5. January 2011 09:41
Yellow Jackets have been causing issues in South and North Carolina for years. There are some beneficial factors that they provide but they also create problems and sting people. [More]
2. January 2011 20:29
Fruit flies are common in homes, restaurants, supermarkets and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment.
Adults are about 1/8 inch long and usually have red eyes. The front portion of the body is tan and the rear portion is black. Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting foods or other moist, organic materials. Upon emerging, the tiny larvae continue to feed near the surface of the fermenting mass. This surface-feeding characteristic of the larvae is significant in that damaged or over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables can be cut away without having to discard the remainder for fear of retaining any developing larvae. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous; given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs. The entire lifecycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week.
The presence of red to reddish orange eyes is an important character for identification as these tiny flies are often confused with humpback flies (Phoridae) which have dull brown to black eyes.
The best way to avoid problems with fruit flies is to eliminate sources of attraction. Produce which has ripened should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated. Cracked or damaged portions of fruits and vegetables should be cut away and discarded in the event that eggs or larvae are present in the wounded area. A single rotting potato or onion forgotten at the back of a closet, or fruit juice spillage under a refrigerator can breed thousands of fruit flies. So can a recycling bin stored in the basement which is never emptied or cleaned.
Once a structure is infested with fruit flies, all potential breeding areas must be located and eliminated. Unless the breeding sites are removed or cleaned, the problem will continue no matter how often insecticides are applied to control the adults. Finding the source(s) of attraction and breeding can be very challenging and often will require much thought and persistence. Potential breeding sites which are inaccessible (e.g., garbage disposals and drains) can be inspected by taping a clear plastic food storage bag over the opening overnight. If flies are breeding in these areas, the adults will emerge and be caught in the bag.
After the source of attraction and breeding is eliminated, a pyrethrum-based, aerosol insecticide may be used to kill any remaining adult flies in the area.
30. December 2010 09:50
You will more likely to find deer mice in Asheville – much less likely in Raleigh
The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) has big eyes and big ears. Its head and body are about 2 - 3 inches long, and the tail another 2 - 3 inches in length. Its upper body ranges from gray to reddish brown, depending on its age. The underbelly is white and the tail has sharply defined white sides.
The white footed mouse looks very similar to the deer mouse. The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) is hard to distinguish from the deer mouse. The head and body together are about four inches long. The tail is normally shorter than its body (about 2 - 4 inches long). Topside, its fur ranges from pale brown to reddish brown, while its underside and feet are white.
Usually, the deer mouse likes woodlands, but also turns up in desert areas. White footed mice prefer wooded and brushy areas, although sometimes it will live in more open ground.
Both the deer mouse and white footed mouse will frequently enter homes, garages, sheds and occasionally stored RV’s and other infrequently used vehicles during the colder months.
What makes the white-footed and deer mice more of a concern than the house mouse is they are primary carriers of hantavirus – which causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). This virus is transmitted primarily by the inhalation of dust particles contaminated with urine and/or feces from infected white footed or deer mice.
Control for the deer mice or white footed mice are same as for the house mouse, with sanitation, harborage elimination and mouse – proofing the building. Use of baited snap traps, rodenticides in locked tamper resistant stations, and glue boards are all effective in eliminating present populations.
Practicing some minimal safety precautions is prudent:
When in confined areas with urine, droppings, and /or dead mice wear a respirator equipped with HEPA filters.
Wear rubber or plastic gloves when handling mice or traps.
Treat dead mice with a disinfectant before handling and or use the inverted bag technique.
Disinfect any droppings before removal. Vacuums are not recommended.
22. December 2010 09:45
Fleas are important group of insect pests because they cause discomfort by biting and they can transmit several diseases like the plague and murine typhus. They are about 1/8 inch – laterally flattened, wingless, brownish black to black, but reddish after a blood meal. The mouthparts are piercing-sucking - and mature larvae are twice as long as adults (1/4 inch) Fleas can jump about 6 inches and they can hitchhike into a building by jumping on a shoe or sock and hitching a ride indoors.
Females lay 3-4 eggs after a bloodmeal and they can lay over 500 in their lifetime –The life cycle is as follows:Eggs – 2 days to hatch; Larvae – about 2 weeks; Pupae stage – anywhere from 14 days to a year under harsh conditions; Adults – about a year.
To control – any wild animals or rodents in or around the structure must be removed or destroyed – Pet owner’s must have pet treated – indoors a flea treatment to all the resting sites of pets and using a labeled pesticide and IGR - and outside spots treatment should be done where the animal frequents – like porches, patios and if the infestation is severe an overall yard spray may be necessary.
19. December 2010 09:15
The old house borer is one of the most injurious wood-boring insects . The name is somewhat misleading since a large number of infestations are noticed in homes just four to seven years after construction. The larva bores through wood and also feeds on it. Tunnels made by the larva weaken structural timbers. The borers feed only in pine, spruce, and other coniferous woods.
The old house borer is native to North Africa and is believed to have arrived in North America around 1875. The beetles currently range from Maine to Florida and west to Michigan and Texas.
The adult beetles emerge mainly during July and August. They mate, then the female deposits her eggs in the natural cracks and crevices of the bark of felled logs and in wood stored in lumberyards. Subsequently, infested timber may be used in newly constructed buildings. In wood, the larval stage may last from three to fifteen years. The average time for the borers to reach maturity (in structures heated year long) appears to be from five to seven years. The majority of borers are secreted in the thicker timbers of a building. Very few ever have been located in wood less than one-inch thick. Nearly all the structural infestations are started by old house borer larvae in some of the original construction timber. Most infestations remain localized. However, where excessive wood moisture is found, such as poorly vented attics and leaky roofs, beetles will flourish, spread to other structural items and cause much damage in a short period of time.
An infestation of old house borers is evidenced by the presence of the adults their emergence holes, or by the larvae and larval tunnels in the wood. The black to gray beetles are 5/8 to 1 inch in length and possess long antennae. Fine, gray hairs are present on the thorax with two shiny raised areas on each side. Patches of gray hairs are visible on the wing covers in irregular lateral bands. The pointed abdomen of the females will typically extend beyond the ends of the wing covers. Emergence holes made by the adult beetles are somewhat oval and 1/4 inch in diameter. The cream-colored larvae are up to 1-1/4 inch in length. On each side of the head are three distinct, dark eyes (ocelli) arranged vertically behind the mouthparts. The larval body tapers towards the posterior end. Tunnels made by the larvae contain a sawdust-like material known as frass. The tunnel walls are sculptured (showing where the mandibles scraped away the wood), and the frass is barrel-shaped. The larva, while chewing with its hard jaws, emits a rasping or clicking sound (very similar to the sound produced by clicking fingernails), are often audible to the householder.
The following points should aid in discouraging old house borer infestations:
Rough-cut lumber should be kiln-dried to kill all stages of the beetle.
Uninfested wood which is sanded and varnished will not normally be attacked by the adult beetles because they cannot find crevices in the wood surface into which they would deposit their eggs.
Surface sprays containing borates will prevent newly hatched larvae from entering the wood. However, this technique is not effective on wood which has been varnished, waxed or otherwise sealed from attack by moisture. The borates will last indefinitely, provided the treated wood is kept dry to prevent water from leaching the material.
12. December 2010 09:36
Adults are 1/2 to 5/8 inches long, light brown to tan, with two dark stripes on the shield (pronotum) behind the head.Females are often seen carrying a yellowish-brown egg capsule (ootheca) protruding from the end of the abdomen. Nymphs are generally darker with two prominent dark stripes surrounding a lighter tan spot or stripe on body midsection (thorax).
German cockroaches are our most prolific cockroach species producing 3-6 generations per year. Besides its importance as a sign of poor sanitation used by health departments, the German cockroach has been implicated in the transmission of several pathogenic organisms and as a cause of allergic reactions for children and adults.
German cockroaches do not enter structures from outdoors, they are spread entirely by humans and live only indoors. The German cockroach is the major cockroach pest of residences, restaurants, warehouses and food-processing plants in the United States. German cockroaches spend most of their lives in cracks and protected void areas near sources of food and water.
The elimination of this pest is the desirable goal in any pest management program. This may include the use of growth inhibitors, baits, as well as residual insecticides specifically labeled for areas of food preparation.
9. December 2010 09:23
Smoky-brown cockroaches require high humidity for survival. They are found outside in wooded areas that provide shade and moisture. They can also be seen in protected areas around homes (tree holes and mulch) and in buildings and attics. Stacks of lumber and firewood, sewer-access openings and trash piles can contribute to infestations. Once in structures they are commonly found in attics or near fireplaces. These cockroaches can be attracted by a leaky roof.
To control Smoky-Brown Roaches you should eliminate or alter any conditions which encourage the presence and/or reproduction of the roaches. These pests thrive in dark, humid areas which have little or no air flow.
Spray exterior of structure with an appropriate labeled insecticide.. Spray any crack, crevice or entry point on the outside of the structure. This includes treating around all windows, doors, vents and in weep holes of brick veneer.
Also spray tree trunks, from ground to crotch of tree, but no higher than six feet. All mulched areas should be sprayed with your insecticide. These exterior surfaces should be treated 3 to 4 times each year.
If necessary, spray indoors in the following areas: basements, garages, carports, attics, closets, laundry rooms. Also treat beneath and behind large appliances (refrigerators, stoves, etc.) or other areas where these roaches prefer to hide. (Spraying all of your baseboards with any bug spray is not necessary!)Indoor areas should be treated 2 to 3 times per year.
Hollow blocks or other areas such as behind brick walls and along plumbing lines should be treated with Delta Dust. Although many dusts will kill roaches, Use a dust that is water-resistent and will not be destroyed by the moist habitat of the Smokybrown as would other dusts.
30. November 2010 20:25
House flies are 3/16 to 1/4 inch long with robust bodies and two clear wings. The thorax is marked with four dark stripes.
Larvae are called maggots and are creamy-white and cone-shaped, with the hind end blunt and bearing breathing holes (spiracles) tapering to the head which bears black hook-like mouthparts.
Female flies lay numbers of eggs in suitable larval food sources such as decomposing food in garbage, animal excrement or other decomposing organic materials. Eggs hatch within a day into small maggots. Within a week, maggots grow and develop through three stages (instars) before they inflate their last larval skin into a puparium (pupa). After 4 to 6 days, adult flies emerge.
Development from egg to adult can be completed in about 8 days under optimal conditions, and 12 generations can occur each summer. Adults normally live up to 25 days but may overwinter.
Adult flies have sponging-sucking mouthparts, with which they inject mainly liquid food or food dissolved with regurgitated saliva.
Larvae have mouthparts (mandibles) used to tease apart decomposing organic materials. Larvae feed with the ends of the bodies bearing the breathing pores on the surface and their narrow heads imbedded deep in the food source. Just before completing larval development, they leave their food source in search of a dryer place to pupate. This is the time many larval infestations become noticeable.
Large numbers of house flies can develop in poultry houses and around barns and feed lots where animal excrement accumulates.
House flies developing there can fly to nearby homes and become an nuisance. Around the home, house flies can develop in garbage and piles of fermenting lawn clippings. The three basic principles of house fly control are sanitation, exclusion and non-chemical measures. Sanitation will provide the best long-term control, followed by exclusion and non-chemical measures, which provide shorter-term management.
22. November 2010 20:01
The pinchers are called “cerci” and used as both offensive and defensive weapons. They are sometimes used to capture prey. The common name of “earwig” comes from an old European superstition that these insects enter the ears of sleeping people and bore into the brain. There about 22 species occurring in the United States. Adults can be ¼ to 1 inch long with Bogy elongate, flattened in form. The red legged earwig is a native American species which is common in the South and Southwest.
Earwigs have a distinctive disagreeable /repugnant odor that is released when they are crushed, but some species can squirt such a liquid. They are gregarious in the nature, typically occurring in groups. Red legged earwigs have been reported to cause minor skin abrasions in humans.
Earwigs are nocturnal or active at night and hide during the day in moist, shady places, such as under stones or logs, or in mulch.
Earwigs feed on live or dead plants and/or insects. At times they damage cultivated plants. Earwigs are attracted to lights or to insects attracted to lights.
Usually it is the European and red legged earwigs which occasionally invade homes, sometimes by the hundreds of thousands.
The key to control is the removal of unessential mulch, plant debris, and objects such as stones and boards from around the structure. The purpose of this is to establish a low moisture zone that is disagreeable to earwigs. Diatomaceous earth or Boric acid along the exterior foundation wall can be very effective, ecofriendly treatment. Microencapsulated and wettable power residual formulations applied as a 3-10 ft band treatment are highly effective as well.
11. November 2010 19:58
Boxelder bugs are a nuisance in and around homes from fall through early spring. This bug is about 1/2 inch long as an adult, black with three red lines on the thorax (the part just behind the head), a red line along each side, and a diagonal red line on each wing. The immature forms are smaller and are easily distinguished from the adults by their red abdomens and lack of wings.
These insects feed on the softer plant tissues, including leaves, flowers, and new twigs. Unless the population is exceptionally large, the damage to plants is minimal. During years when their population soars, they can damage useful shade trees.
In autumn, they can become household and hotel pests. The adult insects seek wintering hibernation locations and find their way into buildings through crevices. They remain inactive inside the walls (and behind siding) while the weather is cool.
Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest, annoying residents by crawling on exteriors and inside dwellings on warm fall and winter days. They also may stain draperies and other light-colored surfaces and produce an unpleasant odor when crushed, but these are not major problems. They do not reproduce during this period. They may attempt to feed on house plants but do not cause any damage. On rare occasions, they have been reported to bite humans.
The most permanent solution to the boxelder bug problem is the removal of female boxelder trees from a neighborhood, although this may not be practical or desirable. Because boxelder bugs usually overwinter near the trees that they feed on, the removal of one or two problem trees may help. Screening or sealing cracks or other entrances into the dwelling is important. Once boxelder bugs have entered the home, control becomes more difficult.
When the bugs begin to congregate on building exteriors, these areas (including all resting and hiding places) may be sprayed with residual insecticides.