Category Archives: Stinging 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

Why are Stinging Insects So Angry?

It gets to be late summer, and just when you begin to feel like you’ve grown accustomed to what the season brings, along comes some angry stinging insects to cause a commotion!

Late summer and early autumn are a typical times to find stinging insects around your home and yard.

While many stinging insects are important pollinators, they are also a serious health threat to humans. Millions of Americans are at risk for stings that will lead to an allergic reaction, especially from insects such as wasps and yellow jackets, which can sting multiple times.

So why do stinging insects attack?

Many of the hornet and yellow jacket species that sting us are social insects. Social insects live in colonies and social insects treat those colonies as humans do their families. In the spring a single solitary queen will emerge from winter dormancy and begin the task of starting the family. The workers mature over the summer and become very busy killing insects to feed the larvae in the nest.

Until midsummer the most common reason for an attack is if an insect feels its nest is under attack (to protect the nest).

Many species of stinging insects will build nests in the vicinity of humans, so even walking near a nest by your home could potentially pose a threat to a stinging insect. In fact, not only will an individual insect have an issue with your presence, but they will also release a pheromone and communicate to the rest of the nest inhabitants to take notice of you.

Things change when the queen starts to lay her final brood, which the kings will soon fly away to begin their own colonies. Once the males do exit the nest in late summer, their sisters who are left behind have nothing left to guard. Their only tasks are to protect themselves and to eat whatever they want. This tends to be sugary foods, which humans have plenty of, which is why August and September are months that bring the most yellow jacket stings.

Some helpful tips:

  • Instead of swatting at a stinging insect, try gently blowing it away from a distance.
  • If you are being attacked, stay calm and try not to flail your arms, but do run! It’s best to try and find some kind of barrier to distance yourself from the stinging insects, such as inside a car or building. Jumping into water is not advisable.
  • Wear shoes when walking in a grassy area.
  • Carefully inspect areas in your yard for nest activity before you do work in those areas.
  • Remove crumbs and spills from an outdoor eating area immediately.
  • If you notice a hive, it is always best to call a licensed professional to remove it safely!

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 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800

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

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The Facts Regarding Honey Bees and Pesticides

Much controversy has erupted over the honey bee population and the stance on chemicals and pesticides and how they may be affecting the insect. We will cover the topic of chemicals and honey bees, but let’s first visit some facts about the buzzing bee.

Honey Bee and Colony Fact
Honey bees play a very important role in the pollination of our food. Although it is true that much of our food is wind pollinated, honey bees are responsible for much of the pollination of our fruit, vegetables and nuts. In fact, it is estimated that honey bees pollinate one out of three bites of food we ingest.
You may be surprised to learn this fact; honey bee colonies actually increased by 45% worldwide over the past 50 years. The past 5 years have also produced an increase in colonies due to awareness. Annual surveys conducted by the USDA have shown that honey bee colonies have been rising steadily over the past 10 years.
Researchers are looking into the overall health of honey bee colonies. Aspects such as parasites, diseases, and the surrounding environment, pesticides, weather and hive management are all being inspected and watched by researchers. There is still much learning, exploring and work to be done.
Much modern beekeeping is done for the benefit of crop pollinating. Although there are many hobby beekeepers, many beekeepers work on a commercial level. Hundreds and thousands of hives are transported to help pollinate crops in various areas.

Chemical Facts
Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of insecticides that commonly affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam.

Hundreds of studies have found that when used according to the directions and in typical field applications, neonics do not pose a significant hazard to bees, even though some neonics, like insecticides, are toxic to bees. This is due to lower doses used at normal field applications.

The Facts Regarding a Tiny Threat 
One fact that has been learned is the threat of the tiny parasite known as Varroa Mite, which has been named the “single most detrimental pest of honey bees,” according to the USDA. This parasite weakens colonies and helps transmit diseases that can wipe out entire colonies. Beekeepers are working on methods of eradicating the mite, which has been a challenge to achieve.

Future Facts
With steady awareness and groups such as beekeepers, farmers, universities, government, industry and consumers working on methods to improve the health of honey bees, the future for honey bee colonies are looking much better and brighter.

Visit us at http://www.safewaypest.net

References: The Facts about Honey Bees and Pesticides by Bayer Crop Science

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“Tick” Tock Goes the Countdown to Spring Clock

Spring is coming, and along with it, the appearance of ticks.

Ticks, commonly thought of as insects, 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 two groups of ticks, which are sometimes simply called “hard ticks” and “soft ticks”.  Unfed hard ticks are shaped like a flat seed and have a hard shield just behind their mouthparts. Soft ticks do not have this hard shield and are shaped more like a large raisin. Some species of soft ticks do feed on humans but are more commonly found on birds and small mammals.

Ticks can be active in warmer months and even on winter days once the temperatures are about 45 degrees Fahrenheit and above. Ticks wait patiently for host animals from the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks cannot fly or jump; they simply crawl and climb onto a host.

There are two ticks that are more commonly found in Wisconsin, the American dog tick and the Blacklegged tick. The Lone Star tick is also becoming more prevalent in Wisconsin.

One of the most frequently encountered ticks is the American dog tick, also known sometimes as the Wood tick. The adult American dog tick will feed on humans and medium to large mammals such as dogs and raccoons. Unfed males and females appear reddish-brown and about 3/16-inch long. Females have a large silver-colored spot behind the head and will become ½-inch long after feeding or around the size of a small grape. Males, which are sometimes mistaken for other species of ticks because they look so different from the female, have fine silver lines on the back and do not get much larger after feeding. In Wisconsin, the adults are most active in April, May and June. The American dog tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and possibly ehrlichiosis to humans.

The Blacklegged tick, otherwise known as the Deer tick is also active in Wisconsin. This tick is the vector for anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and Powassan virus infection. Found often along wooded areas and trails, all three active stages of these reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long ticks will feed on a variety of hosts, including humans.

The Lone Star tick is just starting to make its home in Wisconsin, especially in the southern part of the state. These ticks are more rounded in shape; the adult female is reddish-brown in color and can be easily distinguished from other ticks by the presence of a distinctive white spot or “star” on its back. Males tend to be dark brown in color, sometimes with patches of red, sometimes a whitish pattern may be visible along the outer margins of the lower body Females are generally larger than males and average around 1/6 to 1/4 inch. The lone star tick will often actively pursue a meal and it does not tend to be picky about what species of animal it gets a blood meal from. Lone star tick bites can transmit bacteria that cause conditions such as human monocytic ehrlichiosis. Some cases of an allergy to red meat have been linked from the tick’s bite.

Tips for Preventing Tick Bites and Disease

  • Avoid known tick- infested areas
  • Wear protective and lighter-colored clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots or sturdy shoes. (Ticks are easier to detect on light-colored clothing.)
  • Tuck trouser cuffs in socks. Tape the area where pants and socks meet so ticks cannot crawl under clothing.
  • Walk in the center of trails as to not disturb grasses and weeds.
  • Check children and other family members (including yourself and pets) every two to three hours for ticks. Most ticks seldom attach quickly and rarely transmit disease organisms until they have been attached four or more hours.

If You Find a Tick:

  • Remove ticks from clothing with masking tape or cellophane tape. Wrap the tape around the hand by leaving the sticky side out and attaching the two ends. Ticks will stick to the tape which can then be folded over and placed in the trash.
  • Do not use bare hands to remove the tick because tick secretions may carry disease.
  • The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it firmly with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pull it straight out. Try not to twist or jerk while removing the tick.
  • Safely dispose of ticks by placing them in a container of soapy water or alcohol, or sticking them to tape and placing them in the trash. You may also dispose of ticks by flushing them down the toilet.
  • Keep the tick in a small vial of alcohol if you need it identified. (We can help identify!)
  • Wash the bite area well. Contact a physician if you have an unexplained illness with fever.

To access our rodent and insect identification page to identify a tick, visit: http://www.safewaypest.net/stingers.html

Safeway Pest Management’s pest specialists are licensed, trained and knowledgeable about issues with ticks. 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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Filed under Pest Prevention, Stinging Insects, Ticks

Wasp Out!

The warm days of Summer are coming near, which means the time has come to “Wasp” out for stinging insects!

There are over 4,000 varieties of wasps in the United States; thankfully they are not all present in Wisconsin!

The lifespan of a wasp is typically a few months to no longer than one year. Wasp queens, although, can live for several years.

Wasps are mostly active during the day, and return to their nests at dusk.

Wasps are distinguishable from bees by their pointed lower abdomens and the narrow “waist”.

The Paper Wasp is one of the more common Wisconsin Wasps, and its sting can be very painful, and wasps, unlike bees, can sting repeatedly.

More about the Paper Wasp:

Paper wasps have smooth bodies. They are usually dark brown with yellow markings. Their body can be up to three-fourths of an inch long with slender waist. When flying, can be recognized by two rear legs “hanging down”

Paper Wasps nests are made of paper-like combs and found hanging under eaves, door frames, soffits, deck rails, roofs, porches, trees, shrubs, etc. They are very protective of their nests. Their nests are not reused, new colonies begin each Spring.

Paper Wasps are scavengers and prefer proteins – spiders, small insects and small animals

When dealing with any wasp nest, it is best to be safe and to call a professional for help.

Safeway Pest Management can help with any stinging insect problem you may be having.

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

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“Bee” Aware of Stinging Insects

Ah, it’s a bright, beautiful and sunny day, you’re relaxing on your deck with a drink in hand and then…BUZZ…a bee starts madly flying around you for what seems like no apparent reason.

There actually could be a reason, or even several. It could be the sugars in the drink in your hand, or possibly the sweet perfume you put on that morning.

Thankfully, stinging insects will usually only attack when they, or their nest has been threatened.

Below are a few common stinging insects in Wisconsin.

Yellow Jackets

Appearance: About 1/2 inch in length, with black with yellow markings. They are members of the wasp family.

Diet: Sugars, sweets, meats, occasionally other insects

Nests: They like to live where humans live. Nests can be underground, near garbage and in cool, dark spaces. They also build in trees, shrubs and holes in walls.

Yellow Jackets can sting several times and are the cause of many allergic reactions to people sensitive to their venom.

Hornets

Appearance: ½ to 1 ¼ inches in length. They have black bodies with white markings on the head and abdomen.

Diet: Feed on nectar, honeydew, and other insects.

Nests: They build large, gray colored paper nests which can be found in trees and shrubs. The nests are usually teardrop-shaped and they can hold 100-700 hornets, yet only one queen.

Hornets can sting several times and are very aggressive, especially when their nest is threatened.

Paper Wasps

Appearance: Dark brown with yellow markings and up to about ½ inch long.

Diet: They are mostly scavengers and prefer proteins such as spiders and other small insects

Nests: Paper-like cones which can be found hanging from eaves, soffits, deck rails, door frames, porches and trees. A mature nest can have up to 30 adults.

Paper wasps attack if their nest is threatened. They can sting several times, sometimes bringing on an allergic reaction.

Bumble Bees

Appearance: Up to 1 inch in length. They are fuzzy appearing, and yellow and black in color.

Diet: Honey and nectar

Nests: Most are located in ground cavities, others in wood piles, walls, sheds, crawl spaces or even sometimes in the attic. Nests can have anywhere from 50 to 400 bees. Bumble Bees will grow aggressive if their nest is disturbed.

Some helpful tips:

  • Instead of swatting at a bee, try gently blowing it away from a distance.
  • If you are being attacked by bees, run! It’s best to try and find some kind of barrier to distance yourself from the bees, like a car, bees will stop attacking when in a vehicle; they will instead try to find a way out. Crack a window on the sunny side of the vehicle and they will exit.
  • Wear shoes when walking in a grassy area.
  • Remove crumbs and spills from an outdoor eating area immediately.
  • Often bees will take over a hummingbird feeder. If this happens, simply remove the feeder for about a week. This will throw off the bees flight pattern and make them look elsewhere.
  • If you notice a hive, it may be best to call a licensed professional to remove it safely!

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 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800

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

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Filed under Stinging Insects

The Buzz Surrounding Spring

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Ah, Spring. That miraculous time of the year: the warmer air, the singing birds, the rebirth of flowers…and yes, insects. Yes, along with the budding of the flowers and the trees, you can expect to see the crawling and flying of many insects.

Our current clients will have “Peace of Mind”, knowing they already booked, or soon will be booking their Spring service. But, for those who haven’t, there are some tips and information below to prepare you for the new season’s intruders.

Ants are one of the first to come alive and build their colonies in the Spring. To keep ants at bay:

*Keep kitchen surfaces clean, promptly wipe away any spills.

*Get to Spring cleaning! Consider pulling out that refrigerator and stove and cleaning behind them. Even the smallest crumbs can be an attractant (clean not only to deter ants, but to prevent Cockroaches and Flies as well).

*There may be ant sprays out there for the consumer to purchase, but that does not mean they work. Sprays tend to send ants scattering. Until a colony is eradicated, the ants will keep returning, especially if they have a hearty food source.

Some other Spring prevention tips:

*Re-caulk the edges of windows and window sills to prevent entry of insects.

*De-clog any drains inside and outside of your home. Organic material is an attractant for some insects.

*Seal any gaps in doorways or walls.

*Remove foliage on the roof and surrounding the building.

Lastly, inspect your home. Look for openings, cracks and crevices or gaps that may be on the foundation of your home. Inspect your yard and surrounding trees for insect infestations to catch them before they become a larger problem.

Don’t want to inspect? Not a problem! Call Safeway Pest Management and we will come inspect for you. We will make you aware of any potential problem areas and take care of any current issues that you are dealing with.

Give us a call! 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800

“We’ll Give You Peace of Mind”

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