The black and white wasp is often considered by most people to be a hornet. That thought is supported by the numerous colloquial names given to this wasp which include, white face hornet, black faced hornet, spruce wasp, bald faced hornet and so forth. While its many names may suggest that it is a hornet, it is more a wasp than a true hornet.
A wasps such as the bald face wasp’s anatomy will assume a triangular shape in the midsection when observed from the side. While the profile view of a hornet will show that it has a stooped posture. The entire body of a bald faced hornet has black and white patterns similar to those found in a yellow jacket wasp. Perhaps that is not at all surprising as they are of the same species. The bald head can be predominantly white or black which help explains some it the above names associated with this wasp.
Bald faced wasp habits
This wasp is a social insect and commonly active during the day. They build a grey colored paper carton nest above ground at a height of three feet or more from the ground. For that reason their nest are easily visible. The bald faced wasp will commonly build their nests on shrubs, trees, sheds and houses. Their colonies will have anywhere from 100 to 400 wasps at the peak of their season in summer.
The black and white wasp is an aggressive insect and will not hesitate to show its aggression should an intruder approach their space. While most other stinging wasps may not attack until they feel that there is a threat to their hive, the bald faced workers guarding the wasp will feel free to attack any person wondering into their space.
Interestingly, only the impregnated bald wasps will overwinter to start a new colony once the cold season is over. The rest of the colony will die off during winter. The surviving wasps do not reuse their old nest from the previous season and will go on ahead to build a brand new nest as soon as winter is over. Their nest size will often measure between 14 inches and 28 inches.
Black and white wasp sting
Unlike most other stinging insects such as bees who sting once and die, the bald face wasp has a smooth stinger. This means it has the ability to sting again and again.
The sting is painful causing swelling for a period of about 24 hours. Ordinarily, one does not need to go to a hospital because of a wasp sting.
Symptoms include the following:
- Pain and burning
It is important to note that persons who are allergic to wasp stings can be severely affected. This can lead to an anaphylactic shock. In such cases, one should be rushed to a medical center.
How to get rid of bald faced wasps
Given their aggressive nature and stinging capability, it would be ill advised to try and remove the nest yourself. Avoid disturbing a whole colony of black and white wasps and getting stung by them. It is best to get in touch with your local pest control officer for assistance.
The black mouse varies in color. It is usually black, brown or grey on top with a belly that is light colored. There is no specific species categorized as black mice. These are the mice mostly found in homes. They range between 6cm to 9cm in length. When they invade your home they will nest in cabinets, walls and areas close to food sources.
Black mice are very destructive because they chew just about everything including plastic. Because of these behaviours, they are known to cause fires when they gnaw through plastic insulation of electric wires leaving them bare and ready to spark at the slightest touch.
While one may think that they look cute and adorable, the fact is they contaminate surfaces and food with their saliva, urine and droppings. This can transmit diseases like hantavirus and salmonellosis. If you have a large mice population in your home the risk of getting infected is high. These diseases are deadly.
They feed on anything
Mice can chew through wood, rubber, aluminum, drywall, insulation and even soft concrete. Grains are the natural food for mice and they will eat a box of cereal effortlessly. They will most likely make their nest in the pantry or kitchen because of proximity to food. Believe it or not, mice eat about 20 times a day.
The problem is that they will contaminate way more food than they consume leaving your and your family in danger of disease exposure.
Eating food contaminated by mice is sure to make you sick. Items of food that have been contaminated should put in your outside garbage immediately.
They are prolific breeders
With one female producing six to ten litters annually with an average of seven babies per litter it doesn’t take long to have major infestation.
How they get inside your home
Mice can fit in smaller spaces than seem impossible. Such places include doorways, windows, gaps around cracks in your outer walls and holes in the foundation are some key entry points. Others are chimneys and wherever utility wires and pipes are routed into your home.
It is most likely you have mice in the house if you find mouse poop or nesting material and hear scurrying noises at night. If you find chewed food packages, then chances are that you have mice.
Cleaning up mice urine and droppings should be taken with the utmost caution to avoid getting infected with the diseases they transmit.
Always wear protective gear when doing so such as latex gloves and a mask. The dust from sweeping and vacuuming releases bacteria. Breathing in this the dust will in time make you quite ill. The most effective way to go about it is to mix bleach and water then spray this on the affected area.
Give it five minutes to work its magic then wipe the area clean using paper towels. Dispose the paper towels in the garbage bin outside the house. The area should then be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
Ridding your home of mice
Use mouse traps. The regular wooden snap traps work very well. Place plenty of them around. Mix this with glue trap and bait traps for better results.
Mouse proof your house by sealing all potential entry points and clearing around your property of any clutter that might offer mice hiding places. The best solution though is to get a cat that enjoys hunting mice. It’s in their DNA to terrorize mice.
If this measures are ineffective it’s time to call a pest control professional in your area.
The brown dog tick is found all over the world. It is the most widespread tick species globally. It’s found among tall grass where dogs and other animals frequent. It gets its name because of its distinctive red brown-color and the fact that it primarily infests domestic dogs.
Both adult male and female brown dog ticks have a flare body and are uniformly reddish brown. They are also of the same size with very small pits on the back. When the adult females feed on blood, their bodies swell to several times their initial size. The engorged body turns gray blue but the head, mouth and legs stay red-brown. The males take small blood meals and maintain their size even after feeding.
Dogs most likely acquire a few brown dog ticks from already infested residences, grooming facilities and veterinary clinics and bring them back home. At this early stage of infestation the ticks are only on the dog and are easy to miss. After the female brown dog ticks lay eggs and they hatch, their population explodes. One female can lay a mind boggling 4000 to 7000 eggs. Ticks crawling on draperies and on the walls are the first sure signs that the dog owner has an infestation problem that needs to be dealt with.
Brown dog tick eggs are dark brown in color and round. The larvae are about 0.56mm in body length and have six legs. Nymphs have eight legs as do adults and look the same but are smaller and don’t have any patterns on the back.
The brown dog tick feeds only once during each active stage that is, larva, nymph and adult. It then drops from the host to digest the ingested blood to lay eggs or molt. Brown dog ticks mate on the host’s body after a blood meal. After feeding on the host for about seven days an adult female will leave the host and look for a quiet hidden place to lay and incubate her eggs for about a fortnight. Cracks on the walls, carpet edges in houses would be ideal locations. She will start laying her eggs from the fourth day after leaving her host and can go on laying for up to eighteen days. After she finishes laying her eggs the female dies.
Six to twenty three days after, the larvae hatch and start looking for a host. The seeking activity causes a lot of visible tick movement towards dogs thus alerting the dog owner to the infestation.
Larvae will feed for about fifteen days and leave the dog. After seven days to a fortnight the larvae develop into nymphs. The nymphs latch on to another host and feed for about thirteen days and there after they drop from the dog. They develop into adults after two weeks. If breeding pattern is not interrupted, you dog will suffer from a lot of distress.
The brown dog tick mostly latches onto dog’s ears, head, between toes, and the back. When preventing or managing a tick infestation it is important to check these areas.
To prevent home infestation, seal all crevices and cracks. Keep grass and weeds short. Kill ticks on furniture using steam and use hot water to wash dog beds and set dryer on high heat.
Getting a pest controller involved as soon as you see the first signs of infestations is crucial. A pest officer will kill employ mitigation methods that ensure eggs, nymphs and adult alike are killed breaking the breeding cycle effectively.
Just as humans and pets will defend themselves when accosted, so will bugs. All bugs and wildlife have self defense and attack mechanisms. It is prudent to acquire the knowledge on how to avoid stinging and biting critters and recognize them for your own safety. The area you live in or are intending to visit will dictate the creatures you should understand and recognize. Factoring in the season is also important. A lot of insects like honey bees and mosquitoes will be out in swarms in the summer.
Fire ant bites. Fire ants though small are very aggressive. They are venomous and come in black or red colors. Their bite feel like a burn can be very painful when stung by several this bugs at a go.
Bites will have a blister on top with swollen red spots surrounding it. They usually last about a week before they heal and disappear.
Bites from fire ants can have serious medical consequences if the victim is allergic to their venom which can result in breathing difficulties, swelling and itching.
Black widow spider. This spider is unmistakable with the distinguishing red mark of an hour glass on its abdomen. It is shiny, black and plump. It is not aggressive and only bites when it feels threatened.
The bite site has a distinct white centre with red all around it. Bites will result in spasms in the back, legs, stomach and arms. Further symptoms would be vomiting, headache, chills, tremor, nausea, chills and weakness. Immediate medical attention should be sort after.
Mosquito bite. The bite looks like a puffy round bump and appears immediately after being bitten. It will turn red, hard, itchy, and swell.
Brown recluse spider. This spider is brown, with six eyes. It will be found in dark quiet places like cabinets and closets. It is native to North America.
It is worth noting that this spider is not aggressive and will bite a person if it gets squeezed between flesh and hard surfaces. The site of the bite is red with a central white blister. About 7 hours after the bite severe pain and itching develops at the site of the bite. Though rare, complications like vomiting, nausea, kidney failure, and fever could occur.
Scorpion stings. These arachnids have segmented curved tails with a stinger at the tip. They have large pincers and four pairs of legs. They inhabit the whole globe. The sting causes numbness, tingling and intense pain. The area around the sting swells. Though rare, severe symptoms include drooling, increased heart rate, muscle twitching and breathing difficulties.
Horse flies. They are quite big, at 1 inch in length. They suck blood and are very active during the day. When a horsefly bites there is an instant burning feeling. At the bite site, bruising, itching, redness and swelling will occur.
Bee sting. At the location of the sting there will be sharp pain, itching and swelling. There will be a white spot at the point the stinger pierced the skin. A bee will sting only once and die.
Wasp sting. Wasps are aggressive and will sting numerous times. At the sting location there will be a raised welt, redness, burning sensation, swelling, and intense pain.
Knowing that different types of bugs can inflict harm puts you and your family in a position to avoid them. You also know when the situation is untenable and the services if a pest controller will be required.
Can cockroaches fly? The answer is yes. Pests are unwelcome into our homes and cockroaches more so. When they take to the air the grossness factor is just unbearable.
Cockroaches are one of the most ubiquitous insects globally and are considered to be among the elite in their ability to survive. They are extremely adaptable and resilient.
While we may have seen a species of two or roaches in or homes, it mind boggling to realize that there are over three thousand documented species of cockroaches. Majority of these are found in tropical regions. More than seventy cockroach species inhabit North America.
Cockroach Species that fly
The male Pennsylvania wood cockroach is known for taking to the air. They are approximately an inch long. They have light wings and like being out in the daytime.
The Brown banded cockroach is capable of making short flights. The American cockroach is an adept flier. They have red-brown color and are prevalent in the United States. They have long narrow bodies and wings which explains why they are better suited for more sustainable flight.
The Cuban cockroach flies for short distances. They are green in color and have a very thin body.
Asian cockroaches are impressive fliers. They like being out in the light and thankfully are often found inside homes unlike most of their other counterparts.
The Megaloblatta is endowed with the largest body amongst flying cockroaches with an impressive 7 inch wingspan and a long body topping up at 4 inches. It inhabits South and Central America mostly.
Australian Cockroaches are native to Australia and enjoy humid and hot parts of the country. They are about an inch long in length and fairly strong flyers.
Cockroaches do not fly much because their musculature is not strong enough to allow long distance flight. In comparison to their wing size most cockroaches have a big body mass meaning flight does not come easy to them. They find it hard to maneuver once they take to the air. That explains why even the best roach flyer can only manage a short distance. In fact, most roaches glide as opposed to try flight. Roaches are more efficient on the ground using their legs. They are faster that way and can outrun most insects. It is also safer in the ground. A flying cockroach is fair game for birds.
Why cockroaches fly
Cockroaches will fly if they feel they are under threat to make a quick getaway. They will also find it easier to fly if they in higher elevation moving to a lower point. In most cases, this is often not true flight but more of a glide. Cockroaches also fly when attracted to food, in search of water or areas with a cooler temperature.
Cockroaches are cold blooded like all insects and which means they more apt to take flight when the temperatures are higher. The optimal temperature for cockroaches is 75 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit cockroaches start flying around out of necessity and higher energy levels looking for cooler places to inhabit.
Roaches are hideous enough even without flying capabilities. So if you have an infestation, get in touch with your local pests controller to exterminate them.
Bees are great pollination agents. They are vital to agriculture and dispersion of pollen that allows plants to reproduce in large numbers. Bees are interested in flowers and plants and not at all in humans, unless of course you provoke them.
There are over 2000 species of bees globally, some are gentle and do not have the ability to stung. While others can be aggressive and do have the ability to stung.
The Carpenter bees
Also called wood bees they have a dense covering of black and yellow hairs over a black body with the exception of the abdomen which is bald. They are considered pests by some people due to the fact that they drill holes and nest in wooden structures. However, any damage to structures is far outweighed by their pollination contribution. The female Carpenter bee will drill a hole in wood and lay her eggs.
The Western honey bees
These bees have distinct black stripes on the abdomen and their bodies are golden brown. They were imported to the United States to help in pollination of agricultural crops and most live in man made hives which are maintained by professional beekeepers. They will sting if you get too close for comfort to their hive.
Mason honey bees
These species are small, extremely agile and fly very fast. Their bodies have a metallic blue black and a dull green color. They transport pollen on the hairs of their abdomen.
For a nest they will seek a hollowed out twig or stem. The Mason bee first lays female eggs and male eggs last. She creates food for her offspring using nectar and enzymes. She will then use mud to build a wall across the entrance to the nest. This is why they are called Mason bees. Mason bees are very docile, they only sting when trapped under clothing or handled roughly.
These bees are covered with thick black and yellow hairs and underneath them the body is black. In size they are bigger than honeybees. They build nests underground in holes abandoned by mammals. They set up colonies consisting of a few dozen members.
Leaf cutter bees
They have black bodies. They have white hairs on the thorax and underneath the abdomen. To cut leaves they use their massive Jaws set in a large head. They use the leaves for sealing their nests. The leaf cutter is a solitary bee.
These bees are attracted to human sweat. That is why they are known as sweat bees. They are a large group comprising of small bees. They can be a quarter of the size of a honey bee and are very good pollinators. Their colors range from metallic greens and blues to black with hints of blue and copper shading. Some have striped abdomens.
Because of their small size and high rate of speed they can be difficult to see.
These bees are specialist pollinators of the family Cucurbita. They pollinate plants such as zucchini, pumpkins, and squash to name a few. Their flight times are before sun up and last till mid-morning. They take off again just before dusk when melon and squash flowers open.
The male squash bee sites its nest in squash flowers. Mating also happens in the squash flower.
Without bees, food security in the world cannot be achieved because they are exceptional pollinators. But it’s okay to be wary of them because they can be terrifying little stingers.
Some people cannot tell a field mouse from a house mouse apart. You can recognize the field mouse by its fur which is sandy brown in color with a lighter hued belly. It has a long tail and a pointed snout. Its’ eyes, hairy ears and hind feet are bigger than those of its cousin the house mouse.
As their name suggests, field mice will mostly be found outdoors. The field mice will look for warm places to move into when the weather starts getting cold and that means your cozy home unfortunately becomes quite an ideal place to ride out the winter.
When they infiltrate your home they will build nests in walls, under appliances, pantry, attics and kitchen. Pantry and the kitchen are often more susceptible to their best building because of their proximity to food sources.
The field mice are quite destructive. Many fires have been attributed to these rodents. That is because they are known to chew on everything including electric wire plastic insulators leaving them naked and ready to spark at any time.
Field mice will contaminate surfaces, kitchen counters tops and food with their fecal matter, urine and saliva. They are a vector for diseases like salmonellosis, tularemia, hantavirus and tick borne diseases. The infection risk factor spikes up alarmingly as the mice population in your home grows.
What do field mice eat
Mice will gnaw through just about anything wood, drywall, rubber, insulation, soft concrete and even aluminum. They eat grains, seeds and fruits. Mice eat up to 20 times a day. The food they contaminate is more than they eat. Contaminated food has to be disposed of because Ingesting it will make you sick. Food items that have been contaminated should be thrown in your outside garbage.
A female mouse is sexually mature from 4 to 7 weeks. She has a gestation period of 21 days and will birth a litter of 8 to 12 babies. A female mouse can give birth every month. So their ability to grow their population is insane if left unchecked.
How they access your home
Mice possess the amazing ability to get through spaces that seem impossible. These rodents are very agile, they can swim, climb and jump enabling them to access your home through the toilet, broken drains, gaps around windows, doorways, cracks in your outer walls and gaps in the foundation. Other points of entry are chimneys, where utility wires and pipes go through the wall and space between the roof and walls.
You will know you have mice if you spot, mice droppings, nesting material and frequently hear scurrying noises at night.
To clean up mice urine and fecal matter take precautions against getting infected with the diseases transmitted by mice. Always wear a mask and latex gloves. Spray a mixture of bleach on the affected area. Give it 10 minutes to seep in and then wipe it with paper towels and dispose them properly. Have the whole area cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
Ridding your home of mice
You can rid your home of mice by doing the following:
- Seal any cracks and crevices that a mouse can crawl into
- Cover gaps and openings in the foundation.
- Sort out any opening or gaps around vents, utilities and pipes.
- Ensure windows, doors and screens fit tightly.
- Meat and grains should be stored in resalable airtight containers.
- Make sure your compound is clean and free of debris that might offer mice hiding places.
- Use mouse traps strategically placed in the house and yard.
If the you have tried the above and the mice population seems to be growing, it time to reach out to a pest control professional for more effective and safe solutions.
The Earwigs are just about 7 to 24mm in length but have an intimidating look for that size of an insect. This is bolstered by the formidable looking pincers emanating from the tip of its abdomen. They use the pincers for hunting prey and for self defense. The stories of Earwigs crawling into people’s ears laying their eggs inside and eating their brains are fortunately not true so you can rest easy.
Earwigs are brownish-black with orange markings. They mainly live outside but will make their way inside homes when the weather becomes detrimental to their survival. In fall, when the weather really starts getting cold, large numbers of earwigs will invade homes. Outside earwigs live in damp dark areas such as under pile of grass and wood. Inside the home they come together in large numbers. They make themselves comfortable in inaccessible places like behind walls, basements and under floors making them a nuisance.
Earwigs can actually bite but they hardly do so. They will more often pinch you skin and clamp on tightly and in some instances hard enough to make you bleed. If an earwig pinch does not draw blood it will most likely leave you with a red and swollen mark at the pinched area.
Signs of injuries caused earwigs
Spaced a tiny distance from each other will be two red pincer marks. There is a little bleeding if the pincers broke through the skin. The pinched area could become very red and swollen. The discomfort from a pinch does not last long and is quite mild. Earwig pinches should not have complications because there’s no venom involved.
To confirm whether it was an earwig that pinched you or a bite from something else check the bite site. If it’s an earwig pinch there should be no puncture marks at the area.
Earwigs reasons for pinching and bite
An earwig will pinch to defend its self when it feels threatened. You have to be close enough to touch an earwig to get pinched by one. To treat an earwig pinch, check the affected site to confirm the skin is unbroken. Clean the site with soap and water thoroughly.
Smear antibacterial gel on the area if the pincer went through the skin as a preventive measure against any possible occurrence of infection. Usually the wound will heal without having to call on a doctor.
However if the pincers happen to break off in your skin, it is of paramount importance to have the pieces removed in a sterile environment by a doctor. You risk having a skin infection if you remove them yourself.
Because earwigs live in places that bacteria thrives in like drains their bites if not properly treated could result in infections like cellulitis. In this case you’ll experience symptoms like chills, shaking, fatigue, dizziness, sweating, and lightheadedness to name a few. If the infection progresses further the wound becomes septic and the situation becomes life threatening with symptoms like blistering, lethargy and red streaks.
Earwigs can get anywhere including your bed becoming a nuisance. Get a pest control professional to effectively deal with them.
I can’t think of anything worse than turning on the lights in the kitchen and seeing swarms of cockroaches scuttling all over the floor, cabinets and countertops. They make my skin crawl and I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way. Apart from contaminating your food they also spread dangerous bacteria on surfaces they touch so you cannot afford to take an infestation lightly.
In terms of size, most cockroaches range from one to three inches in length. In North America, the American and German cockroaches are the most common.
Because of the resilient nature and breeding prowess of this creature, getting rid of cockroaches will need a multi pronged approach.
Eliminate hiding places.
They love cardboard boxes and piles of paper. They find these very cozy so getting rid of these and other clutter will discourage cockroaches from staying around.
Make a potent and cheap bait that cockroaches are unable to resist. Mix a couple of spoons of boric acid with same amount of powdered sugar. Then put it on a piece of paper and place it where there’s a lot of cockroach traffic. Place several of this around the roach high traffic areas. This will help decimate their numbers in a big way.
Cut off the food supply.
These pests can live on almost anything left lying around, like crumbs, unopened boxed food and dirty dishes.
Clean out cabinets and wipe them to get rid of any spilled and broken bits of food. Check behind the cabinets also. Don’t leave any unclean dishes in the sink or counter, especially at night time when going to bed.
Cockroaches can’t survive without water for more than a few days but the can go for a long time without food. So repair all the leaks and mop up any pooled water.
Checking behind your fridge regularly is a good idea. That is because the refrigerators emit heat creating a cozy warm environment for roaches to flourish. This area is also ideal for roaches because it largely undisturbed.
Getting a bin with a tight fitting lid for your garbage is a helpful measure. Make to clean the bin including the bottom to remove bit and pieces of food. Air and sun-dry the bin frequently.
Spraying pesticides in large areas of your home could contaminate areas you don’t want contaminated like countertops and appliances. Baits would be a better way to go about it. They are cleaner, very easy to apply and their effectiveness will last longer. When the cockroaches eat the bait they go back to their hideouts and die and they are then eaten by other cockroaches passing on the poison.
Cockroaches will hitch a ride in the things you bring to your home without you realizing it. Old furniture will most likely habor a few cockroaches, so do a thorough inspection before installation. The other culprits are deliveries and groceries.
Cockroaches are built to fit into very small holes and tiny cracks. If light is visible under your door, cockroaches can get in. Prevent any potential invasion by sealing any entry points like gaps between walls using clear caulk. You can use door guards to seal the space between the outdoor and the interior.
If cockroach numbers do not reduce even with these measures consider calling a pest management professional to help you with the problem before it becomes unbearable.
Honey bees do sting. Interestingly only a few out of the over 19000 estimated species will sting you. Typically honey bees just want to go about their business of making honey and growing the hive. But they are more than capable of attacking when they feel threatened.
Result of a honey bee sting
When a bee stings you, it doesn’t matter which species it is. The pain is intense. When a worker honey bee stings you, it can only do so once and dies. That is because the stinger is barbed and when the bee tries to fly off after stinging, the stinger is ripped from the bees’ abdomen resulting in death. When stung, the bee sting will lodge into your skin forming an itchy bump.
The stinger is hollow with a venom sack attached to it. This will continue pumping the venom into your body which is probably what causes the itching sensation.
This poison is a potent mix of toxins and includes chemicals that interfere with the cell membrane. Such toxins include allergy inducing histamines even pheromones. Pheromone is particularly dangerous as it the one that signals nearby bees to come and join in the attack.
Honey bees hives have a distinct hierarchy. Top is the queen bee followed by the drones or the male bees and lastly the worker bees which are all sterile females. The queen bees’ stinger is smooth so it can sting as many times as it needs to without dying. The queen bee will use her stinger mostly on rival queen bees coming to overthrow her.
Honey bees are wired to protect the hive at all costs, even with their life. The queen bee, stores of honey and bee larvae are housed in the hive. The honey bees will attack anything they perceive as a threat to protect their hive and its contents.
Avoiding bee stings
Honey bees typically sting to defend themselves. So to avoid being stung, one should steer clear of a bee hive.
Using strong cologne that smells like a flower will inadvertently attract bees that think you are nectar. Chances of getting stung will be high. So avoid such strong scented flowery colognes.
Don’t wear bright clothing especially with floral patterns. When outdoors wear beige, khaki or other light colors unless you want bees landing on you for nectar.
Food and drinks with sugar will attract honey bees for sure when you are outdoors. This includes fruits. Make sure you don’t leave sliced pineapple and oranges lying around.
Stay still if a honey bee is buzzing around your head because the worst thing to do is swat at it. Stay calm, it’s just checking if you are a flower. When it realizes you have nothing it needs it will fly off.
Keep your car windows up to keep unwanted bees out but if a bee decides to hike a lift don’t try to swat at it while driving. Stop somewhere safe and open the windows.
Be careful walking in a flower garden. Honey bees will spend a lot of time among flowers collecting nectar and pollen. Stay out of their way.
For unwanted bees in your area, call a professional bee keeper or pest control professionals to have them removed safely and without risk to you and your family