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How Do Bait Systems Eliminate Indoor Cockroach Infestations?

It is well known that termites and ants are particularly difficult to control in terms of both preventative and remedial pest management tactics. However, cockroaches were the most significant insect pests of homes and buildings during the 20th century and before, as they were largely immune to the professional-grade control measures that existed at the time. Luckily, the late 20th century saw the advent of effective cockroach baits that remain the industry standard to this day.

Since numerous cockroach pests inhabit single nests that are obscured within inaccessible indoor areas, such as wall voids, there is no easy way to destroy or remove cockroaches from an infested home. Early roach baiting systems only killed the few individual roaches that ventured out of their nests and consumed the poison bait, but today’s roach baiting systems contain a slow acting poison that becomes fatal hours after being ingested by roach pests. This delayed reaction allows affected roaches to return to their nest where they spread the poison to their nestmates, eventually leading to the complete destruction of the nest.

These improved baits work by exploiting several cockroach behaviors, particularly foraging, mutual fecal consumption in nests, and vomit consumption in nests. For example, each hidden cockroach nest within a home sees a small proportion of individuals leave during the nighttime hours in order to gather food sources from open living areas. These foraging roaches consume poison bait from bait stations placed throughout a home before returning to their nests.

Cockroaches naturally indulge in the consumption of their nestmates’ feces, and therefore, the contaminated feces of poisoned roaches are readily eaten by nestmates, allowing the poison to spread throughout a nest. The poison is also spread via cannibalism, which is a normal cockroach behavior. Lastly, studies have shown that foraging roaches vomit before dying from the toxic effects of the bait, which prompts healthy nestmates to consume the toxic vomit, further facilitating the spread of fatal toxins throughout a nest.

Have you ever resorted to cockroach baits to eliminate an infection?

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The Common Southern House Spider Produces Venom That Contains Proteins Found In Brown Recluse Venom

The Common Southern House Spider Produces Venom That Contains Proteins Found In Brown Recluse Venom

Kukulcania hibernalis, or the “southern house spider, may be the most frequently encountered spider species within homes located in the southern US states, with the possible exception of cobweb spiders. According to an online survey, of the 120 separate southern house spider sightings documented by citizen scientists, 98 occurred indoors, and most of the remaining 22 sightings occurred near homes. These spiders commonly nestle into crevices on the exterior walls of homes before covering the crevice with their silk webbing for shelter. Adult males are brown in color and can grow to half an inch in length, not counting leg span, while black females can grow to be ¾ of an inch in length, making these spiders relatively large in size.

Southern house spiders are very common in all structures in Arizona, but particularly older structures. The are also somewhat similar to brown recluse spiders in appearance, but southern house spiders are generally dismissed as being largely harmless to humans. However, recent research suggests that the venom produced by these common spiders may be more toxic to humans than previously thought, and many experts believe that a large number of brown recluse bites documented in the past may have been misdiagnosed southern house spider bites.

One of the first studies to find similarities between southern house spider venom and brown recluse venom was carried out in 2002 when researchers were working to find a treatment for tissue necrosis caused by brown recluse bites. The study compared venoms produced by several different spider species, and it turned out that the venom of southern house spiders shared a significant number of proteins found in brown recluse venom. Today, many researchers believe that the southern house spider is responsible for inflicting bites that induce tissue necrosis around the wound. Southern house spiders invade homes in Arizona all year round, and their indoor presence can be recognized by webs in corners and largely uninhabited areas within homes. They are most frequently found hidden behind and underneath furniture, crawl spaces, attics, garages and basements. Despite recent findings concerning southern house spider venom, they are very rarely responsible for inflicting harmful bites, and are not nearly as dangerous as brown recluse spiders.

Have you ever found what you believed were southern house spiders in your home?

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Which Common And Potentially Dangerous Home-Invading Insect Pests In Arizona Remain Largely Understudied By Researchers

Which Common And Potentially Dangerous Home-Invading Insect Pests In Arizona Remain Largely Understudied By Researchers

Generally, the amount of scientific publications concerning common and potentially dangerous insect pests within homes are numerous. Of course, this is a good thing, as residents and their families who rent, own or lease homes should be made aware of the potential hazards posed by the insect pests that can be found in various areas throughout the US. For example, of the three primary cockroach pests in the US, the German roach species carries a number of disease-causing microorganisms, and is the most commonly encountered of all roach species within homes in every state. This is why the German cockroach is one of the most thoroughly studied of all medically significant home-invading insect species in the US. Other examples include mosquitoes, numerous fly species, and several arachnids, most notably, black widows, recluse spiders, and Arizona bark scorpions.

Surprisingly, kissing bugs are relatively understudied for being a group of disease-carrying insect pests that frequently invade homes throughout the southern half of the United States. However, and perhaps most important to US citizens, kissing bug bites are the most common cause of insect-related anaphylaxis in the US, which is an extreme and often fatal immune response. These airborne and ravenous bloodsuckers feed on a plethora of different animals, including birds, amphibians, horses, livestock, dogs, cats, and humans. Kissing bugs trigger anaphylactic shock in humans more often than Africanized honey bees, yellow jackets and red-imported fire ants. This response is triggered by an allergy that many people have to certain compounds found within the saliva of kissing bugs, but these pests do not transmit venom; instead, they travel miles in order to invade homes where they puncture skin with their bites.

After inflicting bites to humans, kissing bugs habitually deposit their parasitic feces near the wound. Once itchiness begins to develop around the bite, humans unknowingly smear the parasite-contaminated feces into the wood, allowing the T. cruzi parasite to enter the bloodstream, which often results in a potentially fatal infection known as chagas disease. Arizona is home to seven kissing bug species, most of which are found with human blood in their digestive tract after being trapped and collected by researchers. Chagas disease is common in South America, and based on recent research, experts are concerned that this disease may soon become common in the southern US states. Beyond this information, not much is known about the disease-spreading potential of kissing bugs inhabiting the country.

Have you ever found a kissing bug species within your home?

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The Most Important Housekeeping Tasks For The Prevention Of Fabric-Pest Infestations

The Most Important Housekeeping Tasks For The Prevention Of Fabric-Pest Infestations

Carpet beetles and clothes moths are two groups of insect pests that feed on a variety of indoor fabrics, including clothing, carpeting, furniture upholstery, and drapery. Their feeding habits sometimes result in serious economic damage, and these pests are particularly prone to consuming clothes and furniture that have become saturated with human perspiration. Animal-based items containing keratin proteins, such as wool, fur and leather are favored by the larvae of clothes moths and carpet beetles. Carpet beetle and clothes moth infestations can be difficult to eradicate, and fumigations are sometimes necessary to eliminate heavy infestations. The best way to avoid carpet beetle and clothes moth infestations is for homeowners to take measures to prevent the pests from establishing a presence indoors.

When it comes to preventing fabric-pest infestations, the vacuum is the most important tool at a homeowner’s disposal. Every room in a home should be vacuumed frequently enough to prevent lint and hair from accumulating on carpets and rugs. The presence of sweaty lint from clothes and hair provides nutrition for fabric-pests, allowing their indoor population to grow. It is also important to remove bird nests on the exterior window sills and ledges on a home, as dead insects and bird feathers provide an attractive source of sustenance for fabric pests. The same goes for dead insects that have collected within certain indoor areas, but this can be difficult when dead insects are abundant in hard-to-access areas, such as wall voids. Dog kennels and bedding for pets should be kept clean, and taxidermied animals should be stored away while indoor fabric pests are being combatted. Dry-cleaning will kill the larvae and eggs present on contaminated clothing, and pest control firms often apply clothing treatments that protect against fabric pest infestations. When fabric pest infestations demand the intervention of a pest control professional, carpeting may have to be lifted for the application of insecticide. Whole-structure fumigation is generally the last resort for fabric-pest eradication, but infested items, like mattresses, rugs and furniture, can be fumigated individually as well.

Is your home currently at risk for a fabric pest infestation?

 

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How To Know If The Wood In Your Home Was Damaged By Termites Or Ants

How To Know If The Wood In Your Home Was Damaged By Termites Or Ants | Phoenix Pest Control Experts

Termite damage is not always easy to recognize, and they are not the only wood-boring insects that exist. Upon noticing unexplained damage to areas of structural wood, you should first have a termite inspection conducted immediately in order to prevent irreparable damage from occurring. When it comes to wood-boring insects, termites are the last insects that you want infesting your home. When compared to other wood-boring insects, termites cause the greatest degree of structural damages. When a home’s structural damages become extensive enough to clearly indicate a termite infestation, the damage can sometimes be irreversible. Although termites are destructive creatures, they cannot render a home unlivable within a few days; instead, homes become structurally compromised only after long periods of destructive termite activity. Many people whose homes are protected by termite barriers and insecticides may still notice structural damage that indicates a termite presence. When this occurs, many homeowners may assume that they had been ripped-off by a shady exterminator who failed to install effective anti-termite barriers. However, it is far more likely that another type of wood-destroying insect is responsible. Termite poisons and repellents may not be as effective at killing other types of wood-boring insects, this is why it is important to understand the difference between termite damage and damage caused by other forms of destructive insects.

In addition to termites, carpenter ants can also cause damage to the wood in people’s homes. However, only termites are capable of causing damage that is extensive enough to render a home unlivable. No other type of insect can destroy a home’s structural integrity. One difference between the two insects is the type of wood that they are attracted to. Termites excavate wood that is intact and free from rot, such as timber and tree stumps. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are attracted to wood that has already sustained damage, whether it be from rot or fungus. Carpenter ants, like termites, leave behind noticeable amounts of wood-shavings since they do not consume the wood that they excavate. Although termites consume the wood that they excavate, they can also leave behind wood shavings, albeit far less. In cases where wood destruction makes it hard to determine the type of insect pest responsible, you can instead attempt to locate the insect culprit yourself. Termites and carpenter ants are the same size, and they both swarm. These similarities can make the two different insects hard to discern, but termite workers are pale-colored, and nearly translucent, while carpenter ant workers are reddish or dark in color. Since termites consume wood, they often remain unseen within hollowed sections of wood, but carpenter ants can often be spotted foraging for food within people’s homes, as they do not consume the wood that they excavate from structural timber.

Do you know of any other type of insect species, besides termites and ants, that are capable of inflicting damage to timber structures?

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The Most Commonly Encountered Ticks In Arizona

The Most Commonly Encountered Ticks In Arizona

Ticks are a major public health threat in some parts of the country, and while Arizona is home to several tick species, some of which spread disease, there are only four species that residents of the state commonly encounter. These tick species include the brown dog tick, the American dog tick, the rocky mountain wood tick, and the adobe tick. Unlike the other three species, the adobe tick is a “soft tick” from the Argasidae family. Of these four ticks, the brown dog tick may be the most dangerous tick to humans due to it ability to live entirely indoors and spread disease to humans. Since ticks have four pairs of legs, they are arachnids, and unlike the arachnids most people encounter in homes and elsewhere, ticks are parasitic organisms that feed on human blood, similar to mites, which are also categorized as arachnids. In order for ticks to survive, they must feed on the blood of their vertebrate hosts, including humans and a variety of other mammals, as well as birds.

Surprisingly, ticks are the most common arthropods that transmit vector-borne diseases in the US. When a tick feeds on a human, it becomes engorged with blood, but they extract all of the water from the blood before injecting it back into the human body. This means that ticks inject about 75 percent of the fluids they gather back into the human bloodstream, allowing them to efficiently transmit a variety of disease-causing organisms into the human body. These disease-causing organisms include bacteria, protozoa, viruses, spirochetes, rickettsiae, nematodes, and toxins. A tick bite can transmit pathogens while also putting a person at risk of developing a secondary infection, and some people are allergic to tick saliva, making them capable of causing serious allergic reactions, and possibly anaphylactic shock.

For residents of Arizona, the brown dog tick poses the greatest threat because this species feeds on dogs, which allows them to hitchhike into homes where they are capable of completing their entire life cycle. Adult brown dog ticks can survive for 18 months, while larvae can survive for eight months without feeding. Once indoors, brown dog ticks eventually detach from the skin of dogs and jump onto walls where they can then jump onto passing humans. Indoor brown dog tick infestations are not uncommon, but they can be prevented by regularly checking pets for ticks, keeping grass cut short, and allowing the sun to shine in shaded parts of a lawn, as ticks avoid sunlight.

Have you ever found a tick on your dog?

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Chigger Pest Issues Are Surprisingly Common On Residential Lawns In Arizona

Many people have heard of the parasitic pests commonly known as “chiggers,” but few people living in the US know why these arachnids are considered pests. Chiggers are well known to people living south of the border in Mexico and South America where the pests often transmit diseases. While chiggers can be found in several southern states, these tiny arachnid pests are not considered medically important in the US since they are not known for transmitting disease to humans in the country. However, chiggers can pose a serious nuisance to residents of Arizona, as they are common in residential yards where they inflict bites to humans that result in severe itchiness and swelling.

The term “chiggers” is a common name given to harvest mite larvae that feed on human and animal skin cells. During the spring season, adult harvest mites deposit eggs in soil located in residential yards, parks, nature preserves and in any landscape where grass and/or other forms of vegetation are present. During the late summer and fall seasons, chiggers emerge from the eggs, and although chiggers are small, their red bodies can sometimes be seen crawling about in gardens and on turf. Upon hatching, chiggers immediately attempt to feed by crawling atop blades of grass in order to jump and land on the skin of any human that walks by. 

Chiggers prefer to feed on birds and rodents, but they will not hesitate to feed on humans if their favored food sources are not available. Once chiggers land on human skin, they move beneath clothing before using their mouthparts to feed on skin cells. Chigger bites transmit enzymes into the bloodstream that cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals, but even non-allergic individuals can experience irritation from chigger bites that last for up to two weeks.

A little more than a month ago, a resident of Arizona recounted his struggle with chigger bites while gardening in his backyard. The resident had tried applying a number of anti-itch creams to relieve the itching caused by the many chigger bites that he had sustained, but when these failed, he eventually turned to steroid medication. The resident also decided to avoid his yard until the chigger issue could be resolved, and this is pretty much all he could do. Unfortunately, experts state that chiggers are impossible to avoid in areas where they are present, and the best thing to do in order to avoid bites is to avoid chigger-infested areas entirely. With the exception of their annoying bites, chiggers in the US are considered medically harmless, and DEET repellent can provide short-term protection from their bites.

Have you ever spotted a chigger or sustained a chigger bite in Arizona?

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Pharaoh Ants Establish Nests Within Homes, And They Spread Disease-Causing Microorganisms Wherever They Go

Pharaoh Ants Establish Nests Within Homes, And They Spread Disease-Causing Microorganisms Wherever They Go

More than 700 ant species have been documented in the United States, but only a small minority are considered pests within homes and yards. Much like other eusocial insect groups, many ant species have established permanent habitats outside of their native range. Some ant species have even managed to thrive in a variety of environmental conditions on nearly every continent, with the exception of Antarctica, of course. The relatively small group of ant species that have spread to virtually every urban region of the world are known as “tramp ants.” This name comes from their habit of hitchhiking to new areas all over the world via cargo shipments, much like a tramp or vagrant.

Tramp ant species tend to be nuisance pests around homes due to their ability to tolerate a wide variety of environmental conditions. Tramp ants are also well adapted to surviving long periods within human habitats, as all tramp ants have endured long journeys across the world on cargo ships and other human forms of transportation. Naturally, several tramp ant species can be found throughout the US, and some of the most commonly encountered tramp ants in Arizona include Argentine ants, crazy ants, odorous house ants, and Pharaoh ants. Monomorium pharaonis, or “Pharaoh ants” as they are commonly known, are notorious for establishing stubborn indoor infestations where the ants pose a health threat due to the disease-causing microorganisms that the ants carry.

Pharaoh ants are one of the smallest sized ant pest species, as they usually do not grow any larger than 1/16 of an inch in length, but the tiny ants can still be recognized within homes for their strikingly yellow exterior. Pharaoh ants prefer to nest within obscure indoor locations that are difficult to access, such as within wall voids, beneath baseboards or within attic spaces. Since Pharaoh ant colonies can contain more than 30,000 individual ants, infestations can be hard to eradicate. Workers often forage around homes where they will consume just about any human food source that they encounter, such as meats, sweets, and fats. These ants also require copious amounts of water, and they can harvest water from any source, including from the wounds of debilitated and/or immobile people.

Pharaoh ants also nest outdoors, often beneath leaf-litter and stones, and while these ants do not damage lawns, their population can reach nuisance levels in residential yards where they frequently congregate within homes in order to secure easy human food sources. Considering the disease risk that these ants pose to the occupants of an infested home, a pest control professional should be contacted when Pharaoh ants are found indoors.

Have you ever spotted Pharaoh ants within your house?

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How to Silence Constantly Chirping Crickets

While many people find the sound the chirping crickets pleasant enough, it can begin to grate on a person when they are trying to catch some z’s while a cricket is playing its melody in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, crickets are also just about impossible to track down, as they are incredibly sensitive to movement, and thus immediately cease playing their music when you move to find them in the dark. And while their chirping may seem to drive you insane at night, it is their tendency to eat anything they come across, including clothing, paper, fungi, other dead bugs, leafy vegetables, and even other crickets, in your home that can really turn them into a pest. In addition to this, they attract other visitors to your home that are a more serious problem such as their natural predators, scorpions and spiders.

Ideally, you want to prevent crickets from ever entering your home in the first place. You can do this by removing possible nesting spots around the outside of your home such as piles of wood, leaf litter, and rock piles. Make sure your landscaping stops a good six inches from your houses exterior walls, cutting back bushes and any other ground cover. Outdoor clutter also works as great nesting places, so get rid of any clutter left in your yard such as cardboard boxes, tarps, and pool toys. Damp moist areas will draw crickets, as they prefer to hide from the blistering Arizona sun in these areas. Make sure to seal any cracks or small crevices in your walls and around windows and doors, and cover vents with mesh to prevent crickets from slipping inside. If you do find a nest in your walls, it is likely hundreds of crickets will come pouring out after you spray it with pest spray.

If crickets have already entered your home, there are a few ways you can try and rid yourself of them before calling in the pest control professionals. Getting rid of any sources of food and water is one way to handle the situation. Just like humans, they need food and water to survive. Eliminate any possible sources of water around your home and make sure there are no damp corners hiding in any rooms. Since crickets can survive on just about anything, even sawdust and glue, you need to meticulously clean any areas you think chirping is coming from. Take away their food and water, and the crickets will often move on to greener pastures. Crickets also prefer and are most active in warm temperatures, thriving between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can try lowering the temperature in your home or placing a portable air conditioner in any area you think the chirping is coming from and the cold temperature should make them lethargic, hopefully getting them to stop their chirping. If your infestation is too serious to deal with on your own, then call in the pest control professionals to get the job done right.

Have you ever had to deal with an infestation of crickets?

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What You Need To Know To Minimize The Risk Of Sustaining Bites From West Nile-Infected Mosquitoes

What You Need To Know To Minimize The Risk Of Sustaining Bites From West Nile-Infected Mosquitoes

As many Arizona residents may have already learned, the west Nile virus is now a permanent component of southern Arizona’s ecosystem, making the diseased insects particularly prevalent around residential and urban areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Last May, state officials collected 87 mosquito specimens carrying the virus, which is up from a mere seven samples found in the same area of Phoenix last year. Unfortunately, the west Nile virus is not the only mosquito-borne disease to fear in Arizona, as officials also collected 53 specimens that were carrying St. Louis Encephalitis. This figure is up from only two cases of the disease found this time last year. The first west Nile disease case of the year in Arizona was confirmed last February in Maricopa county, and the mosquito season lasts from May through October in the state, so mosquito activity is not yet at its peak. In addition to this case, another west Nile disease case has likely infected a resident of Pima County. Needless to say, mosquito bites are of greater concern than ever before in Arizona. However, there are plenty of precautions that residents can take to prevent bites.

The west Nile virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito species, which is now abundant in southern Arizona. This particular mosquito species relies almost exclusively on standing water sources located in residential and urban areas in order to breed. Yards that contain an abundance of stagnant water sources will certainly see an abundance of mosquitoes. Removing standing water from residential yards will keep these mosquitoes away from human-populated areas and will also decrease the overall population size of the species. Even containers as small as a bottle cap can hold a sufficient amount of water for larval development. It is also important for residents to apply mosquito repellent before setting foot outdoors, especially when planning to remain outdoors for an extended period of time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using repellents that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Products that contain DEET and are designed to repel Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes are the most important aspects of an effective mosquito repellent.

Do you worry about sustaining bites from disease-carrying mosquitoes around your home?