Spooky Spiders in Arizona

spooky-spider-in-arizonaPeople seem to be more afraid of spiders than any insect out there, despite the fact that while a few of their bites can be dangerous, getting a disease from a mosquito such as yellow fever is much more harmful to humans. NC State University entomologist Matt Bertone says their frightening reputation is hardly justified. Bertone comes face to face with countless species of spiders every day. He states that most of the time when people call in thinking they have a spider bite it’s usually some other insect bite or a skin rash. Most spiders can’t bit us because their fangs aren’t big enough to pierce the skin. Even if they do bite us, it is usually no more painful than a minor bee sting.

Even bites from dangerous spiders such as black widows and brown recluses are very rare, as spiders tend to run away from people, only biting when they feel threatened. Just as we tend to stay away from them, they stay away from us. However, we are much closer to spiders than we might think. After doing a study of 50 different houses, Berton found that there was at least one spider, alive or dead, in every room of the houses. But, don’t worry, they stay pretty well hidden.

Are you afraid of spiders? Have you ever come across any of the venomous kind?

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How to Make Spider Pops as Halloween Treats

spooky-spider-lollipopsSupplies Needed

For Spiders

  • 1 bag Tootsie Roll Pops assorted flavors 10.125 oz.
  • 25 pack fuzzy sticks black or colors of your choice (found at Walmart in the craft section .77cents or your local craft store.)
  • 7mm 30 piece wiggle eyes
  • hot glue gun with glue

Directions For Spiders

  1. Evenly gather four fuzzy sticks and twist around the stick of the lollipop. Shape fuzzy sticks for legs; glue on eyes.

*NOTES*

one bag, 72 pc. wiggle eyes is enough for both projects. I chose to use two different wiggle eyes for each project. One single fat quarter of fabric makes approx. 12 ghosts and one package of fuzzy sticks makes 6 spiders. As you see in the spider photo, I used black and a variety Halloween color pack of fuzzy sticks for the spiders legs found at my local craft store.

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Pest Proofing Your Home for the Winter

pest proof your Arizona home this winter

The shorter days and cooler evenings tell us that fall is in full swing. They also serve as a reminder to Arizona homeowners to take steps to protect their homes from unwanted pests that seek a place to wait out the winter.

With the new season comes different pest challenges to face and another round of pest proofing. It’s an important action that can help your home stay pest-free and keep your family protected from unwanted and potentially harmful pests.

Common household pests – mice, rats, cockroaches, spiders – will look for shelter in warm structures as the weather grows cooler. Therefore, Bug Guardian encourages homeowners to include pest proofing into their home maintenance routines this fall.

Besides being a nuisance to you and your family, these pests can pose serious risks. For example, rodents, particularly mice, are a more common fall pest and can spread such pathogens as Salmonella, contaminating food in your kitchen. Mice also can damage the drywall and electrical wiring in your home with their gnawing, which can increase the risk of an electrical fire.

In addition to carrying pathogens, cockroaches can trigger allergies and asthma, especially in children. Some species of spiders may bite if their hiding spot is discovered.

Proactive and vigilant winter pest proofing is crucial in preventing pests from coming indoors. The best defense is a strong offense. This “offense” we’re talking about is conducting a simple check of your home and performing any necessary maintenance.

Bug Guardian recommends the following home pest-proofing tips for winter:

  • Check screens on attic vents and around chimney openings to make sure there are no tears
  • Eliminate moisture sites, including leaking pipes, clogged drains and broken irrigation systems
  • Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool, paying close attention to where utility pipes enter your home
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles
  • Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house; keep shrubbery well-trimmed
  • Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens
  • Inspect items for signs of pest activity, such as boxes of holiday decorations and grocery bags, before bringing them indoors

If you have questions about pests trying to gain access to your home, call or drop me an email at tom@mybugguardian.com.

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Do You Need a Doctor After a Bug Bite?

Ouch! You’ve been bitten by a bug! Do I need a doctor after a bug bite?

You were out and about and ended up with an annoying new bug bite. But how do you know when it’s time to go to a doctor over the bite? How do you know if you are allergic?

As a blanket statement, most of the time bug bites aren’t serious. But if you notice things like signs of infection, it may be time to seek out a doctor or dermatologist. Sometimes the bite will become infected due to your reaction. If you have a mosquito bite, for instance, try your hardest not to scratch at it. Scratching will break the skin allowing infection to set in. If you notice infection, wash it carefully and use an antiseptic to clean the area.

It’s also important to notice allergic reactions. After all, we don’t know we are allergic until we receive that first bite or sting. The signs of allergic reaction can range from simple swelling all the way to anaphylactic shock. Typically allergies to bees are the worst. If you are stung by a bee or wasp, and notice signs of swelling of lips, eyelids or throat, you may have an allergy and need a trip to the emergency room.

For more information on allergic reactions to bee stings please click here

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Issues With Little Black Ants Everywhere?

Are you finding issues with little black ants everywhere?

Did come home or wake up to hundreds of tiny critters uniformly marching in a line to you kitchen, pet food bowl, or restroom?

Hot weather creates the perfect storm for persistent ants to head into your home in search for food and water. The endless clusters of them may seem unstoppable but there is an effective way to combat them.

But first, let’s learn a little bit about these unwelcomed guests.

Who are these guys? And What Are They Doing In My House?

Little black ants can come in a variety of colors ranging from dark-brown, black and jet black. They can be found throughout the United States, including the Phoenix Valley of Arizona.

Just like their name, they are about 2mm in length and have two nodes on its pedicel. The little black ants are very similar in appearance to Pharaoh ants except for its darker coloration.

Where Are They Coming From?

Almost all little black ant colonies originate from an outside dark covering. Tree stumps and piles of wood and bricks are common nesting areas for this type of pest. Once inside, they can be found in wall voids, underneath the edge of carpet or t-mold, cabinets, or masonry.

Don’t be deceived if the problem has progressed and it appears the ants are coming in from all around – the infestation originates from one source. The source will be found in one of the nesting areas mentioned above. The next step is to find this location by tracking the ant trail(s) using some professional techniques.

Our previous blog post covers in detail how ant trails are formed and typical pathways they take to get to food sources.

Be One With The Ants…Or At Least Know How To Follow A Trail

Following a clearly defined trail of hundreds of ants may not seem difficult; but, when you add breaks in the line, obstructions, coverings, or multiple trails – it can get tricky. To successfully track, follow the ant trail in the opposite direction that the majority of the ants are headed.

If there are multiple trails, this may take more time, but you will eventually find their home. It’s similar to solving a maze puzzle: Start with one route and if you come to a dead end, start from another route.

When you have followed the trail outdoors, removing grass or vegetation from the foundation, driveways, and sidewalks will be beneficial to continuing the hunt. Hidden trails can be found this way. Also, consider raking any vegetation or mulch around trees and shrubs. Ant colonies can be found underneath anything that is in contact with the soil – including sprinkler heads.

The most common nesting area for little black ants is tree stumps, dead wood or piles of items (bricks or stones). If located within a tree, the ants could be traveling up and down the trunk to a dead limb or hole high up – accessing this location may be difficult. Having a tree company prune any dead branches can remove the current ant colony and prevent any future ones from occurring.

If you still can’t find the nest, there still are methods for controlling the ant problem. Place baits near trail entrances into your home. This can attract many more ants for a couple of days before they start to subside. The baits will be collected by the ants and taken back to the nest to feed the rest of the colony. How’s that for a little bit of trickery?

Hooray, You Found The Ant Nest!

Now that you know where the hundreds of ants that were in your home are residing, you can take them out in one fell swoop. Contact a Pest Prevention company like Bug Guardian to help with ant eradication.

Continually monitoring pest activity around your property can make for a solid pest prevention plan as well, which is something Bug Guardian can also assist with.

A Shorter Summary Of Eliminating Little Black Ants

Just in case you zapped through the above looking for an easy-as-ABC control process, I have provided some quick bullet points. However, please note that the above provides very useful details (and some really cool images) for eliminating your ant problem.

  • What Are Little Black Ants? A 2mm ant that can be black, jet-black, or dark brown found throughout all of the United States. They are very common in the Phoenix Valley.
  • Where Are They Coming From? Common nesting place for little black ants are tree stumps and piles of wood and bricks. Foraging ants located inside can be found in wall voids, underneath the edge of carpet or t-mold, cabinets, or masonry.
  • How Can I Locate The Source? By using tracking techniques you can follow the ant trail in the opposite direction to find their nest. Smashing the visible ones in your home is a temporary fix, the nest has hundreds to thousands more that will invade. Find the ant’s nest to resolve the infestation.
  • What Treatment Do I Use For The Ants? Contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention to help with ant removal.
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Difference Between Bees and Wasps

Do YOU know the difference between bees and wasps?

Sure, most of the time we don’t care WHAT it is once they’ve stung us, but it’s good to know which insect you’re dealing with so you know how to react!

This week, we’ve broken down some key differences between the two.

Bees and wasps come in a variety of colors, so sometimes it’s not as simple as looking at their color scheme… there are black bees and yellow wasps (in fact, there are black and yellow flies)!

  1. One of the easiest indicators is the insect’s body. Wasps are slender, while bees are more rotund… mainly because their feeding habits are different. Wasps are predators, and have to hunt their prey (other insects and bugs)… so their bodies are sleeker to give them an advantage when hunting. Bees, on the other hand, have a more rotund body… more suited for gathering pollen and transporting it to feed their young.

  1. Nests also differ between wasps and bees. Most bee nests (most commonly referred to as “hives”) are manufactured, but sometimes bees make their homes in tree cavities, buildings or even holes in the ground. A wasp’s nest consists of a pulp out of chewed-up fibers and its own saliva. Wasps tend to build in hidden, out of the way places, like under decks or in remote crevices.

  2. Social or Asocial? Bees are more “social” insects – their hives can have up to 50,000+ residents, while even large wasp nests usually contain well under 10,000 residents!

  3. Winter Workouts. Another difference (though not necessarily easily observable) is that wasps hibernate during winter, while (surprisingly) bees do not. Bees go into what is often called a “winter cluster.” They remain in the hive, and group together to “shiver,” keeping the queen bee (who is at the center of the huddle) warm!

So there you have it! Of course, there are more similarities and differences between these insects, but the above gives you a great primer for identification. The next time you see something buzzing around, take a second glance and see if you can tell into which family it fits!

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