Archive for Spiders

Facts about insects, bugs, and pests

With information about bugs, insects, and pests like this it is easy to see how not having a pest control plan can negatively affect your home, office or garden. Contact Earth Guard Pest Control at

916-457-7605
877-D-BUGIN-U (877-328-4468)
contact@earthguardpest.com

Bed bugs can lay 1-5 eggs in a day and can lay up to 500 eggs in a lifetime.

Crickets are omnivores and eat both plants and animals.

There are 1,830 different kinds of fleas known throughout the world.

Bed bugs can live more than a year without eating.

One pair of mice can produce hundreds of offspring in a year.

Because bed bug bites are painless, people often don’t even notice there’s a problem until the infestation is large.

The total distance traveled by all the bees to create a pound of honey may equal twice the distance around the world.

An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight. If a 175-pound man had the comparative strength of an ant, he could lift four tons.

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Western Bluebirds Offer the Greenest of Green Pest Control

The Bluebird of Happiness has a new job, all natural green pest control. Research has shown that this native Californian bird nests in tree cavities and stays busy by catching insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, scale insects, wasps, termites, and ants. New research has shown that setting up nest boxes and bird houses in vineyards and home gardens will reduce and help control insect pests. As birds colonize urban areas the results for home gardeners is always positive.

In nesting and breeding season the bluebird has two broods with 4-6 eggs per, that equals a lot of hungry mouths to feed, all with pests that are detrimental to vineyards and gardens. To get maximum pest control results the nest box placement is critical. Try and face the entrance directly out into the garden, and avoid south facing entrances because they are likely to overheat. Remember to clean out the box occasionally and enjoy all natural and entertaining pest control.

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Moles, Voles, and Gophers…

Losing plants, trees, and shrubs to something underground? Tunnels and holes showing up in your yard? Sounds like moles, voles, or gophers. There are several underground pests that eat plants and shrubs and leave holes in your yard and garden. Since gophers do not hibernate they are always seeking food, even during winter months. Usually they feed at night and their tunnels are capable of reaching several hundred feet, this along with multiple litters of young per year make it easy to understand how they are able to take over whole neighborhoods in a short period of time.

Gophers can be among the most annoying garden and yard pests out there, remember the movie CaddyShack? It is easy to understand how Bill Murray was so aggravated that he used explosives to try and blow them out of the ground. Gopher damage is enough to drive anyone insane.

The problem with gophers is their tunnels are so extensive that traps, pellets, gas, or water used to flood their tunnels may not be enough to reach them. One effective way is to use castor oil granules, it is effective and is also organic, and biodegradable, plus it is non toxic to you and your family. This granule doesn’t harm the rodent, just releases a sweet aroma that sends pests fleeing. This along with planting things that moles, voles, and gophers aren’t interested in eating such as shrubs with woody roots and stems, succulents, and highly aromatic plants would be a great start to ridding your garden and yard of underground pests.

If you find that you still have an underground pest problem, or any other type of pest problem remember to contact Earth Guard Pest Control at

916-457-7605
877-D-BUGIN-U (877-328-4468)
contact@earthguardpest.com

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Bug-on-bug pest control

With more than a million named species of bugs and insects, it is easy to see how they make up more than half of all living things on earth, yet only 1% are considered harmful. Most insects go about pollinating plants, and helping to decompose dead material. One of the biggest things insects do is keep pest populations down. The good guys battling the bad. At first it is difficult to tell the two apart, but there are beneficial insects that help control pest populations.

Encouraging beneficial insects in your garden and yard is one of the easiest, and greenest methods of pest control out there.  An easy way to start is to get a small glass jar and gather a couple of the bugs in your garden, identify them and go from there, there are plenty of resources available to help with identification. Becoming familiar with several common beneficials and their preferred environment will help you in understanding how to use them to control negative pests.

Some  beneficial insects commonly found in the garden are:

Assassin bugs: Voracious predators (including some other beneficials); adults are black, brown or bright-colored slender insects with an extended needlelike beak and enlarged bristly front legs.

Green lacewings: Also called aphid lions; ethereal-looking garden “good guys” with a slender pale green body, delicate gossamer wings and immense golden eyes, giving the appearance of a fairy prancing on garden leaves rather than the aggressive predator they are; natural enemies of several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), leafhoppers, mealybugs, leafminers, thrips, whiteflies, small caterpillars, beetle larvae and insect eggs; its ferocious larvae are grayish to brown, mottled and spiny alligator-shaped.

Minute pirate bugs: About the same to twice the size of an aphid; fierce, generalist adults are somewhat oval shaped, black to purplish in color with the characteristic true bug X-shape or chevron on their back.

Praying mantis): Wonderfully weird, insect-hunting machines range in size from 2 to 4 inches long and have tremendous appetites, eating almost any prey they can overcome; adults feast on both pests and beneficials by ambushing predators.

Soldier beetles: Also known as leather-winged beetles; adults are relatively soft-bodied, straight-sided beetles about ½-inch long with a red, orange or yellow head and abdomen; predators to a host of bad bugs.

Syrphid flies: Commonly known as flower or hover flies, resembling bees; bright-colored adults are black or brown adorned with yellow banded abdomens and body markings; its larvae that are the predators, while adults feast on pollen and nectar; their movement from flower to flower makes them an important pollinator.

Your garden can supply adequate food and water for beneficial insects, a high variety of plants will also help. Remember to keep dust low because it aids in the outbreak of negative pests such as spider mites.

If the all natural approach isn’t working, remember to contact Earth Guard Pest Services for all of your pest control needs.

916-457-7605
877-D-BUGIN-U
(877-328-4468)
contact@earthguardpest.com

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Is my pest control technician licensed?

Improper use of pesticides indoors or out is a major health risk. Tular Country Agricultural Commissioner has announced and warned residents, local, and statewide to be aware of pest control companies or persons that are not properly licensed. To comply with state law pest control businesses must register with the county agricultural commissioner where work is being performed. Violations of the Structural Pest Control Act leads to civil penalties and fines.

Due to serious health risks associated with improper use of pesticides, residents should be aware of who they choose to perform pest control. Asking to see proper certification or visiting  http://www.pestboard.ca.gov/license.shtml are two easy ways to make sure your pest control is being performed by a licensed technician.

Earth Guard Pest Services is proud to be a certified pest control company, contact us today for all your pest control needs.

Call Us to Schedule Your Free Pest Control Estimate Today!

916-457-7605
877-D-BUGIN-U
(877-328-4468)
contact@earthguardpest.com

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Winterizing Your Home Can Help Prevent Pests

Fireplace

As the season for rain and cold weather approaches in our Sacramento pest control region, a lot of us get to work making our homes and apartments winter-ready. But did you know that a lot of the things you do to make sure your home is warm, cozy and dry and to help keep your heating bills low also help prevent pests from moving in with you?

Many insects and other pests, such as spiders, mice and rats, instinctively start seeking warm, dry places to crawl into and shelter as the weather becomes colder and rains flood their outdoor nesting sites. Our warm, dry homes are an inviting temptation!

 A mouse can enter your home through a hole the diameter of a number 2 pencil; a rat can enter through tiny openings under your eves or gaps under doorsills, spiders through a tiny crack. Here are a few tips from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help keep your home both warm and pest-free this winter:

  • Caulk windows inside and out.
  • Weather strip entry doors and/or install door sweeps if daylight is visible around the perimeter of the door.  
  • Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from your home’s foundation to keep from attracting pests.
  • Inspect for and seal foundation cracks to block a potential point of entry for pests.
  • Secure crawlspace entries.
  • When insulating exposed plumbing pipes around the foundation or the crawlspace of your home, check for any points of entry where pests could enter.  Caulk small gaps and fill larger ones with steel wool to prevent mice from entering.

If your home has a fireplace, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and other pests.

 For more information about how to keep pests out of your home, visit the EPA “Controlling Pests” Website at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/controlling/index.htm.

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The Daddy Long Legs Spider: Household Danger or Household Helper?

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The Daddy Long Legs Spider: Household Danger or Household Helper?

It skitters across the floor and up the walls on its eight lengthy legs.  In its movement alone, the Daddy Long Legs Spider is the epitome of “creepy crawly”!  Subject of urban legend and even nickname confusion, the daddy long legs spider has become a very misunderstood household visitor.

Turns out the moniker “daddy long legs” actually refers to a couple of creatures, one being the harvestman, an outdoor-dwelling, long-legged bug that is actually not a spider at all!

In our Sacramento pest control region, the most common creature to be termed “daddy long legs” is known as the cellar spider.  With its tiny body in comparison to its long, nimbly segmented legs, it’s easy to see where this spider got its nickname. As part of the Pholcidae family, the cellar spider is a quiet, solitary feeder feasting on small insects and other spiders.  Harmless, and even helpful, cellar spiders are a common encounter in an average household.

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But haven’t you heard? “Daddy long legs are the most venomous spiders in the world, only their mouths are too small to bite through human skin!” Though this false rumor has become increasingly popular to the point of legend, the UC Riverside Spider Research Site (http://spiders.ucr.edu/daddylonglegs.html) provides evidence that any venom held by the daddy long legs only affects the smallest of creatures.  However, true scientific evidence about the toxicity of daddy long legs venom is hard to come by, as research would need to include milking the spider’s venom and injecting it directly into a human subject.  Based simply on frequent encounters and the lack of hospitalization reports, it’s probably safe to say daddy long leg spiders are harmless to humans.

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While they are handy in helping reduce the population of other spiders, these arachnids create messy, tangled webs that can be an unsightly nuisance. To avoid having these eight-legged friends become housemates, make sure to frequently clean to make their favorite places to stay, such as corners and gaps between furniture and walls, less hospitable. It is also helpful to eradicate their food source by exterminating other spiders in the vicinity; once its food source is removed, the daddy long legs will find elsewhere to take up residence. If you already have daddy long legs living with you, a recommended means of removal is to vacuum them up and throw away the contents in a sealed bag in an outdoor garbage can. This ensures any egg sacs or webs are picked up reduces the risk of having to deal with the next generation.

As with all crawling home invaders, when in doubt, consult a professional. Although daddy long legs are relatively harmless, other types of spiders in our Sacramento pest control region, such as the black widow, can produce nasty bites or even serious reactions, particularly to children or pets. (Visit http://earthguardpest.com/blog for more articles on spiders in your home.) Our licensed Earth Guard Pest Control professionals are always glad to help you identify the type of spider and answer your questions. Drop by our office or call us at 916-457-7605  or toll-free at 877-D-BUGIN-U (877-328-4468).

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The Itsy Bitsy Spider Crawls Up Inside Your House!

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Crawls Up Inside Your House!

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Spring time is here and Sacramento residents may be spotting some eight-legged invaders all around their homes.  As was the case in 2010, warm weather, aided by late rains, result in an increase of plants, which in turn brings an increase in gnats, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects—the ideal smorgasbord for spiders of all stripes. While in nature spiders’ predatory instincts make them natural pest exterminators, when they invade our yards and gardens they can create a hazard for children, pets and ourselves. And sometimes these natural pest controllers follow their insect prey straight into your house, garage or tool shed and start building homes of their own.

Being that they are tiny in stature, most spider species common to Northern California, such as the Daddy-long legs (Pholcus phalangioides) and Domestic House Spider (Tegenaria domestica), simply slip through cracks around doors and windows.  Spiders will tend towards dusty and cluttered spaces to build their webs.  Garages, attics, dark cabinets, and under-used windows become prime real-estate for the arachnid.  Be careful especially of dust, garbage, and rotting food as they will attract the insects that will keep spiders well fed and content to stay.  For pictures and descriptions of spiders commonly found in our area, check out the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management Website. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7442.html

The IPM site also provides a great list of tips to prevent spiders from setting up housekeeping in your home.

1)      Regular vacuuming and sweeping to prevent dust buildup

2)      Seal cracks and around windows

3)      Make sure screens fit tight as to not allow small prey insects in

4)      Place storage boxes slightly away from walls and make sure they are sealed with tape

5)      Clean up and take out garbage often

6)      Trim plant growth close to the home

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If you find evidence that a spider is squatting in your home (i.e. a web) it is best to sweep it up and away.  If a spider’s home is gone by the time it returns, it simply will wander on.  Though most spiders you may encounter are not poisonous, even bites from non-poisonous species can cause serious reactions in some victims. Do-it-yourself treatment such as bug sprays may leave dangerous insecticide residues in your home and aren’t always effective, and misuse of over-the-counter products has been blamed for water pollution and other environmental problems. When in doubt, it’s best to leave treatment and removal to the pros. If you find a dead spider and would like the help of our friendly, experienced Sacramento pest control professionals in identifying it, feel free to place it in a plastic bag and bring it by our office at 4220 Stockton Blvd. in Sacramento.

If spiders seem to be a common occurrence in your home, it may be a tell-tale sign that you are experiencing an invasion of other pesky insects—attractive snack food for local spiders.  Don’t hesitate to contact our Earth Guard Pest Management team with any of your spider-related or other pest control concerns at 916-457-7605 or contact@earthguardpest.com.

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Black Widows Pose Spring-Cleaning Hazard

blackwidowonleavesCS1649497[1]Warmer temperatures and lots of rain make for great conditions for spiders. While most spiders found in our Sacramento pest control region are not poisonous, the exception is the black widow. Secretive and protective, the females of the species are large enough to inflict a serious bite. Spring cleaning and gardening activities can disturb their hidden nests. This news story about a local elementary school is a cautionary tale of what can happen if an infestation gets out of control: http://www.fox40.com/news/headlines/ktxl-blackwidowschool1007,0,6320527.story

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Spider Bites Rare, But Can Be A Pain

BlackWidowHrGlassCS0471421Spiders, long a favored subject of sci-fi movies and horror novels, seem to provoke an especially strong yuck factor in humans. Although we know on an intellectual level that they have many beneficial purposes in the eco-system, including eating other insect pests, most of us don’t want them in our kids’ bedrooms.

Now that warm weather has arrived, spiders are proliferating outdoors and often making their way into our homes.

Of the more than 50,000 species of spiders, only a relatively few of them are able to bite humans, for the simple reason that most have mouth parts too small to break human skin. Only one type of California spider, the Black Widow, is considered to be a serious medical danger, particularly to small children, elderly or frail adults. (See our article, “Why Spiders Don’t Make Good House Guests,” for more information about Black Widow spiders.) Even at that, it has been more than 10 years since anyone died from a Black Widow bite, largely because effective treatments have been developed.

A few years back, we heard a lot in the news about brown recluse spider bites, whose bite can be fatal or create serious, debilitating injuries. Brown recluse spiders are found in the Southern United States and do not live in California, although there are occasional reports of one having hitched a ride on a moving van and showing up here. A cousin of the brown recluse, the South American native Loxosceles laeta, has been spotted in Los Angeles County. Another cousin, the Lososceles deserta, or desert recluse, is found as far north as Merced and Fresno counties, but not in our Sacramento pest control region.

One source of confusion is that it can be hard to distinguish one type of spider from another. Even the distinctive shiny black of the Black Widow can vary, and immature females may have lighter brownish and variegated markings.

A number of spiders that are sometimes found in or around our homes may be mistaken for a brown recluse. And while their bites are not nearly as serious as that of the brown recluse, they can leave a painful wound that resembles a brown recluse bite as well as other symptoms. These include the running spider, jumping spider, wolf spider, tarantula, sac spider, orbweaver spider and hobo spider, also known as the northwestern brown spider.

The household spiders most commonly encountered by our Sacramento pest control technicians are the yellow sac spider and the hobo spider. In fact, although its bite is not fatal, the yellow sac spider is believed to be responsible for more human bites than any other species.

Symptoms of a spider bite may include pain and burning at the site of the bite, a circle of pale skin surrounding the red center of the bite, which may form a blister or ulcer and burst. Care should be taken to keep the bite clean and disinfected; seek medical attention immediately if infection sets in. In some cases, the victim may develop a red, itchy rash within the first three days, muscle and joint pain, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headache, nausea and vomiting. Hobo spider bites, in particular, may cause a painful, open wound that is slow to heal and is frequently misidentified as a brown recluse bite. See your doctor if the bite becomes infected or healing is delayed. Wolf spider bites can result in blackening of the skin in the bite area, and pain and swelling may persist for 10 days or longer. In most cases, symptoms of a spider bite will go away without treatment within a week to 10 days.

The best way to determine the type of bite is to trap the critter who did it, if you can do so safely, or collect it in a plastic bag if it has been killed, and take it to a pest control professional or University extension facility for identification. But many times, the victim doesn’t even know he or she has been bitten until a sting is felt or other symptoms develop. Stings or bites from other insects, poison oak or staph infections are often mistaken for spider bites. In cases where the bite is believed to be from a Black Widow or brown recluse spider, seek medical help immediately.

Here is some additional advice for treatment of spider bites from the California Poison Control System:

  • Wash the site of the spider bite well with soap and water.
  • Apply a cool compress or ice pack over the spider bite location.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to relieve symptoms. (Remember, do not give aspirin to children; use acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead).
  • Call the doctor or seek emergency treatment if the victim is a young child, if you think the bite may have been from a black widow or brown recluse spider, if any signs of an allergic reaction occur, if the bite area becomes infected, or if the victim develops a rash or severe illness.
  • If possible, retrieve the spider and bring it with you to the health care practitioner so that it can be definitively identified.
  • A tetanus booster shot may be necessary, depending upon the date of the patient’s last immunization.

Remember, it is difficult to control spiders with over-the-counter pesticides. Reducing clutter, de-webbing, cleaning in corners and sealing cracks and crevices where spiders can get in may help. If you need help with uninvited spiders in your home or place of business, call our trained Sacramento pest control professionals at 916-457-7605 for a same-day inspection, free estimate and information about our integrated pest management services.

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