Category Archives: Ants

Pest-Free Spring To-Do List

Spring 1As the warmer weather moves in, we all spring into action, including those pesky, unwanted intruders!

If you’re looking for a way to prevent some of those intruders from entering your home, try hitting some or even ALL of our points on our Spring Ahead Cleaning Checklist below and have a happy and hopefully pest-free spring season!

 

Spring Ahead Cleaning Checklist

  • Check your roof (or hire a professional) for any leaks
  • Sweep up cobwebs and clean out nooks and crannies where spiders and other insects may dwell
  • Repair any screen damage before opening those windows and screen doors to let in that spring air (You probably don’t want to let insects in as well!)
  • Check for gaps around windows and doors
  • Clear and replace old mulch
  • Check for evidence of moisture or condensation around plumbing or windows
  • Make sure garbage containers are properly sealed and stored
  • Clear old shrubbery away from the home
  • Clean out gutters
  • Clean out pantries and around appliances in the kitchen to pick up any food debris
  • Check to make sure pet food is stored in sealed containers
  • Clean out any unneeded clutter in storage areas where pests can hide
  • Check your yard and eliminate sources of standing water
  • Keep moisture down by making use of a dehumidifier in your basement
  • Call your preferred pest management company to inspect for any potential problems

 

Safeway Pest Management can inspect and locate areas that could potentially cause a pest problem. We offer one time service options, but also offer monthly, bi-monthly and seasonal options for regular maintenance of your home and business. Give us a call at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800 or visit our website at www.safewaypest.net to get a free quote!

 

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Filed under Ants, Asian Ladybeetles, Box Elder Bugs, Flies, Fruit Fly, Mosquito, Pantry Pests, Pest Prevention, Rodents, Spiders, Stinging Insects, Uncategorized

Where do Insects Go in the Winter and What Makes Them Emerge Early?

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Image by: Danielle Fornal

Summer has insects buzzing all around us, but as the chill of winter sets in, suddenly, like magic, these insects disappear.

The mystical answer as to the fate of insects in the winter isn’t so simple. Some survive as eggs, larvae or pupae, while others endure the winter as full-grown adults.

Some, like dragonflies and butterflies will spread their wings and migrate south, much like many birds do.

Some insects find different types of shelters to survive the cold temperatures, such as wall voids in homes or some burrow deep into the soil to escape the cold.

Some, such as the Emerald Ash Borer, enter a state of hibernation, called diapause, which is a semi-frozen state and they stay that way until they thaw out in the spring.

Many insects actually do die out in the winter, but leave behind eggs, which brings about a whole new generation in the springtime.

Sometimes, even in the early months of the year, we see a pleasant (but typically temporary) warm up in our temperatures. This slight rise in temperature can make some insects emerge from their hiding places. Insects such as spiders, ants and even box elder bugs may be suddenly seen in indoor dwellings. These are not necessarily new infestations being made, but more likely insects emerging from the previous season.

Can we still treat in the winter? Of course! We can treat the problem areas now and use preventative treatments and techniques to safeguard your home for when spring does finally arrive and other insects emerge.

Give us a call at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at www.safewaypest.net.

Check out current specials on our website or on our facebook page at: Safeway Pest Management-Facebook

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Filed under Ants, Box Elder Bugs, Pest Prevention, Uncategorized, Wood Destroying Insects

The Destructive Carpenter Ant

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Image by: NPMA

“What are these big, black ants in my home?”

A common inquiry we hear our clients ask, especially in late winter and early spring.

The answer is typically the carpenter ant.

Seeing these ants around your home can mean a few things. It could mean that there could be a colony outdoors that has carpenter ants foraging for food; in fact carpenter ants can forage over 100 yards from their nests to find food. Another option could be that a larger colony has split to form a satellite colony indoors, or it could just mean that you may have a colony based within your home. A good rule to use is if you are only seeing ants indoors and can’t find any outdoors, there’s a good chance the nesting ground is in your home.

Carpenter ants tend to nest in wood that has been softened by decay or moisture. This wood may be a hollowed out tree in your yard, or the nesting ground could be found in your home such as a wall or door void, or could be in a moisture-rich area such as a bathroom. Nesting colonies can cause structural damage within your home as carpenter ants have the ability to make galleries in wood. You may see a sawdust type material around hollowed window holes, these shavings are called frass. You may also see evidence of dead insects. Sometimes if a nest is large enough, it can be heard if inside a wall void.

There are a few different varieties of carpenter ants and they can be dark brown to black, or a red and black in color, and can be anywhere from 1/8”-3/4” in size.

A carpenter ant colony in a structure can live up to 20 years and have as many as 10,000 individuals making up the colony.

Carpenter ants can be difficult to eradicate and many times require professional assistance.

Prevention techniques include clearing out and/or replacing damaged or decayed wood and eliminating sources of moisture.

The pest specialists at Safeway Pest Management are knowledgeable and ready to help with your carpenter or other ant problem. Give us a call at 262-679-4422 in Muskego, 262-354-3444 in Oconomowoc or toll free at 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at www.safewaypest.net.

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Filed under Ants, Pest Prevention, Wood Destroying Insects

Staff Picks: Favorite Pest-Related Movies

With Ant Man presently playing in theaters, our Safeway staff decided that they wanted to weigh in on their all time favorite pest-related movie. What’s yours?

MouseHunt (1997)  Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Sal-Owner and President

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 Joe’s Apartment (1996)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Brian-Supervisor and Art-Pest Specialist

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Starship Troopers (1997)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Josh-Service Manager

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A Bug’s Life (1998)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Courtney-Office Manager

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Antz (1998)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Dana-Route Coordinator and Ben-Pest Specialist

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Big Ass Spider (2013)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: John F.-Pest Specialist

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The Birds (1963)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Jerry-Pest Specialist

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The Fly (1986)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Rick-Pest Specialist

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Wasp Woman (1959)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: Shane-Pest Specialist

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The Swarm (1978)   Favorite Pest Related Movie of: John W.-Pest Specialist

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Filed under Ants, Rodents, Spiders, Stinging Insects

Pharaoh Ants, Big Name, Bigger Problem

There are some insects which are capable of surviving, and even causing an incredible nuisance, even in the winter. Pharaoh ants are one of these insects.

Pharaoh ants are very tiny ants, they are about 2 mm long (or 1/16th “). The ants are light yellow to reddish brown in color with red and black markings on the abdomen. Interestingly enough, their thorax hasn’t any spine.

Pharaoh ants take advantage of our artificial heating indoors to survive the winter. Infestations commonly occur in food service or unsanitary areas, although nesting will be in well-protected and hidden areas throughout a structure. Pharaoh ants can be found outdoors during warmer months in garden, patio or lawn areas.

Pharaoh ants, which have also been referred to as “sugar ants”, eat many types of foods and other insects, but especially prefer sweets, greases and meats. These trail-making ants will be found foraging through unsanitary places and/or pet food areas quite often looking for food.

The most obvious signs of a Pharaoh ant infestation are simply witnessing the small workers as they forage along surfaces; they will appear as trails in motion.

Medical facilities are of a heightened concern with pharaoh ants, as the ants can spread diseases such as salmonella, streptococcus, staphylococcus, and more, and contaminate sterile equipment and rooms. Because Pharaoh ants have a well-known knack for “getting into” things, they can typically transmit multiple pathogenic pathogens to patients.

Pharaoh ants can build nests in wall and cabinet voids, behind baseboards, refrigerator insulation, the hollows of curtain rods, the folds of clothes, boxes of food, sheets and paper and other quiet, dark spaces.

Pharaoh ants have multiple queens and are able to move their colonies from place to place when disturbed. A colony of Pharaoh ants will scatter if a toxic substance disturbs it, creating multiple problems and colonies where before there had been only one.

Pharaoh ants rarely cause damage to buildings, although they can be a nuisance since nests can be difficult to eliminate.

Pharaoh Ant Prevention Tips:

  • Keep pet and human food in stored containers.
  • Daily wash dishes (food stained dishes can be a food source).
  • Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on garbage containers.
  • Avoid using ant and bug spray as it can cause the nests to split and spread the infestation out.
  • Pharaoh ants are a difficult pest to control, it is best to find a professional to help.

Safeway Pest Management’s pest specialists are licensed, trained and knowledgeable about Pharaoh and other ant problems. Call us now for a free quote at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800 or visit our website at http://www.safewaypest.net.

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The Excavating Carpenter Ant

With more than 700 species of ants in the world, it’s no surprise that ants rank as one of the top nuisance pests in the United States.

One type of ant that can cause a problem in a structure is the Carpenter ant.

A Carpenter ant infestation usually starts by ants finding their way into a structure via cracks around doors and windows or through holes for wires. You may also find them traveling overhead along tree limbs or wires that touch a structure.

Contrary to popular belief, Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but instead excavate wood in order to build their nests. This excavating results in tunnels being built inside the wood. Usually the initial wood chosen is wet, and or damaged by mold, but the ants will continue to branch out and build smooth tunnels throughout any wood, damaged or undamaged, throughout a structure.

Carpenter ants are large, from one-quarter inch to up to three-quarters inch for a queen. They are usually red to black in color.

The Carpenter ant requires a water source, so to prevent an infestation, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water. Keep tree branches shrubbery cut back and away from the structure. Firewood should also be stored away from the structure. Lastly, check and seal up any cracks or entry points to keep Carpenter ants from creating a problem and future damage to your home or business.

If you think you may have a Carpenter ant problem, it’s best to call a professional for assistance.

We treat many species of ants, including the Carpenter ant. For a free estimate and knowledgeable answers, please call us at 262-679-4422 or toll free at 800-956-0800. You can also email us at safeway@safewaypest.net or visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net .

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The Ants go Marching One by One…

You probably aren’t “hurrah-ing”, as the old rhyme states, if you’re dealing with an ant problem.

Ants tend to be one of the first insects to emerge in the spring. It does not take ants long to build a vast community and invade human space. Ants can be destructive, intrusive and many will hunt out and find food sources provided by humans.

Ants, although a nuisance, have some interesting facts attached to their species. For instance; the largest colony ever found was over 3750 miles wide. Ants are also known as one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to their size.

There are over 12,000 different species of Ant, but below are the most common ants you will find in and around Wisconsin homes and businesses.

Field Ant

1/8”-¼” long Color: Black, red or combination of colors

Field Ants feed on honeydew, nectar, insects and household sweets.

You can find Field Ants on trunk trails, not likely to forage indoors; if they do then it is singly.

Field Ants nest outdoors, usually near trees, sidewalks, rocks, fences and foundations.

 

Pavement Ant

 1/10 to 1/8 inch (2-3mm) Color: Brown to black

Pavement ants feed on a variety of materials, including live and dead insects, honeydew from aphids, meats, grease, etc. They often enter houses looking for food. They may become numerous in a short period of time in a kitchen or outside on a patio.

Pavement Ants usually nest under stones, concrete slabs, at the edge of pavements, and in houses in crevices in woodwork and masonry.

 

Pharaoh Ant

Body length 1/12 to 1/16 inch long Color: Body coloration varies from golden yellow to reddish-brown

Pharaoh Ants feed on sweets (jelly, sugar, honey, etc.), cakes and breads, and greasy or fatty foods

Pharaoh Ants nest near sources of food and/or water, such as in wall voids. The size of the colony tends to be large but can vary from a few dozen to several thousand or even several hundred thousand individuals.

 

Thief Ant

Workers are all the same size, tiny, 1/32-inch long Color: Yellow to light brown with very small eyes

Thief Ants feed on grease and greasy foods, proteins, dead insects, and even dead rodents; may sometimes feed on sweets. They will often steal food and ant larvae from nests of other ants.

Thief Ants travel in set trails inside cabinets, on walls, along baseboards, and along branches of trees and shrubs and they may travel from one room to another by traveling on electrical wires; may be seen in electrical outlets.

Thief Ants are also small enough to forage into packaged foods.

 

Carpenter Ant 

Adults vary in length: Minor worker: ¼ inch (6 mm) Major worker: ½ inch (12 mm) Color: Black, red, or a combination

Carpenter ants feed on sources of protein and sugar. Outdoors, carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects. They are also very attracted to honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Aphids and scales feed on trees, shrubs, and other plants. Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood. They remove wood as they create galleries and tunnels.

 

Carpenter Ants generally nest outdoors- indoor nests may be satellite colonies. Carpenter ants nest in moist wood including rotting trees, tree roots, tree stumps, and logs or boards lying on or buried in the ground. They can also nest in moist or decayed wood inside buildings.

 

Many other species exist in Wisconsin. If you are having an ant problem, it’s best to contact a licensed pest management company to assess the situation and assist in eradication.

Safeway Pest Management is licensed, certified and knowledgeable in the treatment of ant species in Wisconsin. If you have an ant problem, please call our office at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800.

You can also visit our website at http://www.safewaypest.net

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