Insect Stinger

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Insect Stinger

Is it a Sting or a Bite?

Most people do not properly identify between an insect bite and sting. They simply say I have been stung or bitten. So what is the difference? The biggest difference is that a bite is from the mouth and a sting is from a sharp organ that is attached to the rear of the abdomen. That being said both a bite and a sting can be venomous or non venomous.

To further identify the difference; most stinging insects are in the form of Wasps, Bees, Hornets, Yellow Jackets and Fire Ants. Some Centipedes and Scorpions also use stingers. Stings most often cause pain, swelling, redness and itching as the venom dissipates. Bites are often associated with Spiders, Mosquitoes, Ticks, Bed Bugs, Chiggers, Fleas, Mites and in rare cases Cockroaches. Bites cause the insect saliva to enter your body that can produce rash and itching; and in more serious cases it can introduce disease such as Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, Malaria, Chagas disease and flesh eating bacteria in wounds.

An insect stinger is a very small organ that can deliver a powerful punch. Although most stinging insect females carry the venomous stinger, many males do not, such as the Wasp and Carpenter bee. These males will bluff and even act aggressive, but they cannot sting you. The female stinger however is one to be avoided, with two key ingredients being venom. An insect stinger is a built in defense system that helps them to survive other predators. The problem is that they live in close proximity to us and can consider us invaders. Thus the stinger is only used when under threat, or we have gotten too close. Once we have breached that boundary of posing a threat, the insect will go into a protective pose and attack. The insect will land on you with a leading tail and stinger ready. Once the stinger has been inserted into your skin, the two venom glands excrete the fluid. Each venom gland produces a different type of compound to be most effective. One gland secretes a poison that affects the nervous system in order to send signals to the brain that there is an intense pain. The second gland secretes a form of acid that actually slows the flow of blood. That is the reason that a wasp sting is extremely painful for the first few minutes. The painful poison is allowed to stay in the slowed blood stream at point of entry, until it can be diluted naturally and carried away. So, we find ourselves screaming in pain and rubbing the sting area for a few minutes until the blood can get to flowing again in order to dissipate the pain inflicting poison.

There is a common belief that all stingers are left in the skin and need to be removed; that the bee or wasp stings once, lose their stinger and dies. There are species of Honey bees that do have a barbed stinger that will embed in the skin. These Honey bees do in fact lose their stinger and die within minutes. However most all other Wasps, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Fire Ants and Bees have smooth stingers, and like a needle can be used to sting, pull out smoothly and used again. They can sting multiple times in one attack, which make them especially dangerous to those that have allergic reactions.

So, as with any insect that can bite or sting, you need to avoid any nesting areas. Then take appropriate measures to remove the threat. To keep your home safe from stinging insects; make sure to call your Nashville Pest Control Family at Certified Pest Control. We will locate nesting sites, identify the pest and define the proper treatment program to control your issues.

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Black Widow Spider

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Black Widow Spider

Cannibal that Eats Her Mate

The Black Widow Spider has long been one of the most feared insects to invade your home. Recently, with more knowledge and cases of Brown Recluse Spider bites, the Black Widow is not as prevalent among homeowner’s complaints. However it is still a populous resident in Nashville and a venomous predator that should be avoided at all costs.

The Black Widow gets its name from their mating practice. They are solitary insects, except for late in the spring season, when it is time to reproduce. Once the Female has chosen her mate, and is fertilized, she then turns cannibal and eats her male counterpart. This behavior has been determined to be a survival instinct, to give her offspring better odds of growing to adulthood and give her babies sufficient protein while still inside of her. She then spins an egg sac that will hold up to 800 eggs. In about one month the baby spiders emerge, and following their mothers example, they too are cannibals and will even eat each other. So, the quick three month span to adulthood is quite difficult. Although the female lifespan is two to three years, the male lifespan is only a few months. This is no doubt, due to the fact that the females eat them. So the male is quite careful when approaching. They try and sense if the female has already eaten, to lower the possibility that they will in fact be eaten. They do so by testing the chemical makeup of her web, to see if it is safe. But few ever get away safe.

The female Black Widow spins an extremely strong web that is comparable to steel wire, when compared in scale to humans. This web serves several functions. It is a place to keep her egg sac and potential young safe until they hatch. The Black Widow Web also is carefully placed in an area that will trap food for survival. The diet of the Black Widow consists of just about anything ensnared in the web such as flies, mosquitoes, and even other spiders. Although the Black Widow has very poor eyesight, they are very sensitive to vibrations. The hang upside down, suspended and attached to the web, waiting to sense the vibrations of its struggling prey. They then hurry to the trapped insect and wrap it in silk to encapsulate its dinner. When it is time to eat, the Black Widow actually bites the prey to ensure death, and then they regurgitate digestive enzymes on the insect to dissolve it into a liquid. Now it is time to suck up their liquid diet.

The Black Widow is about 1 ½” long and can be identified by its trademark black color, and red hourglass on the underside of their abdomen. The male is a little more difficult to identify as it is smaller than the female and can have various different markings of red or white, on the top of its body.

The Black Widow venom is one of the most powerful among arachnids, however it only feels like a small stick of a pin when bitten. They are not aggressive and only bite out of defense or if they sense pressure, such as being stepped on. The effects on other insects are deadly, so be careful around a web or if you spot a Black Widow. Rare cases of human fatality have been reported, so children and elderly should be extra cautious of this venomous spider. The venom can cause sweating, nausea, muscle pain, abdominal pain and a very fast heart rate. Symptoms can last as long as a week or two, but can be treated with an antivenom if necessary to relieve pain.

Black Widows reside around the world, including the United States and here in Nashville, TN. So, in addition to being cautious to avoid this venomous spider; a regular pest prevention plan should be in place to protect your family from all spiders. To properly address your Nashville Pest Control Prevention Plan, contact Certified Pest Control. You can trust our family to treat you and your home in an honest and effective manner.

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Velvet Ant

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Velvet Ant

Wasp in Ant’s Clothing

This cute fuzzy looking Ant is not really an Ant. And if you experience the painful sting, you will not think it is so cute and fuzzy looking anymore. To set the record straight; a Velvet Ant is actually a wingless Wasp. It gets its name from the short hair or velvet like coat that covers their body and the fact that they look like an Ant. The bright colored hair alternates on the body in contrasting colors such as yellow and brown, or red and black. They have even been spotted with brilliant colors of gold, orange or silver.

Although they are beautiful to look at, the Velvet Ant is also called the Cow killer Ant due to the potent sting that it delivers. It developed the alternate name through years of people saying that “the sting is so strong it could kill a cow”. This has led to a myth that the Velvet Ant actually feeds on or attacks cows. They do not. However, on a very well known scientific pain scale of one to four, the Velvet Ant registers near the top end of painful stings at a level 3.

The Velvet Ant is not a social insect living in colonies. They are solitary and often use the underground nests of other wasps and bees to lay their own eggs.  Velvet Ants are active during the day feeding on nectar, although the females are usually most active in the hours before sunset.

To properly identify this wasp in ants clothing, first look for the bright alternating color patterns. Upon closer examination the antennae of an Ant will have a bend or elbow, while the Velvet Ant antennae are straight. The female does not have wings, while the male does have wings, but they are transparent making them difficult to see. They range in size from Half inch to one inch in length, so they can be very large. So, if you spot a large colorful Ant, do not try and pick it up as it can be dangerous.

The Velvet Ant is not an aggressive species, so they will likely try their best to avoid you. However, if you happen to be walking barefoot through the yard, a painful sting could be waiting for you. When they are disturbed or stepped on they will sting. And even though you will likely be yelping from the pain, this wasp will actually let out a squeak itself. This squeak is actually part of their defense system. Other predators looking for a tasty meal may try and eat this ant. As they do, the Velvet Ant will begin to squeak. If this squeaking does not deter the predator, their strong exoskeleton; along with its stiff bristly hair make it difficult to chew. Then as its most effective defense, the Velvet Ant will deliver the painful sting that will cause the predator to spit it out and run for cover.

The best way a homeowner can defend against these painful stinging wasps is to keep your grass as full and thick as possible. Try to limit their natural habitat of large open areas with dirt or sandy soil. As with any Ant problem, it needs to be addressed immediately by a professional. All Ants are pesky pest control issues that can be treated properly with the correct methods. So, make sure to call your Nashville Pest Control specialists - Certified Pest Control – to address all of your Ant or Wasp issues. Our team is always happy to assist you and deliver the kind of service only a local family business can offer.

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Cuckoo Wasp

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Cuckoo Wasp

Wasp that is a House Thief

The Cuckoo wasp is a beautiful colorful insect with a metallic appearance that gives off colors of blue, green and red. With a speedy movement and small size, they are hard to even see. As a matter of fact at only ½” long and constantly on the move, they can be mistaken for a housefly. But this is not the most interesting fact about the Cuckoo wasp. Their name is taken from the Cuckoo bird that reflects similar behavior when laying eggs and raising their young in other birds’ nests.

The Cuckoo wasp is a parasite wasp that typically uses other insects nest as their own. So, they may take advantage of the hard work of other wasps or bees but they have to be sneaky about their intentions. The Cuckoo wasp will watch for a typical host, such as a mud dauber wasp, to build their nest and raise their own young. However, with surveillance like an insect on a stake out they wait for the best time to plan their invasion. Once the mud dauber has completed the nest and is ready to lay their eggs, they will paralyze other insects to place in the nest for food when the eggs hatch. But leave it to the Cuckoo wasp to spoil their plans. While the mud dauber is dragging the paralyzed insect into its nest, the small Cuckoo wasp will hitch a ride into the mud daubers nest to lay its own eggs. They also have been known to make a direct and brave entry into the host nest, even risking injury. But they are well suited for this type of attack, as they have an exoskeleton that will protect them from the real nest owner’s stings. In addition to that, their body has a pocket in the underside of their body to bring the eggs in. When the invaded mud dauber tries to sting the Cuckoo wasp and its eggs, they simply curl up to protect the eggs in the pocket, so the mud dauber simply kicks it out of the nest unharmed. Then the Cuckoo wasp stakes out the nest again until it can gain entry to lay its eggs.

The host nest is a perfect place for the Cuckoo wasp eggs, as the mud dauber does not detect the difference in its own eggs and that of the intruder. So it lays its eggs, leaves the paralyzed insect that it carried in for food and then seals up its nest / tube with a cap. The poor mud dauber now leaves its eggs to hatch, not knowing that there is an enemy intruder sealed up with its potential young. The larva of the Cuckoo wasp then hatches earlier than that of the mud dauber. This allows them to have a safe place to grow, and to feed on the mud dauber larva as a source of food. Once they grow, they also benefit from the hard work of the host, to leave food for its own larva. So the Cuckoo wasp then feed on the insect that was paralyzed and placed carefully in the nest for the mud dauber larva. A very adapt thief indeed. Not only does the Cuckoo wasp invade the host nest, use the host larva as food, but also have additional food to grow and thrive; all thanks to another insect’s hard work.

The Cuckoo wasp primarily live in dryer climates, but do live in all states. They are most active in the summer months, flying around gathering nectar and staking out their next host nest. Although they do have a stinger, it is very small and has been considered not to sting. Cases have been found of larger species in other countries that will sting, similar to a wasp or bee. Though they are not considered to be a major pest control issue here in Nashville, Tennessee; keep on the watch. Maybe you will get a glimpse of the beautiful iridescent wasp that inhabits our state. As with any wasp sighting around your home, be careful and give Certified Pest Control a call, to properly identify and define a treatment program to protect you and your home.

 

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Norway Rat

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Norway Rat

Fast Breeding Rodents

Rats, Mice and other Rodents can breed you out of your home, very quickly if control measures are not taken. For example one of the most common Rats we have in Nashville, Tennessee as a Pest Control issue; is the Norway rat, Brown rat or common rat. They breed year round with the right conditions, and can produce up to five litters per year. Once the female has mated, babies can be produced in as little as 20 days and can be as many as 14 in one litter. These new baby rats can then breed within 5 weeks of being born. They do not care that they are brother and sister, so the 14 new rats will breed with each other and begin the whole process all over again. Do the math and you will see how fast this rodent can eat you out of house and home. At the minimum the mother will give birth to a litter of seven or eight babies. If Litter one of only 8 rats breed they then produce at minimum 32 new rats, those 16 mates then produce at minimum 128 new rats, those 128 new mates then produce at minimum 512 new rats, those 512 new mates then produce a minimum of 2048 new rats, then the final 5th generation of 2,048 new mates produce a minimum of 8,192 new rats. So, in conclusion 2 mating rats can grow to 8,000 or more rats in a single year. That is assuming the bare minimum of 8 babies per litter. If they happen have the maximum of 14 per litter, the numbers grow exponentially to a potential of 15,000 to 20,000 rats in one year.

This is purely a mathematical approach to show how many rats can produce in 1 – year under the right conditions. That being said, the Norway rat has a lifespan of up to 3 – years with many only living one year due to other predators. Either way, nobody wants to see 15,000 rats in their home.

So, you want to keep an eye out in order to spot the first one in order to put control methods in action. Places to watch are basements and crawl spaces. These rats burrow and look for places to breach your foundation, even burrowing through your foundation if they really want entry. Once you can spot rat runs to holes near the foundation or in your crawl space, cellar or basement, there is an issue. They gain entry to your home and are very good climbers to get into walls and your home to find food, moisture and harborage. They will eat most anything, but seem to favor most items in the common household pantry.

For sake of identification the Norway or Brown rat is brown or dark grey and will range in size from 6” to 12” long. These large rats are effective survivors, having the ability to climb, swim in water, and can adapt to live in extreme weather environments. They prefer to live in urban areas where they have plenty of access to moist and food rich structures. Once they invade a structure, they do not venture far from their nest, usually staying within 50’ as long as food is available.

Another concern of having been invaded by this fast reproducing rodent is the possibility of disease that they can carry. Most common diseases that they can carry are a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis (which is mostly spread when the house cat catches the rat and then can transfer it to humans). This is usually transferred through the feces of the cat and can cause flu like symptoms. People with compromised immune systems are more at danger for serious complications from this parasite. So, always keep your cat well fed on pet food, avoid stray cats, wear gloves and a mask when cleaning the litter box and last but not least – wash your hands thoroughly when done.

As you have just read, the breeding cycle and speed of reproduction of Norway rats make it very difficult to control as a DIY project. If you spot rats, or other rodents in or around your home please call Certified Pest Control in Nashville, Tennessee to address the issue with the proper control method. So, choose the only Nashville Pest Control company that is truly “Certified” to give you the personal and honest service a local family owned and operated business can.

 

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Asian Longhorned Tick

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Asian Longhorned Tick

Invasive New Tick Species

There is a new invasive tick species in the United States. The Asian Longhorned Tick has been identified in the Northeast and as close as Maryland, West Virginia, Arkansas and North Carolina. This new tick species originates from China, Japan, Russia, Korea, Australia and other South Pacific regions. From the best known studies of introduction, it seems that it has been in our country as early as 2013, however official reports site 2017. With the Asian Longhorned Tick migrating to neighboring states, it is a concern for us to keep a look out for any signs of this species to address pest control measures here in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Asian Longhorned Tick primarily tends to find hosts on livestock animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens; it also has been found on deer, rabbits, bear, rats and birds. Some of our native tick species only feed on specific animals, however the Asian Longhorned tick will feed on anything. When they invade an area, they tend to feed in such large numbers, as to cause such massive blood loss to its host that it dies. The numbers are alarming, considering how fast this new tick can reproduce. Typically ticks found in our area can take two years from fertilization to adult. The Asian Longhorned Tick can lay up to 2,000 eggs that will produce young within 6 months. Under some climate conditions, two generations have been reported in a single season. Add to this fast lifecycle, the female can reproduce without needing a male to fertilize her eggs. They are also quite hardy survivors, as they can live for almost one year without a single feeding and will dig underground to survive an entire winter; even in cold winters of the Northeastern United States.

At this point of what is known of this new species of tick, it seems that mostly livestock, wild animals and outdoor pets are at risk. However this tick has shown behavior in other countries to also use humans as hosts. This poses health risks such as Japanese Spotted Fever, Russian encephalitis and severe fever with thrombocytopenia. Some of these are serious health concerns and should be considered a threat that should warrant regular inspection of your body, pets and livestock for ticks, as usual.

An Adult Asian Longhorned Tick is about the same size as many other ticks in our area (very small). They are light to dark brown in color but do not have any defining shapes or markings to assist in identification. This poses a challenge to positively identify this species. Therefore it is important to always check in tick prone areas such as ears, neck, back, groin, ankles, armpits and all underwear areas. Be careful to always wear pants tucked into your boots or socks, and long sleeved shirts if venturing into high grass or wooded areas of your property. Then inspect thoroughly when undressed. Also, continually check your outside pets for possibility of ticks.

Although the Asian Longhorned Tick has not been verified in Nashville, Tennessee, you want to report any suspicious looking ticks that you find. If you suspect ticks in your area, or in your home make sure to give Certified Pest Control a call so we can identify and define a treatment program to control your tick population.

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Leaf Insect

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Leaf Insect

Master of Disguise

The walking leaf is a master of disguise. They use camouflage as their main feature of defense. You may be looking right at one and not even know it, as they can look exactly like a leaf on a tree. The level of detail in their disguise is amazing, as they will even have dark or aged edges, with places that are notched out to perfectly mimic bite marks that any real leaf would have. To add to their realistic disguise, they even move back in forth in a motion that would look like a leaf blowing in the wind.

The leaf insect is part of the Phasmid or Phylliidae family. This would put them as close relatives to cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers and praying mantis. Although many insects in its family species are considered pest control issues here in Nashville, Tennessee, the walking leaf is not. They primarily live in Australia and Southeast Asia. So we probably won’t be seeing one any time soon in Tennessee unless it is a pet. Yes, many people find this insect so interesting to look at, they keep them as pets.

They range in size from 1” to over 4” long, and as with many insect varieties the male is typically smaller then the female. Both the female and male leaf insect has front and rear wings but only the male can fly when under attack. Some species also have spikes on their hind legs that can help deter predators with a painful kick. So, if their camouflage is detected they really only have one line of defense.

Some leaf insects can reproduce without mating. The process is called parthenogenesis and when this method of having young happens, only females are born. It requires fertilization from a male to produce eggs that contain both male and female. Unlike many other insects they do not have a birth cycle that includes egg, larva and pupa like wasps, flies or ants. Depending on the species, the leaf insect lays eggs that can remain underground for one to three years or can be laid at the top of a tree and hatch in two to ten weeks. The eggs that are laid on the ground have a knob that looks like plant seeds that attract ants. This would seem to be the end of the life cycle for this new leaf insect. However this is still all part of the many stages of disguise that this interesting insect uses to survive. The ants see what they think is a seed, take it underground to their nest and eat only the knob. This leaves the egg completely intact for the leaf insect baby to develop. Being in the ant nest, they are in a very safe place, as they are then protected by the ant colony from any other possible predators. When hatched they resemble a very small adult leaf insect, also very easily confused with an ant. So, the babies can blend in with the ant colony until they can make their way out and begin their new life. The babies look brown in color when hatched, they then climb up the nearest tree and begin to feed on leaves which turns them green. Since they are herbivores and feed on the local plant life where they are born, their color resembles the habitat that they hide in.

The new females can lay eggs only a few weeks after becoming an adult. Also depending on the species, it can lay one hundred to one thousand eggs at one time. Their short lifespan of six months for a male and eighteen months for a female, still make for a very active birth cycle to ensure the continued life cycle.

The leaf insect shows that it is a master of disguise from egg, to hatching and eventually an undetectable leaf on a tree. It is truly an amazing camouflage artist.  

 

 

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Cockroach

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Cockroach

One Quick Family

Cockroaches are not only a pesky problem to have; they can also put those in your home in danger. Everyone hates to turn on the light to see scurrying roaches head for their hiding place. However cockroaches are not only a pesky problem to have; they can also put those in your home in danger. The health risks of having Cockroaches in your home can range from dysentery, polio and salmonella to asthma. The problem comes with the fact that they will eat most anything, including feces. After consuming such terrible bacteria full meals, it ruminates in their own digestive tract then they crawl over uncovered food and vomit or use the bathroom on our food. We then consume that bacteria and can get quite sick. Also their shed skin has been directly linked to acute asthma attacks in many, especially children. So not are they only an unsightly problem to have, it can lead to health problems if they have invaded your home.

There are more than 4,000 cockroach species worldwide; however the German cockroach, American Cockroach, Oriental Cockroach and Brown banded Cockroach are most common in Tennessee. These bacteria spreading pests need a place to live and breed and are quite persistent about entering your home.

Cockroaches can get into your house by hitching a ride in luggage, grocery bags, moving boxes, or many other items you bring in. They can even be on your clothes, and without knowing it, you have brought this fast breeding pest into your home for them to take over. A single female can live four to five months. In this short life span, she will lay enough eggs that she and her young can produce 200,000 – 300,000 new roaches in one year. As you can see, a few roaches can turn into an infestation very quickly. .

This fast breeder is also very resilient. Quite the survivor, roaches can survive for a month without food, can live for about a week without their head and can hold their breath under water for 30 minutes or more. Their body design also makes it a very effective survivor. As it is flat and low to the ground, this makes it very easy to enter and hide under baseboards, dishwashers, cabinets and refrigerators. This is the ideal place for them to live and breed; as they are looking for a place that is dark, has moisture and food. They will eat most anything including paper or paint in order to survive. The one thing that can cause them to have a limited lifespan is lack of moisture or water. Without any water present, the cockroach can only live for a week or two. Therefore they will also be found around laundry areas, drains and basements. Another quality that aids their survival is speed. A cockroach can bolt up to 2 - 3 miles per hour. Scale that speed up to human size, and if it’s if the cockroach is speeding at 200 miles per hour, and they can turn on a dime. Keep a quick eye out, because if you see one, there are no doubt many more of these speedy pests hiding.

So, you want to do all you can to keep your home free of this unwelcome pest. Make sure to keep food in sealed containers, keep the dirty dishes from piling up in the sink, clean the home regularly, keep areas around and behind appliances clean, don’t leave pet food out and take out the garbage regularly. If you practice some of these tips, it can help your home from becoming a breeding ground for cockroaches.

However, Cockroach issues require professional treatment in order to properly exterminate this pest. Our trained technicians first identify the type of cockroach you have in your home and thoroughly inspect to locate nesting sites. We will then utilize a professional control method that will eliminate not just the roaches you see, but the entire nest. If you are experiencing issues with Cockroaches in Nashville and middle Tennessee, please contact Certified Pest Control to properly diagnose your individual solution.

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Filbert Weevil

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Filbert Weevil

A Nutty Place to be Born

As the fall season progresses Oak trees can come under attack by pests and disease. This is most commonly manifested by a sticky sap that is dropped from trees covering cars, driveways and patios. This is evidence of something much more invasive and dangerous to the survival of the Oak tree’s future. So, what could be strong enough to destroy the offspring of one of the strongest trees in the United States? A small beetle with a long skinny snout can be one of the culprits. The Filbert Weevil is only about ¼” in length, with a snout almost as long as their entire body. The most common population is in the Western United States and Mexico, although we do have other nut weevils in Tennessee. The Filbert Weevil may be small, but this small pest is responsible for damage to acorns and making it possible for other smaller pests, animals and disease to destroy any possibility of a new Oak tree from sprouting.

The Filbert Weevil takes advantage of a perfect hard shell compartment to continue its life cycle and a place for their eggs to hatch and larva to develop into a fully grown adult.

They begin while the acorn is still on the tree and are smart enough to choose the shady side of the tree. This allows the nut to avoid the sunshine and possible cracking open due to the light and heat. If the nut was to crack open, it would expose their eggs and cause them to die. The method of entry into the outer shell is their snout which they use as a tiny drill. As the female aggressively drills into the hard acorn with her snout, she also gets a meal. The deeper she drills, the more nut meat she can eat on the way to making a home for her offspring. Once the tunnel or canal is drilled out, the Filbert Weevil will lay one or two eggs in the safe hard shell for them to develop. This will not be the only nut used, as the females are capable of laying 25 – 30 eggs in a mating cycle. The larva eventually hatch, safe and sound and surrounded by nut meat to feed on as they grow and mature. As the larva continues to grow, the fall season comes to the point of the Oak tree dropping its potential new saplings. As the acorns hit the ground, the Filbert Weevil gets the signal to emerge from its home as a full grown adult. It is now winter, so to survive the cold weather; the newly born Filbert Weevil bores a hole in the ground so it can survive until the next spring.

With the acorn now hollowed out and the outer shell compromised, it is now a prime target for other pests, animals and disease to enter. Prior to the Filbert Weevil boring the hole and eating out the inner nut meat, many of these other predators would not be able to break the shell or penetrate the interior. So, the potential sapling does not get a chance to produce another Oak tree. Now on the ground, they fall prey to many other insects, birds, squirrels and eventually disease.

This cycle of life begins with the Filbert Weevil looking for a safe, hard shelled and nutrient rich place to hatch their offspring. But in nature’s world of survival this ends the possibility of a new Oak tree.

 

 

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Asian Lady Beetle

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Asian Lady Beetle

Cute Bug or Uninvited Messy Houseguest

Asian Lady Beetles are commonly looked at as a cute and harmless bug. However if you are unfortunate enough to become home to this invasive species, it may not seem so cute anymore.

As the Fall Season enters our area, like many other insects, Asian Lady Beetles begin to look for protection from the cool temperatures. That leaves your home as a prime target for this seemingly harmless beetle to seek out for a safe and warm winter. Any cracks or openings around doors, windows, chimneys, plumbing or wires can be a great pathway into your home.

These beetles make the use of pheromones to send out the message that there is a nice warm area to gather. And in some cases, this gathering gets quite numerous. It is common for thousands of beetles to invade and make the attic space and wall voids in a single home, a place to overwinter. As warmer days come and go, they will seek their way into living spaces where they are seeking out warmer areas filled with sunlight to congregate. So, Asian Lady Beetles can become quite a nuisance, not just by thousands of them sharing your home, but they can also have other negative effects. Asian Lady Beetles can bite, although it is usually nothing more than a prick of the skin followed by a mild irritation, unless allergic. Another negative consequence is the stains they can leave on furniture, carpets, clothes and curtains. When agitated, they release a small amount of this foul smelling secretion. The liquid that is released from their legs will stain anything that they are on, with porous surfaces most susceptible to stains that will require thorough cleaning. If not cleaned in a short amount of time, these stains can become permanent. So be careful not to crush the beetle, unless you want a smelly mess to clean up.

Although the Asian Lady Beetle is not a natural inhabitant of Tennessee, we have plenty. This is because they were originally introduced in the U.S. by farmers to assist with protecting crops such as soybean fields. The beetle has a voracious appetite for aphids and can eat as many as 250 per day. This assisted farmers by becoming a natural pesticide. However, as with many insects, this introduction to a new environment has caused some areas to become overrun with tens of thousands of Asian Lady Beetles in a single home.

We do have native Lady Beetles. The keys to identifying the difference are color and patterns. Asian Lady Beetles are generally more orange or tan in color, have many spots and an obvious black and white “W” or “M” shape on the head area. The natural species is more of a red color, has less spots and mostly black area on the head. The native species is less aggressive, lives outdoors and helps control pests. So if you have an indoor invasion, more than likely you are becoming host to a very large Asian Lady Beetle horde. It has been suggested to simply remove them with a vacuum, and then empty the vacuum, to reduce the amount of beetles in your home. However, a more thorough approach is required involving treating the outside and inside of your home to get rid of this unwelcome winter house guest. Call Certified Pest Control today, to help assess your beetle issues.

 

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