San Antonio Spider Control

Which Potentially Dangerous Spider Species Are Commonly Managed On Residential Properties In Austin

It is often said that spiders are beneficial within and around homes because they prey on insect pests. However, the argument that spiders should be allowed to wander about within homes because they perform a free pest control service is laughable to arachnophobes, and probably most spider enthusiasts as well. Although entomologists have long been on a mission to convince people to embrace spiders, the eight-legged creatures remain one of the most commonly controlled groups of arthropods within homes. According to a recent nationwide survey of pest management professionals, the five most commonly controlled spiders on residential properties during the 2016 year were American house spiders, wolf spiders, cellar spiders, black widow spiders, and brown recluse spiders.

American house spiders and cellar spiders have adapted to thrive within homes where their webs can become a nuisance, and in this circumstance, a professional control program may be necessary. Unlike indoor-dwelling spiders, experts state that controlling wolf spiders is unnecessary since they are naturally shy around humans, are not medically significant, and prefer to dwell outdoors. However, black widows and brown recluse spiders pose a significant medical threat, and their presence within a home should always be addressed by a pest control professional. Black widow and brown recluse spiders are often cited by health professionals as being the only two medically significant spider species in the US, and both of these spiders can be found throughout Texas.

With the exception of rare allergic reactions to venom, medically harmful wolf spider envenomation incidents have not been documented. However, these spiders are not tolerated well within homes due to their large, hairy, and overall frightening appearance. Carolina wolf spiders are around 1 ⅓ inch in length, not including leg span, and their bites can be extremely painful. While most wolf spider species are shy around humans, the tiger wolf spider (Tigrosa aspersa) often exhibits aggressive behavior toward humans, and they will readily bite if they become disturbed. Wolf spiders are also known to invade homes during the fall and winter seasons in order to overwinter in warm conditions.

Black widow and brown recluse spiders are generally shy around humans, but their synanthropic habitat makes these spiders very common within homes. For example, thousands of brown recluse specimens have been recovered from just one house, and the southern black widow (Latrodectus mactans) is one of the most commonly controlled spiders on residential properties in Texas. In addition to southern black widows and brown recluse spiders, three additional recluse spider species can be found in the southern portion of the state, but luckily, they do not dwell in close association with humans.

Have you ever encountered a black widow spider in your home?

Bed-Bug

How Far And How Fast Do Bed Bugs Travel Within Homes At Night, And How Do They Locate Human Blood Hosts?

Along with cockroaches, ants, and flies, bed bugs are the most commonly controlled insect pests within homes and buildings throughout the US. Given the commonality of bed bugs today, it is hard to imagine a world without them. However, during the latter half of the 20th century, bed bugs were almost entirely absent from the US. The introduction of the first widely used insecticide known as DDT during the 1940s nearly eradicated bed bugs from the country within a decade. A few isolated bed bug infestations began to appear in big cities during the 1990s, and by the early 2000s, it was clear that bed bugs had resurfaced in every state in the country. While experts are not exactly sure why bed bugs resurfaced in the US, it is obvious that the increase in global travel and trade helped to redistribute bed bugs throughout the world. Unlike all other bloodsucking insect pests, bed bugs rely primarily on human blood meals to survive. This has made bed bugs well adapted to thriving within homes.

In order for bed bugs to survive indoors, they must not only feed on human blood, but also remain hidden from humans at all times in order to avoid extermination. This is why bed bugs only emerge from their hiding spots to collect blood during the few hours before sunrise when humans are in their deepest state of sleep. Although bed bug adults are no larger than an apple seed, they can travel 4 feet per minute, and they often cover a foraging distance of 20 feet in just one night. In some cases, bed bugs have been found to travel 60 feet in search of human blood hosts. Bed bugs locate blood hosts in three stages, the first of which sees bed bugs wander around randomly until they sense a nearby human. Once bed bugs are within close proximity to a blood host, they begin to detect and follow the CO2 exhaled by humans. Lastly, bed bugs detect body heat, which allows them to make direct contact with a blood host. At this point, bed bugs begin inflicting repeated bites until they find a suitable blood vessel in which to feed. If humans are not available, bed bugs will reluctantly feed on the blood of pets like dogs and cats.

Have you ever discovered mysterious bug bites on your body upon waking in the morning?

 

 

 

San Antonio Mosquito Control

Summer Mosquito Prevention Tips

What are some precautions that can be taken to help prevent mosquito bites?

There are a number of precautions that people can take to protect their home and family from mosquitoes. iPest Solutions San Antonio & iPest Solutions Austin recommends the following tips:

  • Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home. This includes birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, baby pools, unopened swimming pools, tires and other objects where water collects.
  • Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any source of standing water that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
  • Screen windows, doors, and other openings with fine mesh, sealing around all screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry.
  • Use mesh that is 18X18 strands per inch, or finer.
  • Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. But, also take proactive measures during the day to protect against daytime biters, like the Asian tiger mosquito the main carrier of Zika.
  • When outdoors, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin whenever outdoors.
Yellow Jacket Wasps

Which Insect Pests Are Able To Infest The Upper-Levels Of Homes, Apartment Complexes, And Urban Buildings?

The insect pests most frequently found in single-family homes differ somewhat from those found in apartment complexes and urban buildings. For example, the few, but common insect pest species that dwell primarily indoors, such as German cockroaches and bed bugs, tend to be most problematic in apartments and commercial buildings. This is because German cockroaches and bed bugs readily travel into neighboring rooms, apartment units, and lower and higher floors where pest control professionals may not be operating. This is why infestations of German cockroaches and bed bugs are particularly persistent and hard to control within multi-story structures.

Generally, arthropod pests invade single-family homes at the ground level, as many insects and arachnids are unable to scale smooth exterior siding. Of course, winged insect pests are able to access structures by exploiting entry points located anywhere on the exterior walls and roof. Winged insect pests often access interior living spaces by traveling through attic vents, gaps around utility penetrations, chimneys, and even vent pipes. Homeowners often complain about wasps like yellow jackets entering their home through fireplace openings, which usually requires the professional removal of active nests in chimneys. It is not uncommon for homeowners to discover active or abandoned wasp nests in attics, and sometimes these nests are excessively large.

Swarming drywood termites known as “alates” frequently initiate colonies in structural wood located in attics, as well as in wood located beneath roof shingles and behind siding panels. The invasive Formosan subterranean termite is also capable of establishing aerial nests within wood that is moist enough to meet the hydration needs of a colony. Formosan carton nests are often found in ceiling voids, beneath upper story bathrooms, attics, behind siding, and in trees. Ant pests, particularly carpenter ants, often access the upper stories of homes by traveling along tree branches that make contact with exterior walls or roofs. Winged insect pests that invade homes during the fall for the purpose of overwintering usually gravitate into wall voids and attic spaces. Overwintering pests of this sort include Asian lady beetles, cluster flies, elm leaf beetles and boxelder bugs. Due to their strong appetite for glue in bookbinding, paper, and cardboard, pests like cockroaches, silverfish, booklice, field crickets, house crickets and firebrats. Finally, fabric pests like clothes moths and carpet beetles are often found in attics feeding on old stored clothing, particularly clothing that is made from animal products, such as silk, wool, and furs.

Have you ever found an insect infestation within a box of stored goods that had been stored in an attic?

Wcao Texas Termite Control

The Four Most Destructive Termite Pests In The Country Are Prevalent In Austin

Many termite species can be found throughout the US, some of which are pests that infest structural wood within homes and buildings. Unsurprisingly, termites are the most economically costly urban insect pests in the country, as the annual cost of termite-related structural damage exceeds five billion dollars in the US alone. There are three types of termites known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites, and several pest species belonging to each of these groups can be found in the US. Only four subterranean termite species are responsible for inflicting 90 percent of all termite-related damages annually in the US, and unfortunately, these four species are prevalent in Austin.

The subterranean termite species that infest Austin homes most frequently include eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes), dark southern subterranean termites (R. virginicus), and light southern subterranean termites (R. hageni). In addition to these three native termite species, the invasive Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formanosus) can be found throughout Texas, including Austin, but they are most prevalent in Houston and other cities located along the Gulf Coast. Another subterranean termite pest species found in Austin is commonly known as the arid-land subterranean termite (R. tibialis).

The drywood termite species that are known to be destructive pests in Texas include southeastern drywood termites (Incisitermes snyderi), West Indian powderpost drywood termites (Cryptotermes brevis), and western drywood termites (I. minor). The southeastern drywood termite is the most commonly managed drywood termite pest in Austin, but drywood termites are not nearly as destructive as their subterranean counterparts.

Subterranean termites live in colonies below the ground where workers regularly leave the nest to forage. It takes between three and seven years for a termite colony to reach maturity, and native subterranean termite colonies that are more than ten years old may contain more than one million individuals, most of which are workers. Formosan subterranean termite colonies are unusually large, as they grow to contain more than ten million individuals. Because of their unusually large colony sizes, Formosan subterranean termite infestations are typically far more destructive than infestations established by natives.

Have you ever witnessed a termite swarm occur in a residential area?

San Antonio Mosquito Control

Summer Pest Prevention Tips

Protection and prevention are key to avoiding encounters with dangerous pests. Enjoy a pest-free summer with these five tips:

  • Look for Breeding Grounds: Eliminate areas of standing water around the yard, as mosquitoes only need half an inch of water to breed — that’s the size of a bottle cap!
  • Wear Insect Repellent: Use insect repellent containing at least 20 percent DEET when spending time outdoors, and make sure to apply it properly; here’s how.
  • Check for Ticks: Conduct thorough tick checks after spending time outdoors and wear light-colored clothing to make spotting ticks easier. If one has attached itself, this is the best way to remove it.
  • Protect the Party: Keep backyard parties pest-free by covering food and beverages and sealing garbage cans. Use clear cups and cover cans to prevent stinging insects from sneaking inside.
  • Rethink Your Wardrobe: Avoid wearing sweet-smelling fragrances, dark-colored clothing or sandals. Certain fragrances and colors can attract pests, and exposed skin is a magnet for biting insects like mosquitoes.
San Antonio Roach Control

The Non-Venomous House Pests That Can Be Medically Harmful To Humans?

Terrestrial arthropods include all species of insects, arachnids, centipedes, millipedes, and more, making the Arthropoda phylum by far the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Well over one million living insect species have been documented worldwide, and experts state that an additional four to five million have yet to be discovered. Of these millions of insect species, only around 1,000 are categorized as serious pests, and this figure includes agricultural insect pests, which far outnumber urban insect pests. In the United States, the southeast sees the most frequent number of household insect pest infestations, and virtually every single medically and structurally harmful insect pest in the country can be found in the Gulf Coast states.

Insects that serve as medically harmful pests in urban and suburban areas throughout Texas include red-imported fire ants, Asian needle ants, yellow jackets, fleas, assassin bugs, biting midges, mosquitoes, cockroaches and flies. When it comes to medically significant pests of homes, most people immediately think of venomous insects or spiders, but surprisingly, many potentially dangerous insect species do not produce venom, and some neither bite nor sting humans. For example, German, American, Oriental, brown-banded, Asian, and smokybrown cockroaches are just a few roach pests in Texas that carry numerous pathogens due to their habit of breeding and feeding on organic waste like excrement, rotting food, and animal carcasses. It is also now well understood that German, American and other cockroach pests of homes produce allergens that have been proven to induce asthmatic conditions in children.

Due to the prevalence of invasive red-imported fire ants in Texas, many homeowners in the state have learned to be mindful of venomous insect pests while outdoors. Red-imported fire ants have killed more than 80 people in the southern US, most of whom ultimately died from an anaphylactic reaction to the ant’s potent venom. As it happens, many biting, but non-venomous insect pests can also cause potentially fatal anaphylaxis in humans within residential areas of Texas. For example, Texas is home to multiple kissing bug species that have made headlines lately for their ability to spread chagas disease in the southernmost states, but this disease is not much of a threat to Texas residents. However, when kissing bugs sneak into homes at night to bite sleeping humans, they inject saliva containing allergenic compounds into the bloodstream. According to a recent study, up to 13 percent of people living in the US have an allergic sensitivity to kissing bug bites. Although venomous insects like wasps and bees are responsible for most cases of anaphylaxis, kissing bug bites are one of the most common causes of anaphylaxis and other medically significant allergic reactions in humans.

Have you ever woken from pain resulting from a bite or sting inflicted by an insect or arachnid?

 

 

Mosquito

Past, Current And Emerging Mosquito-Borne Diseases Of Concern In Austin

Austin is home to an abundance of insect and arachnid pests that are classified as “medically significant” species by public health officials. Some of these dangerous pests include red-imported fire ants, brown recluse spiders, southern black widow spiders, harvester ants, Africanized honey bees (aka killer bees), and a variety of aggressive wasp species that are well known to establish nests on residential properties. Unfortunately, the deadliest arthropod pest in the world is abundant in Austin where they live in close association with humans. This devastating pest is none other than the Aedes aegypti mosquito species, or the “yellow fever mosquito,” as the bloodsucker is commonly known.

While the yellow fever mosquito is known to transmit the Zika virus, chikungunya virus, dengue viruses, and of course, yellow fever throughout much of the tropics, reservoirs for these diseases are lacking in the US. However, yellow fever mosquitoes do transmit dengue fever to humans in Texas on occasion, and during a ten year period from the beginning of 2003 until the end of 2012, 21 locally transmitted cases of dengue fever were confirmed to have occured in Travis County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a locally transmitted Zika case was documented in southern Texas, and while no additional locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in Texas since then, experts suspect that this will soon change.

The annual rate of fatalities that result from mosquito-borne infections vary tremendously depending on geographic location. In Austin, and the entire country, the West Nile virus is the most commonly contracted mosquito-borne disease, but malaria is far and away the most commonly contracted mosquito-borne disease in most human-populated areas of the world. Malaria is transmitted to humans by Anopheles mosquito species, plenty of which can be found in the US, including Austin. However, the malaria parasite was successfully eradicated from the US decades ago, so Anopheles species in the country can no longer acquire the malaria parasite.

Do you believe that yellow fever mosquitoes will soon be able to transmit the Zika virus in Austin?

Black rat, Rattus rattus, in front of white background

The CDC Is Warning Citizens About Hordes Of Rats Seeking Food In Homes In Response To The COVID Lockdown

For more than two months, most Americans have been quarantined within their homes in order to avoid contracting COVID 19, which experts say is one of the most contagious diseases in modern history. Not long after the quarantine order took effect, many Americans found it difficult to avoid social contact, and some suffered negative psychological stress from isolation. As it turned out, the quarantine was rough on America’s urban rat population as well, as the lack of public activity has literally starved urban rodents that rely solely on humans for food.

Due to starvation, Norway rats all over the US have been viciously fighting one another for access to dwindling food sources, and reports of rodent cannibalization have been common in every urban center in the country, including San Antonio. Pest control professionals and public health officials in Bexar County have been warning residents about the uptick in aggressive rat behavior in urban and suburban areas. In response to the lack of food waste available to urban rodents, large groups of rats and mice have been migrating into residential areas in search of food. The filthy pests were, and continue to be, unusually brazen in their efforts to gain access into homes, presumably to secure food. Because of this, Bexar County pest control professionals have been overwhelmed with service calls concerning both rat and mouse pests.

When news reports were released that claimed rats were behaving violently and invading residential areas as an indirect result of the nationwide lockdown, many Americans were dubious. That is, until officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a bulletin stating that Americans should be mindful of Norway rats invading suburban areas en masse in search of food. Since Norway rats and house mice are synanthropic species, the pests would go extinct if it was not for the massive amounts of food waste that humans generate on a daily basis. Under normal circumstances, the amount of food waste in restaurant and supermarket dumpsters is more than enough to support the unmeasurable number of rats inhabiting urban areas. However, given the current situation, the CDC recommends that residents living in and around big cities should make sure to eliminate conditions on their property that are known to attract rodents. For example, it may not be wise to throw a neighborhood cookout and residential garbage bins should be well sealed. Setting precautionary snap traps and/or monitoring stations around homes can prevent infestations, but if rats or mice manage to establish an indoor infestation, professional pest control intervention is probably necessary.

Have you noticed a rat presence around your home?

San Antonio Mosquito Control

Why Do Some Mosquito Species Breed Near Homes, While Other Species Breed In Rural Areas, And Where Do San Antonio’s Most Dangerous Mosquitoes Breed?

Every year, many local and national news stations post online articles that name the most mosquito-infested cities in the US. These articles are usually summaries of public or privately funded annual studies on regional insect pest prevalence in the US. The methodology for each annual study differs depending on the publishing organization, but many rely on yearly records kept by pest control firms located throughout the country. In recent years, reputable studies have ranked San Antonio as being among the top ten most mosquito-infested cities in the US. One of the most recently published studies ranked San Antonio as the 17th most mosquito-infested US city, while another put the city at number 38. In any case, it cannot be denied that a relatively high number of disease-carrying mosquito species are abundant in and around San Antonio, and most of these species are reliant on urban and suburban sources of standing water in order to reproduce. This is why homeowners should do their best to prevent rainwater from pooling in manmade objects that are often found on residential lawns.

Female mosquitoes must lay their eggs in species-specific water sources that will allow their offspring to successfully develop into winged adults. Most disease-carrying mosquito species dwell in urban and suburban areas where they lay their eggs within stagnant water that collects in manmade objects. Many other mosquito species must lay their eggs within natural sources of flowing or stillwater, and some species are able to breed in a variety of both natural and stagnant water sources. The nutrient content in these water sources differ, and the eggs of each mosquito species will perish unless they are deposited within the particular water sources that contain the nutrients they need to develop properly. The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) are invasive mosquitoes that are abundant in San Antonio, and together they are known to transmit numerous diseases to humans, including West Nile, chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, Zika, several encephalitic diseases, and more. These mosquito species are the most dangerous mosquito species in the city due to their around the clock habit of aggressively biting humans in urban and suburban habitats where they rely on standing water in yards to breed.

Do you make a point to prevent standing water from collecting in your yard?