This is our most common ant, the little blackish species that invades our homes and yards in search of food and water. Abundant in urban areas, it develops to prodigious numbers and single colonies may harbor thousands of workers. It often becomes particularly noxious at the onset of cool weather in the fall, when colonies converge and move to sheltered, warmer quarters under homes, and foraging columns begin to seek food indoors. The species is one of the most persistent and troublesome of all our house-infesting ants. Argentine Ant workers seek out and feed on almost every type of food, although they are especially fond of sweets. Making themselves almost objectionable, the ants invade the house through minute crevices and cracks - filling along baseboards, across sinks, and over walls and tables in endless trails.
Remove food that is favored by ants. Trim trees to discourage the entrance to your roof or window areas. Reducing moisture sources helps, and so does the application of pesticides such as baits, sprays, fumigants and contact insecticides.
Carpenter ants tunnel through wood, destroying structures, whether they be homes or office buildings, and, like Termites or Carpenter Bees, they can become a structural threat. Carpenter Ants usually appear as large black ants. While they have distinctive features from most other ants, it often takes a trained eye to know the difference.
Carpenter ants are social insects and Workers will be sealing the colony where they have excavated a small cavity in the soil or wood to attend to their Queen, who has no other duty than to lay eggs. The few Workers that emerge from the first brood are small, but assume the duties of the colony. They open the chamber to the outside, collect food, begin to grow the colony by excavating galleries to enlarge the nest, and tend the eggs, larvae and pupae of the second generation. Workers regurgitate food for the nourishment of the developing larvae.
As the colony grows, satellite colonies are produced and may be scattered within a 200-yard radius of the major colony. As many as 12 satellite colonies may be associated with one major colony. The colony is said to be mature when winged reproductives are formed. This occurs within 3-6 years, at which time the colony can contain 2000 to 3000 or more individuals.
A complete inspection of the property and structure is necessary to determine the best strategy to take to eliminate a carpenter ant colony. Treatments include annual carpenter ant policies that are guaranteed and include sprays and baits.
North America is home to many species of bats, which often roost in man-made buildings, and love the attics of homes. None of these animals are actually blind, but they do use echolocation in order to aid in navigation on the wing. They are all insectivorous, catching insects on the wing.
Only homes that are sealed up very tightly can avoid invasion from wild animal pests. All animals are humanely trapped and access points are sealed up properly. All work is guaranteed, and removal of animals is included. Please set up an evaluation as soon as the intruder is noticed.
Bed bugs are becoming more and more common these days. We are finding them in apartments, houses, buses, cruise ships, airplanes, movie theaters, hospitals, and so on. Bed bugs like to be where people are because people are their food supply.
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown, flat insects that feed on the blood of animals. While the bed bug prefers human blood, it will also feed on other warm-blooded animals, such as dogs, cats, birds and rodents. Fully grown bed bugs will reach about 3/16” long. Sometimes they are confused with ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles, or other household insects. The immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs are a True Bug so they do not undergo metamorphosis between larval phase and adult.
There are many things that we know about bed bugs and still plenty more that is not known. University entomologists have been researching them since their re-emergence in the United States over a decade ago. What we know is that bed bugs are cryptic in the sense that they will hide until the host is sleeping. Bed bugs will hide in places around the host’s bed such as night stands, picture frames, base boards and of course the mattress. Bed bugs have 5 immature stages of life called “instars.” The first instar is the newly emerged “nymph” prior to a blood-feed. After each blood-feed, the bed bug will molt. The bed bug will molt 5 times before reaching maturity. One female after becoming fertilized can lay up to 500 eggs in up to 9 months. Bed bugs evolve quickly to adapt to many situations. Studies have shown that many of the pesticides we used to control them 10 years ago are not as effective today.
Bed bugs are successful hitchhikers. They will climb into a backpack or luggage to infest a new or more desirable location. Research has shown that bed bugs will choose a backpack that has been worn by a human within eight hours as opposed to one that has not been worn in that time.
Their medical importance is attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Scratching the affected area can cause infection. Other medically significant concerns with bed bugs are that when they molt, they leave behind their shed skins and fecal matter which may exacerbate asthma or other respiratory problems. Bed bugs have not been proven to vector diseases. Part of what we don’t know is why.
Bed bug bites present in many different ways. Some show a minor inflammation around the bite area, some present with a major inflammation. Some don’t react at all. The bite patterns can be several bites in a linear or a circular pattern. Bites can be on the arms, neck, torso, hips, legs, hands or feet. Sometimes, bites won’t present from several hours to days after being bitten (which makes it difficult to determine where the bite took place).
There are a lot of products available these days that boast bed bug eradication. Many “over-the-counter” treatments promise control. From a spray that can be purchased at the local hardware store to diatomaceous earth. What is very important to know when applying pesticide inside your home is if the pesticide is effective and being applied correctly and in the most efficient manner. Most importantly, is it safe for your family?
We have very effective control strategies available for bed bugs including heat treatments. If you feel that you are being invaded by bed bugs, let us know. We can inspect your home or business, including canine inspections, and come up with a strategy that best suits your situation with the latest and most effective techniques available
Beetles & Pantry Pests
There are hundreds of different types of beetles, but most beetle species live in or on plants, wood, fungi, and a variety of stored products, including cereals, tobacco, and dried fruits. Some species, such as the Carpet Beetle, cause signifiant damage, feeding on human clothing, furnishings and other products. These larvae feed on natural fibers, while adults feed primarily on plant nectar and pollen. Wood boring beetles can attack and damage almost any wood structure. The Powderpost beetles, feed on hardwoods and bamboo. These pests attack furniture and other items made of wood. There is also the Rice and Grain Weevils and Indian Meal Moths. These weevils attack stored grains and seeds, which can hurt food supplies. What it lacks in stinging or biting, it makes up for in causing destruction on a potentially massive scale.
These hungry pests can easily devour much of your garden, turning a landscaping paradise into an unsightly nightmare. The beetles release chemicals called pheromones into the air. These pheromones attract other beetles. So if you see a few of them, they'll probably attract more.
The most common beetle in the United States is the Box Elder Beetle, which may pierce plant tissues while feeding. They are not known to cause significant damage and are not considered to be agricultural pests; but they can annoy people, thus they are considered nuisance pests. Also, the removal of Box Elder Beetles can help in controlling general bug populations in your yard or around your building.
When beetles become a pest problem, your pest management professional will provide a thorough inspection to accurately identify the pest beetle. Based on the inspection findings, we will develop an effective treatment plan to resolve the pest pressures that are specific to the situation.
Bird problems can come in many forms. Nesting and/or roosting in unwanted areas can create nuisance noise, sanitation and maintenance problems, as well as potential health hazards in buildings and homes. Bird droppings are unsightly, can cause staining or damage and promote the transmission of several diseases affecting people. Prevention of nesting in or around air conditioning and heating units is especially important. We can help with Pigeons, Crows, Starlings, Sparrows, Seagulls, Bats and other birds.
Bird Control efforts begin with a comprehensive inspection by your pest management professional and based on the finds, we will identify the species of bird(s) and choose the most effective eradication process from roosting areas by permanent pressure reduction. Various forms of exclusion are unique to each bird species. Only homes that are sealed up very tightly can avoid invasion from wild animal pests. All animals are humanely trapped and access points are sealed up properly. All work is guaranteed, and removal of animals is included. Please set up an evaluation as soon as the intruder is noticed.
Cockroaches are much maligned insects. They're a pesky insect that has over 50 species in America alone. The few bad cockroaches that are common household pests found in warmer climates is the American Cockroach, German Cockroach and the Oriental Cockroach. These pesky cockroaches can be carriers of various diseases because they are commonly found near waste deposits or in the kitchen where food is present.
Cockroaches are found most commonly in restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, and where food is prepared or stored. During the summer months, alley ways and yards may be badly infested. They're mostly active at night, and during the day they hide in dark crevices such as in or behind kitchen cabinets, drawers, stoves, and refrigerators. The female lays her eggs in a hard dark brown purse-shaped capsule, which she may carry about for several days, protruding from the end of the abdomen. The capsule is eventually dropped, and later the young cockroaches hatch and scatter. Both young and adults are generally feeders. Almost any crumb of food or other organic matter left exposed around the house will serve them as a meal. For this reason, good housekeeping is the key to cockroach control.
Pesticides play an important role in controlling cockroaches. Non-chemical methods include improving sanitation, fixing plumbing leaks, removing harborage and clutter, and sealing areas where cockroaches enter structures.
Gophers & Moles
Gophers and moles cause problems by digging. They dig large burrows and complex labyrinths. Gophers and moles are rodents, and adults average 8-10 pounds. They give birth in spring to 3-6 young. They can live up to six years in the wild. They are primarily herbivorous, eating a wide variety of plants. They grow fat during the summer, lethargic by autumn, and in winter, they hibernate. They are excellent at predicting the arrival of spring.
Only homes that are sealed up very tightly can avoid invasion from wild animal pests. All animals are humanely trapped and access points sealed up properly. All work is guaranteed, and removal of animals included. Please set up an evaluation as soon as the intruder is noticed.
The house mouse is one of the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. They are found in and around homes and commercial structures. House mice consume and contaminate food meant for humans or pets. In addition, they cause considerable damage to structures and property, and they can transmit diseases such as salmonella.
An adult mouse can be as big as about 5 to 7 inches long, including the 3-4 inch tail. A very adaptable animal, the house mouse often lives in close association with humans, along with the Norway Rat and the Roof Rat; however, mice are more common and more difficult to control than rats.
Droppings, fresh gnaw marks, and tracks indicate areas where mice are active. Mouse nests are made from finely shredded paper or other fibrous material, usually in sheltered locations. Mice are active mostly at night, but they can be seen occasionally during daylight hours. Because house mice are so small, they can gain entry into homes and other buildings much more easily than rats. As a result, house mouse infestations are probably 10 to 20 times more common than rat infestations.
Effective control involves sanitation, exclusion, and population reduction. Sanitation and exclusion are preventive measures. When a mouse infestation already exists, some form of population reduction such as trapping or baiting is almost always necessary. A complete inspection of foundation and roof trim is necessary to figure out access of mice into a structure. A complete trapping of interior spaces where mice are known to travel with a check-back to remove dead mice is included in the price. Exclusion of access points is included in the price (unless extensive repairs are necessary) and exterior baiting is done also, as a safeguard. Tamper Proof Bait Stations are used for safety to children and pets. Rodent clean–up services and annual maintenance programs available.
There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, 50 are here in California. More recently the Aedes mosquito, or "ankle biter" has arrived to Southern California and are much more aggressive than the Culex mosquitoes we're used to dealing with. Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn, however the Aedes mosquito comes out during the day. In order to lay eggs, a female mosquito must feed on the blood of a human or animal. They can lay up to a few thousand eggs in just a couple of weeks. In the blood-feeding process, female mosquitoes inject saliva into their host which creates the reactions that cause bite symptoms. While mosquitoes are an itchy, uncomfortable nuisance, the important problem arising from mosquito bites is transmission of viral or parasitic diseases including, but not limited to, malaria, West Nile virus, Zika virus, dog heartworm, and many types of encephalitis. Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, are not blood-feeding, but rather get their energy from plant nectars and other sweet substances found in their habitat. Mosquitoes require as little as 2 inches of standing water to successfully breed. Mosquitoes that attack people in their own yard are usually breeding close by. Other mosquitoes, such as container breeders, do not seek out a natural body of water, but rather lay eggs in any container that is holding water, such as bird baths, tires, buckets, etc.
Removing stagnant water from around the house to prevent female mosquitoes from laying their eggs, which include pools and trash cans that have been gathered as rainwater. Make sure to have your old tires and old cans recycled. Properly dispose of garbage and solid waste in closed containers. Make your property dry as much as possible to give fewer cases for mosquito breeding.
The Roof Rat is also known as the Black Rat, the Ship Rat, the House Rat, and the Fruit Rat, like attics, trees, fences and anything off the ground they can climb on. They are one of the two major nuisance rat species in the world. The Norway Rat is also called the Brown Rat. The Roof Rat is the smaller of the two.
They can breed year-round, and produce litters of up to ten young up to five times per year. Both are omnivores, and will eat a wide variety of foods, but prefer grains. The Roof Rats tend to live in warmer areas, spending much of their time living above ground, while the Norways live in colder climates at ground level. Rats are typically a winter problem but regardless of the time, they can be a pester and health hazard. Rats can carry more than 60 communicable diseases including Hantavirus, leptospirosis, typhus and meningitis. Rats will try to go unseen but not unheard. They will let you know they are there with the gnawing, scratching and scampering across floors near the walls and find their way into your home or business through a hole in the wall. A rat can get through a hole in the wall the size of a quarter, if they can stick their head through it, they will fit.
Our rodent control program has four important steps:
- A thorough rodent inspection to identify the species, where they're nesting, and what factors are attracting them.
- Creating effective sanitation so that rodents such as rats and mice are denied both food and hiding places.
- Eliminating all potential entry points.
- Reducing the rodent population by exclusion, baiting, and trapping.
Except for poisonous spiders, such as the black widow and the brown recluse, spiders are not harmful to humans. When it’s important to eliminate spiders, chemical control is used, along with destruction of webs and eggs. Since they feed on insects, measures that eliminate unwanted insects will also reduce spider populations.
Spiders can usually be controlled with a general spray and baiting. All work is guaranteed and quarterly services are available.
A squirrel can jump off the branch of a nearby tree and onto your roof, and before you know it, it is inside your attic and making a nest. You may hear it occasionally running around or smell it.
Only homes that are sealed up very tightly can avoid invasion from wild animal pests. All animals are humanely trapped and access points sealed up properly. All work is guaranteed, and removal of animals included. Please set up an evaluation as soon as the intruder is noticed.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (stink bugs) will enter structures such as homes or offices in order to survive the cold winter months. Although stink bugs do not pose a risk to the structure or the health of the occupants, they are considered a nuisance due to the numbers in which they infest structures. They are indigenous to countries in East Asia such as China and Japan and were introduced to the United States between in 1996-1997 in Allentown, PA. Recently, we are seeing stink bug populations taking a firm root and entomologists are expecting in-home infestations to increase dramatically.
The most effective treatment for stink bugs is done in the months of September and October just as the weather is changing. Many of our customers swear by the service we do for stink bugs and have done it every early fall. The secret is to have it done just before they try to enter your home for the winter. Service is a combination of sprays, glue-boards, and dust.
A subterranean termite infestation begins in warm weather and rainfall triggers an established colony to send out seamers of winged termites. They are usually confused with ants, but are smaller than ants. After mating, swarmer termites land and shed their wings, leaving piles of wings on windowsills of your home. Subterranean termites then build large colonies underground which are composed of elaborate tunnels and chambers. Worker termites then construct protective tunnels made of mud. If mud tubes are visible on the walls or foundations of your home, it’s highly likely that you are experiencing a subterranean termite infestation.
Drywood termites are secretive insects and are difficult to detect. They live deep inside wood and, except during periods when they swarm or when repair work is being done on infested homes, they are seldom seen. Colonies are small (usually up to 5,000), can be widely dispersed, and take years to mature.
Eliminating Existing Infestations
All drywood termite control methods can be categorized as either whole structure or localized. A whole structure treatment is defined as the simultaneous treatment of all infestation, accessible and inaccessible, in a structure. A localized or spot treatment is more restrictive, often applied to a single board or small group of boards.
Fumigants such as Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) treat all infestations simultaneously and have high levels of efficacy if correctly applied. Sulfuryl fluoride kills drywood termites in about 3 days.
Major issues to consider with the use of fumigants include the difficulty of installing tarpaulins, the difficulty in determining the proper dosage, the need to protectively bag food items, and the lack of residual control. Residual control means long-term protection (several years or more/0 from drywood termite attack. (Generally, only chemicals added to or onto wood provide residual control.) It will also be necessary to vacate the structure for 2 to 3 days while being tented and then ventilated.
Localized or Spot Treatments
There are many localized/spot treatment methods available that include both chemical and non-chemical (eco friendly) options. For liquid or dust insecticides to be effective, termites must touch or ingest them. Spot treatments should be applied only by licensed applicators. Home use products are not effective. In addition, we offer Heat Treatments, Foam Treatments, Soil Treatments and Pre-construction Soil Treatments.
Wood replacement is another remedial treatment option. However, similar to other spot treatments, its effectiveness is highly dependent on detection accuracy and the extent and location of the infestation.
Integrating chemical and nonchemical treatments to ensure that termites are not able to colonize over the long term is a strategy used by some pest control professionals. Nonchemical, long-term preventative methods include physical barriers, such as metal screens. Resistant woods can reduce but do not eliminate damage. There are a few studies that demonstrate the efficacy of combinations of methods or of nonchemical, long-term preventative treatments directed against drywood termites.
Stanley Pest Control termite inspectors can give you all the options that are available, including Annual Control Policies to help protect your property from termites.
Ticks & Fleas
Ticks are small blood-sucking arachnids that vary in color depending on the species. Generally 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch in size, ticks are often found on a host (either a person or family pet) feeding. Ticks are vectors of a number of diseases including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.
This insect's chief fame is attributed to their ability to transmit disease. The body of the flea is well adapted to its parasitic lifestyle. Dark-colored adults are flattened from side to side with many bristles that point backwards, facilitating forward movement through fur, hair or feathers. Fleas are wingless creatures, with strongly developed legs, and hind legs that are especially adapted for jumping. They have sucking mouth parts designed to feed on the blood of mammals and birds.
The most serious human disease transmitted by biting fleas is bubonic plague or the "Black Death" of the Middle Ages. Even though we are not at serious risk of this disease, fleas are common sources of skin lesions in humans. Some individuals become accustomed to fleas and are not disturbed by them. Others are extremely irritated by the presence of fleas, let alone their painful bites. The bite of a flea varies with the species and the person bitten.
The cat, dog and human flea are the intermediate host of dog tapeworm, a common problem in cats and dogs. There have even been reports that 24 percent of dogs and 30 percent of cats are infected with tapeworm - and according to experts, the incidence of dog tapeworm infestations in children may be more frequent than suspected.
First of all, keep your home or facility as sanitary as possible. Another facet of flea control includes screening of foundation vents to keep pests, rats, opossum, squirrels and other flea hosts out from under the house or facility. Many times when dogs and other pets are allowed to seek shade under the house on a hot summer day, this can lead to a rapid buildup of a heavy concentration of fleas. Be sure to wash pets' bedding and vacuum pet resting and sleeping areas. The most important part of controlling fleas is the safe application of EPA-registered pesticide for fleas.
Wasps & Bees
Wasps and bees are considered beneficial insects, although they are considered nuisance pests because they will sting when they feel threatened and can cause damage to structures. Bees and wasps sting in defense of their colonies. When stung, an individual is injected with a protein which will cause pain and other reactions. Some of these reactions may include: localized pain, swelling, redness, itching and tenderness. These reactions can be treated with topical analgesics, ice or other over-the-counter remedies. An allergic reaction may include: hives, rash, nausea, headache or minor respiratory symptoms. Vary rarely, an allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock (difficulty breathing, swelling or blockage of the throat) and can be life threatening. These systemic symptoms require immediate medical attention. People with known systemic allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings should consult with a physician.
Domestic European Honey Bees are used in the United States for pollinating crops and ornamentals commercially. Sometimes wild or feral bees will decide to make nests in and around homes or other structures. We have found bee hives in many places, such as: inside walls, tree trunks, BBQs, cars, playhouses, attics, chimneys, underground service utility vaults, utility poles; sports field lighting, commercial signage, and the list goes on.
Honey bee nests are made from wax and are attached vertically to the upper surface of a joist or fire block, inside a tree to the top of the hollow. The bees in an active nest will keep it cool in the summertime by fanning their wings. In Southern California, bee hives can be active all year round and continue to expand as more and more combs are added. These hives will become a nuisance because as the honey builds up, it will start to stain walls and attract other pests, such as carpet beetles, rats, and ants. Also, the bees will jealously defend their home when they feel threatened.
The Africanized Honey Bee is a sub-species of her European cousin. The species is more easily agitated and quick to defend their home. Sometimes just the start of a lawnmower engine in close proximity will set them off. It is difficult to tell the difference physically between the Africanized and the European bees. An entomologist will need to measure wing venation and color differences in certain body parts to identify the species, but to the casual observer they are almost identical.
Many different situations that we encounter require different strategies to get the job done. Ideally, we would want to remove the colony intact and give it to a bee keeper. However, often times bee keepers will not take a colony of feral bees because they may have the African gene or may have viruses that may have been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder.
If you suspect you have a bee hive in your home or business, let our trained professional service technicians inspect it and devise a plan that is best for your situation.
Not all bees live in colonies. 90% of all bee species are solitary bees. The female solitary bees will build their own nests in the ground, in cracks or crevices in walls, or in wood. Solitary bees are beneficial because they will gather nectar and pollen for the young and thus pollinate plants.
The more common of solitary bees are mason bees, plasterer bees, digger bees, sweat bees and carpenter bees. They vary in color from basic black to bright metallic green, blue or red. Some solitary bees can become a nuisance because they will cause damage to structures, while others are intimidating by their size and the sound as they fly around.
Carpenter bees cause damage to wood on homes and buildings by chewing tunnels in the wood to lay eggs. These insects have erratic flight patterns and appear to be diving, darting, and chasing one another in mid-air, darting with sharp turns and hovering around nesting sites. Carpenter bee females excavate wood in order to build nests for eggs, which often results in staining on the side of the building right by the hole. Carpenter bees are wood destroying insects and become active in early spring.
Carpenter bee treatments include a chemical application to roof trim areas where carpenter bees are known to nest. All treatments are guaranteed and come with an Annual Service Plan to prevent further infestations. Repair of carpenter bee damage can be done also at an additional cost.
There are many species of wasps in Southern California, ranging from paper wasps to mud wasps to bald-faced hornets. They are considered beneficial because wasps help control other insect populations. Some commercial applications of wasps are used for organic pest control for growers of fruits and vegetables.
Wasps belong to the order Hymenoptera which includes bees and ants. Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times when threatened. Wasps can fall into two categories: social wasps and solitary wasps.
Solitary wasps that are commonly found are Mud Daubers, Cicada Killers, and Tarantula Hawks. They are typically unaggressive unless disturbed. Mud daubers can be a nuisance because they will build their mud nests on the walls of structures which are unsightly and difficult to remove. Cicada killers and Tarantula Hawks are a nuisance in the sense that they are big and intimidating. These wasps will sting their prey with a paralytic and place it in the nests with their eggs. Cicada Killers and Tarantula Hawks make their nests in the ground and will drag their prey to the nests.
Social wasps that are commonly found are paper wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. More commonly we find paper wasp nests under eves of houses or in garages and attics. Paper wasps are sometimes called umbrella wasps because the shape of their nests that look like an umbrella. Like yellow jackets and hornets, paper wasps will construct their nests with chewed-up wood fibers and saliva. However, paper wasps will only build one comb with no protective envelope.
Yellow jackets will build their nests underground, taking advantage of abandoned rodent burrows or hollowed tree stumps. Yellow jackets are typically docile until disturbed. When their nest is threatened, they can become very aggressive and sting multiple times. The colonies are annual with just the fertilized queen left to over-winter in a protected area. She will then emerge in spring, select a nest, and build a paper comb to lay her brood of about 30-50 eggs. The nest will grow to about 5,000 by late summer. Sometimes these nests can be stumbled upon walking through a field where the colony is just below the surface of the ground.
The bald-faced hornet is actually a subspecies of the yellow jacket. The hornet is longer and lacks the yellow coloring of the yellow jacket and has distinctive stripes around her abdomen. She will build her nests in trees or attics. We have found hornets nests in public bathrooms and equipment sheds. Like her congener the yellow jacket, the hornet can become very aggressive when the nest is disturbed, stinging multiple times. The nests are typically 23 inches in length, have a distinctive mosaic pattern, and may house up to 700 hornets.
Whichever type of stinging pest that may be invading your home or business, we understand the importance of controlling or removing them and we are experts at handling any situation.