Spring is finally here and with it the warmer and extremely wet mild winter, that means all types of flying and crawling bugs in Maryland! This includes our new clients in Woodbine, Gaithersburg, Columbia, Sykesville, and all of Maryland are calling us now about these flying insects with wings.
They may be winged ant reproductives or winged termite reproductives. But, how do homeowners tell the difference between the two??
First, the easiest way that a homeowner can tell if they have termites or an ant species is fairly simple:
Ants (Carpenter, Odorous, Citronella, Pavement, etc.) have a definitive segmented body with a head, thorax, abdomen. They have pinched waists and they do not shed their wings.
Winged Termites (Alates) have no segmented body parts and definitely shed their wings. So, you will find a pile of wings around windows and door frames, especially after a nice soaking rain followed by sunny skies. These signs may indicate a termite issue.
In either event, don’t panic! For a free, accurate assessment you can send a photo or text photos of the pests in your home and we will promptly identify for you, which is the first step to a positive resolution.
Contact your local Pest Shield, Inc., professional home pest control exterminator. We can do a free, accurate assessment. Text pest photos to (301) 275-7765 for an identification. You may also call (301) 829-0600 or email at email@example.com for a consultation. We serve Mt. Airy, MD, Central Maryland and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
In our next blog, we will delve into the Biology of Subterranean Termites. So visit us here again.
Hoping you have a safe and peaceful April.
In the Maryland area, we have had a mild and wet winter. A mild winter and early spring may mean more pests in your home.***
But a mild winter leaves more above-ground insects alive, which means more will be active to emerge and reproduce when the weather warms, leading to more insects in spring and summer. More moisture and early plant growth will provide more food for pests.
So more pests + more food = frustration and anger over pests in our homes.
At Pest Shield, we are experiencing requests for service in the Rockville, Damascus, Mt.Airy, Gaithersburg, Frederick, areas for one of the homeowners’ biggest challenges: Odorous House Ants (OHA), which have become active already. These ants live in huge colonies, travel in well-worn trails marked by pheromones (chemical signals) sometimes reaching hundreds of feet long, and nest anywhere.
There are multiple queens in this colony so store-bought bait and sprays that promise to kill the queen will not be enough to rid your home of this scourge. (In most cases, these may make it worse!)
Outside these ants live on plants that host Aphids. These plant dwelling insects produce waste playfully called “honeydew” which are a major food source for the OHA. This is where the ants get started on their journey. Your kitchen is the finish line in a race to find sweets and proteins from spilled food or stored products in cabinets, on floors, or around sinks.
Here are some tips to help you prevent these pests.
- Sanitation is always a key preventive step. Clean up all spills immediately and seal any cracks or crevices on the exterior to eliminate entry points.
- Reduce/Remove leaf litter and plant growth from touching your home and attached deck.
- Correct any moisture sources which can lead to “Satellite” Colonies within your home (including wet or weathered exterior wood frames)
The natural facts about these ants make it very difficult to eliminate them from your home. Fortunately, Pest Shield has the experts to solve this problem. If all else fails, contact the experts at Pest Shield to solve this irritating and frustrating pest challenge, and, in most homes can eradicate these nuisance pests from the exterior, with little to no interior applications.
Contact our award-winning team of home pest control professionals for your free inspection today. Pest Shield Inc. can eliminate the ants from your walls, basement, kitchen counter, and pantry, or foundation. Call (301) 829-0600 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation. We serve Mt. Airy, MD, Central Maryland and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
***For more information on the mild winter in Maryland, click here.
There is no such thing as “a season off” for termites.
Most people believe that since you can’t see them now, they must not be around. However, Central Maryland*** has a plethora of bugs and pests which don’t die they just burrow away in your home or on your property while the winter months come and go. Then, come out like crazy when spring hits.
No, in fact, termites are the pests that keep on giving. Winter, spring, summer or fall. These destructive bugs never go on vacation. They can and will continue eating your home and tearing up your property.
During the winter, however, termites change their strategy. They go deep. Termites need warmth to live so they will hide deep in certain places in your home. They will forage tunnels and even leave food sources above the surface because the cold weather is too much for them to risk going after it.
Winter does not change the termite queens as they will continue to lay eggs steadily. These eggs will hatch and a whole new group of termites will soon invade your home.
Though termites are around during the winter months, you may not see swarms of them from December through February. The best way to combat termites is to hire a professional home pest control company to help you exterminate them.
During winter, ants hibernate. Their body temperatures drop and they spend most of their time sealing up ant holes and burrowing into warmer ground or tree bark.
Ants don’t even need food during hibernation. Their fall diet was enough to keep them full for the cold winter months. They stay warm by huddling into groups. They also protect the queen as she sleeps.
Should ants appear near your doors or windows, the unusually warm weather that we have had in Central Maryland lately may have awakened them. As it gets cold again, ants will return to their huddles and their spots around the queen.
You should take the sight of ants in your home seriously. They have probably formed a colony somewhere inside your home.
If you see termites or ants in your home, call a professional home pest control company. Pest Shield Inc. can eliminate the ants from your walls, basement, kitchen counter, and pantry, or foundation. Our professional home pest control experts can help you get rid of ants, termites, and other pests. Call (301) 829-0600 or email@example.com for a consultation. We serve Mt. Airy, MD, Central Maryland and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
***For more on bugs in Central Maryland, double-click this link.
When you think of winter, you don’t normally think of mosquitoes.
These pests are usually associated with hot summer days while hanging out at the pool, working in the garden or fishing at the lake. Mosquitoes typically exist in fifty-degree or higher weather. However, don’t let that fool you.
In fact, mosquitoes are around. You just don’t see them. During winter, mosquitoes, mainly females, go into “diapause” as they shut down their development, and hibernate until March and the males die. Many female mosquitoes are fertilized before going into diapause, so they are able to lay eggs when the warm weather arrives. When the temperature rises, a new swarm of mosquitoes will invade your home.
We, in the home pest control business, have seen mosquitoes in the dead of winter, especially when temperatures range from 40 to 60 degrees, even here in January. So, protect yourself and your family with some home pest control measures:
- Mow your yard: Mosquitoes need tall grass, weeds, and flowers to protect themselves from heavy winds that knock them down and make it difficult to fly. Trim the hedges, cut down any tall grass, weeds or other non-essential flowers and brush to keep them away.
- Remove standing water: After a rain, you may find standing water in any number of locations around your home. Empty the wheelbarrow, buckets, tarps, flower pots, old tires, and planters. Also, sop up water in birdbaths and tractor seats. This is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you keep the area dry, you will drive mosquitos away.
- Pool water: If you own a pool, it is essential to keep it dry and covered. After a heavy rain, check to make sure no water got into the pool. If so, drain it.
- Unclog gutters: Clear your gutters of wet leaves and debris. Stop outdoor leaky pipes or faucets. Add holes to the bottom of wooden or tire swings so water can drain away.
- Close the trash can: Make sure can lids are shut tightly and aren’t flipped upside down.
- Get rid of unused containers in your shed and yard: If it has rust on it, it might need to be tossed. Old, broken, rusty or unused containers are great places for mosquito breeding and nesting grounds. Do an inventory and toss ones you no longer need.
- Insect repellent products: Spray yourself and loved ones regularly. There is a large variety of mainstream and organic sprays. Make sure you do not have any allergies and follow application instructions.
Don’t let winter weather fool you. Mosquitoes are still at work, hibernating for an active spring and summer. You can rid yourself by doing these smart home pest control tactics and perhaps, save yourself from having to call us professional exterminators in!
Pest Control, Inc., has professional home pest control experts who can help you get rid of mosquitoes and other pests. Call (301) 829-0600 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation. We serve We serve Mt. Airy, MD, Central Maryland and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
Airports are packed with travelers.
Train stations are busting at the rails with riders.
Traffic on the highways is bumper-to-bumper.
These travelers are bringing presents, luggage and…bedbugs.
Unfortunately, these nasty bugs jump inside our luggage, purses, coats, blankets, and pillows as we innocently head to our destination. Once they arrive, the bedbugs jump out of their little nest and infest the place where the traveler is staying.
You may not have seen a bedbug recently. So, let’s refresh your memory: According to WebMD***, bedbugs are:
…are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. Bedbugs are pests that can live anywhere in the home. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture. Bedbug infestations are most common in beds, including the mattress, box springs, and bed frames. Bedbugs are most active at night. These pests may bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Common locations for bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands, and arms.
There are several steps travelers can take to rid themselves and their sleeping location of bedbugs:
- Examine your luggage when you are repacking it. Check pockets, corners, and shoe sleeves.
- Elevate your luggage on a chair or stand in your hotel room. Keep luggage away from the bed, pillows and bed linen.
- Put dryer-safe clothing in the dryer for fifteen minutes when you return home. The dryer should destroy any bedbugs in your clothing.
- Inspect your room by lifting the mattress, box springs, baseboards, pictures, desk, and other room furniture.
- Finally, check your sheets for red or brown spots.
Once you have found them, take the following steps:
- Strip your bed of all sheets and linen. Place them in a garbage bag and then straight to a washer and wash them in the hot setting.
- Vacuum the mattress, headboard, footboard and bedside tables.
- Spray the joint of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with a contact spray and residual spray.
- Move the bed away from the wall, nightstands and other furniture that might be bedbug nesting places.
- Reduce any clutter in your room.
While bedbugs are harmless, they can damage and stain property and cause physical discomfort. They can also ruin what should be an enjoyable trip to visit family and friends. Bed bugs are not to be taken lightly.
Pest Shield Inc. has simplified the process of eliminating Bed Bugs from homes, apartments, hotel rooms, and other places. We believe there is no one treatment type that works in all situations. That’s why we use a combination of any of the three methods designed specifically for each active infestation as well as preventive situations. Call (301) 829-0600 or email@example.com for a consultation. We serve We serve Mt. Airy, MD, Central Maryland and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
***For more information on bedbugs at WebMD, click here.
Fall has gotten quite cold in Central Maryland.
It even feels like winter on some days. If you think it’s cold for us, imagine how it must be for those rats and mice! Their little bodies are shivering and they want to find a place that is warm.
So, where do they go? They go to your home, of course. They have to find somewhere to live for the winter as their grasses where they burrow and live have died off. As the cold weather hits, mice and rats will leave their dead homes and scurry into your live one.
They can get into your home pretty easily, too. They can squeeze through a hole as small as ¼” inch. Those holes in your home can be found where wires or pipes come in. Look behind your oven or refrigerator to see if there are holes. Mice also love bags filled with leftovers! They will spend hours gnawing into bags and then eating the contents. If you think that is gross, they also eat your dog or cat’s food and feces!
Additionally, when they invade your home for food and shelter they also use it as their bathroom. They drop their waste on your floor, in your cabinets, and on your countertops as much as eighty times a day.
So, how in the world does a Central Maryland resident stop these pests from absolutely soiling and infesting your home? It can be done both personally and professionally.
Home Pest Control Tips: What you can do
It may seem like stopping them is a hopeless situation. Yet, there are steps you can take to prevent mice and rats from invading your home, food and pets.
First, seal up any holes around wiring and pipes. They cannot get in and crawl down the wires or pipes if you have sealed them off. This can be done with caulk, cement, tape or other types of sealants.
Second, store food in sealable plastic or glass containers. Do not store your food in plastic or paper bags.
Third, clean up your countertop and floors of all spills, crumbs and other food items. Use a green cleaner or safe detergent.
If these measures fail, then you may need to call a professional pest control company to intervene.
Professional Home Pest Control
If everything you have done has failed, call your local home pest control company. Your trained Pest Shield Technicians will also inspect for conducive conditions (holes, channels, etc.) that can contribute to mice and rats infestation.
You can take preventative measures to stop your home from being invaded by mice, and rats by calling our experienced home pest control technicians to rid your home of these pests. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a home pest control consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. We serve Mt. Airy, MD, Central Maryland and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
We needed the cool weather after a blazing hot summer in Central Maryland. It’s time for pumpkins, cinnamon, Halloween, Oktoberfest and all the other traditions of fall.
Unfortunately, it’s also time for the pests to move from outside to your home. Those pests can make the season not so fun and can get into your holiday food and costumes.
The pests we’re speaking of this time?: Stink bugs, Boxelders and Millipedes. None of these pests will destroy your home or life. But they can be a nuisance. So, let’s take them one at a time:
The Marmorated Stink Bug moves into your home pretty quickly. They are called that name because they emit a musty scent when they are frightened or squashed. They don’t tear up your home. However, if you smell them, you may have them nesting in large numbers in your home, especially if your home is dark colored and has wood or cement siding. Also, if you live near wooded areas, you are more likely to be invaded by them.
The best way to reduce your chances of being invaded by stink bugs is to seal all crevices around your windows, doors, and foundation. They don’t bite or sting. They just stink to high heaven. Once they have entered your home, they go for the attic or old clothes and hang out there until spring.
Boxelders come from Boxelder trees. They are discovered in and around most homes that are near the female Boxelder trees which have winged sea pods and compound leaves. Seed pods turn brown in the fall and should always be removed if they are near the house.
These pests feed on the Boxelder Trees and swarm on sunny exposures of homes in the fall. They especially like the white surfaces on the south side of buildings and hide in cracks during cold weather. As it gets colder, they move indoors.
You can prevent them from invading your property by sealing up cracks with caulk and also tighten screens and doors. Replace any old and falling weather stripping. Use a hard spray of soap and water to knock them down then vacuum them up.
The good thing about Millipedes: they don’t harm anything.
The bad thing about Millipedes: they are creepy looking! With all those legs, they look like a 1950’s horror movie monster.
They are harmless but still can be unwelcome invaders. They are seen in the fall when they search for warm spaces like cracks to hibernate in. They tend to be found in cracks, sinks, and drains as they don’t know any better to hide like other insects.
They can be very difficult to get rid of, however. You may need to call professional pest control or exterminator to do it. They can inspect your home and find the cracks where millipedes live.
If you have seen any of these pests, you may want to call your local, trusted pest control company.
You can take preventative measures to stop your home from being invaded by stink bugs, Boxelders, and Millipedes by calling our experienced home pest control technicians to rid your home of these pests. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home.
Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
Fall is a time of year to enjoy pumpkin spice, raking leaves, cooler weather and spiders and crickets.
Spiders and crickets! No one enjoys those but they will make their appearance and can be a serious nuisance in your home. You need to be on the lookout for these pests as cold weather triggers their migration from outdoors to indoors.
You can stop them from invading your property by identifying them and then using home pest control to exterminate them.
First, there are two types of crickets in Central Maryland: camel and field.
Camel crickets are commonly known as “spider crickets” or “sprickets”. The reason they are called that is that they actually look like a spider/cricket hybrid-really ugly. These insects prefer dark, moist locations such as basements and closets. They also hide under leaves, logs, benches, and burrow their way into small cracks in walls and floors.
While these weird-looking creatures are harmless, they can be everywhere. Also, when they are feeling threatened, they will jump toward or on you. They do have one redeeming value: they eat other insects.
Keep in mind that these crickets climb through vents and into ceiling cracks. So, one way to prevent them is to repair cracks in foundations, stairwells, doors, windows and basements. If this fails, contact your local home pest control exterminator.
Field Crickets are the flatter, darker shorter crickets. They can jump very high and get into cabinets and pantries. However, they, like Camel Crickets, tend to hang out in basements, closets and other dark, moist places.
These crickets are harmless, also, but reproduce in large numbers. Field crickets can do great damage to clothing and furniture. They are quite destructive. The most annoying thing about them is their chirp. The males chirp loudly, often and, of course, during the night when you are trying to sleep.
Get a dehumidifier and place it in the basement or other dark places in your home where these crickets may live. This will reduce the moisture and drive the crickets out. You can also drown them in soapy water or simply vacuum them up!
There are many, many types of spiders in Central Maryland. We will cover just two types in this blog: Brown Recluse and Wolf Spider.
Brown Recluse (also known as “Violin” or “Fiddleback”)
This spider is not native to Maryland but we see them everywhere! The Brown Recluse is not one to be taken lightly. It is a light cream to dark brown color. They hide in dark or secluded areas such as basements and woodpiles. They typically eat cockroaches and crickets, dead or alive.
Their venom can have bad effects. A bite will become red and swollen with red rings around it. The bite eventually becomes a swollen, fluid-filled blister. It may take twelve months or longer for it to heal so if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse, see a physician immediately.
Brown Recluses may live as long as four years. If you have found these pesky spiders in your home, shake out your shoes and bedding, seal cracks in your walls and always wear gloves when working in the woodpile or lumber. Or, you can call a home pest control exterminator to treat your home.
A more common spider found in Central Maryland homes is the Wolf Spider. These spiders are about two inches long. They are furry and have a dark cross pattern on their back. They can be found outdoors but when fall arrives and the weather gets colder, wolf spiders will enter your home and nest there.
They do bite but it is not venomous. However, if you have allergies you may want to see a physician. Preventative measures include removing trees and shrubs from being close to your home and sealing all holes and cracks in your home.
Home Pest Control
You can take preventative measures to stop your home invasion of spiders and crickets or you can call our experienced home pest control technicians to rid your home of these pests. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
Summer is winding down. It has been incredibly hot and humid in the Central Maryland area. Insects continue slamming many homes. Our exterminators and pest control technicians have been busy! Extremely humid summers like this one can be a bonanza for us exterminators but very difficult for homeowners.
We have touched on different summer insects that you would need to perform pest control on. Though many insects die off at the end of summer, many others flourish and continue to cause damage even into the late fall.
Our area is home to several different species of yellow jackets. They are characterized by being 3/8” to 5/8” with a black striped abdomen. They typically nest in the ground. German yellowjackets nest in walls of homes and buildings. Aerial Yellow jackets use paper and build nests outside in bushes, shrubs, houses, sheds, and other shrubberies. Yellowjackets eat other insects. Once fall comes, these insects become very aggressive.
European Hornets also pose a threat to your home and health. These hornets are very large, at 3/4” to 1 3/8” in length. Their abdomens are brown with yellow stripes. These insects normally nest in buildings, barns, and hollow trees. It usually eats other insects, too. You will see them at night as lights attract them. They are aggressive only near their nests.
However, if their nests are near a structure, you need to be careful. Nests are also large and hornets buzz around at dusk or later at night. They can be treated with an insecticide but those are not always effective. You may want to treat them during the day but wear protective clothing and equipment and a veil. (A bee veil is recommended.)
If you decide against doing the pest control on your own, you would do well to stay clear of the yellow jacket and hornet nests. Both are large and both can swarm and sting. Please be careful and be aware of your surroundings.
Instead, call a pest control professional. Pest Shield, Inc., will solve these common nuisance pests utilizing our non-repellant transfer effect treatments mainly from the exterior of your home. Your trained Pest Shield Technicians will also inspect for conducive conditions (moisture, vegetation/trees/bushes touching the home; leaf litter, etc) that can contribute to Odorous House Ant populations.
So, call our experienced pest control technicians to rid your home of these yellow jackets and hornets. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.
Home Pest Control: Odorous House Ants
If you live in Howard, Montgomery, Carroll, or Frederick County, Maryland, and are experiencing an issue with ants, the most likely annoying culprits are known as Odorous House Ants. They are often referred to by homeowners and home pest control professionals as Sugar Ants. These smaller ants (1/16″ to 1/8″ inches) invade Central Maryland by the thousands. They create homes on our countertops, in our sinks and even in our dishwashers.
They are found almost everywhere.
They derive their infamous name because if you happen to squish one, they emit foul odor resembling a rotten coconut.
Odorous house ants colonies usually have around a few hundred to tens of thousands. The bigger colonies even have several queens. These particular ants are very resilient. Even the injured workers don’t stop. They keep working. The queens can also survive without food or water for up to two months. Heat or cold do not seem to affect them either. Once a colony of odorous ants is built, they are very difficult to remove from a home.
Using their many nests, odorous ants forage for food. They will move the queen and workers from nest to nest to deliver food. Their goal is to get as close to the homeowner’s food as possible. Their favorite food? sugar and anything that has it.
During the winter, the colony will stay in a single nest. In spring and summer, they create multiple nests as food is easier to find. Then, when winter returns, they go back to the same nest location. The months they are are most active are March to September and were most inactive October to December. Most of their home invasions occur after rain. They are also quite tolerant of other ants, so they only add to any infestation that you may have meaning they will only add to your home’s pest infestation.
Odorous house ants also colonize near heat sources or in the insulation. If the weather is hot, they may nest in toilet lids or house plants. Outdoors they can be found under rocks and in the soil. However, you can really find them anywhere around your home and just about anywhere inside it.
Though you may want to spray them with an over-the-counter product, we urge you not to do it. These annoying pests can “bud” or develop multiple colonies when disrupted and spread quickly, making the problem even worse. Know that these main colonies are outside the structure and travel back and forth to our homes, developing “satellite “ colonies when conditions are favorable such as our homes.
Pest Shield will solve these common nuisance pests utilizing our non-repellant transfer effect treatments mainly from the exterior of your home. Your trained Pest Shield Technicians will also inspect for conducive conditions (moisture, vegetation/trees/bushes touching the home; leaf litter, etc) that can contribute to Odorous House Ant populations.
So, call our experienced pest control technicians to rid your home of these ants. Pest Shield, Inc., will send a consultant to your home. Call us at (301) 829-0060. Serving Mt. Airy, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard.