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How Did Brown-Banded Cockroaches Arrive In Arizona

How Did Brown-Banded Cockroaches Arrive In Arizona Where They Are Not Native, And How Can These Roach Pests Be Controlled Within Infested Homes?

Brown-banded cockroaches are a common roach pest throughout the United States, and especially in the south, but they do not originate in this country. Experts are not completely certain what country they originated from.  One expert suggests they likely came from Africa, but it is possible they were also brought into the U.S. from Cuba in 1903. Other records in Europe indicate it may have been introduced to the country after WWII around the late 1940s or early 1950s when soldiers returned home, unknowingly carrying the pests with them on their journeys back across the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. While it is now distributed all over the country, the brown-banded cockroach prefers relatively high temperatures, making Arizona an appealing place to live.

The brown-banded cockroach has a tendency to spread out their population throughout an entire home, earning it the nickname the “furniture cockroach”. This includes the more obvious locations such as the kitchen, as well as other areas that do not contain food like bedrooms, behind pictures hanging on the walls, and under tables. They particularly prefer to settle in higher locations in a house, hence why they can be found behind pictures high up on walls. They are smaller cockroaches, and are one of the cockroaches that are considered domestic, as they spend most of their time living indoors with humans. Unfortunately, they can negatively affect human health since they are a major source of allergens and especially problematic for those individuals with asthma.

Because brown-banded cockroaches are considered a domestic cockroach, it is best to use an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to eliminating infestations. Brown-banded cockroaches prefer warmer environments, so areas like small crevices, storage cabinets, and any electronic equipment are important to check. Bait traps (both gel and stations) are ideal for controlling the living cockroaches currently scuttling across your floor. You will want to check them every month until the population of cockroaches decreases and make sure to put fresh bait in any empty traps. Making certain structural modifications that could make your home less inviting and accessible to cockroaches such as filling in any cracks and crevices in walls is another important step in dealing with brown-banded cockroach infestations. If an infestation is too heavy, it might be necessary to use insecticides, the use of a combination of liquid insecticide and an insect growth regulator placed in cracks and crevices is generally the most effective method. If all else fails, then it is time to call in the pest control professionals.

Have you ever had to deal with an infestation of brown-banded cockroaches?

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How Do Insect Growth Regulators Eliminate Cockroach Infestations?

How Do Insect Growth Regulators Eliminate Cockroach Infestations?

Much research has been conducted on insect biology, particularly insect pest biology. It should not be surprising to learn that entomologists sometimes discover new ways to control insect pests while studying insect biology. For example, it has long been known that insect behaviors are largely influenced by pheromones, and not long ago, researchers gained the ability to synthesize some insect pheromones for the purpose of insect pest control. Synthesized compounds that mimic the pheromones involved in insect mating and food acquisition are now used to lure certain insect pests to bait stations.

Research on insect maturation led to the development of a class of insecticides known as insect growth regulators (IGRs). Insect growth regulators contain chemicals that alter the physical development of insect pests, ultimately making them unable to reproduce. Since most IGRs render insect pests sterile rather than killing them, several weeks must pass before IGRs fully eliminate an infestation. Despite this, IGRs are favored by many homeowners due to the low amount, or complete absence of toxic substances they contain. IGRs are widely used to control termites, and they are one of the few reliable methods of German cockroach control.

The IGRs known as “juvenoids” contain synthesized compounds that mimic the natural growth hormones of insect pests. When cockroach nymphs are exposed to a juvenoid IGR, they either molt into sterile adults with abnormal physical features, or they remain nymphs. While IGRs are highly effective at eliminating entire German cockroach populations from homes, they are often used in combination with minimal insecticide applications while homeowners wait for IGRs to begin showing results. Some IGRs also stimulate feeding activity among pests, which is useful for controlling German cockroaches that are known for avoiding baits, as stimulating their appetite makes bait acceptance more likely. Some IGRs are chitin synthesis inhibitors, and they work by inhibiting the growth of new exoskeletons after developing larvae or nymphs shed their old ones. Chitin synthesis inhibitors result in death during the developmental stages, and they are often used with success for controlling termites.

Do you think that the next decade will see the introduction of new and more effective pest control methods?

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Coronavirus: Message to Our Customers

During this uncertain time, our customers’ health and well being is our highest priority. As we continue monitoring developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), rest assured, we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure our customers and employees are safe.

We are taking the following precautions regarding our services:

  • Suspending all interior services/treatments unless absolutely necessary
  • Ensuring our team wears proper gloves and masks if entering your home

As a note, we are running on normal business hours at this time. Should you have concerns regarding our services, we’re here to support you and offer flexibility to reschedule at your convenience. We encourage you to contact us at  (480) 654-5888 if you have questions or do wish to reschedule.

As the seriousness of this virus increases, all of our employees have been instructed to follow the CDC’s best practices, including frequent handwashing, limiting proximity to sick individuals, and being aware of symptoms. While this has not been an issue for Magic Pest Control yet, we will also implement 14-day quarantines for any employees who show symptoms or are diagnosed with COVID-19. We encourage you to do the same, so please review the most up-to-date information here.

Finally, our hearts go out to all those affected by Coronavirus. Please check back for regular updates from us as we navigate this evolving situation, and thank you for being a part of our Magic Pest Control family.

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How Baits And Surface Sprays Can Control Flies Around Homes

How Baits And Surface Sprays Can Control Flies Around Homes

Flies are a constant bane in human lives. They ruin our picnics and barbecues, fly right into our face and onto our food, and are an actual threat to our health due to the disgusting germs and bacteria they pick up along their travels and then throw up onto our food or body every time they land somewhere. As you can imagine, an abundance of fly pests can cause some problems in human’s lives. When nothing else works, there are commercial baits and sprays you can turn to as a last resort before calling in a pest control professional.

In certain situations you can find a gathering of flies that begin to congregate outside homes, hanging around on the walls and other nearby surfaces. This can obviously cause problems for people that want to use their patio, porches, backyards, and other outdoor areas. Many of these flies can make their way inside homes when humans open doors to go outside or in, creating even more problems with these pests. There are commercially available insecticides that are marked as outdoor residual surface sprays that can be used in this situation. You can find these treatments in a concentrated form that you have to mix with water to dilute them before using them, in pre-diluted formulas, and in ready-to-use sprays. The proper way to use them, which should always be included on the product label, is to spray the surfaces on which the flies congregate.

If house flies are the main pest, using fly bait strips may also help. They are designed to attract house flies to them, so you don’t want to put them near doorways. They are intended for outdoor use only, and have a pretty potent odor. There are also indoor space sprays that you can use to deal with flies that come indoors. These commercially available aerosol sprays will give short term, immediate help controlling flies. You place the space sprays with the aerosol spray directed upwards inside a room for a specified period of time, vacating the room and keeping it closed off for the amount of time required. Unfortunately, if this doesn’t work, it might be time to call in the professionals.

Have you ever had a serious fly problem around your home? What did you do to try and control it?


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Repeatedly Finding One Type Of Insect Within A Home Is Indicative Of A Pantry Pest Infestation

Stored product pests, or “pantry pests,” are insect pests that infest foods stored within homes, grocery stores and food warehouses. Some pantry pest species invade warehouses and infest stored foods before they are packaged and delivered to grocery stores, while other pantry pest species are more notable for infesting foods stored within homes. Some of the most common pantry pest species that infest stored foods within homes include indianmeal moths, flour beetles, drugstore beetles and sawtoothed grain beetles. In addition to invading food packages and feeding on the contents, pantry pests lay eggs within food packages in order to provide their larval offspring with adequate sustenance upon hatching. Most pantry pests are moth and beetle species, and their larval offspring, which are commonly referred to as caterpillars and grubs, respectively, are responsible for infesting and contaminating stored foods. Most caterpillar and grub pantry pests mature slowly and over relatively long periods of time, so repeatedly spotting the same insect pests within a home is often a sign that a pantry pest infestation has been established.

The indian meal moth is one of the most common indoor insect pests, as homeowners frequently send specimens to extension offices for identification. The adult moths have tan and copper colored wings, and although they are nocturnal, they can often be seen flying around homes during the daytime. When indian meal moths are spotted flying around homes, it is likely that females have already deposited eggs within food packages. Full grown caterpillar larvae are cream colored and around 13 mm in length, and they are known for infesting a variety of grain products, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, powdered milk, bird seed, and dog food. Once the larvae reach maturity, they leave the food source where they developed in order to search for a proper place to pupate. During this stage larvae are frequently found on ceilings, walls, tables and countertops. In order to eliminate infestations, all infested food products must be located and discarded. In some infestation cases, removing all infested food items is sufficient for elimination, but heavier infestations require a minimal application of insecticide.

Have you ever found several moths in your home?


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Which Structural Woods Do Termites Prefer To Infest Within Homes

Which Structural Woods Do Termites Prefer To Infest Within Homes, And How Do Subterranean And Drywood Termites Know Which Wood Sources Provide Optimal Nourishment?

Several damaging species of subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites infest homes and buildings all year round in Arizona. Species from both the dampwood and drywood termite groups live in colonies that are contained entirely within single above-ground wood items. Generally, drywood termites establish infestations within sources of sound and dry wood, and this is especially the case when it comes to the western drywood termite, which is the most destructive drywood termite pest species in the country.

Unlike drywood termites, dampwood termites establish infestations exclusively within decayed wood items that have become heavily saturated with moisture. Due to their preference for feeding on rotting and waterlogged wood sources, dampwood termites are not found infesting structural wood within homes as often as they are found infesting open-air wood sources that have already sustained damage from rainwater. Dampwood termites frequently infest wood fences, utility poles, patio-wood, and occasionally, infestations are found in hardwood flooring located above consistently damp crawl space environments.

Subterranean termites dwell beneath the ground where mature colonies can contain anywhere between 50,000 and two million individual termites, making them much larger than the drywood and dampwood termite colonies found within single pieces of wood. Subterranean termite workers generally infest relatively moist substructural wood components that are located in close proximity to their ground-soil habitat. Workers digest moist and rotting wood more rapidly than sound dry wood, but unlike dampwood termites, subterranean termites do not rely solely on moist wood for their water needs, as workers can return to the moist soil in order to hydrate as needed.

Since pest species from all three termite groups feed within interior wood cavities where they remain hidden from view, infested wood usually appears undamaged. However, termite damaged wood will produce a hollow sound when tapped, and the surface of heavily infested wood will collapse in response to exterior pressure. Drywood termite nymphs possess particularly strong and durable jaws that allow them to chew into dense and hard summerwood portions of lumber as well as softer springwood portions. Subterranean termite workers, on the other hand, cannot readily chew into summerwood, and they also have a difficult time digesting hard wood particles. Subterranean termites are usually found infesting sill plates, beams, joists and other moist substructural lumber components near the ground-soil, but drywood termite infestations can be found anywhere on a home’s interior timber-frame or exterior wood paneling. Drywood termite alates frequently initiate new colonies within attics, behind wood siding, and below roof shingles. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termite infestations are also commonly found in wood furniture.

Have you ever discovered a drywood termite infestation within wood furniture?



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House Flies Can Travel Distances Of 20 Miles, And They Are Known To Carry More Than 100 Diseases

House Flies Can Travel Distances Of 20 Miles, And They Are Known To Carry More Than 100 Diseases

Despite their name, house flies are generally found outdoors, but can become a nuisance indoors when doors or windows are left open or have damaged or poorly constructed screens. This can become a bigger problem during the summer, as they are most active on warm days and reproduce at a faster rate during the summer months, increasing their overall population and presence in our daily lives. This is when they can go from being a minor nuisance to a problem pest inside homes.

As Arizona heads into summer, the buzzing of house flies inside people’s homes has increased, so have the complaints about them. Local pest control companies have been experiencing an increase of calls about problems with house flies in residential homes. These house flies are more than just a nuisance pest, and can pose a health threat due to the over 100 diseases they can carry around. They breed in the most disgusting of conditions, requiring some kind of decaying organic matter such as feces and garbage. They also pick up all manner of waste and germs as they fly around, and continuously deposit feces everywhere they take a rest, in addition to regurgitating the noxious contents of their stomachs on every surface they land on. This means that if you see one land on your plate or burger outside or inside, they have most certainly left behind some pretty gross and unsanitary stuff.

House flies can travel long distances to find the unsanitary food and conditions they need to survive. They can travel as far as 20 miles if necessary, although most stick to an area of ½ to 1 mile surrounding their breeding site. If you are experiencing a greater number of house fly pests indoors than usual, that could mean you or one of your neighbors has a garbage problem or another area inside or near your home that needs some serious cleaning.

Have you noticed more house flies buzzing around inside your home than usual?


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Canyon Flies And Face Flies Are Now Transmitting Parasitic Worms

Musca autumnalis, better known as the “face fly,” is a very common fly species that is known to be a frequent home-invading pest throughout the United States. Face flies frequently invade homes in large numbers during the fall and winter seasons in order to establish a warm shelter for overwintering. These flies gravitate into wall voids, tight attic spaces and other inaccessible indoor areas, and they get their common name from their habit of landing on people’s faces where they feed on tears and other fluids secreted from the mucous membranes in the nose, eyes and mouth. Unlike cosmopolitan face flies, the group of fly pests commonly known as “canyon flies” can only  be found in the southwestern region of the country. Much like face flies, however, canyon flies feed on mucus, tears, sweat and other bodily fluids.

Since face flies breed on manure, they spread bacteria into the eyes of humans, cattle and horses, which often results in conjunctivitis, or “pink eye.” In addition to causing pink eye, face flies are known to transmit a parasitic disease known as thelaziasis to horses and cattle. Less is known about the breeding habits of the nine documented canyon fly species found in the southwest, but at least one canyon fly species, Fannia thelaziae, has been documented as transmitting thelaziasis to humans on at least ten occasions in the southwest. All ten of these cases involved the nematode eye-worm species known as Thelazia californiensis. These flies transmit several eye worm-parasite species to animals in the country, including Thelazia gulosa.

During 2016, an Oregon woman visited the doctor after experiencing odd sensations in her eye. Doctors discovered several parasitic worms in her eye that were later revealed to be Thelazia gulosa parasites. While common in cattle, this particular eye-worm species had never been found infecting a human, and last year, T. gulosa parasites were found in the eye of a southern California woman. This woman contracted the parasites after jogging through a fly swarm. So far these are the only two documented human cases of T. gulosa infection, and it is not known whether face flies or canyon flies transmitted the parasites in these cases. Because of these two alarming cases, medical researchers are worried that flies may start transmitting eye-worms to humans throughout the country.

Have you ever been pestered by flies landing on your face?

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The Western Bloodsucking Conenose Bug Frequently Infests Homes In Arizona Where They Transmit A Parasitic Disease To Humans While Sucking Blood

The Western Bloodsucking Conenose Bug Frequently Infests Homes In Arizona Where They Transmit A Parasitic Disease To Humans While Sucking Blood

For the past several months, news stories describing a potentially deadly parasitic disease spread by a group of airborne insects known as kissing bugs have frightened residents throughout the southern United States. Kissing bugs have been spreading a parasite to thousands of people in South America and Mexico for decades, and this parasite slowly eats away at internal organs, eventually resulting in death. The parasite is spread by several species of kissing bugs that are also native to Arizona.

One of these species, the western bloodsucking conenose bug, is a frequent home-invading pest in Tucson and a few other metropolitan areas in the state. This species invades homes at night where they suck blood from humans before defecating near the bite wound. In response to the irritation caused by bites, humans inadvertently spread the parasite-contaminated feces into the bloodstream while itching their bite wound, resulting in the transmission of chagas disease.

The adult western bloodsucking conenose bug is dark brown to black in color and roughly 0.5 to 0.9 inches in length. They also have a  lateral abdominal margin that can sometimes be tan in color. Short hairs protrude from their mouthparts, which are longer at the tip. They walk around on short, stout legs, with their wings placed flat against their back when not being used.  Nymphs of this species look similar to the adults except smaller in size and lacking wings.

These pests are adept flyers, swooping towards the artificial lights they are attracted to in human homes, such as porch lights, after dark. They will then slip inside through cracks and holes in window screens as well as gaps in doorways. Once they are inside your home, they will gravitate toward areas with low light, and hide in darker areas such as between mattresses, in/under furniture, and inside closets during the day. They will only come out at night to feed on the sleeping human residence before making their escape to a darker, more protected area to rest off their giant blood meal. You can often find them hiding amidst bedding or drapes near the bed of their host in the morning after engorging themselves during the night.

Have you ever found what looked like a kissing bug hiding not far from your bed in the morning?


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Are There Any Ways In Which Residents Can Prevent Their Homes From Becoming Infested With Bed Bugs?

Are There Any Ways In Which Residents Can Prevent Their Homes From Becoming Infested With Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are the most common home-infesting parasitic insects in the US, and they feed primarily on blood, mainly human blood. Falling victim to a bed bug infestation can be costly, embarrassing, and harmful to mental and physical health. Bed bug infestation rates skyrocketed shortly after the turn of the millenium, and although infestations can be effectively eradicated with modern integrated pest management tactics, infestation rates continue to climb with each passing year. Professional pest control intervention is a must after finding bed bugs within a home, but according to a telephone survey carried out by researchers at the University of Arizona, many residents attempt to remedy bed bug infestations on their own, with poor results.

According to the survey’s results, the two most common bed bug control products used by residents are total release foggers (bug bombs) and aerosol sprays, both of which are vastly inadequate for eliminating bed bug infestations. A surprising 9 percent of respondents claimed to have used gasoline as a chemical means of bed bug eradication. It has been said that gasoline kills bed bugs on contact, which has led many residents to pour the highly flammable fluid onto infested beds and furniture, sometimes with disastrous results. Although bed bugs are prevalent in public spaces, and are difficult to notice, there are plenty of ways in which residents can minimize their chances of falling victim to a bed bug infestation within their home.

Since bed bugs are now abundant in the US, residents should avoid bringing used furniture into their home, as furniture is the second most common bed bug harborage site after mattresses. When out and about in public, it may be wise to avoid sitting on upholstered seats where bed bugs are most often acquired before they are brought into homes. Laundering bedding regularly will kill all bed bugs present, and frequent laundering may kill bed bugs before they proliferate and spread throughout a home. If indoor fabric is already found to be infested, a 30 minute dryer cycle will kill all bed bugs, and if the infested fabric should not be dried with high heat, then placing the infested item in the freezer for one week will kill the pests.

Have you ever found bed bugs in your home that you had successfully eliminated on your own?