Termites are of different types such as the flying termite, dry-wood termite, subterranean termites, and Formosan termites.
All these can infest at places that are not easy for you to inspect. It is always advisable to take the help of professionals while dealing with termites.
Steps to Protect Your Home from Termites
If the soil has the moisture it will attract the termites, so it is required to keep moisture away from your house. The gutters should be clean and must drain at a distance from your house.
Water leakage must be avoided because termites not only use wood to burrow but also the soil in search of moisture.
All the wooden debris surrounding your place should be removed because it is like food to the termites, and after they are done with the debris they are going to attack your house.
Things like newspapers, cardboard boxes, firewood, etc should be kept away from your house and its surroundings. Your house should be crack free. Cracks are an easy opening for the termites and should be repaired and sealed. Structures made up of wood should not touch the ground.
There should be a minimum space of half a foot between the wooden object and the ground. Redwood, cedar and juniper are termite-resistant woods that should be used as they are less attractive as a food source for the termites, though not termite-proof.
Using sand as a barrier is pretty effective and useful, especially for those who do not prefer using chemicals. Termites can move particles of certain sizes using their mouths to burrow.
Sand particles that can go through a 16-mesh screen can stop termites to tunnel through the sand into your home. This sand barrier should be done by a professional who will build thick trenches of sand all-around your foundation or will pump the sand below your house using a sand-pump.
Regular inspection for termites is a healthy thing to do, which is to remove the colony of termites while it is building up and have not caused much damage to your valuables. Never try to fight away or kill the termites all by yourself.
People sometimes try using insect sprays to kill them when they find the colony in one of their property or nearby. The spray is not good enough to kill and the termites move away, often moving right into your place.
General Ways to Kill Termites
- Borate Termite Treatment – This is carried out by applying it directly on the wood, like a coat, usually carried out during the construction time.
- Liquid Termite Treatment – Liquid termiticides are sprayed in the surroundings of your house to keep the termites away.
- Termite Baits – Baits are put around your house to kill the termites as they spread pesticides through the workers.
- Fumigation- This method is only used for drywood termites found in the southern parts of the United States.
The main reason to be able to identify different kinds of wasps is to know which ones are aggressive and which ones won’t give you a problem. What do wasps do, and how can we identify them properly?
In other words, to distinguish between wasps that can be safely removed and those that must be eradicated while wearing protective clothing.
Wasps belong to the Superfamily Vespoldea. There are several lesser categories within this group. The family Eurnenidae is a non-aggressive, solitary creature that preys primarily on insects.
These are among the most beneficial wasps for the environment since they do play a role in controlling the ecosystem.
Belonging to the Subfamily Polistinae are docile wasps from the:
- Tribe Polistini (found all over the world),
- the Genus Polistes (also known as the docile paper wasps),
- the Tribe Polybiini (found in South America and Africa), and the
- Tribe Ropalidiini (found in tropics of the Old World).
The Subfamily Stenogastrinae is another group of docile wasps while the Subfamily Vespinae is the most aggressive. Genus Folichovespula is the name given to very aggressive hornets that make aerial nests.
There are four species found in North America:
- Wasps of the Genus Provespa family are nocturnal and there are three species found in Southeast Asia.
- The Genus Vespa is a docile but giant hornet with only one species found in North America. The Genus Vespula has twelve North American species.
These aggressive yellowjackets build large colonies and are deemed quite dangerous. All social wasps are predators, build nests, and thrive in colonies.
Yellowjackets, hornets, and paper wasps are the most aggressive and the most opportunistic in terms of what they prey upon. Feeding on insects, spiders, and even small animals, they are also the most likely to sting.
Social wasps build their nests from a mixture of wood pulp, saliva, and, in some instances, mud. They have working groups that are responsible for collecting food, building and guarding the best, and looking after the Queen and her hatching eggs.
The paper wasps, which are considered the most docile of the Vespidae family, are distinguishable from the other types of social wasps because they have thinner waists.
In particular, they have thinner waists than the yellowjackets and hornets. Paper wasps are most likely to be seen in the house or the garden.
Those with thin and long bodies, covered with bright yellow and black markings are likely to be mud-daubers.
These wasps, as their name suggests, build nests from mud. They predominantly prey on spiders. Yellowjackets typically grow to be around the same size as bees (between 13mm and 19mm on average).
They are great scavengers, which perhaps explains why they are particularly pesky. They bite as well as sting, although the sting is both the more painful and greater in terms of impact. Hornets have thin waists as well and behave similarly.
They are distinguishable from yellowjackets mainly because they build aerial nests and are also slightly less aggressive in the sense that they prey upon large grasshoppers, horseflies, flies, bees, and even yellowjackets, being less preoccupied with scavenging and, incidentally, less likely to attack human beings.
Bees and their relatives pollinate flowering plants, including fruits and vegetables. With proper small bees and wasps identification, anyone will know that some of both species are parasites to many of the pest insects humans encounter.
Most people only focus on one attribute of these insects – their stingers, which they use to capture prey and defend their nest.
Though they are primarily a beneficial insect when their habits collide with people pest management may be required.
Bees and wasps are grouped based on their behavior, social or solitary. Social wasps live in large colonies associated with a paper nest and only exist for one season. Each colony consists of an egg-laying female and many sterile females called workers.
The males are produced only prior to mating swarms. Even though these wasps capture many different types of insects and thus are beneficial, the destruction of colonies is needed when they are in areas of high human activity. Solitary wasps do not produce workers that tend to their nest.
Each female is a “queen” and will make one nest or many nests for her offspring and then she abandons them. Solitary wasps do not readily defend their nests, so they are much less likely to sting.
One example of a social wasp is Yellow Jackets. These are only about 1/2 inch long and they normally build their nest underground nest. Their nest is usually constructed in an abandoned mammal nest or a small underground cavity.
These cavities are typically located under shrubs, logs, and piles of rocks. When the nest is disturbed yellow jacket workers can become extremely aggressive. There can be as many as 10,000 workers produced in a single colony in a single season.
Entrance holes are easily located by watching for fast-flying workers that are entering and leaving the nest.
Honey bees are very social and communicate with each other to relay information about the direction and distance of nectar and pollen sources. Honey bees build nests of combs with many waxen cells placed side by side that provide spaces to rear young and store honey.
Bees colonies are normally found in hollow trees but can work their way into wall voids of homes. A colony inside a home can cause major problems. Not only does the stored honey attract other bees and wasps, but their detritus (dead bees, wax caps from combs, etc.) attract beetles and moths.
Unlike wasps honey bees have barbed stingers that are strictly used for defending their nest. When a honey bee stings the stinger and its venom remain in the victim, and then die.
Cicada Killer wasps and carpenter bees fall into the classification of solitary. Both of these are very large in size and can look very intimidating, but neither one tends to aggressively guard their nests, which means they very rarely sting people.
Both will make a large hole for a nest to lay their eggs in. A cicada killer’s hole is typically in the ground and is about 1/2 inch wide, and the carpenter bee hole is found in exposed softwoods in areas like porches, decks, and eaves of homes.
The best way to get rid of squirrels is to make sure that the problem actually is squirrels. The best time to do an inspection for squirrels is an hour before sunrise into mid-morning, or an hour before sunset into mid-evening.
Squirrels are one of the most adaptable creatures. They can be found in many various places around the world and in different environments.
The reason is that these two times of day are when squirrels are most actively moving away from their nests in search of food.
Squirrels can scare very easily, so these inspections need to be done using binoculars. The purpose of these inspections is to identify if in fact the squirrels are entering a home, and if they are where the entry points are.
Finding the entry points helps in locating the nests. The nest is normally very close to the entry point located between floor and ceiling joists in the insulation.
There are three main species of squirrels that homeowners typically tackle. These are the gray squirrel, fox squirrel, and the red squirrel. The grays measures about 16 to 18 inches from nose to tail.
They generally weigh about one pound. Because they inhabit about two-thirds of the United States, these squirrels are common household pests. The red fox one is about twice as large as the gray and can be about 40 inches from nose to tail.
Conversely, the red squirrel is slightly smaller than the gray and ranges from black to red in color. Squirrels can be quite a nuisance as they will eat bird food from bird feeders, create holes in attics and other spaces, and even pass ticks or fleas along to household pets.
Fortunately, getting rid of squirrels is not impossible.
First, look for the main hole the squirrels are accessing to get into the home. Second, all holes that are 1/4 inch or larger in size must be sealed. The best products to use for this is hardware cloth or metal flashing.
It is important to make sure that the main hole is left unsealed for now. The reason for this is to make sure that there are no squirrels trapped in the house.
Thirdly, once all of the smaller holes have been sealed continue to observe the squirrel activity. When the younger squirrels are seen leaving the house without the company of any adults it is then the proper time to seal the main entry point.
There are some quick ways to reduce the squirrel population. The first way is by using rat-sized wooden-based snap traps. These traps should be baited with either peanut butter or nuts, and placed along the runways between the entrance hole and the nest.
These traps need to be checked daily, re-baited, relocated, and the trapped squirrels need to be eliminated. Another option is to used appropriately labeled rodenticides. These rodenticides give off a very distinct odor.
For this reason these are typically used in unoccupied structures such as vacation homes. Lastly, in some cases calling an animal control expert is warranted.
With the much-anticipated warmer weather comes unwelcome pests — flying insects that bite — that seek to siphon our blood.
An example? Blood-seeking insects sometimes carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Here are two pests to especially avoid.
Mosquitos can carry a number of potentially serious illnesses. In New England, West Nile fever encephalitis has become a concern, and efforts are underway in some cities and towns to address the issue.
Nonetheless, individuals older than 60 and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk. West Nile symptoms include fever, stiff neck, headache, and coma.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis has also been found in some New England mosquitos, albeit in much fewer numbers.
Some people bitten by EEE carriers will show no indications of the illness, but others become very sick. Early signs include brain swelling, chills, fever, and vomiting.
Ways to protect against mosquito bites? Clear away any standing water from around your home, and limit your time outdoors when mosquitos are most active (e.g., dusk and nighttime).
Moreover, wear long sleeves/pants and spray insect repellent on clothing, exposed skin, and hair when you are out at night (there are all-natural sprays available).
Finally, do not leave windows or doors open, as mosquitos will have a perfect entryway into your home.
Ticks are a concern because they can carry Lyme disease and co-infections like Babesia, and Bartonella. Unfortunately, Lyme disease is fast- growing in the Northeast and increasing in other regions, as well.
When Lyme is caught in the early stages, the chance for a full recovery is very good.
More often than not, the disease goes undetected because symptoms can mimic other illnesses. At the same time, testing methods are not always accurate, and this can also delay treatment.
Lyme symptoms are varied and often determined by the system or systems the bacteria are invading (pulmonary, cardiac, brain). For example, some people experience a racing pulse upon minimal exertion and others do not.
A circular rash at the bite site is often the first indication of the illness. However, not everyone with Lyme gets this rash or even knows about the bite.
Other signs include:
- Diffuse rashes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- Joint pain (e.g. knees, fingers, toes)
- Neck ache or stiffness
- Brain fog (adding simple numbers can be difficult)
- Nerve twitching
- Eye changes
- Bells Palsy, and more.
Some ways to stay away from tick bites? Protect your skin when you are outdoors by wearing long pants/ tops, socks (tuck them over your pants,) and insect repellent (even spray your animals).
Also, avoid grassy or brush areas, accumulated leaves, wooded regions, and other places where ticks like to hang out in large numbers (sadly, some may even be sunbathing on your lawn).
A final thought? Perform body inspections when you come inside (even do this with your animals). Naturally, the summer is meant to be enjoyed, so no one should be afraid to revel in the warmth.
Summertime means your family has more time to spend enjoying the great outdoors. This is the season where many insects thrive and usually leave nothing more than small itchy bites and bumps on your baby’s skin.
However, mosquitoes and other bugs are known to be vectors of serious diseases such as malaria, encephalitis, West Nile virus, and dengue among others.
Here is how to protect your baby from mosquito and insect bites:
First and foremost, do not bring your baby to places where there are plenty of bugs and mosquitoes. Places with stagnant water are usually the breeding ground of mosquitoes and other insects.
Other places where bugs and mosquitoes thrive include lakes, woods, flower gardens, and food parks.
Look for a mosquito or insect repellent that is safe for your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to use mosquito or infant repellents that contain only 10 percent DEET, the most effective chemical repellent, on babies, particularly on infants.
However, there are mosquito and insect repellents out in the market today that do not contain DEET as well as other chemicals like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and other toxins, yet are still effective in repelling insects and protecting your kids from insect bites.
These baby-safe insect repellents contain non-toxic, all-natural ingredients to keep your baby safe from pests. Before stepping out of the house, make sure to spray just the right amount of insect or mosquito repellent on your baby’s clothes, and then some on your hands and apply it on your baby’s skin.
Choose tightly woven clothing for your baby to wear. Choose ones that cover most of your baby’s exposed skin. Also, it has been found that light-colored clothes repel mosquitoes better than dark-colored clothes.
Do not forget to protect your baby’s feet with a pair of socks and/or shoes. Avoid staying outdoors during dusk and dawn as these are the times of the day when mosquitoes are most rampant.
You might also consider getting mosquito netting for your baby’s strollers, cots, playmats, prams, and other outdoor baby products.
Do not forget to reapply insect repellent after swimming or after activities that make your baby sweat.
There are several other things you can do to protect your baby and the rest of your family from mosquitoes and other bugs.
For instance, you can try:
- Covering up leftover food and cleaning up immediately after eating so as not to attract insects into your home. Clean up spills and other messes immediately as swell.
- Installing fly screens on your windows
- Avoiding wearing perfumes, lotions, soaps, and scented oils that attract insects, especially when you are carrying your baby outdoors.
- Spraying rooms with insecticides to eliminate pests. You can also try using an electric gadget that releases repellent into your rooms in the evening. These devices are generally plugged into an electric socket. The repellent, which is often permethrin, is contained in a bottle or small pad.
Gnats are relatives of flies and mosquitoes. In fact, they are tiny flies and sometimes called midges or blackflies. These insects thrive anywhere in the world and are mainly found near streams or rivers because they lay their eggs in wet places. Now, what do gnat bites look like?
They do not bite through clothes by they can crawl into your baby’s hair or under his clothes. A person who gets bitten by a gnat might not be aware of it at first.
But soon enough they will notice that the area around the bite will start to swell up. But a baby with sensitive skin may feel the bite at once and start to cry. A person who gets bitten by a gnat might also find a tiny amount of blood oozing from the bite.
The bite itself will be very itchy and, in a baby, may even be painful and very uncomfortable. If you were bitten by a gnat, what you should do is wash the bite with soap and water.
You should also consider applying a bit of antiseptic on the bite because gnats live in murky places and can land on dead animals and rotten food which are full of germs and bacteria.
After washing, you can apply an anti-itch cream to the bite or ask your doctor about an anti-itch medication that can be taken orally to help relieve the itching.
If the bite becomes very uncomfortable or painful, you can ask a doctor about pain medication that can be taken orally. You can also put an ice pack or a cold compress on the bite to help ease the pain.
When To Call Your Doctor
You should call your doctor if the area around the bite swells bigger than what is normal. Your doctor can recommend a prescription cream or oral medication. You should also call your doctor if your baby develops an infection.
The infection comes from scratching the bite. Your doctor could prescribe an antibiotic to clear up the infection. Very few people are allergic to a gnat bite, but if your baby has an allergic reaction to the bite, take your baby to your doctor right away.
Some of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction include fever, difficulty breathing, getting the hives (characterized by red patches on the skin that are itchy and painful).
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child go to your doctor right away. They can administer medicines that could ease allergy symptoms and treat the allergic reactions.
How To Keep Your Baby From Getting Bitten
Make sure your baby wears protective clothing which includes long-sleeved tops and long pants. And, apply a baby-safe insect repellent so your baby’s skin every time you step out of the house, especially when visiting places near bodies of water.
A baby-safe repellent should not contain DEET, toxins, parabens, phthalates, and sulfates and should contain only natural ingredients.
So, in order to have a wonderful time in nature on a lovely, sunny summer day, we need to be very careful — because we can easily fall prey and get bitten or stung by various insects. Safety is essential in insect bite identification.
If you are bitten by insects you will know in a very short time because of the immediate effects that can occur on your body, such as pain, itching, scratching, swelling, or a local redness.
They can be the most annoying symptoms that can disturb your peace and quiet. All these symptoms are caused by the actual venom or a toxic chemical substance produced by the insect’s body.
The venom or the toxin will attack your body, by producing allergic reactions immediately after it is injected in your body. The reactions that you will have are based generally upon how sensitive you are to the insect bites and to the venom or toxin.
The general reaction to insect bites are mild – like local stinging or itching sensations, and a little bit of swelling that usually disappears in a couple of days.
Sometimes, these are not the singular reactions, and if you are a sensitive or an allergic person you can have reactions such as swollen glands, painful joints and hives, or even high fever.
If you encounter these kinds of symptoms you must immediately contact a dermatologist or your family doctor in the shortest time possible, or if your medical situation aggravates you must call 911.
The most severe reactions to the insect’s bites venom or toxin are called anaphylaxis reactions. These reactions are similar to the allergic ones and appear only on the most sensitive humans.
The actual symptoms vary from toxic shock and swelling faces to even breathing difficulties and lung collapse.
Also, it is very important to know that these symptoms are caused by only a few dangerous animals and spiders such as venomous or toxic spiders, bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets.
First Aid For Insect Bites and Stings
If you are in an open space (outside your house) such as in the woods or lawns, it will be very wise to go inside, because in the wilderness you are highly exposed to other bites and stings from the other insects.
A straight razor, a knife, or even a plastic credit card can become handy if you get an insect sting. You will use this so-called “tools” in order to gently scrape off the stinger.
Do not try to pull the stinger, because it can most certainly have some venom or toxin to eject. Be careful. If you are concerned about the local inflammation, you can surely use some ice packs.
If you have a tick, you must gently remove the painful and dangerous tick with a pair of tweezers. Applying adhesive tape on the tick can also do the trick. If the wound remains in your skin for a long period of time, you must seek specialized medical attention.
If the wound is very itchy, feel free to use some prescribed over the counter medication.
There are over 3000 documented species of spiders in North America. The vast majority of these are not dangerous. Most of them have fangs that are not strong enough or are too small to pierce human skin. If they manage to bite, they leave behind red wounds that are itchy and heal in about a week.
Spiders with fangs strong enough to puncture human skin and inject toxic venom can cause major health problems.
How spider bites look like?
If you suspect you have been bitten by a spider these are the signs to look out for:
- Skin damage
- Muscle pains
- Red or purple colored blister
- Breathing difficulties
- A red welt
- High blood pressure
- Swollen lymph glands
Because they more often than not affect skin tissues, spider bites take quite a while to heal.
Here are a few types of spider bites and their symptoms.
They are found all over the United States. They have two large eyes at the center of their faces and six eyes in a row below these. They are about 4 inches in length and very hairy. They stalk their prey on the ground.
When you get bitten by wolf spider, you will experience pain, swelling and redness at the bite site. Your lymph nodes may swell also because of the bite. The bite can cause tissue damage though this rare. Healing takes as long as 10 days.
Brazilian wandering spider
Mostly found in South and Central America this spider measures in at 5 inches long. It’s movements are very quick and aggressive. It’s venom is one of most toxic in the world.
This spider’s bite is extremely painful. It results in drooling and heavy sweating. Around the bite, the skin will get hot, swell, and turn red. The Brazilian wandering spider bite can be fatal.
If bitten get to an emergency room immediately.
This spider is ubiquitous in North American houses. Its body is hairy and stout and about half an inch long. It moves in erratic jerky jumps. If threatened it will bite.
This spider’s bite can be as painful as a wasp sting.
Symptoms present as pain, headaches, swelling, redness and itching.
The Black widow has a black shiny body with long spindly legs. It’s bulbous abdomen has a red hourglass shaped mark. It prefers quiet places like woodpiles, storage boxes in attics and piles of dead leaves to name a few.
A bite from a black widow feels like a pinprick. The fangs will leave two puncture marks on the skin.
Black widow bite symptoms include:
- Pain and burning at bite site
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramping
- Increased salivation
Get to a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of these signs and more so if it’s an elderly person or a child.
This spider thrives in desert climates. It is about 3 inches in length. It has large jaws and a bite can inflict a significant cut in human skin which may experience mild bleeding and swelling.
For spider bites it’s better to err on the side of caution. See a doctor.
Centipedes are very creepy creatures. Their length is in the range of 1 to 8 inches. Centipedes start with a few pairs of legs and they increase with each new segment. Centipedes are found worldwide. They thrive in damp, dark places and climates that are wet but can also be found in arid areas and deserts.
In the United States centipedes inhabit a wide range of habitats including urban areas, deserts and swamplands. Around the home, they can be found in floor drains, crawl spaces and basements.
Outside they will be in potted plants, under rocks, rotten logs and in gardens. They also survive underwater.
How do centipedes bite
Centipedes do not actually bite. They puncture the skin by scratching with their clawed pointy hollow legs located right behind their heads. They use these hollow legs to inject venom.
When centipedes sting and inject venom, they leave two puncture marks in the skin. The area surrounding the bite will become inflamed and red. The bigger the centipede is, the higher the volume of venom injected and the more intense the pain. Smaller centipedes inject very little venom and the pain of the sting can be compared to a bee sting.
Symptoms of centipede bite
Symptoms of a centipede sting are inflammation, pain and redness in the skin around the sting site. The symptoms can last hours to several days.
If you are allergic to centipede venom, you may experience symptoms including, fever, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, chills, itching, heart palpitations and extreme swelling at the sting site. If you experience any or a mix of these severe reactions see a doctor.
Because centipede bites may have similarities to bites from more dangerous insects, if you are unsure what bit you get yourself to a doctor, more so if you are experiencing severe symptoms.
Treatment of centipede sting
In the absence of complications, centipede sting treatment focuses on alleviation of the symptoms and can be done at home by observing the following:
- Apply hot compress on the sting site. This dilutes the venom.
- To reduce the inflammation apply an ice compress to the wound.
- Use medication under the guidance of a pharmacist to reduce allergic reaction, pain and swelling. Apply a topical antibiotic to the wound to avoid infection. Keep the sting site clean and cover it up.
- If your symptoms do not abate in a few days you will need to call the doctor.
Complications as a result of centipede stings are because of skin and tissue damage at the sting site. You will probably be given a tetanus shot and antibiotics by your doctor if infection has occurred.
If red streaks appear near the wound or it is emitting a bad odor inform your doctor quickly.
If you suffer severe allergic reactions such as hives, dizziness, and swelling of the lips, tongue and throat call emergency services immediately.
Centipede stings, although quite painful, hardly ever result in severe health problems in people. At home treatments work quite well at alleviating pain and symptoms.