Category Archives: Wood Destroying Insects

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

bugs-in-winter-blog

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

Which Bee Do You See?

Is it a bee? Is it a wasp? It can be super confusing to identify a specific type of stinging insect, so let’s take a quick tour of some types of stinging insects in Wisconsin and their distinguishing traits.

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

Bees: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairy, long antennae

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)

Honey Bee:  

 

 

  • Nest: Human built or nests built within walls
  • Identifying Markers: Yellow-Orange in color (color can be faint in some bees), ½” in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Hairy eyes, can only sting once and then die

Bumble Bee: 

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Image by: dionisvera/123RF.com

  • Nest: Under stoops, under concrete by patios and decks, lower to the ground nesting areas
  • Identifying Markers: Very hairy bodies, legs and abdomen. Larger in size (1-1 ½”) , Yellow, orange or white hairs on both abdomen and thorax
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Defend their nest aggressively and can sting repeatedly

Carpenter Bee:  

7293137 - carpenter bee on a butterfly bush flower

Image by: steve_byland/123RF.com

  • Nest: Wood areas, under eaves, decks
  • Identifying Markers: Larger in size (1-1 ½”), Resemble the bumble bee, but have less color and upper abdomen is bare and shiny back
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Males (all black) do not sting, only females sting (tan in color), make burrows in wood for egg-laying

Yellow Jacket: 

yellow jacket

Image by:www.123rf.com/profile_epantha’

 

  • Nest: Upside down tear-drop shaped nest made of paper with a single hole in the bottom, nest in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that are easily hidden from predators
  • Identifying Markers: A brighter yellow in color, ½” in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Fly a side to side flight pattern before landing, they are scavengers and tend to invade BBQs and picnics. Sting repeatedly

  

Paper Wasp: 

Paper wasp front view no text

Image by: NPMA

  • Nest: nests are made of paper-like combs and found hanging under eaves, door frames, soffits, deck rails, roofs, porches, trees, shrubs
  • Identifying Markers: Paper wasps have smooth bodies, 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”.
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Very protective of their nest, can sting repeatedly

Bald-faced Hornet: 

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Image by: NPMA

  • Nest: Build their nests entirely on the exterior and out in the open; they build football-shaped nests out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs
  • Identifying Markers: Yellow and black (or sometimes white and black), look similar to the yellow jacket, but longer and thinner, Up to 2’ in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Extremely aggressive, can sting repeatedly

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, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800

Visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net

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Filed under Stinging Insects, Uncategorized, Wood Destroying Insects

Summertime Pest Menaces

Although there are many bothersome pests making their existence known as summer settles in Wisconsin, there are a few topping the summertime charts.

Mosquitoes

It has been quite moist in Wisconsin, to put it mildly. All of this rain has to land somewhere, and much of it can collect in areas of our yards that might not come to mind. Be certain to check the areas listed below and try to make your yard a mosquito no-breed-zone.

Water Holding Containers:  Put away items such as empty flower pots, water jugs, yard toys, old tires

Small Boats/Canoes and Wheelbarrows-Store these upside down

Roof Gutters: Clean clogged gutters

Water Fountains and Bird Baths– Change the water frequently (at least once or twice a week)

Backyard Ponds-Consider agitating the water by adding a waterfall or fountain

Other Mosquito Reducing Tips:

Keep shrubs and grass in your yard well trimmed, screen all windows and doors/patch any holes in any screens, and properly maintain swimming pools.

Spiders

With over 500 species of spiders in Wisconsin, it’s not surprising that some species, both large and small, decide to build their webs on our homes and businesses.

The largest species are members of the family Lycosidae, such as wolf spiders, funnel web spiders and nursery web spiders.

Most spiders are beneficial in managing pests due to their diet of insects. Speaking of taking bites, although poisonous spiders exist, most spiders are harmless.

Spider Reducing Tips: Keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free, caulk around window and doors to prevent spiders from entering, keep wood and rock piles away from your home and remove webbing in your home by using a broom or vacuum.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees (sometimes known as wood bees) are typically mistakenly identified as bumble bees due to their size and color. Unlike the fuzzy bumble bee, the carpenter bee has a hairless, shiny and black abdomen. Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but burrow into wood and nest within the wood. Unfortunately, nesting sites can be dangerous around your home. Many times you will see these bees around your eaves and building nests within wood structures on your property such as sheds, decks and in wood piles.

These bees typically are not aggressive, but can sting multiple times without dying if they feel their nest is being threatened.

Carpenter Bee Reduction Tips: Preventive treatments such as painting wood with thick coats of oil based or latex paints will help reduce nesting sites.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, have a spider or mosquito problem, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800

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

Ask us about our Mosquito Special! An entire season of protection for only $295!

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Filed under Mosquito, Pest Prevention, Spiders, Stinging Insects, 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

True Tree Enemies

If a tree had the capability to feel fear, it would probably feel the emotion when meeting up with both of these insect offenders.

Trees are often the target of many types of intruders, including moths and beetles. Many times it is when a tree is in a weakened state, or at the end of its life, that an insect will invade it. In each attack it is actually the larvae or “worm” that is doing the damage. As the larvae grow larger and mature, they expand and cause a wider extent of damage. When stressors such as environment or weather weaken a tree, this is when insects like the ones mentioned below will make their infestation apparent. Any tree or shrub can be the victim of an attack, but oaks, birches, maples, pines, honey locusts and crabapples are some of the worst species to be targeted.

Pine Sawyer Beetles

Several species of longhorned wood borers are in existence, the Pine Sawyer Beetle is probably the most common longhorn in Wisconsin. This hard-shelled, brownish and easily-camouflaged beetle has a long-antennae and powerful jaws. The name sawyer originated due to the sound that erupts from the insect when it chews on the inside of various conifer trees.  If you listen carefully, you can actually hear its sawing song.

Pine Sawyer Beetles live long lives and can spend several years from larvae to adulthood, chewing and burrowing deep into the wood of pine and other evergreen trees. The Pine Sawyer will normally choose a weakened or dying tree to infest and as they make a tree their host, they typically will not kill it, but they will leave their mark.

When a Pine Sawyer Beetle reaches adulthood, it will stop eating, spin a cocoon on the outside of a tree and emerge and fly away. After years in a host tree, they only have a mere few weeks to fly free outdoors before their life comes to an end.

Emerald Ash Borer 

In 2002 near Detroit, Michigan, the Emerald Ash Borer was finally discovered. It is popular belief that the insect started its infestation many, many years before then though.

The adult beetle, which is metallic green and about a half inch long, makes a “D” shaped exit hole in bark when it emerges. The most damage is actually done by the larvae, which feed in galleries (tunnels) just below the bark of almost any species of ash tree. This disrupts water and nutrient transport which causes branches, and in time, the entire tree to die.

It is said that the Ash Borer has killed more than 30 million ash trees, having a large effect financially on many communities, costing over millions of dollars on a national level.

Woodpeckers enjoy Emerald Ash Borer larvae, so if you are seeing large evidence of woodpeckers, there is a good chance that an infestation of Emerald Ash Borers is present.

Because of the vast damage the Emerald Ash Borer causes, firewood transport has been regulated in many states, including Wisconsin. For reference, a current map can be found here: https://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab/articleassets/Firewood%20Movement%20in%20Wisconsin.pdf

Other types of tree and wood-destroying insects exist, such as carpenter ants, termites and gypsy moths. It is unfortunate that control of any and most of these insects can be a long, costly and invasive process. The good news is that there is widespread awareness and work being done to combat the destruction caused by tree invaders such as these. We also have the option of taking things into our own hands by preventing the transport of infected wood, and of course, planting a tree.

If you are having an insect problem, Safeway Pest Management can help. “We’ll Give You Peace of Mind.” 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800. Serving most of the State of Wisconsin. http://www.safewaypest.net

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Filed under Pest Prevention, Wood Destroying Insects