Odorous House Ant

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Odorous House Ant

Ant that Smells Like Coconut

The Odorous House Ant is a common Nashville Pest that can invade your home. They can be brown or black and will grow to an overall size of 1/8”. The odd thing about this species of ant is the odor they emit when crushed. The smell has been described as a licorice, coconut or a rotten odor. It is one of the most common house ants in the United States, so more than likely you have encountered this particular ant.

As the Odorous House Ant is looking for food, it is more than likely to satisfy their insatiable craving for sweets. In an outdoor environment they eat aphids and other small insects that contain honeydew. Their outdoor habitat is typically a colony under rocks, stacks of firewood, leaves, and around mulch surrounding dwellings. However they have a strong tendency to invade homes, due to the fact that we keep so many sweet sources of food in one place. Also, as with many insects, homes provide perfect harborage due to the fact that it is a warm place to nest, with plenty of access to food and moisture. Being a small insect, they seek out cracks, holes where pipes or duct enter the home from outside, and poor sealing door jams. Once inside they colonize and have nests inside walls, behind appliances, seldom used cabinets or even under door mats. With the Odorous House Ant now sharing your home they seek out the delicious sweets they desire. They will invade your pantry, crawl across floors and countertops looking for crumbs and take advantage of anything out in the open that is not in a sealed container. This emphasizes the importance of keeping plants and mulch from being placed right up against your home. Also make sure to regularly check for cracks and crevices that can assist with the ants from gaining entry. Lastly, good housekeeping and moisture elimination goes along ways with eliminating their food source.

This ant does not have a stinger, and is only left to bite in defense. They rarely bite, but instead rely on that same strange smell that they emit when crushed, to keep other predators away. If disturbed, they will run and spray this same odor from their rear. As they are crawling through your house, and over the sweets, they will also use this same odor trail to help orient and assist the colony workers to form regular trails to constant sources of food.

This ant’s population will grow quickly, if not kept in check with proper Pest Control Methods. They can live without water for a few months and are very adaptable to cold and hot weather. Typically they will live through winter as one colony, then as spring and summer have arrived, they will form multiple nests in order to more easily raid your home’s food sources. Each colony normally forms to number up to 2,000, however they have been observed to number into the tens of thousands with multiple queens. The ants you see will be workers, trailing through the house in order to bring back food and the sugar they desire, to feed the colony according to hierarchy. These ants are difficult to control; therefore a method of baiting in order to eliminate the colony must be implemented. Merely using a DIY spray to get rid of the ants you see will do no good.

So, if you have an ant problem in your home, choose to use a professional to properly eliminate the Pest Control Issue that so many have here in Nashville, TN. Leave it to our trained technicians at Certified Pest Control to identify and define the solution to this pesky house invader. Make it your choice to use a Local Nashville Pest Control specialist – Certified Pest Control – to provide a home town, honest approach to keeping your home pest free.  

 

 

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Horsehair Worm

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Horsehair Worm

Parasitic Worm that causes Grasshoppers to Commit Suicide

Horsehair Worms take over and brainwash Grasshoppers to actually commit suicide, by convincing their brains to jump into water and ultimately to their death. To see the purpose of this gruesome killer, examine the facts.

A Horsehair Worm may look innocent enough, as it is just a thin long worm. However the larvae of this worm can infect the central nervous system of Grasshoppers and Crickets and control their thinking process, once they become adults. This is how the Horsehair Worm develops to adulthood and uses its host to carry on reproduction.

The Horsehair worm can be brown, black or yellow and can reach lengths of three to four feet depending on its host. They live in bodies of water, and will also be found in anything that can hold water. This is what led to the name as a Horsehair Worm. Water troughs used to allow livestock to drink, including horses, would be found to have these worms. Therefore early on, people began to think that these worms came from Horse Hairs falling into the water and becoming worms. But this is not the case at all. As a matter of fact, this parasite is first laid as an egg near any source of water. These eggs then develop into larva that is seen as a source of food for other insects. Grasshoppers and Crickets in particular, like to eat this larva. Once it is ingested it becomes a parasite to the host Grasshopper. They use the host to develop and grow in the host, while the Grasshopper is still alive and going about their normal life. The Horsehair Worm can then grow to full size while still in the host. Once the Worm is an adult and ready to reproduce, they excrete a protein that can allow them to control the host brain. This allows them to control the Grasshopper in a way to make its brain want to find a source of water. Once the water is found, the worm then brainwashes the Grasshopper into a suicidal jump to its death. Once the Grasshopper is in the water, the adult Horsehair Worm can exit its dying host by boring a hole and escaping into its natural habitat. The poor Grasshopper is left for dead.

This is all done, so the adult Horsehair Worm can be in the water to find a mate. However this parasitic killer eventually meets its own demise upon mating. Once the Male finds and fertilizes the female, he dies. Then when the female lays her eggs, she dies. This unusual behavior is all driven by reproduction.

The power that the Horsehair Worm protein has over the central nervous system of its host is so strong that researchers are studying this along with human behavior. This protein causes a Grasshopper to do something completely different than its natural inborn instinct. Therefore this could help scientist with human Central Nervous System and Brain behavior studies. If a small parasite can force a host to water, even though it doesn’t want to, then convince it to commit suicide, it is worth studying what this protein really is.

Either way, we do not want to be infected or controlled by such a powerful brain altering concoction. But we have nothing to fear, as this parasite worm has not been found to harm Humans, other than possible vomiting. So, this is not a Nashville Pest Control issue to be concerned with. As a matter of fact, the Horsehair Worm might actually help control other insects that would be considered a pest (crickets, grasshoppers, roaches, ants).  However, if you do not want to wait on natural selection or survival of the fittest, call Certified Pest Control Nashville, TN to immediately address any pest issues you may want solved. Our family is happy to offer year round pest protection plans to keep your family safe from invading insects; and always courteous, effective service with a smile. Local Family; Local Business = Trust.

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Spider Goat?

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Spider Goat?

A Goat that can Produce Spider Silk

Why would a Goat belong on a Nashville Pest Control blog? An inventive new technology involving genetic engineering has brought the goat into a category similar to that of a spider. This may seem impossible; however we have all witnessed much advancement from DNA engineering over the past few years. These scientific advancements have even allowed genetic biologists to go so far as to clone an actual goat. So with even more research scientists have been able to alter the DNA of goats to produce a Spider Silk protein. These goats do not shoot spider silk from their abdomen in order to spin webs, however a goat living on a spider web would be quite an interesting site. Rather, this discovery has allowed goats to make Spider Silk protein and excrete it in the milk that they produce.

Why would we be interested in developing a genetically engineered goat to produce Spider Silk? Well, just a few blogs back, on our site, we already discussed the strength and innovations that could be invented by using spider silk in a variety of applications. This silk can be compared to having the strength of steel, and could even stop a bullet when used in the proper way. If this silk could have so many strength benefits in such a small package, scientists deem it highly important to explore how to produce it in an easy to harvest manner. Just think of trying to have a spider farm; which would send chills up the spine of many. Not only would there be a problem with keeping the spiders from eating each other, it would also be difficult to gather and harvest. Enter the goat; a calm animal that is easy to breed and handle, produces as much milk as larger more difficult animals to work with, and they are a lot cuter than a spider.

Scientists found a way to extract the genetic code from an orb weaver spider, inject that gene into goat embryos, then just let breeding do the work. As with all breeding of genetically engineered animals, only certain babies will be born with that DNA and genetic code, so they are simply tested and separated. That is a very simple description of how this has been accomplished, but in short it explains the process. The altered goats do not look or act any different than a normal goat and they lactate to produce milk in the same way. They are also milked in the same manner, pulling on their udders. However, this spider silk protein is also produced along with the milk. The milk is then is processed, purified to separate the silk protein, dried and spun into a super strong microfiber. There is also ongoing research to put these spider silk genes in their feed, to eliminate the process of injecting embryos. This would simplify the process of getting this gene into the goats DNA and also would speed up the development of herds that could produce the silk for benefit of inventions that could help us all.

Imagine the future of clothing, shoes, building materials, coatings as well as applications for joint replacements, ligaments, skin, and tendons; all thanks to the genetically altered spider silk producing goat. Seems unbelievable, but Scientists are hard at work making this a reality for our future.

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Tiger Beetle

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Tiger Beetle

A Beetle Faster than its own Eyesight

Tiger Beetles are found all over the world, but mostly in the hot and dry areas of our planet. Although there are over 2,500 species of this beetle, they have many of the same characteristics and behaviors.

The one behavior that is most notable is the speed of the Tiger Beetle. They are some of the fastest of insects, with some species being able to run over 5 mph. Given their small size of ½” makes that speed even more amazing. Now take that up to human scale in comparison, we would be able to run over 450 mph if we had the same speed capability of the Tiger Beetle. Having slender bodies and long legs, they are built for speed. That speed gives this small beetle a great advantage when it is hunting prey. Although they have large eyes that give them keen eyesight, they are actually so fast, that they outrun their ability to see or focus while running. So, the Tiger Beetle uses its great vision to spot its prey, and then use their lightning bolt speed to track down the target. However, running so fast makes their world become a blur. The Tiger Beetle will actually stop the pursuit long enough to focus again, regain their focus and again shoot off at top speed toward their prey. Stopping to re-focus does not affect the outcome of the pursuit, because being that fast, they can afford to pause and simply make up the short amount of time lost with their speedy legs.

You would think that running so fast that you cannot even see where you are running would make it quite dangerous. To equip the Tiger Beetle even better to deal with this speed, they have flexible antennae that are extremely sensitive. Couple that with their super fast reaction time and the Tiger Beetle can stop on a dime or avoid an obstacle even while blinded. These Antennae can move just as quickly, constantly moving and bending around corners, obstacles and even downward to sense a drop or stop of the path. This keeps the Tiger Beetle safely on course until it can stop and take a break to quickly refocus.

Once the Tiger Beetle catches its prey, they do not have courteous table like manners. They are quite ferocious when attacking and eating. With very large jaws, large curved mandibles and hooks in their abdomen; they are equipped for destruction. They use those cutting tools to chop and violently cut up their prey and consume them. And if that is not quite gruesome enough, they finish off their meal by vomiting digestive fluid on them to completely eat, dissolve and drink up every last drop. They are so violent in their attack that they are sometimes found with insect parts (as past evidence of the kill) still stuck in their attack weapons, even when they are not feeding.

Even while still in the Larvae stage, they are quite ferocious. The Tiger Beetle egg is laid in a vertical burrow that is about 2’ deep. As they develop into the larvae stage, they wait near the top of the burrow for prey to walk by. As a potential victim walks by they quickly pop their head out of the burrow and attach with its jaws. They keep part of their abdomen still in the burrow, so they can anchor their bodies in the walls with their abdomen hooks. This allows the larvae to hold onto their victim and drag it back into the burrow for meal time.

The Tiger Beetle also uses these jaws during mating. As a male finds a suitable mate, he will hop on her back and hold on to her with his powerful jaws to reproduce. But he does not give up at that point. He continues to hold on to her, clamped onto her with his jaws. The male rides her in this manner to keep away any other possible male suitors.  

Although several speedy Tiger Beetle species do live here Nashville, Tennessee, they usually stay outside and actually work as a good garden protector of other pests. They are not aggressive towards humans, but could bite if you pick it up. So, allow the Tiger Beetle to do its job as protector of your garden and do not handle it unless you want to get a pinch from those powerful jaws. As always keep our family at Certified Pest Control Nashville in mind for honest, effective and affordable service in the Nashville and surrounding county area of Tennessee.

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Putnam Jumping Spider

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Putnam Jumping Spider

A Spider with an internal Hydraulic System

Imagine being able to jump 300’ in a single leap. That is what a six feet tall human could jump, if enabled with the ability of the Putnam Jumping Spider. This tiny spider is only about ¼” in length but has the ability to jump over 50 times its body length. That equates to jumping up to 12” for this species, in order to catch prey.

How could such a tiny spider with small legs jump so far? Well, they are equipped with the ability to change the pressure of their body fluid. This allows them to drastically raise this pressure like a hydraulic system within their body and jump very far. So, unlike other insects that need large muscular hind legs in order to jump (such as a grasshopper or cricket), these spiders can pump up the pressure and use their relatively small legs to jump long distances. This is particularly helpful when they are on the hunt for prey. Once a possible source of food is detected, they will examine and stalk the insect. At this point, like a climber, they set an anchor line for safety, then pump up their pressure and jump very quickly and accurately. The drag line serves as a safety line, if they miss and fall, just like a climber would use a life line to protect from a possible misstep. They are successful on most attempts at hunting in this ambush type attack mode. Once the Putnam Jumping Spider has landed on top of the prey, they inject a venom to paralyze it and bring it back to a safe place to have a meal.

There is a reason why they are so accurate at the direction and length of their attack jumps. This is because, unlike many other spiders, they have excellent eyesight. Most spiders have poor vision and have to rely on other senses such as touch or sense of vibration on their webs to catch their prey. However the Putnam Jumping Spider does not spin a web, because they do not hunt this way due to their keen eyesight. Equipped with eight eyes positioned strategically around their heads they are able to have a 360 degree view of all that is around them. All of the eyes have very good focus, with the front large eyes having narrow extreme high definition for pinpointing the jump and attack.

They are also very smart for an insect. This also helps with their survival and accurate attacks. With such a small body of ¼” their brains are tiny. But this small brain is very intelligent. They hunt in a methodical way, not just spinning a web and waiting on a vibration to sense out and trap like many other spiders. Their intricate vision is on the same level as many hunting animals; couple that with smarts to move slowly and track their prey in an ambush style manner makes them very efficient. The Putnam Jumping Spider will not just focus on prey and move in a straight line towards the target. Rather, they have been observed to slowly track the insect, circle the prey and wait for the perfect time and angle to plan the quick and long distance jump attack.

The Putnam Jumping Spider is a resident of Tennessee; however they are not considered a threat. They prefer to live and thrive in outdoor conditions. You could find one that wonders into your home, as they are very curious, but they will quickly find their way back outside. The venom they produce is not dangerous to most humans, although some people do have an allergic reaction if bitten.

Although the Putnam Jumping Spider is not considered dangerous, as with any spider, keep your distance. Any issues you may have can be solved with a call to Certified Pest Control Nashville, TN. Our family is always happy to assist with any pest control issue you may have. Choose local, family owned and operated; you will be happy you did.

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Atlas Moth

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Atlas Moth

Giant Moth that Cannot Eat

Imagine seeing what looks like a bird flying towards you, only to find out that it is actually a moth. It is amazing to discover that the world’s largest moth has an incredible wingspan of up to 12” across and a body that can reach close to 12” long. This unbelievable creation is called the Atlas Moth. With such a gargantuan size, it could be quite scary to see an insect the size of an Encyclopedia flying through the sky. Add to that, this large and beautiful moth has unusual color markings to add to its uniqueness. The wing extensions and coloring closely resemble snake heads. This could possibly be a self defense method, but it has not been proven. They do also use a spray that comes from there abdomen that can shoot a defensive irritant as much as two feet, if they are threatened. But these are only some of the things that make this moth an interesting insect.

As the moth begins its life as a caterpillar, it too is rather large at around 1” thick and 5” long. They feed heavily to grow and ready themselves to pupate into a cocoon. They make this cocoon out of silk and leaves. As a matter of fact these Atlas Moth Cocoons are actually sought after to be used as small purses in some Asian countries.

After four to six weeks the caterpillar comes out of the cocoon as a moth. And it’s a good thing it did all of that eating as a caterpillar, because now as an Atlas Moth, it will never eat again. They do not have functioning mouths, so they can’t eat. Therefore they rely on the stored food they gorged on while still a caterpillar. So at this point the Atlas Moth’s lifespan is limited, with approximately only two days to survive. With only two days to live, there main point of existence is to find a female to mate with. This is facilitated by pheromones excreted from the female, so the male can find her. She usually finds a place to land where the wind can blow the attractant to her male suitor. But, being so large the male is not a very good flyer. So this only makes it more difficult for the male Atlas Moth to find his female counterpart. Once he finds her, he latches on in order to fertilize her eggs. After only two days of life expectancy and desperately seeking his reproductive mate, he usually fertilizes, falls off and dies. The female then finds a good hiding spot to lay her eggs, on the underside of leaves. To protect the potential young, they spray their own strong smelling and irritating pest control on their eggs, to keep away predators such as ants. However, once the eggs are laid, the female is also at the end if her very short lifespan. Just like the male, she also dies, leaving another batch of eggs to continue this unusual and short lifespan as such a beautiful insect.

Since Atlas Moths live primarily in Asia, China, India and Indonesia, you most likely will only have the privilege of seeing one in a zoo. If your timing is just right you can spot one of these monster size moths.

 

One of the largest moths that inhabit our area is the Imperial Moth at a width of six inches. However this moth is not considered a Nashville Pest Control Issue, unless you consider damage to vegetation or the sting the caterpillar can inflict. As always, be hesitant to touch an unknown insect, as you do not know what they are capable of. Call Certified Pest Control of Nashville if you suspect any pest or infestation issue, so we can properly define a treatment method and explain the benefits of an affordable yearly pest protection plan.

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Spider Webs

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Spider Webs

Silk Strong as Steel

Spiders are very good engineers with an ability to form a web material that defies strength that can be attained from such a small strand. When compared to very strong materials that humans build with, it actually has the same tensile strength as steel when measured at the same weight of each material.

So how can such a small insect produce such a unique and strong material? Spiders are born with spinneret glands in their abdomen. Each species of spiders have a different number of these glands and each produce a different type of material.  Spiders may have as many as five to eight different silk producing glands. Some is produced sticky, while some is fluffy. While constructing their sticky web as a trap for food, they carefully and slowly move in a way so as not to get stuck themselves. They are assisted by having feet that is covered in a non stick coating. Also they can produce a web material that is thick and strong in order to suspend the spider and drop its entire body weight safely to another level of construction. In addition to using these miraculous silk producing spinneret glands, some spiders have brush like designs on their legs that can give the silk a different texture to make it more fuzzy and cover a wider area with a more tangled and dense web. More interesting uses that a Spider web is used for, is transportation. They can shoot the silk in a vertical pattern to form a balloon or parachute like structure, and then ride the wind to spread out their population over a wider area. The many inventive ways a spider uses its silky web is truly amazing.

Even more amazing is how the web gets its strength. Although its relative strength can be compared to steel, it is the flexibility or elasticity that makes it even more versatile and strong for building. If the web material was simply a strong rigid material, it may be very strong for a short amount of time, but then it could break under a sudden impact. However the spider silk is very flexible; allowing it to blow in the wind, be stretched by other insects, animals or humans and stay relatively intact. Therefore when a spider orb is carefully placed to attract and capture food, it can absorb the impact of a flying insect, stretch enough to stay intact then allow the stickiness of the web to capture its prey. It can be compared with other strong human made products such as the material that is used in bullet proof vests. These vests are effective due to the fact that they are constructed with many different small strands of material. These strong flexible strands flex and absorb the impact of a bullet travelling at thousands of feet per second. The spider web works in the same manner, and there is even talk of using research to incorporate spider web silk into a next generation of bullet proof vests.

Many spiders can be identified simply by the type of web they construct. Many of us only think of the typical orb spider web that we see so often. However there are also sheet webs, funnel webs, triangle webs, tube webs and tangle webs to name a few. Each of these different designs serves a specific purpose for each species of spider that depends on where they live, how they trap and how they defend. Some are very organized in structure in design, while others resemble tangled tumbleweeds of silk. Most orb webs begin with a single fine thread to drift and catch a ride over to bridge a gap. Once the fine thread is secure, they tighten it and go back over the initial silk thread with a stronger thread to begin the orb construction. Once the main header lines are in place, the circular pattern begins construction, followed by support webs to keep the pattern uniform. The spider constantly checks and measures based on their body length where to connect the next circular pattern to the inner web. While this construction is happening, the spider also continuously checks the tension of each web, eating off what is considered loose, tightening it and reattaching. Then it is time to run the sticky silk lines.  The sticky silk is used to trap and is carefully placed in the same circular pattern, in between the initial design. This gives the spider a non sticky route to travel around the sticky trap, to quickly travel to prey and wrap it in silk for a tasty meal. It is a very tedious and time consuming process, but beautiful and effective when complete.

Although there are many different designs of webs per spider species, most all spiders use the same type of silk to wrapping their prey once it is caught. They also use this same type of fine silk to wrap their eggs to keep them safe. So not only is this one of nature’s miracle compounds and designs, it also has very different uses and applications within the insect world and beyond.

As with all spiders, when you see webs make sure to call Certified Pest Control of Nashville, Tennessee. We are happy to inspect, identify and implement a control method to keep your home safe from Spiders. We offer Nashville Pest Control services at affordable rates with friendly local family service.

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Horse Fly

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Horse Fly

Blood Sucking Fly

It’s cold outside, so let’s think happy thoughts of summer. Just picture; having a great time in the back yard, throwing the ball, playing in the pool or grilling out; happy and peaceful. That is, until the large Horse Fly shows up to the party. With their quick speed, agile acrobatic moves and tenacity to focus on a particular target; the party soon turns into “get rid of the biting fly”.

The Horse Fly is mostly identified by their large size and almost buzzing like sound as they quickly fly around your head looking for a quick spot to land. Their bodies range in size from ¼” to 1” long, with an accompanying wingspan of up to 2”. Brown or Black in color with a fuzzy appearance, they have one set of wings and have tapered bodies.  They are found in all areas around the world except for Polar Regions and Hawaii. And, as we all know from the painful bite, they do exist here in Nashville, Tennessee.

Horse Flies are most active in summer busy feeding on nectar.  Although the male and female feed this way, it is primarily the male that feeds and collects pollen, while the female is much more sinister. In order to reproduce, the female needs to feed on blood of another animal or human. They do not have an undetectable bite such as a mosquito, rather the bite is quite painful and immediately knocked away. Therefore the persistent Horse Fly continues its pursuit to get blood from this one particular victim. This proves true if you have ever been swimming in a pool with other people, however one Horse Fly continues to maneuver and speedily land on and attack one individual. They are naturally drawn to swimming pools with the shiny reflections and most commonly, carbon dioxide exuding humans.  For some reason once a Horse Fly chooses its victim, they tend to continue to try and attach to the same victim. This is due to the type of movement, body warmth, skin texture or even the levels of carbon dioxide that the individual victim produces. Once you have tagged as “it”, the Horse Fly tries its best to attach by using the ends of their legs and claws to grip and hold on just long enough to bite and get some blood to reproduce. This bite is particularly ferocious due to the design of the Horse Fly mouth. It has an organ designed to stab into the skin, then two pairs of cutting razors that quickly and effectively pierce then open the wound. Once the wound is opened, the saliva of the Horse Fly acts as an anti clotting compound to make sure that the blood flows quick and easy. Then the center of the mouth has an organ very much like a sponge that is ready and able to soak up and store all of the blood that the fly can get from the victim.

The female Horse Fly has mated, now increased the chances of offspring with a lovely meal of blood and is ready to lay her eggs. They usually prefer areas near water, such as marshy areas at the edge of a pond or lake, boat docks at inlets or any area with a continuous moist ground. She can lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time. These eggs go through five to ten different larval stages, last through the winter months, ready to emerge as fully grown adults in spring. As an adult they only live thirty to sixty days, so they have a limited time frame to ensure the next generation continues.

The Horse Fly can spread disease since they suck blood from multiple different animals or humans. These infectious equine diseases could become quite serious. However; most reactions to their bites are relatively mild such as redness, swelling, rash or even dizziness. If the bite area looks infected or a fever develops, seek immediate medical attention. For maximum protection, always wear insect repellent while outdoors along with long sleeves and pants if possible. As with any fly problem, call out a professional to properly identify the solution. Certified Pest Control in Nashville is your local family owned and operated choice for honest effective solutions to all of your pest control needs. Call our family today to define your affordable preventative pest control program in Nashville and all surrounding counties.

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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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