Wasp VS Hornet…Plus a Bonus Predator

People easily confuse bees with yellow jackets and hornets with wasps, probably because in most cases we are trying our best to keep our distance. But, when dealing with a sting or a threatening nest around your home, identifying information can be pretty handy. We will do our best to help you figure out which stinging insect and nest is which.

First off, here’s some general stinging insect knowledge regarding bees and wasps.

Bees: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairy, long antennae and are important pollinators.

Wasps: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairless, long antennae, most have a thin “waist”, many have bright orange and yellow colors (stripes on legs, abdomen or thorax) Wasps include both yellow jackets and hornets.

Most species of wasps are predators.

Paper wasp front view no textPaper wasps have smooth bodies, usually dark brown with yellow markings and a slender waist. When paper wasps are flying they can be recognized by two rear legs “hanging down”. Paper wasp nests are made of paper-like combs and found hanging under eaves, door frames, soffits, deck rails, roofs, porches, trees, shrubs.

yellow jacket

Yellow jackets are a type of predatory wasp. Most yellow jackets are black and yellow, but some are black and white, like the bald-faced hornet. Yellow jackets tend to fly in a side to side motion and are very aggressive. Since they have stingers with barb, their sting is often very painful. Yellow jacket nests are made of paper with a single hole in the bottom, they nest in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that are easily hidden from predators.

5267976 - a bald-faced hornet at rest clearly showing large mandiblesHornet is a loosely used word to typically identify the bald-faced hornet, which is the largest of the wasps. Bald-faced hornets are yellow and black or white and black, look similar to the yellow jacket, but longer and thinner. Hornets are aggressive when defending their nest and sting repeatedly. They build their nests entirely on the exterior and out in the open and the nests are football-shaped and out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs.

A Bonus Predator-The Cicada Killer Wasp

45488506 - cicada killer dragging a paralyzed cicada.

Recently, a predator has made its presence known in our area. The cicada killer wasp has been found nesting in at least one of our southern-most counties. These solitary wasps choose sites with specific characteristics to nest, they like well-drained, light-textured soils in full sunlight that are near trees harboring cicadas. At 1-2 inches long, their size tends to be a bit intimidating. Luckily, the cicada killer wasp is more of a docile insect, unless you have the unfortunate luck of being a cicada. The female wasp is known for snatching a cicada right in mid-air, then using the stinger it injects venom that will paralyze its victim so that the victim cicada can be taken back to the nest to deposit an egg into. The egg will then hatch and feed on the cicada before maturing to adulthood.

Although docile, stings to humans and pets can occur if you happen to accidentally stumble upon one.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, at our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412  or toll free at 800-956-0800

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Keeping Your Summer Cookout Pest-Free

DSC_2474gSummer gatherings are one of the highlights of the warm months, but they are best done without the addition of creepy, crawly uninvited guests.  Insects such as mosquitoes can cause annoying bites and can potentially transmit dangerous diseases and stinging insects can pose a threat to guests with allergies.

Following the tips below will help keep your outdoor cookout pest-free and allow you to sit back and enjoy your gathering time.

Pre-Cookout Yard Inspection and Clean-Up

Inspect your yard for any potential insect problems such as ant hills or stinging insect nests. Call a professional pest management company if needed.

Mow the grass the day before a cookout can help reduce harborage for insects hiding in taller grass, such as ticks.

Drain any standing water sources to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

Pick up leaves, sticks and any fallen fruit that may attract insects from your yard and out of your gutters.

Make sure trash is properly stored in a covered container.

During the Cookout

Have on hand an EPA approved repellent with DEET to ward off mosquitoes.

Remind guests (even make a sign) to close doors tightly when entering and exiting your home to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside.

If you’re attending a cookout, have a change of clothes along. If the weather allows for it, long sleeves and long pants will protect from bites from mosquitoes.

Avoid wearing perfumes or fragrances that will attract insects.

Have plastic cups available for use. Beverage cans and bottles are attractants for stinging insects.

Keep food tightly sealed and covered and/or keep food in sealed coolers.

Keep food prep areas clean and immediately wipe up any spills. Ants and flies are especially attracted to leftover food remnants.

Keep trash in covered receptacles. Keep trashcans away from main gathering areas.

Use fans to create a breeze that will keep insects away.

 

If you’re in need of professional assistance with an insect issue, give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800.  

Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Filed under Ants, Flies, Fruit Fly, Mosquito, Pest Prevention, Stinging Insects, Ticks, Uncategorized

Spring Shall Bring Those Pesty, Buzzy Things

After months of shivering, we embrace spring and the warmer breezes, but maybe not everything that blows in with the season. Pest invaders are pretty quick to get moving once the temperatures rise. Some insects you’re sure to see early on include: Boxelder bugs, Asian ladybeetles, ticks, ants and mosquitoes.

According to NPMA’s Bug Barometer, ticks and mosquitoes (along with ants) will be on the rise in numbers this year. We offer a Mosquito program that can aid in reducing numbers of both pests, while protecting your yard and family from these dangerous nuisances.

Three female Blacklegged ticks

Three female Blacklegged ticks-NPMA

Ticks

Ticks are not insects. Ticks are actually arachnids like spiders, scorpions and mites. Unlike insects, all members of this group have 4 pairs of legs as adults, and haven’t any antennae. Ticks do not fly or jump. They will crawl onto grass or brush until they find a host to crawl up and attach to.   It is thought that ticks also have the ability to wait on higher ground and drop onto a host. Ticks are in need blood to survive. They will bury themselves deep within a host and can stay attached for days to eat.  A quick tick check after being outdoors and a prompt removal of a tick is important. Ticks transmit a wide array of disease-causing microbes, with Lyme disease as the highest reported tick-borne illness in Wisconsin.

  • To prevent tick encounters avoid known tick-infested areas. When you are outdoors, keep to the center on cleared walkways and trails and try to avoid brushing up against vegetation and tall grass.
  • Wear protective and lighter-colored clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots or sturdy shoes when you think you may be encountering a tick-infested area. As an added extra ounce of protection, tuck your pants into your socks. Tape the area where pants and socks meet so ticks cannot crawl under clothing. The CDC recommends using insect repellent with at least 20% DEET if you plan to be in a tick infested area. Plan to do a tick check every couple of hours on yourself and your loved ones, and YES, check those furry loved ones too!
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Mosquito

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes have been labeled as one of the deadliest killers in the world. Mosquitoes like to breed in stagnant water and have an extremely fast life cycle, which allows for quick growth in population. Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and, of course, West Nile virus.

  • To prevent mosquito populations to grow: Eliminate sources of standing water. Water is breeding ground for Mosquitoes. Areas you may not think of as a source: Birdbaths, grill covers, baby pools and flowerpots
  • Screen all windows and doors, patch any holes in screens
  • Minimize outdoor activity during dusk hours when Mosquito activity is highest
  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Use a fan at outdoor gatherings to keep Mosquitoes at bay

 

Our Mosquito Program will give you protection all season long for only $380.00*. Contact our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800 for more information or to sign up for this beneficial program that will give you and your family Peace of Mind.

 

*Price is for 1 acre or less. See additional details on our Website.

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Tick Truths & Tips

With the spring season upon us and a prediction from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) of a larger tick population this year, it’s a good time to revisit some helpful tick truths and tips.

Three female Blacklegged ticks

Three female Blacklegged ticks-By: NPMA

  • Ticks are not insects. Ticks are actually arachnids like spiders, scorpions and mites. Unlike insects, all members of this group have 4 pairs of legs as adults, and haven’t any antennae.
  • There are about 200 species of ticks in the United States, only a few of those ticks are more commonly found in Wisconsin: the American dog tick, the brown dog tick, and the Blacklegged tick. The Lone Star tick is also becoming more prevalent in Wisconsin.
  • Ticks do not fly or jump. They will crawl onto grass or brush until they find a host to crawl up and attach to. It is thought that ticks also have the ability to wait on higher ground and drop onto a host.
  • Ticks need blood to survive. Ticks will bury themselves deep within a host and can stay attached for days to eat.
  • A quick tick check after being outdoors and a prompt removal of a tick is important. For ticks to successfully transmit a disease, such as Lyme disease, they typically need to be feeding for 24-48 hours.
  • Ticks transmit a wide array of disease-causing microbes. In Wisconsin several tickborne illnesses have been reported such as babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, spotted fever rickettsiosis and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the highest reported illness in Wisconsin.
  • Ticks are easiest removed by using a fine-tipped tweezers or there are tick removal tools on the market that are said to work well. When using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible, pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick; doing so can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this does happen, try to remove the mouth-parts with your tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. Once the tick is removed, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. *
  • To prevent tick encounters avoid known tick-infested areas. When you are outdoors, keep to the center on cleared walkways and trails and try to avoid brushing up against vegetation and tall grass.
  • Wear protective and lighter-colored clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots or sturdy shoes when you think you may be encountering a tick-infested area. As an added extra ounce of protection, tuck your pants into your socks. Tape the area where pants and socks meet so ticks cannot crawl under clothing. The CDC recommends using insect repellent with at least 20% DEET if you plan to be in a tick infested area. Plan to do a tick check every couple of hours on yourself and your loved ones, and YES, check those furry loved ones too!

Call our knowledgeable staff now in Muskego at 262-679-4422, in Oshkosh at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800 to request a free estimate and ask us about our 4 Tier Mosquito Program, which also targets ticks. Visit us on the web at www.safewaypest.net.

*Source: Department of Entomology, UW Madison

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The Creepy Cockroach

American Cockroach

American Cockroach

It’s a little creepy to learn that over 4,000 species of cockroach exist in the wide world! Thankfully, out of those thousands, only a small number of them reside in Wisconsin.

Cockroaches are considered a dangerous pest due to the potential for health risks. Cockroaches pick up and carry a multitude of bacteria, spread diseases such as E Coli and Salmonella, and are triggers for allergy and asthma sufferers.

The three species of cockroach that are most prominent in Wisconsin are the Oriental cockroach, the American cockroach and the German cockroach. Cockroaches range in color from light brown to black and can vary in size from 1/4 of an inch to 2 inches long depending on the species.

Creepy Cockroach Fact: A cockroach can live for a week without its head!

Where Do They Hide?

Cockroaches are attracted to dark and damp locations that are close to food and water sources. They are commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms, and they are good at hiding. Cockroaches can be found lurking behind refrigerators, under sinks, in appliances and under floor drains. Cockroaches will scatter and run for shelter whenever a light switch is turned on.

How Do I Know I Have Them?

Cockroaches will leave behind feces, which resemble little black specks, much like coffee grounds. In a severe infestation, a musty odor may be found, and/or the presence of dead cockroaches.

Creepy Cockroach Fact: Cockroaches can run up to 3 miles per hour, which means they can rapidly spread bacteria throughout a home.

How Do I Prevent Them?

The prevention of cockroaches has much to do with sanitation. Keeping food areas clean, reducing moisture sites and maintaining proper sanitation are tactics best used to reduce the probability of the attraction of cockroaches.

Once a cockroach problem has been established, eradication can be difficult. It’s best to contact a pest specialist to inspect and determine the best treatment option.

If you’re in need of professional assistance with a cockroach issue, give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800.  

Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

 

 

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Bed Bugs: Can they Freeze?

We’re sure feeling the chill this winter, but are bed bugs? Bed bugs are surprisingly hardy insects and can survive some pretty surprising conditions.

How do bed bugs handle the cold?

Bed bugs can certainly survive through winter and definitely have some tolerance to the cold. Even though it’s cold outside, our homes remain warm havens for bed bugs. Simply turning off your heater won’t do either; it’ll take much more extreme temperatures than what a typical home without heat will register at, to eliminate them.

Fact: To survive in cold environments, bed bugs use “freeze-intolerant” methods, such as being able to lower the freezing point of their bodily fluids.

So at what temperature will bed bugs freeze and die?

In a study done it was found that bed bugs freeze when exposed to 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 80 hours eliminated 100% of the bed bugs. It’s the combination of temperature and time that ensures their demise, so, for instance, at a temperature of 0 (zero) degrees Fahrenheit it would take about 4 days to freeze a bed bug.

If you are in need of professional assistance with a bed bug issue, give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800.  

Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Signs that Mice Have Made Your Home a Winter Getaway

24683775 - house mouse, mus musculus, single mammal in shed, uk

Image by Mikelane45@123rf.com

Unfortunately, many homeowners have had to deal with the discomfort of seeing a rodent scurry across their floors. As winter sets in, chances of a rodent sighting in your home will rise as rodents attempt to find their way indoors to escape the cold. Being that mice can be destructive and can also spread disease, it’s important to learn identification facts to safeguard your home. Mice are nocturnal creatures; therefore you may need to search for signs to confirm their presence in your home or business.

Identify Droppings– Typically droppings are the most obvious sign of a mouse infestation. Droppings tend to be tiny (about ¼ inch), black and numerous.  You may find waste matter around nesting sites, on shelving, floors or counters. If you’re looking for additional waste clues, mouse urine will show up under ultraviolet light.

Recognize Routes– Mice tend to use the same routes and travel against walls when navigating; this leaves dirty grease smudges on walls, floors and baseboards. You may also notice urine spots on those same routes.

Sense a Scent-Open a cupboard and get a whiff of a distinctive smell? A strong ammonia odor (the scent of urine) may be obvious, especially in enclosed areas. Mice mark their territory and also mark their regularly used paths.

Locate Damage-Mice have teeth that continuously grow and so they like to gnaw to keep their teeth shorter. Gnaw marks and holes can be found on plastic and wood and most dangerously, on electrical wires which can be a fire hazard.

Food storage sites can also be areas in which to see gnaw marks. Mice will chew up boxes and contaminate stored food items.

Noticing Nests– Mice shred paper and other soft materials for nesting sites. Good hiding places for nests include: cabinets, in dishwashers, behind refrigerators, ceilings, wall voids and other storage areas. Usually young mice will be present within the nesting site.

Hearing Sounds-Noticing any scratching sounds? Listen for scurrying noises in walls and ceilings, especially at night when mice are most active.

Lastly, you may spot live or dead mice around your home. If you’re seeing live mice during the daytime, this can be an indication of a large infestation.

There are ways you can prevent an infestation in your home by:

  • Eliminating moisture sites within the home and keeping basements, attics and crawl spaces ventilated and dry
  • Replacing weather stripping around windows and repairing damaged screens
  • Sealing cracks and any open holes on the exterior of your home with caulk and or steel wool
  • Installing door sweeps on exterior doors
  • Storing firewood at least 20 feet from your home
  • Storing food items in sealed containers and disposing of garbage regularly

 

If you’re in need of professional assistance with a pest issue, Give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 and in Oconomowoc at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800.  

Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Filed under mice, Pest Prevention, Rodents, Uncategorized