place, live trapping is very effective when you use the proper bait.

Opossums are “true omnivores” and will eat anything they can, from small mammals and mushrooms to garbage and vegetables. In fact, that’s one reason you’ll see them by the road so often—they’re trying to feed on roadkill. Uncovered trash cans or trash bags left on the side of the road are easy targets for food, so placing your trash in a covered container will help lower your chances of their meddling with them and making a mess you’ll have to clean up later.

If rodent pests have found a way into your home, Western Exterminating can help get them out (and if we can’t do it, we’ll know someone who can). Give us a call today at 817-834-3121 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained technicians!

Sources:

Mallis, Arnold. (1997). Handbook of Pest Control (8th ed.).

Cockroaches: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

August 25, 2016 | Posted in Cockroaches | By

the american cockroachUpon hearing the word “cockroach,” most people involuntarily grimace or shudder. These bugs don’t have a good reputation, and they’re usually towards the top of people’s “Most Disgusting Pests” lists. But are cockroaches all that bad? Let’s take a look.

The Good

The truth is that the environment needs these little guys; more specifically, cockroaches (also known as water bugs) help play a large role in the ecosystem’s nitrogen cycle, where nitrogen moves from bacteria, animals, and plants to the ground and the air. Professor Srini Kambhampati from the University of Texas at Tyler tells us why:

“Most cockroaches feed on decaying organic matter, which traps a lot of nitrogen. Cockroach feeding has the effect of releasing that nitrogen (in their feces) which then gets into the soil and is used by plants. In other words, extinction of cockroaches would have a big impact on forest health and therefore indirectly on all the species that live there.”

The Bad

Okay, so cockroaches aren’t all bad, but they’re not all good, either. These creatures can feed on almost anything, including (but not at all limited to) bread, beer, dead skin flakes, hair strands, glue, and baked goods. In the 1900s, sailors coming into the San Francisco area would have to wear gloves while they slept or cockroaches would chew off their fingernails (Mallis, 1997).

These bugs tend to target places that are (1) unsanitary and damp or (2) used to prepare and store food. Common sites include bathrooms, sewers, kitchens, restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries. When they’re feeding, cockroaches “produce odorous secretions” that not only contaminate food, but can also alter the flavor of the food and leave behind an unpleasant odor, especially when there are lots of cockroaches.

The Ugly

Cockroaches actually contaminate more than what they eat. They can carry dangerous bacteria (like salmonella) on their legs and bodies, and they’ll spread this bacteria around while feeding and when they’re just wandering around your house, or when they’re climbing over your silverware, cooking utensils, and pots and pans. Common diseases that are spread by these creatures include food poisoning, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal-related issues. There was one case of a food poisoning epidemic where new cases significantly dropped after the affected area took care of its cockroach infestation.

Finally, they can also bring in a number of allergens, leading to common allergic reactions from humans including sneezing, asthma attacks, watery eyes, and rashes.

In short, while our ecosystem needs these pests around, there’s no reason they need to be your  uninvited houseguests. They may be good for the environment, but they are not good for humans, and your home is no place for them. If you have a cockroach problem, don’t put up with it any longer. Give Western Exterminating a call today at 817-834-3121 and let us take care of your cockroach problem for you!

Sources:

http://www.livescience.com/33995-cockroaches.html

Mallis, Arnold. (1997). Handbook of Pest Control (8th ed.).

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/american-cockroaches

Enjoy Your Backyard—Without Mosquitoes

July 29, 2016 | Posted in Mosquitoes | By

mosquitoesSummer is here, and you’re all set to head to the backyard to enjoy your swimming pool or relax on the porch—except you know that you’ll be eaten alive my mosquitoes. In 2015, Dallas-Fort Worth was ranked #8 of the Worst Mosquito Cities in the US. If your backyard is plagued by mosquitoes, the MistAway system can help you!

How Does It Work?

Interestingly, the technology has been around for decades. This kind of spray system was originally created to protect valuable racehorses from flies. Then in the late 1990s, some very intelligent individuals realized the same system could work to keep mosquitoes away from humans.

When you have MistAway installed on your property, we’ll set up a misting control unit and then misting nozzles around your property’s perimeter. The system blends right in with your property, so you’ll still be able to enjoy the scenery without unsightly equipment blocking your views. We’ll schedule it to turn on twice a day, once early in the morning and once in the evening. If you’re going to be entertaining outside or hosting a pool party, you can also program it to turn on beforehand.

Every day, the misting nozzles will go off for a few seconds near dawn and dusk, when those pesky mosquitoes are most active, and the insecticide mist will kill off any mosquito that comes in contact with it. The primary ingredient in the insecticide mist is actually derived from the chrysanthemum flower.  This ingredient evaporates quickly in sunlight and is washed away easily by rain, so it won’t leave a residue on your lawn.

Finally, this equipment is built to last. You’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of MistAway for years with little to no maintenance on the system and minimum interaction with the control unit.

If you can’t enjoy your backyard without mosquitoes buzzing around you, don’t delay any longer! Call us today at 817-834-3121 or fill out our online form here.

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

Information to Your Rat Problem

January 21, 2016 | Posted in Rodents | By

7 resons you need pest control in the winter picture
Human dwellings and outbuildings provide shelter for rats and mice during cold periods. Crawl space areas beneath homes or attics are common rat escapes. Rats will also utilize garages, sheds or even inside your home. They do not like open exposure, mainly foraging at night or with heavy infestation the weaker rat of the nest may seek out food sources during the day.

The reason for the increase in rat infestations during the fall and winter months is due to the weather is changing, therefore rats are seeking warmer habitats which usually consist of inside homes or in garages. Many people notice movement of rats when large areas of land is excavated for construction. This displaces a large amount of rats and mice.

In our area there are two types of rats that infest homes, the Norway rats and Roof rats. Norway rats dwell in burrows found in grass embankments, beneath the roots of trees and at the edges of palings and drain covers. Roof rat nests may be found inside the lofts, attics, beneath floor boards and in other dark infrequently visited locations.

Rats are responsible for the transmission of many diseases. Their feeding habits are destructive, and their nesting behaviors can compromise the structure of infested buildings. However, rats are secretive and not seen by many humans when populations are low. Therefore, an infestation may prove difficult to confirm. The most obvious sign of a rat infestation is the sighting of a rat dead or alive. Rats prefer to hide, given enough space, so if seen in plane sight it is likely there is a full blown infestation. Another sign would be a spotting of rat droppings. Rat droppings indicate a heathy feeding rat population. The last sign, which is probably the most vague, would be if you see a sign of a rat leaving dirt or grease marks along floorboards. Although this is a sign it is not a for sure indication of rats being in your house and could be many other things.

In the event of an infestation it is best to consult a pest control professional. If you see any signs that rats might be in your home call Western Exterminating at 817-834-3121 to set up an appointment for an estimate and evaluation.

The Myth Behind Carpenter Ants

January 12, 2016 | Posted in Ants and Termites | By

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are large ants that tend to invade homes in Texas starting in late winter and early spring. The common myth about Carpenter Ants is that they invade homes by eating wood the same way termites do. This is proven to not be true. Although Carpenter Ants are an annoying nuisance that can invade your home, they do not eat wood. Instead they usually nest somewhere in homes where there is already structural damage in cool damp areas like a bathroom, kitchen or around windows and doors.  Carpenter ants love to move into areas that already have structural damage from termites, rotting wood and/or they will excavate tunnels in insulation.  These ants can be found in certain parts of a house such as hollow core doors, around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches. These areas are more likely to be infested because they are most vulnerable to moisture.

Here are a few interesting facts:

  • Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they will feed on a variety of foods people eat—particularly sweets and meat. They will also feed on other insects and insect honey dew.
  • The queen lays 9 to 16 eggs her first year and may live up to 25 years.
  • Development time from egg to adult is at least 60 days.
  • Carpenter ants will forage for food up to 300 feet away from the colony.
  • Have multiple colony locations (satellite colonies).
  • Swarmer’s are not produced until the colony is 2 years old and usually 3 to 4 years old.

Would you know the difference between an ant and a termite if you saw one?  Click here to compare the visible differences.

Homeowners usually notice Carpenter ants when the worker ants are foraging for food or if there are visible dead ants or debris;  many people describe this debris as looking like coffee grounds. Also they may see a swarm of ants inside or around their home.  Carpenter ants will not structurally hurt your home but are a major nuisance to homeowners. If you see any sign of an ant infestation contact Western Exterminating Company for pest control service as soon as possible as it is proven that this issue cannot be ridden of easily. For a residential or commercial estimate call us at 817-834-3121 to set up an appointment.

 

 

Get the Facts on Bed Bugs

August 26, 2015 | Posted in Bed Bugs | By

Statistics say that 20 percent of people in the south have either had or encountered a bed bug infestation. Assuming that a bed bug can withstand temperatures from freezing to 122 degrees fahrenheit and can go months without feeding bed bugs are an ongoing problem. This is not just an issue for people in the south but bed bugs are found in all 50 states. Not just that but they have been proven and continue to be the most difficult pest to treat.

bed bugs and eggs

Bed bugs can be found anywhere, such as houses, apartments, group living situations, hospitals, hotels, and public transportation vehicles. These places have areas where people sleep or spend significant amounts of time. Their usual hiding places are in seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and along and/or directly behind headboards. Once a bed bug population multiplies, they can be found: behind baseboards; in cracks and crevices in furniture, floors, or even walls; under cluttered areas; and in electronic appliances.
A bed bug infestation can be indicated by many signs. The first and most apparent being if you wake up with itchy areas or notice welts you didn’t have when you went to sleep. Other signs may include, blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases, dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrements on sheets and mattresses, bedbug fecal spots, or an offensive musty odor from the bugs scent glands.

Bed bugs have not been proven to transmit diseases but are annoying pests that draw blood and leave itchy red marks on the skin. If there are signs of a bed bug infestation consult a pest control consultant as soon as possible as it is proven that this issue cannot be ridden of easily. If you have reason to believe of an infestation in your home call Western Exterminating at 817-834-3121 to set up an appointment for an estimate and evaluation.