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.
Gnats are tiny flies including mosquitoes, midges, drain flies, black flies, fruit flies and sand flies. They buzz around your face and eyes so persistently even when you try to swat them away.
Gnats have head, thorax and abdomen. They have two pairs or a pair of wings and six legs which in most species are long compared to their body size. Their mouth parts are categorized as either lapping, piercing or sucking. Some gnats feed on blood. Others feed on plant material or other insects.
These insects are small and have a furry appearance. They have broad leaf shaped wings and a hairy body. They are found in drains, bathrooms, sinks and septic tanks. They are also found in sewage contaminated soil. Their eggs are laid inside the sink drains. The bacteria inside the drain acts as a food source for the larvae once the eggs hatch.
Sand flies are brown, gray, or golden. They are tiny flying insects. Despite their small size these insect has such a painful bite. You would think you have been stung. Their bite can result in inflammation and redness at the bite site. Females feed on mammals blood. The six species found in North America don’t carry any disease. The ones found in other regions of the world can transmit a virus called sandy fly fever which is not fatal.
These insects look very similar to mosquitoes. Midges however have a snout that’s much shorter. The females have feathered wings while the males have bushy ones. They will be found in swarms near lakes, slow moving streams and ponds . Lights attract them and they will be found flying around street and porch lights.
Fungus Gnats are small flies that look like tiny mosquitoes. Their heads are smaller than their segmented antennae. The have light light gray wings and narrow legs.
Fungus gnats lay their eggs in the soil of your potted plant and remain near the plant which has organic matter and fungus that act as their source of food. When the eggs hatch the larvae feed on the plant root hairs and the organic matter in the soil. At this stage they are not easily noticeable. They can damage your plant nutrition uptake causing stunted growth.
These insects are attracted by contaminated soil, rotting vegetable and fruits and accumulated garbage.
What attracts Gnats to your home?
Gnats love damp areas and places with organic matter. That’s why they are found in the bathroom.
They come to your home to seek out a place to breed and to find food.
Use fly paper. This method works every time. The paper has sticky surfaces that traps flying gnats. Just hung it up using a ribbon where there are lots of gnats.
Buy insecticide spray for these gnats and follow the instructions on the can on what to do.
Preventing gnat infestation
- Dry moist areas in your house.
- Repair any pipe leaks
- Throw out fruits that are overripe
- Don’t overwater potted plants.
Gnats are a nuisance. If their infestation overwhelms you, call a pest control professional to deal with effectively help you get rid of the problem.
Though moths are attracted to light, they often lay eggs in dark places such as pantries or closets. If you don’t know what signs to look out for, you may not discover you have a moth problem until it is too late.
The most common way to contract a moth infestation is by carrying infected items into the home. Food and clothing items that have larvae or eggs hiding within them can introduce a moth problem when you least expect it.
You may see moths attracted to your outdoor lights at night, but these are not the types of moths usually invade the home. Most moth infestations come from the pantry moth or clothes moths.
Unsealed containers in our pantries are perfect targets for pantry months. These insects can lay eggs where they are most likely to be fed and nurtured, such as in grains and flour.
In our closets, moths feed on natural fabrics like leather, wool, and silk. Their eggs can hatch and survive on these items, using the fibers for food and protection.
When to expect moth eggs
Clothes moths and pantry moths each leave being telltale signs of their habitation. Here are the signs you need to watch for.
- Silky furrows, tunnels, or trenches found on wool clothing and fabrics.
- Irregular holes in clothing.
- Furs that shed excessively.
- Tiny tubes stuck to fabric, which are larvae casings.
- Crusty deposits on rugs, drapes, and clothing.
- Small cream-colored moths appearing in flight or crawling on surfaces.
- Small holes in plastic food bags.
- Eggs or larvae inside food packages.
- Web-like material inside pantry corners.
- Small, drab-colored moths crawling or flying.
Even if you’ve only seen a small pantry moth or two, chances are these moths have laid eggs in your dry goods or have hatched from within them.
Tips to Help get Rid of Moth Larvae
Follow these tips to help reduce moth larvae in your home.
- Change vacuum bags often – to make sure you remove larvae & eggs from your property, emptying your vacuum outside & carefully double bag the content before placing in outside bin.
- Wash all fabrics – soft furnishings, linens, rugs, blankets, curtains & towels in the affected area – moth larvae find these as tasty as clothes.
- Keep clothes clean – female moths like to lay eggs on fabrics stained with sweat or urine as the larvae gain more nutrients from these. Always clean clothes before putting them back in your wardrobe.
- Clean and wash down affected furniture – wardrobes, cupboards and drawers, especially cracks & crevices where moth eggs can be hidden out of sight.
- Clean suitcases – bags, storage boxes & containers as these might be hiding more eggs or larvae.
Plants that eat bugs
Plants are productive creatures without which we would not have oxygen to breathe or get rid of carbon dioxide. Moreover, without plants we would not have the energy we need to survive.
Plants obtain energy from the Sun. We get this energy directly by eating them or indirectly when we consume animals that feed on plants. However, have you ever heard of plants that not only eat bugs, but also small animals?!
No need to wonder; this is reality. Some plants do not obtain enough nutrition from the soil, and hence, opt for hunting insects and small animals. However, this does not make them consumer creatures, for they remain productive through photosynthesis.
Why and How these amazing plants hunt
Most of these plants grow in nitrogen-poor soils by swamps. Nitrogen is an essential element for plants; thus, they make up for these missing nutrients by consuming insects.
Predatory plants have become to be as such due to evolution. Living organisms change, spontaneously evolving to cope with the surrounding environment.
In other words, predatory plants were once regular plants, but they evolved to consume insects and small animals in response to their poor environment.
If you think about it, plants in general have neither muscular nor digestive systems; how then do they hunt and digest their preys? Predatory plants set traps to hunt insects through their attractively colorful, yet very sticky, leaves.
One such species looks dewy, which attracts insects that soon get trapped by these deceivingly sticky drops. Other predatory plants emit distinctive smells that attract insects.
Once the insects are trapped, predatory plants use one of two techniques to catch them. They can change the water pressure in one side of the leaf, making it bend over the other side.
Other plants do the hunting, but wait for other creatures to eat the prey, so that they may then feed on their wastes as prepared meals.
The Most Famous Carnivorous Plants
There are about 600 different species of predatory plants around the world, the most famous of which are:
- The Cape Sundew: A perennial plant that flourishes in humid places in South Africa and consumes insects.
- The Red Dragon: One of the most famous carnivorous plants that also exists in South Africa. It consumes insects and small animals, such as frogs, using its large colorful leaves to attract prey.
- The Venus Flytrap: This species is in the United States, specifically in the State of Carolina, which is rich with swamps. Flies, bees, and spiders are its main food.
Predatory plants face an extremely harsh challenge; how is pollen transferred if its means of transportation becomes the food of plants? How do these plants reproduce?
It has been proven however, that most predatory plants can differentiate between pollen carriers and other insects they consider prey.
Pollen-carrying insects head to the plant flowers rich in pollen, which is usually far from the leaves. Other insects head to the plant leaves and are trapped then eventually eaten.
There are over 11000 documented species of millipedes globally. Millipedes have a rounded body with visible segments. They are black to reddish brown in color. They have legs attached on the underbelly of all the body segments except the first and last segments. They don’t move fast although they have many legs. They like living in damp dark places such as under rotting wood, rocks, deritus and leaves.
Millipedes don’t bite
Millipedes are not a threat to people. They are detritivores, this means they feed on rotting organic matter. They are found all over the world. The biggest more toxic species inhabit south pacific and the Caribbean. The larger the millipede is the higher the volume of toxins it emits. When the weather gets really hot millipedes will look for cool dark damp places and may wander into your home while doing so. They don’t cause any damage to your house and if you happen to find one in your home just sweep it outside using a broom. It is as simple as that.
When threatened Millipedes coil up in a ball to defend themselves but they don’t bite.
To fight against predators such as spiders and ants, millipedes emit a toxic fluid from their glands. Some larger species can spray toxins about three feet away if under threat. This toxin consists of hydrogen cyanide and hydrochloric acid which cause asphyxiation and burning effects on its predators. Millipedes emit this toxin in small amounts that are harmless to humans. In large amounts they are harmful to people.
If you touch a millipede coiled in defense when you put it down, your hand will have brown smear which will leave a stain even after being washed.
Though the emission from millipedes isn’t toxic to humans, there are people who are sensitive to it and even suffer allergies from it. These allergies present as redness, rash, itching, burning, and hives.
If you have come into contact with a millipede clean your skin using antibiotic soap and water, even if there is no toxin visible on you. This is just to take precautions to avoid potential allergic reaction.
If hives pop up on your skin after handling millipedes, thoroughly clean your skin with soap and tepid water. Apply oatmeal as a salve to soothe the hives.
Don’t touch your eyes before properly washing your hands if you have been in contact with Millipedes. If the toxins get into your eyes they could be corrosive to the eye tissues.
Though rare if you experience these severe allergic reactions to millipedes you should see a doctor quickly.
- difficulty breathing
- Facial swelling
- Rapid heart rate
- Rashes all over the body
Keep Millipedes outside the house
Make sure your home is dry. Since millipedes like moist environments when they are denied moisture they die quickly. So keeping a dry home is a good way to deter them.
Seal all possible entry points like window edges, cracks and crevices in the walls.
Replace the weather stripping around doors and windows.
Though millipedes don’t bite their toxins can cause skin irritation when handled.
With the rise of organic gardening, pesticides are becoming less and less popular.
For strawberry growers, this trend is a good one. Strawberries routinely make the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that are most contaminated with chemicals, insecticides, or other toxins. Few people would voluntarily eat pesticides.
Interestingly enough, the tarnished plant bug is rather resilient.
These insects indirectly halt the grown of strawberries causing them to be worthless and inedible. While in the nymph stage, they will inject a toxin into a strawberry. The toxin shuts down strawberry growth from the site of injection down to the tip of the strawberry.
The resultant deformed fruit is called a “nubbin” or “button berry” and has a tip that is quite full of brown, undeveloped seeds that stopped developing once the toxin was injected.
For the strawberry grower, a Mmalformed strawberry or two can mean a loss. Caring and tending strawberries for many, long hours can be disappointing with this kind of result.
In the strawberry farming business, a bountiful harvest, of course, means good income.
Anything that poses a threat to the harvest is a burden to the gardener. There are many agents that can cause a strawberry harvest to consist of strawberries that have significant deformations or damage. The most common causes are:
- The tarnished plant bug. While these insects are in their nymph phase, a toxin is injected into new fruit. Once injected, the berry ceases to properly develop or growing below the injection site, causing a half-formed strawberry with a dense pack of non-viable brown non-viable seeds at the tip, which is unpleasant and completely useless for the future growing of seeds.
- Mites. An infestation of different kinds of mites will cause severe damage in strawberries. Scarred and fissured strawberries are likely the result of feeding by some sundry insects.
- Pollination problems. Inadequate pollination can result in small, malformed fruit. Extremely high temperatures can seriously affect strawberry formation because of the heat’s effects on pollen. With temperatures that are extremely high, the pollen itself is devitalized. This causes poor pollination.
Research is currently underway to isolate an actual fungus that will infect and kill these bugs. However, it is unlikely that such a remedy will be developed any time soon. To mitigate the chance that your strawberry patch will be infested, two things can be done.
First, avoid mowing alfalfa anywhere near your strawberry plants while the strawberry plants are blooming. Tarnished plant bugs thrive in alfalfa, and destroying their home will cause them to seek a new home (in your garden).
The second is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth in and around your garden. While not completely effective against the tarnished plant bug, it does serve to make your garden less inviting.