3 Wild Movies About Killer Ants

Ants are bad enough to have to deal with when they’re normal sized; blow them up to giants and they’re downright horrifying. Ants have long been the subject for giant insect horror flicks, possibly because they’re already creepy and crawly in their own right. Ants are hard to kill and they just seem to keep coming back in droves. Below are some giant insect B-flicks that are a must-see, featuring your all-time creepy, crawly nemesis: The Ant.

1. THEM! (1954)

Cover of "Them! (Snap Case)"

This is the movie that started it all – THEM! This giant ant flick takes place in the New Mexico desert, where we learn that earlier atomic testing caused the ants in the area to mutate into ginormous, killer ants. The characters in this film must stop the ants in the desert – but they soon learn that two queen ants have flown to Los Angeles and are setting up a colony right under the city! When two children go missing, the protagonists instill the help of the U.S. Army to help them destroy the colony – but will they reach the children in time? Hokey special effects, character acting and dialogue that is typical to the film’s time period create an enduring experience. You can’t beat the experience of children being kidnapped by giant ants. THEM! Is a must-see for anyone who enjoys giant mutant bug flicks.

2. Empire of the Ants (1977)

Empire of the Ants (film)

In this sci-fi horror flick starring Joan Collins and Robert Lansing, Collins plays a sleazy scam artist attempting to sell phony real estate deals in the Florida everglades. What she – and the schmucks who fall for her scam – don’t realize is that the area has been taken over… by giant ants! This campy flick features poor special effects, schlocky characters, and ridiculous dialogue. Be prepared for a laugh when you watch Empire of the Ants!

3. Glass Trap (2005)

Cover of "Glass Trap"

Starring former ’80s child heartthrob C. Thomas Howell, Glass Trap tells the story of an army of radioactive ants that get unwittingly carted into a skyscraper. A group of people, led by C. Thomas Howell, must find a way to escape the horror of being trapped in a skyscraper with giant mutant ants, lest they be eaten one by one. The ants in this flick are so horribly fake looking that it’s pretty much impossible to get scared, even when they are devouring the characters.

Ants are creepy enough as it is without imagining them at a mutant size. While these ants flicks are hokey – as most giant mutant bug movies are – they also have a charm to them that makes them enduring. If you’re feeling like a laugh along with your evening thrill, definitely check out these ant flicks – you’ll find it interesting how the killer mutant ant transforms over time… or you’ll be surprised to see how little they’ve changed.

About the author: Chris is a blogger for a New Jersey pest control company. He used to enjoy horror flicks, including cheesy B films, when he was young but no longer has a stomach for them.

Wood Destroying Ants: What You Need to Know

carpenter antA carpenter ant infestation can come out of nowhere, and unlike regular ants, they often cause significant damage to your home’s structure. Carpenter ants do not eat wood. However, they do like to nest in it. Damage occurs as they build their nest or add to their colony. If you are concerned about these little pests, the following tips will help you ward off an infestation.

Carpenter Ants and Termites

Carpenter ants and termites can both have wings. They look a lot alike, so it is often hard to determine what type of pest you are dealing with. Examine the body to figure out what you have. Carpenter ants are darker, with shorter wings, and are much more likely to be seen during the daytime. They also have a narrow waist, unlike termites.

Getting Rid of Carpenter Ants

Clean well. Carpenter ants are looking for a food source; if they can’t find one, they may simply move on. Soap and hot water is the best method for cleaning messes. Take out the trash regularly and always put food away so it is not left sitting out.

Carpenter antsFigure out what type of food the ants like so you can set traps for them. Leave out both protein and sugar and see what the carpenter ants prefer. Your traps will be more effective as a result.

Look for the nest. Many people assume that the nest will be outside, but that is not always the case. Therefore, it is important to search both inside and out to find the colony’s base. Also, keep in mind that carpenter ants like to wander. This behavior is different from regular ants, which often follow a straight line as they walk back and forth from the nest. Therefore, you may not be able to simply follow their path to figure out where the nest is located.

Instead, search around windowsills and baseboards. Look for little holes where the ants may be getting in and out. If your search is focused on the outside, remember that carpenter ants nest in wood. Therefore, look for logs or trees that may be housing the little creatures. If you have trouble, try baiting the ants. Doing so may help you find the nest, and it is also a good way to get rid of the ants. However, remember that baiting may not work forever. Ants are smart, and they may start avoiding a particular bait once they realize that it is hurting the colony. Still, if you are able to locate the nest, you can then use other methods to destroy it.

The process of finding the nest may be frustrating, but remember that it is necessary for best results. If the ants are attacked at the nest, you are much more likely to get rid of them for good.

Carpenter ants are a problem that most homeowners would rather avoid. However, if you are suffering from an infestation, there are things you can do to help the situation. Use the tips above to try and get things under control. You can always call in a licensed pest control company if it becomes necessary.

Bugs for Dinner? 4 Surprising Foods that Contain Insects

In some parts of the world, bugs are considered a healthy source of protein. Many don’t think twice about popping a cricket or worm into their mouths when they want a quick snack. In the United States, however, we generally shy away from consuming insects. What you may not know, however, is that the FDA’s position is that some bugs in food are perfectly acceptable, as long as you can’t see them. In fact, for every 100 grams of food, up to 60 insect parts are considered “safe” to eat. As a result, you probably eat way more bugs than you ever realized. The following foods are sure to surprise you, as they all contain their fair share of insect parts.

Chocolate

A chocolate bar and melted chocolate. Chocolat...

Most of us have a weakness for chocolate. However, the next time you reach for a bar at the checkout line of the grocery store, consider this: there’s probably around eight insect parts inside the savory treat. In fact, people who are allergic to chocolate may actually be allergic to cockroaches instead. Cocoa beans naturally attract the little creatures as they grow, which means it is almost impossible to find a chocolate treat that does not have some level of contamination.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a semi-solid and can therefor...

Do you remember those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you loved as a kid? Your parents probably did not realize they were unintentionally packing you a healthy dose of bug as well. For every 100 grams of peanut butter, there can be 30+ insect parts and even a few rodent hairs mixed in with the product. In an average 18 ounce jar, then, there might be five or six rodent hairs and more than 150 insect parts!

Spinach

English: Spinach plant, Castelltallat, Catalon...

To get in a hearty dose of green vegetables, many people turn to frozen spinach. However, for every 100 grams of the food, there could be four dozen mites and aphids mixed in, along with caterpillar larvae. To avoid the bugs, try selecting fresh spinach and other produce. Some of the contamination is washed away in the cleaning process. With frozen foods, however, you can’t tell what is lurking in there.

Candy

Candy!

If you have a sweet tooth, beware. Some of the little treats you love so much are covered with a substance known as shellac, which is a secretion from a Thailand insect. Shellac is a part of candy corn, milk duds, junior mints, jelly beans, and other hard candies. If you love these treats, shellac is a part of your diet.

Eating bugs is fairly common in other parts of the world. However, in the United States, we generally don’t feast on insects. However, whether we like it or not, bugs are a part of our diet. The four foods listed above are just a few of the ones that contain insect parts. To minimize your consumption of these little critters, stay away from processed foods as much as possible. Also, read ingredient lists so you know what is in the food that you eat. And, of course, to avoid contamination in your own home, keep your living space as clean as possible and hire a pest control specialist if you find any little creatures near your food supply.

Mosquitoes, Bed Bugs and More: How to Identify Common Bug Bites

The heat of the summer provides the perfect breeding ground for insects, particularly those of the biting and stinging variety. Some bites, like those from mosquitoes or ants, are just a nuisance and take time to get over. Others, like bed bug bites, indicate a potential infestation that might require the services of a pest control specialist. And, there are other bites that are quite serious and could require medical attention, like those from a black widow spider. Understanding what different bites look like and being able to identify where they came from will help you know what steps you need to take to remedy the situation.

Black Widow Spiders

Black Widow Bite

Black widow females like to hang out near tree stumps or wood piles. They are fairly easy to identify, as they have a reddish mark that looks like an hourglass on their belly. A bite from a black widow might cause pain on the affected limb but not always. You should be able to see one or two distinct fang marks near the bite area. In addition, the area around the bite will be red and tender. Symptoms include muscle cramps, vomiting and nausea. If you suspect a black widow bite, seek a doctor’s care, as you might require anti-venom medication.

Mosquitoes

mosquito bite

Believe it or not, mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world. They are responsible for more than one million deaths every year, although they are seen as more of a nuisance than anything else in the United States. Their bites are fairly easy to identify; they itch like crazy and the affected area is red with a slightly raised bump. To avoid getting bitten, cover up as much as possible and try to eliminate any standing water from around your home.

Bed Bugs

bedbug bites

Most people are not aware that a bed bug has bitten them until after the fact. The bite itself does not hurt, but after an allergic reaction takes place (24 hours or more after the initial bite), the affected area itches and becomes red and raised. The bites are most often found on parts of the body not covered by clothing, like the arms, face, neck and hands. In addition, the bites are normally present in rows with two bites or more.

Fire Ants

Fire ant sting

One fire ant typically stings several times, so affected individuals often wind up with multiple welts on their body. The stings hurt and may also blister. Some victims have an allergic reaction to fire ant bites, so it is important to speak to a doctor if you have trouble breathing, feel nauseous or swell more than normal.

Bug bites are unfortunately very common in the summer. Some bites are simply a nuisance and are not really anything to worry about. Others can be a much more serious problem, which is why it is important to be aware of the different types of bites and know how to identify them. Do not let those bugs get the best of you! Take control of the situation to avoid any issues.

Wood Destroying Insects: What You Need to Know About Carpenter Bees

Carpenter BeeCarpenter bees are quite the nuisance, causing damage to homes all over the country. These creatures are known as wood destroying insects, because they make their nests inside of wood and causing a host of problems for home owners as a result. If left unchecked, carpenter bees can cause structural damage. The following information will help you learn more about these little pests.

What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?

Carpenter bees actually look a lot like bumble bees. However, to tell the difference, look closely at their hair. Bumble bees have a hairy abdomen. In contrast, carpenter bees have a bare abdomen. In addition, bumble bees have yellow bands on their belly. Carpenter bees do not, but they do have a slightly larger head than their counterparts.

Are Carpenter Bees Aggressive?

Carpenter bees are not very aggressive, but they can sting. However, it is important to note that it is only the females that are capable of stinging; the male bees are not a threat. Still, the males are very protective of their space, so they may seem aggressive at times, even dive bombing unsuspecting humans. It helps to stay calm. The males will continue to fly around you if you wave your arms and move your body erratically. The females, on the other hand, are more interested in drilling holes and doing their job, so it is unusual to get a sting from them.

Where Do Carpenter Bees Drill Holes?

A carpenter bee hole looks pretty perfect. It can be as large as a half an inch in diameter. Once the bee gets inside the wood, she starts to drill tunnels and lay eggs. The holes can be anywhere, although obviously they are only found on wood surfaces. Therefore, you may see holes in your siding, trees, decks and even swing sets.

Why Are Carpenter Bees a Concern?

Carpenter bees can cause a lot of damage, eventually weakening the structure of the home or building they are in. Carpenter bees love to fly under the radar. Therefore, many homeowners do not notice the holes or the bees right away. In contrast, termites and carpenter ants are much more conspicuous. As a result, carpenter bee damage builds up over time, often becoming fairly extensive before it is discovered.

How Should I Treat For Carpenter Bees?

If possible, treat the holes with an insecticidal dust at night. Do not close up the holes right away; the bees need to come into contact with the dust and spread it through the tunnels. When the weather cools off again, fill the holes with wood putty and then paint the surface. Of course, because it is difficult to treat the holes safely, it is often best to contact a pest control company.

A carpenter bee problem should be taken seriously. Because these are wood destroying insects, it does not take long before the structure of the building is compromised. If you have a concern, take immediate steps to address the issue before things progress.

Keeping Pests Out: 5 Tips to Ensure Your Home is Bug Free

Dirty Cockroach KitchenWhen it comes to pests, mice, cockroaches and ants top the list as the most irritating (and unwelcome) household “guests.” How, then, do you keep these little creatures from invading your space? These five tips should cut back on the frequency of your pest sightings.

Eat in the Kitchen

This tip sounds almost too simple, but keep in mind that many families snack throughout the house or enjoy dinners in front of the television every once in a while. To limit your pest sightings, keep food in the kitchen and dining room only. You’ll have an easier time cleaning up after meals, and establishing this habit ensures that crumbs don’t spread throughout the house.

Look for Holes

Walk around the exterior of your home, looking for any holes or openings where bugs can get in. Fill these spaces with either caulk, steel wood or spray foam, whichever you prefer. While you may not be able to find every little crack, your efforts will make a difference in the number of pests you see inside the house.

Cut Back on Clutter

Clutter attracts pests, because it gives them shelter and allows them to hide from homeowners. Taking a few simple steps to reduce the clutter in your home can make a world of difference. For example, if you have pets, make sure you store their food in either a lidded, metal trash can (because mice are unable to scale the sides) or a sealed plastic container. Recycle cardboard boxes, or, at the very least, make sure you break them down and periodically move them to make sure nothing is hiding in them.

The storage area under the kitchen sink often attracts bugs because it is dark and moist. Rather than just throwing your supplies in a heap down there, try organizing them in containers or totes, so you can take them out every so often and make sure there’s not an infestation brewing. While they are out, you can also look to make sure the pipes aren’t leaking.

Screen Your Windows

Some homeowners resist installing window screens because they cut back on the amount of natural light flowing into the home. However, screens are a great pest barrier and allow you to enjoy fresh air without worrying about what will find its way into your living space.

Get Rid of Moisture Spots

Bugs love moisture. Therefore, the drier you can keep your property, the better off you will be. Make sure your downspouts point away from your house, and keep mulch from settling around your foundation and windows. Keep bushes and trees trimmed back from the house, and remember to check your crawlspace for leaks periodically.

No one wants to head into the kitchen late at night, only to find a cockroach scurrying across the floor. Keeping pests like ants, mice and roaches at bay is actually easier than you might suspect. Follow the tips above, and you won’t have to call in your pest control technician for an emergency service any time soon.

6 Fun Facts about Mice

mouseSpotting a mouse scurrying through your home is many people’s worst nightmare. Because mice are so common, however, the likelihood of an infestation happening in your home is quite high. However, mice are actually quite surprising little creatures. They are smart, social and actually very clean. While you probably still don’t want them taking up residence in your living space, these six facts about mice may change the way you think of these “pests.”

1. Mice are cleaner than some humans.

A common misconception about mice is that they are dirty little pests. However, the reverse is actually true; mice are very clean animals. Their homes are organized into different areas, much like our homes are. They have an area where they eat, an area where they poop and pee, and an area where they retreat for shelter.

2. Mice eat. A lot.

Mice eat up to twenty times per day. Therefore, when searching for a place to set up their home, they look for a location that has easy access to food. That is why so many homeowners find these little creatures scurrying about in their living space; mice know where to find food and keep coming back for more.

3. The whiskers of a mouse actually serve two different purposes.

Mice have pretty cute little faces. However, their whiskers actually serve two very important purposes. First, their whiskers alert them to changes in the temperature. In addition, their whiskers tell them about the lay of the land. They can determine what type of surface they are treading across just by feeling it with their whiskers.

4. Mice have a lot in common with gymnasts.

Mice can swim, climb and even jump. Believe it or not, mice have been known to leap nearly a foot in the air, which allows them easy access to pantries and counters. If you have a mouse problem, make sure you put your food in containers with tightly fitting lids to ensure the mice can’t get to it. You’ll be amazed at everything they find their way into!

mice5. Mice are romantic.

When male mice come across a female they find attractive, they actually “sing” love songs to her! Humans can’t hear the interaction because the squeaks are so high pitched, but they’ve been studied by researchers. After looking at the patterns involved, some have even likened the communications to bird songs.

6. Mice are escape artists.

Mice can get through the smallest of holes, manipulating their bodies through openings that are only about the size of a dime. Therefore, it can be hard to keep mice from coming in your home, because you have to carefully comb your exterior looking for holes and gaps. Fix them with a silicone caulk and address the interior openings with steel wool.

No one wants to deal with a mouse infestation. Hopefully, these six facts helped you gain insight into the minds of these little creatures. And, if you find that you just can’t deal with the problem on your own, you can always hire a pest control company to help you address the issue.

5 Things Your Pest Control Technician Wants You to Understand

exterminatorThere are a lot of misconceptions about what pest control is and what to expect from your technician. No one wants to see bugs or rodents on their property, particularly if they have made their way indoors. However, it is important to stay calm and listen to the expertise of the technician that comes out to service your property. They can help you understand how to prevent future problems and address current issues. To get you started, the following tips will clue you in to five things that pest control technicians wish their customers understood.

1. A technician is not an “exterminator.”

What do you think of when you hear the word “exterminator”? Most people envision someone letting loose a toxic cloud of chemicals on their property in an effort to get rid of all pests in the immediate vicinity. However, while the word “exterminator” is commonly used to refer to pest control technicians, it is not an accurate way to describe the work they do for you. Technicians come out, assess the problem, and put together a comprehensive plan to safely ward off bugs and other “critters.”

2. Keeping your kitchen clean doesn’t guarantee against pests.

There are a lot of things that make your house attractive to pests, and food is just one of them. For example, bugs also like moisture; they may target your house because they have access to water. It is important to walk around your property, identify areas where moisture is pooling, and figure out how to address the problem. Keeping your home clean is another positive step, but don’t be surprised if doing so doesn’t keep pests out entirely.

3. One time treatments are a band aid, not a permanent fix.

One time pest control treatments often make an immediate, positive difference in your pest activity. However, it is important to note that just because you don’t see any bugs right now doesn’t mean they can’t come back. And, they probably will. If you are serious about getting pests under control at your property, it is best to sign up for a recurring service. Look for someone that offers free call backs in-between visits, so you always know you are covered.

4. Technicians need your help.

When a technician comes out to treat, they may also make recommendations to the homeowner. In order for the problem to be treated effectively, those recommendations must be followed. Even something as simple as closing the garage door can make a big difference. However, it is also important to note that homeowners should not try and take matters into their own hands. “Helping” the technician by applying your own product may have disastrous consequences, like contaminating the professional treatment the technician put down.

5. Some pest activity is good.

No homeowner wants to spot a termite infestation. Similarly, roaches and ants are also an unwelcome nuisance. That said, there are some “pests” that you might want to see around your property. Ladybugs, for example, can help gardeners get rid of pesky aphids. Even most spiders are helpful, as they eat other insects. Still, if you are concerned, call and speak to a technician to see what they recommend.

It is possible to successfully rid your home of bugs and rodents. However, in order to do so, you must find and cooperate with a knowledgeable pest control technician.

The 4 Scariest Insects in the World

There are hundreds of thousands of insects in the world. Generally, these creatures are pretty small, so you may wonder why anyone would ever be scared of them. Believe it or not, some bugs can really hurt humans, and there are a number of them that can even kill you. The following four insects are some of the scariest in the world.

Japanese Giant Hornets

Japanese giant hornet

The Japanese Giant Hornet is quite small, only about the size of your thumb. However, you don’t want to underestimate this little creature, because it releases extremely potent venom into its unfortunate victims. Not only that, but the poison attracts other hornets from the hive and encourages them to come over and join in the “party.” Just under fifty people a year die from this hornet’s poison, although the insect is not particularly aggressive unless it feels threatened.

Puss Caterpillars

puss caterpillar

The Puss Caterpillar is found in North America, and while it is not really “deadly,” it can wreak a lot of havoc on its victims. The Puss Caterpillar looks fairly sweet and unassuming, with soft hair covering its exterior. However, on the bottom of the insect are venomous spines that unleash a painful sting. If the pain persists and moves throughout the body, it is important to see a doctor. However, because some medical professionals do not know how to identify the bite, patients can go for a while without a diagnosis. Some have come close to death as a result.

Kissing Bugs

kissing bug

Kissing Bugs were so named because they tend to bite their sleeping victims on the face, particularly around the nose and the mouth. Also known as an Assassin Bug, there are some species that have a very painful bite. In addition, Kissing Bugs can also spread Chagas’ disease. Symptoms include vomiting, fevers and rashes. However, some people don’t have symptoms for ten or twenty years. By the time they do, it is hard for medical professionals to figure out what is going on and effectively treat the problem.

African Ants

African ants

One colony of African Ants consists of about twenty million bugs. When hungry, the entire group sticks together, traveling to find food and getting rid of anything that stands in their way. They are both a scary and impressive sight, all at once. The good news is that it is fairly easy for humans to see these ants coming and get out of the way. However, both elderly adults and young children are particularly vulnerable to the bugs, which can swarm inside their lungs and suffocate them.

Many people get nervous at the first sight of a bug in their home or yard, and they immediately contact a pest control technician to help them. While some may feel their reaction is extreme, there are insects that can harm your property or your person. Therefore, it is always a good idea to be wary of a bug that you are not familiar with. And, if they make you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

The Extraordinary World of Insects: 5 of the Strangest Organisms Inhabiting the Earth

Nature is truly amazing. While extolling its virtues, many often neglect to focus on insects, the small living organisms that share our world. There are more than a million species of these creatures, and while some are fairly ordinary, others are nothing less than extraordinary. The following insects are all remarkable in their own way, whether it be for their looks, their mannerisms or their general oddities.

Pipevine Swallowtail 

Pipevine Swallowtail

How can something so beautiful start out as something so ugly? Found in both North and Central America, the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly is known for its incredible shade of blue. However, all butterflies first start as caterpillars, and in this case, the larvae is most certainly not beautiful. Some might even say it’s scary. Rather than the attractive hue of blue sported in its butterfly form, the Pipevine Swallowtail larvae is blood red, with rows of horns traveling down the length of its body.

Battus philenor Pipevine Swallowtail

As the caterpillars get older, their color darkens and their horns become more prominent, transforming to a bright shade of orange. Because they feed on poisonous plants, the caterpillars also become poisonous themselves as they retain the toxins over time.

Giant Shield Bugs 

Giant Shield Bug Elvis
Photo Courtesy http://metro.co.uk/

The stink bug invasion is taking place in many areas around the world, and most homeowners are not happy when the smelly little creatures decide to take up residence in their homes. How would you feel, though, if you spotted an image of Elvis on the back of one of these little bugs?

The giant shield bug, also known as the Pentatomoidea bug, is in the stink bug family. The markings on its back look remarkably like eyes, a nose and a mouth. Even more incredible is the fact that the dark patch near the end of the bug looks quite a bit like Elvis’s signature hairstyle. Giant shield bugs have been found in both Singapore and Thailand, so chances are you won’t get lucky enough to see one in person. However, if you did, calling an exterminator might not be the first thing on your mind!

Scorpionfly 

Scorpion Fly Face

Scorpionflies are truly unique. They look like a cross between a scorpion and a wasp; the body resembles the winged insect, while the “tail” looks very much like a scorpion stinger. However, unlike the arachnid, the scorpionfly’s stinger is not used for harm. It is actually the organism’s reproductive organ, so while it looks quite fierce, there is nothing to be concerned about.

Elephant Hawk Moth 

Elephant Hawk Moth Larvae

Located in Ireland and Britain, the Elephant Hawk Moth seems fairly unassuming. However, in its caterpillar form, the little creature actually looks and acts like a snake. When it goes into defensive mode, it brings its trunk in towards its body. The exposed area of the caterpillar has markings that mimic a snake’s eyes and head. Most birds avoid the caterpillar as a result.

The Elephant Hawk-moth

Goliath Beetles 

Goliath

Rounding out the list of the strangest insects on Earth is the Goliath beetle. Found in Africa, these beetles are the biggest of all the insects, growing as long as four inches. Some people have even been known to keep the Goliath beetle as a pet! While the bug may look intimidating, it is actually quite gentle.

You never know what you will find in nature. When it comes to the insect world, there are some truly strange and unusual creatures out there, just waiting to be discovered.