Learn More About What Absolutely Bugs You!
Carpenter ants are large (.25 to 1 in/0.64 to 2.5 cm) ants indigenous to many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not consume it, however, unlike termites. Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant. However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus Camponotus.
Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut "galleries" into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by Carpenter Ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.
Carpenter ants can damage wood used in the construction of buildings. They can leave behind a sawdust-like material called frass that provides clues to their nesting location. Carpenter ant galleries are smooth and very different from termite-damaged areas, which have mud packed into the hollowed-out areas.
Control involves application of insecticides in various forms including dusts and liquids. The dusts are injected directly into galleries and voids where the carpenter ants are living. The liquids are applied in areas where foraging ants are likely to pick the material up and spread the poison to the colony upon returning.
Because of their aggressive nature, they often invade and colonize seemingly impenetrable areas. In summer time the ants dig out the sand in between the pavements to vent the nests.
The pavement ant is dark brown to blackish, and 2.5–4 mm long. Like other ants there are the workers, alates, and a queen. Alates, or new queen ants and drones, have wings, and are twice as large as the workers.
The drone's only job is to mate with the queen, and reproduction is at its highest in spring and summer. Like many other ants have nuptial flights where drones fly high up in the air and mate with new queens. The queen finds a suitable nesting location and digs a founding chamber. As the eggs hatch and the ants develop they will spend that time, about two to three months, tending to the queen of their colony. They will continue helping in the colony until they are a month old.
Older workers hunt and defend the colony. They will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts, ice cream and cheese.
Carpenter ants: Carpenter ants are our largest, native ant species, with the winged queen ants maturing to nearly 1 inch in length. This species of ant prefers to make its home in wood that has been previously damaged by water, potentially paving the way to structural damage. Carpenter ants, unlike termites, do not consume wood; they simply excavate wood in an effort to create passageways and chambers for which they build their colonies. Debris (known as frass) discarded from small exit holes may be the only visual indicator that a carpenter ant problem exists, as most of the activity from carpenter ants will take place under the cover of darkness
What is an ant?
Ants are social insects belonging to the order of insects known as “Hymenoptera” – the same order containing bees and wasps. Social insects, such as ants, live in large communities where they depend upon each other for the survival of the entire colony. Ant colonies generally form underground nests comprised of chambers and interconnecting tunnels where ants store food, lay eggs and maintain nurseries. There can be tens of thousands of ants in a single colony and several colonies inhabiting the soil or landscape surrounding a property. For that very reason, ants can be a particularly difficult pest to eradicate. Although an estimated 14,000 ant species populate the earth, only a handful of species around the region are known to invade homes and buildings, including:
- ODOROUS HOUSE ANT: These small ants are dark brown to black in color and range from 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch in length. Odorous house ants are easily identified, as their name implies, by the distinctive odor that they emit (often described as the smell of rotten coconuts) when they are crushed.
- PAVEMENT ANTS: These small ants are brown to black in color and typically 1/8th of an inch in length. Entrances to their underground nests often resemble volcano-like mounds, as seen between the cracks and crevices of pavement and landscape pavers. In some incidences they will also infest buildings, especially if the foundation is built upon a concrete slab.
- CARPENTER ANTS: Carpenter ants are our largest, native ant species, with the winged queen ants maturing to nearly 1 inch in length. This species of ant prefers to make its home in wood that has been previously damaged by water, potentially paving the way to structural damage. Carpenter ants, unlike termites, do not consume wood; they simply excavate wood in an effort to create passageways and chambers for which they build their colonies. Debris (known as frass) discarded from small exit holes may be the only visual indicator that a carpenter ant problem exists, as most of the activity from carpenter ants will take place under the cover of darkness.
There are many species of stinging insects that range from the beneficial Honeybee and parasitic wasp, to the invasive European paper wasp. Some of the primary species found by ABSOLUTE PEST are:
- BALD FACED HORNETS – Workers are about 5/8-3/4+ in (15-20+ mm) or more long; queens are 3/4+ in (20+ mm) long. They build paper enclosed, gray, aerial nests. The Baldfaced hornet is mostly black with a characteristic white pattern over most of its face, hence its common name, “Baldfaced”. Baldfaced hornet nests can be found in nearby trees, chimneys, under eaves, or nesting behind siding, in barns, attics and other structures.
- CARPENTER BEES – Adults are about 1/2 to 1 in (12.5-25 mm) long and robust. Because of their size, carpenter bees are often mistaken for bumble bees. When properly identified, carpenter bees can be distinguished by their shiny, black abdomen and helicopter or “hovering” flight pattern. The adult female carpenter bee will use her chewing mouthparts to bore holes into wood (about the diameter of a dime) where she will turn to the grain and create a chamber approximately 5-8 inches long in which to lay her eggs.
- EASTERN CICADA KILLER- Adults, at almost 2 inches in length, are known as one of the largest species of wasp found in the United States. Often mistaken for hornets, the Cicada killer wasp is a parasitic, solitary wasp. Adults are large, black to reddish brown with yellow stripes on the abdomen. Although the male Cicada killer cannot sting, the female counterpart is capable. The female Cicada killer wasp will hunt for cicadas, paralyze them with her sting, and stuff them into a hole in the soil where she will lay her eggs to develop. The paralyzed cicada will remain as food for the developing larva.
- EUROPEAN PAPER WASPS– European paper wasp adults rather small at about 15 mm long. The European paper wasp is commonly mistaken for the yellowjacket, as both appear black in color with yellow markings (like stripes) on the body. A distinguishing characteristic of the paper wasp is its’ thin, noticeably pinched “waist” and upside-down, umbrella shaped nest. Paper wasp nests may be found under eaves, behind attic gable vents, inside exterior lights, charcoal or gas grills, and other enclosed areas. At rest, the paper wasp will hold its wings above the body at an approximate 45 degree angle.
- YELLOW JACKETS– Adult workers are 3/8-5/8 in (10-16 mm) long, depending on species; queens are 25% longer. Yellow jackets are generally black in color with yellow markings on the body. Yellow Jackets prefer to nest in the ground, making a paper-carton nest with multiple layers and hundreds of individual cells. The nest eventually has 30-55 compartments surrounded by a paper wall. They can also be found nesting in attics, behind walls, inside hollow trees, barns, in retaining walls and other landscape. At rest, the yellow jacket’s wings are folded lengthwise along the body.
Do I have Yellow Jackets, Wasps, or Hornets?
Without the trained eye of an Absolute Pest professional, it may be difficult to identify which species of bee, wasp, or hornet you are dealing with. Once the stinging insect is properly identified, an appropriate treatment solution can be customized depending upon the nest location, species, and other environmental or structural concerns.
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What is a Cat Flea?
Cat fleas are one of the most profuse and prevalent fleas found in the world. As the name suggests, the ‘cat flea’s’ primary host is the domestic cat but they can also live on other pets and animals that visit the city, such as dogs, opossums, foxes, mongeese and even rats. They are also found indoors in narrow cracks where these animals frequently visit, or outdoors in humid climates. Their larvae live in the same kinds of places, especially where there is high moisture.
Cat flea adults are about 1/8 inch (2.5 mm) long with a body that is flattened from side to side and has no wings. Brownish black to black in color but reddish black when full of blood, ‘cat fleas’ have chewing mouthparts and feed on organic debris, as well as dried adult flea fecal blood. After each blood meal, a female cat flea lays 4-8 eggs among a host animal’s hairs or in its bedding area, amounting to 400-500 during her life. Eggs are tiny white ovals, about 1/64 in (.5 mm) long, which take 1-12 days to hatch.
They may fall or be shaken off into crevices where the animal sleeps or spends time. Larvae need high relative humidity (45-95%), going through 3 instar stages in 1-2 weeks to several months. Cocoons (pupae) with camouflaging debris on the surface last 4-14 days, up to a year. The pre-emerged adult stays in the cocoon for up to 20 weeks, protected from dangers such as pesticides. Adult fleas look for a blood meal soon after emerging, but can survive for several months on stored fat. Once on a host, they feed, mate and lay eggs. Many adults live only a few days, as cat grooming removes up to half of them, but survivors can live about one year.
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- Yellow Sac Spider: Yellow sac spiders are small, approximately ½ inch long, fast moving, pale yellowish spiders that can be found in nearly any room throughout the home. In the fall, yellow sac spiders move indoors in large numbers and remain active for several months. They are known for resting in silken sacs during the day and actively hunting at night for other small insects, including other spiders. As they hunt, they often encounter humans (typically by accident) and may bite when brushed against or pinched. It is suspected that the yellow sac spider accounts for more bites on people than any other spider in the US, but thankfully their venom produces only minor, localized pain and swelling similar to a mosquito bite.
- Wolf Spider: Wolf spiders are large, hairy spiders that can grow to nearly an inch in length. These spiders live solitary lives, but do not sit quietly in webs waiting for their prey; they have been known to stalk then chase their prey for short distances. Wolf spiders are often feared by humans (due to their great size) but they seldom bite and are not considered dangerous.
- Brown Recluse Spider: The brown recluse body is about 1/3rd of an inch in length with long, shiny, smooth legs. The top, front of this spider is marked with a dark brown, violin-shaped design. The back of the abdomen is tan or brown in color and bears no markings. Like the black widow spider, the bite from this spider is venomous, which in extreme cases has caused death in humans. Brown recluse spiders prefer to live in quiet, undisturbed places and bites usually occur when humans accidentally come in contact with them while cleaning out under beds, in garages or while rummaging through boxes of old clothing.
What is a Spider?
Ohio is home to a variety of different species of spiders. The most notable spiders to be found throughout our region include:
Why do I have them?
House Spiders are predatory insects that will move indoors, especially during the cooler months of the year, to find secure areas to build their webs. They primarily live outside in protected areas around windows and doors, or under eaves where light will attract prey. House Spiders prefer to feed on small flies, mosquitoes and other invertebrate insects. Inside, you will find their webbing strung in garages, sheds, barns, warehouses, in corners and closets, under furniture, or along joints where the wall meets the ceiling.
What are Eastern Subterranean Termites?
Eastern subterranean termites are small, foraging insects that live in large social colonies. They feed on the cellulose debris found in leaf litter, wood, soil and dung. It is thought that there are around 4,000 species of termites with around 10% of these considered as pests because of the serious damage they can cause to timber and timber framed buildings. Eastern subterranean termites live in colonies underground and are among the most prevalent termite species found on the eastern portion of the country. They are considered a wood damaging pest and will account for over 5 billion dollars in damage repairs to US homes this year.