Friday Links To Pest Control News

Black Light ScorpionFriday Links To Pest Control News

Black Lighting Scorpions For Scorpion Control

Are you the adventurous type, always looking for something to do at night? Try something new… Try black-lighting scorpions. It’s a fun nighttime activity that can also help keep your home and property free from stinging scorpions. More…

Avoiding Mosquito Problems in the Summer Months

For some tips on how to keep mosquitoes from breeding, and how to keep these blood-sucking pests from biting you, click here.

Austin Bats In Danger?

Every year some 100,000 plus people visit Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge to witness one of nature’s marvels. During summer evenings, upwards of 1.5 million bats emerge from the crevices of the bridge. It’s a magnificent sight; a sight that many are worried may be no more now that White-Nose Syndrome has hit the state of Texas. More…

Squirrel Damage

While observing squirrels on your property, be weary. These pests can cause some serious damage. More…

5 Tips To Control Colorado House Spiders

House spiders are some of the biggest and ugliest home invaders out there; and apparently they are a big problem in Colorado. Here are a few tips on keeping House spiders out of your home. More…

Western Honey BeePest Of The Week: The Western Honey Bee

Our pest of the week this week really isn’t much of a pest at all; but is considered quite beneficial to our ecosystem. I’m of course referring to the Western Honey Bee. These bees are sometimes referred to as European Honey Bees, because they were introduced from Europe. Most of us just call them honey bees because they create sweet honey—a multi-billion dollar industry here in the United States. Honey bees make their honey when they regurgitate nectar, adding an enzyme. In addition to making honey, Western Honey bees also pollinate flowering plants.

Generally speaking, Western Honey bees measure ½ inch to ¾ inch in length. They have banded abdomens, covered in a very fine hair, and are a combination of yellow and black. A single colony of Western Honey bees can reach numbers of 100,000 members; gathering in a hive. Each hive consists of a caste system with the queen, drones, and workers. The queen lays the eggs, the drones mate with the queen, and the worker bees feed the colony. It’s these worker bees that most of us encounter as they’re gathering pollen. These encounters can sometimes result in painful stings, leading some people to believe the Western Honey bee to be a pest.

Why Are Bats Dying?

English: Little brown bat with white-nose synd...

Creepy!

Sinister!

Blood-sucking devil birds!

Winged spawn of Satan!

These are just a few words some of us might mistakenly use to describe the bat; but despite this fictitious reputation, bats are vital to the ecosystem. They are pest control agents; eating disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes, and feeding on crop-damaging caterpillars and worms. They also aid in the pollinating of certain plants.

It’s because of their vital ecological importance, bat-lovers and scientists alike are in panic mode over massive loss of these flying mammals. Bats are dying off at an alarming rate.

Just how big of a bat loss are we talking?

Last year, NASA reported the North American bat’s death toll surpassed the 7 Million mark. A year later, it is feared that the death toll may be reaching 10 Million. United States Fish & Wildlife Services fear that “half the bat species in the United States could be wiped out if something is not done.”

What exactly is killing off all of these bats?

White-Nose Syndrome Killing Off Bats

Despite some bat’s white-nosed appearance, they have not been out partying with Lindsay Lohan. The white substance appearing on affected bats is a white fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). This symptom is called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). A deadly white fungus will grow on bat’s noses, bodies, and wings as they hibernate in caves for the winter. The fungus causes the hibernating bats to wake during the winter months. When awake, the bats will burn up all of their energy reserves that are usually saved when they hibernate. Due to lack of energy and nutrition, the affected bats ultimately die of starvation. The fungus is also deadly when it spreads to a bat’s wings. Healthy wing membranes are vital to bats, as they help regulate body temperature, blood pressure, water balance and gas exchange—not to mention the ability to fly and to feed.

The White-Nose Syndrome fungus was first discovered back in 2006, in the caves of New York. It has since spread to some 28 U.S. States. It’s believed that the fungus was brought over from Europe, where WNS didn’t seem to have the same affect as it has on the 26 different species of hibernating North American bats.

America’s most common species of bat, the little brown bat, has been hit the hardest with some states reporting population losses as high as 90 percent. In certain specific caves in the U.S., the entire population has been wiped out.

According to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, this is “one of the fastest declines of wildlife they have ever seen.”

Current States Reporting White-Nose Syndrome

As of June 2013, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services report that 28 states have confirmed the deadly bat disease, White-Nose Syndrome. This is a drastic increase from 2007 when New York was the only state to report WNS. Current states affected include:
[column-group]
[column]

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska 

[/column]
[column]

  • New Jersey
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin 

[/column]
[/column-group]

To help out our bat friends, and combat WNS, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services has awarded grants totaling almost $1 Million to the 28 affected states.

Bat with White-nose Syndrome

Can Humans Catch White-Nose Syndrome?

It is common believe among scientists and researchers that bat-to-bat transmission is the principal aspect in the spread of White Nose Syndrome. Furthermore, research also suggests that the disease can ONLY be spread bat-to-bat. It is, however, believed that WNS fungus can be spread by humans from infected sites to clean sites through contaminated shoes, clothing, and equipment.

As for humans catching White-Nose Syndrome, it is highly unlikely. According to whitenosesyndrome.org, thousands of people have visited affected caves and mines since the disease was first observed. There have been no reported human illnesses attributable to WNS.

We are still learning about WNS, but we know of no risk to humans from contact with WNS-affected bats. However, we urge taking precautions and not exposing yourself to WNS. Biologists and researchers use protective clothing when entering caves or handling bats.

Currently, there is no known cure for White-Nose Syndrome.

How Loss Of Bats Hurts Agriculture

The economic consequences of losing up to 10 Million could be substantial. A single colony of 150 big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) has been estimated to eat nearly 1.3 million pest insects each year, possibly contributing to the disruption of population cycles of agricultural pests. That means that over 1500 metric tons of insect pests are no longer being consumed by bats in the affected areas.

It’s suggested that loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 Billion a year.

What Can Be Done To Save Bats From White-Nose Syndrome

In general, fungus is spread through direct contact with fungal spores. Humans are urged to not share clothing, shoes, pillowcases, etc., stay away from stray animals, take care of personal equipment, and wear flip flops in public showers to avoid contact with fungal spores of any kind. In general, its in good taste to not touch bats while spelunking for both the bat’s health, and your own.

Unfortunately, bats cannot put on little rubber gloves and other protective clothing to avoid contact with fungal spores. On the plus side, recent research has found that the fungus may respond to typical human anti-fungal treatments. More studies are being undertaken to determine how best to use this knowledge.

 

Pest Control For Carpenter Ants

Head of a Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus penn...
Head of a Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) (Photo credit: Thomas Shahan)

There is much confusion out there when it comes to Carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are frequently confused with termites, because they both nest in wood. The following article is intended for pest control professionals and homeowners alike, who are in need of some answers when it comes to identifying, and treating Carpenter ants. 

Knowing a little more about these Carpenter ants can help homeowners and pest management professionals take some preventative measures to minimize damage to homes. If it’s too late, and you fear that you may have a Carpenter ant infestation, please enlist the help of a licensed ant control professional who can administer the proper insecticides. 

The 3 Most Common Types of Carpenter Ants 

Across the lower 48 states, some 14 different species of Carpenter ant can be found in all their variety. Most share similar characteristics, like nesting in wood, but there are a few slight differences in appearance, geography, and habits. Here are the three most common species that threaten US homes: 

Carpenter Ant

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

Simply called the Carpenter ant (Camponotus vicinus), it is found primarily in the Pacific Northwest; but is also found in California, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Oklahoma. These ants have a black head, red thorax, and black abdomen. Like other Carpenter ants, this ant can be a serious structural pest. 

Western Carpenter Ant 

Western Carpenter Ant, Camponotus modoc

 

The Western Carpenter ant (Camponotus modoc) is a foraging ant that is commonly found in the states west of the Mississippi River. They have a dull black body with reddish legs. One easy way to distinguish the Western Carpenter ant from other ant pests is that this ant has a circular ring of gold colored hairs on its abdomen. 

Black Carpenter Ant 

Black Carpenter Ant: Camponotus pennsylvanicus...

The Black Carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus), is the most common Carpenter ant pest in the United States. Found primarily in the Eastern United States, the ant is sometimes referred to as the Pennsylvania Carpenter ant. The Black Carpenter ant is distinguishable from other Carpenter ant species by the dull black color of the head and body; as well as white-yellow hairs on the abdomen. 

 

Pest Control For Carpenter Ants: 5 Steps 

When it comes to eliminating Carpenter ants, it’s not as easy as spraying them with a can of over-the-counter insecticide. These ants are tremendously resilient. While you may kill a few of the surface ants, a hundred thousand more may be hiding deep inside the nest. There are five basic steps that need to be taken to successfully eliminate Carpenter ants. 

carpenter ant damage under the front window sill
Carpenter ant damage under the front window sill (Photo credit: 123yvo)

Step 1: Inspection. The first step in controlling a Carpenter ant infestation is to thoroughly inspect the suspect property. It is best to determine the nest’s location as specifically as possible. Look for the signs of Carpenter ants, including sawdust piles around dead or rotting wood. The nest may be located by careful and patient observations of worker ants, especially between sunset and midnight during spring and summer months when carpenter ants are most active. You can increase your chances of following workers to their nest by setting out cat food that is attractive to carpenter ants. Place the food in areas where you find workers. Sometimes sound detection methods are equally as effective. Listen for the chewing of wood. Carpenter ants tend to be noisy within their nest, so listening devices may be needed to help pinpoint the exact location of the colony. 

Step 2: Identification. Once you have discovered the ants, and/or the nest, you can now determine what type of ant is infesting your property. Different species of ant may require different treatment techniques. Specimens may need to be taken for positive identification. If the ants are found nesting in wood, you almost certainly have a Carpenter ant problem. 

Step 3: Recommendation. After inspecting your property, and identifying the type of ant pest, you will need a plan of action. Multiple treatments may be necessary to completely control or eliminate a Carpenter ant colony. Sometimes, Carpenter ant nests are hidden in wall voids, ceilings, attics, or hollow doors. It is usually necessary for an ant control professional to drill small holes inside your home to apply insecticide into the nest area. Occasionally, the answer may be as simple as removing a nest that is found in some decaying wood around the property. Another common recommendation is to remove conditions that are supporting the Carpenter ants (i.e. unused wood, tree stumps, etc.) 

carpenter ant damage
Carpenter ant damage (Photo credit: Dave Bonta)

Step 4: Treatment. Treat Carpenter ant nests with a residual insecticide applied either as a dust or spray. You may need to drill small holes into wall voids, window and door sills, baseboards and other areas to reach the nest or major part of the colony. Pesticide dusts are particularly effective, as ant activity tends to spread the dust throughout the colony. For colonies in wall voids, inject an insecticide dust, such as Drione or Tempo, or inject voids with Premise Foam. 

When choosing an insecticide, opt for those containing active ingredients like chlorfenapyr, fipronil, or any of the pyrethroids (permethrin, cypermethrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin). For effective perimeter treatments, apply Temprid SC, Tempo, Suspend or DeltaGard G. 

Baits with active ingredients such as hydramethylnon, fipronil, and abamectin, are labeled for Carpenter ants. The colony can be controlled successfully if foraging ants take the bait to the queen. Place Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel on foraging trails, near suspected nest locations. 

Step 5: Evaluation. The key to long-term success in controlling and eliminating Carpenter ants is to follow up and assess the effectiveness of the measures taken. Additional treatments may be necessary to ensure the ants never come back. 

Ant Control 

As previously mentioned; if you are a property owner who is battling Carpenter ants, please seek the assistance of an ant control professional before attempting to exterminate these dangerous ants.