Tag Archives: insect

How Do I Know if I Have Bed Bugs?

16053289 - illustration of the bed bug life cycle on a white background

illustration of the bed bug life cycle by blueringmedia/123rf.com 


  1. Seeing Adult Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny, but can be seen by the naked eye, but spotted easier by using a flashlight and magnifying glass.

Look for:  ¼” flat, rusty brown colored bugs that resemble an apple seed. After feeding, engorged bed bugs are more elongated and are a dark-purplish color.

  1. Fecal Stains

After feeding on a human, bed bugs will defecate and leave behind stains.

Look for: Brown stains on sheets that appear similar to a stain a felt tip marker would leave behind. These stains may also be found on pillow cases or on the mattress itself.

  1. Blood/Reddish Stains

When bed bugs become engorged after feeding they leave behind blood spots on the sheets or mattresses. Bed bugs can also get crushed when you roll over them while they’re feeding.

Look for: Reddish stains on your sheets. Stains may also be found on pillowcases and your pajamas.

  1. Case Skins

When juvenile bed bugs grow, they shed their skin a total of 5 times before reaching adulthood.

Look for:  Lighter colored empty bed bug shells.

  1. Eggs and Eggshells

During an active bed bug infestation, eggs and eggshells can be found.

Look for: Pearly white ovals (about 1mm long). Eggshells are similar in size and color but will be less shiny and somewhat flattened.

  1. The Nose Knows

Bed bugs emit a distinctive buggy smell, which comes from pheromones they emit. This smell may only be noticeable in larger infestations.

Smell for: A strong, musty odor.

  1. Red, Itchy Bites

Bed bugs feed on humans while sleeping and leave behind red welts.  Bed bug bite reactions differ from person to person.

Look for: Bed bug bites can range in look depending on how one reacts from the bite. Look for itchy red bumps or marks on skin. Marks may be in a cluster or line.

*Note: Bites alone are not proof that you have bed bugs. Bites and rashes can be caused by various other reasons.

When Inspecting for Bed Bugs…

Bed bugs can be found in various places. Search around the bed, check seams, tags, box spring and in cracks of the bed frame and headboard.

Bed bugs can also be found in seams of couches and chairs, in curtains, in dressers, under wall hangings and in appliances.

Note: A less-cluttered living space makes for an easier inspection and treatment area if bed bugs are found.

Professional Inspection

Early detection is important. A professional inspection by a licensed and trained pest specialist can give you immediate answers.

Our staff (and our bed bug dog, Pepper) are trained to inspect for signs of a bed bug infestation. Give us a call at 262-679-4422 or toll free 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at www.safewaypest.net.   


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Early Appearance of Autumn Invaders

You may take notice of a couple of insects that are making their bothersome appearance a little earlier than usual. The Asian Lady Beetle and the Boxelder bug, both prominent autumn pests, typically look for residences to hide during the cold months of the year, but are displaying a good amount of activity already this August.

Boxelder bugs inherited their name by their preferred food source, the Box Elder tree. But, you can also find them feeding on the sap and seeds of other trees such as Maple, Ash and some other fruit trees. Their damage to trees is typically minor, they do not bite, and they also do not carry any diseases. They do, although, have the capability to leave behind “waste stains” where they have been. With all of that said, you may still consider them a nuisance when you find them covering the sunny side of your home.

Boxelder Bugs are pretty easy to spot. They are about a ½” long and have a black body with red markings on their wings.

Asian Lady Beetles are around 1/3”-1/4” long, they can be yellow-orange to red and they can have anywhere from 0-22 spots on their wings. Their diet includes plants such as Evergreens, Apple and Maple trees, alfalfa, wheat, cotton, tobacco, and small grains. Asian beetles emit an unpleasant odor and can stain surfaces with their yellowish secretions if disturbed.

Both bugs are most noticeable during the months of September and October. During that time, Boxelder bugs and Asian Lady Beetles can be found congregating in large numbers on the southern sunny and warm side of buildings, trees and rocks. Once the cooler temperatures of winter begin to set in, they will find their way inside of homes to find a protective place to overwinter.

To prevent Boxelder bugs and Asian Lady Beetles from making a home in your residence:

  • Seal off any cracks or crevices in walls, foundations and around pipes
  • Check for loose vents or entry by exhaust fans
  • Sweep and vacuum to remove and release unwanted beetles
  • Repair any torn window screens or door gaps

If the problem becomes too much to handle, it may be best to call a licensed Pest Management professional to assist.

Ask us about our Fall Preventative Treatment that prevents insects like the Boxelder bug and the Asian Lady Beetle from entering and hibernating in your home over the winter.

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

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Filed under Asian Ladybeetles, Box Elder Bugs, Pest Prevention, Uncategorized

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.


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.


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

Converging Cluster Flies

Cluster Fly

Cluster Fly by: NPMA

You may spend plenty of time shooing away household flies in your kitchen who like to make their appearance apparent over most of the summer months, but there is another household fly that makes its debut in early fall. The Cluster Fly, which hails from the Blow fly family (but has much better sanitary skills), is a little larger than a House fly. Cluster flies are a dull gray and have golden hairs on the thorax, which gives them a sparkly sheen. Upon watching their habits, you’ll notice that they are much more sluggish than the typical house fly. Cluster flies are often called attic or window flies, as you can find them in those locations rather than flying around your kitchen.

The process of life for the Cluster fly has much to do with worms. Adults will leave their overwintering sites in the Spring and will lay eggs in the soil where there are earthworms. The hatching larvae enter earthworms and finish the maturing process. With the onset of autumn, Cluster flies will seek secure overwintering sites. Preferred sites are secluded areas of homes and buildings, such as attics and wall voids.

During the autumn you’ll find Cluster flies congregating on the sunny side of buildings and buzzing in windows. They use scent to attract other flies; this sweet scent can even be smelled by humans. Cluster flies will not damage your home, but they can leave small stains on walls and curtains, especially when crushed. They do not hover and land on your food like the average house fly, and are not known to carry or transfer any diseases.

The best method to rid your home of Cluster flies is to start with early prevention techniques.

  • Seal and caulk cracks and crevices around the foundation, windows and doors.
  • Make sure all screens around the home are secure and free of openings.
  • Contact a pest management professional if the problem warrants it.

The pest specialists at Safeway Pest Management are knowledgeable and ready to help with your fly problem, or any other insect problem that may be bothering you. 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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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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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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Mosquito Forecast and Tips

If you aren’t feeling the itch when out in the great outdoors yet, you will soon! Mosquitoes have made their appearance in Wisconsin, but thankfully not as aggressively as last spring (so far).

It has been predicted that the mosquito population may be lower this for the next month ahead due to dryer conditions, but June could hold a totally different story.  Steady rains, warm weather and sunny days make the perfect combo to bring about a growing mosquito population.

Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis and, of course, West Nile virus. Of the mosquito-borne diseases in the state of Wisconsin, West Nile virus is the most severe, with six human confirmed cases resulting in one death in 2014, according to the Department of Health and Human Services website.

{Signs of West Nile virus include common flu-like symptoms and in extreme cases, symptoms include high fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma}

Below are some chemical-free ideas that can aid in the reduction of mosquitoes:

  • 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

Safeway Pest Management offers options in Mosquito management, including our Three Tier Program. Call us to find out more at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net

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Filed under Mosquito, Pest Prevention