Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ground "Stink" Beetles

This beetle is a real stinker! It is a member of the insect family, Carabidae or Ground Beetles.  It belongs to the genus Callisthenes. They are large, about 1" long, with large mandibles. This beetle has plagued SW New Mexico from the Rio Grande Valley west to Arizona.

They are noted as being predators of caterpillars but I have observed them eating just about anything included their own half squashed kind where heavy pedestrian traffic results in a few being trampled.

They do fly while that is not often observed. Pesticides kill them easily, however, due to their extremely high numbers at times, it seems pesticides have little affect in controlling them.  They are present around structures where they are attracted to bright lights at night but are active both day and night

The specie we have dealt with over the past few summers emit a foul odor when molested. I immediately know one is nearby even if I don't see it.  When you try to sweep them away they seem to turn right back at you and try to get back in all the while creating quite a stink.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kissing Bugs

Conenose or Kissing Bugs

Conenose bugs, (also known as the kissing bug, and Hualapai tigers), are three-fourths to one and one-fourth inch long and usually dark brown with yellow or red markings. They may also be recognized by their cone-shaped noses and straight beaks and get their reputation because their feeding ritual happens to be on the blood of mammals. They primarily feed on rodents, especially pack rats and may also feed on humans. People living in desert areas may come in contact with conenose bugs because they are more abundant in the desert than in strictly urban areas. They are also particularly common in the foothills of mountains.

Conenose bugs move slowly and bite only when the victim is unaware, usually at night or when the person is sleeping or at rest. However, bites can occur during the day as well when people are engaged in sedentary work, such as reading, deskwork or sewing. Most people who are bitten have no sensation at the time of the bite, even if they are awake, but local reactions such as reddening, some swelling, and itching normally follow. In rare cases, more severe symptoms can occur, such as swelling of the tongue, larynx and trachea, making speaking, breathing and swallowing difficult for a period of 10 to 12 hours after the bite. If you suspect you have been bitten by one, and might be allergic, call your local poison control center immediately.

They fly at night and are attracted to lights. The bugs may accidentally get trapped inside homes or come indoors when pack rats or other rodents are killed, causing them to feed on humans and their pets. They can also enter through gaps around doors and window screens, and up from crawl spaces under flooring. Then, areas of low light intensity, such as under furniture and in closets, become their home until feeding time begins. Keeping outside lighting to a minimum and to keeping blinds closed after lights are turned on at night is the best prevention against conenose bugs. Also filling or caulking any cracks, covering vents with window screen, and making sure doors and windows close tightly will help. Call the Pest-Pros if a problem with Conenose Bugs is suspected.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flying Ants

Now that the rains have started the flying ants will be making their annual mating flights called swarming. Thousands of Alates, male and female reproductives, will leave the nest in order to create new nests as they pair off, drop their wings and mate. Males die fairly quickly after mating, while females focus on getting in the ground before being eaten by a predator. There she will lay her eggs and care for the young by herself until the first brood can give her a hand.

Flying ants are often mistaken for Termites. It's easy to tell the difference. Ants have a needle like waste and termites do not. Ants antennae are bent (elbowed) and termites are straight. The wings on Termites are all the same length, whereas ants have two pair of different lengths.

Many species of ants swarm in this fashion, but not all. Some create new colonies by a technique called budding. Harvester Ants, the really large ones we have in the Southwest, are among the most common to swarm. They will sting, so be careful to avoid being "attacked" by them. I once was in a truck with an emergency flashing light on it and the whole truck was mobbed. One of the workers got out of the cab to take a picture and took dozens of stings before he could get back inside. They seem to be attracted to lights (flashing maybe more than non), tall objects such as power poles and large white structures. They land in open gravel areas which probably appear to be a good site for future colonies.

If you find this happening at your home, stay inside. They usually don't present a problem and things will subside in a day or so. You will probable notice some new small mounds the size of a quarter appearing and if you watch closely, you will see the new Queen when she brings out a load of dirt.  You can stop that new colony from forming by killing her. These little mounds often appear along edges of a sidewalk or between a walk and pavement. Left alone, some of these new colonies will survive and are capable of growing to the large gravel mounds up to several feet in diameter.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


They're baaack.  And when they're bad, they're very very bad and difficult to control. Sprays won't do it. To get rid of these pesky critters, exclusion is the best method. More to follow..

Click here to learn more...

Friday, May 24, 2013

New Termite Baiting Technique

We encountered a situation where we had no crawl space access to this home where termites were ravaging the wood flooring. It is a one hundred year old adobe with all adobe interior walls and about 3 to 4 inches between the floor joist and the ground with no ventilation whatsoever. We gave the customer several choices for control. One, drill holes in a grid pattern throughout the home and inject liquid termiticide into the void below. Two, excavate tunnels under the foundation wall leading to each room, where we could again apply a liquid. Both of these were rejected as the excavation could cause structural issues with no way to stabilize the weight of the adobe walls. And drilling hundreds of holes into an otherwise sound 100 year old floor really wasn't an option from an aesthetic or historical aspect. The third option was placing an in-ground baiting system around the outside perimeter. In this dry climate the baiting system alone could take a very long time to work if it worked at all.

What we did was to treat the outside along the foundation wall with a non-repellent liquid termiticide, Prothor SC, designed to eliminate colonies. The label required an interior treatment, and we already decided that was not an option, except if used in conjunction with a baiting system. So we installed Isopthor Termite Bait stations around the exterior, about 2 feet out. We added Focus under the station which is a termite attractant. We then installed stations with Labyrinth AC inside, underneath the floor.
Labyrinth AC is cellulose in the form of fine sawdust. It is mixed with water to form a paste and is placed in netting attached to the subfloor where termites have been active. Both the exterior and interior stations will be inspected and serviced quarterly to insure a continuous supply of bait. While these methods may take a little longer to gain full control, I feel we will achieve 100% control. A special thanks to Michael Shields of Ensystex for helping out with the new technique.
15 bags were placed where activity was greatest
 Close up of a single bag
 Labyrinth AC mixed with water
Kneed dough and place in bags
 Add material until flush with floor

Press firmly leaving trough for adding water later