Bed bugs are one of the most difficult and expensive insects to eliminate. They can be brought into the home in luggage or on cloths. The source is most often a hotel room or college dorm. To help prevent bringing bed bugs home do not use hotel dressers. If possible keep clean cloths in your suitcase and keep the suitcase on the chrome rack that is usually supplied. When you get home dry clean or wash all cloths and dry on high heat. Some travelers also spray the inside of suit cases with an insecticide labeled for this purpose.
If bed bugs are brought into the home, most will migrate to any crack or crevice within 15 feet of a bed. They also like areas around or in upholstered furniture. Blood spots, fecal matter or shed skins may be found in the crevices of a mattress or box spring. The adults are approximately 5 mm or 3/16 inch long, reddish brown, oval and flat. The immature bed bugs are smaller and more opaque. The eggs are clear and are too small to see. Bed bugs hide so well that the insects themselves are often not seen.
Bed bugs are attracted by the carbon dioxide that people exhale while sleeping. They travel to the bed to feed at night and hide during the day. Bed bugs can cause itchy red blotches on the skin, most often on the face, neck or arms. These blotches are caused by allergic reactions to bed bug bites. Some people will have no reaction and show no signs of being bitten.
If you suspect bed bugs in your home have an inspection done by a professional. There are many products sold as a do it yourself solution to bed bugs. Most of these products may kill a bed bug that is sprayed directly, but will do little to solve the problem. Call an exterminating company that specializes in bed bug control. They will instruct you on the preparations required and use the proper products and insecticides for each area to be treated.
A termite colony contains; workers, soldiers, swarmers and a king and queen.
Workers are the most common. They are about a quarter inch long and look like pieces of rice. Soldiers look like workers but with red pinchers. Swarmers are black with long wings and are often mistaken for ants. The king and queen are rarely seen above ground. The colony lives in the soil and travels in and out of the house through dampened soil tubes about the size of a drinking straw. These tubes can sometimes be seen on your foundation, but are more often hidden under porches or entering thru a crack or seam. The longer a colony is infesting a home, the more entry points they will have. If termites are suspected please get the help of a professional before damage gets worse. Spraying may kill a few termites but will do little to stop the colony.
Termites are always foraging for new food sources. A colony that may have originated in buried wood will eventually progress into the adjacent homes. Never have wood parts of the house or siding in contact with the soil.
For many years the only way to control termites was to drill holes through the perimeter of the basement, the garage and thru porches and patios connected to the house. A large volume of poison is then pumped through these holes and into the soil below. This creates a barrier to keep termites out. Termites in the house die from dehydration assuming they do not find a moisture source in the house. Apple uses a termitacide called Termadore to create this barrier.
Since 1998 there has been an option to use bait to eliminate termites. Stations are located in the ground around the home and eliminates the above described drilling. This system not only kills termites in the house but also kills the entire colony to prevent future infestation. Apple Exterminating uses the Sentricon baiting system. It is the only bait proven to eliminate the entire colony. Sentricon has been very reliable and has eliminated termites in homes with extensive infestations, that were not being controlled by chemical barriers.
See the termite section of our web site for additional information.
In the Midwest termites usually swarm when the yellow Forsythia bushes bloom. This swarm can be inside or outside of your home usually around the end of March or early April. They occasionally also swarm latter in the spring or summer. The swarmers are the reproductives of a colony. Their job is to mate and start new colonies
The ones that swarm inside and do not make it back to the ground, shed their wings and die in a few hours. They swarm out of soil tubes that were built by the worker termites. If they swarm inside your home, you know that there are already termite tubes and workers present. Termite colonies do not swarm until they are three years old, but that does not mean you have had them in your home for three years. They may have started the colony with another food source and moved into your home morerecently. Termites usually swarm between noon and two pm which is the warmest part of the day. They then head for sunlight. Often they are not found until later, after they have shed their wings. This is why it is common for the homeowner to only find the wings left behind, laying on their window sill or by some other sunlight source.
Termite swarmers are often mistaken for ants. The picture below shows the differences. Both have bodies about a half inch long. Note that the ant has a narrow waist and uneven length wings, where the termite body is almost straight. Termites also have two pair of even length wings that are longer than the ant.