10 Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know

1)      Some spiders produce what is called “dragline silk” and use it as a parachute to travel long distances through the air.

2)      Katsaridaphobia is the fear of cockroaches

3)      Dragonflies are the fastest flying insect, clocking speeds of up to 60 miles an hour

4)      Only male crickets chirp

5)      There are 60 species of ants in North America

6)      Bed bugs can go up to a year without eating

7)      An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole the size of a quarter

8)      A single brown bat can catch up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour

9)      Raccoons can rotate their hind feet backwards, to help them climb down trees

10)   Though often hard to find because they are nocturnal, New Brunswick has a significant population of flying squirrels!

Who’s Bugging You?? – Bites Edition

We often get customers calling describing bites they’ve received, wondering if they are from a flea or a bedbug.  It can be difficult to distinguish between the two, so here’s some help.  Let’s start by taking a better look at each bug.

Fleas:

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Fleas are parasites that live off the nutrients found in the blood of their host (humans, dogs, cats, etc.).  Inside of the home, they most often live on pets, but can also be found in carpets, cracks and crevices, and on furniture.  The bites of a flea can often be confused with the bite of an ant, spider or allergies.  Often times, flea bites come in groups of three – a triangle of bites.  If the majority of your bites are from the legs down, chances are it’s fleas

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Bed Bugs:

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Bed bugs also feed on the blood of humans and animals for nourishment.  Bed bugs can live almost anywhere in a home – in furniture, behind bed boards, in suitcases, and on clothing, but prefer to live on mattresses and bed frames.   It’s more common to find the bites of beg bugs on the neck, shoulders, arms and torso, as these places are more exposed during sleep.   Bites appear as flat, small or raised areas that can be itchy or burn, and tend to be in a straight line of three or four.  Bed bugs bites can also be identified by brown or rusty spots in the bedding.

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Are you itching yet?  

Both of these pests can be tricky to get rid of on your own.  If you think you may have a flea or bed bug problem, please don’t hesitate to call and speak to one of our licensed technicians!

Ants In Your Pants!

ImageAnts on the deck.  Ants in the bathroom.  Ants in the dishwasher?!  Ants in your pants?  Well, ok, they might not be in your pants, but they’re everywhere else.  If you’re seeing black ants in your home, chances are they’re carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants reside both indoors and outdoors, preferring damp, moist places such as decaying wood.   Outside, the queen ants prefer to find a rotting stump or decaying timbers to start her nest.  It is in these permanently damp nests that she lays her eggs.   From there, satellite nests are created to care for the older larvae and pupae, as they do not require as much moisture.  It is more common to find these satellite nests within the home.  Bathrooms, kitchens, under windows, wall voids, attics, and decks are some of the most common areas in a home where carpenter ants can be found, as they are more vulnerable to moisture.

The ants cut “galleries” into the grain of the wood to create pathways so they can move from one section of a nest to another.  By doing so, they leave behind a sawdust-like material, called frass.  This can be a clue to an infestation in your home.  If carpenter ants have nested inside a building, it can lead to serious structural damage, as the ants tunnel from decaying wood, into sound wood.

So now that you know you don’t want carpenter ants around, how do you keep them out of your home?  The best prevention is to maintain dry conditions.   This can be done by repairing any damaged wood around your home, proper ventilation, storing firewood away from the house, cutting back tree branches away from the house, and removing old stumps and logs.

How do you know if it’s time for a professional to step in?  As a general rule of thumb, if you’re seeing more than 8 to 10 ants in your home in a day, you need help.   Also, if you’ve noticed small piles of sawdust laying beneath the crack in the wall, or can hear light rustling in the walls, you can be fairly certain you have a nest in your walls.

If you think you might have reason for concern, call us and talk to anyone of our licensed technicians to discuss inspections and possible treatment options!

6 Reasons Why YOU Need a Home Prevention Program!

The Home Prevention Program is one of our most popular residential services.  Here are 6 great reasons why YOU should have one to protect your home:

  1. It covers the protection of your home or cottage for one full year.  Excel visit your home during the busy bug season, May, June, July and August (or any 4 months you require), and takes care of any current or potential pest problems.
  2. You’re covered for protection against all general insects and pests!  Ants, spiders, earwigs, mice, wasps – we take care of them all at no extra charge!
  3. We’re on call for you all winter!  Having a problem in the middle of the winter? Just call us, and at no cost we’ll come and take care of it for you!
  4. 24 hour emergency service:  We offer 24 hour emergency service so someone will always answer the phone, and we’ll take of your problem as soon as possible!
  5. Inside and out – you’re covered!  Excel ensures that you’re pest-free on the exterior and interior of your home.
  6. It’s inexpensive!  A one year contract for a Home Prevention Program cost roughly the same amount as one treatment for carpenter ants!  If you have recurring issues with certain pests, the Home Prevention Program can save you a LOT of money.

If you think this sounds like something you need for your home or cottage, call us and we’ll get you set up right away!

In One Ear, Out The Other?

ImageEarwigs
The name earwig comes from an old European superstition that these bugs enter through the ear canal and bore into a persons brain. You can rest easy as this belief is unfounded.  Although this insect isn’t going to find its way into your deepest thoughts, it may find its way into your home.
 
There are a few different species in North America, the one you will find here in N.B. is called the European Earwig. This bug is recognized by its dark colour, reddish-brown head and pale wing covers…if you have a microscope. If your using your naked eyes then the pincher-like forceps at its rear end are a dead give away. These curved forceps are used to kill and obtain food, as well as defence against others that are higher in the food chain.
 
Earwigs spend the winter just a couple inches below the surface. This is where females lay and tend to their eggs. Newly hatched earwigs go through 4-5 nymphal instars and reach adulthood in about 68 days. Some females live as long as 7 months after attaining maturity.
 
Earwigs are nocturnal, at night they feed on plants (alive or dead) and capture other insects that can be found in your garden or lawn. The bravest of these ugly bugs have even been recorded eating honey in beehives. They often damage fruits, vegetables, flowers and shrubs. During the day they hide in cool, dark/damp places. Many insects prefer moisture, earwigs actually require it. Neither the eggs nor the nymphs can survive long periods of dryness.  Although predominately found in garden/mulched areas, they are great climbers and often infest door/window frames and fences (especially fences with lattice work).
 
The key to controlling these creepy crawlers is yard maintenance. Removal of unessential mulch, plant debris, rocks or old patio stones from around the structure. These steps help establish a low-moisture zone.
 
Earwig traps are available in some garden centres.  They are long thin boxes that are open on either end and comprised of several slats about a 1/4′ wide. Earwigs crawl in and accumulate so every few days they need to be opened and emptied.
 
The “poor-man’s” earwig trap is old newspapers. Roll them up and secure them with rubber bands then soak them with the garden hose. Place around the foundation or areas of heavy activity. The next day when you pick them up and throw them out, you will also be throwing out hundreds of earwigs. I know, I know that sounds gross, so if you prefer you can call us and we would be happy to take care of it.
 
– Jamie LeRoy
Northern area manager

Bald Faced Hornets

ImageAs summer approaches so do all the insects, whether they crawl or fly. If the last few years in New Brunswick are any indication, we can expect to see lots of wasps. A common wasp to encounter around your property is the Bald Faced Hornet. Although technically of the yellow-jacket family, this social wasp gets its name from its black body with mostly white face (commonly referred to as Black Wasps).

Every wasp colony is made up of classes, a founding queen, workers which are sterile, females and males (drones). Only inseminated females overwinter, all other wasps in the colony die every year. These females emerge from sheltered locations each spring and pick nesting sites for the season. Nests from the previous year are not re-used. These nesting sites are chosen in various locations, from ground level up to 70 ft high. These large aerial nests begin with a founding queen creating paper combs of several dozen cells each. Eggs are deposited in each of the cells and the combs are covered with a multi layered, grey paper-maché envelope. Within 6-10 days this queen now has help expanding the nest. Adult wasps are all prevalent by late summer.

These nests which reach sizes up to 15″ in diameter and as much as 2′ long, can be found in all sorts of areas from bushes and trees, to houses, sheds and utility poles. Many nests that are high enough off the ground cause no problems and generally pose no threat. If the nest in under your deck, below your BBQ, or above your front door however, then the potential for a painful sting (or several painful stings) becomes a serious reality.

When choosing to deal with such a problem on your own there are a few tips to keep in mind. The first is to be sure you are NOT allergic to stings. If you are, it isn’t worth it. Getting stung is a risk you have to take in order to deal with wasps or bees.
Most (not always all) wasps are in the nest after dark. This is the most effective time to treat with over the counter aerosols. Use only dim lighting in the dark as shining bright lights at the nest will only draw attention to you. Be sure to wear sleeves, gloves, hat and safety glasses. The less skin you show the safer you are. I would do this in my bathing suit, but I’m an experienced professional.
With an aerosol can labelled for wasps (Raid has several choices), apply directly into the entrance at the bottom of the nest. I recommend at least half the can at once for a small nest. Large nests you may need two cans. Once treated, promptly remove the nest and discard in a sealed plastic bag. By prompt I mean immediately, don’t wait for any survivors to come tell you how they feel about it!
If this is something you would rather not tackle on your own, don’t be ashamed.  Professional pest control applicators have access to more products and equipment to deal with these nuisances, in a safe and effective manner, at any time of day. We love to help! So feel free to call!Image– Jamie LeRoy

Cluster Flies

ImageApril is the beginning of Spring insect activity.  One of the most common insects arriving in spring is the “Cluster Fly”.  These flies land here, there and everywhere, carrying garbage, excrement, and germs with them.

Cluster flies cultivate their eggs in earthworms.  The Larvae hatch, kill and eat the worms.  When the weather starts to warm up in the spring, the flies are attracted from the grass to the heat on your siding and windows.  From there, they find their way into your attic (where it is hottest), through the soffit or cracks and crevices, and make their way down into the house through the walls and “cluster” on the windows.

Control of cluster flies requires both interior and exterior treatments.  An appropriate application is a fogging of the attic with an appropriately labelled insecticide, and the treatment of the interior window frames.  An exterior treatment of the windows/soffits and the southern/western exposures of your siding is also required.  A well done job would include treatment of the grass, 4-6 ft around the base of the house.  Spring (late April or early May) is the best time to spray for cluster flies.  Heavy infestations should be re-treated in the fall for long term control.

If you are dealing with a cluster fly infestation, don’t hesitate to call Excel Pest Control Ltd. at 1-866-675-5100!

Welcome To Our Blog

excel-team_2013We are excited to be starting a new blog here at Excel Pest Control Ltd.  You can look forward to seeing posts each month from a number of our different licensed technicians.  Expect these posts to be informative, current, and funny.  Check back each week, and be sure to click our “Follow” button on the left hand sidebar!  While you’re waiting, take a look at our new webpage http://www.excelpestcontrol.ca