Wasp 101 and the Difference Between Wasps and Hornets

Common Wasp
Common Wasp

Even though we love our pollinators, we want them to stay outside where they belong. Pollinators often take the form of stinging insects, and some of them can set up shop in our houses if we’re not careful.

In this article, we’ll learn a little bit about wasps. We’ll also showcase the differences between hornets vs. wasps, as well as how you can prevent them from becoming pests in or around your home.

At Environmental Pest Management, we’re your partner for safe and effective pest removal. We keep out the unwelcome critters while making sure to protect all the “critters” that belong there. Call us today for a free estimate , and restore your home to a pest-free haven.

Wasp sitting on a glass - danger of swallowing a wasp in the summer

All About Wasps

If you’ve always avoided stinging insects at all costs, you may think they’re all the same. In fact, there are roughly 30,000 distinct wasp species in the world!

Around our homes and properties, the ones we see the most can be aggressive when disturbed, congregate in hives and are generally not fun to be around.

However, most wasps species are solitary and don’t sting. All wasps play an essential role in nature as predators. Wasps prey on other insects and help control their populations. (Who knew wasps could be effective mosquito control?)

Wasps come in every color of the rainbow, with the brighter, flashier varieties often paired with a stinger. Unlike bees that are generally rounder and sometimes fuzzy, wasps have a narrow waist and a pointed tail.

Every wasp species builds a nest. To do this, they work as a well-coordinated team. Individual wasps forage on trees, fences, barns, or other wood surfaces. They chew the wood fibers, scraping them with their strong jaws, and create a pulp which they use to build the papery walls of their hive.

Wasps build their nests in any safe, covered refuge. The corner of your soffit or the eaves of your garage could be an ideal spot to build a sheltered home site.

New colonies get their start each spring with a queen who spent the winter in a warm place with her eggs. The queen builds a small nest, just enough to incubate her initial squad of workers.

Once the worker-females hatch, they get to work expanding the nest, and the queen can lay more eggs to grow the colony in the spring and summer. Wasp nests can accumulate up to 5000 hive members.

This nesting behavior is unique to social wasp species. Many wasps, as mentioned above, are solitary creatures.

Wasps, Friend or Foe?

Though wasps and hornets are essential to a healthy ecosystem, it’s right to give them a wide berth and discourage them from setting up house near you.

Wasps will swarm and sting when threatened, even if it’s an accidental step, stumble, or fall into a nest. Further, wasps can use their stingers more than once, so they can keep delivering a punch until the threat goes away.

Though we want to give wasps healthy distance from humans, they are often used as insect control for farmers with their crops. Obviously, wasps and humans should not directly mix, but helping wasps do their job in nature is vital to all of us.

Wasp

Hornets vs Wasps: What’s the Difference?

Though we often use the terms “hornet” or “wasp” interchangeably in conversation, there are some distinct differences between the two insect types.

In the US, we have two common social wasp species: Yellowjackets and paper wasps.

Our common hornet species include the European hornet (a true hornet species)and the bald-faced hornet (which is actually still a wasp but was named colloquially as a hornet.)

Hornets are slightly larger than wasps, measuring in at 1.5 inches. Hornets also have a more subdued coloration in black, white, or brown tones.

Hornets build their nests above ground only, whereas wasps can attach a nest to an aerial location as well as nesting in the ground.

Hornet nests are also exclusively made of the familiar paper material, whereas wasp nests, when aerial, remain unprotected by a paper covering. Hornet nests also remain smaller than some wasp nests, topping out at around 700 insects per hive at the most.

Finally, hornets are predators through-and-through, targeting other insects near their nests for their food source. Wasps prey on other insects, but they also enjoy foraging on sweets and proteins.

Wasp and Hornet Similarities

Like hornets, yellowjackets can be aggressive stingers when threatened. However, paper wasps are typically more docile, and unless their home is truly under threat, they won’t generally come after passers-by.

Still, those stingers! It’s important to control wasps or hornets around your home. Getting stung can mean anything from a painful, but minor injury, to a severe allergic reaction with a possible visit to the ER.

A wasp is sitting at a food source

Call EPM For Professional Help With Stinger-Patrol

Being proactive about pest discovery is the first step in ensuring a sting-free property. Have a look around your house, paying careful attention to cracks, creases, corners, or other potential areas where wasps and hornets may find a haven.

You may also want to carefully canvas your yard, keeping your eyes open for flying insects like hornets or wasps and taking note of their flight path. If you see one or several landing in your yard and then disappearing, you may have a ground nest with which to contend.

If you notice insect activity but cannot find a nest, it may be inside a wall, an opening in your siding, or a crevice in your attic. It’s important to secure any points of entry into your home as part of your pest control strategy.

Once your pests are trapped or evicted, you’ll want to make sure to keep any future “welcome mat” rolled-up tight.

The professionals at Environmental Pest Control will give a thorough home inspection when you notice pest activity. We’ll make a control recommendation that fits your home, family, and budget, as well as helping you repair common points of entry for future pest prevention.

At Environmental Pest Management, we understand the importance of stinging insects in nature just as much as we know the importance of keeping them out of your home. Contact us at the first sign of wasp or hornet activity, and we’ll get you back to enjoying your yard.

All About Wolf Spiders

Spider
Spider

Seeing a wolf spider inside your house is terrifying. This unique-looking creature is beneficial to the environment, though that doesn’t mean you want them as a roommate. You likely want to make sure you protect your home from the invasion of this pest.

Here at Environmental Pest Management, we help you solve your problem and get rid of pests, especially wolf spiders, all around your house. Visit our website or call us at 952-432-2221 for professional help and tips you can apply on your own.

Living together with a wolf spider may not be as invasive as having any other pests like ants and flies in your house, but it can be a nuisance and quite a scary sight to see when they multiply. Getting professional help, like the experts at Environmental Pest Management, will help rid your home of wolf spiders.

Spider
Very small wolf spider (Lycosidae). Real spider size 4-5mm

What Are Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are arachnids that are commonly spotted in brown, black or gray hues. They grow 35 millimeters in body length and have eight non-compound eyes that are organized in four small eyes that form one layer, another row for two more enormous eyes and an additional two small eyes on the topmost of the head.

Due to its size and color, it is not a question anymore why wolf spiders inspire fear to anyone who sees it. However, wolf spiders are not harmful and can be beneficial to your homes. You may not want to believe this, but wolf spiders are advantageous to have in your homes. 

Good news! These hairy arachnids usually do not bite humans. They, most of the times, eat insects, worms, and any other living organisms that are tiny enough to catch and devour.

According to National Geographic, wolf spiders, also known as ground spiders, are the sprinters in the world of spiders. Unlike any other spiders, they do not spin webs and do not use silk to subdue prey. Instead, they stalk their target, move quickly, and aggressively just like wolves. 

Wolf spiders protect themselves through camouflage, with dark brown and mute colors. If their prey is small enough, a wolf spider will crush it up before devouring it. If the prey is larger, a bite will inject the food with venom and prepare it for ingestion by liquefying it’s organs.

Lifespan of a Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders live quite a bit longer than you think. Sad to note but wolf spiders live for the entire two years! This means that you cannot ignore their existence in your household, for they will lay eggs when they find your home safe and comfortable.

Their life starts when the female wolf spider builds its egg pod of flimsy white silk, formed like a ball with a noticeable circular seam. It will then transport the egg sack around attached with strong silk to her spinnerets. 

When the baby spiders hatch, they catch a ride on the mother’s back until they are ready to take on the world alone. Wolf spiders have an unusually low degree of parental care; they leave their young when they are ready to scatter. 

Spider

Where do Wolf Spiders Live?

Wolf spiders are found everywhere; there’s likely one nearby you right now.

Due to the changes in the environment, wolf spiders found ways to adapt and live. While others live on some cold and rocky mountain peaks, a few also reside in volcanic lava tubes. 

They thrive on to drylands like inland shrublands and deserts. They have also learned to survive in wetlands like forests along the coast and meadows on mountains.

Though wolf spider species are said to be found everywhere, their number is high in gardens in suburbs, dunes along the coast, mountain herb fields or along river beds. The habitat of this spider can span a vast region. Wolf spiderlings travel great distances.

Now, you might be wondering how wolf spiders get inside your house. Since wolf spiders do not make webs, they choose to live in burrows. Wolf spiders sometimes close off their burrows with silk. During wet periods, wolf spiders protect their burrows with small items, like pebbles, and even build canals to rebound floodwater. They also put twigs at the top of the hole.

Although wolf spiders are used to wet areas since they consider it as their habitat, they need a temporary place to stay in that is warm and dry. Unfortunately, in many cases, your house fits the bill.

When the fall season starts, wolf spiders pursue habitats that give warmth. They have been known to enter homes and are usually found in windows, walls, ceilings, and even in your cupboards.

Wolf Spider’s Diet

Wolf spiders search for food during the night. Typically, they prefer:

  • crickets
  • ants
  • worms
  • houseflies
  • moths
  • mealworms
  • mosquitoes
  • grasshoppers
  • other types of small invertebrates

Surprisingly, this type of spider does not only eat tiny insects. At times, large classes of wolf spiders can consume small lizards and frogs.

Spider

Are Wolf Spiders in My House?

All spiders, including wolf spiders, have the aptitude to get inside your home. They frequently scamper underneath the openings and cleavages below doors. Sometimes they are carried inside on you or a houseguest.

Detections of wolf spiders are the primary indication of their infestation. If you found wolf spiders attacking your structure, it is best to contact an expert. While they may seem scary, you are safe. Calling an expert will ensure your home is free of creepy, crawly pests, like wolf spiders.

Environmental Pest Management will cast away your fears as well as those wolf spiders. Reach us now for a free house consultation and start living a pest-free life!

Paper Wasps: How to Prevent Them from Nesting on Our Homes

Paper Wasps
Paper Wasps

You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get from looking at certain animals — a puppy, a fawn with its mother, sea otters? Well, wasps are a completely different story. Wasps generally elicit fear and panic.

Seeing wasps in or around your home can leave you afraid to walk around freely, not to mention if you have little children that wander around everywhere. The last thing you want is for your children to be in danger of getting stung by a wasp or a colony of wasps. So, how do you prevent them from taking up residence alongside you?

Contact Environmental Pest Management at (952) 432-2221, to help you get rid of wasps. In the meantime, below are some tips and tricks to help you deter those pesky insects so that you can continue to enjoy your space to the fullest.

What Are Paper Wasps?

Paper wasps are winged insects that are predominantly brown with yellow markings. These wasps get their name because of the type of nests that they create. The nests are umbrella shaped and look as if they are made out of a paper or cardboard substance.

Just like other wasp colonies, they have a queen, and they work during the seasons to gather food for themselves and their queen. During the winter, all of the wasps in the colony die except for the queen.

While these wasps can have a potent sting and become a nuisance, they can also be ecologically beneficial. These wasps eat nectar from fruits, as well as smaller insects such as beetles, flies, and caterpillars. Yes, believe it or not, wasps can help you by getting rid of other bugs.

Paper Wasps

Signs of Paper Wasps

The tell-tale signs of paper wasps are nests. Paper wasps usually build their umbrella-shaped nests in places like:

  • Branches
  • Porch ceilings, rafters
  • Shrubs
  • Railings

Anywhere a nest could hang from is a potential site for a paper wasp colony. Wasp nests have openings where the queen lays the eggs.

Another sign of a paper wasp infestation is seeing one or two around. These types of insects are social and live in colonies. They usually stay closer together, so if you see one wasp flying around your home, chances are you will find more.

How to Deter Paper Wasps

Secure Your Trash Bins

Wasps are attracted to areas that have more abundant food sources. So a place that has garbage out and exposed, a lot of open recycling, or composting bins will be ideal for the formation of a colony. Having open trash bins can lead to flies laying eggs in those areas, and where there are larvae, there are paper wasps near. Therefore if you want to prevent paper wasps from nesting at your home, make sure your garbage bins are covered and sealed, especially during the spring and summer months.

Use Peppermint Oil

According to studies done by entomologists, peppermint oil is a deterrent for wasps. Commercial products are available or, you can make your own peppermint oil and water mixture at home. Use the spray to coat all areas targeting eaves, rafters, porch roofs, etc. Spray your mixture in areas where you have found wasps nests in previous years, as they tend to build around the same areas.

Paper Wasps

Maintain Space In and Around Your Home

In the early spring months, do a perimeter sweep of your home and keep an eye out for any potential areas of wasp infiltration. Fill in any cracks around your home, in areas such as window sills or door frames, with caulk, preferably a silicon-based product. Filling the cracks will prevent paper wasps from coming into your home. During the fall and winter months, the entire wasp colony will die except for the queen, which will try to find shelter in a warmer environment. Keep a lookout to make sure she isn’t lodging inside your home.

Trim Shrubbery and Trees

Another way to deter wasps from building nests is to keep your plants and trees well-groomed.

Paper wasps love to make their nests in any area that hangs. So if you have trees that have long branches or twigs, or shrubs that are a bit unruly, make sure to do some trimming and maintenance in the spring.

How to Get Rid of Paper Wasps

Good Old Soap and Water

If you are looking for a more eco-friendly way of solving your wasp problem than with chemicals, look no further than your kitchen. A mixture of soap and water can help you combat paper wasps and prevent nesting all at the same time. Fill a spray bottle with water and then add in about three tablespoons of dish soap. The dish soap in the water breaks down their exoskeletons and essentially drowns them. If you decide to use this method, make sure you are a safe distance away from the nest.

Paper Wasps

Call Environmental Pest Management

When in doubt, always call upon a local pest management professional. While paper wasps are generally not aggressive, they can attack and sting if they are defending their nests. Environmental Pest Management has been providing excellent and trustworthy service for over 30 years and guarantees results. Working in the greater ten-county metro area of the Twin Cities, they have dealt with their share of paper wasps and other insects.

If you have already found a wasps nest at your home or looking for professional service to prevent them, call today at (952) 432-2221 or look us up at www.bugtech.com.

The professional and expedient service at Environmental Pest Management will have you enjoying your home again in no time.

Springtails: Tiny Bugs that Scare People and are Tough to Control

springtail
springtail

Have you heard of springtails? If so, do you know their physical appearance? Well, these are the insects you should put on the list if you are looking for an exterminator.

You might have seen them, but it’s just that you didn’t recognize them. No worries though, we will talk on how to kill springtails in this article.

But before we skin the cat, if you are suspecting springtails to have infested your house, don’t panic. Reach out to Environmental Pest Management which deals with the extermination of bed bugs, flies, cockroaches, rodents springtails, ants, or any other insect that might have turned the stay in your house into a nightmare.

springtail

So, what are Springtails?

According to Pennstate College of Agricultural, springtails are insects with segmented bodies with three pairs of legs and piercing-sucking mouthparts.

They are calm, but when disturbed, you startle them to the extreme. They can jump up to 10 cm due to their furcula body structures. That’s why they are called springtails.

Many people don’t put them in the list of insects that they should get rid of. Little do they know the kind of destruction they can cause.

Before we delve deep into more details about these insects, let’s have a look at some of their characteristics.

  • Small-sized bodies that range from 0.3mm to 5mm
  • Springtails don’t cause irritations or bites – their only good part. They have a massive load of downsides, though.
  • Their number shoots high in a short time, and they can thrive to 100,000 per cubic meter.

How are Springtails attracted?

What brings many of the household insects are dirt, stale food, or stuffiness in the house – for instance, larder beetles, roly-poly bugs, and ants.

Springtails, on the other hand, are attracted when your area has had a long streak of heavy rainfall.. These are typical weather conditions; hence, you are likely to have them at any time.

Springtails prefer places with high humidity, moisture, and dampness as they can breed in considerable numbers in a short time. So, the cold and wet areas would be the first place to check if you want to get rid of them.

Are they harmful?

Oh yeah.

No insect brings good tidings to your home. If not taken care of early enough, they’ll even cause diseases.

As much as springtails won’t cause the above effects, they are still a nuisance and will take away the peace and comfort from your home.

Whenever they find a breeding place that can sustain their growth, it won’t take a long time before they grow into their thousands of numbers.

How to kill Springtails?

Let’s face it – if you’ve had these insects on your home, I bet you know how a great deal it is to fight them.

It’s a game of numbers, if you opt to “DIY” ways of management, you’ll be fighting a losing battle. You’ll have to up your game.

Our number one piece of advice is to look for trusted pest professionals that have been in the industry for quite some time.

Once they have done proper inspections to confirm that they are springtails, they’ll come up with integrated programs for preventing these “culprits” from growing into a bigger swarm, and hopefully, their end.

springtail

1. Fungus and Molds

You are in greater danger if your homestead offers an excellent platform for their growth. To add salt to the injury, when your house is surrounded by what they eat.

These would be fungus and molds. Getting rid of these plants would be dealing with the leading cause and not the symptom.

Also, if you remove molds and fungus, you will not be keeping springtails away alone. These flowerless plants are excellent attractions of fungus gnats which have loads of downsides.

2. Avoid Darkness

Flies like moth and pterygote have positive phototaxis hence are attracted by light. That’s why you’ll find a vast number of moths around streetlights when it has rained heavily.

Springtails, on the other hand, have negative phototaxis hence cannot withstand brighter lights.

A good weapon against them would be more sources of lights in your home. You can replace the lesser lighting bulbs with lighter ones. Lamps and fixtures also provide enough light to keep them away.

3. Soap and Water

Soap and water are all-time household items for cleaning. According to this article, there are over twenty new uses of soap that are not known to many. Another addition to the list will be getting rid of springtails.

If you are unlucky to have them on your kitchen or bathroom, you can opt for this method. The bubbly water solution will drown them. Besides, the solution also has a burning effect on the bodies.

Besides, water is an excellent cleaning agent hence you will not get any other insects looming near your house because of the dirt.

4. Proper Ventilation

Since springtails are brought by humidity, dehumidifying the home will be a significant milestone on your quest to finish them.

It’s advisable to use a suitable insulation method for perfect airflow and freshness in the house. Proper circulation of air also prevents them from thriving. Ensure that the roofing is keen to avoid water from dripping inside the house.

5. The Vinegar Treatment

Springtails are enemies with anything that is acid-related. That’s why vinegar is useful when you want to get rid of them swiftly.

You can put the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it against the springtails. They’ll either die or leap away since they can’t stand the acid in the vinegar.

springtail

The Bottom Line

By now, you are probably sick of these insects and will try all the above methods, and they will help you a great deal.

However, there is a bit of better advice, which will not only help you get rid of springtails but also take care of other potential insects that might invade your house.

It would be the perfect time to contact Environmental Pest Management for a well-done job. All in all, you will be free from these little monsters and return comfort to your house.

Bald-Faced Hornets: Extremely Aggressive Insects that Need Special Handling to Control

Hornets
Hornets

Have you checked your home lately? How about around your backyard? If not, make sure to check it right away in case you need to get rid of any hornet nests. For professional help, contact Environmental Pest Management.

Bees, wasps, hornets, or any other types of insects that sting are genuinely frightening. It would be more dangerous if you have children at home. Hundreds of families around the globe consider these nests of insects as a threat.

One such particular insect that is quite ferocious is the Bald-Faced Hornets. They are known to be such aggressive ones, and their sting is excruciating. Several families have reported that their homes have nests of these hornets and that that they multiply fast and are territorial.

But before anything else, what are Bald-Faced Hornets? These hornets may be new to you. So let us dig deeper and have a closer look at them.

Bald-Faced Hornet

Bald-faced hornet sting is similar to that of a hypodermic needle that connects to a sack containing potent toxin venom. These hornets can give you painful stings repeatedly. Since they tend to be aggressive when their nest is in danger, it makes it necessary to ensure you will follow a proper procedure on how to get rid of a bald-faced hornet nest.

Since these hornets are truly dangerous, families now intend to eradicate these pests from their homes entirely. However, even the removal of these nests is pretty hazardous. That is why we need to have prior knowledge about these insects, specifically on how to remove them or if possible, ask professional help.

It may be true that bald-faced hornets have a poor temper when their nests are disturbed, They are usually not an issue when you see them away from the nest. In reality, bald-faced hornets are beneficial insects. They kill other tiny insects like flies and others, and the young eat them.

Hornets build their nests usually in trees. They become almost invisible when they are in trees. Most people do not even know that it is there until the leaves fall during the autumn. Hornets do not reuse an old nest and begin each year with a new nest.

Hornets

Getting Rid of Bald-Faced Hornets

Let’s get down to business. How to get rid of these hornets?

It’s time to understand how to get rid of them as we don’t want to suffer pain, caused by their stings, just like a young girl who was casually strolling around their backyard then found a nest of hornets at an old wooden chair and kicked it. A swarm of hornets chased her and she received painful stings.

You don’t want to experience it, do you? Removal of the nests of bald-faced hornets becomes necessary when the nest is already close enough to your house that they become a threat to you or your family. They will build nests in hedges, on the sides of houses, attics, and even the whole part of sturdy patio furniture.

Best Time to Remove Nests

It is recommended to remove a bald-faced hornet’s nest during the early days of spring when the nest is not yet entirely constructed or finished, and the bald-faced hornet queen is the only threat. There will be an estimate of 400 worker hornets in the nest during the months of summer, and nest removal can cost you a few hundred stings.

You have to keep in mind that these hornets are colonial by nature, and they have a hierarchy. Hornets have smooth strings that can help to sting repeatedly. If you think they are quite near to your home already, then it is best to remove their nest immediately, or you call a Environmental Pest Management to do the job as an active colony can be hazardous.

Hornets

Removing Outdoor Nests

You can easily find the nest anytime during the day but removing it must be done only during the night. It is best to use the technique of Subdued illumination, and you can make use of red cellophane paper on the flashlight used for lighting. Bald-faced hornets cannot see red so you can easily catch them that way.

Thick protective clothing must be worn to avoid the angry stings of these creatures. Aerosol sprays are recommended against bald-faced hornets as it helps to knock them down quickly. Foaming agents can also be used as it expands the pesticide inside the nest, which traps the hornets inside.

Removing Indoor Nests

Whenever you notice a bald-faced hornet queen flying in the house, it shows that she is opting to construct a nest inside your home. This situation needs help, and we should make it our priority.

We may use hornet traps that can catch the queen, only if she is all by herself, and then you can let her out into the wild. Vacuum removal is the best way, but it needs to be done by a professional because using pesticides and insecticides inside your house is not recommended.

How to Treat a Sting

If you get stung by a bald-faced hornet, would you know if you had an allergic reaction?

According to WebMD, treating hornet stings depends on their severity. Most insect stings for those who are not allergic need no more than first aid given at home. If you have allergic stings with no allergic symptoms, you need to clean and apply antibiotic ointment on the affected area.

For someone who experienced a severe allergic reaction, it is best to seek immediate medical help. Steroids and Antihistamine will be given for fast relief.

Hornets

After Removing Nests

The procedure of removing the nests of bald-faced hornets must be done for three consecutive days before bringing the nest down. In this way, we can kill all hornets living inside the nest. The den has to be taken down, put in a separate garbage bag and should be disposed of carefully.

According to Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, you can never avoid having nests of Bald-Faced Hornets in our homes. Though known for their aggressive behavior and painful stings, they still have a role in our environment and keep our ecosystem alive. Said above were helpful tips but only got rid of them when it is necessary.

If you think the situation is beyond your care, it is better to call for professional help rather than risking your safety and your family. Reach out to Environmental Pest Management for help with getting rid of these hornets. Always keep safe and keep an eye for these insects.

Help! Why Are There So Many Flies In My House?

Flies
Flies

Flies are the worst.

Ew! We detest flies. They hang out on garbage; they breed and lay eggs on dead animals, they ruin picnics and force us to buy fancy covers to keep away the “yuck” factor on outdoor meals.

We here at Environmental Pest Management are here to attack your fly infestation with a few professional tips you can use on your own, as well as when to give us a call. Visit our website today for help with bouncing any critters large or small that crashed your home’s velvet rope.

Flies

Flies are necessary, just not in your home.

Believe it or not, flies do a lot for our ecosystem. They serve as an abundant food source for other animals, and they are the “cleaning crew” of the world. They get rid of dead and rotting flesh, plants, and other organic material.

Fishermen use fly larvae as bait. Tarantula owners use fly larvae as food for their pets. Some companies who “grow” maggots for commercial sale even believe there could be some cancer-fighting benefit to them.

So, even though it’s possible to have a healthy appreciation for flies from a distance, we’re pretty sure you don’t want them in your home, on your food, or buzzing in your ears. Let’s dive into how to keep them where they belong–outside doing their jobs.

Flies have a life cycle, and you can interrupt it.

Even though flies seem to materialize out of thin air and circulate your home, they do come from somewhere. Even in the winter time, you may notice an errant fly or two haplessly zinging around your windows or kitchen.

Here’s the gross part: if there are a lot of flies in your home, it’s because they’ve laid eggs in there. The eggs become larvae (uh, and by that we mean maggots–truth), and the larvae become flies. If you don’t take preventative action to interrupt this cycle, the whole thing begins again.

Flies

Two kinds of flies. Two types of problems.

The most common types of flies that infest our homes are the house fly and blowflies. Blowflies lay their eggs on dead bodies. For homeowners, this means that if a squirrel or mole or other small animal dies near your home, blowflies will seek it out as prime real estate for their eggs.

Further, if you’ve had a quiet pest or two like a bat or mouse die in your attic or walls unbeknownst to you, any blowflies in the area will inevitably seek out this kind of target for to lay their eggs.

Once laid, the eggs become larvae within hours (hours!), and progress through 3 more stages of growth and molting (shedding their skin) before emerging as flies after 7-14 days. House flies have a similar life cycle but tend to gravitate toward other organic material like garbage, food, or feces on which to lay their eggs. In case you were wondering, houseflies can lay up to 900 eggs at a time and live up to 90 days. That’s a lot of reproduction potential!

Stop the eggs, stop the flies.

You will never be able to thoroughly sanitize your yard or the world around you of dead bodies and garbage. There are, however, a few ways to ensure your home is not a welcoming place for flies to lay their eggs.

Intuitively, you can assume that if you eliminate egg-laying “property” for flies, you can eliminate flies in your home.

Flies

First, have an inspection.

A wise first step in the fight against flies is to have your home inspected by a professional and reliable pest control service: Environmental Pest Management. Even having one mouse or chipmunk making a home out of your insulation and then expiring can create a fly disaster.

We can help uncover any sly vermin who may have breached your home security and are creating a “dead body” problem.

Though we can fix your fly problem at any time or season, we recommend a springtime home evaluation to get a jump on the height of the summer fly hatches.

We do a thorough check of your home’s seams, siding, roof vents, and more to determine any entry points for small mammals. Then, we seal any holes or cracks we find to make sure those furry little guests know they’re not welcome. When your home is pest free, the flies have nowhere to lay their eggs.

Control what you can.

To stop egg laying and fly production, try these tips:

  • Keep garbage lids tightly closed and empty the garbage often, especially if you have food waste
  • If you keep a compost container in your home, be sure to seal it tightly with a lid, and wash it each time you empty it.
  • Scoop cat feces in your litter box every day, and clean the whole box out thoroughly each week
  • Do not leave food out uncovered on your counter, or dirty dishes in the sink.
  • If you add dirty dishes to your dishwasher over a few days before washing, be sure to close the dishwasher door tightly. Also, run your dishwasher more frequently during the hot summer months when flies are at their worst.
  • Walk your yard periodically and check for small dead animals near your home.
  • If you have food in the fridge that needs to be thrown out, consider leaving it covered in the refrigerator until just before your weekly garbage pick-up. Then, do a bulk clean-out of food waste on trash day. This way, your old food is not sitting in the garbage, attracting flies for several days.
  • If possible, get an outdoor trash can with a lid that seals tightly.

Flies

Finally, call the professionals at EPM.

When all your preventative steps are still not eradicating the flies in your home, give us a call to schedule a home evaluation and live bug-free with Environmental Pest Management. We use the best products to quell your fly problem and get rid of any remaining pests.

We solve your problems “quickly, safely, and at the most reasonable price.”

Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats: How to Know if You Have a Bat Problem

Bat
Bat

Bats are Pretty Cool, as Long as They’re Not Living in Your House Rent-Free

Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats play a significant role in our ecosystem here in Minnesota. They eat an excessive amount of insects and often serve as pollinators to some species of plants.

Bats also serve as a vital food source for other predators. Because of their roosting patterns in large numbers, they are an easy catch for other mammals, predatory birds, and snakes.

We can surely all agree that bats at a distance, or even flying around in our neighborhoods at night are a nifty example of nature at work in all her glory. However, if those bats are roosting in your home, apartment complex, or business property, “nature” can get a little too close for comfort.

At Environmental Pest Management, our goal is to help nature do its best work outside of the confines of your home, apartment complex, or business. Call us today to send an eviction notice to your pests and make sure they leave you alone.

There are Two Main Bat Species that May Want to Move in and Set up House in your Home

In Minnesota, two bat species commonly show up as pests in our homes or properties: The little brown bat and the big brown bat.,/p>

The Little brown bat:

A tiny creature that weighs just half an ounce, this bat is prolific and well-traveled. These bats are red or brown colored and have a wingspan of 8-11 inches. Little brown bats are found all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico, but with fewer numbers in the south than in the north.

These little guys “shack up” in the hundreds of thousands, and have day and night roosts, as well as summer homes and winter “hibernation” hide-outs. They favor caves, rocks, trees, woodpiles, and buildings to rest, sleep, or raise their young.

Little brown bats eat mainly insects, so you have them to thank in large part for keeping mosquito and other insect populations from running completely rampant in our neighborhoods and on our rural farms and lakeside “playgrounds.”

You will likely notice bats at the height of their daily feeding frenzy just a few hours after dusk. They must eat at least one half of their body weight in insects each day to survive. Surprisingly, bat mothers must eat at least 100 percent of their body weight each day to live and feed their young.

The Big Brown Bat:

This bat has a coppery sheen to their fur and a wingspan of 12-16 inches. It weighs one-half to just over an ounce and has a different facial structure than the little brown bat. The big brown bat is also exceedingly common, living from the Carribean Islands and northern South America to the north of Canada. They are everywhere in the United States.

Big brown bats eat insects, and their favorite food is beetles. Their teeth are well equipped to break the tough exoskeletons of beetles, but they will also eat flying insects as well. Big brown bats may check out your attic or walls and decide your home or building is a perfect place to hibernate or rest.

These bats are the speed demons of the bat world, achieving flights speeds of 40 miles per hour. They can also live long lives (hopefully not as freeloaders in your space) of up to 20 years. They adapt well to a variety of habitats, including deserts, cities, forests, and mountain ranges, to name a few.

Do you have a bat problem?

Bats and Big Brown Bats

Here are some signs of a bat infestation:

  • Droppings around your attic vents
  • Scratching or squeaking sounds in your walls or attic
  • Seeing bats enter and leave your attic vents at or just after dusk

If you notice these signs of a bat visitor in your home or business, be sure to call us at Environmental Pest Management  immediately. Do not attempt to evict the bats on your own.

Depending on the time of year, you may inadvertently seal a bat into your building because it’s hibernating and you’ve closed the entry point. If the bat is female and raising flightless pups, you may also seal it and the babies into your home if you close entry points at the wrong time.

At EVP, we are well-versed in bat behavior, hibernation, and mating/birthing seasons, and can advise you on the best course of action once you discover you have one or more of these fantastic critters playing house with you.

Even though you surely don’t want these small, furry, somewhat creepy roommates to live with you permanently, the good news is that they are not rodents and will not chew on your walls, roof, or other home materials. They make their way into buildings to hibernate or colonize and raise their young exclusively.

When You are Ready to Evict Your Bats Humanely, Call the Professionals at Enviromental Pest Management

Our primary goal, no matter what pest you need to get rid of, is to provide you with a safe, humane solution for both you and the pest. With bat removal, we want to rid your home of the bat and return it to a habitat where it can keep doing its job uninterrupted–which is removing insects from the air and serving as food to other predators in the food web.

Since every building and every infestation are unique, we travel to your place to have a look at the situation before giving an estimate. Cost of removal depends on the number of bats in your home, the structure of the building, and the approximate length of the infestation.

Once we see what we’re dealing with, our quote will be precise and cost-effective, so you can make a quick decision to end the infestation and get on with your life, and the bats can move to more “natural surroundings” and continue to do what bats do best.

Call us at Environmental Pest Management Today for a free estimate and reclaim your home while sending bats out into their natural habitat so you can enjoy nature where it’s meant to be–outside!

Controlling Pests Without Ruining Your Garden

Snell
Snell

Nothing is more frustrating than painstakingly planting a garden of colorful growing things, and then watching your hard work get eaten and destroyed by insects or wild animals.

Luckily, there is a myriad of ways to prevent pests from bugging your plants without ruining your garden. Many of the solutions can be made using ingredients you might already have around the house.

At Environmental Pest Management, we take a common sense and environmentally sensitive approach to managing pests. We strive to prevent and eliminate pests in a way that is affordable for our clients and non-damaging to people, property, and the environment. Call us at 952-432-2221 and schedule your free estimate today!

Identifying Plants and Pests

Not all bugs are created equal. Even in the healthiest garden, there will always be insects munching on leaves. Each gardener decides when their garden needs to get treated with insecticide or another pest repellent, and when it can be left alone to nature.

For new gardeners, a great place to start your pest management study is to learn how to identify what kinds of bugs, slugs, and other critters are common in your region. You can talk to your neighbors to compare notes and gain historical knowledge from the area, in addition to using Google or your local library resources.

If you bought a house with landscaping elements you aren’t familiar with, research and write down the kinds of plants, flowers, and trees you identify. Some pests have specific species of plants they prefer, while others are less picky.

Common Garden Pests

Garden Pests

The list of critters that would love to share your garden is very long. Below is a roundup of some of the most common pests that could potentially cause problems.

  • Ants
  • Animal – birds, cats, deer, rabbits and other rodents
  • Aphids
  • Beetles – asparagus, been, blister, cucumber, flea, potato
  • Earwig
  • European corn borer
  • Grasshopper
  • Fungus Gnats
  • Psyllid
  • Root maggot
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Bugs – sow, pill, squash, stink,
  • Spider Mite
  • Squash Bug
  • Worms – army, cut, cabbage, corn, tomato, wire
  • Whitefly

Environmentally-Friendly Pest Management

When treating your garden or lawn, it’s essential to strive for the least toxic solution. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some tried-and-true pest management practices that are effective yet gentle.

Botanical insecticides:

An insecticide is any substance used to kill insects. Botanical insecticides are derived from plants and are less toxic than many chemical alternatives.

Pest traps and lures:

Insect traps use colors, pheromones, scents, food or other bait to lure and capture pests. Most of these solutions contain and kill pests by entrapping them in a sticky, glue-like solution or glass receptacle.

Pest barriers:

A pest barrier can be something as simple as a fence or a strip of copper tape. Some gardens may even benefit from granules of predator urine (coyotes, wolves) to sprinkle around the perimeter of your property and scare prey animals away.

Biopesticides:

Biopesticides are derived from natural sources and are effective at managing pests yet short-lived in the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, biopesticides are derived from materials like plants, bacteria, and minerals. Biopesticides are less toxic than synthetic pesticides and very effective in small quantities, resulting in less environmental pollution.

Beneficial insects:

Believe it or not, there are plenty of bugs that you could purposefully invite to your garden for pest control! Beneficial insects eat aphids, mites and other plant-chomping nuisances that leave your garden in shambles. Typically, this is an aggressive solution that you should consider only after exhausting other options.

Gardening in Minnesota

Gardening in Minnesota

Each climate comes with its own unique set of growing conditions and common pests. At Environmental Pest Management, we are experts at helping Minnesota gardeners and homeowners find solutions for all of their pest management problems.

According to the USDA plant hardiness map, the state of Minnesota contains growing zones from 3a-4b.

The University of Minnesota has an incredibly thorough insect identification tool that contains pictures and descriptions of most of the pests you’ll find in the area.

Slugs

The hardy hosta is a favorite among Minnesota gardeners – and slugs, who love to munch holes in the broad green leaves until they look like swiss cheese.

To repel these slimy uninvited guests, you can fill a tuna can with beer or grape juice and the slugs will eventually fall in when they go for a sip.

Alternatively, you can purchase a strip of copper tape that will give slugs and snails a mild electrical shock where the copper meets the wet mucus of their bodies.

Japanese beetle

In the Twin Cities metro area, the Japanese beetle is a widespread nuisance. An invasive species, this beetle loves to feast on peony flowers, raspberry bushes, apple trees, and around 300 other plant species.

To stop beetle larvae from maturing, you can apply a preventative insecticide during the month before adult beetles emerge and begin to lay eggs (usually from mid-June to mid-July).

If that doesn’t work, try a DIY organic pesticide spray with neem oil. Neem oil is derived from Indian neem trees and is an ancient insecticide that can be used to repel aphids, mites and other soft-bodied insects.

DIY Natural Pesticide Spray Recipe:

  • Two tablespoons neem oil
  • One tablespoon castile soap
  • One quart of water

Mix all three ingredients in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray on the tops and undersides of leaves. You may need to apply multiple treatments.

Moles and Voles

Mole and vole control can be a big challenge, as these burrowing rodents have voracious appetites. Moles prefer to eat insects and worms, while voles feed on the roots of grass and perennial flowers.

If you have a severe mole problem, reducing their food source could alleviate the infestation. Moles especially love beetle grubs, so finding a solution to kill them might entice the moles to find food elsewhere.

For a vole infestation, there is a practical, non-toxic solution that might surprise you: a barn cat! Adopt (or borrow!) a cat that is known to be in touch with its natural predatory instincts and let it loose in your yard for a couple of days.

Removing rodents from your garden is usually the most effective long-term solution. Though some gardeners may resort to lethal traps or poisons, there are a variety of humane live traps that you can buy or even make yourself.

Safe and Effective Pest Management

Don’t let pests bug you – call Environmental Pest Management at 952-432-2221 to schedule your free estimate with one of our trained experts today!

Everything You Need to Know About Larder Beetles

Beetles
Beetles

If you have ever gone into your kitchen and opened your pantry, or larder, and seen small brownish-black beetles having a picnic, you know what it’s like to have larder beetles in your house. You probably weren’t thrilled about it.

At Environmental Pest Management, our job is to keep your home pest-free. Whether we’re helping to evict unwanted guests or prevent them from arriving in the first place, you can count on us to use the safest, most environmentally friendly products to get the job done.

Unlike some bugs that can invade your home, larder beetles are noticeable because they tend to travel in groups and don’t try to hide. Here’s everything you wanted to know about identifying these insidious insects and encouraging them to take up residence elsewhere

What are Larder Beetles and How Do I Identify Them?

When you’re dealing with pest control, the first step is to identify who you saw scurrying through your pantry. Knowing what type of bug you’re dealing with lets you know what techniques or products will be useful in dealing with them.

Larder beetles get their names from the place they are often found – in your larder – which is an old word for your pantry or cupboard, where you store food, especially grains and meat. They are small in size, only about ¼”  to ⅓” long, and oval-shaped. Look for the brown band around the midsection of their black body. It’s the primary identifying characteristic for a larder beetle.

Of course, larder beetles have six legs like all insects and two jointed antennae. The brown band typically has yellow or black spots on it, and tiny, densely packed hairs cover the larder beetle’s stomach.

Larder beetle larvae are about ½” long and do not have the characteristic beetle shape yet, and looks more like a sow bug except that the bands on its body are striped brown and black. Like the adult larder beetle’s stomach, larder larvae have short yellowish hairs on their bodies.

Why are Black Larder Beetles in My House?

Larder beetles and their larvae are hungry. When we say that they are omnivores, we really mean they will eat anything. Stored food such as cereals, oatmeal, cookies, bread, dried pet food, stored cured meats, tobacco, carpet fibers, dried fish, cheese, clothing, dried museum specimens, and the carcasses of other bugs. They’re in your pantry or garage because of one thing: access to food.

If you’ve had another pest infestation problem, such as stink bugs or boxelder bugs, sow bugs, or ants, or rodents such as mice, moles, or bats, and there are carcasses in your attic or walls, then larder beetles are going to love your home. Even if you don’t know about the dead bugs in your attic, the larder beetle knows and will tell their friends.

Larder beetles can bore through wood and drywall to get to your food, so not only are they unsanitary, but they are also destructive. They can even bore into tin and lead, to lay their eggs in your canned tuna or black beans.

In the winter, larder beetles often hide in crevices or other sheltered places. They may even lurk in your walls or garage. In spring, they emerge, looking for a place to lay their eggs. There will be dead bugs or other food sources in your home, so in they come. Females will lay around 100 eggs, which hatch in just a few days, eat consistently, and reach maturity in about six weeks.

Signs of Black Larder Beetles in Your House

wood

Aside from seeing the bugs or their larvae themselves, other signs of a larder beetle infestation include:

  • Holes bored into your boxes, bags of pet food, or other food storage containers
  • Larvae burrowed into a melon, potatoes, onions, or another food source
  • Skins from when the beetles molt
  • Spilled or scattered food — they aren’t precisely fastidious eaters

Strategies for Dealing With Larder Beetles

Larder Beetles

If you’ve got larder beetles in your home, you need to do some severe sanitation to get rid of them. Merely removing the items containing beetles and wiping down your kitchen isn’t going to do the trick. Here are some steps to take to deal with a larder beetle infestation.

  • Everything in your cupboard or pantry must come out.
  • Throw out all food infested with larder beetles.
  • Throw out any opened food containers in your pantry, even if you don’t see signs of the beetles. That includes bags or canisters of flour, cereal boxes, partial pasta boxes, etc.
  • Inspect all canned food items for signs of entry.
  • Change your food storage containers to hard (BPA) plastic or glass, which larder beetles cannot enter.
  • Wipe down all shelves and the pantry floor with a solution containing vinegar or bleach.
  • Thoroughly vacuum all cracks and crevices
  • Look for cracks or holes in the walls, baseboard trim, or other areas where the beetles could have entered. Use a caulk gun to seal these and keep the beetles away.
  • Throw out partial bags of pet food. Store in a hard plastic container with a tight lid.
  • Check behind stoves and other appliances, which may harbor treats and secret passages for larder beetles. Clean this area and seal any gaps.
  • Seal any gaps in doors and windows that could allow entry to larder beetles or other pests.
  • Line the edge of your pantry walls or cabinet backs with diatomaceous earth to help deter and kill any larder beetles (or other bugs) who dare to return.

Contact Environmental Pest Management for Help

Larder beetles can be tricky to get rid of, just because they are so persistent. At Environmental Pest Management, we’ve dealt with larder beetle infestations before so that we can put your mind at ease.

We have a toolbox full of strategies to ensure the pest go out and don’t come back. We’ll always use the least invasive and safest products and procedures to keep your family and pets free from harm while still eradicating pests and preventing them from returning.

Give us a call today, and we can help make larder beetles a thing of the past, just like the word larder.

Everything You Need to Know About Roly-Poly Bugs

Bugs
Bugs

As the weather begins to get warmer, bugs start to come out of hiding. The warm weather is the perfect time for them to start breeding, which makes even more bugs. If you’ve been working in your yard, garage, or basement and have discovered a pile of creepy-crawlies reminiscent of the bug-slurping scene in “The Lion King,” then you probably have stumbled upon a family of pill bugs, and they were probably as happy to see you as you were them. That is to say, not at all.

Roly-Poly Bugs

If you’ve come across new and unusual insects or other pests in your home, contact Environmental Pest Management for advice and assistance in treating them. We’re your friend for dealing with unwanted insects, arachnids, rodents, and other pests. Whether you have pill bugs or sowbugs — or any different kind of critter that belong outside, not inside — we can identify the problem and implement a solution.

Pill bugs and sowbugs are quite fascinating and can serve as a proper science lesson for your kids or satisfy your curiosity. Check out these facts while you’re dealing with evicting your roly-poly family.

What is a Pill Bug?

Armadillidiidae (the scientific name for pill bugs) have so many different names to chose from, for instance:

  • Armadillo Bugs
  • Doodle Bugs
  • Wood Lice
  • Potato Bugs
  • Roly-polies

These isopods are found across the U.S., typically in moist areas and around some decaying matter. They are about ¾” long, oval-shaped, and with an armor-like shell. Their shell has seven hard plates, similar to a crayfish. Although they are called a bug, they aren’t an insect at all. Pill bugs, and their cousins, the sowbug, are land-dwelling crustaceans more similar to a lobster than they are to an ant.They are purplish-gray and have seven pairs of legs as well as two jointed antennae. Pill bugs get their nickname of “roly-poly” because of the way they curl up into a ball when startled or disturbed.

Roly-Poly Bugs

What is the Difference between a Pill Bug and a Sowbug?

Many people confuse sow bugs and pill bugs since they look similar at first glance. Sowbugs are slightly smaller than pill bugs and have two small tail-like structures protruded from their back end that pill bugs lack. Sowbugs also cannot roll into a ball like a pill bug can. Both enjoy similar diets and habits so you might have one, the other, or both.

Also Read: Secret Bug Breeding Grounds in Your Home This Winter

Where Do Roly-Poly Bugs Live?

Pill bugs are small scavengers who eat decaying plant material. They will also eat young plants and can damage the roots of your flowers or vegetables. You will most often find them hiding under logs, leaf piles, stepping stones, landscape timbers, rocks, trash cans, garden debris, flower pots, mulch, compost, or other dark, damp areas. You may also find roly-polies in your storage building, shed, or garage.

Roly-poly bugs’ bodies do not hold water, which is why they need a moist environment. They typically stay hidden during the day and are more active at night. If you turn over a rock or log and uncover roly-polies, they will usually form a circle to protect themselves and not move until you go away. They prefer to be left alone, but you may prefer for them to be somewhere besides in or around your home.

Roly-polies a little prehistoric-looking and creepy, but they pose no harm to you, your family, or your pets. Pill bugs don’t carry any diseases, nor do they sting or bite. They rarely live long after coming indoors because it’s too dry for them, however, if they can find a nice moist corner of your basement or a leaking pipe that provides them with a water source, they may decide to take up residence and even raise a family.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Why are Pill Bugs In and Around My Home?

If pill bugs are in your home, it’s likely because they are already rampant around your home’s foundation. They’ve found their way inside via cracks in your walls, your doors, windows, or ill-fitting screens. They’re most common in damp basements and first-floor bathrooms.

If your yard has excessive moisture or your gutters and downspouts drain close to your foundation, you could be making a haven for pill bugs. If your outside population is large, some enterprising rolly-pollies may seek out the inside of your home for an additional food source and shelter. Additionally, heavy rains can drive pill bugs inside your home to protect them from the pelting rain and the flooding of their common areas.

Also Read: Good Bugs for Your Garden

How Do I Get Rid of Pill Bugs

Pill bugs crave moisture. To get rid of pill bugs, you’ll have to address how your home and yard are hospitable to them. Reducing moisture around your home will send pill bugs packing.

  • Check Your Gutters: Are they blocked or clogged? Leaf debris in your gutters is a haven for roly-polies.
  • Check Your Downspouts: If your downspouts dump their contents close to your home’s foundation, you’ll be making a nice moist area for pill bugs to prosper. Consider extending your downspout or adding a splash block to divert the water farther from your foundation.
  • Consider a dehumidifier: If your basement is chronically damp, a dehumidifier will help reduce the likelihood of mold and mildew as well as make your basement less hospitable to roly-polies.
  • Watch your wood piles: If you keep firewood near your house, it makes an excellent home for pill bugs. Create a frame for your wood to keep it off the ground and refrain from stacking against your home.
  • Maintain your mulch: Keep your landscape mulch 6-12” away from your foundation to keep pill bugs from finding their way into your home.
  • Lure them out with half of a cantaloupe or a hollowed out potato. The pill bugs will be attracted to the moisture and get inside. You can then put them in the woods away from your home.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your flower pots or in the area where you just found pill bugs. It will dry them out and kill them.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Environmental Pest Management Knows Pill Bugs and More

If you’d rather have someone else deal with your pill bug problem, give us a call at Environmental Pest Management. Our team will be out to inspect, plan, and execute your unwanted creepy critters. We use eco-friendly methods whenever possible so you can trust that you and your family and pets will be safe. Schedule an appointment today.