You see a few tiny ants crawling toward a forgotten breakfast crumb on your counter. Without thinking, you squish them with a paper towel, and suddenly there’s an unpleasant smell of rotting coconut. Yuck! You have odorous house ants. [Read more…]
Purchasing a home is one of life’s greatest joys and one of life’s most significant responsibilities. Whether you are buying an older home or a new build, there is a huge learning curve and many new tasks. An often-overlooked aspect of new home ownership is pest control: making sure your home is free of pests before moving in and planning to keep it that way. [Read more…]
Every spring, homeowners wonder, what is the best defense against pests? It can seem daunting, but the good news is that a few steps, which also provide additional benefits, will help prevent pests from infesting your home and property.
How Can You Stop Pests Entering Your Home?
Ultimately, preventing pests boils down to a two-pronged approach. It would be best to have both outdoor pest control methods and indoor.
- Make an outdoor examination. If the weather is warm, start with the outside.
- Walk around to look for debris that blew into your yard during the winter, especially in the far corners where they could collect along a fence.
- Check the foundation of your house and check for cracks.
- Look for damaged or wet wood that could attract insects to serve as a food source or entry point.
- Check to see if water is pooling anywhere or if the grading around your house has shifted.
- Look at exterior faucets, conduits, and pipes.
- Inspect window screens.
- Tidy the outside.
- Trim trees and shrubs.
- Position the woodpile properly.
- Switch to yellow bug lights.
- Clean the gutters
- Avoid pet/pest problems.
Proper grading ensures that water will flow away from the dwelling instead of pooling against the foundation, leading to cracks, wet basements, or insect infestations. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still water, so get rid of any puddles or pools.
Gaps around these items can form or widen, allowing pests and vermin to enter your home, using the pipes as a sort of through-way. Use chalk to seal the gaps or pack with steel wool. Mice can’t chew through steel wool.
While doing your exterior inspection, check window and door screens for damage or holes. Check them from the inside for best results because small holes might only be visible through a closer look than you can get from the outside. A variety of insects can get through even the tiniest of tears.
After the inventory, start bagging any leaves that fell late in the season and any papers or trash. Collect broken branches and bundle them for garbage or as fireplace kindling.
Bushes and tree branches that touch the house can help insects find their way into your home. Check the species of your trees and bushes for when to cut them back but make sure to trim them all at least once a year.
Wood piles can attract termites and carpenter ants. If you have a fireplace, ensure the woodpile is at least 50 feet from the house, and the logs are stored off the ground.
The white light from typical outdoor bulbs attracts clouds of insects because of the light’s wavelength and temperature. Swap them for yellow “bug lights,” which use a less appealing part of the spectrum for insects. Motion sensor lights closest to the doors will further discourage insects from hanging around there and ducking inside when the door is open.
Backed-up rain gutters can lead to structural damage that pests can get inside. Mosquitoes can also lay eggs in water pooled in clogged gutters.
Pet doors don’t just let in your dog or cat; rodents and insects can also use the entry. Unless necessary, avoid feeding pets outside since the food will attract pests and vermin. If you have to feed pets outside, take in any leftovers as soon as they’re finished.
Remember that indoor/outdoor pets are more prone to picking up fleas, ticks, and mites. If you can’t switch them to indoor-only, consult with your veterinarian on the best options to protect your pets from such parasites.
Indoor Pest Control Methods
Protecting your property from pests isn’t solely an outdoor endeavor. Steps you take indoors will also make a difference. You can do these on rainy days or when it’s still chilly instead of waiting for good weather.
- Spring clean.
- Do a clothing check.
- Do the dishes every day.
- Book pest treatments.
Season changes are a great time for the in-depth cleaning that’s often neglected when busy. It deters insects and helps you spot any that might have already made their way inside. Clutter clearing deprives them of places to hide, too.
Preventing pests means depriving them of food, water, and shelter. When swapping winter clothing for summer, make sure everything is clean before putting it away since that untreated food stain could attract bugs.
Dirty dishes are food magnets for pests, and soaking doesn’t change that. The only thing worse than dirty dishes in a sink for attracting pests is a big pile of dirty dishes sitting there for days.
Termites love Long Island’s sandy soil, so a yearly termite inspection and treatment is essential. Tick treatments are also necessary, especially for Suffolk County residents. If your property is near woods or grasslands or has deer visits, tick treatment is essential to avoid Lyme disease.
Preventing Pests Is Our Only Business
The Twin Forks Pest Control® team is the expert in pest removal methods and preventing the return of pests. We have provided pest control for homeowners across the Eastern Long Island area for more than 20 years. Request a free estimate or call (631) 287-9020 if you’re in the Southampton area, (631) 324-9020 if you’re in the East Hampton area, or (631) 298-0500 if you’re in the Southold area.
You hop into bed, pull up the covers, and turn out the lights, ready to fall asleep… and then you hear it: scratch, scratch, scratch coming from inside the wall.
So much for that safe, cozy, sleepy feeling you had just a moment ago. There’s something in your wall that doesn’t belong there. So much for getting a good night’s sleep.
Are There Pests In My Walls?
If you hear scratching, skittering, scampering, or any other noise in your wall, you probably have rodents or other pests in there. It is incredibly common for pests – whether insects or rodents – to find their way into the dark, closed spaces of your home, especially when the weather changes or when it is their breeding season.
You may also hear squeaking or chirping noises, and – if they’re in the walls long enough – you will smell urine, feces and eventually decomposition.
What Pests Live In Walls?
If it creeps, crawls, claws, chews, or digs… almost any pest can find its way into the walls of your home, and it’s usually not alone. Where there’s one, there will likely be more.
Mice and rats are the most common wall-scratchers, followed by squirrels, raccoons, and bats. Sometimes termites and carpenter ants cause sounds in your walls; the topic of insects in your walls will be covered in a future blog post.
Can Rats Chew Through Walls?
Yes, a variety of pests (including rats) can chew through walls. Mice, rats, squirrels, and raccoons are known for their ability to chew their way through wood, drywall, plaster, and other building materials.
Once they’re in the wall, they live, pass waste, breed, and die there, creating a health risk for humans and pets in the household. Even more dangerous… rats and mice often chew on electrical wires – which creates a serious fire risk.
How Do I Get Rid Of Pests In My Walls?
Mice or rats can be lured out of the wall, into food-baited traps. Getting rid of larger pests usually requires cutting away a section of drywall and snaring the animals with a catchpole. This type of removal is best left to a wildlife removal professional since these animals may attack when disturbed.
It is particularly ill-advised to attempt to remove raccoons. Bats are also tricky to remove, and almost always require the services of a professional who will cut out a segment of drywall and use a net to capture the unwanted visitors.
When you’re certain all pests have been removed, you will need to find out where they got in, and close up their means of entry… or they will come back.
Call Us At The First Sign of Infestation
Twin Forks Pest Control® has been eliminating pests, including those that find their way into your walls, for more than 20 years. Our trained wildlife experts will rid your property of unwanted pests, and we offer year-round protection plans so that your home stays pest-free.
At the first sign of problems, contact us for a free estimate by calling (631) 287-9020 if you’re in the Southampton region, (631) 324-9020 if you’re in or around Easthampton, or (631) 298-0500 if you’re in or around Southold. We look forward to hearing from you.
Most homeowners know that termites are tiny insects that eat wood and can cause irreparable damage to their homes, which is enough to cause concern all on its own. But many homeowners are unaware that termites swarm and what those swarms mean for their homes.
Which Species of Termites Swarm?
All termites species swarm, though the timing varies for each one – subterranean termites swarm in the spring, dampwood termites swarm during the summer, and drywood termites swarm in late summer/early fall. Effective swarms’ ideal weather conditions include damp ground, calm winds, and higher humidity.
The termites that swarm are from a specific group within the colony whose sole purpose is to swarm and reproduce. They are the only termites in the colony with wings; workers and soldiers lack wings. Males and females will swarm when the colony reaches a maximum capacity and needs to expand. A homeowner finds broken wings near swarms of termites because once the male and female become a mated pair, they break their wings off as a sign of their union. These newly coupled pairs now become the king and queen of a new colony.
Does a Swarm Mean You Have a Termite Infestation?
Unfortunately, a termite swarm means termites on the property in nearly all cases. Termites may use a dead tree or stump on the property to swarm. While the swarm may not have originated in your home itself, it is still a cause for concern. A termite swarm does not cause actual damage to your home. The colony’s worker termites accomplish this, so a swarm trapped indoors will die if it cannot get outside. It would be best if you still had a termite inspection done by a licensed professional because a swarm means an entire colony somewhere close by. Discarded wings may be difficult for an average homeowner to identify, and distinguishing between a termite’s discarded wings and an ant wing can be tricky.
What to Do If You Have a Swarm
If you have or see a termite swarm on your property or in your house, you must immediately call a qualified termite control company. Swarms are a sure sign of a full-sized colony somewhere nearby. The last thing you want is for these swarms to survive and create new colonies of termites on your property or in your house. Be sure to take samples of any wings that you find to show your pest control expert and get an identification.
Rapid identification is key to preventing more termites so if you see any, act quickly. Termites are not bugs to wait on and see if they go away, and their capacity for destruction is overwhelming.
Trust Twin Forks Pest Control® to Get Rid of Your Termites
At Twin Forks Pest Control®, we advise a yearly inspection to provide the peace of mind that your home is termite-free. Our termite experts will help with termite prevention, removal, and extermination if termites are spotted until your home is termite-free. For more information about our termite inspection service, Southampton residents, please call (631) 287-9020, East Hampton residents please call (631) 324-9020, or Southold residents, please call (631) 298-0500. You can also fill out our contact form and request a free inspection or schedule your first service appointment.
How to Tell If That Ant Is a Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants are often compared to other ants and also to termites. In the spring, winged males can take to the air in a mating swarm. Carpenter ants have two sets of wings like termites, but the front wings are longer than the hind set. Termites are typically lighter brown than the black and dark brown carpenter ants.
What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?
Eight different species of carpenter ant can be found in the northeastern U.S. The most significant and common is the black carpenter ant, primarily black coloring. Other species can be red, black, dark brown, or a mix of the three. All carpenter ants have an identifiable arch-shaped thorax. Workers can range from ¼ to ⅝ inch long while the queen is slightly larger.
What Other Ants Look Like Carpenter Ants?
Acrobat ants are often confused with carpenter ants as they look similar, and both tend to make their homes in deadwood. Acrobats are typically smaller and have a heart-shaped abdomen. They’re named for their ability to raise their abdomens over their heads when agitated.
How Do You Find A Carpenter Ant Nest?
In the wild, carpenter ants can typically be found in decaying and dead trees. Though sometimes our homes can also be a place where they can find wood that has been weakened by moisture. A mature carpenter ant colony can have anywhere between 3,000 to 100,000 workers. As it grows, homeowners may likely start to hear the colony build its home inside theirs. As carpenter ants don’t eat wood like termites, you can often find piles of powdery refuse of wood called “frass” near baseboards and window sills.
How Can You Tell if You Have Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants and termites are both destructive, but they damage differently. Ant tunnels go across the wood’s grain, whereas termites always follow the grain. Termite tunnels are tracked with mud where the ant tunnels will be clean.
Then in the spring, finding one or two flying ants in your home can be a sign of a nest somewhere in the local area, but if you find your house full of flying swarms, then you’ve certainly got a problem.
Are Big Ants Always Carpenter Ants?
Nearly half an inch long, carpenter ants are one of the most significant ant species in North America. So while not always, it is at least likely. Some ant species are monomorphic, where all the workers are the same size. Carpenter ants are a polymorphic species meaning the size of their workers varies. Identifying the ant species correctly is essential as the removal process is unique to the individual colony.
Trust Twin Forks Pest Control® To Remove Ants from Your Home
The Twin Forks Pest Control® team is here to address your indoor pest control needs, including ant extermination. We have brought peace of mind to homeowners across the Eastern Long Island area for more than 20 years. Take the first step today and fill out our free estimate form or call (631) 287-9020 if you’re in the Southampton area, (631) 324-9020 if you’re in the East Hampton area, or (631) 298-0500 if you’re in the Southold area.