Tag Archives: Exterminators

Dealing with Dangerous Spiders- What to do if you Spot a

Dealing with Dangerous Spiders: What to do if you Spot a Dangerous Spider in Your Home

Dealing with Dangerous Spiders-670People vary in their opinions and treatment of spiders. Some people hate them with a passion and will smash them on sight. Others live peacefully with whatever spiders decide to explore or even move into their homes. Whatever your reaction to the arachnid may be, it is important to learn how to identify dangerous and/or venomous spiders so that you don’t risk aggravating a creature that could do quite a lot of harm to you if it is mishandled.

How to Identify a Dangerous Spider

Unfortunately, there aren’t any universal identifying marks that will help you quickly figure out whether or not a spider is dangerous. There are some who believe that the brighter the color of a spider, the more threatening it might be to your well-being (the black widow and brown recluse being the exceptions to the rule). Still, color varies between spiders so a spider that should be bright red might be a more muted and brownish hue.

The best way to figure out whether a spider is venomous or dangerous is to learn about the different spiders that live in your area. A taxonomic guide to local spiders will tell you which spiders are harmless and which should be treated with care. Pay particular attention to the characteristics and markings of the spiders that could potentially pose a threat.

What to do When You See a Spider

No matter what type of spider you find exploring your home or come across in the wild, the best thing to do is to tread carefully and approach it slowly. Keep your mouth closed and your eyes covered—goggles, reading glasses, etc are usually adequate. Put on long sleeves and tuck the sleeves into gloves and tuck the legs of your pants into your socks. This way if the spider panics and rushes you, you won’t have to worry too much about it crawling into your clothes.

Note: This is also the best way to dress if you’re going to be spending time in wooded or grassy areas where spiders and other bugs like to live.

The goal is to get close enough to get a good look at the spider without causing it to panic and either rush at you (remember, some spiders jump) or run away. The best way to do this is to capture it.

Capturing a Spider

The best way to capture a spider is to put a solid glass container over it. Then, slowly slide a stiff piece of cardboard across the mouth of the container. Go as slowly as your nerves can handle. This way the spider is more likely to simply crawl up onto the cardboard and won’t try to escape under it, and you don’t risk squishing it or breaking some of its legs.

Should You Kill the Spider?

Once you’ve captured and secured the spider, you can kill it if you want to, but don’t smash it. The Smithsonian recommends putting the sealed container in the freezer so that it will go into a natural hibernation state and then, the next morning, submerge it in rubbing alcohol.

This accomplishes two goals: it kills the spider in a humane way that doesn’t torture it. It also leaves the spider intact so you can take it to a pest control expert or entomologist for identification. If the spider does turn out to be venomous or dangerous, you should take steps to prevent more of its kind from checking out your living space.

Dealing with a Spider Infestation

If the spider population has gotten out of control in spite of your better efforts, it’s worth hiring a pest control expert to help you eradicate your arachnid roommates. The best approach is an environmentally responsible one. You don’t want to risk harming other, wanted occupants of the house or that might hang out in your yard. Don’t try to take on an infestation yourself. You could do more harm than good!

How to Protect Your Home and Electronics from Crazy Ants

How to Protect Your Home and Electronics from Crazy Ants

How to Protect Your Home and Electronics from Crazy AntsThere are very few (if any) species of ant out there that people actually like. For a long time the fire ant enjoyed top billing as the most destructive and invasive species. Now, though, it looks like there is another type of ant that will win that title and it is called, appropriately, the Crazy Ant.

In some places it is called the Raspberry Crazy Ant after the exterminator who “discovered” them and brought them to the attention of scientists and the government. In scientific circles and outside of Iowa Colony, Texas, the same ant is called the Tawny Crazy Ant. Whatever you want to call it, the “crazy” part is right.

What is a Crazy Ant?

Crazy ants are a species of ant thought to have originated in Brazil that is invading and taking over the Gulf regions of Texas, Florida and other bordering states. They were first spotted a few years ago and have steadily and alarmingly been marching outward ever since.

At first glance they might look like reddish sugar ants. They’re tiny—about an eighth of an inch big—and swarm in extremely large numbers. They get the name “crazy” because unlike other ants that are known for traveling in lines, these ants move in unpredictable patterns, making it hard to track them back to their “home bases.”  It is not uncommon to find piles of billions of them swarming around and up and over each other, looking like piles of squirming top soil.

What Do the Crazy Ants Want?

Another feature in their “crazy” moniker is that the things that attract “typical” ants: wood fibers, sugar and other sweet smells and foods have little to no effect on these ants. These ants are found more often in the electrical workings of homes and belongings. While scientists think they are drawn to the warmth of the electrical currents that pass through homes and other devices, some think that they might actually be attracted to the electricity itself.

Whatever their motivation, these ants invade wiring systems (house-bound and device-bound alike) by the millions, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage by shorting out electrical devices and wiring systems.

What Can You Do If You Find Them?

Once you find these ants the only realistic way to fight back against them is to call an exterminator or professional to help you kill the creatures that have invaded as well as any eggs that may have been laid; their queens seem particularly indestructible. Don’t try to take them on yourself unless you have experience in professional levels of pest control.

How Do You Discourage Crazy Ants and Keep Them Out of Your Stuff?

Experts agree that some of the best things you can do to keep crazy ants at bay involve keeping any vegetation on your property well away from your actual home or pathways into it. Be sure to seal all of the cracks and crevices in and on the outside of your home and keeping your home as clean and sealed up as possible.

A publication from the State of Texas also stresses the importance of carefully inspecting everything you buy before you bring it into your home or onto your property to make sure that you aren’t accidentally bringing crazy ants home with you. It is also important to inspect luggage and other items you may have been traveling with—especially if you’ve been traveling within the gulf region.

Act Quickly

Many exterminators and experts will say that if you notice huge swarms it might actually be too late for you to do anything about the infestation—even on the professional level. This is why as soon as you see even one crazy ant (learn how to identify them here) you should get a professional onto your property to make sure that any colonies that might be setting up are wiped out before they can really take hold.

Top 5 ways to Rid Your Home of Roaches

Top 5 Ways to Rid Your Home of Roaches

Top 5 Ways to Rid Your Home of RoachesResearchers recently found that there is a species of cockroach that survived by eating dinosaur waste. Other research shows that there is an evolutionary ancestor to the cockroach that crawled the earth millions of years before the dinosaurs showed up. It’s no wonder that we believe they will live forever and survive the nuclear apocalypse/holocaust situation people think is coming. If they’ve lived through all of the rest of evolution, surely they’ll outlive us, right?

While we marvel at how survival-capable cockroaches seem to be, that does not mean we welcome their presence in our homes. In fact, catching a glimpse of even a single cockroach is enough to send most people into fumigation frenzy. Luckily you don’t necessarily have to go that route. In fact, there are several things that you can do to keep those bugs from setting up camp in the first place. Here are just a few of them.

Hiring Help

Hiring a pest control expert is something that helps you both get rid of the cockroaches you have already and prevent new pests from invading. Regular spraying (with environmentally responsible sprays and products of course) can keep your house completely roach free.

If the problem is particularly bad (for example, if there is work being done on nearby buildings or constructions sites), you’ll want to hire an extermination expert to really go to town on your home and its foundation. It might take a while for them to be able to fit you in, though; so, while you wait, here are a few things you can do.

Clean It Up

Cockroaches are attracted to warm and dry places that they can burrow into. Piles of newspapers, mail or magazines are a perfect roach hut. Clutter also provides a desirable shelter and, depending upon where it is located, a source of food. Scrub your house from top to bottom. Get rid of the piles of clutter. Put everything away. Invest in some air-tight sealable containers for food and cooking ingredients. It won’t get rid of them completely but it will discourage new roaches from invading when they find that there are very few places to hide.

Borax

Most exterminators will recommend mixing some borax with sugar and sprinkling it around. The sugar attracts the roaches. The Borax acts as a toxin and dehydrates the roach’s exoskeleton. Borax is a fairly harmless product but if you’re worried about your kids’ and pets’ exposure to it, limit the sprinkling of it to your upper cabinets and in higher places.

Note: Do NOT use this mixture near anything that has to do with food (food prep spaces, pantries, dishes).

Fabric Softener

Cockroaches do not like fabric softener. You can test this out by laying a sheet out and watching how a cockroach reacts when an encounter takes place. If the problem in your house is really bad, you can get in some “target practice” by filling a spray bottle with a couple parts of liquid natural/organic fabric softener and water. Spray the roaches when you see them. Enjoy their immediate demise.

Catnip

Catnip is also a natural roach repellant. Sprinkle it around under your sink and in your cabinets and close to your doors. You might even consider sprinkling it around outside. The great thing about catnip is that it is harmless for pets and your kids so you don’t have to worry about vigilantly watching every leaf in the house.

Remember, if the cockroach population grows to problematic proportions, the best thing to do is to hire a professional to help you get rid of them. In the in-between though, using these natural and environmentally responsible roach repelling methods can help out quite a lot.

South Florida Exterminators can Conquer Pharaoh Ant Empires

South Florida ExterminatorsMonomorium pharaonis is the scientific name for one of South Florida’s more interesting pests. However, most people just refer to the creatures as pharaoh ants. Like the humans that they share a moniker with, these 1/12-inch long formicidae have been around for centuries. They have also been the target of our South Florida exterminators.

South Florida exterminator lore has it that the pharaoh ants got their name because of an erroneous connection to ancient Egypt’s insect plagues. Although these African natives didn’t participate in the plague, it doesn’t mean that they are not trouble with a capital T.

Pharaoh ants love to nest in hot, humid enclosed areas. So that makes them exceptionally fond of South Florida. Hot, humid homes are not their only nesting spots either. These South Florida pests have a penchant for medical facilities as well.

When they do infest medical facilities, it is not uncommon to see them drinking from blood plasma bags, IV bags or the mouths of sleeping humans. What makes such situations even more disturbing is that the ants are also known carriers of diseases. Some of the diseases connected to South Florida’s pharaoh ant population are streptococcus, salmonella and staphylococcus.

To add to the problem, once the pharaoh ants establish a nest, their numbers can grow quickly. Perhaps that is why they were once falsely associated with the plagues. How quickly can they reproduce? Well, each female, of which there may be more than 100 per nest, is capable of producing 400 eggs at a time. Those eggs are capable of turning into additional females in less than 40 days. So in as little as two months, a South Florida dwelling can literally become overrun with pharaohs.

The good news is that our South Florida exterminators know how to bring the pharaohs’ reign to a swift conclusion. To learn more about how they accomplish such a challenging feat, please contact us at (866) 611-2847.

Seeing Ghosts? South Florida Exterminators Can Help

South Florida ExterminatorsAs long time South Florida exterminators, we’ve seen our share of ants. We can also honestly say that the Sunshine State has some of the more interesting species of Formicidae in the United States. One of the more bizarre creatures is the ghost ant. South Florida exterminator legend has it that ghost ants started haunting areas of the Sunshine State back in the 1980s.

Ironically enough, it happened about the same as the arrival of a certain gigantic, paranormal marshmallow. At the time, his arrival captured more headlines. Of course now all of that has changed and it’s the ghost ants’ antics that are making the national news.

Just in case you have never seen a South Florida ghost ant before, they are typically less than 1.5 mm long and feature white gasters. That’s the scientific name used to identify the lower portions of their bodies. Their heads and upper bodies, on the other hand, are traditionally a dark brown or black. Believed to have originated overseas, they tend to smell like rancid coconut oil when you step on them.

Besides looking and smelling different that other South Florida ants, the ghosts have other claims to fame. For instance, they are known to share living space with spiders and ants outside of their species. They also enjoy eating honeydew melons, sugar water and other sweet treats.

In addition, the ghosts are exceptionally adept at promptly relocating and taking up residence in the tiniest of areas. Places that they will sometimes colonize are book bindings, motor vehicles, electrical outlets, window sill ledges and cracks in between a home’s baseboards. Subsequently, they can be very challenging to vanquish.

So, if you eventually end up with a house full of little ghosts and want to make them disappear, contact us online or call (866) 611-2847. Once you do, we’ll put Hulett Environmental Services’ South Florida exterminators to work for you.

South Florida Exterminators Discuss Region’s Termite Populations

As South Florida exterminators, we are often asked questions about our area’s termite populations. The questions understandably vary. However, some of them have to do with the various types (subterranean, dampwood and drywood) and species of termites found throughout the Sunshine State. That said, we thought that it might be helpful to briefly spotlight a few of the more common ones.

Subterranean Termites in South Florida

There are many species of termites that are considered subterranean. As you may have guessed, they live underground and use foraging tubes to access food sites. One of the most problematic ones found in South Florida is the Formosan. Originally from Asia, it first surfaced in Hallandale in the 1980s. Since that time, it has been eating its way across our fair state.

For the novice, their colonies can be hard to find. That’s because it is not uncommon for the creatures to travel 300 feet from their homestead to feast on South Floridian’s wooden structures. As such, quickly securing the services of a South Florida exterminator to eradicate them is strongly advised.

Termite Pest Control
Termite Pest Control

Drywood Termites in South Florida

Drywood termites also live in South Florida. They differ from subterranean termites in many respects, including where they establish their colonies. Unlike their underground cohorts, drywood species like to nest inside of drywood. They also tend to create modest homes and have much shorter foraging ranges. Species that may be found in Florida include the West Indian, western and southeastern.

Dampwood Termites in South Florida

It should also be noted that South Florida has a dampwood termite population as well. They are often found living in modest-size colonies located in damp areas. That is partially why it is so important for South Floridians to address any water related, structural damage quickly. Species that homeowners may encounter are neotermes luykxi and neotermes castaneus.

Tree Termites in South Florida

Lastly, we can’t forget South Florida’s tree termite population. Some Floridians may remember hearing about them surfacing in Dania Beach in the early 2000s. They are adept at quickly destroying trees and building large, above ground nests. Therefore, they also need to be eliminated quickly. Otherwise, extensive property damage may occur.

As we mentioned previously, the above is just a brief look at South Florida’s termite populations. To learn more, contact our South Florida exterminators at (866) 611-2847. We stand by our work and offer free termite inspections.