Late-summer picnics are in full swing and if you’re out enjoying one when dozens of flying insects intrude on your fun you may automatically assume they are bees but they could very well be yellow jackets, a type of ground-nesting wasp. They are known to be quite aggressive and a vicious retaliation may happen if the nest is knowingly or unknowingly disturbed. Yellow jackets have a black and yellow head/face and patterned abdomen. They are shaped like a thin wasp and have long, dark wings. They get confused with honey bees because of their coloring but honey bees are rounder in appearance and are fuzzy. The hives that honey bees create produce honey while yellow jackets live in nests that are usually found in secluded areas or on the ground. They build nests of paper with scraped wood mixed with saliva. Nests can be found in hollow logs, stumps, rodent burrows etc. Yellow jackets are social insects that live in colonies can contain up to 1,500 to 15,000! Colonies are at their peak in late summer and early fall. This is the most active time and they become more aggressive as the summer progresses because the hive is steadily increasing as the food supply decreases. They like sweets and proteins and this is the reason you’ll find them at outdoor activities like picnics and barbeques. They also like hanging around garbage cans.
Stings can be very dangerous so you need to know how to deal with them. Yellow jackets can sting multiple times because they don’t lose the stinger like honey bees do when they sting. They have a built-in alarm in the event of an attack and will release a smell that alerts other wasps to join the attack to defend the nest. The venom is dangerous only to those who have been stung repeatedly or are allergic to it. The sting of a yellow jacket is extremely painful. There can be redness and inflammation for a few hours after being stung and you may also have fatigue, itching and warmth around the site of the sting. Ice can help reduce swelling and pain along with aspirin and ibuprofen. There are symptoms that are caused if you have an allergic reaction. If you experience coughing or wheezing, difficult breathing or swallowing, hives, feeling dizzy or lightheaded and vomiting or diarrhea, call 911.
There are ways to decrease the chances you’ll gets stung. Vibrations from lawn mowers and trimmers have been known to disturb a nest as a trigger, resulting in a stinging insect attack, even from a distance so be careful when you’re doing yard work. Don’t swat at them. Gently brush them away if they land on you. Watch where they’re coming from and avoid the area. Avoid floral perfumes and lotions that can attract them. Keep garbage cans covered. Pour sugary drinks into a glass so wasps can’t fly into the can when you’re not looking.
If you see a few yellow jackets hovering around a hole in the ground you’ve come upon a nest site and your next step is to leave. Don’t try and deal with yellow jackets on your own. It’s best to get professionals to help you because of the danger associated with stinging insects. Contact Merlin’s Pest Control for our experience in dealing with yellow jackets.
Hornets are found across the United States and are the largest of all wasps. They look similar to yellow jackets with some species reaching up to 2.2 inches in length. Coloration varies from light yellow to white mixed with stripes. They have sturdy, robust bodies with big heads and rounded abdomens. Like other wasps, hornets will build communal nests by chewing wood to make a papery pulp. Most species of hornets make exposed nests in trees and shrubs while others build their nests underground or in other cavities. Nests can range from a few inches in diameter to the size of a basketball and colonies can get as large as 700 workers in late summer.
Hornets are considered pests when they aggressively guard their nests if they feel threatened. Hornet stings are more dangerous than those of bees and are more painful because hornet venom contains a large amount of acetylcholine (5%). They can also sting repeatedly and won’t die after their stinging like honey bees do because they have stingers without barbs that are not pulled out of their bodies. It’s reassuring to know that a single hornet sting isn’t likely to be fatal unless there’s an allergic reaction. The sting(s) from hornets will cause redness swelling and pain. If there’s and allergy to the venom there may be adverse, life-threatening reactions.
Hornets are notorious for building their nests close to us and will enter our home through gaps in the siding of the house or through open windows and doors. Hornets have been known to establish nests inside homes and can be found in attics or wall voids. The most effective way to get rid of hornets is to treat the main cause of the problem; the nest. This can be a very dangerous thing to do though. If you try and do this on your own the hornets will feel threatened and become aggressive. This can lead to them stinging you and anyone around you as they work to defend their nest and their young. Getting rid of wasps doesn’t necessarily mean you need to remove the nest, but you will have to treat the nest and the nesting hornets. Homeowners can keep grass cut short along with trimmed bushes and trees to make their property less favorable to hornets. It’s also a good idea to regularly inspect your property for nesting hornets to catch an infestation before it gets out of hand. If you find a nest the next step is to stay as far away from it as you can and call in the professionals right away.
It’s always best to arrange for professional treatment when it comes to hornets. They can be very dangerous and DIY removal is risky and toxic. Hornet extermination is something only experts should deal with. This will ensure the elimination of the hornets to keep you and your family safe from potentially life-threatening stings. We can also offer tips to prevent any problems in the future. Contact Merlin’s Pest Control if you’re having an issue with hornets or other pests.
Hornets are very well known throughout New Jersey among the locals and we are not talking about our talented athletes on the NBA Hornets team, but rather the pest species. Hornets in general are a nuisance due to their ability to repeatedly sting, what they perceive as a threat. Considering the number of species of hornets that are patrolling the aerial space, in New Jersey there are two common species you should be aware of. With that in mind, we at Merlin’s Pest Control would like to expound on the common species of hornets in New Jersey; the Bald Face Hornet, and the European Hornet.
Relatives of the yellow jackets, bald faced hornets are so named due to being mostly black in color but having the majority of their face white. Having aerial nests and large size; ½” – ¾” long, these hornets have long wasp-like bodies, six legs and feature antennae.
Bald faced hornets are social, living in colonies that include anywhere between 100-400 members in them. During the summer, when population is at their largest, they are frequently spotted building their paper-like nests that are generally 14 inches in diameter and over 24 inches in length, typically at least 3 feet off the ground. They often choose trees, shrubs, utility poles, sheds, and other structures for their nest construction. Unlike many other stinging pests, bald faced hornets do not reuse their nests season after season.
Anyone or anything that invades their space is likely to be attacked as bald faced hornets are aggressive; which makes nest removal fairly challenging. Risks not only include enduring multiply stings, but their venom lingers well over 24 hours causing pain and itching. Those allergic to the venom can experience mild to severe symptoms as well.
European hornets were introduced from Europe into New York in the 1800s and have since spread throughout the country. These hornets are also referred to as Giant Hornets as well because they are so much larger than yellow jackets and are active into the night unlike other stinging pests. European hornets are brown with pale faces and yellow abdominal stripes, featuring six legs and antennae, they have the long and robust wasp-like shaped bodies that are between ¾” and 1 ½” long. Like most hornets, European hornets are social insect and like bald faced hornets have 100-400 members in their colony. They are typically most active in late summer. These hornets can be considered beneficial as they eat grasshoppers, flies, and yellow jackets; keeping their population down, however, they will also eat honeybees as well as tree sap, fruit, and honeydew. Known to repeatedly bang on lighted windows at night, European hornets are attracted to light.
European hornets will protect their nests with a brown envelope of cellulose materials derived of dead wood and often build their nest in the hollow of trees, walls, out buildings, attics and even abandoned beehives. Not only can they deliver multiple stings infused with venom that causes pain and itching as well as allergy symptoms, but European hornets are a threat to trees and shrubs as they strip back the bark to get to the sap.
Summer is the time when wasps pollinate plants and flowers as they feed on nectar. This makes them beneficial but time spent outdoors can easily be ruined by them. They can be noisy and aggressive and people don’t like them because they build nests near homes and sting anyone they perceive as a threat. Wasps are an insect that is neither bee nor ant. They are predatory insects that spend lots of time hunting and catching smaller insects to feed to their young. Not to be confused with bees, wasps have slender bodies, narrow waists and appear to be shiny while bees have hairier bodies. They sting multiple times because their stinger remains intact. The stingers are smooth without a barb at the end that becomes anchored in its victim.
The National Pest Management Association reports that more than half a million people are sent to the emergency room every year because of stinging insects. The sting of a wasp can be extremely painful, more so for those who have sensitive skin. If you or a member of your family have an allergy, a few stings can quickly become serious. While those with allergies to stings are more at risk, anyone can be affected if a large number of them swarm and sting all at once. The sting of a wasp should wear off within 24 hours but you need medical attention immediately if a wasp stings you in the mouth or neck. Medical help is also required if you experience giddiness, nausea, unusual swelling or extreme pain after getting stung.
If wasps invade your property they can become a major nuisance. Wasp venom contains a pheromone that will cause other wasps to become more aggressive; so try not to disturb them. The best way to avoid running into problems with wasps is to make sure your property is free of hives and nests. Walk around your property and look for signs of wasp activity. Look to overhangs, eaves and the underside of porches and decks for nests. Also look at trees, shrubs and sheds. Wasps will not bother you if you don’t bother them. If the nest poses no threat to you then you can just leave it alone. Colonies will become extremely defensive if you try and deal with a problem on you own. Do not disturb a nest if you can help it. Do not throw objects at the nest, don’t spray it with a water hose, don’t try to set it on fire and don’t use insect repellent on it. These methods will disturb the wasps and increase the chance you’ll get stung; and they’re just not effective either.
Wasps can cause serious problems and for this reason, they need to be dealt with as soon as possible. The nest needs to be located because this is the source of the problem. Removing the nest removes the wasps and will get rid of them for good. Trained professionals can properly identify the pest you’re dealing with and the threats associated with them. We also have the skills, knowledge and tools to get the job done fast and safe. Call Merlin’s Pest Control for all your pest control needs.
Summer weather means flowers along with busy bees doing their job. Many of us consider any flying insect with a stinger a “bee”. The first step in determining what you need to do is to know which buzzing insect you’re dealing with. New Jersey is home to three species of bees; honeybees, bumblebees and carpenter bees.
Honey bees are golden yellow with brown bands. Their body is thin and oval-shaped. They measure about a half-inch long and are covered with tiny hairs. They live in hives and are the only social insect with a colony that can survive for many years.
Bumblebees are black with yellow stripes. They too have oval-shaped bodies with tiny hairs covering them and measure about an inch in length. Bumble bees will make their nests on the ground but will nest above the ground sometimes. You may find nests around patios or decks and in soffits of attics.
Carpenter bees look like bumblebees but usually lack yellow stripes. They are more robust in shape as opposed to other bees with shiny bodies that have less hair and can be a quarter-inch to an inch long. They will make holes in wood in order to nest which is the reason for its name.
Bees pollinate plants and crops, making them an important part of the ecosystem. It’s estimated that that up to 70% of U.S. commercial crops, including fruits, vegetables and even nuts rely on the pollination of honey bees. Honeybees have been protected in New Jersey since 2008. According to the New Jersey Beekeepers Association, other than colonies living within indoor structures, it is illegal to kill honeybee colonies without the approval from the appropriate agencies. It is very important to consult with a pest control specialist if there is ever a question about the bees you’re dealing with and make sure you choose professionals that are experienced in bee identification and removal.
1. You can be subject to fines from the state if you destroy a honeybee hive.
2. The sprays you can purchase at the store are full of chemicals and can be harmful to you and your pets if you don’t use them the right way. You run the risk of getting sting multiple times and if you’re working on a ladder there’s added danger.
3. Bees are normally docile but will sting if there any disturbance to their nest or they are provoked. Stings can be painful and even deadly if you suffer a dangerous reaction.
4. Professionals will ensure all traces of the hive are removed. This prevents attracting rodents and other insects. We will also make sure all the bees are removed before closing the area. This is an important step to prevent future infestations because if bees are trapped and can’t get out, they will find their way into your home through air vents and electrical sockets.
Carpenter ants, as their name implies, are found in wooden environments as they tunnel galleries in them where they live. Often mistaken for termites, these ants are similar in a few ways, but they do not eat the wood like termites. Despite their eating habits, they are still responsible for a considerable amount of damage in different structures. At this time, we at Merlin’s Pest Control would like to shine the spotlight on carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants can measure up to ¾” in length, being one of the largest of the ant species in Virginia. Generally these ants are black in color, but some can have reddish or yellowish coloring. As previously mentioned, they do not eat wood like termites but they do eat other insects, pollen, seeds, and fruit. Preferring to chew their way through damp wood to tunnel galleries for the nests, ants are often found invading dead woods, dying or dead trees, stumps, even buried stumps, as well as wood used to construct structures.
Carpenter ants are capable of biting people, especially if they feel that they or their nests are threatened, and due to their large stature, the bite can be a painful pinch. Sometimes it will even break the skin. A valuable weapon when contending to other insects, carpenter ants will attempt to spray a natural formic acid chemical they produce to enhance the pain if given the opportunity.
Carpenter ant red flags may include the following:
– Rustling movement sounds subtly in the background as they scatter within the walls. Typically the faint sound is heard while they are infesting the wood.
– Finding trails of sawdust that is left behind from where carpenter ants have bored holes into the wood.
– A knife can very easily penetrate the surface of the carpenter ant infested wood from when the carpenter ants have created the tunnels in the wood, leaving the wood like an empty shell.
– Much like termites, the swarmer carpenter ants, or the reproducing ants, will leave piles of shed wings lying around near window sills, baseboards and vents after settling in a new area to build a new colony.
– Wood that is smooth to the surfaced, very reminiscent of carefully sanded down wood, and free of dirt, mud, and debris gives wide, abnormal galleries the carpenter ant has carved.
– Tapping wooden materials throughout the building that sound hollow are another indication.
– Seeing the carpenter ants themselves.
Considering the devastation of damage they can cause and the costly repairs that will soon follow, if you suspect carpenter ants are invading your Virginia home, business, trees, stumps, or exterior structures, contact the professionals at Merlin’s Pest Control. Our technicians know the carpenter ant very well and are armed with knowledge and effective products and strategic application. We can efficiently remove carpenter ants from your home or business. Call Merlin’s Pest Control today to schedule your evaluation and assessment service, which following the inspection we will present the most optimal solution.
Pests are an issue for many people and having them in our homes is a horrible thought. No one wants to deal with nasty little pests and critters running around their residence. Most people recognize that pests are not good to have in their home because some can bite such as spiders. They can be a danger to young children and even adults if they are unlucky enough to be bitten. That is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are many things about pests that will make you want them out of your home even more so. A reliable pest control service is needed to keep your home from a major infestation and let you rest easy. Professional pest control companies will come out and treat your home and property on a regular basis to treat for current pests as well as prevent any further infestation. You want to be sure that you continue your pest control all year long.
Pest Populations Are Likely Higher than You Think!: One thing about pests is that you probably don’t seem to see that many. Maybe on occasion you will see one pass by outside. You might also see them when you head down for a midnight snack. The funny thing about these pests is that there are many more than you might have thought. When a study was done to see how many pests there were compared to people it was quite scary. The results were about 200 million pests to each person that is on the earth. That means that the ones you see are really only a very small amount of what is actually there. This should be enough to make anyone want to call their pest control company and have their home treated today!
Pests Are Very Sneaky: When it comes to pests they don’t want to be seen just as much as you don’t want to see them. They are likely to be in places they know you won’t see them easily. Most pests wait for a nice quiet and dark room to come out. If they hear too much noise pests will hide under furniture, cabinets and more. Most pests are very small and can easily fit into places that you may completely overlook. Just because you don’t actually see them doesn’t mean they are not there.
Pests Carry Disease & Bacteria: We know that spiders can have some venom that is dangerous when they bite but they are not the only harmful pest. Did you know that a simple cockroach can carry bacteria that can be just as dangerous if you come in contact with it? A cockroach does not have to touch you directly to spread the bacteria. They can walk around with their bacteria ridden feet on counters and surfaces that you and your family touch all the time. Then you touch your face eat food prepared on these surfaces and can get sick.
One of the top invasive pests during the heat of summer is the ant. Ants, regardless of the species, can prove to be a persistent pest that is difficult to remove from your home. In the state of New Jersey there are four major species of ant that invade homes every summer. Merlin’s Pest Control will cover these common and aggravating species of ants and how you can prevent them from invading your home as the summer heat increases.
1. Odorous House Ant – This species of ant is around 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length and are either brown or black. Their name comes from the nasty odor they emit when they are killed. They will forage great distances and will eat just about anything.
2. Pharaoh Ant – This species of ant is normally light yellow to a reddish brown in color and only get up to 1/16 of an inch in length. They are a major invasive species of ant since they can be composed of multiple colonies. They like sweet treats and meats but will eat anything they can find.
3. Pavement Ant – The Pavement ant, as their name suggests, are often found making their nests in cracks of pavement. However, this isn’t always the case. They are dark brown or black in color and are between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length. They will travel great distances to find food and will invade homes or even built their nests in cracks or porches where they are closer to a potential food source, which means your food.
4. Carpenter Ant – One of the most destructive ant species to invade a home is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants can be red or black in color or even a combination of both. They can range in sizes of 1/18 to ½ inch in length. Colonies will build their nests in moist or decaying wood and often will invade homes and cause expensive damages. They will eat just about anything but they especially love sugary sweets.
To help prevent any of these invasive ant species you will first want to seal all food inside the home. This means using air tight, sealable containers where the ants can’t smell it and then crawl inside the containers to get to the food. You obviously never want to leave food out especially food from dirty dishes in the sink or etc. Sweep up crumbs from the floor and keep your counter tops and dining areas clean. Make sure that your sinks are free of grease that could attract the species who love fatty oils and grease. You will then want to make sure your window screens are in good condition and that all the cracks on the outside of your home are sealed. You will also want to keep your yard free of moist, decaying wood and free from all yard debris in general. Lastly, you will want to hire a pest control company.
Merlin’s Pest Control can help combat invasive ants that may be causing a lot of grief in your home this summer. If you’re under invasion from one of these ant species, contact Merlin’s Pest Control today.
The creepy way that spiders move across the ground leave a lot of people squirming when they see one crawl across their path. Nothing leaves you itching like walking into an unknown spider web in your home. Even though there are several spiders that don’t pose a threat to humans, nobody wants to find them in their home. Merlin’s Pest Control is here to talk about some of the common spiders you might find around your home and how to avoid a spider infestation.
Many spider species are not a threat, but are actually beneficial in that they eat other insects. Nobody wants to find spiders in their home, but these spiders truly are harmless.
• Common House Spider– This spider ranges in color from black to brown and is the common spider found in homes. They usually avoid people and find dark, cool places like a basement or other storage rooms to spin their funnel webs.
• Jumping House Spider– Seeing a little spider jump across the floor or wall can be frightening. These small spiders are, however, harmless. They are found in a variety of colors between grey and brown.
• Daddy Long Legs– The daddy long legs is one of the most common spiders you will find. They are easily distinguishable by their round bodies and incredibly long legs. They are thought to be one of the most venomous among spiders. They don’t have any venom at all though. They are simply harmless.
There are, unfortunately, some spiders that you should be aware are venomous and pose a threat to you. The symptoms range from mild to severe depending on the spider and the victim.
• Yellow Sac Spider– These spiders range in color from yellow to beige and are found hiding most of the time. They are easily distinguished by the sac they carry. Their bite is not deadly, but painful.
• Black Widow Spider– A very popular and feared spider that is known for its black body and red hourglass marking on its abdomen. They build messy, large webs and their bite can be deadly. If you are bitten by a black widow, you should seek medical attention right away.
• Brown Recluse Spider– Commonly identified by the violin shaped marking on its back, the brown recluse packs a punch when it bites. They will avoid contact with humans though, and only bite when they feel threatened.
There are a few tips to avoid spider infestations in your home.
• Store firewood outside, away from your home
• Seal up any potential entry points
• Store belongings in air tight containers that spiders can’t enter.
• Keep your yard free from debris and other potential hiding place for spiders.
• Have your home treated by a professional pest control company.
If you find that you are having a hard time staying on top of the spider population in your home and want to get rid of them, it’s time to call the professionals at Merlin’s Pest Control to help. We will help eliminate the spider population in your home. Call us today!
Whenever people hear the word termites, they shudder knowing what it entails. Termites cause millions of dollars a year in damage to homes and businesses in the United States. Their destructive nature can leave nothing but ruin in their wake after they have infested a structure. Thankfully, professionals have effective methods and techniques that can obliterate their existence to protect your home or business if you are observant enough to catch on to the red flags. But what if you suspect termites in the trees of your yard, but do not think they have reached your home yet? We at Merlin’s Pest Control would like expound on that particular scenario and share some tips and advice on the best course of action.
In one respect, termites are considered beneficial, as they will recycle fallen trees and decaying stumps. Often homeowners will discover termites upon closer inspection when they notice their trees looking unhealthy. Being closely related to cockroaches, termites have over 3,000 species throughout the world, with the exception being Antarctica. Surviving primarily on plant and cellulose materials, or wood to keep it basic, termites are active all year long and colonies can have 250,000 members. Termites, however, do seem more active during the late spring and early summer months where there mature reproductive termites will leave the colony to start new ones.
A few species of termites will infest living plants and trees, but generally the majority of termites will banquet on dead wood. Though they target dead or ailing trees, they can still overcome healthy trees. Termites leave evidence that they are devouring trees; tiny holes, and piles of wood shavings are spotted at the base of the trees. Additional signs may be the bodies of deceased termites, discarded wings, shelter tubes constructed of mud on the trunks of the trees and tiny white eggs. If you see these indicators, take a shovel and dig around the roots just below the soil line exposing the termites.
Removing the termite infestation should be on your top priority list, especially if the discovered colony is close to your home. To offer your home more protection, apply the following:
– Prune the infected limbs
– Pull out the infected stumps
– Burn or efficiently dispose of the infected wood.
– Apply termite exterminating products or for more effective approach contact Merlin’s Pest Control for extermination.
Though you may find termites in your yard, it does not automatically mean your home is also infested; however, it is in your better interest to keep an eye out for the red flags of termite infestations or to be sure, hire a professional to perform a comprehensive termite inspection. If you believe you have termites, Merlin’s Pest Control can effectively remove the termites from your home or landscaping. Call us today to get started!