Why Are Ants in the House, Terminix

Why Are Ants in Your House This Summer?

No matter the season, ants are always unwanted house guests. However, these social insects can be especially active in the spring and summer months, so it’s important to know what attracts ants to your home and what you can do to help remove them from the premises.

Ants can enter your house through the tiniest crack, but there’s no single explanation for why ants might breach your home’s defenses. Here are some of the most common reasons you might discover ants in your home.

Ants are foragers by nature. Worker ants scavenge for food, notify other ants of any potential food sources via scent or pheromone trails and carry the food back to the rest of the ant colony.

Ants have a diverse diet. With over 12,000 different species, they can generally be considered omnivores, however individual species tend to prefer one kind of food over others.

To help avoid an ant invasion:

  1. Keep your pantry and kitchen clean of crumbs and food spillage
  2. Refrigerate fruits and vegetables when possible
  3. Quickly clean up spills

Water

Though ants need water to survive, they don’t depend on large sources of it to get their fix. Many ants are able to get water from the food they eat. However some species, such as the tropical import known as the pharaoh ant, must nest close to a reliable water source. Other ants, like the carpenter ant, are attracted to damp wood, and a leaky pipe can provide enough moisture to draw an infestation.

To help prevent your home from inviting ants, make sure to promptly address any plumbing issues.

Reproduction and Propagation

Spring is the time of year when homeowners are most likely to encounter flying ants. Each one of these alates is a reproductive ant. As an ant colony matures, it grows more populous. These flying ants, which have been developing in the colony all along, then emerge and perpetuate the species. Once they mate, the males will die and the female queens who survive will search for places to nest and begin new colonies.

Climate and Habitat

Ants are cold-blooded creatures that rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. In the winter, they may seek out the cozy interior of your home in order to avoid the cold. Additionally, some ants, such as carpenter ants that often nest in dead wood, can find it hard to resist the structures that we build. You may keep a spotless kitchen, have watertight fixtures in every bathroom and be impervious to swarming ants, yet still have ants in the house.

Nine ant species, in particular, are commonly found around our homes:

  1. Acrobat ants
  2. Argentine ants
  3. Odorous House ants
  4. Carpenter ants
  5. Crazy ants
  6. Pavement ants
  7. Fire ants
  8. Field ants
  9. Pharaoh ants

The Threat That Ants Pose

Each species has its own biology and characteristic behaviors. That, plus general difficulty removing ant infestions, are reasons why you should not try to DIY ant control. A pest control professional can identify which species of ant has infested your home and prescribe the most appropriate treatment for helping remove them from your property.

Terminix ® offers these comprehensive services. If you need a solution to your ant problem, contact Terminix today.

The Best Mouse Trap Method

Everyone has seen the cartoon mouse trap: A big wedge of cheese perched precariously on a small wooden rectangle, just waiting for an unsuspecting mouse to come along. Most modern mouse traps don’t use pieces of cheese, although they can still use food as bait. One of the most popular baits, believe it or not, is peanut butter. There are still versions of the snap trap from cartoons, but there are also other kinds like electronic traps. Because these traps usually mean dealing with dead mice, plenty of people wonder if there’s a way to help get rid of mice without classic mouse traps. Although mouse traps are the most effective in helping to get of mice, you can also try the following natural methods to see if they help remove these pesky rodents.

How to Help Remove Fruit Flies from Your Home

Fruit flies are one of the most common household pests and they can be a huge nuisance for homeowners. Not only that, but researchers have found that fruit flies can “transfer bacteria from a contaminated source, food, or waste to surfaces or ready-to-eat food.

How to Naturally Get Rid of Bugs on Plants

Buying houseplants can put you at risk for harboring unwanted pest infestations. Before these bugs cause damage to your new plant, know how to take care of them using natural remedies.

How to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Itchy bites and illness may occur after exposure to some arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. The bites can cause discomfort and, in some cases, transmit pathogens (bacteria, viruses and protozoans) that can cause a variety of diseases. Some examples of diseases that are of concern in the United States include: (mosquito) chikungunya, dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile fever, Zika; (tick) Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The good news? There are many precautions you can take to help avoid bites from mosquitoes and ticks.

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Terminix Bainbridge Exterminators, Termite, & Pest Control

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The Terminix Bainbridge Branch protects homes and businesses, offering residential and commercial services to customers seeking effective termite and pest control. Best of all, we offer guaranteed solutions, including a money-back guarantee for pest control 1 and the strongest residential termite guarantee in the business for qualifying properties.

RELENTLESS PROTECTION AGAINST EVERY PEST THREAT

The Terminix Bainbridge Branch is staffed by service professionals who know local pest problems inside and out. We live in the area, support our local Chamber of Commerce and work from our location on Shotwell Street. We understand the threat of termites, ants, fleas, spiders, cockroaches and more in the Bainbridge area. And we’re backed by our nationwide network of expertise.

FREE Termite Inspection from Terminix

Termite warning signs depend on the species of termite and could include:

  • Bugs emerging from wall or posts
  • Blisters in wood flooring, which look like small cracks or holes
  • Hollowed or damaged wood
  • Evidence of the pests themselves, such as discarded wings
  • Droppings resembling sawdust or coffee grounds
  • Mud tubes, which look like pencil-sized dirt tunnels, near the base of the home

Early detection and professional termite control can help prevent a small termite problem from becoming an expensive ordeal. Terminix recommends that homeowners have their homes inspected at least once a year.

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Cities Served

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ZIP Codes Served

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ADVANCED TERMITE CONTROL

Nationally, termites do billions of dollars in damage each year. That’s why so many homeowners and businesses in the Bainbridge area rely on Terminix, the first pest control company to ever obtain a termite patent.

For more than 85 years, our skilled technicians have used the latest technologies to stop termites cold and provide reliable protection from future invasions. And for qualified homes, we offer the Ultimate Protection® Guarantee, the strongest guarantee in the business. If termites come back and do further damage to your home, we will get rid of them and pay for any new damage repairs. 2

UNMATCHED WILDLIFE AND RODENT CONTROL

We remove wildlife in the Bainbridge area, such as rats, squirrels, raccoons, birds, armadillos and other small animals, that can cause damage to your home. Then we customize a solution to keep them out. And as long as you keep your plan, if they return, so will we (at no extra cost). 3

EFFICIENT ATTIC INSULATION SERVICE

Our high-quality insulation can help your home stand up to heat and cold, lowering your winter heating and summer cooling energy bills. 4 Our insulation helps to maximize your home’s efficiency and protection, and installation is trouble-free.

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A New Technique for the Rapid Prediction of Insecticide Resistance in German Cockroaches

The German cockroach, Blattella germanica L, has been infamous in the insect world for its rapid development of resistance to pesticides (Brown 1971, Cornwell 1976 and Cochran 1982). Some strains of German cockroaches are resistant to organophosphate, carbamate or pyrethroid insecticides (Cochran 1989); other strains are resistant to two or three of these insecticide groups.

Insecticide resistance in cockroaches is the result of long-term exposure to low levels of pesticide (Cornwell 1976). The low levels of pesticides usually are a result of product breakdown during storage, faulty preparation of the pesticide before application or poor application procedures. When populations of cockroaches are exposed to these insufficient residues, susceptible cockroaches are killed but cockroaches with genes for resistance remain alive, resulting in control failures.

Most pest control companies blame control failures on technicians. Technicians occasionally are rushed and do not mix the chemical properly or apply it thoroughly in accounts. Correction of technician error is straightforward. Basically technician training, worker incentives and quality control solve the problem. Usually supervisors tell technicians to formulate new material, increase the application rate, do a better job of application or, if all else fails, change the chemical in hopes of achieving satisfactory control. All these options are time consuming, expensive and do not guarantee success (Bennett and Owens 1987) or satisfied customers. Customers want the insects eliminated with the least amount of toxic material applied to their home or yard.

Most university researchers think control failures are primarily due to insecticide resistance. If a control failure is due to insecticide resistance, technician training and incentives will not solve the problem. Much time and money could be saved for the pest control industry if there were an easy way to determine whether a control failure was due to technician error or insecticide resistance.

PREVIOUS TESTING METHODS. Insecticide resistance has usually been documented in a research laboratory using either direct application of the pesticide to the insect (e.g., topical, immersion or spray treatments) or indirect application (insects contaminate themselves by coming in contact with a treated surface or consuming a treated food). These standard testing techniques used for insecticide resistance evaluations usually require large numbers of insects. German cockroaches must be captured alive in homes, restaurants and apartments. The captured cockroaches are sent to a laboratory where they are raised in sufficient numbers so they can be directly or indirectly treated with the chemical. The results of these treatments then allow the scientist to determine if resistance is present. LD50s and LD90s (or the LT50s and LT90s) are used to determine the presence and level of resistance in a cockroach population.

The entire testing procedure is cumbersome, time-consuming and difficult to implement. Pest control operators do not have the equipment, facilities or trained personnel to handle live cockroaches. Many times insufficient cockroaches are collected, collected cockroaches die of insecticide contamination, heat or cold in the service vehicle; or the field-collected colony is lost before any evaluations are done. When field-collected cockroaches are successfully given to a scientist, they are held in the laboratory for several generations so that enough cockroaches are available for testing. Laboratory colonization often results in insecticide resistance changes before testing. If everything goes perfectly, the pest control operator will find out whether his control failure was due to resistance in six to 12 months. Unfortunately, the property owner who is troubled by cockroaches wants control immediately, not six months or a year later. Consequently, there is a lot of trial and error use of insecticides by pest control operators, as well as new chemicals being tried to overcome the control failure.

A SOLUTION? There are several potential solutions to the current problems with assaying insecticide resistance. The World Health Organization test kit — or a modification of it — used field collected or laboratory-reared individuals which are exposed to insecticide residues. Mortality is recorded at different times. Unfortunately, the pest control operator would have to collect and do experiments on live cockroaches. Biochemical assays for specific insecticide resistance mechanisms could provide instantaneous results, but usually require years and a lot of expensive equipment to develop. Although a simple bioassay can indicate insecticide resistance, it can be very misleading unless proper precautions are taken. To get the most accurate readings the insects must be the same age and sex.

The USDA-ARS Medical and Veterinary Entomology Research Laboratory has been working on the development of a simple method of evaluating insecticide resistance in German cockroaches. In this paper we report the development of a new method for the evaluation of German cockroach insecticide resistance which can be easily used by the pest control operator.

Sticky traps and/or glue boards have been used for years to monitor and control German cockroach populations (Ballard and Gold 1982, Owens and Bennett 1988). If placed in the proper locations, large numbers of cockroaches can be captured in a very short period of time. It has been estimated that a standard cockroach sticky trap which is about 2 x 4 x 6 inches will capture only 2 percent of the population in a 24-hour period (Koehler et al. 1985). Therefore, sticky traps are not very practical for controlling cockroaches but are very useful for monitoring populations.

Because German cockroaches caught in the glue of these traps can live for several days, we decided to incorporate insecticide into test sticky traps and put German cockroaches onto the glue (e.g. sticky traps with various insecticides incorporated into them have been used to monitor insecticide resistance in agricultural arthropod pests [Haynes 1987]). Our theory was that resistant cockroaches caught in the insecticide-treated traps would survive and susceptible ones would die. Therefore, pest control operators could quickly determine broad resistance profiles of wild cockroaches.

Because we maintain a number of different German cockroach strains in culture, with various degrees of insecticide resistance, it was fairly easy to evaluate the new type glue/toxicant traps. We have determined the LC50s of insecticides in glue for chlorpyrifos bendiocarb and cypermethrin. By using insects which have different levels of insecticide resistance we calculated resistance ratios (LC50s of resistant/LC50 or susceptible). The three major insecticide groups were evaluated, the organophosphates (chlorpyrifos), carbamates (bendiocarb) and the pyrethroids (cypermethrin). These insecticides were then mixed into glue which had been thinned with a solvent. The insecticide-glue mixture was painted on cardboard disks (100 mm diameter). The solvent was allowed to evaporate for 24 hours in a fume hood, leaving the insecticide-impregnated glue. Disks with the various dosages of the pesticides were prepared so that a dose mortality curve could be developed for each insecticide. Adult male cockroaches gave the most consistent results so they were used for our standard bioassay animal. Adult male cockroaches from one to seven days of age were placed on the glue/insecticide cardboard disks which were then placed in a petri dish. These dishes of cockroaches stuck in the glue mixture were held at 26 degrees Centigrade. Mortality of the cockroaches was determined, at various time intervals, by prodding them with a probe. The cockroaches were considered dead if they did not move at all.

Topical insecticide applications were performed on the strains of cockroaches so that we would have a conventional assessment of insecticide susceptibility for comparison. The insecticides were applied in acetone solution between the hind legs of adult male cockroaches which had been immobilized with carbon dioxide. Cockroaches were counted as dead if they could not right themselves 24 hours after the insecticide application. Resistance ratios were calculated from the LD50 value in the same manner used for the glue/insecticide bioassay. We compared the resistance ratios for topical application of insecticides with those for insects in insecticide/glue mixtures for the three insecticides. The results were comparable (Table 1).

Insecticide Strain RR (Topical) RR (Glue/toxicant)
cypermethrin A 3.1 3.7
cypermethrin B 62.9 30.0
chlorpyrifos A 9.2 5.5
chlorpyrifos B 5.8 7.2
bendiocarb A 1.0 1.3
bendiocarb B 8.4 6.8

Table 1. Comparison of resistance ratios (RR) to two strains of German cockroaches exposed to three insecticide groups using topical or glue/insecticide bioassays.

There were some differences in the ratios, but the same trend was apparent in all cases. The ratios were the greatest in strain B with the cypermethrin. The glue/insecticide trap did give a clear indication of the high degree of resistance in strain B to the pyrethroid insecticides. Based on findings of Atkinson et al. (1991), the B strain of German cockroach is resistant to all pyrethroids. One interesting fact is that Strain A originally had a seven-fold resistance ratio to bendiocarb when it was tested in 1988. When the glue/insecticide traps were tested, no resistance to bendiocarb was seen. Topical studies were rerun on all the strains and it confirmed what was shown by the glue/toxicant trap, the Strain A had indeed lost its resistance to bendiocarb.

FIELD STUDIES. Our next step was to try our glue/toxicant trap in the field to see if it could be used to predict the success or failure of a compound if it was applied correctly and according to label rates. One percent chlorpyrifos or cypermethrin glue/insecticide traps were placed in an apartment in a low-income public housing project. The traps were collected the next morning and held for another 24 hours at 26 degrees Centigrade before being evaluated. The apartment was then treated with either chlorpyrifos or cypermethrin at the labeled rate. The glue/chlorpyrifos trap predicted a kill of 17 percent; chlorpyrifos treatment killed 32 percent of the cockroaches in the apartment. The glue/cypermethrin trap predicted a kill of 85 percent; cypermethrin treatment resulted in a 95 percent kill of the cockroaches in the apartment.

Thus a simple technique has been developed to easily and quickly determine if you are dealing with a application problem or true insecticide resistance and what group of chemicals you should switch to. It is easy, safe, inexpensive and reliable for the pest control operator to handle.

We anticipate that this monitoring system will be a useful research tool, however the main purpose of its design was to provide a means for pest control operators and large institutions to forecast which insecticides would give control or predict failure. Baited cockroach traps with insecticide-treated glue will be distributed to pest control companies. The dose of insecticide in the traps will be designed to kill non-resistant cockroaches and leave resistant cockroaches alive. Pest control operators should place these traps in infested or problem accounts.

Several traps, each containing a different insecticide which could be used in the situation, should be placed in infested areas of the account. The traps should be left overnight, retrieved and returned to the office. On the day after pickup, the technician should count the total number of live and dead cockroaches in the trap. Percent survival in each trap would predict the percentage of cockroaches which would survive the treatment with that insecticide. The pest control operator could then make informed decisions to choose the effective insecticide for an account. This procedure would result in a reduced number of call-backs and treatment failures.

James I. Moss and Richard S. Patterson are with the USDA-ARS, Medical and Veterinary Entomology Research Laboratory, Gainesville, Fla. Philip G. Koehler is with the Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

www.pctonline.com

18 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Smoke Smell from Home

If you have a regular smoker in the house you must be familiar with the slightly smoky, burnt smell of tobacco lingering in the rooms, the furniture, and car. And while you might be used to it, your guests might find the odor queer. Also the fact that cigarette smoke smell is bad for your health and might lead to allergies does not make matters any better.

Now the best way to curb this is to quit smoking (easier said than done!), but what one fails to realise is, the smell of smoke still prevails, it’s stuck in the corners of the rooms. Mentioned below are some effective home remedies for removing smoke odor from the house, check it out:

What causes cigarette smoke?

Tobacco smell permeates every nook and cranny of your house and while smokers are usually unaware of this, the cigarette odour is almost intolerable to a non-smoker. Listed below are a few common causes of the lingering smell of cigarette:

  • Having a chain smoker in the house
  • The high tobacco content and other harmful chemicals cause the odor
  • Moving into a place whose former occupants were smokers
  • Outdoor cigarette smoke and pollution that clings on to your car
  • Continued exposure to cigars, pipes and other tobacco containing products

The effects of cigarette smoke:

The ill effects or dangers of cigarette are well-known to everyone. Even smokers want to get rid of the odour as it is fatal for babies and small children. Mentioned below are some symptoms of effects of smoke smell:

  • Irritation, sore throat and allergies
  • Breathing problems such as asthma
  • Serious medical problems such as lung cancer
  • Bad for the environment as well
  • Chronic and long lasting diseases
  • Other smoke odors such as chimney smoke, barbeque smoke etc.

Home remedies for getting rid of cigarette smoke:

The miniscule smoke particles stick to the house like an ominous shadow, refusing to let go. And no matter how many air purifiers, filters and disinfectants you use, the tobacco smell lingers. Don’t worry though, given below are some easy and effective home remedies for getting rid of the smoke and leave your house smelling sweet again!

1. Charcoal

Charcoal absorbs the smoky smell and is great for purifying water and air. Placing a bowl of charcoal in the smoke infected area is among the easiest home remedies for getting rid of that awful smell of cigarettes. Place it close to the ashtray in case you’re an active smoker.

2. Fabric softeners

Often fabric softeners are pretty effective in removing the smell of tobacco from clothes, soak your garments in a scented fabric softener after you’ve washed it. This not only strengthens the fabric but also rids it off the strong cigarette smell.

3. Cinnamon sticks

The sweet smelling cinnamon can also effectively remove the cigarette smell in the house! Bake or boil some cinnamon sticks in a pan and place it around your house. The wonderful aroma would waft all over the house.

4. Limes and lemons

Who doesn’t love the fresh smell of lemons?! A natural and easily available kitchen ingredient, limes are among the best home remedies for getting rid of the smoke. Sprinkle some lime juice round the house or add some drops into the washing. Also active smokers can use lemon to rid the cigarette smell from their mouths

5. Coffee

Not only does it taste heavenly, the wonderful aroma can also neutralize the smell of cigarettes! All you have to do is place a jar of coffee in and around the house.

6. Hair products

Shampoos or conditioners can also be used for eradicating the smoke, it washes out the smoke particles from your hair; also aromatic soaps remove the tobacco smell from the body.

7. Old newspaper

Leaving old newspapers inside the cupboards and cabinets is perhaps the easiest of home remedies for getting rid of cigarette smell, and it costs you nothing!

8. Baking soda

Sprinkling some baking soda on the corners, the furniture and carpets absorbs the smoke particles easily, leaving your house odour free

9. Vanilla extract

Vanilla extract is a great cigarette odour remover that absorbs the smoke particles, soak a piece of cloth in vanilla essence and place it in the middle of the room. This method is also effective to get rid of cigarette smell in the car.

10. Bleaching powder

Washing the walls with bleaching powder or sprinkling some of it on the curtains and other fabrics neutralizes the tobacco smell.

11. Borax or detergent

Washing the walls, curtains and carpets with washing detergent not only cleans them of the stains but also frees them from the cigarette odour.

12. Vodka

Alcohol is another useful home remedy; sprinkle some vodka onto your clothes, the couches and the carpets. The smell evaporates easily, leaving your house odour free.

13. White vinegar

White vinegar with apple sauce is great for ridding the house of cigarette smell. Wash the walls, curtains and corners with this mixture to get rid of the smoke

14. Re paint the walls

Re painting the house leaves your house all fresh and beautiful, as good as new! And although this is an expensive fix for eradicating the smoky odour, the effects are long lasting. The strong smell of paint covers the cigarette smoke, also paint ensures that there are no tiny particles of smoke on the walls anymore.

15. Steam cleaner

A pretty affordable smoke removing fix, purchasing or renting a steam cleaner to clean the couch, curtains and carpets is another effective home remedy for removing cigarette smell. Ensure that you get a sweet smelling steam cleaner and that you such out all the water from the carpets once you’ve cleaned them

16. Apples

Placing a slice of apple soaked up in vinegar in the smoke affected corners removes the smoke effectively. Leave the apple slice until it shrivels up.

17. Scented candles

Scented candles not only look pretty adding on to the aesthetic appeal of the rooms but also a smart fix for neutralizing the tobacco odour, leaving your place all fresh, sweet smelling and beautiful!

18. Sweet smelling herbs

Herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme and cedar are among the most aromatic of herbs, soaking these herbs or burning them in a container and allowing the smoke to spread all over the house is among the simplest home remedies for getting rid of cigarette smoke.

Other steps you can implement:

Other than these home remedies, there are some simple rules that you can incorporate in your house to curb the smoky smell:

  • Keep the windows and doors open to allow fresh air
  • Wash the carpets and walls regularly
  • Personal hygiene: clean smelling clothes, hair, shoes and bag
  • Install an electric air purifier in your house to filter the air
  • Keep room fresheners and car purifiers at your disposal
  • Sunshine can do wonders for your house!

Some precautionary measures:

Keep these tips and warnings in mind when you’re on a cleaning spree. Listed below are some precautionary measures:

  • Keep it away from children, as most of the products mentioned above is harmful for kids
  • Keep the windows open to let the smoke out
  • Clean your house regularly, especially the walls and corners
  • Insist that people smoke outside the house to minimize the tobacco exposure
  • Try quitting, it is possible!

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