San Antonio Pest Control

Argentine Ants Can Continue To Be Problematic Indoor Insect Pests During The Winter Season In San Antonio

As their common name suggests, Argentine ants are native to Argentina and Brazil, but these ants have maintained an invasive habitat in the US since the late 19th century. Argentine ants were first documented in the US when specimens were collected from New Orleans in 1891, and since then, these ants have spread to most southern states and several northern states. Argentine ants are abundant household pests in more than 30 counties in southern and eastern Texas, as well as the panhandle.

Much like another invasive ant pest in Texas, the Tawny crazy ant, Argentine ants are relatively small at ⅛ of an inch in length, and they vary in color from light brown to dark brown. Argentine ants are largely hairless, and they possess distinct-looking heads which can only be viewed under magnification. In addition to their small size, which allows the ants to infest electronics, appliances and other indoor items, Argentine ants live in massive colonies that contain multiple queens. These colonies are usually located in soil, and they are frequently found beneath concrete slabs, wood and mulch. Argentine ant nests are also found in tree cavities, trash piles, bird nests and beehives, and they do not build noticeable nesting mounds in soil. While Argentine ants do not inflict stings, they are known for inflicting moderately painful bites.

When the weather becomes too cold for Argentine ants during the winter, the ants tunnel to greater depths beneath the ground where temperatures become progressively warmer. However, Argentine ants can remain active throughout the winter within manholes and basements where steam pipes provide the ants with warmth, and due to mild winter temperatures in San Antonio, the ants can continue to be an issue within homes in the city throughout the winter season. Argentine ants generally regain activity and grow rapidly in population size during the month of February, and their population numbers are highest during August, September and October.

Have you ever experienced infestation issues with Argentine ants?

San Antonio Pest Control

Potentially Deadly Fleas Are Becoming Increasingly Common In San Antonio Homes

Last May, Molly Keck, an entomologist with the extension service at Texas A & M, was already receiving an unusually high number of calls from San Antonio residents concerned about flea pests. By the end of July, fleas had already transmitted murine typhus to 56 residents of Bexar County alone, but typhus-carrying fleas are not necessarily new to residents of San Antonio and the rest of Bexar County. In fact, fleas are transmitting typhus throughout the entire state of Texas, but the highest rates of flea-borne typhus are being reported in Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi. Flea-borne typhus cases have been increasing for the past decade in central and south Texas, and the number of Bexar County cases reached 101 last year. During January of 2017, fleas had already become abundant in San Antonio, as the unseasonably warm winter failed to kill off the massive flea population that resulted from the wet and rainy 2016 summer. Many experts agree that the progressively warmer winters are to blame for the increase in flea infestations and murine typhus outbreaks in Texas.

Fleas acquire murine typhus after feeding on the blood of animal carriers, such as raccoons, rats, opossums and many others. Flea infestations occur frequently in San Antonio homes due to the abundance of fleas in residential yards. When dogs, cats and humans walk in their yard, fleas are waiting to jump onto fur, skin or clothing in order to hitch a ride indoors. Once indoors, fleas begin feeding on the blood of humans and pets, allowing infected fleas to transmit diseases, most notably murine typhus. However, due to the unusually high flea population in San Antonio, the pests invade businesses and public buildings frequently as well. For example, an extensive flea infestation in the old downtown San Antonio courthouse was one of several reasons as to why the building was removed to make way for a new courthouse building. In order to avoid flea infestations, dogs and cats should receive regular flea prevention treatments, and humans should keep their legs well covered while walking on grass.

Are you concerned about sustaining bites from typhus-infected fleas?

 

 

San Antonio Pest Control

Factors That Make Homes Vulnerable To Clover Mite Invasions, And At Which Time Of Year Do The Pests Usually Infest Homes

Bryobia praetiosa, or the clover mite, as it is more commonly known, is a very common arachnid pest throughout the US. Clover mites inflict damage to garden plants and turf grass, but they become most problematic when they enter homes in large numbers where they often pose a considerable nuisance. This species is among the largest yard mite pests in the US, and they tend to become most abundant on well-fertilized lawns where vegetation is prevalent. Clover mite activity in yards causes turf grass and foliage to wilt and become yellowish or brown in color, but this symptom is often mistakenly attributed to the effect of decreasing humidity during the fall and winter. These large mites invade homes once vegetation sources in yards dry up late in the year, but several climatic and environmental factors can prompt clover mites to gravitate indoors. While clover mites do not transmit diseases, damage indoor items, or consume human food sources, their presence within homes is a persistent annoyance, and infestations can be a challenge to eliminate.

Clover mites seek shelter in homes in response to bouts of rainfall, intense summer heat, and dwindling sources of vegetation. For reasons that are not well understood, the changing of the seasons prompts clover mites to naturally migrate into homes in the thousands. Although clover mites grow to become only ¾ mm in body size, they are frequently seen crawling across walls, and around window and door frames. Clover mites have a dark exterior, and their red-colored bodily fluids are well known for staining carpets and clothing when the pests are crushed. Clover mites invasions are most common during the spring, summer and fall months, and they may invade homes during the winter in southern states. The arachnid pests are sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations, as adults die when the temperature drops below 75 degrees or exceeds 102 degrees. Unless clover mites establish a presence within a climatically suitable indoor area where moisture content is high, the pests normally die off within two weeks following their arrival indoors.

Have you ever spotted tiny bugs skittering around your home out of the corner of your eye?

 

 

 

San Antonio Pest Control

Leave Winter Pests Out in the Cold

When temperatures drop, pests like cockroaches, spiders, mice and rats look for warm, dry places with ample food to hunker down, making cozy homes exceedingly attractive. Pests can spread diseases to humans and pets, and also pose serious property risks to homeowners, making prevention paramount to keeping a healthy home. With help from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), iPest Solutions San Antonio is encouraging homeowners to take the following precautions that can help keep unwanted invaders out this season.

Many people don’t realize pests remain active throughout winter, mainly inside our own homes. Homeowners need to make pest-proofing just as much of a priority in winter as they do in summer, and a few simple chores around the house can go a long way in preventing a dangerous infestation.

To avoid having pests take up residence this winter, we recommend following these pest-proofing tips

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including where utilities enter.
  • Replace loose mortar around the basement foundation and worn weather stripping around windows.
  • Screen vents to chimneys and repair damaged screens.
  • Maintain well-organized storage areas, placing items in sealed plastic bins off of the floor.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home on a raised cement structure.
  • Keep branches and shrubbery trimmed away from the home.
San Antonio Pest Control

The Tiny Non-Native Dark Rover Ant Is Now Common In San Antonio

Brachymyrmex patagonicus, or the dark rover ant, is a non-native ant species that has become well established in the southeastern states and urban areas of the southwest. Due to the extremely small size of dark rover ants, as well as their resemblance to closely related ant species that are already common in the southern US, experts are unsure as to when and how these ant pests were introduced into the country. The dark rover ant has become a major nuisance pest in the US, and they established an abundant presence in San Antonio around 15 years ago where pest control professionals often struggle to eliminate indoor infestations.

During the 2010s, pest control professionals and University Extension entomologists from Texas and the southeastern states experienced an abrupt influx of calls from homeowners complaining about these ant pests. However, experts were not able to offer much help with dark rover ant pest issues given their lack of knowledge concerning the pest behaviors of this understudied ant species. Both swarming alates and foraging workers of this species invade homes where workers frequently establish nests within concealed areas, such as wall voids, beneath floorboards and in crawl spaces. Swarming alates are particularly annoying to homeowners due to their habit of swarming around porch lights and indoor light sources.

Dark rover ants establish colonies in the soil surrounding tree stumps, beneath leaf litter, pavement, concrete slabs and in mulch surrounding the foundation of residential homes where they easily gain access indoors. These ant pests prefer to establish colonies near urban and suburban regions, and they seem to have no problem establishing multiple satellite nests indoors. However, workers may also travel indoors from colonies located in yards, but given the near-microscopic 1 to 2 mm size of workers, homeowners often fail to notice the ants.

Those who have experienced dark rover ant infestations state that the pests are most abundant in bathrooms and kitchens where moisture levels are relatively high, and homes located on irrigated lawns in arid regions are particularly vulnerable to infestations. These ants are rapidly expanding their habitat in the southern states, and infestation rates are increasing in San Antonio. Given the dark rover ants need for high moisture environments, taking measures to eliminate indoor moisture will help to prevent infestations.

Have you ever experienced rover ant pest issues within your home?

San Antonio Pest Control

The Brown Cockroach Is A Little Known, Yet Common Roach Pest Within San Antonio Homes

It is no secret that Texas has a thriving cockroach community, as several cities in the state are commonly named by pest control professionals as being the most roach-infested metropolitan areas in the country. Just like in the rest of the country, the German cockroach species is the most common cockroach pest within San Antonio homes. The German cockroach tends to be the most commonly encountered roach pest within all US homes due to this species’ habit of dwelling primarily within indoor environments where they can reproduce rapidly. The brown-banded cockroach is the only other cockroach pest species in the US that naturally dwells within structures, and this species is also abundant in San Antonio. Several other cockroach pest species that are well known pests, like American and Oriental cockroaches, are common in the city, but a few lesser known cockroach pests invade San Antonio homes regularly. Some of these lesser known species include the field cockroach, the brown cockroach, the smokybrown cockroach, the Surinam cockroach and the Turkestan cockroach.

The brown cockroach (Periplaneta brunnea) has become fairly well established in the southeastern US states, and according to experts, this species is most abundant in San Antonio, and has been since the species was first documented in the US in the mid 20th century. During the late 1960s, the brown cockroach was documented in California for the first time after a Los Angeles apartment building became infested with the exotic roach pests. As it turned out, the infested apartment unit had been rented out to a couple that had just moved to the city from San Antonio, indicating that the roach pests had hitchhiked to LA from San Antonio within the couple’s belongings. Brown cockroaches have been documented as invading other non-native US areas from San Antonio in the past, and amazingly, the brown cockroach is even more abundant in San Antonio than the American cockroach species. The American and brown cockroach species are similar in appearance, as both are reddish-brown in color and grow to lengths of 2 inches, but the brown cockroach is slightly larger in width. Today, the brown cockroach can be found throughout Texas, but the species remains particularly abundant in San Antonio.

Have you ever encountered a cockroach specimen in your home that you believe measured over 2 inches in length?

 

San Antonio Pest Control

Can House Flies Breed Within Homes? Do They Pose Any Danger To Residents?

While they may be called house flies, this species of fly generally stay outdoors, not entering homes unless windows and doors have torn screens or are left open for a period of time. They are meant to live outdoors, and aren’t much of an indoor pest unless they find their way inside because of one of the reasons mentioned above. You definitely want to keep them outside too, because they might not bite, but you won’t like the kinds of places they tend to hang around, and the things they can spread to people from those unsavory places.

House flies breed in decaying organic matter such as garbage and feces. For this reason, you can often find much more of them outside around places like farms, which provide plenty of feces from animals or decaying food used for compost. They shouldn’t be breeding inside your home unless you need to do some serious cleaning. Doing things like not taking out the garbage or cleaning up your kitchen is a great way to provide them with places to breed and multiply. Of course, a pest that breeds in garbage and feces might not be the safest or most sanitary insect to have flying around you and your family. Making sure to keep your house clean and garbage-free is the best way to avoid flies wanting to stay inside, let alone breed in your home.

Flies are much more than a nuisance and should definitely be considered a danger to the health of residents. House flies are filthy creatures, and thought to carry over 100 diseases, and they can easily spread these diseases to any humans they come in contact with. They spend a lot of time around feces and other decaying matter, and carry all of the filth they touch around with them. Whenever they land on a surface, let’s say your dinner plate or kitchen counter, they deposit some of the feces they carry around with them and then regurgitate on that same surface. I don’t think I need to explain why that is extremely hazardous to our health. Every time they touch something, it gets doused in this lovely pair of utterly disease-ridden substances. This is the means by which they spread those 100 plus diseases.

Have you ever found flies breeding in your garbage?

 

San Antonio Pest Control

Striped Bark Scorpion Pest Issues Increase In Urban And Residential Areas Of San Antonio During The Fall Season

Texas is home to 18 scorpion species, most of which reside in rural areas where residents are unlikely to encounter the arachnids. All rural-dwelling scorpion species can potentially be found within homes, but the species that is most well known for invading homes is commonly known as the striped bark scorpion. The striped bark scorpion is the most frequently encountered scorpion species in the United States, both indoors and outdoors, and their population is most concentrated in Texas where the stinging arachnids often appear in homes throughout the state.

The tan-colored striped bark scorpion may not cut an intimidating figure due to their 1 to 2 inch body size, but they can inflict extremely painful stings to humans and pets. Thousands of sting incidents involving striped bark scorpions are reported to poison control centers each year in Texas alone, and while this species’ venom is not lethal to humans, serious allergic reactions have been known to occur in response to their stings. Scorpions are active year round in Texas, but they are most abundant between the early spring and late fall seasons. Striped bark scorpions are particularly common indoor pests in San Antonio, and the fall season sees the highest infestation rates.

During the months of December and January, striped bark scorpions are hard to come by in the natural environment, and very few infestation cases are reported during this time. However, these scorpions remain common household pests well into November, and they begin to reappear in homes during February, but infestation rates remain largely steady in San Antonio homes in between spring and fall. Striped bark scorpions are obviously well adapted to exceptionally hot and arid environments, but the summers in southwest Texas often become too hot and dry for this species’ comfort. This is why it is not uncommon to find these scorpions invading homes en masse on the hottest summer days where they seek out water and more comfortable temperatures. These mass invasions occurred last July in San Antonio for this very reason, and experts anticipate that these invasions will become more frequent in the coming years due to recent climatic trends in Texas. Striped bark scorpions can be found beneath wood piles, stones and lawn debris in residential areas during most of the year in Texas; and when they invade homes, they can be seen climbing walls. For reasons that are not yet understood, these scorpions are well known for congregating in attics.

Have you ever witnessed a scorpion/s climbing a vertical surface?

 

San Antonio Pest Control

The Rabid Wolf Spider That Is Commonly Found Within Homes In Central Texas Is Aggressive Toward Humans And Will Inflict Bites Without Provocation, But Are They Dangerous?

Texas is not the best state to live in for arachnophobes, as the state is home to more than 900 documented species, including the southern black widow and the brown recluse, which are the only two spider species in the country that are considered dangerous to humans. If that is not frightening enough, a second widow species was recently introduced into Texas, and it is already proving to be a problematic pest within households. This species is an African native commonly known as the brown widow, and while it is not as dangerous as its black widow relatives, several case reports have documented serious medical complications and hospitalizations that resulted from brown widow bites. In addition to medically significant spider species, 14 large, hairy and overall unsettling-looking tarantula species can be found in Texas, as well as a whopping 238 wolf spider species, many of which closely resemble tarantulas. Unlike tarantulas, however, wolf spiders are abundant in urban and residential areas throughout Texas where they frequently wander into homes, sometimes in large numbers. In fact, it has been said that in Texas, at least one wolf spider is always within 5 feet of a human.The most fear-inspiring wolf spider species in Texas is commonly known as the rabid wolf spider, and this species is not just large in body size, it is also one of the few spider species that is aggressive toward humans and will bite without provocation.

Wolf spiders prefer to dwell in grassy open areas, which makes residential lawns their natural habitat. According to officials with the Texas A & M extension office, hundreds of thousands of wolf spiders can inhabit one single yard in Texas, and their hunting behaviors keep them moving constantly, so it is no surprise that wolf spiders are the most commonly encountered spiders in Texas homes. At nearly 2 inches in body length and a four inch leg span, rabid wolf spiders tend to give people a scare when they are encountered. Despite their intimidating appearance, wolf spiders are like tarantulas in the sense that their bites are not considered medically harmful. The bite of a rabid wolf spider is reported as being intensely painful, but severe skin reactions and systemic symptoms almost never result from their venomous bites. The pain from a wolf spider bite can last for up to 10 days, and a few cases of tissue necrosis have been documented as a result of wolf spider bites. Numerous cases of secondary infection and systemic symptoms, such as nausea and fever, have been documented as occurring in response to wolf spider bites. The vast majority of wolf spider bites only cause minor swelling and pain that lasts for several minutes to a few hours.

Have you ever sustained a bite from a wolf spider?

San Antonio Pest Control

Chickens Are Being Used To Reduce Insect Pest Populations At One Local Elementary School

For a little more than a week residents of multiple central Texas cities, most notably San Antonio, have found themselves in the thick of a massive area-wide cricket invasion. Cricket invasions are an annual event in Texas, but even the oldest residents cannot recall ever having witnessed a cricket invasion that had been as large as the one that is currently overtaking San Antonio and Austin. Those living outside of central Texas do not need to go far to catch a glimpse of the cricket hoards in the state, as Facebook and Twitter are being flooded with photographs showing thousands of crickets covering tables, counters and even people within local restaurants and other businesses. 

Homeowners are posting pictures of their cricket-covered furniture and appliances, as well as the extraordinary number of cricket pests covering the external walls of houses. Some restaurants in central Texas have closed due to the off-putting abundance of crickets that have accumulated around businesses, and buildings on the University of Texas San Antonio campus are also being invaded by thousands of the chirping insects, prompting students to skip class. On campus, every floor of nearly every building contains countless crickets covering the floors and walls, and administrative officials are continually posting reassuring messages to Twitter claiming that certain areas of the campus will be professionally cleared of all crickets within 24 hours. 

While the current cricket apocalypse in San Antonio is keeping pest control professionals in the city busy, local cleaning companies are also struggling to address the overwhelming cricket presence within the homes and local businesses. Since the invasion started more than a week ago, local cleaning companies have been flooded with professional house cleaning requests from residents. While removing such a massive amount of crickets from homes is not easy for cleaning crews, some employees claim that taking a vacuum to the pests is the best way to address their presence. Since chickens love to snack on crickets, a local elementary school is addressing the cricket crisis naturally by allowing a group of seven chickens to freely feed on the insects around the building.

Have you ever lived in a town or city that was invaded by a massive amount of insects?