Thursday, December 9, 2010

Webbing Cloth Moths, Case Making Moths, Hide Beetles by Ralph H. Maestre BCE




Clothes moth larvae feed on wool, feathers, fur, hair, leather, lint, dust, paper, and occasionally cotton, linen, silk, and synthetic fibers. They are especially damaging to fabric stained with beverages, urine, oil from hair, and sweat. Most damage is done to articles left undisturbed for a long time, such as old military uniforms and blankets, wool upholstery, feathered hats, antique dolls and toys, natural bristle brushes, weavings, wall hangings, piano felts, old furs, and especially wool carpets under heavy furniture and clothing in storage.
Damaged fabrics have holes eaten through them by small, white larvae and often have silken cases, lines of silken threads, and fecal pellets over the surface of the materials. Moths are destructive during the larvae stage. Adult "millers" or moths are entirely harmless.

Identification
Adult webbing clothes moths have a wingspread of about 1/2-inch. The body is about 1/4-inch long with wings folded and golden-yellow with a satiny sheen. A tuft of hairs on the head is upright and reddish-gold. Eggs are oval, ivory, and about 1/24-inch long. Larvae are a shiny, creamy white with a brown head, up to 1/2-inch long. The larvae spin long threads and construct tunnels of silk.
Adult case making clothes moths have a 1/2-inch wingspread. Forewings are yellowish-brown, and there are usually three distinct, dark dots on the outer third of each wing. Hind wings are smaller, lighter, and fringed with hair and scales. Eggs are whitish, and larvae are opaque-white with brown heads. The larva spins a small silken case around itself and carries it while feeding.

Casemaking Clothes Moth: Adult and Larva
Adult carpet or tapestry moths are larger than webbing or case making clothes moths at 1/3- to 5/12-inch long with a 3/4-inch wingspread. Adults have white heads, with the first third of the front wings black and the lower two-thirds creamy white. Hind wings are pale gray. Larvae are small, creamy white caterpillars with dark heads.





Life Cycle and Habits
Clothes moths rarely fly to lights at night and instead prefer darkness, such as a closet or storage chest. Any clothes moths fluttering around the house are probably males, because females travel by running, hopping, or trying to hide in the folds of clothing. Female webbing cloth moths lay 40 to 50 eggs that hatch in 4 to 21 days. Larvae like to feed on soiled material, spinning silken mats or tunnels and incorporating textile fragments and bits of fecal pellets. Larvae will wander some distance away from their food source to pupate in crevices. The pupa case is silken with bits of fiber and excrement attached to the outside. The life cycle is about 65 to 90 days.

The case making clothes moth is less common than the webbing clothes moth. Larvae spin a small silken case around themselves as they feed. This cigar-shaped case enlarges as the larva grows. When crawling, the larva's head, thorax, and three pairs of legs, outside the case, drag it along. It does not spin a web of silk over the food material but eats clean-cut holes, not usually in one spot. Females live about 30 days and lay 100 to 300 eggs. The larva stage lasts 50 or more days, and the pupal stage is passed in the case or cocoon. There are about 2 generations a year.

Adult carpet or tapestry moths are rarely found. Females lay 50 to 100 eggs in a lifetime, and the larva develops in about 3 months as it builds silken tubes or burrows through infested materials, such as hair-stuffed furniture, tapestries, old carpets, furs, and feathers.

Clothes moth development is greatly influenced by humidity. About 75-percent relative humidity in a heated, dark room is ideal.

Control Measures

Inspection
Locate the source of infestation before treatment. Examine closets and stored goods for larvae cases, moths, and damage. Larvae prefer to feed in secluded, dark places. Use a flashlight and nail file to check for woolen lint and hair under baseboards, in and under seldom moved upholstered furniture, in air ducts, in carpets at the corners of the room and along edges, in stored clothing, and in other places not readily accessible. Check furs or feathers, such as stuffed birds or animal heads, antique feather beds, or felt in pianos, woolen scrap piles, etc. Adult moths do not feed in fabrics, but may be seen in darkened corners at night.

A new pheromone for the webbing clothes moth is available through Insects Limited Inc.

Prevention
Good housekeeping is critical for preventing or controlling clothes moth damage. Never allow clothing, rugs, etc. to lie in a neglected pile. Regular use of a strong suction vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool to remove lint, hair, and dust from floor cracks, baseboards, air ducts, carpets, and upholstered furniture is necessary. Keep closets and dresser drawers clean. Regularly clean rugs where they fit close to the baseboards and under the quarter round. Inspect stored foods and eliminate bird nests and dead rodents. Launder and dry clean or steam clean clothes and other items before storage. Egg-laying clothes moths are attracted to soiled articles. Ironing will also destroy all stages of clothes moths. Sun, brush, and expose clothing to the weather. Outdoors, bright, hot sunlight, and wind will reduce larvae and damage. Frequent use of woolens and other animal fiber clothing almost assures no damage from clothes moth larvae.

Cedar-lined chests and closets are not 100 percent effective. The natural cedar oil evaporates and a fresh treatment of cedar oil should be applied every two years. Be sure that all cloth goods be dry cleaned, washed, pressed with a hot iron, sunned, or brushed prior to storage in an airtight container with an effective moth repellent.

Constant light illumination in the closet may discourage moths. Use tight-fitting doors. Try suspending wall to floor cotton drapes in front of clothing to keep dust and moths away. Fur storage in cold vaults is effective. Mothproofing when woolens are manufactured may be effective forever, whereas treatments at dry cleaners are less permanent and need to be renewed regularly.

Freezing has been successfully used to control clothes moths. Place fabric in polyethylene bags, squeeze all air out to minimize condensation, and deep freeze the materials for three days. Infested antique objects should be either fumigated or deep frozen by an experienced licensed pest control operator.

Insecticides
It is best not to treat clothing with insecticides due to possible damage to the garments. All cracks and crevices in infested areas should be treated with a residual insecticide. After thoroughly cleaning rugs, rug pads, under heavy furniture, and carpets, especially around the edges, dust under the edges of carpeting, cracks in closets, under baseboard, and molding or other hiding places. Any wall void that might contain old rodent, bird, or insect nests should be drilled and dusted.

Sprays can be used as spot treatments to kill any moths that might alight or wandering larvae. Do not treat clothing. The licensed pest control operator or applicator can use sprays in such places. Infested stuffed furniture and other salvageable commodities should be fumigated by a licensed pest control operator or applicator. Before using any insecticides, always read the label directions and follow safety precautions.

Key to Fabric and Fur Damage
Most scientific keys are used to identify a specific insect. This key is a damage key and can help you determine the pest that is causing the damage to wool, furs, or hides.

Begin with the first pair of questions under
*If you choose answer a., proceed to question 2.
*If answer b. fits the damage instead, proceed to question 3. Continue to work your way through the pairs of questions until you arrive at the pest or problem.

1. a. Silken tubes, silk cases, or silk webbing on the surface of the fabric---2
b. No silk on surface of the fabric---3
2. a. Attached silk tubes with bits of material attached may contain bun-shaped fecal pellets which are the color of the fabric, as well as live larvae. Nap of fabric eaten away in spots, or holes completely through fabric. On fur, hairs are cut at base, leaving clumps of loose fur. Some mats of webbing present---webbing clothes moth
b. Cigar-shaped silk cases with bits of material attached and one end open. Larvae live inside and carry cases with them as they feed. Fabric surface is damaged in irregular furrows or holes completely through fabric. Webbing essentially absent---case-making clothes moth
3. a. Shed larval skins usually present in fabric. Frass present as irregular pellets often the color of the material. In fabric, much surface damage with various penetrating holes---4
b. No larval skins or frass present---7
4. a. In fur, main damage to tips of the hairs, leaving numerous uneven areas but base of hairs remains in place---varied, furniture, and common carpet beetle
b. In fur, hairs are cut at base, become loose and fall out---5
5. a. Hide may be bare where hairs have been cut and fallen out, but no injury to hide itself---black carpet beetle
b. Damage to hide evident---6
6. a. Damage is on the inner surface of the hide. There may be holes and hair may fall out if larvae completely penetrate the hide to the fur side---hide beetle
b. Damage is on the outer surface of the hide, at the base of hairs. Hairs become loose and fall out---cabinet beetle
7. a. Fabric threads pulled, broken, torn, or looped but no loss of threads; exposed ends frayed. In rugs, loops pulled out---mechanical damage
b. Irregular or round holes that might penetrate the fabric. Tips of exposed threads usually curled and charred. In fur, curling of damaged hairs; hide scorched---burns



[Adapted from a key developed by Dr. John V. Osmun, Purdue University]





For more information on Fabric Destroying Pests in New York City, visit Magic Exterminating.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Bed Bug History in New York City 1944 by Ralph H. Maestre BCE

First a little history lesson in history, from the web site located at http://www.newyorkvsbedbugs.org/. Renee Cornea worked on the bed bug committee for the City of New York and is a private citizen. She has worked endless hours to create and maintain the web site. It is by far one of the best informational site on the subject.
I hope you enjoy this little taste of information. Notice the date!

New York vs Bed Bugs (1944) Posted on April 24, 2009 by Renee Corea
“NEW YORK THIS SUMMER HAD PLAGUE OF BEDBUGS” St. Petersburg Times, 10/10/1944:

New Yorkers suffered not only from heat and humidity this summer—the city had a plague of bedbugs.

Congested areas all over the country had the same complaint. The 1944 season was hailed as one of “the worst” to date by the insects’ victims; one of “the best” by the dozens of exterminating companies that rushed to their rescue.

The Sameth Exterminating Company, Inc., one of the largest in the metropolitan area, reported calls averaging 120 a day during the height of the heat—not including contract customers such as hotels, theatres and warehouses.

There is a familiar diagnosis:

One of the main drawbacks in combating the pests, exterminators say, is that many people are ashamed to admit their presence.

“They think bedbugs are a disgrace,” one exterminator said, “but anybody can pick them up anywhere—in theatres, subways, busses, trains. The thing to do is get rid of them and then forget it.”

The exterminators agree that there is no sure way of preventing bedbugs.

And a working bed bug savvy meter:

[A]ny exterminator who walks into a house and sees a lot of coats lying across a bed will throw up his hands in horror.

“That’s practically planting the bugs,” they shudder.

And then a simple and reasonable hope, or perhaps the DDT PR machine of 1944:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dr. Austin Frishman Lasting Legacy

Magic would like to thank Dr. Frishman for his vision, guidance and assistance.

read the article at Pest Management Professional September 2010



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fungus Beetles by Ralph H. Maestre BCE

Common Name:
Foreign Grain Beetle
Hairy Fungus Beetle
Plaster or Minute Brown Scavenger Beetle
Sigmoid Fungus Beetle
Acute-angled Fungus Beetle

Scientific Name:
Ahasverus advena (Waltl)
Mycetophagus punctatus Say
Melanophthalma americana Mannerheim
Cryptophagus varus Woodroffe & Coombs

Cryptophagus acutangulus Gyllenhal


Fungus beetle is a general term covering several different beetles associated with damp, humid conditions where fungi, molds and mildew occur. When new homes are built, moist uncured lumber and/or freshly plastered or papered walls that become covered with molds, attract these beetles. Some occur in sawdust left in wall voids after construction. They often build heavy populations throughout late summer and early fall. These mold-feeding beetles sometimes are found in decaying plant material, woodpiles, mammal, ant or termite nests, damp cereals, grains, herbs, spices, cheese, jam, jellies, fibers and carpeting, especially in cellars. Attracted by lights, these small beetles, can crawl or fly through window or door screens, and then wander aimlessly. Heavy populations may first show up trapped in bathtubs, sinks or around lamps and TV sets. They are simply a nuisance by their presence and do not bite, sting, spread human diseases nor damage wood, food, fabric, etc.

Identification
The foreign grain beetle is camel-brown colored and about 1/16-inch long with a conspicuous rounded lobe or "knob" on the four corners of the thorax (area between the head and wing covers). The body is covered with dense pubescence (short, fine hairs) and dimple-like punctures with clubbed antennae. Other fungus beetles are less than 1/12-inch long with body color varying from yellowish to black. Also, most have punctures on the body and clubbed antennae. A good quality hand lens or microscope is necessary to see these characteristics.
Life Cycle and Habits
Most complaints of these nuisance beetles occur in late July, August, and September. Beetles often become quite abundant, especially after a period of rainy weather. However, development from egg to adult depends on temperature. Some beetles complete their life cycle in 25 to 36 days at 75 deg F., in 54 days at 65 deg F., or up to five months and longer at lower temperatures. Beetles are attracted to lights and feed entirely on the spores and hyphae of fungi. Later, eggs are laid on food material such as poorly-seasoned green lumber, wet plaster and wall board, moldy grains, etc. Larvae develop in the molds, maturing to adults later. Sometimes, stored foods may become contaminated from cast skins and excreta. Also, infestations are associated with poor ventilation, high humidity, plumbing leaks, etc.
Control Measures
Most infestations are temporary and self-limiting, but their presence is objectionable to many homeowners.
Prevention
Often it is difficult to locate the source of infestation since beetles may be feeding on fungi associated with neglected grains, yeast, moldy flowers, wall voids with rodent and insect nests, decaying plant materials, moldy wallpaper, freshly plastered walls, around moist window cases or poor plumbing. Any action taken to dry out damp conditions supporting fungal growth, essential to these beetles, will greatly reduce or eliminate populations. Most homes dry out naturally within a year or two, and the fungi disappears along with the beetles. Usually adequate artificial heating and ventilation will stop infestations. Periods of dry weather with relatively low humidity (below 60 percent) will reduce numbers. Be sure that dry foods are stored in insect-proof containers (glass, heavy plastic or metal) ideally with screw-type lids free of mold. A strong suction vacuum cleaner with proper attachments will collect many beetles.
Insecticides
If moisture problems cannot be corrected, commercial household labeled fungicides may be effective in eliminating fungal growth in selected areas. Household aerosol sprays of pyrethrins will kill many beetles when applied in crevices under baseboards, around windows, doors and lights. Repeat treatments will be needed to control newly emerging adults. Residual contact sprays will help give control.
Dust formulations are applied into wall voids and other hard to reach places can be effective. Before using any insecticide, always READ THE LABEL and follow directions and safety precautions.

Reference: Ohio State Pest fact Sheets

If you've noticed problems with Fungus Beetles in your New York City business or residence, contact Magic Exterminators today to resolve the issue.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Backswimmers & Water Striders by Ralph H. Maestre BCE

Water Strider

Adults are between 5/16 to 5/8 inch long, dull to grayish or reddish brown above and silvery gray on the underside of the body. Many have long slender bodies with long, slender legs and antennae. The front legs are short and modified for grasping while the middle and hind legs are long, like stilts with claws. These insects creep on the surface of running water or pools in a slow deliberate gait where they feed on live and dead insects, crustacea and other organisms. They overwinter as adults. Long, cylindrical eggs are laid during spring and summer in parallel rows glued to objects at the water's edge. Adults are called "skaters" or "Jesus Bugs," apparently for their ability to walk on water of ponds, lakes and streams.

These insects are found in residential pools and will bite. The customer would have to shock (use chlorine) the pool. We do not treat for them.

Backswimmers - Notonectidae

Scientific Classification
Notonectidae or backswimmers is a family of insects of the Hemiptera order. Back swimmers, or Greater Water Boatmen are hemipteran bugs. They are named backswimmers because they are aquatic predators that swim upside down. They are up to 15 mm in size. They are similar to corixidae, but can be separated by differences in their dorsal-ventral coloration, front legs, and behavior. Their dorsum convex is light colored without cross striations. Their front tarsi are not scoop-shaped and hind legs fringed for swimming.

The size of air bubble that provide buoyancy changes as the nitrogen dissolve into the blood and the oxygen is used in respiration. Notonectidae carry extra oxygen supply using haemoglobin in their abdomen. This helps them regulate the size of its air bubble and the concentration of oxygen inside it. [1]

Backswimmer swimming on its back
The main genus of backswimmers is Notonecta- streamlined, deep-bodied bugs up to 16 mm long, green, brown or yellowish in colour. As the common name indicates, these aquatic insects swim on their backs, vigorously paddling with their long, hair-fringed hind legs.

Backswimmers are predators and attack prey as large as tadpoles and small fish, and can inflict a painful bite on human finger. They inhabit still freshwater, e.g. lakes, pools, marshes, and are sometimes found in garden ponds. They can fly well and so migrate easily to new habitats.

The Common Backswimmer is Notonecta glauca, widespread in the United Kingdom and Europe. Another species is N. maculata, distinguished by mottled brick-coloured forewings.

This is another insect found in residential pool and may bite clients. Again the homeowners must shock (use Chlorine). We do not treat for them.

a half-submerged Common Backswimmer (Notonecta glauca)

References
Chinery, M. (1986) Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain & Western Europe. Collins. ISBN 0 00 219137-7.
Fitter, R. & Manuel, R. (1986) Collins Field Guide to Freshwater Life. Collins. ISBN 0 00 219143-1.
Hungerford, H. B. (1933) The genus Notonecta of the world. U. Kansas Sci. Bull. 21: 5-195.

External links
Close-up photo by J. Hlasek
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notonectidae"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Argentine ant — Linepithema humile Subfamily: Dolichodorinae

Identifying characteristics
Workers are all the same size, small, 1/8-inch long
· Uniformly dull brown
· Petiole with 1 erect node
· Thorax uneven in shape when viewed from side
· Musty odor emitted when crushed Behavior
· Feed on sweets, fresh fruit, and buds of some plants
· Tend honeydew-producing species
· Forage for sweets and oils in homes
· Travel rapidly in distinctive trails along sidewalks, up sides of buildings, along branches of trees and shrubs, along baseboards, and under edges of carpets
· Colonies may split in spring and summer when queen and workers move to new site; not antagonistic toward each other

Nest type and size
· Outdoors in soil, under wood, slabs, debris, mulch, or in branches and cavities of trees and shrubs
· Shallow, 1- to 2-inch deep mounds in open, often disturbed habitats, either moist or dry
· Millions of ants per colony with multiple queens and many sub-colonies
Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California The Argentine Ant is confirmed by to be established here in the New York City and Long Island area. I have several specimens brought in by you the techs. If you crush one and it does not have a smell, then there is a strong case that you have this ant at the location.

Treatment
Begin by using only the baits and gels. Use a lot since the nests or colonies are very large at times. The use of Phantom, Transport GHP or other non-repellents may be used along the outside perimeter according to label instructions. Make sure that all entry points found get treated. A follow-up visit may be needed. These ants live in very large colonies. They may also bypass ground treatment and enter home near the roof line. A good inspection with a binocular is required.

For more information on this ant and other insects, visit our New York City Pest Identification Guide for pictures, details, and descriptions. Magic Exterminating can handle all of your pest control needs in NYC.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Magic's Three Entomologist

Pest Control in New York City


















Magic has a staff full of Entomologist led by Ralph H. Maestre BCE (center), Michael Morales ACE (left), and Anthony DeVito ACE (right).

With over 72 years of experience and education there is no problem to big or to small that they cannot solve.

They all agree on why pest control is such a great job: Every day is a new adventure and that they enjoy meeting all the different people.

Anthony says Termites are the most fascinating, Michael has a thing for all of the various Ants and Ralph is a fan of Tiger Beetles and Dragon Flies.

I finally asked about their hardest challenge:

When the Bed bug epidemic emerged I had to educate myself on how to control them in diverse situations like a welfare hotel. The industry did not have a standard protocol at that time so I experimented with all the tools at our disposal and developed a highly effective treatment plan that works in every situation- Michael

Termites living on the third floor of a house independent of the soil. The house had been treated for 15 years by 3 different companies. It took some time but I found them in the attic getting water from a leaking chimney in the middle of the house. - Anthony

The hardest challenge I have faced is trying to change people’s habits. Individuals always understand the importance of sanitation and exclusion, it is trying to make them take care of it and maintain it that is the problem. - Ralph

Thanks guys...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Questions a Tech should be Asking

The questions a tech should be asking themselves on each job.
By Ralph H. Maestre, BCE

Which pest am I dealing with?
Proper identification of a pest is important for obvious reasons. It helps you decide how to approach the job. The miss-identification of termites and ants will cause you headaches. With that said, many pest are approached using the same techniques, an example would be many of the store product pests. With stored product pests you need to know the species, this will help you narrow down to the infested product, but the treatment will be similar. You will use pheromone traps and direct treatment to infested area. Proper preparation is also important.

Why is the pest there?
All animals need four essential items to survive: water, food, harborage, and temperature. When each of these is removed, the animal either leaves or dies. Notice pesticides are not mentioned.

What do I need to do now?
Do I inspect? Do I vacuum? Do I treat? Do I monitor? Do I clean? Etc.
Inspection is a key, this will allow you to verify the infestation and where it may be coming from. Once you decide on a treatment plan, you may need to schedule a follow-up to verify that your plan worked. This is important when a carpenter ant nest has not been located. It is not necessary for all pests; an example would be for yellowjackets and other stinging insect, the customer will let you know if the job was successful after 3 days. Scheduling a call-back for a customer like this will waste time and money.

What do I do to prevent the problem from recurring?
Sometimes this is simple and other times it is very difficult to get a client to understand the importance of repairs or exclusion work that may be needed. Sometimes it is sanitation that needs to be improved. This must be documented for quality control, to prevent liability, or preventing losing the account. We may be able to help in performing the repairs or sanitation. Ask you field supervisor or service manager for help.

So to review, every pest needs four things to survive; water, food, harborage, and temperature. The adjustment of any of these will reduce the pest problem. All four and the pest will leave or die.Four questions should always be asked on each job. Which pest is it? Why is the pest present? What do I do now? What do I do to prevent the problem from recurring? Approach each job this way and answer each question correctly and you will solve the pest problem and have a very happy client.

For more tips on pest identification, visit Magic Exterminating, a NYC Pest Control company, and look at our pest identification guide.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Indianmeal Moth By Ralph H. Maestre BCE

Common Name: Indianmeal Moth Scientific Name: Plodia interpunctella (Hubner)

The Indian Meal Moth is considered the most troublesome of the grain-infesting moths in New York. Damage is caused by the larvae spinning silken threads as they feed and crawl, thus webbing food particles together. Besides infesting all cereal food products and whole grains, larvae also feed on a wide variety of foods and feeds such as dried fruits, powdered milk, cornmeal, flour, raisins, prunes, nuts, chocolate, candies, health food and seeds, bird seed, dog and cat food, fish food, graham crackers, dried red peppers, pastas, etc.

Sometimes mistaken as clothes moths, homeowners first notice small moths flying in a zigzag fashion around rooms (kitchens and pantries) in the home. These moths fly mostly at night and are attracted to lights and may appear in the living room near or in front of television sets. Occasionally, the larvae or "white worms with black heads" crawl up walls and suspend from the ceiling attached to a single silken thread. Other times, a few larvae may be found in a food package along with unsightly webbing, cast skins and frass (fecal pellets). It is repulsive to the homeowner and costly to the manufacturer. Packages of whole wheat, graham flour and corn meal are often infested. Most complaints in New York occur during the months of July and August, but often appear in the Spring as the weather warms above 55ยบ. Some adult moths do fly into the home during summer months through open doors or windows, but most "hitchhike" inside in packaged goods and groceries. Not only homes, but restaurants, grocery stores, warehouses, pet stores, seed companies, mills etc., become infested.

Identification
Adult moths are about 3/8-inch (8 to 10mm) long when at rest and have a wing spread of about 1/2 to 3/4 inch (18 to 20mm). When viewed from above with the wings folded over the back, the outer 2/3 of the wing appears reddish-brown or bronze colored "at the wing tips" while the inner 2/3 of the wing "at the basal portion" is light gray to ochre-yellow. Also, the head and thorax are reddish-brown and the hind wings gray. The larvae or "caterpillars" are about 2/3 inch (12.5mm) when mature. Brown-headed larvae are dirty white, sometimes tinged pink or green. Larvae are quite active and molt four to seven times before pupating. Pupae are reddish-brown and about 3/8-inch long. Eggs are grayish to dirty white and from 0.3 to 0.5mm long.



Life Cycle and Habits
The female moth lays between 60 and 300 eggs, singly or in clusters, on or near the foodstuffs. Eggs hatch in 2 to 14 days with larvae or "tiny whitish caterpillars" dispersing within a few hours. Larvae move to foodstuffs, and feed in or near a tunnel-like case of frass and silk which they web together. Some food becomes matted with silken webbing. The larval stage is the feeding or "pest stage," and may range from 2 to 41 weeks, depending on the temperature. In stored grains, feeding is done at the surface. When ready to pupate, mature larvae leave their tubes and spin a silken cocoon. They often migrate or "wander" a considerable distance from their food source before finding the pupation site, often in cracks and crevices. Some crawl up walls to where the wall and ceiling meet or crawl to the top of the cupboard to spin the cocoon in which they pupate and from which new adult moths emerge. Mating occurs and the life cycle is repeated. The life cycle may range from the shortest period of four weeks to the longest of 300 days. Under good conditions, the entire life cycle requires six to eight weeks. However, in cold climates, larvae overwinter and pupate in March. Moths emerge in April. Generations overlap as the season progresses. There may be five generations per year in some locations. The life cycle depends on temperature, taking two to six months in temperate zones and three to four weeks in warm climates.

Control Measures
1-Before purchasing, examine foods such as milled cereal products, flour and dried fruit for infestations. Examine broken and damaged packages and boxes to avoid bringing stored pests accidentally into the home. Check the packaging date to ensure freshness.

2-Purchase seldom-used foods in small quantities to prevent long storage periods of a month or more. Susceptible material stored for six months or more, especially during the hot summer months, has the possibility of developing into serious infestations. Store susceptible foods in insect-proof containers of glass, metal or plastic ware with tight-fitting lids, ideally screw-type. Highly susceptible foods, such as spices, can be kept in the refrigerator and other foods in the freezer. Always use older packages first, and inspect frequently to avoid any spillage which might attract insects. Properly ventilate the storage area to discourage moisture-loving pests.

3-Foods of questionable infestations or even lightly infested can be supercooled or superheated. Place exposed or suspect foods in a freezer at 0°F. for four to seven days or in a microwave oven for five minutes or in a shallow pan or tray in the oven at 140°F for one hour or 120°F for two hours. Spread the material thinly to permit effective cold or heat penetration to kill all life stages of the pest. If in the oven, stir food periodically to prevent possible scorching. Dried fruits can be placed in cheese cloth bags and dipped into boiling water for six to ten seconds to kill external pests. However, seeds saved for planting may have the germination reduced after superheating or cooling. Sifting the food material will remove possible insect fragments and any remaining will not cause harm if consumed. After insects are killed, contaminated food might be used outdoors during winter months for bird feed.

4-Careful sanitation is the best method to avoid stored product pests. After removing all food, food packages, utensils, dishes, etc. from the cupboard, shelves or storage area, use a strong suction vacuum cleaner with proper attachments to clean up all spilled foods (toaster crumbs, cornmeal, bits of pet food, raisins, etc.) from cracks and crevices, behind and under appliances and furniture. Pull out heavy appliances from the wall and scrub with soap and hot water. The ability of these insects to find a small amount of food and survive is amazing. After shelves are thoroughly dry, cover with clean, fresh paper or foil before replacing with food or cooking utensils. Remove and destroy any cocoons found in cupboards and other sites.

5-Locate the source of infestation and quickly get rid of it. Dispose of heavily infested foods in wrapped, strong, plastic bags or in sealed containers for garbage disposal service or bury deep in the soil if permitted and practical. If detection is made early, it may be the only material infested and the problem is solved. Be sure to carefully examine seldom-used foods, especially in least disturbed storage areas. One can spread suspected foods on a tray to determine whether infestation is widespread. Inspect unopened cardboard boxes since pests can chew into these boxes and plastic inserts.

6-Pheromone traps are commercially available for inspection, monitoring, and pinpointing infestations of adult Indianmeal moths. Insects use pheromones to communicate with each other, and are natural compounds created in the insect body. Many have been isolated in the laboratory and now used to lure insects into sticky traps.

Adult moths live only five to seven days with their major function to reproduce. Male moths are attracted to pheromone scent (sex-attractant). Traps can be hung indoors next to the ceiling, behind shelves, etc. to capture moths on a sticky board. In food warehouses, some use five traps per 1,000 square feet. A few well-placed traps can detect moths. About one in eight Indianmeal moths that approach a pheromone trap enters it. The trap alone is a "monitoring tool" not a control method.

If you suspect you have an Indian Meal Moth problem, contact Magic Exterminating to see how our New York City Pest Control procedures can help stop the infestation, and prevent future problems..

Reference: HYG-2089-97 William F. Lyon Ohio State Fact Sheet

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eastern Subterranean Termites by Ralph H. Maestre BCE

Latin Name: Order Isoptera

Appearance:
Four "castes" of a termite colony: workers are approximately 1/4-inch long, light-colored and wingless; soldiers have elongated heads with mandibles; supplementary reproductives are light-colored and wingless or have very short, nonfunctional wings.

Habit:
Live in colonies underground, from which they build tunnels in search of food; able to reach food above the ground level by building mud tubes; dependent on moisture for survival.

Diet:
Wood and other cellulose material.

Reproduction:
Different rates of growth from egg stage to adult depending on individual species; one queen per colony, which can lay tens of thousands of eggs in its lifetime, but most eggs are laid by supplementary reproductives in an established colony.
Other:
Termites cause over $2 billion in damages each year. Subterranean termites cause 95% of all termite damage in North America. Colonies can contain up to 1 million members.

Termite Baiting

The Sentricon® Colony Elimination System is manufactured by Dow AgroSciences LLC (Indianapolis, IN; 1-800-678-2388; www.sentricon.com/). The Sentricon® System is sold only through pest management firms that have been authorized and trained by Dow AgroSciences. This termite bait was the first to be commercially introduced into the United States and has been marketed since 1995. It is labeled to be used as the sole measure to achieve termite control, without a supplementary soil treatment.

The active ingredient (toxicant) in the Sentricon® System is a slow-acting chemical, 0.5% hexaflumuron (Recruit® II). During 2003, hexaflumuron is slated to be replaced with noviflumuron (Recruit® III and IV). Both of these chemicals are chitin synthesis inhibitors (CSIs) that disrupt the termites' normal molting process, causing them to die in the process of shedding their skin. CSIs can achieve their effects because worker termites continue to molt periodically throughout their life and they comprise the majority of the colony. Furthermore, workers feed other colony members, which starve as the worker population is depleted.

The Sentricon® System is based on a multi-step process that entails monitoring to identify stations that contain active termites, delivery of the toxic bait, and on-going monitoring to detect new termite infestations. Termites are detected by inserting plastic in-ground monitoring stations into the soil at intervals around the building perimeter and at conducive sites. Each in-ground Sentricon® station consists of a cylindrical green tube (10 inches deep by 2 inches wide) with slits for termite access; it is covered by a flat, round disc (locking cap assembly) that lies flush with the soil surface. Initially, two pieces of untreated wood are placed inside each station to serve as the monitoring device. Several of the stations are pre-baited in auxiliary stations during the initial installation process. Once termites have been found in the wood monitors, a treated bait tube is substituted. Termites are carefully dislodged from the monitoring wood and placed into the bait tube where they begin feeding on the bait as they tunnel through it and then eventually reunite with their colony members in the soil. In the process, they deposit trail pheromones (chemical scents) that promote recruitment of other nest mates to the bait. All stations around the structure are inspected on a continuing basis and bait delivery continues until no more live termites are found. Termite elimination is considered to be achieved if no termites are evident for three consecutive months, excluding inclement winter weather that may cause termites to be absent. Bait tubes subsequently are removed and untreated wood is once again inserted and monitored. On-going monitoring at less frequent intervals is useful to detect termites that have re-infested the area.

Above ground bait stations complement the Sentricon® System. These are tan, rectangular boxes containing two treated paper rolls (Recruit® AG) that are positioned above ground over active termite shelter tubes. The use of aboveground stations in combination with in-ground stations can enhance delivery of the bait toxicant to the colony.
The Sentricon® System has undergone extensive evaluation throughout the United States. A large number of field trials with Sentricon® have demonstrated elimination of subterranean termites.

Carpenter Bees by Ralph H. Maestre BCE

Carpenter bees are so named because they excavate galleries in wood to create nest sites. They do not consume wood. Rather, they feed on pollen and nectar. Carpenter bees are important pollinators of flowers and trees. Carpenter bees typically are just nuisance pests that cause cosmetic. When left unchecked the damage may become structural. Considerable wood damage can result from many generations of carpenter bees enlarging existing galleries in wood.


Large carpenter bees belong to the genus Xylocopa. Two native species, Xylocopa virginica and Xylocopa micans, occur in the eastern United States. There also are a number of native carpenter bees in the western United States. This fact sheet primarily pertains to X. virginica, which has the common name of carpenter bee.

Figure 1. Carpenter bee. (Courtesy of Kansas State University.)

Identification


Carpenter bees are large and robust. X. virginica is three-fourths to one-inch long, black, with a metallic sheen. The thorax is covered with bright yellow, orange, or white hairs, and the upper side of the abdomen is black, glossy, and bare (Figure 1). The female has a black head, and the male has white markings on the head. Carpenter bees have a dense brush of hairs on the hind legs.

Carpenter bees somewhat resemble bumble bees, except bumble bees have dense yellow hairs on the abdomen and large pollen baskets on the hind legs. Various species of bumble bees and carpenter bees are similar in size. Bumble bees typically nest in the ground whereas carpenter bees nest in wood.

Life History
Carpenter bees are solitary insects that do not form colonies. Male and female carpenter bees overwinter as adults within their old nest gallery. Adults emerge in the spring (April and early May) and mate. There is one generation per year.

The males are not long lived, and the female carpenter bee prepares the nest. Gallery construction is a time- and energy-consuming process, and the female will preferentially refurbish an old nest rather than excavate a new one. When constructing a new nest, the female uses her strong jaws (mandibles) to excavate a clean-cut, round nest entrance hole on the lateral surface of wood in an exposed or unexposed location. This hole is slightly less than 1/2-inch wide, approximately the diameter of her body. She bores into the wood perpendicular to the grain for one to two inches then makes a right angle turn and excavates along the wood grain for four to six inches to create a gallery (tunnel). She excavates the gallery at the rate of about one inch in six days.

The female bee creates a series of provisioned brood cells in the excavated gallery. The larval provision consists of a mixture of pollen and regurgitated nectar formed into a ball. The female forms a food ball at the far end of an excavated gallery, lays an egg on top of the mass, and then walls off the brood cell with a plug of chewed wood pulp. A female often creates six to 10 partitioned brood cells in a linear row in one gallery, and she dies soon thereafter. Larvae feed on the pollen/nectar food mass, which is sufficient food for them to develop to the adult stage.


The life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult) is completed in approximately seven weeks, although developmental time may vary depending on the temperature. The new adults typically remain in their gallery for several weeks then chew through the cell partitions and venture outside in late August. They collect and store pollen in the existing galleries, but also spend much of their time just huddled together inside a gallery. These new adults hibernate in galleries because they require shelter during the winter. They then emerge the following spring.

Habits
Carpenter bees nest in a wide range of softwoods and hardwoods, particularly if the wood is weathered. Eastern species of carpenter bees prefer softwoods such as cedar, redwood, cypress, pine, and fir. The bees can more easily tunnel through woods that are soft and that have a straight grain. Western species of carpenter bees often nest in oak, eucalyptus, and redwood.


Carpenter bees attack structural timbers and other wood products, including fence posts, utility poles, firewood, arbors, and lawn furniture. In buildings, carpenter bees nest in bare wood near roof eaves and gables, fascia boards, porch ceilings, decks, railings, siding, shingles, shutters, and other weathered wood. These bees avoid wood that is well painted or covered with bark.


The carpenter bee entrance hole in wood may not necessarily be in an exposed area. For example, the inner lip of fascia boards is a common site of attack. Nail holes, exposed saw cuts, and unpainted wood are attractive sites for the bees to start their excavations.

Figure 2. Carpenter bee entrance hole in fascia.
Figure 3. Carpenter bee staining on siding below the fascia.

Figure 4. Carpenter bee gallery exposed in wood.

Economic Importance
Despite their beneficial aspect of being important pollinators of many trees and flowers, carpenter bees also may be nuisance pests around structures. Carpenter bees are noisy, which may be bothersome. These large bees create alarm when they dive-bomb or fly erratically around humans. In actuality, these are male bees, which are territorial but harmless because they lack a stinger. Only females have a stinger. Female carpenter bees are docile and are reported to sting only if handled.

Carpenter bees create a nuisance by excavating round entry holes in wood (Figure 2) and depositing yellowish to brownish streaks of excrement and pollen on surfaces below entry holes (Figure 3). They also produce coarse sawdust from their borings. The carpenter bee gallery system is confined within the wood (Figure 4) and hence is not visible.

Carpenter bee damage to wood initially is minor, and carpenter bees seldom cause consequential structural damage. However, their repeated colonization of the same wood can eventually cause considerable wood damage. Carpenter bees preferentially refurbish and enlarge an existing tunnel instead of boring a new one, and a gallery can extend for 10 feet if used by many carpenter bees over the years.

Carpenter bees sometimes construct new tunnels near old ones, with infestations persisting for several years. This complex system of tunnels can result in extensive damage to wood. Wood replacement is necessary when the strength of structural members, posts, poles, and other wood products is reduced due to carpenter bee damage.

Carpenter bees also may be indirectly responsible for unsightly wood damage when woodpeckers riddle the wood with holes searching for the developing carpenter bees to feed upon.

Integrated Pest Management
When dealing with carpenter bees, it is preferable to locate tunnel entrances during the daytime, but treat after dark on a cool evening when carpenter bees are less active. Wear protective clothing to avoid any stings during treatment.

Prevention
Keep all exposed wood surfaces well painted with a -polyurethane or oil-base paint to deter attack by carpenter bees. Periodically inspect painted surfaces, because the coatings will begin to deteriorate due to weathering, leaving exposed wood that the bees then can easily attack. Wood stains will not prevent damage. Consider using aluminum, asbestos, asphalt, vinyl siding, and similar non-wood materials that are not damaged by carpenter bees. Seal existing gallery entrance holes to discourage carpenter bees that are looking for potential nesting sites.

Mechanical Measures
A non-insecticidal management approach is to deny carpenter bees access to their galleries by sealing each entrance hole. Thoroughly plug the hole with caulking compound, wood putty, or a wooden dowel affixed with wood glue. If possible, also fill the entire gallery system with a sealant. Carpenter bee galleries are a critical resource, since the bees spend much of their time inside a gallery, and they require its protective conditions to survive the winter. Bees that are trapped inside a caulked gallery typically will not chew out due to behavioral constraints. This barrier approach has promise for reducing future carpenter bee infestations.


In new nests, the single female often can be swatted and killed, or she can be captured and crushed or otherwise destroyed. Larvae and pupae can be killed by inserting a sturdy wire into the entrance hole and probing into the gallery as deeply as possible.

Insecticides
A chemical treatment using an appropriately labeled insecticide can protect wood for short periods, especially in the spring and summer when carpenter bee nesting activity is apparent. Dust formulations typically provide residual effects and are effective due to the nature of carpenter bee gallery construction. Precisely inject the dust directly into each nest entrance hole and as deep into the tunnel as possible and also apply it to the adjacent wood surface. Wait for a few days before plugging entrance holes since adult bees should be allowed to pass freely to distribute the insecticide within the galleries. Newly emerged bees also will contact the dust when attempting to leave their gallery. The most popular dusts used are Tempo D (cyfluthrin), Drione and Tri-Die (pyrethrins), and Apicide (carbaryl).

For use as a preventive, an insecticide should be applied to wood in early spring before carpenter bees begin excavating nests. The insecticide kills the bees that contact it on the wood’s surface. However, a preventive approach has limitations because of the difficulty in applying a chemical to all exposed wood on the house where bees could nest. Furthermore, such insecticides usually degrade in a matter of weeks or months so repeated applications are needed to maintain a lethal dose of the insecticide. Some pest management companies report good results against carpenter bees by spraying wood with a microencapsulated pyrethroid, Demand CS insecticide (registered for use only by licensed professional applicators), which contains the active ingredient lambda-cyhalothrin. A number of other pyrethroids (bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, permethrin, etc.) also are labeled for use against carpenter bees.
Insecticides that act as stomach poisons, such as borates, typically are ineffective against carpenter bees, which do not ingest the wood that they excavate.

Compiled From Susan C. JonesAssociate Professor, Entomology; Extension Specialist, Household and Structural Pests: Ohio State Pest Fact Sheets

Friday, March 26, 2010

Clover Mites by Ralph H. Maestre, BCE

Clover mites sometimes invade homes in enormous numbers, in early spring and late autumn, overrunning floors, walls, drapes, window sills and furniture, even occasionally getting into beds and clothing. They may become troublesome in hospitals, nursing homes, apartments, food processing facilities, etc. If crushed, they leave a reddish stain quite noticeable on linens, curtains, walls and woodwork. They are a nuisance by their presence but do not bite humans or animals, transmit disease nor feed on household furnishings or pantry supplies. Skin irritation may be caused in sensitive persons. They live outdoors, feeding on various plants.

Identification
Clover mites are about 1/30 inch long (smaller than a pinhead), oval-shaped arachnids, reddish-brown to olive to pale orange or sometimes green-brown after feeding. They are eight-legged with the front pair of legs very long, protruding forward at the head. These front legs are sometimes mistaken as antennae or feelers. There are featherlike plates on the body and fan-shaped like hairs along the back edge of the body when viewed under a magnifying glass. Young are smaller and bright red. Also, eggs are bright red. Crawling mites are sluggish, slow-moving and normally invade the home where the sun is warmest at south, southwest and east side of the house.

Life Cycle and Habits
Clover mites develop from unfertilized eggs (no males needed). Females lay about 70 eggs each, singly or in masses, in cracks and faults in concrete foundations, in mortar crevices, between the building walls, under loose bark of trees, and other protected places. Eggs lay dormant during the hot summer, hatching in early autumn when temperatures fall below 85 degrees F, followed by two nymphal or resting stages and the adult. Each stage lasts two to six days, and the life cycle is completed outdoors in one month with two or more generations per year. Mites may live one to seven months depending on climatic conditions. Most mites over winter as eggs, but all life stages can be present. Over wintering eggs hatch in early spring. Mites can be found infesting homes from November through June and again in the autumn months. They are sensitive to temperature changes (most active between 50 to 75 degrees F) and tend to move upward as the sun warms the surface above them. They may invade the home during the summer if host plants are dried up or cut off. Hosts include grasses (heavy feeding gives a silvered appearance), clover, dandelion, shepherd's purse, strawberry and iris, to name a few. Most heavy outbreaks occur in early spring in well-fertilized lawns growing close to the house foundation on the sunny side of the house; although in the fall, thousands of clover mites may congregate on vegetation around homes and on foundation walls, crawling into protected places as cold weather arrives. They hide under shingles, under siding, behind window and door casings or even indoors, becoming active again in the spring.

Control Measures

Prevention
Remove all grass and weeds (lush vegetation) from around the house foundation perimeter, leaving a bare strip 18 to 24 inches wide, especially on the south, southwest and east sides of the building. Mites will not cross-bare, loose soil as readily as grassy surfaces touching the foundation. This bare strip can be planted with flowers such as geranium, zinnia, wallflowers, marigold, salvia, rose, chrysanthemum and petunia, or shrubs such as juniper, spruce, arborvitae, yew or barberry, which are unattractive to these mites deterring buildup and migration. An application of pea gravel in the strip will also discourage mite invasion. Some apply bark mulch, stone or black plastic. Be sure to seal cracks and gaps or other points of entry with caulking compound, putty and weather stripping around foundations, windows and doors. Use tight fitting screens on windows and doors.

Insecticides
It is best to use a perimeter spray barrier around the outside of the house during the mite invasion period. Outdoors, spray the foundation, exterior walls up to the bottom of the first floor windows, and always follow label directions. Treatment from the foundation out into the grass should be performed when permitted. Spray the foundation and walls and the vegetation until it is thoroughly wet. Materials labeled for this use include pyrethrins (Exciter, Microcare, Pyrethrum, Pyrenone). Granules may be used if labeled. Some additional products may be used indoors and out are PT 221L, PI, Steri-fab, and Tri-Die. We must read the labels carefully for treatment procedures. A product like Transport GHP may be use outdoors only. Spot applications can be made to cracks and crevices at baseboards, around windows and doors and between windows and screens with labeled materials. Before using any insecticides, be sure to read the label and follow directions and safety precautions.

Clover mites can be a huge problem in New York City and Long Island this spring. Its best to contact a professional exterminating company in your area to resolve any issues.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Carpenter Ants by Ralph H. Maestre, BCE

Carpenter ants are a nuisance by their presence when found in parts of the home such as the kitchen, bathroom, living room and other quarters. When 20 or more large winged and/or wingless ants are found indoors, in the daytime near one location, it is possible that the colony is well established in the home and the nest may have been extended into sound wood, sometimes causing structural damage. They do not eat wood, but often remove quantities of it to expand their nest size. However, if only one to two large wingless ants are erratically crawling, they may simply be foraging for food with the nest located outside. Outdoors, they are frequently seen running over plants and tree trunks or living in moist, partly rotten wood stumps. Nevertheless, carpenter ant inquiries rank first over all other household/structural pests in many states.

Identification

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in homes and live in colonies containing three castes consisting of winged and wingless queens, winged males and different sized workers. Winged males are much smaller than winged queens. Wingless queens measure 5/8 inch, winged queens 3/4 inch to the tips of their folded brownish wings, small minor workers 1/4 inch and large major workers 1/2 inch. Workers have some brown on them while queens are black. Workers have large heads and a small thorax while adult swarmers have a smaller head and large thorax. Carpenter ants have a smoothly rounded arched (convex) shape to the top of the thorax when viewed from the side and a pedicel between the thorax and abdomen consisting of only one segment or node. They have constricted waists, elbowed antennas and the reproductive's forewings are larger than the hindwings, transparent or brownish and not easily removed. Adults are usually black with some species red, brown or yellow occurring on parts of the body and legs. Eggs are about 1/8-inch long, cream colored and oval. Larvae are legless and grub-like, later pupating in tough silken, tan-colored cocoons erroneously referred to as "ant eggs."

Carpenter ant queen her first brood of eggs and larvae

Life Cycle and Habits
Winged male and female carpenter ants (swarmers) emerge from mature colonies usually from March to July in New York City and Long Island. After mating, males die and newly fertilized females (mated for life), establish a new colony in a small cavity in wood, under bark, etc. and each lays 15 to 20 eggs in 15 days. The egg stage takes about 24 days, larval stage 21 days and pupal stage 21 days or about 66 days from egg to adult at 70 to 90 degrees F. Cool weather may lengthen this period up to 10 months. The colony does not produce swarmers until about three years later. A mature colony, after three to six years, has 2,000 to 4,000 individuals.

In later generations, workers of various sizes are produced (polymorphism) into major and minor workers, which are all sterile females. Males formed are winged swarmers. Larger "major" workers guard the nest, battle intruders, explore and forage for food while smaller "minor" workers expand the nest and care for the young. Workers, when disturbed, carry off the larvae and pupa, which must be fed and tended or they die. In a mature colony, there is usually one queen with 200 to 400 winged individuals produced as swarmers. Workers have strong jaws and readily bite (sharp pinch) when contacted.

Nests are usually established in soft, moist (not wet), decayed wood or occasionally in an existing wood cavity or void area in a structure that is perfectly dry. Workers cut galleries in the wood, expanding the nest size for the enlarging colony. Galleries are irregular, usually excavated with the wood grain (sometimes across the grain) into softer portions of the wood. The walls of the nest are smooth and clean (sandpapered appearance) with shredded sawdust-like wood fragments, like chewed up toothpicks (frass), carried from the nest and deposited outside. Carpenter ants do not eat wood but excavate wood galleries to rear their young ants and carry aphids to plants, placing them on leaves for the production of honey dew. The food diet is of great variety (omnivorous) of both plant and animal origin such as plant juices, fresh fruits, insects (living or dead), meats, syrup, honey, jelly, sugar, grease, fat, honey dew (aphid excrement), etc. They feed readily on termites and usually never co-exist with them in a home. Workers are known to forage for food as far as 100 yards from their nest.

Control Measures
The most important and often most difficult part of carpenter ant control is locating the nest or nests. Once the nest location is found, control is very easy and simple. Sometimes more than one colony is present in the structure or on its grounds, so a thorough inspection is very important. Steps to a successful inspection include an interview with family members, indoor inspections, outdoor inspections and sound detection.

Interview
Often children and adults of the residence know where ants are seen, where large numbers are most prevalent, movement patterns, moisture in the structure, moisture problems of the past, if swarmers were seen, location of sawdust-like material in piles, populations outdoors, etc.

Indoors Inspection
Nests can be found in either moist or dry wood. A moisture meter can find wet spots to pinpoint possible nest locations. Inspect behind bathroom tiles, around tubs, showers, sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerator drip pans, etc. Check wood affected by moisture from contact with the soil such as steps, porch supports, siding, seepage from plugged drain gutters, chimney flashing, wooden shingle roofs, hollow porch posts, columns, leaking window and door frames, window boxes, crawl spaces, pipes, poor pitch of porch roofs, flat deck porch roofs, under porches, attics, etc. Look for damaged timbers, swarmers in spider webs, wood piles indoors, piles of wood debris ejected from the colony (pencil sharpener shaving-like), "windows" or small opening to a nest, etc.

Notice NO Mud in the galleries

Inspection Outdoors
Look for ants traveling from a tree or stump to the structure. They may travel over tree branches or vines touching the roof, electrical and telephone wires, fences next to the house, piles of firewood, logs, or railroad ties nearby or hollow living trees with entrance knot holes, etc. Workers are most active at night (midnight), traveling from their nest to a food source following trails but no particular trail leading directly to the nest. They do establish chemical (pheromone) trails.

Sound Detection
An active colony may produce a distinct, dry rustling sound (sometimes loud), similar to the crinkling of cellophane. It may be heard in a wall when standing in a room. A listening device, such as a stethoscope, may be useful when conditions are quiet and outside noises are at a minimum.

Prevention
Homeowners should trim all trees and bushes so branches do not touch or come in contact with the house. Correct moisture problems such as leaking roofs, leaking chimney flashing, or plumbing, poorly ventilated attics or crawl spaces and blocked gutters. Replace rotted or water-damaged wood and eliminate wood to soil contact. Remove dead stumps within 50 feet of the house, if practical, and repair trees with damage at broken limbs, and holes in the trunk. Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wiring occur from outside is paramount. Be sure to store firewood off the ground away from the house and bring in only enough firewood (first examining it) to be used quickly.

Insecticides
If the nest is located in a wall void, it is best to dust directly with Tri-Die, Drione, or Boric acid. Drilling 1/4 or 3/8 inch holes into the wall, sills or joists, where the nest is located, will best help the insecticide penetrate. Treat three to six feet on either side of where ants are entering to hopefully contact the nest. Some drill a series of holes at 12-inch intervals in infested timbers to intercept cavities and galleries of the nest. Holes can later be sealed by putting in dowels as plugs, small corks or covering with an appropriate sealant and touched up with paint, leaving no visible damage from the repairs. Spraying or dusting the baseboards or cracks and crevices around the infested area with residual insecticides, without locating and treating the nest, usually does not give complete control. Kill might be slow with only crack and crevice treatment since workers need to carry enough insecticide on their feet back into the nest. Ants in the nest can live more than six months without feeding. However, aerosol spray treatments in the nest can be effective if much insulation is present. Approaches and areas adjacent to the nest must be thoroughly treated with residual insecticides such as Phantom or other approved product. Outside the structure, all breaks where ants can enter the home must be treated, and a perimeter spray applied against the foundation wall at least two feet up and three feet out. Be sure to treat under the lower edge of sidings, around window and doorframes and the chimney flashing.

There are many insecticides labeled for ant control. Before using an insecticide, always read the label, follow directions and safety precautions. For professional assistance, contact Magic Exterminating to eliminate your carpenter ant problems.

Most apply a perimeter spray treatment around the house foundation. Avoid simply spraying each month whenever ants are seen. Infestations will continue unless nests are eliminated. Locating the nest is not always easy, but is essential for control.

Keys words: Carpenter Ant ID, Colony Size, Polymorphism, Frass, Omnivorous, Foraging Distance, Nest Sites, Proper Inspections, Pest Proofing


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bird Mite by Ralph H. Maestre BCE

Magic Pest Management services Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Nassau. Within these territories Rats and Birds causes infestations that lead to property damage, food contamination, and disease. When we attack these pest problems and resolve them Magic understands that secondary problems may occur. These come in the form of parasites. These parasites cause constant irritation through bites. Like all good parasites that feed on humans, the females need a blood meal for egg production. These parasites are mites. Known most commonly as: Bird mites and Rat mites; are sometimes also referred to as Tropical rat mite, Northern fowl mite, Tropical fowl mite, bird mite, and rat mites.

Origin: Possibly African in origin, as the Tropical rat mite was first recorded infesting rats in Egypt. These mites are now found throughout the world, although the Northern fowl mite (O. sylviarum) is more common in cooler climates and the Tropical fowl mite (O. bursa) more common in the warmer climates.

Biology: These are parasitic mites that infest warm-blooded animals. As their common names imply they may have preferred hosts of rodents or birds, but in the absence of those hosts, or in heavily infested structures, they also bite humans so pest control is important. Distinguishing each kind to its individual species is very difficult, but by identifying them to the genus level will help indicate the likely hosts. The host may be present within or on the structure. Unlike many fleas and ticks none of these mite species have been implicated as an important vector of any diseases to humans, but their bites can be very painful and lead to itching, irritated rashes. While sexual reproduction occurs the females also may reproduce parthenogenetically, without fertilization by males. The time from egg to adult mite is usually less than 2 weeks, with 4 or 5 blood meals taken during this growth period. The nymphs generally cannot survive more than 12 days without food, while adults may survive over 2 months without a blood meal.

Identification: The mites are distinguished from most other common, structural species by the very long legs and very long mouth parts. These long, pointed chelicerae and palps stick well out in front of the head region. The 8 legs are very long and well separated, allowing for good mobility by these mites. The body is oval, with the thorax and abdomen combined to a single segment without separation. The color is light grayish in unfed mites to reddish orange in mites recently having had a blood meal. The fowl mites often seem to have a patchy, mottled appearance of dark areas.

Characteristics Important in Control: Pest control relies heavily on proper identification, and then discovery of and removal of the source, which will be nests of rodents or birds in or on the structure. If the source of the bird mites is determined to be nests of swallows on the exterior, extreme care must be given to the protected status of these birds. Inspection may be made using white paper or glue pads with a light background, and at least 20X magnification may be needed to make the identification. Once the source is eliminated it may be advisable to treat within attic or crawl space areas as well as within wall voids. Residual dust insecticides or pyrethroids labeled for void treatment can be effective in pest extermination. Surface treatment is difficult since very few products in New York are labels for indoor mite control. Steri-Fab is one, but the residual quality of this product is very short. ULD BP 50 and 100 have mites on the label, but it is difficult to understand the label directions.

Treatments must be done on every rat job that is performed. Both go hand in hand, if the mite control program is not implemented then the customer will be bitten and this leads to bad will (opposite of goodwill). Here at Magic Pest Management LLC we are trying to create protocol and service guidelines to help the office staff and service technicians understand, implement, and solve our customer’s pest problems.

Learn more about Bird Mites in New York City and Long Island.