Categories
Squirrels

Discover the hidden dangers of keeping gray squirrels on your property

Are Gray Squirrels Harmless?

This pest is often viewed as cute, harmless creatures. With their bushy tails and playful antics, it’s easy to forget they can pose serious risks when they make your property their home. But what many homeowners don’t realize is that these small mammals can cause significant damage and pose health risks. Let’s delve into the dangers of having this intruder on your property and why it’s important to address the issue promptly.

Structural Damages

One of the most common problems is the structural damage they can cause. They have strong teeth that continuously grow, prompting them to gnaw on various materials to keep their teeth in check. This habit can lead to:

  • Damaged Insulation: nests can appear in attics, tearing up insulation and blocking ventilation. This can lead to reduced energy efficiency and higher utility bills.
  • Chewed Electrical Wires: gnawing on wires pose a significant fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical issues are a leading cause of house fires.
  • Compromised Roofs and Eaves: they can chew through wooden beams and soffits to gain access to your attic, leading to costly repairs.

Health Risks

Gray Squirrels can also carry a variety of diseases and parasites that pose health risks to humans and pets. Some of the health hazards include:

  • Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection can be transmitted through urine and can cause severe illness in humans.
  • Lyme Disease: Often carrying ticks that are vectors for Lyme disease, which can lead to long-term health issues.
  • Salmonella: their droppings can contain salmonella bacteria, leading to food poisoning if humans come into contact with contaminated areas.
gray squirrel

The Ecological Impact

While they play a role in the ecosystem, their presence on your property can disrupt local wildlife and damage your gardens.

They can outcompete native species and dominate bird feeders or other food sources, depriving local bird species of their sustenance. While also spreading invasive plants by transporting and burying seeds, squirrels can inadvertently spread invasive plant species, disrupting local flora. Prevent an Infestations, consider the following tips:

Seal Entry Points: Inspect your home for gaps and holes, especially in the roof and attics, and seal them securely. At Huntsman we professionally seal entry points after doing a thorough inspection that determines nests and other damages caused by these pests.

Trim Trees: Keep tree branches trimmed back from your house to prevent easy access to your roof.

Secure Food Sources: Use proof bird feeders and keep outdoor trash bins tightly sealed.

Why Professional Pest Control is Essential

While DIY measures can help reduce the risk of an infestation, professional pest control services offer comprehensive solutions. Experts can conduct thorough inspections, Identify and seal entry points you might have missed. Safely and humanely remove squirrels from your property.

We provide ongoing monitoring and prevention strategies to keep your home squirrel-free, whilst implementing our guaranteed treatments that include tailored solutions to remove this pest from your property.

Categories
Wasps

Queen wasp. All you need to know about it

In the animal kingdom, there are plenty of queens. Most of them are flying insects, especially bees. However, there are other bugs that are pretty like bees that have a queen: wasps. These insects have a hierarchy, and it needs to be the first one to go and provide to the colony. They will be the ones in charge of establishing the nest and many other things that you will learn once we talk about how important they are to the environment and their peers.

Does a queen wasp look like others?

First, wasps have very distinguishing features and can be easily differentiated from other flying insects, however, if you come to think of it, most of them look the same, and in this case, it is no different. Wasps have several species, and normally the queen looks terribly like its workers. Regarding size, they are larger and have a tiny waist, making their abdomen to look like it is thinner. However, this does not happen in all the species, especially in the paper wasps since they have the same size as their workers.

In their characteristics, we can find a pointed abdomen and their growth can go up to 3.8 cm in some cases; however, this depends on the type of wasp. They have bright yellow stripes around their black body. As we said previously, their distinguishing characteristic is that their abdomen is thinner and have a sharp stinger.

What’s the queen wasp’s behaviour like?

Now that we have spoken about its appearance, we must talk about its behaviour. It is not like a common wasp, as they have all the responsibility to build their nest from the ground up. They are the first ones to awaken when the spring comes and must feed as soon as possible, so they can find a safe space where to start building their nest. Also, their main function is to lay eggs for the colony to grow strong. They are the ones that delegates the functions to the other wasps and must ensure the survival of the colony for all the future generations (although she is the only one that can do it).

Of course, there is something that you need to know about them. There are always little queens in training. Even if the queen wasp is killed (most probably by humans since they are all the time inside the nest), the colony will continue, the workers will move on from the old queen and select one of the ones that were being trained, so it is their responsibility now to continue with the legacy of the colony. They are going to do the job that they were trained for and making sure the colony survives.

Remember that there are always eggs that were laid by the queen, so if you think a solution to a wasp problem is to kill the queen, it is not the case as someone will always take the place of the previous one. This is one of the best ways to save their future, as queens are very cunning, savvy and of course, smart if we evaluate them as if they were humans.

Can a queen wasp sting?

Insects need to have ways of protecting themselves from other animals and predators, and as you might know, wasps have big stings that are not afraid to use. They will naturally defend themselves by using the sting. It is interesting to know that even though queens start hibernating during the winter months, they can sting any person or animal that tries to move them.

Also, when a queen stings you, you will get the same symptoms as if a normal wasp stung you. They do not tend to be more dangerous than others. However, queens have two different barbs that they can use. One of them is to get the prey and immobilize it, and them with the other one they can inject venom that will render its victim paralysis, which is their goal, so they can feed more easily without resistance.

When do wasp queens go out of the nest?

First, queens go into hibernation once the cold temperatures of the winter start to come. Most of the other wasps will die, and the only one that can continue living through that is the queen. Once winter is over and the temperatures rise, the queen will wake up from her hibernation. Immediately, she will try to find food and lay her first eggs. These will be female workers, who are sterile, so they will not take its place if anything happens. Going in spring, new workers will start foraging for the queen, as it did when they were just larvae, and it had to get food for them to develop correctly.

You must understand that they do not leave the nest after they have established a colony. They will not go over and be out where predators can get it. As autumn comes, they will start searching for another place where they can survive the freezing weather and enter their hibernation status, and then start the cycle all over again.

How much time does a queen wasp live?

In the animal kingdom, most animals have a purpose, and once they have fulfilled it, then it is time for them to die and give in to the new generation. A queen’s purpose is to have a stable colony where the workers know what to do and can keep on. Before they die, they will leave virgin queen larvae, this will happen in the months of Autumn as it is the mating season for them. Once winter passes, the cycle will start all over again. If you think about it, there are few stages in their lives, and they technically only get to live one year.

Categories
Wasps

Hoverfly vs Wasp, what´s the difference between them?

In the animal world, there are many that tend to look like one or another. Sometime, this is something useful for them as they “pretend” to be a more dangerous animal in case they do not have a good defence mechanism, and it really helps them to get away in life. There are bugs that take advantage of camouflaging with their environment and making sure other dangerous animals do not check them out.

One of these bugs is the hoverfly. Sometimes it is incredible how bugs resemble to each other, but when you see a hoverfly, the first thing that will come to your mind is a wasp. They are so alike but so different at the same time. We will learn about their differences and to know how to differentiate them, as they are experts in making birds and other animals think they are one of the most aggressive and dangerous insects: wasps. If you are facing a problem with these insects, you can consult with this pest exteriminator.

Characteristics of a Hoverfly

You are thinking of what a hoverfly is since they look so like wasps. If you have not heard about them, they are the most important pollinators around the UK, tied with flies. They are found in Spring when flowers start to bloom.

Regarding appearance, as we have said before, they really look like wasps, but you need to learn how to separate them. The first thing that you will notice once you have seen a hoverfly is their eyes. They have huge eyes in comparison to their bodies, they are big and black. Males often have bigger eyes than females for them to spot them, so they can mate faster.

Their abdomen is flat and thin. They do not have a waist; their body is like a stick. Colours like bright yellow and black can be found in markings all around their bodies. These markings seem like wasps, but they are not as defined. They have more yellow around their bodies than black, it is orangish. With only one pair of wings, they can fly properly and when they want to rest, they form a V.

Hoverflies tend to be very calm, and they do not have stings, so it is not that they are going to chase you around to sting you since their main goal is to pollinate the flowers that are starting to bloom and feed from it. You might see them flying for a long time and, they can move through large areas, constantly searching for food.

Of course, when you talk about adult hoverflies, nectar is their main food, but remember that they go through a cycle, and they tend to change their diet. When they are larvae, they like to eat aphids, making them great allies when you want to control pests in your garden because of their diet. And when they become adults, they find pollen and nectar all around.

When they are in their larvae state, they live in still water waiting for parasites like aphids to eat and be able to develop. And adults just focus on flowers and their nectar. Sometimes, they can even occupy bumblebee nests to use it as a shelter.

Characteristics of wasps

After winter has come, wasps start to appear, being Summer their peak and going through all the various places to look for food. Once you see a wasp, you know that their abdomen is very thin with a small waist that connects their thorax with it. They look very scary, and their eyes are small, looking like a kidney. Unlike the hoverflies, they have two sets of wings, one bigger than the other, which helps them hover faster. Also, one of the scariest features they have is their sting. It is noticeably big and once they have stung you, you will feel pain. If you find a classic wasp, you will see that their colouration is yellow and black, however, this will always depend on the species because sometimes they can be orange or even red.

Their behaviour is straightforward, and all the species tend to act the same. Males are workers and forage food and the things the nest needs, and of course, the females are the ones bound to protect it with their stings, as they are the only ones that have it. They can be aggressive, so it is why it is recommended to leave them alone if you see them bouncing around, as it is their style of flight.

Its diet is different from hoverflies, as they tend to eat many things like meat, rotten fruit or fresh, among other things due to their omnivore nature. Larvae, on the other hand, tends to consume caterpillars for a correct development. When you see them lurking around flowers or fruit, do not go near them, or they will fight back.

The live all around the UK. You might see a lonely wasp when spring comes, as it is the sole queen who needs to find a place to stablish. They build their nests around trees, houses, basements, roofs, among others. It is quite common to find them around humans since they are called social insects, however, do not get too close to them.

Differences between wasps and hoverflies

We could say that hoverflies are peaceful, but wasps are not, as they tend to sting if they feel threatened and can cause grave consequences of the person that gets it. Their size is a mayor difference because hoverflies are smaller than wasps, although their diet seems to be the same since they like the same things as fruits and sometimes even parasites. It is quite common to find these animals lurking around flowers, but you will see hoverflies in one rather than a wasp due to nectar not being incredibly attractive to them.

If you find a bug near your home, and you are not certain whether it is a hoverfly or a wasp, try to peacefully leave it alone and avoid contact, you want to avoid getting an awful surprise by being stung.

Categories
Bugs

How to Guard Your Home Against Stink Bugs?

Once Autumn comes, the weather starts getting colder and colder. Humans start in their preparations to withstand what Winter brings, and if you think about it, humans are not the only ones that do this, but bugs do too. Many of them start gathering food, or some just enter in a state of diapause where they stop their development to survive those months.

Others pay attention on man-made structures and tend to go inside when the temperatures go down, and this is the case of stink bugs, which are armoured beetles that prefer to stay outside in hot weather but go in once it gets colder.

First, you need to know what they are and how to identify them to make them stay away from your house. The second thing to do is call a pest extermination company to guide you about the best way to eradicate bugs that are harmful to your health.

What are stink bugs?

These types of insects are part of the family of beetles and have large bodies in the shape of a shield. Their most distinctive colours are green or brown. They’re not very big as they can only grow up to 1 cm and are pretty much harmless to human beings, however, there are others that do grow bigger and can even eat pests like caterpillars and aphids. Normally you will find them lurking around in Spring or Autumn as it is the moment when they wake up or are looking for shelter to be protected from cold temperatures.

As it was previously stated, these insects do not bite humans, they are basically incapable of doing it due to their mouths not being strong enough to pierce our skin. Even though they don’t bite, they can do something against humans, and that is triggering allergies because of the chemical that is released once crushed since a prolonged reaction to it can lead to dermatitis.

Also, you shouldn’t take their name for granted as they do stink. This is a chemical that is stored in their abdomen. The smell of it is miserable, it is as though food had been stored and left to rot for many days or just the smell of expired milk, it is seriously unbearable and unpleasant. It is not only that, but it lasts for several days of having thoroughly and deeply cleaned the place where the insect released it. They do not need to feel threatened or stomped over, because if this happens it will eject some of it to you or the ground, it can even be sprayed over for several inches.

How to Guard Your Home Against Stink Bugs?

There are different ways of protecting your house against this pest. However, remember that still the best way to do this is to hire a pest service that can give you the satisfaction of removing them without you having to worry about it or spend time doing something to stop it.

Seal any entry points in your home

The first thing you need to know is that these insects will go to any place where they find warm temperatures as they know that if they stay in cold areas they will die, so it is quite easy to find them lurking through cracks in your walls, crevices on the floor or other areas that seem warmer than the outside.

You must make a thorough inspection around your home to find the places where you may have cracks or crevices, it doesn’t matter if its concrete or any other material, but these need to be filled, especially if they have been found near windows or doors or the union between two different materials like wood and brick. Try to seal them with caulk so nothing can go through them.

Doors

One thing that doors have is that they are all around the house, and most of them offer protection, but sometimes it is not the case. You need to check the seals that they all have as a worn off seal can be broken, and stink bugs might get inside through those tiny cracks. If there are spaces which they can use to enter it is better to replace them before it happens.

Using window screens

Most of them are crawlers, so they look for open places where they can enter the house but if you have door screens or windows screens installed, they won’t have the chance to enter. Of course, if they are broken, then you will need to replace them as soon as possible. Some homeowners tend to rub some dryer sheets as this keeps bugs from blanketing the screens.

Keep your lights turned off

Stink bugs are heavily attracted to lights, so having your lights turned on will attract them. Even though it is dark in the evenings, if you don’t want to tempt them to come in, leave them off.

Eliminate food sources

It is known that pests look for food sources aside from warmth. It is mandatory for you to have all the food sources contained in bags and the kitchen cabinets and countertops must be cleaned so they do not come inside looking for it, they really like it.

Use natural repellents

There are very good ways to deter bugs while not using chemicals. There is one smell that makes them go crazy: mint. It is a very strong smell and they do not like it. Using a mixture of water with ten drops of min oil can really make a difference. Try to use it while the water is warm. It is necessary to spray it around the places where you think they might enter like air vents, window frames, and other places where they might hide.

Squish some of them

Even though it is not technically a way to repel them, it is known that if you kill some of them, they will spray their chemical in the place of death and they will recognise the smell and will make them stay away from it.

Categories
Bugs

What Bugs Come Out in Spring and How to Avoid Them?

Winter is the time when most bugs you and enter in a “hibernation” state. Their activity reduces significantly and most of them will die, and others will just try to make it till Spring. For them, it represents more than warm weather. With it, they will go out and get their food and all the things of which they were deprived.

There are many insects that come out, and you must know which ones are going to be on the outside doing their thing so you can avoid them and have an awesome springtime. Also, if you are dealing with an infestation of any type of bugs, call pest control experts to get rid of it.

Bugs that come out in Spring

We will talk about the most common insects that come out in Spring and take advantage of the warm weather.

Butterflies

The butterfly population tends to hibernate in the months of Winter as a pupa. They spend the whole season in that state and wait until the first flowers bloom to start breaking out of it and start feeding from the sweet nectar that was recently produced by the newly bloomed flowers.

Not all the types of butterflies you can find hibernate, some of them try to survive winter months by just hiding in places they can get warmth, especially in tree barks or other places like crevices outside of manufactured structures like houses or buildings. It is ideal to leave them alone if they are seen, as if you try to help them it is most probable that you will kill them while trying. The first butterflies that come out will oversee starting the pollinizing process of the surrounding flowers.

Bees

These animals have hierarchy, so the queen is the one that is going to come out first. As butterflies, you can say that they are natural pollinators and tend to go after a flower once they are out as they need to eat desperately to regain their energy spent during the hibernation time in Winter. If they do not find food on the day they leave the nest, they are at risk of dying.

There is one queen per beehive, and naturally there is a different queen every year, in which the new virgin queen must get the “throne” by killing the other queen in a fight. Once it is done, this cycle will start again next year if the beehive is still standing.

Wasps

Like bees, bugs like wasps tend to get out of their beehive once the winter is done and go look for food as soon as possible. First, queens are the ones that go and look for food first, and not only that, but they need to find a place where they can stablish a nest and start growing as a community. They are one of the type of insects that go and forage food right after temperatures start getting warmer.

Flies

In terms of flies, you will start seeing them right after Spring begins. Their mating season is during this time, so sometimes you might find more of them all around you or your house. Right after they have awoken, they find food as soon as possible. They could either go to flowers to find nectar or rubbish. Should they not find what they want, they will go to your home where there is food. Do not let clusters come into your home, they are quite common during spring.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are extremely dangerous insects as they transmit quite a few diseases. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still water, and they enter a state that is called diapause where all their developing processes stop until the weather changes and the temperatures rise. Once winter has gone away, adult mosquitoes and the ones that were “hibernating” will start appearing and try to mate with other mosquitoes, although this usually happens in summer which comes to be their mating season.

Spiders

There are several types of spiders that can survive winter entering a state of diapause, however, there are others that try to find shelter, especially in manufactured spaces where they can stay safe. They go around and look for places to nest where the temperatures are not as high and do not suffer the effect of winter that hard. They might go for your closet, basements, attics, among others. Some of them usually bring wellness to your home because they eat pests and keep your house clean.

Ants

One of the smallest insects in the list, ants can and do hibernate during winter. Before this, they prepare as much as they can by eating food and gaining weight because they will live off it during the cold temperature months. They try to stay together in the colony to preserve their warmth. However, when the temperatures start rising again, you will find them lurking around foraging for food and doing what they had been doing before that moment.

How to avoid insects that come out in spring?

There are several types of insects that we talked about, most of them share ways to avoid them, but they are naturally not the same and some solutions may be more effective than others.

For flying insects like mosquitoes, it is mandatory to have nets around your windows and doors. Especially if you have seen them. This will protect you from them, however, the more places that you have covered, the better and safer you will be.

Taking out the rubbish regularly or just keeping them outside will give you more room to fight houseflies, though if they are harassing you, you might want to use some repellent to keep them away. Rain can also become a problem if some of it is stored inside or near your home. Bugs take it as a new water source and can be more prone to stablish near that place.

Leave bees and wasps alone if you do not want to be stung. Try to avoid flower fields that have bloomed recently because you can find these dangerous bugs around. Be safe.

Categories
Spiders

How to Spot a False Widow Spider

Around our houses, we may find different types of insects. Some of them are more dangerous than others, some like black widows. You may be surprised that these insects can appear near your house, and even see them in your house. However, once this happens you really must make sure is that type of arachnid, since there are copycats to what black widows are. This group is formed by different species of insects that have similar characteristics that resemble one of the most venomous arachnids in the world.

We’re going to help you spot the small differences and details in order not to panic when you find out that there are these kinds of bugs in your house. Remember, some spiders are very dangerous, so it is a great idea to hire pest control companies in London to deal with it.

What do Black Widow look like?

First, you need to know how does a Black Widow look like. Regarding size, they are small, depending on the gender, usually females are a bit larger. Their main characteristic is that they have an hourglass shaped ventral surface, typically red. Males can also have several red stripes along their bodies. They’re usually brown when they’re starting to develop, but once their grown they have a shiny black colour which stands out.

What do False Black Widows look like?

You must know that it is not only one type of spider, but these are formed by a group of them. However, most of them have basic similarities that can make you think these are real black widows. Regarding colour, they all are brown or black, reaching up to 32 mm (size of a small fingernail) including their legs. As black widows have an hourglass on their abdomen, these types can also have markings like that, but rather having a shape, they have white or lighter bands around them among other special markings that each individual species has. Sometimes you might not even find them at all since some of them fade or are just missing, especially in grown adults. Also, their behaviour might vary between species. Here we have the most common species you’ll find in the UK

Noble False Widow (Steatoda Nobilis)

Steatoda Nobilis

It is one that share the most resemblance with a real Black Widow. They can reach up to 32 mm, including their legs and are oval shaped with a very shiny look to it. Instead of having red markings, they have cream markings on their abdomen and their legs are reddish or orange.

Another of their characteristics is that they don’t tend to have nests around your house, but they tend to create webs for them to catch their prey, which really contributes to humans as pests like mosquitoes are their favourite meal, which decreases the chances of getting diseases by their bites.

In terms of behaviour, they will try and get to the highest place possible and there start hunting their prey. It is very uncommon to see one of them near humans as they’re not interested in them. Nonetheless, they can inflict a painful bite when they seem to be cornered, squashed, or must act upon an aggression they’ve received. If you get one of their bites, it is not going to be dangerous at all, you might only need to use some ointment and try to cover the bite. Use ice packs to reduce the swelling. You might feel a little bit of pain and some itching, but nothing out of the ordinary.

False widow spider (Steatoda Paykulliana)

Steatoda Paykulliana

This one look pretty like a real black widow as they have a very scandalous band on their abdomen almost identical to the red hourglass shape on a black widow’s, but this one is bright yellow. Sometimes the pattern can be orange, red or white. They’re very little as they reach up to 13 mm in length and if you find them in the UK is because they have been imported from the Mediterranean as they aren’t a very common species. They tend to hide under rocks and not live near humans.

Cupboard spider (Steatoda grossa)

Steatoda grossa

These types of false widow spiders have taken over the UK. It is common to find them in houses, especially in places that are dark and damp. Sometimes, they might hide under furniture or low corners to find insects they can hunt and keep on feeding. Also, it won’t attack humans as they’re docile and only focus on their prey. Regarding appearance, they stray away a little from what a black widow looks like. They reach up to 10 mm and on their abdomen, they tend to have markings though most of them are missing or faded in the darkest specimens.

Rabbit Hutch spider (Steatoda bipunctata)

Steatoda bipunctata

They can measure up to 7 mm and have a white band that goes from their thorax to their abdomen. This line is difficult to be seen in male specimens as it can be very light or can be missing in female specimens. Their favourite places to live are in dark areas such as pet houses, tree trunks, debris found in gardens, among others. In those places, they like to hunt and create some webs to trap their prey. They’re harmless to humans, so you won’t be in danger if one of them bites you.

False widow spiders vs Black widow spiders

Their main differences come in terms of appearance. If you see that there is a spider in your house, check if it is really a black widow before you do something about is as it might be a false one. Black widows are larger and darker than false widows. They’re brownish and have special markings that state a difference.

 Also, remember that they’re not aggressive towards humans and won’t attack unless they have been cornered or squashed, though black widows will be always vigilant towards humans and are very venomous, which their lookalikes are not, the worst thing that can happen is to get an allergic reaction.

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